Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cubs Pick Up Piniella's Option

The Cubs announced today that they are picking up manager Lou Piniella's 2010 club option worth 4 million dollars. Piniella hinted again that he would like to retire after the contract is up, so expect to see Ryne Sandberg and other Cubs minor league managers come up and work with him to make for an easy transition come 2011. Cubs GM Jim Hendry and Piniella are very close, so it is possible they could work out an extension, assuming Hendry gets one this off season as well. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Yankees Extend Cashman

The Yankees and Brian Cashman have agreed to a three year extension through 2011. "I've got a job to finish here," Cashman said in a statement. "That's the bottom line." The Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993, but saw great strides from some of their younger players. Cashman was criticized for not making a move for Johan Santana, which was made worse when Kennedy and Hughes combined to go 0-8. However, both Kennedy and Hughes are young and need to work through the growing pains of a major league pitcher. 

Cashman is one of the best GM's in baseball and the Yankees should be looking like a playoff team again next season. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Giants Grumblings

- The Giants would like to add an infielder, and may target Marlins third baseman Jorge Cantu. Cantu did very well this season, but he is a big risk because it may have been a fluke. The Giants may also make a push for Dan Uggla, instead spending on someone like Orlando Hudson or Mark Ellis. They have a couple solid prospects, and appear willing to trade them to make long term improvements. 

- The Giants may make a move for CC Sabathia, but will likely target a pitcher like Jon Garland instead. They are reportedly dangling Matt Cain for Prince Fielder, so adding someone like Garland would really help the Giants.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Orioles To Explore Free Agent Market

Orioles president Andy McPhail said he plans to explore the free agent market to make big time additions to the club. McPhail said he would not pass up talking to guys with geographic ties to the area. With that said, both A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixiera have ties to the Baltimore area and would fill holes in the Orioles lineup. However, Teixeira is looking at a deal around 20-25 million dollars annually. With Miguel Cabrera moving across the diamond, it allows Scott Boras to compare him and Cabrera, both by personal health and stats, to come up with a deal better than his. The Orioles may not be able to support that kind of deal, especially if they want to resign Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis. 

With Burnett, the Orioles will likely non tender Daniel Cabrera, opening a spot in the rotation and saving the Orioles about three million dollars. Burnett makes his offseason home in Baltimore and could be easy to lure to Baltimore if the right deal is out there. According to a source, however, Burnett is having "serious" talks about a contract with the Blue Jays. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Byrnes for Castillo?

The Diamondbacks are very interested in bringing back Adam Dunn, but will not have room for him unless they trade either Eric Byrnes, Connor Jackson, or Justin Upton. It appears that Eric Byrnes will be the most likely to be traded. He only played in 52 games this year, but is a career .263 hitter and is not a free agent until 2011. But, who wants an injured outfielder who only hit .209? The Mets may be interested. The Mets would like to trade Luis Castillo and may shop him to the Diamondbacks so they can fill their void from losing Orlando Hudson. Castillo is owed 18 million over the next two seasons while Byrnes is owed 22 million through 2011. If the Diamondbacks added another player or split the difference between the contracts, a deal could happen. 

Castillo hit 245 with 3 HR in 87 games this season. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

2008 National League Awards

NL MVP: Ryan Howard, Phillies (.251 AVG, 47 HR, .320 AVG w/ RISP)
- A close call between him, Albert Pujols, and Carlos Delgado, Howard was a step above the rest. Despite hitting the lowest of the three, Howard carried the team during the second half of the season and lead the final surge that got them into the playoffs. He hit .320 with RISP and came through in the clutch all season long. 

NL Cy Young: C.C. Sabathia, Brewers (17-10 W-L, 2.70 ERA, 1.65 ERA w/ MIL)
- Sabathia was not my choice last week for Cy Young. But after winning his final two starts on three days rest and getting the Brewers into the playoffs, he is the obvious choice. He won eleven games for the Brewers and through seven complete games, giving the bullpen a lot of rest. While Brandon Webb and Tim Lincecum were dominant, they didn't lead their team into the playoffs like Sabathia did. 

NL Rookie of the Year: Geovanny Soto, Cubs (.285 AVG, 23 HR, 86 RBI)
- Cubs rookie Geovanny Soto did an excellent job behind the plate. He handled the veteran pitchers to a league leading 97 wins, while leading all catchers with 23 homeruns. 

NL Comeback Players of the Year: Jorge Cantu, Marlins (.277 AVG, 29 HR, 95 RBI)
- His first year playing everyday since 2005, Cantu spent last season playing 52 games with the Reds and Rays. He signed with the Marlins and stepped up in a big way to help this team improve. It is likely that the Marlins will trade him while his value is high, but he did a great job this season and deserves the award.

NL Manager of the Year: Lou Piniella, Cubs
- After figuring out what the Cubs had last season, he put this team together with a solid lineup and kept them in the front of the standings all year long. While some expect a World Series, it has been a success and a big step for the Cubs. 

Executive of the Year: Tony Reagins, Angels
- Key acquisitions: Jon Garland, Mark Teixeira, Torii Hunter.
- Reagins built this team up to dominate the West. I am embarrassed to say I didn't think they had the division, but they have the depth, the offense, and the pitching to win a World Series. Not to mention one of the best coaching staffs in the league.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lohse Signs Extension

Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse finally got the deal he thought he deserved last season. After failing to find a multiyear deal last offseason, Lohse proved to everyone that he was worth the 10-12 million dollars by going 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 33 games this season. The Cardinals awarded Lohse today by signing him to a four year deal worth 41 million dollars. It is a risky deal, considering Lohse set a career high in wins and a career low in ERA, but he is entering his prime and could have two or three good seasons that makes the contract worth the Cardinals while. 

If Wellemeyer can play like this next year, along with Wainwright and Lohse, the Cardinals could let Braden Looper walk and take a chance on a number three or four pitcher from the market. They are capable of competing in the division, they just need a legitimate closer and solid set up man to keep those close games out of reach. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mazzone to Tigers?

One of the top pitching coaches in baseball Leo Mazzone may be in line for another job. The Tigers, who recently fired their pitching coach, are in the market for an experienced pitching coach. Mazzone's teachings can be seen in John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux, and every pitcher that played for the Braves for nearly a decade. Mazzone's most famous technique-when in doubt, down and out-is used among many pitchers all around the league today. Mazzone would be able to work with struggling pitchers Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson, as well as Dontrelle Willis. He and Jim Leyland are reportedly very close and they would make for a great tandem.

GM Dave Dombrowksi would be smart to go in and snag Mazzone before he signs elsewhere.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mets To Go After Rodriguez?

After watching the Mets bullpen toss the teams dreams of making the playoffs down the drain, GM Omar Minaya has made it a priority to find relief help. That starts with finding a closer, mostly likely, Francisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez had the best year of his career and will likely make 13-15 million dollars annually. The Mets do not have a closer and the relievers in the bullpen have been hit hard due to not knowing their role with the team. While that may not a be a legitimate excuse, the Mets blew a league leading 29 games this season. 

While it may make more sense to go after Brian Fuentes and spending their money elsewhere. In my opinion, the Mets would be smart to sign Brian Fuentes and their other free agent eligibles, instead of making a big investment on Francisco Rodriguez. They are playing in a division where the Phillies are a going to compete and the Marlins are very close, so it is important that the Mets make smart investments in order to compete. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Yankees to Pursue McLouth

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees will pursue Pirates center fielder Nate McLouth. McLouth hit very well this season and would likely net the Pirates two or three good prospects in a trade. McLouth hit .276 AVG with 26 HR, 94 RBI, and 23 SB in 152 games this season. Trading McLouth would give the Pirates several good prospects for the future. They could easily land a solid pitching prospect to add to the rotation of struggling young pitchers. If the Pirates were looking to make a serious splash, they could trade both Ryan Doumit and Nate McLouth to the Yankees and land three or four solid prospects to rebuild around. While Neal Huntington is unlikely to trade both McLouth and Doumit, he will likely entertain offers for both to have as many prospects as possible for the future.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

2008 American League Awards

What an interesting year it has been! Here is who MLB Rumors thinks is worthy of 2008 MLB Awards in the American League:

AL MVP: Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (.312 AVG, 29 HR, .390 OBP)
- A controversial pick over Pedroia or Morneau, but Youkilis played a big role in the Red Sox playoff run. He hit .377 with runners in scoring position and made just seven errors playing three positions over the course of the season. 

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, Indians (22-3 W-L, 2.54 ERA, 170 K)
- Leading the league in wins and ERA makes him the obvious choice for the Cy Young. The only thing holding him back is that he is playing for the Indians, who struggled mightily this year. However, Lee was coming off a bad season and came back to dominate nearly every opponent. Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina are up there, but this is Lee's for sure.

AL Rookie of the Year: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox (.288 AVG, 20 HR, .374 AVG w/ RISP)
- While you could argue that Ramirez is not a rookie since he played in Cuba, but many GMs planned on having Ramirez start in Double-A if he had signed with them. All Ramirez needed was a month to adjust and he dominated the rest. He hit for power and average, and held his own wherever the Sox put him on the field. 

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Edwin Jackson, Rays (14-11 W-L, 4.42 ERA, 108 K)
- Jackson is a surprise pick but after losing fifteen games in 2007 and being in the minors for some of 2006, he makes for a great choice. He played a huge role in the Rays playoff run this season and should be rewarded for it.

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Rays
- Enough said.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The CC Sabathia Effect

It's official. Brewers pitcher CC Sabathia will win the Cy Young Award and will likely be given a record breaking salary following the postseason. While this is great news for Sabathia and every pitcher on the market, every team in the hunt for a pitcher will suffer. Sabathia appears to be heading towards the Dodgers or to one of the New York teams, so the Brewers will have a hard time signing him. If the Brewers can put together a good postseason run, maybe they have a chance to resign him. Anything less than a World Series victory will likely mean Sabathia is heading elsewhere. 

If Sabathia signs a deal that earns him 20-22 million dollars annually, that means that pitchers like A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster, Mike Mussina, and even Jamie Moyer are looking at big raises. At first, Burnett was looking at making fifteen million dollars annually. However, now that Sabathia has proved that he can pitch in the clutch (and three times in nine days), he will likely bring up every pitchers annual salary. Expect the second tier pitchers like Burnett, Lowe, and Dempster all looking at at least sixteen to eighteen million dollars annually.

Derek Lowe has proven that he can pitch going 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA in thirty-four games this season. His postseason success and veteran know-how makes him a very desirable pitcher this offseason. The Tigers will likely look at Lowe as a priority, while teams like the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox will look to him if they miss out on their first target. One team to look out for in this race is the Blue Jays, who could look to Lowe to follow behind Halladay, making for an excellent rotation. 

If the Cubs get knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, the Cubs might have a little trouble resigning Ryan Dempster. Dempster is expected to get a four year deal worth about 55-60 million dollars, but that could go up based on signing from players like C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. The Braves, Astros, and Red Sox are all possibilities for Dempster if he doesn't resign with the Cubs. However, Ryan Dempster has expressed his desire to stay in Chicago with the Cubs.

Signing any pitcher is a risk, especially one like Sabathia who is overweight, overworked, and not as much motivation after cashing in. A team like the Yankees might be smart to target A.J Burnett first.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Nationals Fire Five Coaches

The Washington Nationals fired five coaches Sunday in an attempt to give Manny Acta another chance with a new coaching staff. They fired everyone except Randy St. Claire, the pitching coach who has been with the franchise since 2003. "I feel bad about losing every one of them," Acta said. "Those guys handled it a lot better than I did. They tried to pump me up. They are true professionals." Bowden plans to be very aggressive in rebuilding this club, and that starts with adding a veteran pitcher, as well as a power hitter to build a lineup around. The team is expected to pursue a veteran like Paul Byrd, as well as a hitter like Adam Dunn.

As for new coaches, one name that comes up is Iowa Cubs manager Pat Listach. Listach has done an excellent job managing the Iowa Cubs and could be a base coach for the Cubs if one of the coaches decides to leave. If the Nationals call, Listach would mostly likely bite on the offer, knowing that a managerial job is in sight. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Astros to Sign Wolf?

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Astros and Randy Wolf are close to working out an extension. Wolf, who is 12-12 with a 4.30 ERA, has done a great job for the Astros. He is just thirty-two, and will likely receive a three year extension making at least 8.5 million dollars. The Astros will likely sign Wolf. He has expressed his interest in resigning and Ed Wade would love to have a veteran like Wolf at the bottom half of the rotation. 

If the Astros can sign Wolf and Ben Sheets, they would definitely be in contention in 2009. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Ordonez to Atlanta?

According to a source, the Tigers are looking to make a trade and may take a chance on Jeff Francoeur. While Francoeur has struggled, many think it is because of his weight gain over the offseason, which may have affected his swing. He plans to lose that weight and work with a hitting coach this offseason, so a return to a .280-.290 average is very possible. The Tigers would be smart to take a chance on Francoeur while dumping payroll and a somewhat older player. Ordonez has hit .317 with 20 HR in 144 games this season while Francoeur has hit .240 with 11 HR in 154 games. The Tigers could even pay for more of his salary and try to land someone like Will Ohman to help in the bullpen. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

GM Talks: Williams, Ricciardi, Gillick

  • According to Jon Heyman, the White Sox are working on an extension for GM Kenny Williams, whose contract is set to expire in 2009. Williams is one of the best GMs in baseball, having most recently acquired Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez, as well as drafting Gordon Beckham, one of the top infield prospects in America.
  • Blue Jays CEO Paul Godfrey told reporters that J.P. Ricciardi will be back for the 2009 season, but did not hint at whether or not he will be given an extension. If the Blue Jays can boost their infield and give Travis Snider a shot at DH, they could compete for a playoff spot. Expect the Blue Jays to be very aggressive this season in resigning A.J. Burnett, as well as several other players.
  • According to Jon Heyman, Phillies GM Pat Gillick may not retire after this season after all. While this would not bother many Phillies fans, it would probably bother Ruben Amaro Jr., who has been waiting for this job for a very long time. He could decide to leave and sign up with another team in their GM spot. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ichiro To Be Traded?

According to the Seattle Times, several Mariners players think Ichiro is more about playing for hit records than he is for the team. This has lead to a fight nearly breaking out in the clubhouse and knocking out Ichiro. This has left the Mariners clubhouse in disarray and could lead to the team trading Ichiro to move on with the rebuilding and clearing the tension in the clubhouse. Ichiro would draw interest from several teams and the Mariners would likely land some solid prospects as well as clear up some payroll. They could put that money towards the free agent market or towards drafting better players, something that would really help their rebuilding. 

The Mariners have never been against trading Ichiro, having nearly trading him twice since 2005. It is very possible that the Mariners would trade Ichiro while his value his high and cash in the prospects.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cabrera, Penny, Leaving Town?

Recently, several big time players have made comments about their respective teams, meaning they will likely be finding new homes next offseason. Let's start with Orlando Cabrera, who is frustrated with manager Ozzie Guillen's latest comments about the team. Cabrera recently lashed out at the team and his manager saying that he is better than he is playing. This lead to Guillen making comments to reporters and other radio stations, most likely putting an end to Orlando Cabrera's career in Chicago. The Orioles, Blue Jays, and Cardinals are all possibilities for Cabrera, who hit .283 with 8 HR, 56 RBI, and 19 SB. 

Brad Penny, who was recently moved to the 60-day DL, cleared out his locker yesterday and is no where to be seen. While the Dodgers are not worried, no one has talked to him and it is likely he will be a free agent this offseason. However, trainer Stan Conte said he would be under the Dodgers supervision as he recovers from his injury over the next couple months. The Braves and Reds are possibilities for Penny.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Rangers Laird On The Move?

Rangers catcher Gerald Laird is drawing a lot of interest, and the Rangers are now in a place to trade him with Jarrod Saltalamacchia ready to play everyday. While the Rangers may stick with Laird to make sure they are solid behind the plate, Club president Nolan Ryan may want to have another 'growth' season, and land as many prospects as possible. Laird, who is a year from free agency, hit .278 with 6 HR and 41 RBI in 94 games this season. He is drawing interest from the Tigers and Brewers, but the Reds, Red Sox, and Yankees are all possibilities if the Rangers really make him available. 

The Rangers could probably land two solid prospects from a trade, but should try to eat up some of his contract to make sure those prospects have real growth. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mariners Leading Towards Ng?

According to FOXSPORTS.com, the Mariners are scanning the market for a new GM and may leaning towards hiring Dodgers long time assistant Kim Ng. While Mariners president Armstrong has not given up on the Mariners for being a contender next season, he believes an outside perspective needs to come in and guide the team. While there are certainly several other candidates, including former Twins GM Terry Ryan, Ng is close geographically and has helped the Dodgers build their team into a contender. 

A source close to me who spoke with Mariners President Chuck Armstrong said in no way will this be a publicity stunt. They will hire the best candidate available and that may be Kim Ng, who has been with the Dodgers for the past seven years and the Yankees before that.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Interview with Brandon Webb

Last year, I sent an email over to the agents of Brandon Webb hoping to do an interview with him. The end of the season and some of his offseason plans got in the way of an interview, but his agents assured me we would get something done. The season got underway and Webb got off to a fast start, winning his nine games and putting the Diamondbacks out to a comfortable lead. While I was happy to hear that Webb was doing well, I knew it would only push my interview back because outlets like ESPN and local Arizona networks would want to talk to him first. Nevertheless, his agents said I would get him soon. Thanks to everyone over at MSM Sports for getting this done for. I particularly want to thank Brandon Webb for doing this, I really appreciate it.

ELI: What was it like to come up knowing you could be replacing Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling in the rotation?

BRANDON: You know, I never really thought I would be replacing them when I came up. It was a process for a couple years before they left and I moved into their role. They really helped me prepare for it well. 

ELI: You struggled in 2004. What did you do in the offseason to prepare for the 2005 season?

BRANDON: I just needed to mentally prepare better. I needed to throw more strikes and be more aggressive in the strike zone. I was trying to strike people out before and that's really not my game.

ELI: In 2006, you pitched in the All-Star game. What was your first experience like?

BRANDON: It was unbelievable, very exciting! I loved everything about it, and still do. Striking out [Derek] Jeter in that game was an unbelievable experience. It was great.

ELI: You went on to win the Cy Young Award as well. Aside from the Diamondbacks putting together a good season, what did it mean to you to win the award personally?

BRANDON: To be recognized as the top pitcher in the league was a great honor. Being able to tie my name to so many of the greatest pitchers ever is very special to me.

ELI: When you first begin throwing in the off season, what is the first thing you work on first?

BRANDON: First thing is my arm strength. You have to get it back to feeling comfortable again. I use the tubing and lift weights.

ELI: In your opinion, who is the most exciting player to watch on the team? Why?

BRANDON: I'd have to say [Justin] Upton. He has all the tools, and he's only going to get better. He's a great kid.

ELI: Do you have a favorite stadium to pitch at on the road?

BRANDON: Ha! [Laughs] San Diego. It's a great pitchers' park, a beautiful city and a great city.

ELI: What was it like to pitch in the playoffs last season? Did you feel any different than a regular normal season game?

BRANDON: It was awesome. I definitely felt a little different than a normal regular season game, especially because it was my first playoffs. The excitement in Arizona made it really great. All the fans were really electric.

ELI: When you are not pitching, is there anything you enjoy doing during the game?

BRANDON: [Laughs] Well, I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I like going into the clubhouse and getting a massage on nights I'm not pitching. It really helps me relax the arm and shoulder muscles between starts.

ELI: If you could pitch to one batter, from the past or the present, who would it be?

BRANDON: Does it have to be someone living? I'd love to pitch to Babe Ruth, just to see if I could strike him out. [Laughs]

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Dodgers to Buyout Penny?

According to the LA Daily News, The Dodgers may buyout Brad Penny rather than pay him the 9.25 million that he could earn next season. Penny won sixteen games in 2007, but struggled in 2008 going 6-8 with a 6.27 ERA. However, Penny is a very dominant pitcher who would thrive in a two or three spot in a rotation. He has 94-career wins and is a two time All-Star. If the Dodgers decline his option, they could put that money towards signing Manny Ramirez, or perhaps Rafael Furcal. 

As for Penny, he will likely be a sought after pitcher. The Astros and Cardinals are both expected to pursue the pitcher if he becomes available, as are the Braves, who are looking to add a pitcher like Penny to back up Hudson. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Oh Retires From Managing

Japanese Homerun King and Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh has announced his retirement from baseball, according to the Seattle P-I. He cited health reasons as his decision, noting that he had his stomach removed in 2006 due to cancer. Oh has earned the respect of players and fans all around the world. It isn't just because he hit 868 homeruns in his own career, but because he works closely with every player on his team to win. Kenji Johjima, his former player, said that Oh played a major role in his baseball career. 

Oh never played in the United States, but is regarded as one of the best players to ever play baseball in the history of the game. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Hermida to Royals, Indians, or Diamondbacks?

Coming into this offseason, the Marlins have eighteen arbitration eligible players. It is very unlikely that the Marlins will sign all of them, but picking who to trade will be the tough part. While the Marlins have been competitive, they don't want to trade away their best players and take another two steps back in terms of getting back to the playoffs. With that said, it is likely they will try to keep one of the following three: Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, and Jeremy Hermida. There is a lot of demand for outfielders and second baseman, so they might be able to get the best prospects for them. However, it is possible that the Yankees could turn to the Marlins for Jacobs if signing Teixeira falls through. 

Hermida, although he has expressed his desire to stay, looks as good as gone. Royals GM Dayton Moore is very familiar with Hermida who saw Hermida play in Georgia growing up. The Indians are in the market for an outfielder while the Diamondbacks, who will lose Adam Dunn, could take a chance on Hermida hoping a competitive lineup with a lot of opportunities will turn his struggling career around. One thing holding him back is that he is very injury prone, so they might not be able to get the best prospects for him. 

Expect the Marlins to be very busy this off season.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cubs Should Go With Gaudin

Although Cubs pitcher Chad Gaudin has struggled lately, he is the pitcher the Cubs should give their final roster spot to in the postseason. Right now, it is down to Gaudin and Samardzija. While Samardzija is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA, he has pitched in a 139.1 innings this season (including his stints in the minors). If the Cubs view him as a long term reliever, or potential starter, they would be smart to rest him and go with the experienced Gaudin in the postseason. Not only is Gaudin very valuable in the spot starter role, but leaving him off the roster risks losing him next season because he is upset about not making the roster. 

Gaudin has struggled since coming over from the Athletics, compiling a 5.84 ERA, but has playoff experience and is a great pitcher to get the Cubs into the later innings through relief. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Todd Jones Retires

Tigers reliever Todd Jones has announced his retirement. Jones was 4-1 with a 4.97 ERA with 18 SV this season before he finally decided to call it quits: "So this is it. If you're a Tigers fan, I'll never stress you out again. If you're not a Tigers fan, you'll never have me as your ace in the hole, convinced I'll blow a lead against your team." What a way to go out for some who has 319 career saves. Not only does Jones lead the Tigers in career saves, but he was a clutch postseason pitcher with All-Star experience. 

Maybe he was trying to send a message to fans and reporters. Nonetheless, Jones should be remembers as a dominating pitcher who many feared around the league.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Will Godfrey or Ricciardi Be Brought Back?

Blue Jays President Paul Godfrey's contract expires at the conclusion of this season and it is not yet clear whether or not the Jays will bring him back. Under Godgrey's watch, the Jays have suffered 9 straight seasons without a Play-Off birth, extending the streak to 15 years or 14 seasons. Every year under Godfrey's watch, there has been hype that the Jays could unseat the mighty Yankees or Red Sox and make the post-season but every year the same result happens, a disappointing 3rd or 4th place finish(except in 2006 when they finished 2nd) while being 10 or more games behind the Wild Card. Every year it's something different. In the early 2000's the Jays had Championship quality hitting but had AAA pitchers. When Gord Ash was let go and JP Ricciardi brought in, hope was restored but the same result happend. But instead of having the Championship hitting, the Jays now had a lack luster bullpen, an average rotation and a middle of the road line up. Fast forward a few years to 2008 and the Jays have one of the best rotations, the best bullpen but now have the most inconsistent line up in baseball(especially with RISP). So, over the course of Paul Godfrey's 9 year tenure, the Jays have 180'ed and can't seem to find the right mixture of quality hitters, starters and relievers that will let them contend for a Play-Off spot.

JP Ricciardi still has 2 years left on his contract extention from 2005 but has an opt-out clause that gives him the power to leave if Paul Godfrey is no longer President of the franchise. Ricciardi has been nothing short of a disappointment for the Jays as he's gone through 4 managers in his 7 year tenure (Carlos Tosca, Buck Martinez, John Gibbons and Cito Gaston). Fans don't trust him since he lied about the seriousness of BJ Ryan's injury in 2007 and he also lied about apologizing to Adam Dunn for publicly criticizing a player, who at the time, was hitting better then any Blue Jay(Ricciardi says he called Dunn personally and apologized but Dunn says he didn't). Many in the Greater Toronto Area believe that Ricciardi will be gone by October 31, 2008. Who would replace him though? The popular choice among fans is Cito Gasto, who many believe is owed the spot because of what happend in the mid-1990's. Oher options that could help the Jays in the front office include Cincinnati Reds Special Assistant Bill Bavasi(brother of ex-Jays GM Peter Bavasi), Yankees GM Brian Cashman, Mets MLB Scout Wayne Krivsky, former MLB Executive Of The Year Cam Bonifay or San Diego Padres Front Office Assistant Paul DePodesta.

Posted by Will McComb

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bedard to Red Sox, Cubs, or Blue Jays?

The Mariners are reportedly very frustrated with Erik Bedard and are considering whether or not to tender him a contract this offseason. The Mariners are obviously in rebuilding mode and may not want to deal with Bedard, who will be out till August of 2009. In fifteen games this season, Bedard was 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in fifteen games, on pace for another 12 to 13 win season. His high strikeout rate and consistency is what will earn him a good contract, but the Mariners may not want to risk that with a pitcher just coming off of surgery.

With that said, if they were to not tender him a contract, expect the Red Sox, Cubs, and Blue Jays to be in on him. The Red Sox are known for taking on pitchers who are interested and working with them to get them healthy. Three good examples include Wade Miller, Matt Clement, and Bartolo Colon. The Cubs were very aggressive in their pursuit of Erik Bedard this past offseason as well as three seasons ago in the trade for Sammy Sosa. Not to mention their willingness to work with rehabilitating pitchers. Look what success they have had with Ryan Dempster. The Blue Jays may be interested in bringing back a Canadian, but also because he is familiar with the AL East.
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Yankees Want Cashman Back, But....

According to Newsday, the Yankees hope GM Brian Cashman will stay with the team following this season. The Steinbrenner boys and Cashman have talked several times over the course of the season, but have to yet to throw out any numbers: "We did talk in Tampa. We didn't talk about dollars, but we talked about time frame, length [of contract]." It is obvious there is some mutual interest in coming back, but the Steinbrenner's have hinted at forming a committee in their front office, something Brian Cashman would probably be opposed to. The Phillies, Mariners, and possible Dodgers and Cubs jobs will be available this off season, and Cashman may want to consider going to a team where the owner isn't hovering. 

A deal will need to happen quick because the Yankees would like to go to work as soon as the season ends, so they will probably attempt to get a deal done before the World Series, or immediately following. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Trammell to Seattle?

The Mariners plan to interview GM candidates immediately following the World Series. Following that decision, the Mariners will interview somewhere between three and five candidates. One of those candidates is believed to be Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell, who has been working closely with manager Lou Piniella. Piniella and teammates have praised Trammell for his work ethic and the approach he takes with players. He seems perfect for the Mariners, who need a manager who can take charge, but let the players run the clubhouse. He was not given a very good team in the early 2000s with the Tigers, but some of those players are doing much better now than back then, and that can be credited to Trammell and his staffs hard work. 

Trammell may not want the Mariners job. He is working under one of the best managers in baseball with one of the best teams in baseball, so why leave now. If he continues to work with Piniella it is likely a better job will open up, perhaps the Cubs' job when Piniella decides to retire. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Around the Majors

Source: Jon Heyman

Several teams have said that they would like to add a second baseman, suggesting that both Robinson Cano and Brian Roberts could be on the move this offseason. The Brewers attempted to land Brian Roberts last spring, but failed after their unwillingness to trade Alcides Escobar or Manny Parra. It is possible the Brewers will try again after seeing Rickie Weeks fail to find his swing again this season. With Sabathia and Sheets heading to free agency, it is likely the Brewers will be very busy trying to keep their team together.

The Yankees are looking for outfield options and have set their sights on Matt Kemp. They could work a deal involving Robinson Cano, and bring in Kemp as their center fielder. Other options for center field include David DeJesus, but he struggled defensively this season. Another option is Milton Bradley, who is a free agent following this season playing for the Texas Rangers. Playing for a good team could entice Bradley, who hasn't played for a contender in his career.

The Rockies would like to add a number one starter and may pursue Ryan Dempster or Jon Garland. They could also pursue Derek Lowe if he doesn't sign with the Dodgers.

After LaTroy Hawkins dominated for the Astros, there is word that the Astros would like to resign him. Hawkins is very familiar with the NL Central and is very comfortable and confident with what he has. He would be a good signing for the Astros.

Andy Pettitte will likely wait until January or February to sign with a club. It is frustrating that that Andy Pettitte continues to put off his decision till the very last minute, but there is nothing we can do about it. He will likely sign with the Yankees, Astros, or Dodgers.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Marlins Will Trade Gregg

The Marlins and Kevin Gregg are close to breaking up. Gregg has grown frustrated with the Marlins unwillingness to spend money, and isn't afraid to tell the media how he is feeling: "It's an organization that doesn't want to spend money," Gregg told the Miami Herald. One NL executive told me the Marlins view Gregg as a problem and fully intend to trade him this off season. This season, Gregg is 7-8 with a 3.49 ERA and 29 SV, but was recently removed from the closer spot for young flamethrower Matt Lindstrom. 

The Rockies are known to be interested in Dan Uggla, and may package a deal with Uggla and Gregg for prospects. The Rockies have the prospects, and will likely receive more by trading Atkins, Holliday, and Fuentes, assuming they trade them. The Mets could also make a trade for him considering they need a closer.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Pirates Dealing Wilson, Sanchez

Pirates GM Neal Huntington was a little naive when he came into this season thinking the Pirates could compete. While Paul Maholm and Ian Snell may be on verge of stardom, the offense cannot support the pitching, especially a lineup without a power hitter like Jason Bay. The Pirates will likely trade Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez to clear up some payroll, as well as bring in a couple prospects in return. It is possible the Mets could be a suitor for Freddy Sanchez. They currently have Luis Castillo in the spot, but they are reportedly looking to trade him. Bringing in Sanchez wouldn't cost the Mets more than a pair of Double-A prospects, along with a player like Angel Pagan. As for Wilson, he will likely be dumped for a Double-A prospect and cash. Because he is 31, and has a high salary, it should bring down his value. Nonetheless, a team that misses out on Rafael Furcal or J.J. Hardy (through trade), could be in on Wilson. The Orioles, Tigers, and Blue Jays are possible suitors.

The Pirates are still several years away from being a contender, but they should start building up their minor league system in preparation of competing in four or five years. One way they can do this is by trading their big salary guys, and putting some of that money towards drafting better players. They did that somewhat in this draft by drafting Tanner Scheppers and Pedro Alvarez. Scheppers is injured and that dropped his value from a Top 10 guy to an early second rounder, a great pick by the Pirates. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Pierre to Reds?

Dodgers outfielder Juan Pierre struggled this season and reportedly upset manager Joe Torre. Although Pierre has 28.5 million dollars left on his contract, the Dodgers have reportedly expressed a willingness to take on the majority of his salary if a team was willing to add an extra prospect or two. With that said, is there any team willing to take Juan Pierre? The Reds, managed by Pierre's good friend and former manager Dusty Baker, are a possibility. He would shape the top of their lineup and give Jay Bruce and Joey Votto more opportunities to drive in runners. 
Pierre is still a solid player and should not be over looked despite hitting .276. Not playing everyday and given no opportunity to start everyday hurt him, and he should bounce back once he gets an everyday role. 

Francoeur to Royals?

According to Joe Posanski, the Royals and Braves could match up in a trade for Jeff Francoeur. Although Francoeur has struggled in Atlanta, Royals GM Dayton Moore believes he still has some potential to turn it around. Moore was with the Braves when they drafted Francoeur and is still a close friend of his, so a trade is plausible. Francoeur is hitting .239 with 11 HR and 68 RBI in 149 games, thirty points lower than his career average. Scouts believe the big increase in weight altered his swing, forcing him to over swing and pop up too much. While he plans to work with a hitting coach and lose weight, he could try working the ball the other way. 

As for other teams that could pursue Francoeur, the Indians are possible destination. The Braves plan to be very busy this offseason upgrading on the market, as well as deciding whether or not to bring back Smoltz and Glavine. Francoeur looks more like a trade deadline possibility. 

Blue Jays Will Go After Garland

According to one AL executive, the Blue Jays will pursue free agent-to be Jon Garland when he becomes a free agent this off season. With Shaun Marcum out for 2009, the Blue Jays will also go after A.J. Burnett, but are hoping to add Garland to make for one of the best 1-2-3 punch in the American League. Garland is expected to ask for a four year deal worth about 12-14 million dollars annually, so the Jays needs to make sure they want to make that big of an investment. This season, Garland is 14-8 with a 4.79 ERA in 31 games this season, a four game jump in wins from last season. 

Garland makes much more sense for a National League team. He puts up a lot of wins, but playing in the American League keeps his ERA high. Moving to the National League now would make him one of the best pitchers in the league. The Braves, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Brewers are all good options for the pitcher, who have the money to take him in. Garland reportedly hopes to remain with the Angels, but is behind both Teixiera and Rodriguez in the Angels priorities this offseason. 

Hardy to White Sox?

According to a source, the Brewers will try to trade J.J. Hardy this offseason in order to make room for shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar. Hardy is the top shortstop in the National League, and he would only hurt his value by moving to third base, so moving him appears to be the only option. The Brewers gave Ryan Braun time to develop in the minors before calling him up in 2007, and they would be smart to do that again with Escobar. So many teams have tried to start their prospects from the start, and they have failed to find their swing (Felix Pie, Alex Gordon). While trading Hardy would likely bring back a solid prospect, they would be smart to hold on to Hardy to make sure that Escobar is the real deal. Any player can look like a stud in the minors, but it is important to make sure he is mentally strong to handle playing in the MLB everyday.

Despite my take on the subject, the White Sox make for a good option for Hardy. They will likely let Cabrera and Uribe walk, opening a spot in the infield. If they were to trade a pair of prospects, they would have one of the best middle infield tandems in baseball. Other teams that could go after Hardy include the Tigers, Orioles, Padres, and Royals, among others.

Willis to Boston?

According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers will look to trade one of their pitchers this offseason and will eye a shortstop in return. He points out that the Red Sox want to unload Julio Lugo to make room for Jed Lowrie, a new fan favorite and potential long term replacement at shortstop. If the Red Sox were to trade Lugo for Willis, both of whom are locked up through 2010, they would likely split the four million dollar discrepancy between the contracts, making this deal even more plausible. 

The Tigers would be smart to look to trade Nate Robertson, a lefty who would be desirable to a National League team like the Astros. Dombrowski isn't close to losing his job, but he needs to find a way to make this team gel. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Athletics Relocation Options

Athletics owner Lew Wolff hinted yesterday that if they cannot get the stadium situation resolved in Fremont, that he would have no choice but to leave the state to play elsewhere"We're trying to figure out if we can," he said, when asked about getting a BART extension for the proposed Fremont ballpark. "If we can, we will. If we can't, we won't. Of course, then, we wouldn't be in California any more, either." With that said, where would the Athletics move if they cannot get the Fremont situation solved? MLB would probably encourage the Athletics to stay in the West, instead of realigning the divisions. Here are a couple possible destinations for the Athletics if they were to move: 

Las Vegas, Nevada: People have been talking about having a baseball team in Las Vegas for a long time, and this could finally be their chance. The Las Vegas 51s, the Triple-A affiliate of the Dodgers, has been a big draw in Vegas despite their old stadium. If they were to add a professional team to the city, seating thirty to forty thousand, they would probably do very well. Not to mention them staying in the AL West. How does the Las Vegas Lights sound?

Tucson, Arizona: Arizona is the home of a dozen of major league Spring Training facilities, and it is possible they would add a second Major League team. Tucson has a little over 500,000 people, and there is definitely room for a Major League stadium. The population in Arizona continues to rise, and it could become even more popular with the addition of a major league club. It is the second largest city in the state, and is the site of the University of Arizona, making it a desirable location. How does the Tucson Ringtails sound?

Portland, Oregon: Portland has been talked about a lot as a possible destination for a Major League club. They want a team and certainly have the population to support a big league club. They support a minor league baseball team, as well as a NBA team, so they could take on a MLB team seating 25-35 thousand people. How does the Portland Thunder sound? 

Realistically, the move would not happen for another eight to ten years, but a decision could be made in the next two or three. The Winter Meetings are happening in the Las Vegas this year, so there should be a lot of talk about it come December. 

Olney: Remembering Yankee Stadium

Buster Olney has a great piece out today on remembering Yankee Stadium. He talked with several big league players, managers, and executives about their own memories, as well as reflects on his own. Check it out here.

Huff As Good As Gone?

Orioles DH Aubrey Huff is having a career year, hitting .311 with 32 HR in 147 games this season. Several teams will be pursuing a solid first baseman this offseason, and may look to Huff instead of spending the big bucks on someone like Mark Teixeira. The Orioles could definitely use the prospects, as well the extra spending cash to improve in 2009. If they were able to clear half his 2009 salary (8 million dollars), they would be able to go after a veteran pitcher. 

As for teams that could pursue Huff, the Angels, Yankees, Braves, and possibly the Brewers, if they are able to unload Prince Fielder. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Adam Kennedy Asking for Trade

St. Louis 2B Adam Kennedy had a huge day-a grand slam and 5 rbis just one day after requesting a trade because of reduced playing time. Since acquiring Felipe Lopez and using Aaron Miles with more frequency, Kennedy has seen hi splaying time go way down. GM John Mozeliak agreed to look at his options after the season ends.

Prince Fielder to be Traded??

It wouldn't be worth reporting this rumor if it wasn't coming from such an important source but ESPN's Peter Gammons is reporting that the Brewers are interested in trading Prince Fielder, JJ Hardy and another player for the Giants' 23-year old, starting pitcher Matt Cain. This report has been mentioned before but Gammons brought it up again on Wednesday night.

Molitor in Line for Brewers Skipper Job

Former Brewer Paul Molitor is a front-runner to be the next manager, according to circulating reports. The Minnesota native is currently a special assistant for the Twins but it would be a different kind of homecoming if he were to be named the Brewers' next manager. Also in the running for the job would seem to be Cubs' bench coach Alan Trammel and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Indians Looking For Closer?

The Indians primary goal this offseason will be to find a top of the line closer. While some have said they would be interested in Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, he is probably out of their price range. The Indians would be better off going after someone like Brian Fuentes or Brandon Lyon. Both are solid closers with experience who would really bring up that bullpen. According to a source, the Indians will look to Orlando Hudson or Mark Ellis as options next season. However, it is possible they could look to make a trade for Robinson Cano, or a less player like Mike Fontenot. 

Indians GM Mark Shapiro has put together a strong minor league system, but he needs to make some big moves this off season or else his job may be in question. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hangin' With Hunter

Check out the fourth installment of Hangin' with Hunter.

Cano Trade Possibilities?

Jon Heyman of SI.com has a good piece out on the Brewers managerial situation. Within that piece, there is word that the Yankees may look to trade Robinson Cano this offseason in a way to bulk up their minor league system. Here are a couple teams that would benefit from Cano:
  • The Dodgers: Cano's first manager Joe Torre manages the Dodgers and the Dodgers have an opening at second base. The Dodgers have the prospects, and could use Cano to support an already dangerous lineup. He would likely benefit to playing in the NL.
  • The Angels: The Angels will likely unload Chone Figgins this offseason, making room for several prospects they have. While they will likely keep either Francisco Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira, it is possible they would trade a package of prospects to the Yankees for Robinson Cano. They have the spot and he would make that lineup a little younger, and even more dangerous. 
  • The White Sox: Alexei Ramirez is looking like a long term player for the White Sox. He has made the proper adjustments, and is a great fielder all around the field. If the White Sox were to move him to shortstop, they could put a package together and acquire Robinson Cano. They have the prospects, and it would easily make them the favorites in the Central.
  • The Rockies: The Rockies will definitely be in the market for a second baseman and could use a prospect or two in a trade involving Garrett Atkins and acquire Robinson Cano. Cano playing in Colorado will definitely boost his numbers, as well as being in the NL.
Cano is the type of player that can make a big difference, so the Yankees may look to trade him to the National League before shipping him to an American League team.

Cubs Working On Extension For Piniella

The Cubs are working on an extension for manager Lou Piniella, who in his first two years as manager, has put a top of the line team on the field everyday. Not only has he worked with players Jason Marquis, Derrek Lee, Felix Pie, Geovany Soto, and many more, but his late game calling and solid staff has put the Cubs way over the top. Cubs President Crane Kenney told the Chicago Sun-Times that talks have been tabled till the offseason, but an extension is definitely in the works. 

The Sun-Times also says that Cubs GM Jim Hendry might also have an extension in the works. While he has traded away many of his best prospects, smart draft choices and good free agent signings has made this club one of the best, from top to bottom. Both are well deserving of extensions.

Some other players with the Cubs in need of extensions include: Mark DeRosa, Carlos Marmol, and Geovany Soto. 

Nationals Looking to Score Big?

According to the Washington Post, the Nationals plan to be very aggressive this offseason and will look to add a veteran pitcher as well as a power hitting player to help shape their lineup. The Washington Post believes the Nationals can take on a salary like Mark Teixeira or Adam Dunn, but they will need to convince him to take different amounts annually, so it fits into the Nationals payroll. One thing that could block the Nationals from landing a player like this is that both players are represented by Scott Boras and Boras is very big on annual salary. He is also known to shape his players contracts around the media opportunities in that city. Moving a prime time player like Teixeira in his prime to Washington isn't exactly a good idea. However, that doesn't mean the Nationals cannot land a big name player. The Nationals could package a deal together for Matt Holliday, or maybe Robinson Cano, to fill the void at second base. 

As for pitching, I have been informed that the Nationals have some interest in Mike Hampton, as well as Braden Looper. For the Nationals, there best chance of improving is moving through trades and mostly small signings. Making a trade for Kevin Millar, if the Orioles make a serious run for Kevin Millar, would desperately help their squad. Several teams have failed to sign veteran pitchers who actually produce, so I wouldn't recommend that. But going after Oliver Perez, or making a trade for a pitcher like Jason Marquis, could prove to be a good move for the team. 

Is B.J. Ryan Expendable?

Thus far in the 2008 MLB season, the Toronto Blue Jays have enjoyed having statistically the best bullpen in the American League and one of the best in baseball. One of the biggest surprises this season has been 27 year old rookie LHP Jesse Carlson, who has been the Jays most reliable reliever this season(6-1 record, 1.82 ERA, 52 K's, 22 BB's, 2 Saves, .195 Opponents Avg., 1.05 WHIP). He has a very deceptive delivery and can get righties out just as easily as lefties. He often K's righties with a good, hard sweeping curve that gets in on their hands. This gives the Jays 3 solid left-handed relievers in Carlson, Scott Downs and closer BJ Ryan. With Carlson's unexpected emergence, does this mean the Jays could potentially trade Ryan to fill in a gap in another position? It's hard to say because Carlson is just a rookie but he possesses a closer's mentality, strong composure, extreme confidence, above average repetoire, etc. And Ryan is currently in Year 3 of his 5 year, 47 million dollar deal. In his first year as a Jay, Ryan was nearly unhittable through most of the season but he was over-worked by then Jays manager John Gibbons, who would often have Ryan come in to get a 4 or 5 out Save. His 2nd year was wiped-out due to Tommy John Surgery and so far in his 3rd year, Ryan's been good but not great, which is to expected has he's a year and 4 months removed from having his Tommy John Surgery. The Jays could potentially trade Ryan to a team in need of a closer for a Shortstop plus Prospects. With Francisco Rodriguez being the most sought after Free Agent reliever, the Jays could dangle Ryan and see what offers come out of it.

Posted by Will M.

Giambi to Jays?

Several days ago, ex-Jay and current Jays broadcaster Rance Mulliniks said that Jason Giambi might be willing to sign with the Jays as the permanent DH and speculated that it might cost the Jays around 12-15 million dollars a season over a course of a 2-4 year contract. Giambi, who will be 38 by next season, is hitting .251 with 30 Home Runs and 92 RBI's. A signing like this would likely prove costly considering Giambi's age and declining production(his OBP has gone from a .440 in 2003 to a .377 in 2008 and his average has hit .270 once in the last 6 seasons). A cheaper option for the Jays may be to re-sign current back up outfielder Brad Wilkerson or re-sign current pinch hitter/spot starter Kevin Mench to an incentive laden deal with a base salary of around 750K. Both Mench and Wilkerson have shown they have Home Run pop in the past(Wilkerson has hit 20+ Homers 3 times in his career while Mench has done it twice before) but neither has been able to make quality or consistent contact over the last few seasons. Another cheap option would be to sign current Free Agent Richie Sexson to a 1 year incentive laden deal and have Jays hitting coach Gene Tenace work with him on his swing. One other option would be to use a rotating tendem between Left Field and DH using Adam Lind and Travis Snider. 

Posted by Will M.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Source: Sabathia Likes Dodgers

According to a source close to C.C. Sabathia, Sabathia has enjoyed playing in the National League over the past couple of months and would like to stay in the NL in the future. He is hitting well for a pitcher and is pitching himself into the Cy Young race. The Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, and Cardinals are four of many teams expected to make a play for Sabathia, but the source has informed me that he prefers the Dodgers. He would be moving close to home while staying in the National League, two things he would like to do.

However, owner Frank McCourt has spent a lot of money on a lot of players who have been unsuccessful, so he may be hesitant to take a chance on Sabathia, especially with Manny Ramirez eligible for free agency.

Red Sox Sign Epstein: The Red Sox have agreed to a contract extension with General Manager Theo Epstein. Theo Epstein is one of the best GMs in baseball, having won two World Series for the Red Sox. He has made great draft picks, as well as great trades, along with free agent signings, if necessary. Epstein is young, and is still learning about the game he has nearly mastered. His assistants, Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, will likely be GMs elsewhere in the near future.

BREAKING NEWS: Ricketts Wins Cubs Bid

According to the Biz of Baseball, Thomas Ricketts has won the bidding for the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and 25 % of Comcast Sports Chicago. The deal is expected to be announced two days following the World Series, once 3/4 owners approve the sale. The Biz of Baseball also has a piece on the debt structure of the Cubs' offer that will lead the next owner to have to making major cuts to the player payroll. With the Cubs trading away several prospects to win this year, this could be the beginning of the end for the Cubs if they are unable to spend money to land big time free agents.

The consensus among Cubs fans for the next owner was Mark Cuban, but Ricketts is from Chicago and plans to be a big part of the Cubs future.

Quick Hits

Quick Hits:

Rodriguez Negotiating Through Media: Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez is playing hard to get with the Angels through the media. It is obvious that Rodriguez is going to get 12-15 million dollars, but where. The Angels would love to have him, but they could easily make a play for Brian Fuentes and be fine. My money is on the Angels landing him, but it is hard to see at this point.

BoSox Favorties For Tazawa: The Red Sox are currently the favorites to land Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa. Not a surprise, the Red Sox are the leaders in Pacific Rim signings.

Braves after Holliday?: The Boston Globe picked up on my piece about the Braves and Matt Holliday. Check it out. (scroll down).

Mariners like Ibanez: The Mariners would like to keep Raul Ibanez, but it is likely he will look elsewhere. However, not too many teams are going to want to surrender two draft picks for him.

Target Field, Home of the Twins: Target Corp. won the naming rights to Twins Field, set to open in 2010. Target Field! Sounds okay...

Happy Birthday Mom!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Brewers Fire Yost

The Brewers announced today that they have fired manager Ned Yost and are replacing him with Dave Sveum, the Brewers third base coach. This comes just one day after being swept by the Phillies and losing seven of the last eight.

They are currently 7.5 games out of the division and tied for the wild card.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Carlos Zambrano Throws No-Hitter

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has thrown the first Cubs no-hitter since Milt Pappas did it in 1972. He has been gone for the past tweleve days with shoulder discomfort, and proved everyone wrong today when he dominated the Astros at Miller Park to lead the Cubs to a 5-0 victory. 

The Brewers lost today, so the Cubs are now 7.0 games ahead in the division. 

Quick Hits: Dunn, Sheets, Spilborghs, Red Sox

Quick Hits...extended:
  • Dayton Daily News writer Hal McCroy talked with Adam Dunn about his impending free agency. Dunn told McCroy that he has not spoke with the Diamondbacks, and isn't worried about it. Dunn will make a lot of money wherever he goes, so he shouldn't be worried. I spoke with Josh Byrnes recently and he studies every potential signing before he even arranges a meeting. Signing Dunn is a big investment. While you are adding a lot of power, he brings no average to the table and knocks someone out of a starting job. The Diamondbacks have money to spend, but they are more likely to invest in an infielder and an OBP top of the order hitter before they spend the big bucks.
  • Brewers starter Ben Sheets will likely leave the Brewers, especially if the Brewers don't make the playoffs. A source has informed me that the Brewers will try very hard to sign CC Sabathia and are willing to offer him upwards of 130 million dollars. While I think there is a great chance the Brewers will sign Sabathia, it is very possible that Sabathia will sign for 150 million dollars with the Yankees, and Sheets will be too far along in negotiations with another team to turn back. Doug Melvin has a busy offseason ahead of him.
  • The Rockies are looking to land a number one starter. They have set their sights on a low top tier pitcher in Ben Sheets, in hopes that he will stay healthy and lead this rotation back to the playoffs. However, it doesn't stop there. Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd and Cubs GM Jim Hendry have had talks all season long about a trade involving Ryan Spilborghs. The Cubs are looking for depth in the outfield and the Rockies are looking for pitching depth, a trade that could line up well this offseason. Cubs manager Lou Piniella does not like Jason Marquis, despite the above average year he is having. He is entering a contract year and could be up for a big year. The Cubs could take Marquis and trade him to the Rockies for Spilborghs. Marquis would give them a lot of ground balls while Spilborghs would give the Cubs more depth. It would also clear up money for the Cubs to resign Dempster.
  • The Red Sox are eying a young catcher and have set their sights on Jeff Clement of the Mariners and Jarrod Saltalamachhia of the Rangers. Trading for Saltalamachhia would probably cost them Michael Bowden, but they might be able to trade Justin Masterson and a low level prospect. Either way, it is a win-win for both teams. 

Cashman Should Leave

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is one of the best GMs in baseball. He has gone out and gotten good players, both through trade and signings, and has built up one of the best minor league systems in the league. Move away from the money, from the power of the Steinbrenner's, Cashman is genius when it comes to building a club. With his contract up this year, it is time for Cashman to move on to a different gig where he can comfortably work with a boss that does not interfere with day to day duties and the media. Steinbrenner recently hinted to forming an advisory group, suggesting that Cashman cannot handle the job on his own. 

I would not recommend Cashman going from the Yankees to the Mariners, but several big market clubs could have openings this season. The Phillies are already known to have one, and it is very possible they would move in on Cashman. The Phillies would probably lose GM - to - be Ruben Amaro Jr. by signing Cashman, but bringing in Cashman would help restock the farm system and turn the Phillies into a contender. The Cubs, whose impending sale could change GMs, could move in and make a play for Cashman. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has expressed his discontent with Ned Colletti and could fire him to reunite his manager with his former GM.

As for the Yankees, they have two well qualified assistants ready to take over. Jean Afterman, his assistant, and Damon Oppenheimer, Director of Scouting, who is known for his solid drafting decisions.

Is Frank Thomas Done?

Oakland Athletics DH Frank Thomas learned that his quadriceps injury is not as bad as previously thought, meaning that he could play again in 2009. However, he hit .240 with just 8 HR in 71 games this season. Thomas will be 41 next season and is no longer the force that he was. He has trouble taking the ball the other way and saw a major drop off in his OBP. The Athletics have several prospects ready, so they won't need him, and the Blue Jays are looking to better players, so they won't spend their money on him. 

Frank Thomas is currently 18th on the All-Time Homerun List, and it is very possible that his Hall of Fame career has come to an end.