December 2006

Barry Zito Giants Projections

Check out my new Barry Zito Giants projection over at

The new ZiPS projection for Zito calls for a 4.00 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 216 innings.

Haven’t seen Zito’s PECOTA quote yet but I’m sure it’s forthcoming.

Surveying the blog world on the signing:

McCovey Chronicles seems confused.  I can sympathize; I felt this way when the Cubs signed Alfonso SorianoEl Lefty Malo is kind of neutral about the signing.  Athletics Nation is going through the five stages of grief, on the other hand.

Giants Sign Barry Zito

UPDATE: Peter Gammons is reporting that the Giants have signed Zito for seven years and approximately $126MM.  The deal is said to include an $18MM option for 2014.  The Yankees did not make a formal offer.  San Francisco’s rotation now looks like this:

Matt Cain
Barry Zito
Noah Lowry
Matt Morris
Jonathan Sanchez

UPDATE: T.R. Sullivan of reports that the Rangers have been told Zito has rejected their six-year, $80MM offer.  A source told Sullivan that the Rangers expect Zito to sign with San Francisco.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Giants are the frontrunners for Barry Zito and are willing to give him a $100MM contract.  The Yankees, Mets, and Rangers aren’t expected to be in that ballpark and don’t want to give him six years.  Seattle, however, could get crazy and make such a bid.  That would cap a terrible offseason for Bill Bavasi in grand fashion.

The Yankees talked to the Giants about Randy Johnson, but Brian Sabean was not interested.  Word is that Johnson is not old enough for San Francisco. 

One more note from the column – Sherman mentions Tomo Ohka as a lesser option for Texas.  Whether that’s purely speculation is unclear.

Zito seems unlikely to sign before New Year’s Day.

Indians News: Foulke, Mulder, Westbrook

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer checks in with various Tribe updates.

Keith Foulke still has to take his physical; the Indians probably won’t reach an agreement until next week.  Foulke would team with Joe Borowski to take the eighth and ninth innings, which neither pitching three days in a row.

The Indians are waiting to hear back from Mark Mulder‘s agent on their reported two-year offer.  Should Mulder be signed and ready in May or June, it might allow for a trade.  Paul Byrd, Cliff Lee, or Jake Westbrook could be dealt to clear space.

There’s also a chance the Indians sign Westbrook to an extension; they may speak on the topic before the season starts.  Westbrook will be a 30 year-old with probably four consecutive seasons of 210 innings; that should command $11-12MM and four or five years on the open market.

Astros Interested In Paul Wilson, Pedro Astacio

Some interesting rumor bits courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice this morning…

Justice mentions that Tim Purpura is discussing a contract with Paul Wilson and examining Pedro Astacio‘s medical records.  Wilson had a second labrum surgery in June and has been unable to regain velocity.  Astacio tossed just 90 innings this year because of a strained forearm (often a precursor to an elbow injury).

The Astros could invite right fielder Richard Hidalgo to compete for a fourth outfielder job.  I like the idea; Hidalgo has always been one of the game’s best defensive RFs.

Justice also adds that after reviewing Taylor Buchholz‘s medical reports, the White Sox requested that Hunter Pence be added to the package of Jason Hirsh, Willy Taveras, and Buchholz for Jon Garland.  Now that’s just silly.

Yanks Want Three Arms For Unit

Yesterday for the East Valley Tribune, Jack Magruder indicated that the Yankees want a trio of young arms from the Diamondbacks in return for Randy Johnson.  They want one reliever in the group.

Brandon Medders, a 27 year-old right-handed reliever, is said to be a target.  Medders posted a solid 3.64 ERA in 71 innings in 2006, though his 1.68 K/BB ratio is cause for concern.  Magruder indicates that Arizona wants to substitute the pricier Luis Vizcaino instead of Medders.

The other pitchers would come out of this group: Edgar Gonzalez, Enrique Gonzalez, Dustin Nippert, Ross Ohlendorf, and Micah Owings.  What, no Juan CruzBaseball Prospectus’s Kevin Goldstein lists Nippert as a "good prospect" and Owings as an "average prospect."  The others aren’t in the team’s top 10.  That might be a testament to all the young talent in the organization though.

Magruder doesn’t expect the D’Backs to meet this Yankee demand, but perhaps the teams can meet in the middle.

Red Sox Targeting Closer?

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo has a J.D. Drew update for us.  It may be that Boras does not want to revise Drew’s contract given that Boras’s surgeon gave Drew’s shoulder the thumbs up.

More intriguing is a line at the end of the post – the Red Sox are targeting a trade for a closer and are targeting one of Chad Cordero, Brad Lidge, and Mike Gonzalez.

Yankees After George Sherrill?

Nice find by RotoWorld – at the bottom of this Bergen Record article, there’s mention of the Yankees’ interest in southpaw reliever George Sherrill.

Presumably, Sherrill would be a backup plan if the Yanks can’t acquire Mike Gonzalez.  From what I hear, there are still a handful of teams involved on the Pittsburgh reliever. 

Sherrill has an interesting stat line that doesn’t seem repeatable – fewer than seven hits per nine, zero home runs in 40 innings, a 4.28 ERA despite six walks per nine.  If used as a strict LOOGY, though, he should be pretty good.

Orioles Still Talking To Craig Wilson, Aubrey Huff

According to Roch Kubatko of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are still in talks with the representatives for Craig Wilson and Aubrey Huff.  I assume they only want one of the two, as a team can only hold so many 1B/DH/OF types.

The O’s have previously been linked to Adam LaRoche, Ben Broussard, Richie Sexson, Chris Shelton, and Carlos Pena.  They’ve also attended Shannon Stewart‘s workout; there’s speculation he’d be limited to a DH-type role as well.

Rangers To Boras: Call Us Back

The Rangers won’t put up with Scott Boras playing hard to get much longer – they want a response on Barry Zito by this weekend or else they’ll move on.  Boras’s leverage with Texas has decreased with their acquisition of Brandon McCarthy.

The implication of the weekend deadline is that Texas’s offer still stands.  There had been reports that they were all but out of the Zito sweepstakes.  Meanwhile, Boras hopes to pit the Yanks and Mets against each other for Zito.  At the least, neither New York team is acting desperate right now.

Back to McCarthy for a second – is there more to this story?

Mariners In On Randy Johnson?

I scoured what seemed like a dozen Randy Johnson articles, most of which had the same themes we were hearing yesterday: the Yanks don’t have to trade Johnson, the vacancy could go to Zito or Clemens, the Diamondbacks are in the thick of things, the Padres are the frontrunners, the Dodgers are just driving up the price, and the Giants and Angels are the dark horses.

Joseph A. Reaves of the Arizona Republic has a slightly different take, though: he says the Mariners have surfaced as a potential trade partner.  It’s just a one-line mention, but I haven’t seen it confirmed elsewhere yet.  I will try.  Additionally, Reaves writes that the Dodgers are not interested.

Newday’s Ken Davidoff weighs in on the side of reason: he doesn’t want to trade a decent 200 inning starter.  I also agree with him in that Kei Igawa can easily be pushed to the pen for two-thirds of a season if Roger Clemens is brought aboard. The Yanks aren’t so stacked with good starting pitching as to make Johnson expendable.