Friday, October 31, 2008

2009 Top 50 Free Agents Predictions: 1-10

The 2009 Free Agent Projections are back! This is one of my favorite features on the site and I hope all you guy will share your opinions in the comments as well! Here we go:

1. Mark Teixeira, Angels
- After Tex, the first base market falls very fast. Teixeira combines a good work ethic with a powerful swing and great instincts. He is young, but experienced, and would help any team he is on. His price will likely rise because of the demand.

Prediction: Angels

2. CC Sabathia, Brewers
- Sabathia's year in Cleveland couldn't get any worse, and the trade to Milwaukee brought his value back up to Johan Santana money. While teams are hesitant to give him the big bucks because of his weight, the Yankees, among others, have added him to their list of targets.

Prediction: Yankees

3. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers
- Manny Ramirez had an unbelievable season for the Dodgers and carried them to the NLCS. The fans adored him, the team loved him, and the city has become inundated with Manny gear. However, the Dodgers are low on funds, and may look to sign Furcal and Lowe instead.

Prediction: Phillies

4. A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays
- Burnett is expected to opt out of his contract and likely take a mega contract elsewhere. The Red Sox, Orioles, and Cardinals are interested, so Burnett will have several options. 

Prediction: Blue Jays

5. Derek Lowe, Dodgers
- Lowe is also expected to be a hot commodity, and will likely cash in if he waits for some of the better pitchers to sign. He is experienced, has playoff success, and is a great clubhouse guy.

Prediction: Braves

6. Adam Dunn, Diamondbacks
- Dunn is one of the more underrated outfielders on the market. Yes, he does not hit for average. But he hits for tremendous power and draws a lot of walks. He will be a solid signing for any team.

Prediction: Nationals

7. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels
- Rodriguez will likely be let go after a drop in velocity and an increase in speed on the changeup. He is young, and could get better, but giving a long term deal is risky. The Tigers and Mets are both expected to be interested, but they both have big contracts that complicate the situation. It should be interesting.

Prediction: Indians

8. Pat Burrell, Phillies
- Burrell is coming off one of the best years in his career, not to mention winning a World Series. The Phillies are not that enthused about signing Burrell, so will likely make a take it-or leave it offer and let him sign elsewhere. You would think Burrell would try and go up from the Phillies, but he may sign with a team like the Royals and try to do what the Rays did somewhere down the road. 

Prediction: Royals

9. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers
- Furcal has given the Dodgers a couple solid years, but has been injured through a couple and may feel that he owes them. He could take a one year deal to prove to teams he can play healthy.

Prediction: Dodgers

10. Ryan Dempster, Cubs
- Dempster had the best year of his career in a year in the most important year of his career. He was coming off a bad year as a closer and fans were already sick of him. Dempster loves Chicago and said he wants to stay, and Cubs officials feel the same way.

Prediction: Cubs

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cardinals To Pursue Renteria?

The Cardinals struggled up the middle this season and will look to improve there for 2009. The Tigers let Edgar Renteria walk and the Cardinals may pursue their former shortstop. Renteria hit very well in 2007, and some believe that clubhouse problems in 2008 affected his numbers. He would probably cost the Cardinals 8-9 million dollars, which is very affordable considering they are only targeting one other player (Brian Fuentes) through free agency.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Olsen to Rangers?

The Rangers are looking for young pitchers to add to their rotation, and may target Marlins lefty Scott Olsen. The Rangers have their pitchers on an intense conditioning program, and adding Olsen early can get him on that program. The Rangers have some solid young prospects that they could put in a trade and not miss, and that is expected to happen. The Rangers could look to add either Kevin Gregg or Josh Willingham in the deal, as insurance in case they lose Bradley. Olsen went 8-11 with a 4.20 ERA in thirty-three games this season and is 31-37 over the course of his career.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cordero Rejects Assignment, Becomes Free Agent

Washington Nationals closer Chad Cordero rejected an assignment to Triple-A, making him a free agent, the Associate Press reports. Cordero has put up several great seasons, including two seasons with over 35 saves, and will probably get a nice contract. The Angels could pursue Cordero, who is from California, as well as the Cardinals, Brewers, and Dodgers.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Maddux Heading To Texas?

Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux is set to be a free agent tomorrow and is expect to be a hot target. Maddux has established himself as one of the best pitching coaches in the game, and it is obvious by his handling of pitcher CC Sabathia, as well as young pitcher Manny Parra. The Rangers are very interested in Maddux and hope he will sign soon after his contract expires. It is possible the Brewers will try to bring him back, but only if Macha does not have a candidate he thinks is better.

One possible option for Macha is to bring in Leo Mazzone, who worked with Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz during their days with the Braves. Signing him could lead to one of those veteran pitchers coming to finish their career with him. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mulder to Reds?

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, former Cardinals GM and current Reds GM Walt Jocketty may pursue free agent pitcher Mark Mulder, who he traded for when he was the Cardinals GM. Jocketty confesses to liking the pitcher despite his struggles to stay healthy, and plans to review his records before deciding whether or not to make a move. The Reds are also expected to pursue a right handed bat, and may look to Josh Willingham of the Marlins.

Mulder has reportedly said that San Diego is on his list, but it is getting to that point in his career where he will have to take whatever he can get.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Yankees Targeting Ramirez

According to the New York Post, the Yankees may target outfielder Manny Ramirez despite saying they would like to get younger and more athletic. GM Brian Cashman said the top priority is starting pitching, but he didn't rule out going after a corner outfielder. The Yankees plan to target CC Sabathia and Derek Lowe, but plan to talk with other pitchers like Ryan Dempster if the Yankees miss out on their top targets.

They will likely let Bobby Abreu walk, so that opens up a lot of money to spend elsewhere. Signing Ramirez is a huge risk, but it would do wonders for marketing and jersey sales, and may be worth a two or three year deal. The Yankees would be smart to invest in someone young, perhaps Jeremy Hermida, to than waste money on someone like Ramirez.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Brewers Hire Macha

The Brewers made an official announcement today hiring ex-manager Ken Macha. Macha, who last managed the Oakland Athletics, will take over for at least the next two years. Macha received endorsements from Terry Francona and Joe Maddon, praising him for his work ethic and baseball instincts. If you don't remember, I reported this last week citing an NL executive - click here to see that post.

The Brewers are in great shape to be a contender in the years to come, but they need to pursue Sabathia and/or another pitcher.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Marlins Trade Jacobs

According to FOXSports.com, the Marlins traded Mike Jacobs to the Royals for relief pitcher Leo Nunez.

More details soon...

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Phillies Win World Series!!

The Phillies have won the World Series, defeating the Rays 4-3. Pedro Feliz drove in the game winning run in the seventh inning. What a great way to cap off the 2008 campaign!

Cole Hamels will win the World Series MVP Award.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Angels Plan To Be Aggressive

Angels executives are exploring every avenue this offseason to make their team better. These plans currently depend on Mark Teixeira and Francisco Rodriguez, but the Angels will be make moves this season. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Angels may turn to White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko in hopes of pulling off a deal involving Chone Figgins. Figgins is younger and has more to offer a team than Konerko, so there would probably have to be prospects involved, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility. The Angels will also inquire about starting pitcher CC Sabathia, who would put the Angels over the top. The Angels have a lot of money to spend this offseason, but will hesitate taking on big contracts or dumping young players like Figgins.

One thing to worry about is disrupting player chemistry. Pushing veteran Garrett Anderson out in the last year of his contract was hard to see, and bringing in two or three free agents may disrupt the peace in the clubhouse. GM Tony Reagins is very smart and will likely make some small additions to help the farm system or bench, while possibly putting some money out on the market to either bring back a couple players, or go out and find new ones. They should be very busy.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Where Will Martinez Go?

According to MLB.com's Marty Noble, the Mets will likely let Pedro Martinez walk now that his four year contract has expired. Martinez was 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 games this season, but lost stamina and velocity on his fastball. I think Martinez will look to play, but it would have to be an incentive laden deal because shoulder problems could come back again. As for teams that could be interested, the Indians could take a chance on him in hopes that he has success similar to what Paul Byrd had for the Indians in 2007 and 2008. The Orioles pursued him nearly ten years ago and could take a chance, but that is probably unlikely.

If Martinez is willing to take a huge pay cut, several more teams will probably give him a shot. Otherwise, his career might be over.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

White Sox Sign Nix

According to the Denver Post, the White Sox have signed second baseman Jayson Nix. Nix, who hit .125 in 22 games for the Rockies, was given the opening day nod after a strong winter. However, he just could not hold on and ended up putting together a pretty good year at Triple-A. This is a great signing by the White Sox who view Nix as a fall back if they miss out on their first targets at second base. Either way, he makes for a solid back up.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Angels Pick Up Guerrero, Lackey

The Angels extended both Vlad Guerrero and John Lackey. Guerrero will make 15 million next season while Lackey will make 9 million. Guerrero, 32, hit .303 with 27 HR while Lackey was 12-5 with a 3.75 ERA.

More details soon...

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Garland to Indians?

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians are looking for a number three starter. The While the Indians have a couple young starters with potential behind Lee and Carmona, they would like to add an established pitcher who can put up double-digit wins. With that said, Jon Garland could be their guy. While he might return to the Angels, Garland may like Cleveland considering he pitched in Chicago for several seasons, and is very familiar with the division. He is just twenty-nine years old and could be on the verge of peaking. Garland made twelve million in 2008, and is probably looking at that or a little more in 2009. I'd say a three year deal worth somewhere between 30-36 million dollars would get it done.

Other pitchers they could pursue include Braden Looper, Jamie Moyer, and Randy Wolf.

From Buster Olney: The Indians and Royals "are not" talking about a deal involving Mark Teahen.  

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Dunn to Cubs?

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs could pursue left handed power hitter Adam Dunn. Dunn, who has hit at least forty homeruns in the past four seasons, would make the Cubs a lot better. Although he strikes out a lot, he draws a lot of walks and would fill in nicely in the four spot, not to mention take over in right field as well. While Dunn is looking for a long term mega deal, the Cubs might be able to draw him in for a two year deal worth about 14-16 million dollars annually. This would allow them to give more time to Felix Pie and Kosuke Fukudome, as well as move Ramirez to the three spot and Lee to the five spot. Dunn is a career .286 hitting in 60 games at Wrigley Field, so he could be in for a big year if he did sign with the Cubs.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mets Looking For Closer?

The Mets are reportedly hoping to trade a couple of prospects for a closer like Huston Street or JJ Putz. According to Newsday, the Mets would like to spend their money elsewhere and have no problem unloading a couple of prospects for a legitimate closer. Among other closers, George Sherrill or Joakim Soria could fill in long term and save the team a lot of money. If the Mets would prefer to trade a low level prospect or two, they could target Marlins closer Kevin Gregg. If you don't remember, the Mets and Marlins worked together a couple years back in several to pull several trades, so they should be very familiar with their farm system.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Possible Matt Holliday Destinations

Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd said the Rockies will try to trade Matt Holliday while his value is high. Holliday is set make 13.5 million dollars next season, but will be in a contract year. Boras will definitely send him to the open market, so any team that trades for him will not be forced to give up several top prospects. Furthermore, any team that trades for him would probably ask for exclusive negotiating rights to lock him up long term. Holliday is turning into a solid hitter who can hit for average and power. While he will likely stay in the 25-35 homerun range, he is a good fielder with great speed, so he is fairly valuable. A deal similar to Carlos Beltran's (7/119) would probably get it done. So 17-18 million dollars annually would probably get the job done. Here are a couple teams that may look to trade for him:

Cardinals: The Cardinals are looking for a corner outfielder and could trade for the left fielder. They have a couple solid prospects they could package a deal around, as well as the money to lock him up. Imagine Holliday-Pujols-Ludwick in the 3-4-5 spot.

Phillies: If the Phillies lose Pat Burrell, expect them to be all over the Matt Holliday talks. They have solid prospects and would benefit from Holliday in their lineup. However, Burrell is a clubhouse leader and they might not want to bring on two uncertain contracts (Howard). 

Mets: If the Mets are that desperate, they could go out and trade for Matt Holliay. It would probably cost them John Niese or Fernando Martinez, but it would make them a lot better. They will probably talk with the Rockies, but nothing more than that. They have too many big contracts right now.

Braves: The Braves say they won't trade their top prospects for Peavy, but would they do it for Holliday? Not likely. However, if the Braves could package some low level prospects with someone like Jeff Francoeur or Kelly Johnson, maybe a deal would get done.

Orioles: The Orioles are shopping some of their players around and could target the Rockies to make a big time trade. Dangling George Sherrill and Brian Roberts for Holliday, a prospect, and cash would be a deal that would greatly help both teams.

Yankees: If the Yankees are willing to trade Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy, they could package a small deal for Holliday. I'm sure they will look into it, but they would like to spend their money elsewhere this year.

Twins: The Twins have one of the best minor league systems in baseball and could afford to make a trade for a power hitter like Holliday. Signing Holliday long term, especially with their new stadium, would put them back on top in that division, especially if their young pitchers keep improving.

The Rockies seemed determine to trade Holliday, so expect this to be the "Winter Meetings Trade" of 2008.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Red Sox To Trade Lowell?

The Red Sox would like to pursue a power hitting corner infielder and will look to trade struggling veteran Mike Lowell. Lowell hit .274 with 17 HR in 113 games, a year after hitting .324. The Indians, Twins, Tigers, and Dodgers are all in the market for a third baseman, and would likely be willing to make a trade if the the Red Sox picked up most of the salary. Lowell has a solid year or two left, so he could be a solid pick up, especially if you do not have to give up too much.

Another possible landing spot is the Diamondbacks, who may move Mark Reynolds to second base. The Red Sox would be able to land Miguel Montero in that deal, who could take over at catcher or third in 2009 if needed.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Red Sox Looking For Young Catcher

The Red Sox will explore the market for a young catcher this offseason, in hopes of finding someone who can take over by 2011 or 2012 full time. The Red Sox could trade one of their better pitching prospects for someone like Jeff Clement, who could take over full time as soon as 2010. 

John Perrotto suspects the Red Sox will give Jason Varitek a two year deal, but I think they would be smart to trade for someone like Miguel Montero, who has a strong swing that could improve him numbers if he played in Fenway Park. Platooning Varitek and Montero would make for a solid tandem, especially if Montero finally breaks out at the plate. He has handled three aces very well (Haren, Webb, and Johnson) this season and is likely up for the challenge.

Other options include Kelly Shoppach, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Ryan Doumit.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Jacobs to Royals?

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Marlins and Royals were a player away from trading Mike Jacobs for a package of prospects. However, it is believed the Marlins and Royals are working out a new deal, and it could be announced sometime within the next two weeks. The Marlins reportedly plan to increase their payroll to 30-35 million dollars; however, some industry sources believe it might be a ploy to make some of their players up for arbitration more desirable. Dan Uggla is being pursued by several teams but the Marlins asking price is reportedly too high. If the Marlins can trade Hermida, Jacobs, Olsen, and Gregg, they should still be in good shape for a legitimate run at the postseason. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Source: Brewers To Pick Macha

According to one NL executive, the Brewers will pick Ken Macha as their new manager. The Brewers were reportedly down to three canidates - Ken Macha, Bob Brenly, and Willie Randolph - but have decided internally to go with Macha. Bob Brenly has been out of managing for some time, but many believe he would be a great manager given a second chance. As for Randolph, he would probably do well with a second chance, but was not very good with the media and some of his players.

While Macha is not the best with the media, he is an experienced veteran and knows who the best available coaches are, so he will surround himself with good people. An official announcement is expected to come sometime in the days following the World Series.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Heyman: Cubs, Abreu Match Up?

SI.com's Jon Heyman believes the Cubs and Bobby Abreu are a perfect match. Abreu is thirty-four and is probably looking for at least a three year deal worth 12-14 million dollars annually. Abreu combines a solid batting average, above average speed, and solid power that would put the Cubs in a great spot for 2009. Abreu has hit .300 in the three spot over the course of his career (1000+ games) and is not prone to grounding into a lot of double plays. Putting him in right and moving Fukudome to center to platoon with Johnson and Pie would give the Cubs not just a solid lefty, but a reason to move Derek Lee down to the five spot, which would give the Cubs one of the deepest lineups in the league. The Cubs are reportedly considering a run at Brian Roberts, which would push Mark DeRosa to right field. Other than that, Raul Ibanez is also believed to be on their radar.

The Cubs need to sign Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood first, and that could cost as much as 20-23 million dollars. Adding 35 million dollars in payroll while they are in the process of finding a new owner may not be in the cards this off season - they might just need to make trades.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Source: Red Sox Won't Re-Sign Schilling

According to a source with knowledge of the Red Sox offseason plans, the Red Sox do not plan to re-sign pitcher Curt Schilling, who is reportedly looking to return in June or July and finish off the season with the contender. Schilling recently made comments about Manny Ramirez not trying in Boston, and that has annoyed several Red Sox executives. Schilling also complained that he could have pitched in the playoffs if the Red Sox gave him the go ahead for surgery sooner. 

Schilling has put together an unbelievable career, going 4-1 with 2.06 ERA in the World Series and putting 216 wins over the course of twenty-years with the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox. If he has got the Hall of Fame on his mind, he would be smart to retire and ride off on a somewhat good terms.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blue Jays Offseason Update

Talks with Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett are ongoing, but it is believed that the Blue Jays are preparing a "take it or leave it" worth 14-16 million dollars annually. However, industry sources believe that if Burnett holds out until Sabathia is signed, he could earn up to 18, maybe 19 million dollars. The Jays would like to add about fifteen million dollars in payroll, but would also like to add a power hitter to help at DH. 

If the Blue Jays up their offer to 16-17 million dollars annually, they could take on a short term contract (2-3 years) in Raul Ibanez. While Ibanez is a question mark, he would give them a solid DH/outfielder who can rotated around if Snider appears ready early on in 2009. Signing both Burnett and Ibanez would probably push their payroll to about 110-112 million dollars, it will be the only way Ricciardi will be around come 2010. 

One reporter I spoke with thinks the Blue Jays could trade Alex Rios for a starter like Matt Cain, which would clear up some cash, and then sign a starter (preferably Burnett), as well as an outfielder. While the reporter was just speculating, the Jays would be smart to listen to offers. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Orioles, Markakis Talking Extension

According to MASN Online, the Orioles and Nick Markakis have had preliminary discussions about a contract extension. It is believed that the discussion was merely to make sure that there is mutual interest in getting an extension done. While Markakis and his agent will talk with the Orioles, there is really no pressure on Markakis to get a deal done. He has three years of arbitration and will be twenty-five next month, so he can wait to cash in next season. However, I spoke with an Orioles executive who said they view Markakis as a guy to build a team around, and would like to sign him as soon as possible.

With that said, it is likely that the Orioles will offer a deal that covers his arbitration years, plus two or three years more. Based on players similar to Markakis who have received long term contracts, I'd say a six year deal worth about 11-13 million dollars annually will get it done. Markakis has a lot of room to grow, and it can be seen by his increased patience at the plate as well as an increase in on base percentage. Orioles President Andy McPhail has a history of including options and performance bonuses, so expect any deal to be loaded with incentives. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ned Yost to Mariners?

With former Brewers executive Jack Zduriencik as the Mariners GM, it is possible he would bring Ned Yost in to be the Mariners manager. Obviously everyone that get passes up for the Brewers gig will be considered for the Mariners, but expect Buck Showalter and several others to be considered.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mets Targeting Lowe?

The Mets are targeting a reliable innings eater and have set their sights on veteran pitcher Derek Lowe. Lowe is probably looking for a four year deal and a team like the Mets will give it to him. He will help some of the younger Mets pitchers as well as the whole team when they hit the final stretch. The Red Sox and Yankees are expected to pursue him so he could get pricey.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quick Hits

Quick Hits:
  • The Rockies are interested in bringing on Willie Randolph as a bench coach, according to the NY Daily News. Randolph would work alongside Clint Hurdle, who might be let go next season if the team does not get moving. Bringing in Randolph and letting him familiarize himself with the team would make for an easy transition if Hurdle was relieved of his duties. The Brewers and Nationals are also talking with him.
  • The Mariners are expected to let outfielder Raul Ibanez walk, despite coming off a great year. Ibanez is a Type-A free agent, so expect the Mariners to offer him arbitration. The Mariners are in rebuilding mode so it doesn't make much sense to sign a thirty-six year old. The Cubs and Pirates, among others, are interested.
  • Expect the Brewers to aggressively pursue CC Sabathia. Without him, they have two young pitchers and two fading veterans, so they need a big time pitcher to compete. It is possible they would shop Prince Fielder or JJ Hardy in hopes of landing a young Red Sox pitcher, perhaps Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden. On the market, they could go after Jon Garland, Ryan Dempster, or maybe even Derek Lowe. 
  • Sources I have spoke with have heard that several teams are pursuing Jeremy Hermida, and the Pirates and Giants are right at the top. Several teams are pursuing the outfielder, who is eligible for arbitration this year. He and Dan Uggla are most likely to be traded this offseason.
This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Will The Mariners Trade Beltre?

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has a decision to make: Trade Adrian Beltre entering his walk year or offer him an extension, protecting themselves from having to overpay him after he puts together a solid year. While there are arguments for both case, the Mariners would be smart to move him for prospects and start the rebuilding phase with extra money and a .260 power hitter out of their lineup. The Giants, Diamondbacks, and Brewers are all possibilities for Beltre, who has one year and twelve million dollars remaining on his salary. A team like the Brewers could take a chance on him because not only will he be better than Bill Hall, but his numbers should improve entering a contract year. 

The Mariners will be busy this offseason, and it starts with building up their farm system, finding an outfielder, and a legitimate first baseman. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Yankees Waiting On Brewers?

The Yankees are reportedly interested in Brewers outfielder Mike Cameron, who is currently waiting to see whether or not the Brewers pick up his 10 million dollar option. According to the NY Post citing industry sources, the Yankees are waiting to see if the Brewers pick up his option because they think he is an upgrade over Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera. Damon had a solid for the Yankees, and is a lefty, so it is possible they would trade him and pursue a better option, or platoon between Gardner and Cabrera. The Cubs and Mariners are possible destinations for Damon.

The Yankees are reportedly targeting Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and Derek Lowe, so adding Mike Cameron will only increase their payroll. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Cardinals Eying Shortstop?

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are pursuing a shortstop and have set their sights on Rafael Furcal or Khalil Greene. The Cardinals have the money to spend, so they could look to offer Furcal a solid base salary, with good incentives if he can stay healthy. The Cardinals would like to pursue a power bat for their lineup, and might pursue Matt Holliday or Garrett Atkins if they become available. 

If the Cardinals are determined to make a trade, they could pursue second baseman Brian Roberts of the Orioles. They do not have unbelievable prospects, but a good package would get a deal done.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Quick Hits

Quick Hits:
  • There is some speculation among rival executives that the Cubs may shop Derek Lee and pursue lefty power hitter Mark Teixeira. While that seems unlikely because Lee has a full no-trade clause, it is very possible they pursue lefty right fielder Bobby Abreu. More likely options include Brian Roberts and Raul Ibanez. 
  • Several sports writers and executives believe that the Braves and Padres are closing in on a Jake Peavy trade. The Padres are expected to land Kelly Johnson to help fill the void at second base. Other players include Jordan Schafer and Tommy Hanson. 
  • Instead of putting money into a free agent market, the Red Sox are expected to monitor the Matt Holliday situation. The Red Sox appear willing to trade Clay Buchholz, so a big trade is expected. They are also expected to pursue Brad Penny, who will likely be let go by the Dodgers.
  • The Brewers' interviews are expected to take place next week, with Willie Randolph, Bob Brenly, and Ken Macha all getting interviews.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Blue Jays Hope To Sign Burnett, Outfielder

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays have made it priority number one to sign A.J. Burnett, then plan to gauge the market value of outfielder Manny Ramirez, who is reportedly seeking a six year deal. "It would really be a long shot for us to bring him to Toronto. He's on our radar, but maybe not on our radar like some people will report," GM J.P. Ricciardi said. The Jays have a lot of young pitching in the rotation and a year or two away, so they can afford to pay Burnett and then focus in on their outfield and shortstop spot. 

If the Blue Jays are set on pursuing a top of the line outfielder, they could go after Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu. Another option is Raul Ibanez, but signing him would cost them two prospects.  

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mariners Hire Zduriencik

The Mariners announced today that they are hiring former Brewers assistant Jack Zduriencik as their new general manager. "Seattle is an outstanding organization with great fans, a great ballpark and an ownership group committed to the goal of bringing a World Series to the Northwest," said Zduriencik, "I believe that working together, we can make the Mariners a model franchise. I am looking forward to getting to work immediately, and developing a plan to reach our goal." Zduriencik is one of the most respected executives in baseball and should help the Mariners make strong drafting decisions, as well as bringing in solid players to help the Mariners win.

One move that is expected is to trade Jarrod Washburn, as well as acquire a corner infielder and outfielder. They have a busy offseason ahead of them.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cain to Twins?

According to Chris Haft, the Twins are very interested in Giants pitcher Matt Cain and would be willing to trade Delmon Young for him. While the Giants would not simply do a one-for-one trade, it would definitely be interesting if the Twins tossed in a solid prospect. Young failed to find his power this season, but a switch to the NL might help that. Not only that, but scouts believe Young may be on the verge of stardom. 

Including someone like Tyler Robertson and another prospect would definitely make that deal happen. 

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Prior to Astros?

According to Buster Olney, Padres pitcher Mark Prior will be ready for the start of the 2009 season. Not only that, but he is expected to explore the market. Prior reportedly feels good, but how many times has he said that since he first got hurt back in 2005. The Astros were very interested in Prior last year and may jump in on him now that he is "healthy." Prior, 28, has the make up of an ace, and if he can give any team fifteen starts, it will be a success. The Astros, who have decent pitching but would benefit from Prior, may make a move on him hoping that he is healthy.

It is worth a shot.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Mets "Very Serious" About Rodriguez

According to ESPN 1050 in New York, an executive with knowledge of the Mets' plans says the Mets will aggressively pursue closer Francisco Rodriguez. While the Mets may not be willing to give Rodriguez the five year deal he is looking for, it is believed they would be willing to give him a four year deal worth 60 million dollars. This way, the Mets could pay him somewhere between 10-12 million in 2009 (mostly because of Billy Wagner), and then increase his salary over time to net him 17 or 18 million dollars by the time his contract is done. 

Rodriguez is the top closer on the market and is expected to have a list of at least fifteen teams calling for his services.

This story was approved by MLB Rumors.

Reds Make Offers To Weathers, Hairston

Reds GM Walt Jocketty confirmed today that the Reds have made offers to both Dave Weathers and Jerry Hairston Jr. Weathers is likely looking at two year deal with an option for a third while Hairston is looking at a one year deal. Weathers, who was 4-6 with a 3.25 ERA in 72 games this season, said he was much more comfortable in a late inning role, rather than a closing role. Hairston hit .326 with 6 HR in 80 games this season, but is still looking at a one year deal, maybe with a couple performance based options. 

The Reds are expected to be some what aggressive in the offseason, going after a middle infielder, outfielder, and some bullpen help. It is possible the Reds would pursue Juan Pierre for their center field spot, but only if they have to give up very little and pay Pierre 1/3 of his contract, which is probably unlikely. Bobby Abreu is an option on the market while a middle infielder via trade could be Luis Castillo. 

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Tigers to Pursue Cruz?

According to one AL executive, the Tigers plan to pursue free agent reliever Juan Cruz, hoping he can take over in a late inning relief role. Cruz was 4-0 with a 2.62 ERA for the Diamondbacks in 57 games this season, so he should be one of the more sought after free agents on the market. Not only that, but he has put together two solid years together, elevating his stats both years, which could suggest he is entering his prime.

I spoke with someone close to to Dave Dombrowski who expressed Dombrowski's desire to land a reliever, which suggests he will aggressively pursue someone relatively cheap like Cruz. While Cruz is not likely a closer, he would make for a great seventh or eighth inning guy. The Twins and Cardinals are also believed to be interested. 

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Cardinals Buyout Mulder

The Cardinals have decided to buyout pitcher Mark Mulder instead of paying him eleven million dollars. Mulder, despite putting up 16 wins for the Cardinals in 2005, has only pitched in six games over the past two seasons. While the Cardinals do like the idea of having a veteran lefty in their rotation, they feel they would be better off investing in players that are not health risks. The Cardinals lost Dan Haren, who the Athletics later traded for top prospects such as Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez, among others. I'd say the Athletics got the better half.

As for teams that could pursue Mulder, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Athletics make a play. He will be cheap, and does have some upside to return. Another option is the Cubs, who have had success rehabbing free agents such as Ryan Dempster. It would also set up a reunion between Mulder and Hudson. Other possibilities include the Red Sox, Mets, Indians, and Rangers. 

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Randolph, Brenly Leading For Brewers Job

According to the NY Daily News, there is mutual interest between the Brewers and Willie Randolph about their managing position. While Randolph is drawing interest from the Nationals and Yankees, I'm sure managing a team like the Brewers would entice him. Randolph lead the Mets to an NL East title in 2006, but fell short in 2007 and failed to get the team going in 2008. The media was on him a lot in New York, so he might fair better in Milwaukee where the media isn't as intense. Another candidate, Bob Brenly, is currently the Cubs' broadcaster. He is very familiar with the Brewers' make up and the media loves him, as well as the whole NL Central. The media is also a big fan of Brenly, who he knows well from working with them in Chicago.

Other candidates include Ken Macha and Buck Showalter.

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A's Chavez Wants Giambi

Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez is hoping that the A's will here his call and pursue power hitter Jason Giambi. Aside from Giambi being a power hitter and a force in the lineup, he is supposedly a great clubhouse guy who is open to working with young players. Giambi hit .247 with 32 HR in 145 games this season, but might be out of their price range a little bit. Although Giambi was injured last year, his numbers are pretty similar over the past three seasons. Giambi probably has a couple good seasons left, at least better than Jack Cust, but he won't ever return to 2002 form. 

Giambi, who is going to be thirty-eight in January, will probably get a two year deal, loaded with performance bonuses. 

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Springer to Cubs?

Cardinals relief pitcher Russ Springer would like to pitch next year, but it is unclear whether or not the Cardinals want him back. He went 2-1 with a 2.32 ERA in 70 games this season and hasn't shown too many signs of slowing down. If the Cardinals pass on Springer, expect the Cubs to move in on him. The Cubs love to take chances on inexpensive veterans, especially guys that are familiar with the division (Springer has been in the NL Central since 2003). Jason Marquis, Jim Edmonds, and Ryan Dempster are all examples of the Cubs pulling guys away from rival teams in the division and using them to not just help win, but help scout. 

The Cubs are also expected to inquire about Juan Cruz, as well as a starter, perhaps Nate Robertson, who they have scouted before.

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Brewers Pursuing Peavy?

Would the Brewers trade for two of the best pitchers in less than six months? According to the Boston Globe, the Brewers may make a run at Peavy hoping that he will take charge of their rotation. The Brewers could package a deal involving JJ Hardy and Manny Parra, along with prospect Cole Gillespie, Jeremy Jeffress, and someone like Mitch Stetter to help the bullpen and maybe even the rotation. Adding Peavy's relatively inexpensive salary while dumping Sheets' could potential open up the scenario of Jake Peavy and CC Sabathia pitching on the same team. 

Unloading Sheets, Gagne, Hardy (in trade), and possibly Weeks clears up some money that would go to arbitration for a serious run at Sabathia. What I expect the Brewers to do is look to a five year deal around 100 million dollars, hoping that they can reel him in with the annual salary instead of the total payout. The Brewers could work his annual salary into their payroll so by the end of his contract, the Brewers could pay him 27 or 28 million dollars. 

This isn't out of the realm of possibility. The Brewers do not have anyone that is worthy of a long term contract right now, besides Prince Fielder. However, Fielder made 670,000 this season and is still several years away from free agency (he also might get traded before the Brewers are forced to pay him). It's a big if, but Melvin has always been aggressive - we'll see what happens. 

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lowe Looking For Boston Reunion?

According to the Boston Globe, Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe would like to go back East and play for the Red Sox. Lowe was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA in 34 games this season, but is thirty-five and teams probably do not want to give him the four year deal he is reportedly seeking. The best Lowe can get is a three year deal worth about 9-12 million dollars annually. One thing that might worry the Red Sox is that before Lowe went to the Dodgers, his ERA was well over five, so a move to the AL now that he is past his prime might cut his career short if he can not over power AL lineups. 

However, Lowe has had a lot of success in the playoffs and brining in a veteran like Lowe would allow the Red Sox to trade one of their young pitchers for a corner infielder or a catcher. Imagine adding Garrett Atkins to that lineup and giving up Clay Buchholz and two other prospects, or acquiring Jarrod Saltalamacchia or possibly Russell Martin. 

The Red Sox and Yankees are in similar spots with their rotations and could look to make a big trade involving some of their young guns, similar to what happened last year with Santana. Anyone else thinking Jake Peavy?

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Would The Dodgers Trade Martin?

According to the New York Post, the Dodgers may shop catcher Russell Martin now that the market for catchers is so weak. The Post believes the Dodgers are not happy with the make up of Martin, and may explore the market to see his value. The Tigers, Reds, and Red Sox are all in the market for a catcher and could make a play for him. While Martin doesn't hit for power, he has a solid average and the respect of his pitchers. It is unlikely that the Dodgers trade him just because they have no catching prospects waiting in the wings.

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Mets, Royals Working Trade?

According to the New York Post, the Mets and Royals talked about trading Luis Castillo for Jose Guillen at the trade deadline, and may revisit that trade this offseason. Guillen hit .264 AVG with 20 HR in 153 games this past season, and has two years worth 24 million dollars left on his contract. Castillo has three years and eighteen million dollars left on his contract, so it is possible they will swap salaries and split the remaining difference. 

The Royals are looking for a middle infielder, but will not pursue a big name player like Brian Roberts through trade. They value their prospects and will look to an under the radar player like Mike Fontenot or Clint Barmes, or a swap a big salary for a big salary. The Royals are also pursuing a corner outfielder, as well as pitching help.

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Athletics Re-Sign Ellis

The Oakland Athletics and second baseman Mark Ellis have agreed to a multiyear deal, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm very excited," Ellis said, "Oakland has been a very good place for me and my family, and it's a big relief to be back here." Ellis hit .233 with 12 HR in 117 games this season, before he ended his season to get shoulder surgery. Ellis believes that the Athletics will soon "snowball" like Tampa and Colorado as of late. They have the pitching, they have some solid young players that will shape a lineup - I say they are a couple seasons away. 

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Melvin: Brewers Will Pursue Sabathia

Just a day after the Brewers extended GM Doug Melvin, he has expanded his managerial search and said he will try to keep ace CC Sabathia: "At least we have a chance...whereas before, we wouldn't have any chance with a pitcher of CC's caliber. I do feel we will make him an offer, and at that point, it will be in his court." According to Buster Olney citing industry sources, is that Sabathia will serious weigh offers from his home state of California, as well as the monster offer the Yankees are expected to offer. 

Sabathia was 17-10 with a 2.70 ERA in 35 games, but went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA with the Brewers. While it would make sense after looking at him numbers to stay in the National League, he is the kind of person that wants to play where he and his family will be happy, believing that the team and his ability will give him success, not the opposing teams weaker lineups and his unique approach on the mound.

The Phillies, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Astros, Braves, and Mets are among several other teams pursuing the lefty.

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Shortstop Grumblings

There is a lot of word going around on shortstops lately. Jon Heyman has the news:

Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: The Dodgers would like to bring back Rafael Furcal on an incentive based, one year deal, loaded with incentives and performance based options. Furcal was injured for four months with a herniated disk, but put on quiet a show in the postseason and played a key role in the Dodgers early season success.

Orlando Cabrera, White Sox: The White Sox are not planning on bringing Orlando Cabrera back, but instead move Alexei Ramirez to shortstop and bring in a second baseman. So, where will Cabrera go? The Pirates, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Royals, among others, a teams that will likely consider him.

Edgar Renteria, Tigers: Edgar Renteria's club option was denied by the Tigers, making him a free agent. Renteria hit .270 with 10 HR this season, and is 33 years, suggesting that he could be leaving his prime after a down year. However, the Tigers struggled mightily this year so I wouldn't necessarily write his career off. He is a .290 career hitter with a couple World Series rings to prove it. Renteria has a consistent success in Toronto and in San Francisco (also against the NL West), making those two places possible landing spots.

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Source: Cardinals Will Pursue Rodriguez, Fuentes

According to a source in the industry, the Cardinals will aggressively pursue a closer, and plan to talk with Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes. The Cardinals bullpen hurt their chances for the playoffs more than ever this season, as they finished in fourth place with 86 wins, blowing 31 save opportunities. While they have young players like Chris Perez and Kyle McClellan, bringing in an established closer and using these guys to help set up for him would make the bullpen a lot stronger. While the Cardinals have not gotten their organizational meetings underway, it is believed they would be willing to offer a four year deal, with either club or performance based options.

The Mets and Angels are two of many teams that will pursue Rodriguez, who will let the desperate market determine his salary. As for Fuentes, a team like the Tigers or Indians could make an aggressive offer to get him off the market early. 

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Sveum Won't Be Manager

The Brewers extended General Manager Doug Melvin yesterday and decided to let Dave Sveum walk, who did a fairly good job for the Brewers in September. Although Sveum was respected by his players, the Brewers would prefer someone more experienced who would command respect from some of the younger players: "They need someone who commands respect as soon as he walks into the clubhouse..." said one NL scout. 

As for possible options, Larry Bowa and Don Mattingly are available, but the Brewers might need permission to interview. Another option would be Buck Showalter, who is currently working with Baseball Tonight. Bobby Valentine has probably already called the Brewers about the opening, but he is a good option so that might not be a bad thing. This will likely get settled within the next two weeks. 

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Pierre Seeking Trade

Dodgers outfielder Juan Pierre was very uncomfortable with his spot with the team this year and would like to be traded if he is not going to be an everyday starter. His big contract will make him hard to move, but there are several teams interested if the Dodgers were to pick up most of his contract. The Reds, Rockies, Cubs, and Mariners, among others, could pursue him, but only if the Dodgers pick up the majority of his three year, 28.5 million dollar contract.

Pierre hit .283 AVG with 1 HR with 40 SB in 119 games. 

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Twins Seeking Bullpen, Infield Help

Twins GM Bill Smith is hoping to find some bullpen and infield help, according to the Pioneer Press. There are several solid free agents that could help the Twins bullpen, and even better infield options, but only if they are aggressive. Dan Wheeler, who thrived in the late inning relief role with the Rays, could be available. He would make for a great option if they Pat Neshek can't get healthy. Another solid player would be Juan Cruz, who has come to form with the Diamondbacks over the past couple of years. Realistically though, these are the most sought after relievers on the market, so they could be aggressive for one and pursue another reliever through trade, perhaps Alex Hinshaw.

As for the infield, obviously Hank Blalock would be a great player to go after, but someone like Joe Crede might be more realistic. If they were to pursue a shortstop instead, they could go after Khalil Greene through trade, or even Edgar Renteria, who was let go by the Tigers. If the Brewers attempt to unload JJ Hardy, expect the Twins to be all over that. 

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Options For Randy Johnson?

According to the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks have some interest in bringing back Randy Johnson, but only if he is willing to take a serious pay cut. Johnson is eleven wins short of 300 and wants to play somewhere. Here are a couple options for the Hall of Fame pitcher:

Mariners: Johnson started his career with the Mariners and for one year, could be a number five starter for them. With Erik Bedard struggling, Johnson could mentor the young lefty and help him turn his once promising career around. 

Nationals: The Nationals have made it known that they are looking for a veteran pitcher and could target Johnson as a mentor and a seat filler for 2009. Who in DC would not want to see a future Hall of Famer close in on 300 wins?

Cardinals: The Cardinals are in need of a starter and could target the veteran to help mentor some of their young pitchers coming off strong years. He would be great for them if he could give them 10-12 wins.

Johnson's family is in Arizona, so it is likely he would want to stay there, or at least close to there. We'll see what happens.

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Brewers Considering Options

Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin said he will explore the market for open managers for the 2009 season. "I owe it to myself and the organization to make sure we're not overlooking somebody else out there," said Melvin. There are several solid candidates available, aside from Svuem, who would really help the Brewers. It would be worth the Brewers while to contact the Dodgers about Don Mattingly, consider Larry Bowa, Buck Showalter, Leo Mazzone, and Alan Trammell about the possible opening. While Svuem is familiar with the team, he lacks the experience that all these guys have. 

The Brewers are expected to make a decision shortly after the World Series so they can use him in negotiations with players. 

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