March 2007

Rockies Come Calling On Cordero

The Denver Post reports that the Rockies expressed interest in Washington Nationals’ closer Chad Cordero.  The Nationals gave the Rockies the same answer they give everyone that comes calling on Cordero: he’s not available.

Is March 31st too early to talk about a trading deadline that is four months away?  If The Nationals are smart, they will hang onto Cordero until they have the maximum amount of leverage, and that’s in July.  General manager Jim Bowden proved last year in trade discussions regarding Alfonso Soriano that he isn’t going to make a deal that he doesn’t feel gets the proper return, so when July comes around, other general managers will have to factor that into their offers.

Having said that, the Nationals would be foolish not to trade Cordero at some point this season. An elite closer is a luxury a 100-loss team can not afford.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere".

A’s Interest in Kim Wanes

The Rockies have been shopping Byung-Hyun Kim with little success and earlier in the week, it’s likely that the Oakland A’s can be crossed off the list of possible trade partners.  Oakland had been hoping to solidify the fifth starter’s slot and Joe Kennedy turned in a nice performance on Tuesday.

Kennedy struck out 9 and allowed only one walk and four hits in five innings.  Despite the strong performance however, Kennedy’s ERA for the spring stands at 14.11, so don’t be surprised if the A’s feel the need to start browsing the pitching aisles again.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere".

Phillies Non-Trade Rumors, Vol. III

The Phillies bullpen has pitched better as of late, but according to assistant general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., someone it appears general manager Pat Gillick relies on quite heavily, that isn’t stopping them from looking at ways to improve the situation.

But at the same time, he also reported that nothing is about to transpire. "We continue to talk to clubs and we’ll look for possibilities,  but right now we don’t see anything imminent."  With both Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber on the disabled list (Garcia could come off the list to pitch on April 7th or 8th), there is little wiggle room for a trade.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere".

Curtis Granderson Interview

Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson was kind enough to answer a few questions for  He seems like a smart guy; I was impressed by the content and honesty of his answers.  I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Cubs uniform ten years from now.

Curtis writes an MLBlog and has a MySpace page as well.  On to the Q&A:

When did you first realize that you might one day play in the Major Leagues?

Honestly the first time was when I got called up in 2004 after our final game in AA Erie.  Up until that point, I thought about and hoped I would be able to, but never thought I would get a chance to do it so fast.

You grew up near Chicago.  What would it be like for you to play for the Cubs or White Sox one day?

For me it would be a little rough to play for one of the Chicago teams, because I know so many people there.   A lot of the people that I know there are also big fans of one or both of those teams, and would try to get a lot of information out of me.  I’m not sure if I would want to play there, but towards the end of my career I could see it possibly.   I know I will always have a house in Chicago, so you can never discount anything.

Do you have any lineup preference?  Do you take a different approach leading off than if you are hitting in another spot? 

Honestly my favorite spot to hit is the second spot, but I haven’t done that in almost two years.  The second spot gives you a lot of freedom especially if your leadoff hitter gets on.  The second hitter can move a runner over by bunting, hit and run, or getting a hit through the hole at 1 st base.  In the leadoff spot my approach really only changes in the leadoff spot later in the game when our team really needs me to get on base.   I have to try my best to get on base any way possible.  That is really the only time, and when I lead the game off, I’m not trying to draw a walk, I’m not trying to see pitches, I’m trying to get a hit and get on base.

I’ve read that you’re trying a new batting stance.  How is that going so far?  Do you think you’ll stick with it?

The new stance is very simple.  All we (Lloyd McClendon and I) did was try to eliminate a lot of wasted movement before I swing at the baseball.   Hopefully this will make me quicker to the ball and allow for easy correction if something wrong starts happening over a period of time.  It has worked out pretty well for the most part this spring, but it is only spring training.   Pitchers aren’t at 100 percent yet, so when the season starts and we get a month into it, we will see how it is.  I like it right now though.

Are there any players on the club who serve as mentors for you?

I’m not sure if there is one particular mentor for me on this team because a lot of people have been teaching me different things since I made my debut in 2004.   Nate Robertson and Vance Wilson have taught me different things about the Players Union.  Craig Monroe, Gary Sheffield, and Marcus Thames are teaching me different things about hitting situations.   Andy Van Slyke has taught me a lot about baserunning and also playing the outfield.  Kenny Rogers teaches me different things about how opposing pitchers might pitch me.   So you can see that everyone has been taking a role in trying to develop and build me into a better player.

Tigers Sign Carlos Guillen

The Tigers signed shortstop Carlos Guillen for four years and $48MM, starting in 2008.  An excellent bargain, and $8MM less than MLBTR readers guessed.

This despite the huge discount he’s giving them in 2007 ($5MM salary).  Guillen must really love Detroit.  Hopefully the Tigers keep him at short most of the time for the length of the deal, but at $12MM annually it’s not the end of the world if they don’t. 

The Pudge Option

In today’s column, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press names the many milestones Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez is approaching.  Lowe mentions at the end of his column:

"Right now, it seems automatic that the club will exercise the option and have him catch next season — and maybe into the season after that, when he could be passing Fisk for the most games caught all-time."

That is an interesting statement as Rodriguez’s option for 2008 is probably not a no-brainer.  It’s for a hefty $13MM.  But it should be noted that it includes a $3MM buyout, so the question is whether he’s worth $10MM to the Tigers.  PECOTA says $8.125MM, but might not fully value his defense and intangibles. 

Some other catchers could be available after this season: Jorge Posada, Paul Lo Duca, Michael Barrett, and Jason Kendall.  Since all would require at least a two-year deal, I think Pudge’s 2008 option should be exercised.  As far as keeping him in 2009 as well…only for the right price (less than $10MM).

Carlos Guillen Doesn’t Change Tune

Back in February, I praised Carlos Guillen as the rare marquee free agent who refused to impose a deadline for his next contract.  However, Guillen has since changed that stance.

The Tiger shortstop said yesterday that he would not negotiate a contract after the season starts.  He does wish to stay in Detroit, and talks are ongoing.

The general feeling of MLBTR readers when last surveyed was that Guillen will land a four-year, $56MM contract.  If he remains mostly at shortstop, that’s a bargain.

UPDATE: We’re back where we started – The Detroit News reports that Guillen will negotiate into the season as long as it’s not a distraction.  Tom Gage learned that there has not been a recent offer from the Tigers.

Rockies Offer Kim To Orioles

Ken Rosenthal’s recent column is chock full o’ rumors as usual.  The highlights:

  • The Rockies offered Byung-Hyun Kim to the Orioles for reliever Todd Williams but were turned down.  The O’s may yet work out a deal with the Mets for Williams.  Kim, meanwhile, may end up a bargain for some team if the price is that low.  Really, he’s better than most teams’ fifth starters.
  • Rosenthal agrees with most that Carlos Zambrano will sign with the Cubs by Opening Day.  However, a couple of other big-name free-agent starters to be probably will hit the market.  Jason Jennings and Jake Westbrook are two of the younger members of the ’08 free agent starter classMark Buehrle, Joe Kennedy, Kyle Lohse, and Kim will all be under 30 as well.

Cards Looking To Trade Rincon

About a week ago, Joe Strauss reported that the Cardinals might use their lefty reliever surplus to acquire Jorge Julio.  That option is off the table, but Walt Jocketty is still looking to dispatch a southpaw.  Strauss has confirmed that Ricardo Rincon is the player he’d like to move.

The Cards would like to ditch Rincon’s $1.45MM salary.  He pitched in the WBC last year and but was on the operating table for shoulder and elbow issues by May.  He’s said to be fully recovered and could bounce back as a useful LOOGY.


Phils Make Offer for Rosario

From Ken Rosenthal’s latest:

The Phillies are one of three clubs that have made trade offers for Blue Jays right-hander Francisco Rosario, who is out of minor-league options.

Rosario has very little major league experience, just 23 innings with Toronto last year, but put up some very good numbers in the International League before that and has had a very good spring in Dunedin.

Outside of inexperience and a checkered health history, Rosario has the type of stuff the Phillies could use in their bullpen right now.  His fastball reaches 96 and misses bats, something even good pitchers in the Phillies pen don’t do a lot.

It might be worth the low-level prospect the Jays would want.

Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere".