In order to fill the hole in the bullpen left by Francisco Rodriguez, the Angels have signed Brian Fuentes to a 2 year deal worth 17.5 million. There is also a vesting option for a third year. This looks like a nice deal for both sides.
The Angels didn’t necessarily need to address their bullpen, but signing Fuentes can’t hurt. They get him at a reasonable price, too. Nine million per year for only 2 years seems like a steal. Compare him to Francisco Cordero. Their numbers seem very close in their walk years, yet Cordero scored big with 4 years, 46 million. If the Angels can get the production that Fuentes provided last year, it will be a ginormus steal, especially when you consider how much Cordero received. Fuentes can come in a make the bullpen one of the best in the MLB, just like it was last year. It can’t get much better than Fuentes closing with Jose Arredondo and Scott Shields setting him up. Darren Oliver is one of the better lefty relievers, on top of all that. This has the makings to be a fantastic ‘pen. (obviously it was better with K-Rod last year, but it’s still great)
I also like this deal for Fuentes. It stinks that he gets stuck with 2 years, but he couldn’t have done much better elsewhere. He gets the 3 things he wanted, to play on a contending team, to play on the West Coast, and to get a closer’s job. He also gets around the annual salary he had hoped for. Fuentes could even end up with that third year if the option vests. This was a good job by Fuentes and his agent.
The Angels paid about 9 million per year to grab Fuentes. That leaves them with about 13 million to spend. Most teams looking for an outfielder also have that amount, so it is fair to say that the Angels could go out and sign a player like Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or Bobby Abreu. With the bat added, it will have been a solid offseason for Anaheim.
Teams that missed out on Fuentes will have to turn to Trevor Hoffman. You could see a bidding war happening between the Cardinals, Brewers, Dodgers, and Tigers. Things are really starting to move in the hot stove season.
I decided to take the holidays off. Sorry I didn’t let you know before hand.
In an attempt to clear salary, the Cubs have traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians for minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub. Another trade is in place that would send Jason Marquis to the Rockies for pitcher Luis Vizcaino.
I really like the Marquis trade for both teams. The Cubs will throw in 1 million and take on the entire 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino. So, it is a net dump of about 5 million. Dropping that 5 million will bring the Cubs’ payroll down to about 132 million. The final payroll will be in the 140-145 million dollar range. That leaves 8 to 13 million to spend; enough to sign a big bat for right field. Guys like Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, and Bobby Abreu can be squeezed into the payroll now. Vizcaino provides depth. If he bounces back to form, it will give the Cubs another solid arm for the late innings. If not, then the Cubs can just release him. This is a solid trade for them.
The Rockies got a good deal, too. They receive a quality starting pitcher to slot into their rotation. He comes cheaply, too; only 5 million in net gain. They could’ve signed a guy like Tim Redding instead and gotten similar production, but Redding will probably require a 2 year deal at around the 5 million Marquis gets. So they get similar production and cut off a year. Good job by the Rox.
I’ll be honest by saying that I completely hate the DeRosa trade for the Cubs. This is a fantastic move by the Indians. The 3 prospects the Cubs have coming their way aren’t much at all. Jeff Stevens has some nice potential as a relief pitcher, but he isn’t any better than Jose Ceda, the player they sent to the Marlins in the Kevin Gregg trade. Yes, Gregg will be an important piece to the team by setting up for Carlos Marmol, but he is no where near as valuable as Mark DeRosa. Still, Stevens is a solid piece that could develop and give the Cubs some help in the pen. He has fantastic stuff. John Gaub also has good stuff; he struck out 100 batters in only 64 innings. He is a relief prospect at best, though. Good middle relievers are necessary to any team hoping to compete; Stevens and Gaub at least have the stuff to become very good ones. Plus, they are under control for 6 years as opposed to DeRosa’s 1 year under contract. The other prospect, Chris Archer, is more of a throw-in than a solid piece.
To help offset the move, the Cubs signed Aaron Miles for 2 years, 4.9 million. He is a solid middle infielder, and should keep the second base position respectable. He and Mike Fontenot could form a nice platoon at the bottom of the Cubs lineup.
I guess that this return isn’t terrible, but I expected more if the team were to trade DeRo. The trade may work out in the long run, but I don’t understand why the Cubs are going to hurt their team this year. It doesn’t make any sense at all unless…
Jake Peavy is the next move. Dumping the 5.5 million owed to DeRosa and the 9.9 million owed to Marquis opens up a lot of money. However, the Cubs will pay 1 million of Marquis’ contract and they take on the 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino as well as signing Miles for 2.2 million in the first year. So, these two trades dump a net total of about 9 million. Payroll is reduced all the way down to 128 million. This leaves the Cubs with 12 to 17 million to spend. I know that it’s unlikely that they can fit both a right fielder like Milton Bradley and Jake Peavy into the payroll, but it sure is possible. Hopefully, the Tribune company would be willing to extend payroll to about 150 million to accommodate these moves, if it allows Peavy to come to town. All they have to do is sign Bradley for 2 years, 20 million. Then, take on Jake Peavy’s contract of 11 million per year. It could fit. If not, then just backload Bradley’s contract. They’ll have to let Rich Harden leave after ’09, but that’s OK if Peavy is brought in. Of course, even if all of these finances are possible, the Cubs need to work out a trade. I think that they have the pieces after the DeRosa move. It could be a 3 team trade that looks like this…
- Padres get: Josh Vitters, Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Garret Olson, Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub.
- Cubs get: Jake Peavy
- Orioles get: Felix Pie
A trade similar to this one was accepted by Kevin Towers, but Jim Hendry declined because he couldn’t get ownership approval. Who knows, maybe now that Marquis and DeRosa are gone the trade could come back to life. It’s doubtful, but that is the only reason I can see for trading Mark DeRosa. Maybe they just needed to clear all of his salary. I don’t know.
By the way, DeRosa deleted everything he wrote on his MLBlog, The Pulse. It will now focus solely on the Indians.
Where in the world will Manny Ramirez go? The Yankees are obviously out after signing Mark Teixeira, and neither the Angels nor Mets are interested. I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox won’t be signing him, so that leaves only the Dodgers. Of the other large market teams, the Cubs and White Sox don’t make any sense.
I guess that there could be some strange wild card teams, but most of the clubs people are throwing out there don’t make much sense for the team. For example, why would the Nationals want Manny? I understand that he would bring in a lot of fans to the game, but he would not make them a winning team. The reason that they pursued Teixeira was so that he would be there when they were a contending team. Signing Manny for a 2 or 3 year deal wouldn’t make sense, basically because they won’t be contending in 2 or 3 years. Not to mention all of the trouble he would bring to DC. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit the trade block the summer that he got there, if he does indeed sign with Washington. I doubt it, unless he comes for only 1 year.
The Braves have the money and the need, but I doubt that Bobby Cox would even entertain bringing in a player with Manny’s attitude. Like the Nationals, I guess they could make an inquiry if Ramirez would come on a 1 year deal. That way Cox could always just deal him at the trade deadline if the team is not in contention or if Manny is Manny. Still, I would call it a stretch.
The Reds might consider Ramirez if the price drops drastically and they think they can compete. However, why wouldn’t they have just resigned Adam Dunn instead of signing Manny? Not the perfect fit, is it.
Since there is no great fit for Manny other than the Dodgers, I think he returns to L.A., but at a very under-market rate. Earlier in the year he was offered 2 years, 45 million from the Dodgers, but he declined. That was back when Man-Ram thought he could get a 6 year deal. The offer was pulled at the start of free agency, and no one has made an offer since. I still think that the Dodgers are interested, but not at the price they offered earlier in the year. My prediction is that Manny will go crawling back to the Dodgers while whining for the 2 year, 45 million dollar offer that he didn’t even consider. The Dodgers will respond by offering him 1 year, 20 million. Manny will go shop himself to other teams, but when he finds out that no one wants him, he will sadly accept the Dodgers offer.
It serves Manny Ramirez right that no one is interested. He was a lazy jerk to the Red Sox, and now he’s going to pay for it. Ha Ha!
In a stunning move, the Yankees have signed Mark Teixeira to an 8 year, 180 million dollar contract with a full no-trade-clause. Wow! With this move, the Yanks now look like the frontrunners to win the World Series. They have spent over 400 million this offseason on 3 players. CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and now Mark Teixeira will be the next faces of the New York Yankees.
I can’t believe that the Yankees are raising payroll so high. They said that they wouldn’t be going above the 215 million they had committed last season, but this might change that. 140 million dollars was committed coming into the offseason. Arbitration raises will probably add on another 10 million or so. That left them with 150 million. The Nick Swisher trade tacked on about 5 million. After signing Sabathia to a contract worth 23 million per year, it left them with 178 million dollar payroll. Burnett’s 16.5 million and Teixeira’s 22.5 million bring totals to 217 million; more than last year. I don’t have any idea how they can add payroll in this kind of economy. This whole offseason, GM Brian Cashman has been saying that the team won’t raise payroll, but they just did. They don’t have any tradable pieces aside from Hideki Matsui. There’s no doubt that he will get traded to accommodate this move. Swisher will move from first base to left field, Johnny Damon will move from left field to DH, and Matsui will be dealt somewhere. The Yanks will have to eat probably about half of his contract to move him, however. His knees are all banged up, and his bat is slipping. I don’t know of anyone who would want him unless they have an open DH spot. I guess the Mariners could make an inquiry, but I don’t think that they would want to add a player like that for only one year. I could see them buying low and then possibly selling high at the trade deadline if Hideki establishes his health. If not Seattle, then maybe the Rays could pursue him. They would have to miss out on all their other free agent options, though. Plus, the Yankees probably don’t want to trade within their division. I can’t think of any great fit for him, but there’s bound to be some team willing to take him on for only around 7 million.
If they can dump Matsui it looks like they’ll just head into the season with a 110 million dollar payroll. It was possible they would do this anyway. Mike Cameron and Andy Pettitte could have been aquired for near 10 million each. Now that Tex is a Yankee, neither option seems likely. They Yanks will have to go into the season with Phil Hughes as the fifth starter and with Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera platooning in center field. Still, I would much rather have that to go along with Tex instead of Matsui, Pettitte, and Cameron. I have no idea where Pettitte will go now that the Yankee door is shut. Maybe he’ll retire if he cannot find a place he’s comfortable. The Dodgers, Brewers, and Cardinals could make some sense, at least for the team.
So, since Tex will wear pinstripes instead of Red Sox, who will where Sox? Boston will not look for a hitter anymore; they feel that Tex would be the only upgrade significant enough to trade Mike Lowell for. I agree. For the defense and leadership Lowell brings to the table, I would rather keep him instead of getting a small offensive upgrade with a player like Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell. The starting pitching looks like the position to address, now. You’d have to think that Derek Lowe is the happiest man not named Teixeira that the latter will be in New York. That will open up a spot for Lowe in Boston, or at least make them bid against the Mets. Still, I would say that Lowe is most likely to sign with the BoSox now that Tex won’t.
The Nationals will also look into backup plans. It seems as though the Nats will now turn their attention to Adam Dunn and Orlando Hudson. They will probably bid aggressively against the Angels for Dunn’s services, but I wouldn’t mind signing Hudson instead. There has been no interest at all shown for O-Dawg, so the Nats could get him at a rather cheap price. The Cardinals, Indians, and Giants just don’t make sense anymore. If Washington can sign him for, say, 3 years, 18 million, it will be a great deal. Much smarter than giving away 50 million+ to Dunn, or 180 million+ to Teixeira. I wouldn’t fault the Nats for waiting until next offseason to make their splash. In fact, that’d be the way I would go if Hudson doesn’t come cheap.
Now that the Yanks have added CC, Tex, and AJ, are they the best team in the MLB? Or even in the AL East for that matter? In my opinion, New York has a better rotation than the Rays, but not the Red Sox if the latter add Derek Lowe. New York probably has the best offense now with the addition of Mark Teixeira. There are some major question marks, though. Jorge Posada was hurt last year, and Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano are coming off of terrible years. The center field situation still isn’t sorted out, either. I could see Swish and Cano bouncing back, and the Yanks still could get some solid offense out of Posada. The defense will be bad, but you can live with that. The Red Sox have some question marks in their lineup, too. Mike Lowell was just hurt, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie weren’t great. Plus, Ortiz is coming off an injury and doesn’t have the big protection he used to. With no Manny Ramirez or no Mark Teixeira batting behind him, you might see Ortiz’s bat fall off a cliff. The catcher situation remains unresolved, and it looks like they’ll have to go back to Jason Varitek. So both teams have question marks in their lineups. It is going to be very close this year, but I give the edge to the Yankees for the division, and the edge to the Red Sox for the Wild Card. The Rays are one of my favorite teams, but I don’t like their chance of repeating.
By the way, the Yankees should take the field to Darth Vader’s theme song.
I had to take the weekend off from blogging. Sorry I didn’t let you know, but let’s get back to baseball.
The Angels are out of the running for Mark Teixeira. They pulled out when team owner Arte Moreno concluded that Tex didn’t want to play for the Angels, and would rather go to the east coast. Their 160 million offer is off the table, so Teixeira’s next team will be the Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, or possibly Yankees. The latter don’t seem completely involved, but you never know about a team that has Hank Steinbrenner as the president.
With the Angels out, the Red Sox seem like the clear frontrunner to me. BoSox president John Henry said that “we’re not going to be a factor,” but I believe that was just a negotiating ploy. Several baseball writers have said that the Red Sox offer of 8 years, 180 million is still on the table. I’m guessing that Scott Boras went to the BoSox and stated that he had a better offer on the table from a different team. It looks like Henry effectively called Boras’s bluff, because if the unknown team was the Nationals, they would’ve signed him by now. It couldn’t have been the Angels, because they’re out, and the Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that they had not made an offer. The Orioles appear reluctant to raise their 7 year, 140 million dollar offer. So it looks like Boston’s offer of 8 years, 180 million is the best on the table. This is just me trying to draw conclusions, though. No one really knows who’s offering what except for Tex and Boras. This is making me crazy!
Now that Tex won’t end up an Angel, who will? They have about 22 million left to spend, and are looking to add a power hitting outfielder. A cheap starter could be under consideration, also. Brian Fuentes could make sense if his price drops down; the Angels are his first choice because they will give him a closer’s job, play on the west coast (where he is from), and are a contending team. I don’t consider the bullpen or the rotation a need, however, and would rather just get a great bat.
You can’t call Manny Ramirez a perfect fit, but he sure does make a lot of sense. He can DH most of the time, and is truly the only bat on the free agent market not named Mark Teixeira that can scare pitchers. If I see Manny hitting behind Vladimir Guerrero, I’m just as scared as if I see Tex. I know that Ramirez doesn’t have gold glove defense, and he has an attitude problem, but there is no difference between the two hitting wise. For some reason I have a feeling that the Angels will pass, but I don’t think they should.
If not Manny, then Adam Dunn makes a ton of sense. Dunn is no Manny or Tex, but he is still a 40 homer bat that will bring you an OBP in the .360 to .380 range. A lot of people get blinded by his poor defense, low batting average, and lack of emotion, but he is one of the most consistent bats in the MLB. He also brings some versatility because he can play both first base and left field. If I were the Angels, I would DH him, because like I said before, he has poor defense. Some other options that would make sense for Anehiem are Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, and Pat Burrell.
So the Angels are out on Tex, the Red Sox and Nationals look like the frontrunners for his services, and the Angels could pursue Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, or Brian Fuentes. I can’t wait to find out how all of this happens.
The Angels have signed Juan Rivera to a 3 year, 12 million dollar contract. I guess this is a decent move by the team.
Rivera certainly has the up-side. In 2006, his last completely healthy season, he hit .310 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs in only 448 at bats. He injured himself playing winter ball, and missed most of the next 2 years. Last year, however, he slugged 12 homers in the second half. If he did that in every two months he played, he would have 36 homers. Plus, he will probably be playing every day this year instead of mainly coming off the bench the way he did last year. So, this is a pretty solid signing, and to a big market team like the Angels, 4 million per year doesn’t mean much.
The other good things about Rivera is his versatility. He can play both outfield corners, first base, and of course DH. So, the Angels will still aggressively pursue Mark Teixeira, and if they can’t get him they’ll still go after a big bat for the outfield. With Darren Oliver likely to make around 4 million in arbitration, and with Rivera making 4 million per year, the Halos have around 22 million left to spend. Only one big bat is needed.
If that bat is Tex, Rivera will switch off between left field and DH while playing every day. Kendry Morales and Gary Matthews Jr. would be switching off from DH and left field while sharing time. If the Angels sign Adam Dunn, they could either place him at first base and do the same rotation, or they could do it this way. Put Dunn at DH, have Rivera switch off between left field and first base while playing every day, and have Morales and Matthews switch off between first base and left field while each sharing time. Dunn could also play some left field.
This is looking more and more like a solid signing for the Angels. Rivera has a lot of up-side, and 4 million per year isn’t much of a risk. The Halos are one big bat away from finishing off their offseason.
The Dodgers have signed Rafael Furcal to a 3 year, 30 million dollar contract. This is such a huge surprise to me, and a great move on the Dodgers part.
I can’t believe that they sign Furcal for only 3 years, and for only 10 million per. I thought that he would get 4 years, 52 million. I don’t know why the market collapsed the way it did. If the Giants added a year and an extra 3 million to the Edgar Renteria signing they could have matched Los Angeles’ offer to Furcal. There’s no question that Rafael is a much better shortstop than Renteria. He also made a lot of sense for the A’s. They offered the most years — 4 years, 36 million — but weren’t able to sign him. Why didn’t they just up their offer to 4 years, 40 million. That could have lured Furcal to Oakland. I would have also liked to see the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Reds make a better offer. A lot of teams just past up on the chance to get a very good leadoff man at shortstop.
The Dodgers did a fantastic job. They lock up the left side of their infield for only 16 million per year. 34 million is still available to sign a big bat for the outfield and a starting pitcher. With Takashi Saito being non-tendered, the Dodgers could look for some bullpen help as well. I’d like the Dodgers to sign Manny for 20-25 million per year, and then Randy Johnson for 1 year, 8 million. The remaining money could be used on a reliever. This team would be very solid, and almost as good as last year’s squad. (it hurts to lose Derek Lowe) This has been a very productive offseason for the Dodgers thus far.
By the way, the mystery team in all of this was the Braves. They were apparently very close to signing the leadoff man, and offered him the same amount of money that the Dodgers did. The Braves would’ve played Furcal at second base and moved Kelly Johnson to left field or to another team. Yunel Escobar could have been traded as well. Reports say that Furcal had a gentlemen’s agreement to sign with the Braves, but then he ditched them for the Dodgers. Atlanta won’t be working with Furcal’s agents, Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem, for quite a while because of this.
Man, players have been jumping off the board ever since the start of the Winter Meetings. Ever since then, CC Sabathia, Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Furcal, AJ Burnett, Kerry Wood, and many others have signed. I can’t wait until we find out where the other players go. It looks like Mark Teixeira will be making a decision soon. Can’t wait.
I have previously stated that the Red Sox offered Mark Teixeira 8 years, 160 million. Today, I am receiving different news. The offer seems to be in the 180 million range. Mike Lynch says it’s 184 million. Buster Olney and Peter Gammons say it is for 176 million. Dan Roche says it’s for 180 million. So, the offer is 8 years and 22-23 million per year. All of the writers also say that Red Sox owner John Henry and GM Theo Epstein will meet tonight with Mark Teixeira and Scott Boras. They hope to get a deal done by Friday morning. It definately looks like Boston is the frontunner.
The question is, will the Nationals or Angels up their offer to match the BoSox one. I don’t know if either one will. If I had to make a guess, I would say that both teams would let Tex go to Boston because of some solid backup plans. The Angels could move on to sign Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or Milton Bradley. There are a ton of guys sitting around that could come on bargains. The Nationals look like they will move on to Dunn and Orlando Hudson. I could be wrong though. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arte Moreno demanded that GM Tony Reagins match the Red Sox offer. I could also see Jim Bowden matching it. Who knows?
To me, it looks like the Red Sox are the frontrunners with the Angels second in line and the Nationals breathing down Los Angeles’ neck. Tex could go to any of these destinations, but I favor Boston a bit because of this new offer.
This should be really fun to watch. Just like CC Sabathia set the market for pitching, Mark Teixeira will set the market for hitting. A lot of things are being hung up because of teams and players waiting for Tex to sign. I can’t wait to see how this ends up.
By my calculations, the Mets have around 12 million left to spend after signing Francisco Rodriguez and trading for JJ Putz. With that 12 million, they would like to sign a starting pitcher. Below are some names that they could consider.
Derek Lowe. He seems like their top target. The only question is if they can afford Lowe. His price seems to be dropping now that the Yankees and Phillies are out, but I’m still not convinced that he will get less than 14 million per year. The Reds Sox and Braves make a whole lot of sense even though they haven’t made it public. The only way I see Lowe in a Mets uniform is if they make a trade or two to clear some salary. The problem is, they don’t have any expendable pieces.
Oliver Perez. To me, a return of Oliver Perez is the most likely possibility for the Mets. I don’t think that they can afford Lowe, and I can’t find our any other good suitors for Ollie other than the Mets. I guess the Dodgers could make an inquiry, but they seems more willing to sign a starter like Randy Johnson to a short term deal. Perez is the best option available to the Mets unless they do somehow bring in Lowe. Again, that’s not likely.
Randy Wolf. He makes sense because he is a left handed starter that could come on a 1 year deal. Wolf was very solid last year, and could be a really nice pick-up if he stays healthy. Wolf has got some upside, and I would be willing to take him on if Lowe or Perez cannot be signed.
Jon Garland. You could make the argument that he makes more sense than Wolf. Garland is younger, more durable, and has a better track record. However, Wolf was better last year, has more strike-outs, and is a lefty. I think it will pretty much come down to whomever will come cheaper for a shorter term. Garland would make a solid aquisition to the Mets’ pitching staff.
Jason Marquis. The Cubs have made it known that he is available, and they would probably even toss in some money. Marquis is from New York, will come on a 1 year deal, and is pretty much just as good as Wolf and Garland. If the Cubs bring his salary down to, say 7 million, a deal could be possible.
So, if I was the Mets’ GM Omar Minaya, I would go hard after Lowe and Perez. If both players were pushed out of my budget, I would aquire Wolf, Garland, or Marquis. Since they all are similar pitchers, I would just take on the cheapest one. The remaining money could be used on a cheap fifth starter candidate like Pedro Martinez or Bartolo Colon. You can never have too much pitching depth.
After the Angels, Nationals, and Orioles made their offers to Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox jumped in. Today, they offered at least 8 years, 160 million, maybe more. To recap, the Angels and Nationals offers were both 8 years, 160 million while the Orioles offered 7 years, 140 million. The O’s won’t be raising their offer, but it is possible that the other 3 teams do.
I’m glad the Red Sox finally made an offer. Hopefully, things will start cooking now. With 3 teams offering the same or almost the same amount, Tex will have to chose where he wants to go the most. Obviously, I’m not Teixeira, but I think that Boston would make the most sense for him. He gets to win more than the Nationals do while also staying near his Baltimore home. By the way, it looks like the Orioles are out because of their reluctance to raise their offer. I don’t think that they were all that serious anyway; they just put in a bid so that could say that they tried. There’s no way Tex is taking 140 million.
So now that this is a 3 team race, things will get interesting. Will the two teams that don’t get their offer tentatively accepted raise it or drop out? Will Teixeira get only 160 million, or will he get the 200 million he’s been asking for? Where is his preferred destination? The good thing is that all of these questions will be answered soon. I do think that Teixeira will sign before Christmas, and I still believe it will be with the Red Sox. He will tentatively accept their offer, but will report back to the Nationals and Angels first. I have no idea whether either team would raise its offer. If one or both do raise their offer, will the Red Sox also? Or will they drop out?
This is going to be a very, very fun thing to watch over the holiday season! Hopefully he’ll sign before Christmas.