September 2007

Update on Garland: Phillies Scouting

We said a few weeks back that the White Sox May Shop Jon Garland and that Garland knows it.  The White Sox are seeking 2 relievers.  As Tim noted, the Red Sox, Rockies, Braves, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, Mets, and Phillies have all shown interest.  Well, it starts here:  Paul Hagen recently caught wind of the Phillies scouting the tall right hander during his complete game shutout of the Royals last Wednesday.

Garland is due $12MM in the final year of his contract.  The Phillies will be waving goodbye to Jon Lieber and flop Freddy Garcia, opening up $17MM and the (incredible) need for a quality starter in a rotation comprised of Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Adam Eaton, and the indefatigable Jamie Moyer.

As Tim noted, the ChiSox tried to shop him last offseason to the Astros, but the deal unraveled just before the scheduled press conference.  The bad news for GM Kenny Williams:  Garland went on to make ’07 his worst season in recent memory going 9-13 with a 4.23 ERA.  Good news for Kenny Williams:  The man finished strong, flat out dominating in September by posting a 1.38 ERA over 39.1 IP, and going over 200 Innings for the 4th straight year.

Still, judging from your comments, MLBTR readers aren’t too high on Mr. Garland.  Are the Phillies?

Posted by: Nat Boyle

Andruw Likely Gone

Update:  Keith Law just predicted Torii Hunter will make 16MM/year in Texas.  That gels with what Andruw’s seeking.

Tim discussed The Andruw Jones Situation recently and whether he’d accept a 1-year deal or a 5-year hometown discount.  Now, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution discusses the inevitable departure of Andruw Jones here and here.

Despite Andruw coming off career-worst season of hitting .222 with 26 homeruns and 94 RBIs, Scott Boras has said there’s "no way" he’ll accept a 1-year deal.  Instead, he’s seeking a contract at the "fair-market value" of $17-20 million per year.  That’s Vernon Wells-esque.  And why not?  Wells has yet to approach Andruw’s career production.  And it’s always easy to forget after 12 years in the bigs that Andruw Jones is only 30.

Jones has three games left on his contract that paid him $75MM over the last 6 years, a real hometown discount.  Boras has made it known they have no interest in taking another one.

With the Braves’ desire to re-sign their new-darling Mark Teixeira after next season, who in the interim will command around $12MM in arbitration, along with salary increases for John Smoltz, Tim Hudson and other arbitration eligible players, Boras’ demands seem to indicate the unthinkable:  An Atlanta without Andruw.

Posted By: Nat Boyle

Kemp/Kershaw for Santana

Well it’s what I call an "official possibility" now.  In his chat yesterday afternoon, Jonah Keri of Page 2 confirmed the Johan Santana for Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw rumor that’s been generating a lot of buzz here at MLBTR.  Let’s discuss, shall we? 

Kemp and Kershaw both have 6 years before they reach free agency.  Santana has 1.  There’s the obvious red flag right there, Dodgers fans.  But if Los Angeles GM Ned Colletti wants to win now, and he usually does, Santana could be the golden ticket.  I shudder to think of how dominant Santana could be not only in the NL but also in Dodgers Stadium.

If you’re the Twins, and you know you can’t afford Santana, I think this is a no-brainer.   Especially if (big if) you think you have Francisco Liriano returning to form.

The question remains:  Is an ace like Johan what the Dodgers need to win?  I’m not so sure.  They’re rotation has been solidified by the emergence of Chad Billingsley.  With a scrapheap lineup of Gonzo, Nomar, and Pierre, Matt Kemp could become their best hitter as early as… tonight.

Posted By: Nat Boyle

Rays Pony Up

Mark Lancaster of the Tampa Tribune reports that the Devil Rays are set to raise their payroll by at least 20% for 2008.  This would bring the total to just under the whopping $35MM mark.  The additional payroll will go toward extending Carlos Pena who only made $800,000 to hit 44 homeruns this year. 

This also brings bad news for teams waiting to get in on the Scott Kazmir sweepstakes.  Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg is exploring long term deals with both Kazmir and James Shields. Sternberg believes that with the ongoing development of their young pitching core and proper offseason moves, a postseason berth is possible for 2008.

Well, one thing seems certain: look for the Rays to be suitors for a number of relievers this off season.

Posted By: Nat Boyle

Pirates Could Shop Jason Bay

Read between the lines in new Pirate GM Neal Huntington’s recent comments, and it certainly seems like the Bucs might consider trading left fielder Jason Bay this winter.  Bay wouldn’t be surprised to go.

The 29 year-old has experienced by far the worst season of his career this year.  After posting OPSs above .900 in his first three seasons, he’s down to just .748 this year (.248/.328/.420).  He only really looked like himself in May.

Back in December, Bay had arthroscopic knee surgery.  However, Bay has said that this has only affected his explosiveness on the basepaths and not his hitting or defense this year.  He’s missed time in September with tendinitis, but it’s been his other knee.  Bay’s not blaming his health at all for his down year, though he admits he’s slowed down.  It could be a confidence issue, it could be that he’s burnt out on all the losing.  It could be a good old-fashioned off-year, similar to those experienced by top comparables Tim Salmon and Dale Murphy.

At an incredibly affordable $5.75MM for ’08 and $7.5MM in ’09, many teams would love to acquire Bay.  He could certainly return to his elite level of 2004-06.  He’d be a nice addition for the White Sox, Twins, Padres (his former club), Orioles, Padres, Dodgers, A’s, Rangers, Angels…OK, almost any team.  I’m guessing the price would be two very good young players, one or both a pitcher.  It’ll be interesting to see if Huntington makes a blockbuster deal in his first offseason as GM, possibly at the Winter Meetings. 

Cubs a Good Fit for Barry’s Bat

Tim mentioned in this post that fielding know-it-all John Dewan thinks Barry Bonds can still play a tolerable outfield.  Well, Bob Nightengale has broken the rumor-ice and brought two NL teams into the "Where Will Bonds Play Next" game:

Chicago and Florida.

The Cubbies, heavy in right handed hitters, would love a bat like Bonds’ in the lineup.  They probably have the money, though they’ll add $10MM in payroll for ’08 just to maintain the current group. With Bonds’ regular need for time off, there’d still be plenty of playing time for Matt Murton.

Bonds, meanwhile, just may be the apple of Jeffrey Loria’s eye.  The Florida Marlins owner was fined by the commissioners office last year for flying Bonds to New York in his personal jet.  But if the Fish deal Dontrelle Willis in the offseason, it’d be hard to convince Bonds that they’re a serious contender.

Alou Hopes To Return To Mets In ’08

The Mets have an interesting decision on their hands with Moises Alou, though it’s not exactly the team’s primary concern right now.  That won’t stop us from talking about it!

Alou has a franchise-record 30 game hitting streak going as a 41 year-old.  Since the start of 2006, he’s hit a monstrous .322/.373/.551 in 655 ABs.  The problem is that he’s shown he’s only good for 90-100 games per year due to injuries.

In this day and age one can place a dollar value on such production.  The numbers say Alou is roughly a 3.5 win player in the time he’s active.  Last I heard a win was worth around $2.1MM – maybe a little extra to the Mets as a perennial contender.  So let’s say Alou is worth $7.5MM even given a chunk of missed time.  That makes the 2008 decision fairly easy – his option is for exactly that amount.  The $1MM buyout pushes the decision even closer to exercising it.

Earlier in September, Alou said he’d retire if the Mets didn’t pick up the option.  Alou’s tune hasn’t completely changed – he said "I don’t think so" when asked today if he’d continue playing if the Mets declined his option.  However, he seems undecided and may try another club closer to his home in the Dominican Republic.

I don’t see the Marlins bringing him back, but the Braves could make sense.  DHing for the Rangers could work as well.  Still, the most likely outcome is the Mets exercising the option.

Discovering MLBTR

I’m always curious as to how people come about  Fortunately, it’s something I can and do track. 

64% of you visit the site directly, probably from a bookmark.  Thanks for that. 

Another 12% of you come from other websites, with the forums, Orioles Hangout, and Peter Abraham’s fine Yankees blog leading the way.  Visit those sites if you haven’t already.  Some others that have been kind to me: MetsBlog, Viva El Birdos, South Side Sox, McCovey Chronicles, and Bleed Cubbie Blue.  All are the leaders for their respective teams.

The other 24% come from search engines, especially Google.  Sometimes I like to flip through the actual search terms that brought people here.  My favorite of the month: 83 people found MLBTR by searching for "ross gload wallpaper."  I need to write about that more often; I just put some up in my condo.

Dodgers Willing To Trade Matt Kemp?

Matt Kemp is an incredibly valuable player.  Some would argue he’s worth more than $50MM over the next three seasons of his career, and he’ll cost a few million bucks.  Then there’s Bill Plaschke, who feels Kemp’s power and speed "have been negated by silly at-bats and baserunning mistakes."  By my calculation Kemp would have to make 742 baserunning mistakes per year to negate his .331/.364/.509 line. 

Plaschke has insider sources indicating that the Dodgers think their best chance to win would be to trade a very good young player like Kemp for a veteran.  U.S.S. Mariner recently noted just how dangerous the Dodgers’ recent brand of "pro-veteran entitlement" can be.

The question then becomes: which teams match up for Kemp?  The Dodgers seem to want a veteran position player, and I imagine the guy would have to be under contract for at least two seasons and probably three.  Third base and the outfield corners might be the openings.

Third basemen who could work include Eric Chavez, Troy Glaus, and Scott Rolen.  I assume Garrett Atkins is too young.  Miguel Tejada could work here also.  In the outfield maybe Ken Griffey Jr. or David DeJesus would fit.  Dodger fans – do you have confidence in Ned Colletti to spin Kemp into an equally valuable veteran?

Looking For Baseball Writers

As you may recall, I’m heading to Cincinnati for the weekend.  I didn’t think the games would mean much when I bought the tickets, but now they’re looking pretty important for my Cubbies.

Anyway, I like to keep MLBTR going strong even when I’m away.  And I’m not one to blog on the road.  So, I’m looking for someone willing to step in and write for the site when I’m gone.  For now I’m looking for coverage on September 28th, 29th, and 30th (probably from a single person).  It would be five or more posts per day, three of them coming before noon each day.  Within that any major rumor would have to be covered, and if they are slow days you’d have some liberties to choose articles or topics to write about.  Each post should be in the typical 3-5 paragraph MLBTR style.  For this particular three-day stint I’m offering $50.

Some things I’m looking for:

  • In college or college graduate
  • Blogging experience a plus
  • Frequent MLBTR commenter a plus
  • Strong writing skills (grammar and spelling are important)
  • Non-biased approach to posts
  • Strong baseball knowledge
  • Style similar to the one MLBTR currently uses
  • Availability on all three days
  • Ideally it would be a person who already devours every baseball story possible throughout the day, so that important breaking rumor-related stuff could be posted in a timely manner

If you’re interested in the coverage this weekend and perhaps future days, please drop me a line at explaining why you’d be good for it.  Thanks.

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