October 2007

Mike Cameron Suspended For Stimulant

Mike Cameron recently appeared on XX Sports Radio in San Diego today and stated that he will receive a 25-game suspension for a banned substance, but not a steroid.  That implies a stimulant, for which the penalty is 25 games for a second positive test (example: Neifi Perez).  Actually Neifi tested positive a third time and snagged an 80 game ban.  Here’s the press release for Cameron.

This should knock his price down a bit, knowing that Cameron can only play 137 games next season.  The Braves are considered a strong contender for him.

Pettitte: Yankees Or Retirement

Andy Pettitte has made an honorable decision – if he pitches in 2008, it will be for the Yankees.  He respects the fact that they awarded him a $16MM player option.  Sure, he could decline it and get a bigger multiyear package elsewhere.  Many speculated he’d do so.  However the extra money isn’t a concern for him.

My best guess is that he’ll exercise the option.  That would be odd, though, a player exercising a player option when it actually represents his true worth.

Schilling Names Targets

UPDATE, 10-31-07: Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe spoke to a Red Sox source who does not expect Schilling to return to the team.  The Red Sox will offer an incentive-based contract.  The source added that Tim Wakefield‘s option is likely to be exercised.

FROM 10/30/07:

Interesting.  After Boston, Curt Schilling has 12 teams he’d consider pitching for in 2008.  Here they are:


Schilling had talked about the idea of going somewhere he could tutor young pitchers, like Tampa Bay.  But it sounds like that idea is out and he wants to play for a contender.  Not that the Rays can’t contend in ’08.  I’m curious as to why the White Sox and Rockies were excluded, but who knows.

That’s a nice extensive list, so it should be fun if Boston passes.  At a reasonable one-year commitment, any of the dozen should have interest no matter what their rotation looks like.

Angels Talk To Boras About A-Rod

Angels’ GM Tony Reagins has already spoken to Scott Boras about Alex Rodriguez.  Of course, they can’t talk dollars and cents until November 13th.

Mike DiGiovanna notes in the above-linked article that the Angels are not phased at all by Rodriguez’s purported ego.  In contrast, the Red Sox are said to be concerned with clubhouse chemistry and Rodriguez’s recent postseason performance. 

It’s all about the money for the Angels – owner Arte Moreno would have to be willing to take a short-term loss to bring A-Rod aboard.  But even if Moreno bleeds $15-20MM a year because of Rodriguez, he still comes out ahead in the long run.  Right now he’s up roughly a quarter billion bucks given the value of the Angels. Another fact to consider, per Buster Olney, is that each team will get roughly $30MM+ from the successful MLB.com.

DioGiovanna also suggests that Moreno’s talk about not paying any player $20MM is just posturing, part of the negotiation process.  I agree – if Moreno was really that opposed to it, why not just declare the Angels out of the Rodriguez sweepstakes right now?  Instead they’re meeting with Boras.  They’re interested.

Glendon Rusch To Attempt Comeback

Southpaw Glendon Rusch missed the 2007 season because of a blood clot in his lung.  He’s one of the good guys in baseball, and we’re rooting for him here at MLBTR. 

According to his agency, Rusch is ready to go and has declared free agency.  The 33 year-old will throw a bullpen session for teams on Friday.  He’s been throwing for a couple of months now.  Rusch has never had an arm problem, and he’s lost weight recently.  He’s been throwing 86-88 with good command and should be considered for open fifth starter gigs.  At worst, he makes a good swingman.  I’m guessing he’d sign for $1MM with maybe another million or two in incentives. 

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Astros Interested In Hunter, Rowand

UPDATE, 10-31-07:  A few more notes on the Astros’ interest in Hunter and Rowand.  According to Wade, the Astros are looking to add either a center fielder or a right fielder – keeping Hunter Pence in center is an option.  Also, he calls the contact with Hunter and Rowand "procedural," noting that the Astros will talk to roughly a third of all free agents.

FROM 10-30-07:

Looks like Ed Wade and the Astros will make a play for a free agent center fielder this winter.  They’ve already made initial contact with the agents for Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand

That didn’t strike me as a major need given the current outfield of Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence, and Luke Scott.  I agree with RotoWorld on this – Scott could be a great acquisition if the Astros push him out of the picture.  An awful April obscured Scott’s stats – he hit .267/.360/.534 from May forward.  Same thing happened with Kevin Kouzmanoff.

On the other hand, Pence is better suited for right field than center.  So as long as Wade gets full value in the form of a starting pitcher for Scott.  Unfortunately they are not on Curt Schilling‘s list but three other NL Central teams are.

Options Declined: Lieberthal, Riske, Perez, Erstad, Myers

Many options were declined tonight, though none were unexpected.

  • The Dodgers passed on Mike Lieberthal for $1.5MM.  He only got 77 ABs this year and wasn’t worth it.
  • David Riske had a $2.9MM player option.  He declined it given his stellar 2.45 ERA in 69.2 innings this year.  He’ll get a nice Bob Howry/Jamie Walker type of deal for three years.
  • The Royals took a $1.5MM buyout rather than pay Odalis Perez $9MM.  It was a nice gamble at the time but they don’t need him for ’08 at effectively $7.5MM.  His season ended with a knee injury in late August.
  • Darin Erstad got a lot of love in the Chicago press but he wasn’t worth $3.5MM to the White Sox.  He gets a $250K consolation prize.
  • Mike Myers for $1.1MM – nope.  The Sox tried him and he was terrible. 

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Dodgers Serious About Andruw Jones

Bill Shaikin has a small note in today’s column:

Scott Boras is believed to consider the Dodgers a more serious contender for center fielder Andruw Jones than for Alex Rodriguez.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen the Dodgers linked to Jones; David O’Brien suggested it several weeks ago.

Ned Colletti, you may recall, wasn’t exactly thrilled with Scott Boras a year ago when J.D. Drew unexpectedly opted out.  But it sounded like much of his anger was directed at Drew.  Boras seems to disagree with the notion that Jones should come with a significant price cut this winter.  Before the season he was talking about $20MM annually.  He’d still want at least $15MM per year.

The signing could leave the Dodgers with an outfield of Juan Pierre, Jones, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier.  One of the last two could be peddled, and the team might have soured on Kemp a bit.  How about Kemp for Miguel Tejada

Dunn, Hatteberg Option Decisions Due Sunday

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have to make decisions on the options for Adam Dunn, Scott Hatteberg, Eddie Guardado, and Javier Valentin by November 4th.

  • Dunn is the big one; his is for $13MM with a $0.5MM buyout.  This is an easy decision to exercise, though it will cause full no-trade protection to kick in until June 15th.  After that he gets to choose 10 clubs to which he would accept a trade.  But I think that if the Reds want him out of town the two parties will find a way to make it work (ie, they’ll give him a million or two extra).
  • Hatteberg’s option is for $1.85MM with a $0.15MM buyout.  This is so cheap it’s hard to decline, even if Joey Votto is ready.  The Reds could definitely exercise it and trade Hatteberg at their discretion.  The market for first basemen is weak.
  • Everyday Eddie has a $3MM club option with no apparent buyout.  He didn’t show anything, so I’m guessing the Reds will pass.
  • Valentin’s option is for $1.35MM with a $75K buyout.  I imagine they’ll exercise it.
  • Since we are talking about options, I should add that Moises Alou‘s is due on November 15th.  His is for $7.5MM vs. a $1MM buyout.
  • Additionally in that same Fay article, Baker denies any tampering with Kerry Wood or Mark Prior.  They didn’t talk about coming to the Reds, and Baker has spoken to over 40 players since he was hired.

Yankees Could Pursue Miguel Cabrera

Clark Spencer writes of the possibility of the Yankees going after Miguel Cabrera to fill their third base vacancy (assuming M-Cab can hold up at the position for a few more years).

Cabrera’s salary will jump from $7.4MM past $11MM this year through arbitration.  A year from now he could be looking at $15-17MM.

Spencer sees a partial match in center fielder Melky Cabrera; the Marlins have had instability at that position since Juan Pierre was dealt.  Add Phil Hughes to the package and I think this could get done.  The Yankees seem to favor Joba Chamberlain over Hughes (I don’t have any proof for that) and Chien-Ming Wang will be getting pricey.  Ian Kennedy is solid but the Marlins are going to want a front-rotation guy like Hughes. 

One consideration is that if Cabrera can’t stay at third base, they might have to move him to first and pass on Mark Teixeira next winter.  But as I said earlier, maybe the Yanks will take a break from Boras clients anyway.  Hank Steinbrenner seems primed to make all sorts of petty/irrational decisions.  That should be fun to watch.