January 2007

Odds and Ends

Let’s round up some of the more minor pieces of news that didn’t quite seem to merit their own posts (not that the Victor Zambrano signing was huge or anything).

Scott Boras is a genius.  You just can’t deny it.  That he somehow got Jeff Weaver the same deal he got in the previous offseason after his terrible 2006 was masterful.  Looks like this one will leave a bad taste in the Cards’ mouth for Boras clients.

The Bonds clause…it’s more for show than anything.  He’ll still get his money if indicted.  He may have all the money in the world, but there’s one thing he can’t buy.  A dinosaur.

The White Sox signed Junior Spivey yesterday for a possible backup infield job.  Spivey was really, really bad in Triple A last year.

As reported yesterday, Tom Glavine is 50/50 for 2008.  He has a $9MM player option for ’08 with a $3MM buyout attached.  It becomes guaranteed with 160 innings pitched in 2007, and he’ll get an additional million bucks in ’08 for every ten innings pitched beyond 160 in 2007.  He can decline the option if it becomes guaranteed, and he has a complete no-trade clause. 

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The Sammy Sosa signing is official in Texas.  He’ll make $500,000 if he makes the Opening Day roster, and can reach $2.7MM based on incentives.  $200K of that would come from winning Comeback Player of the Year.  To quote Sammy:

"My body is in shape, and I’m ready to go."

Ron Washington has this crazy idea that Sammy can play regularly and hit 30 home runs as the Rangers’ fifth place hitter.  Fine. Maybe there’s a 10% chance he does that, and it costs very little.  However, there is significant risk in this signing.  It is that Sammy takes away ABs from better players.  The Orioles gave him 380 ABs in ’05. If the Rangers stick with him for 200 ABs, a third of a season, and he’s awful, that could cause them to miss the playoffs.  It’d be different if this was the Nationals. 

Linebrink/Rowand Trade On Hold

Buster Olney mentioned a possible trade of Aaron Rowand to the Padres for a reliever back on January 26th.  Turns out the targeted reliever for the Phils was indeed Scott Linebrink.  However, any such deal is on hold until springtime.  Kevin Towers would like to see how Terrmel Sledge looks in left and how the loss of Linebrink would affect San Diego’s bullpen.

I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  I think a Sledge/Cruz platoon could outhit Rowand for a lesser cost.  And is the difference in defense in left field that crucial?  David Wells and Chris Young typically don’t go six innings; I’d rather retain one of the league’s better eighth-inning guys.   

Hope Of Renewing Helton Talks?

According to Jeff Horrigan of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox and Rockies did not speak yesterday and Boston has no intention of restarting negotations regarding Todd Helton.

On the other hand, Buster Olney recalled yesterday the deals for Chuck Knoblauch, Roger Clemens, and Ken Griffey Jr.  All of the trade talks were supposedly dead but renewed later in spring.  It seems that the Red Sox and Rockies weren’t terribly far apart, so if one side decides to give a little they could still figure out a deal.  The Red Sox appear to be in the catbird seat, so I think the Rox would have to make further concessions.  Maybe after Theo settles down with his new wife he’ll get re-engaged.

Of course, Helton could squash the whole idea with his no-trade clause.

Blue Jays Sign Victor Zambrano

The Blue Jays have signed 31 year-old starter Victor Zambrano as an option at the back of their rotation.  He received a minor-league deal with a spring training invite.  Hard to believe we’re only a few weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting!

Zambrano has had Tommy John plus an additional surgery on his right elbow, so he won’t make the Opening Day rotation.  The Jays like the flexibility of using Zambrano as a starter or reliever.  It probably won’t work out, but Zambrano did have a mild amount of success in the AL East back in 2003-04.

The Toronto Sun adds that J.P. Ricciardi hopes Zambrano will be ready by mid-season and his deal includes a 2008 option.

Marlins Considering Shannon Stewart

There’s not much left among free agent outfielders; Shannon Stewart may be the best bat still standing.  On Friday, the Marlins observed Stewart at a private workout.  They’re considering him as a center field option.

As Clark Spencer writes, Stewart hasn’t played center since 2000.  Even then it was just one game.  He hasn’t played the position even semi-regularly since playing 44 games there in 1998 with the Blue Jays.  Stewart will be 33 soon and has problems with both feet.  Even if he could hit like a center fielder, he probably can’t stay on the field regularly or play credible defense.  The Marlins would probably offer a million bucks plus incentives, and then use Alex Sanchez as the backup plan.

I’m surprised they can’t snag a Reggie Willits or David Murphy type, a blocked young guy who could be an average center fielder.

Bonds Deal Complete

According to the AP, Barry Bonds has officially signed with the Giants for one year and $15.8MM. We can finally get on with our lives.  Bonds can earn another $4.2MM through playing time incentives.

San Francisco’s lineup should look something like this (PECOTA projections follow):

1. Dave Roberts (CF) – .295/.365/.407
2. Omar Vizquel (SS) – .288/.354/.403
3. Rich Aurilia/Ryan Klesko (1B) – .277/.335/.440 and .266/.373/.418
4. Barry Bonds (LF) – .267/.441/.535
5. Ray Durham (2B) – .304/.373/.500
6. Pedro Feliz (3B) – .262/.312/.442
7. Bengie Molina (C) – .278/.323/.433
8. Randy Winn (RF) – .298/.355/.444

The Giants sure wouldn’t mind to see Winn bounce back to that level. Overall, the offense should be OK when healthy.  The Giants are below average at the infield corners but above average elsewhere.

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Todd Helton Trade Update

UPDATE: An official statement has been released: the trade talks are dead.  So many wasted words on papers and blogs.  Oh well.

UPDATE: The Rockies don’t want to pitch in more than $36.6MM, so the Red Sox are reluctant to part with Delcarmen or Hansen in the deal.  And the Red Sox aren’t happy with the Rockies’ leaking of Tavarez and Lowell’s names.  Of course, the Red Sox were the ones who pulled the plug on the Larry Bigbie deal of ’05 at the last minute.

Let’s see what’s new in the Todd Helton saga.

First off, Josh Beckett admitted to watching Fever Pitch.  Ouch.  Michael Silverman indicates that the Red Sox still haven’t seen an offer they consider serious.  Helton wants the deal done before spring training or not at all.  He’d be happy to play in Boston.

The Denver Post tells us that Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd returns today from family matters to resume trade negotiations.  The Post goes further than the before spring training thing, saying that Helton will veto any deal done after this week.  The Rockies still want one or two of Hansen, Delcarmen, and Ellsbury.  The Red Sox are more into the Tavarez/Lowell salary dump idea.

Buster Olney adds that the Rockies will make this trade if Delcarmen is included. 

Preston Wilson Re-Signs With Cards

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Preston Wilson has re-signed with the Cardinals.  Seems similar to the Matt Murton/Cliff Floyd situation, where Chris Duncan will still be the main guy in left but he’ll lose some PT.

RotoWorld reports that the deal is for $1MM with another $500,000 possible in incentives.