January 2007

J.D. Drew Contract Resolved

Finally!  Though the initial agreement came in late November, the Red Sox and J.D. Drew have finally settled the terms on their five-year, $70MM deal.

As expected, the Red Sox have some outs in case Drew’s shoulder becomes a problem.  Team doctors indicated that he could have shoulder issues three to five years from now, so the escape clauses are based on that assumption. 

Boston officially has a murderer’s row of .400 OBP/.500-.600 SLG guys in the middle of their lineup.  It will be a nasty stretch for any pitcher.

AL Starting Rotation Projections

My AL starting rotation projections are up now at RotoAuthority.  Have at it.  I don’t see any obvious fan bases I’ve angered but you never know.

Also hop over to AllCubs.com to see #9 on the list of the worst Cubs in recent memory. 

Who will be the first Marlins starter to go down from injury?  It almost seems inevitable these days with young pitchers.  Anibal Sanchez had a scare recently.

Nate Silver weighs in on the Darin Erstad signing.

Bucco Blog doesn’t see Jeff Weaver as a Pirate.

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Ichiro Is Top Priority For Ms

Bill Bavasi said yesterday to the AP that signing Ichiro Suzuki to a contract extension is a "top priority."  John Hickey thinks it could get done sometime this spring.

If he did reach free agency, Ichiro would join the strongest crop of CFs in recent memory.  His move to CF is long overdue, in my opinion.  It maximizes his value.

Past speculation had the Giants as a possible suitor.  Do you think four years and $60MM would be appropriate? 

Pirates Interested In Weaver

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates are battling with the Cardinals for the services of Jeff Weaver.  Weaver could reunite with his former manager and pitching coach in Pittsburgh and thankfully push Shawn Chacon out of the rotation.  The Cards are still in the lead, however.  The Mariners or Dodgers could be involved also.

You have to wonder if Boras could convince Weaver to take another one year contract, maybe in the $7MM range.  He could stick in the NL all year and parlay it into a nice three-year pact if he pitches decently.  His best bet is probably St. Louis; they’re offering two years.

Cubs Finally Sign Floyd

After weeks of being close, the Cubs have signed outfielder Cliff Floyd to a one-year deal with a mutual option for ’08.  The AP has the terms.  It’s $3MM guaranteed, with bonuses that can bring it to a maximum of $17.5MM over the next two seasons.   

The homecoming was a long time coming as Jim Hendry has had various ties to Floyd for many years. He hoped to acquire him for Sammy Sosa in ’04.

Floyd will make a solid fourth outfielder for the Cubs.  His signing doesn’t leave much room for uber-prospect Felix Pie, but Jacque Jones could still be traded.

NL Starting Rotation Projections

Head over to RotoAuthority to see which NL team has the best starting rotation, in my opinion. I should mention that I’ve projected the Rocket as an Astro so he’s boosting their ranking.  Rosenthal has the Brewers as his top surprise pick of ’07; I would agree based on their rotation.

And check out AllCubs.com to see who ranked #10 on the list of the ten worst Cubs in recent memory.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News speculates that the Rangers could sign Bruce Chen or Ryan Drese to add starting depth.

Does Howie Kendrick deserve to beat out Jered Weaver for the Angels’ best under-25 prospect? Kevin Goldstein thinks so.

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Devil Rays Close On Carlos Pena

Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times writes that the Devil Rays are close to signing first baseman Carlos Pena to a minor league deal.  Tampa Bay wanted him last year too after Detroit released him.  The Yankees picked him up but he didn’t get the call. He then exercised his option to become a free agent and signed with Boston.  Pena’s best season was 2004, when he hit .241/.338/.472 in 142 games.  He’ll turn 29 in May.

Pena will join a contingent of first basemen competing for time in Tampa Bay.  They’ve got Ty Wigginton, Greg Norton, Hee Seop Choi, and Elijah Dukes as other possibilities.

Jeff Weaver Info

Viva El Birdos has some inside info concerning free agent Jeff Weaver.  Larry writes that Scott Boras plans to hold out for 4/40, but Weaver really wants to return to St. Louis and is getting antsy.

The Mariners or Dodgers could still make a play for Weaver as well.  The Dodgers would really be stacked in the rotation, but maybe it would be to complement a trade.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentions this morning that the Cards have a two-year offer out to Weaver and expect a decision on that this week.  Joe Strauss adds the Mets to the list of other possible suitors.

Recommended Reading

Head over to Bucco Blog to read Jake’s interview with the man himself, Bill James.  Interestingly, James calls Freddy Sanchez a "legitimate .330 hitter."

Am I allowed to recommend music here?  I think I am.  This is a good listen.

I’ve got some Nick Markakis projections over at RotoAuthority.  Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my fantasy guide for only $9.99.

Fire Joe Morgan skewers a recent Bill Conlin column.

Sam Mellinger followed Billy Butler around for a day, and it was kind of interesting.

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Reds Acquire Kirk Saarloos

I personally didn’t deem this one worthy of a post, but what the hell.  The Reds acquired 27 year-old groundballer Kirk Saarloos for minor leaguer David Shafer.  Saarloos will battle Matt Belisle and Homer Bailey for the fifth starter job.  Bailey should prevent Saarloos from getting more than ten starts in ’07.

Shafer’s work at Double A equates to a tolerable relief performance in the bigs (something like a 3.50 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with a strong groundball rate).

Jim Callis of Baseball America offers his take on Saarloos and Shafer.

The weird thing is that I already had a category for Saarloos on this site.  He was rumored in a Milton Bradley trade a year ago.