January 2008

Dallas McPherson Signs With Marlins

Ah, now some of the free agents are moving off the shelves.  The Marlins signed Dallas McPherson to a one-year deal worth $425K.  Barely above the minimum; he must’ve liked the opportunity.

He’ll join Jose Castillo and Jorge Cantu in a battle royale to replace Miguel Cabrera at third base.  Tough shoes to fill, eh?  Who knows, maybe that 30 HR power is still in McPherson’s bat somewhere.

With the McPherson and Ensberg signings today, Corey Koskie is pretty much the only remaining available free agent third baseman.

Santana Extension Talk

UPDATE, 1-31-08 at 5:10pm: Jon Heyman says the Mets are offering a six-year, $129MM extension starting with the ’09 season.  Including his ’07 salary that would amount to seven years and $142.25MM.  Santana’s people want to get the total up around $170MM.  Less than 5% of MLBTR readers believe this won’t get done.

UPDATE, 1-31-08 at 11:31am: ESPN’s Jayson Stark says contract talks will spill over onto Friday, the deadline day.  Chances of failing to reach an agreement are "remote."  For now it appears that the Mets want the sixth year as a vesting option and Santana’s people want it guaranteed.

Stark also adds that Kyle Lohse may not be completely out of the picture for the Mets, even if they do sign Santana.

FROM 1-31-08 at 8:54am:

There’s still the little matter of the Mets signing Johan Santana to perhaps the largest deal ever for a pitcher.  Let’s explore.

  • LEN3 said yesterday to expect an extension (starting with 2009) in the range of six years, $130MM.  Remember, Santana is signed for 2008 at $13.25MM.
  • Charley Walters expects a six-year deal worth more than $150MM (which would include a $7MM signing bonus and performance incentives).
  • Sabernomics says Santana might be worth around $138MM over the 2009-14 seasons.
  • What do you think?  Take MLBTR’s Johan Santana extension poll.  Click here to see the results of this poll.

Brad Wilkerson Signs With Mariners

The Mariners officially signed Brad Wilkerson today to a one-year deal.  Scott Boras says he’s a good fit even if the Ms don’t trade Adam Jones.  Now that I think about it and see the price – $3MM – I might agree with that.  The Seattle Times’ Larry Stone considers this signing a "possible precursor to finalization" of a Jones trade.  So maybe progress has been made on the Erik Bedard front.

Wilkerson, 29, hit .234/.319/.467 for the Rangers in ’07, earning $4.35MM.  Wilkerson had some interesting years from 2002-04, putting up OPSs above .840.  Wrist and shoulder injuries seemingly had a lot to do with his struggles thereafter.

Our Commenting System

I am not planning to do away with the TypeKey commenting system, because it is tied to my blogging service TypePad.  I love TypePad for many reasons and I’m sticking with it.

I know many of you have complained about TypeKey though.  TypePad’s CEO, Chris Alden, recently asked for suggestions to improve.  I emailed him passing along the complaints about TypeKey, and also suggesting that users be able to use their TypeKey logins for message boards.  He replied:

I also appreciate your suggestions on TypeKey. We will be making major changes and improvement to TypeKey this year and your thoughts are valuable. We also have been and are continuing to invest heavily in our spam fighting system. I also like the suggestion on message boards.

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Morgan Ensberg Signs With Yankees

According to a source, the Yankees have signed Morgan Ensberg.  They’ll use him at first base (and maybe off the bench).  It’s a minor league deal.  Jerry Crasnick confirms it, noting that the Rays and Giants expressed interest.

Ensberg, 32, hit .231/.320/.404 for the Astros and Padres in ’07.  He earned $4.35MM, and the Padres non-tendered him in December.  The Astros had designated him for assignment in July after acquiring Ty Wigginton.  Ensberg has not been the same since seriously bruising his shoulder in June of ’06.

Erik Bedard Rumors

UPDATES, 1-31-08 at 2:13pm: Interesting note from SI.com’s Jon Heyman – the Indians made a late bid for Bedard.

UPDATE, 1-31-08 at 11:36am: Bedard’s agent takes a swing at MLB.com for suggesting that the deal was held up because of extension talks with the Orioles.  Not true.

UPDATE, 1-31-08 at 11:24am: Buster Olney checks in with some new info.  He explains a tricky situation regarding the rules of making trades and passing physicals.  Olney says the Orioles have asked the Mariners for an agreement where they would have have to make the trade if Adam Jones and George Sherrill passed their physicals.  This written agreement could move things along.

FROM 1-31-08 at 9:12am:

Erik Bedard rumors/drama – here’s the latest.

  • Andy MacPhail says Peter Angelos did not nix any deal.  McPhail says trade talks are ongoing and no deals are expected today.
  • Yesterday it was reported by MLB.com’s Jim Street that the Orioles were making a last-ditch effort to sign Bedard to an extension, perhaps as long as five years.

Luis Gonzalez Signs With Marlins

UPDATE, 1-31-08 at 12:26pm: Rosenthal confirms the signing.  He believes it to be for $2MM guaranteed plus another $1MM in incentives.  Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel doesn’t understand the signing.

FROM 1-31-08 at 10:41am:

According to azfamily.com, outfielder Luis Gonzalez has signed with the Marlins.  It was said on Sunday that Gonzalez balked at a $2MM offer from the team. 

I’m not sure how this is going to work – the Marlins’ outfield seemed set at Willingham, Maybin, and Hermida.  Maybe Gonzalez can spell Willingham and Jacobs.

Rockies Still Talking Long-Term With Hawpe

Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that talks continue between the Colorado Rockies and Brad Hawpe regarding the possibility of a long-term deal.  This seems to conflict with Tracy Ringolsby’s report that progress was not being made.

Priority number one, for the time being, is getting Hawpe inked for the coming season.  With an arbitration hearing looming next month, Hawpe has submitted a $4.35 million dollar asking price, while the Rockies have submitted a figure of $3.575 million.

But looking beyond 2008 is a priority for the team.  Discussions point to a deal that would secure Hawpe through 2011, his first year of free agency, with a club option in that final year.

According to Renck:

The key to these contracts is finding comparables, and creating a big enough club option to entice the player.  For Hawpe, Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay represents a potential one. As a first-time arbitration-eligible player in 2006, Bay signed a four-year contract worth $18.25 million.

By Matt Birt

Jorge Julio Signs With Indians

According to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, the Indians have signed reliever Jorge Julio to a minor league deal.  He’ll join a battle for the team’s one open ‘pen spot.

Julio at least has relative youth and velocity on his side.  He turns 29 in March.  He had a 5.23 ERA in 62 innings in ’07, posting an 8.1 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.  Control and home runs allowed have often been a problem for Julio.

Twins Wanted Wang/Kennedy For Santana?

According to Buster Olney in his blog today:

The Twins tried to re-engage the Yankees Monday night, calling and asking, again, for Hughes to be in a package. The Yankees said no, and the Twins then asked, instead, for Chien-Ming Wang and Ian Kennedy, and the Yankees said no.

This differs from Bob Klapisch’s take yesterday.  Klapisch said the Twins’ last-ditch proposal to the Yankees was for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and a top prospect.  Regardless, the Yankees preferred to enter the ’08 season with Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain in the rotation.  Kennedy and Mike Mussina will compete for the fifth spot.