January 2008

Santana Contract Could Spell Sabathia Departure

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes today that a six-year extension in the $130-150MM range for Johan Santana is likely to spell an end to C.C. Sabathia‘s Indians career after this season.  The Indians made an offer to Sabathia in December, something probably in the range of four years and $70MM.  It would be hard for Sabathia to pass on the chance to double that total.

Sabathia does want to stay and believes negotiations for an extension are progressing (he’s let his agent handle it so far).  Indians GM Mark Shapiro would probably like to avoid an in-season contract distraction but no one’s suggested any deadlines out yet.

Odds and Ends: Interview, Felix , Fujikawa

Let’s kick things off today with odds and ends.

  • Charley Walters says that "it wouldn’t be surprising" if the Twins go after Josh Fogg for some veteran stability.  I could see that.
  • I did an interview with Baseball Zealot Radio yesterday, which can be found here in mp3 form.
  • Bleeding Blue and Teal talks Mariners with KOMO Radio’s Shannon Drayer.  One interesting note, she wondered whether the Mariners might start thinking about a long-term deal for Felix Hernandez.
  • JapanBall.com says top reliever Kyuji Fujikawa signed with the Hansin Tigers for about $2.64MM.  The top-notch closer hoped to be posted, but the Tigers would not honor that request.
  • Anyone having problems viewing MLBTradeRumors.com?  I few people have emailed me saying it won’t load.  Let me know in the comments or at mlbtraderumors@gmail.com (which browser you use would be helpful).  I am hearing that FireFox users are having problems but clearing cookies and cache should solve them.
  • For those wondering, the times on MLBTR are in the Central Standard Time Zone, because that’s where I am.

Mariners Close To Bedard Deal?

UPDATE, 1-30-08 at 5:19pm: MLB.com’s Jim Street says a last-ditch attempt by the Orioles to sign Bedard to a five-year contract is holding up the trade.  Street says Bedard’s agent told Andy MacPhail it would take seven years and $100MM, however.  Street touches on the Jones degenerative hip thing, indicating that the Orioles heard this but it turned out to be unsubstantiated.

UPDATE, 1-30-08 at 4:38pm: Geoff Baker checks in.  He’s not able to corroborate the MLB.com report.  He was able to dismiss the Adam Jones hip stuff.  Baker’s heard that Angelos was angry about the Jones leak though.  Baker does not buy Andy MacPhail’s talk of other clubs being in the mix – the Mariners have a very strong offer.

FROM 1-30-08 at 3:56pm:

According to MLB.com’s Jim Molony:

Talks were thought to be stalled, but multiple MLB sources said Wednesday that Baltimore and Seattle are close to finalizing the deal the two teams have been discussing for weeks. The trade would send Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard to the Mariners for outfielder Adam Jones, pitchers George Sherill and Chris Tillman and as many as two additional prospects.

Molony’s article was published at 1pm CST today.  5 for 1 would be quite a package.  Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider still sees a 4 for 1 coming together by week’s end (righthand sidebar).

Mailbag: Crisp, Anderson, Fogg, and More

The mailbag can be reached at mlbtraderumors@gmail.com.

What day had the highest readership so far this offseason (yesterday)? How many visitors? – Corbin

Yesterday we had about 200K pageviews, which still pales in comparison to the second day of the Winter Meetings (over 736K pageviews).  I am hoping to break this record on July 31st.

There seems to be more of a trend lately for teams to step up and extend key players before they reach free agency. Will this trend continue, and will the FA market at the end of 2008 end up looking as bare as the past market was? Does the Player’s Association have any concerns with this trend and the effect it could have on salaries (if any)? – The Stork

I can’t speak for the Player’s Association, but I can’t see what they could do about it even if they were concerned.  Players like security, teams like cost certainty and possible discounts.  I think the trend will continue.  Look at the Cubs with Aramis Ramirez.  They let him hit free agency and signed him at 5/75, but could’ve done better if they signed him earlier.

I was wondering if you really see a place for Coco Crisp somewhere other than Boston. – Tim

The Cardinals, Reds, White Sox, and A’s are four possibilities I can think of, and all of these destinations have reasons against.  With Crisp under contract through 2010 (assuming his option is exercised), Theo should be in no hurry despite whatever Crisp’s agent says.

You clearly need to pay attention to the local press for each team to sniff out trade rumors across baseball. We all know which markets have the heaviest media coverage of their baseball teams. Which markets do you find have the lightest local media coverage? – Kevin

The Orioles seem a bit light from my vantage point – it’s only really the Sun getting scoops.  The A’s are neglected, but fortunately we have Susan Slusser on the beat.  The Marlins seem really light to me on blog coverage.

Are there any truth to the rumors that the Chicago White Sox are shopping outfielder Brian Anderson?  I have heard that the Cincinnati Reds are a possible destination for him.  How would Anderson fit into the Reds plans and what type of package would net a player like Anderson? – Rob

Haven’t heard the Reds rumor, Rob.  I guess he could make sense for them just to add some depth.  Given that Anderson does not have a role on the White Sox, the price should be low.  A minor league pitcher or two that I’ve never heard of.

Tim, what teams do you think had the three best offseasons? The three worst? Thanks! – Judy

The magnitude of the Santana trade has to put the Mets in as one of the three best.  I know it’s simplistic but I will take the D’Backs and Tigers as the other two, just for adding impact players via trade without hurting their MLB clubs.  The Royals are among my worst.  I didn’t like the Guillen and Olivo signings or the trade of Billy Buckner.  The Astros signed Kaz Matsui, didn’t get any starting pitching, and traded the farm for Miguel Tejada (who has a few issues).  I will also nominate the Pirates, who mostly just sat around.

I know Josh Fogg is not a big-name guy, but do you have anything on his status? – Clay

It’s been strangely quiet on the Fogg front.  Interest was mostly confined to the Reds.  Maybe they’ll still get him at a discount.  Or maybe he’ll re-up with Colorado.

Who are the early favorites of guys who could be moved come July 31st with contracts ending? – Greg

Joe Crede, Mark Ellis, Mark Grudzielanek, Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, Milton Bradley, Adam Dunn, Ryan Dempster, Matt Morris, Mike Mussina, Brian Fuentes, and Damaso Marte are my picks.

Is there any chance of Twins trying to sign another starting pitcher? Without Santanna it leaves Liriano, Bonser, Baker, Slowey for sure to start it seems. It really seems to look like the 4 and 5 spots are going to be filled with unproven pitchers. Is maybe Livan Hernandez or one of the other guys the Mets were looking at a possibility? – Nate

I hadn’t thought of this Nate but a bargain veteran does seem possible.  Tony Armas Jr., Eric Milton, Jeff Weaver, Odalis Perez, some random $3MM guy like that.  Probably not Livan and definitely not Kyle Lohse.

Now that the Johan Santana business is pretty much done with, what are you going to do now? -04Forever

The rumors never stop. They just keep coming and coming and coming. There’s never a letup, It’s relentless. Every day they pile up more and more, but the more you get out, the more they keep coming. And then the bar code reader breaks. And then it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse day.

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Jeff Cirillo Leaning Towards Retirement

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Jeff Cirillo will likely retire after being told that the Brewers do not have a spot on their roster for him. Cirillo stated that he would only play for Seattle (where his family resides) or Milwaukee in 2008.

Cirillo, a two-time all-star, has not been a full-time player since 2002 and enjoyed his greatest success with the Brewers and Colorado from 1998-2001 when he posted three straight seasons with an average greater than .320 and four straight years with an OPS north of .830.

By Cork Gaines

Nathan Still Likes Twins

Joe Nathan is not bothered by the Johan Santana trade; he thinks the Twins can still contend.  Nathan wants to stay, but he’s a free agent after the ’08 season.  And he’s not planning on giving a huge discount again.  I’m guessing that could mean $60MM over four years.

Nathan and his agent are waiting for a call from the Twins.  GM Bill Smith may soon be free to turn his attention to Nathan and decide whether to try to retain one of the game’s top closers. 

Odds and Ends: Helms, Bako, Crisp

I am going to toss today’s non-Santana odds and ends into this post.

  • Paul Hagen runs through some possibilities for the likely-to-be-traded Wes Helms: Marlins, Rays, Twins, Giants, and A’s.  Any teams you’d like to add to his speculation?
  • The Pirates have moved on from Johnny Estrada to Paul Bako.  He’d battle to back up Ronny Paulino.
  • OK this is Santana-related.  Gordon Edes says the Red Sox will listen to offers for Coco Crisp, but are fine with keeping him around as perhaps the game’s best fourth outfielder.  See any good fits for Crisp?

MLBTR Mailbag

I want to do regular Wednesday mailbags, but skipped last week’s.  Sorry ’bout that.  Submit your mailbag questions to mlbtraderumors@gmail.com.  Just to mix it up let’s keep the questions Johan/Bedard/Roberts-free this week.

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Santana Aftermath

Now that the players have been agreed upon for the Johan Santana trade, some depictions of the 11th-hour negotiations have leaked out.

  • LEN3 says Santana is expected to get a six-year deal worth around $130MM ($21.66MM annually).  He also notes that Santana had given the Twins an end-of-day Tuesday deadline or else he would’ve used his no-trade clause.
  • Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record chronicles Bill Smith’s last-ditch attempts to get the Yankees and Red Sox involved.  He apparently asked the Yankees for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and a top prospect and was denied.  The Red Sox wouldn’t part with Jon Lester or Jacoby Ellsbury.  To me this makes the Yankees and Red Sox look really fickle.  They were willing to offer up these huge packages a few months ago but now both have done a 180? I know the free agent market has shrunk but it’s still crazy that their stances changed so dramatically.
  • Newsday says the Mets added Deolis Guerra as the final offer yesterday. 
  • Joe Posnanski has heard many varying opinions on the deal.

The Adam Jones Degenerative Hip Rumor

UPDATE, 1-30-08 at 9:09am: John Hickey of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer calls Charles’ report "completely unsubstantiated."

FROM 1-29-08 at 10:40pm:

This story got lost in the shuffle today.  Let’s take a look at what we know about the Adam Jones degenerative hip rumor.

  • The rumor originated with Stan Charles, publisher of a Baltimore sports weekly called Press Box.  Charles appeared on the Mark Viviano Show on ESPN 1300 Tuesday afternoon. 
  • Unfortunately I did not hear exactly what Charles said – the show may be up for download on Wednesday.  But the gist of Charles’ rumor based on emailers who listened is that the Orioles believe Jones has a degenerative hip condition.  They are trying to use this leverage to get more players for Erik Bedard.  The Orioles saw firsthand how quickly a degenerative hip killed Albert Belle‘s career.
  • Roch Kubatko of the Baltimore Sun: All I can say about the topic is that the Orioles became concerned with something related to Jones, and the fact that they wanted to bring him in for a physical before alerting Bedard’s agent that a trade agreement was reached should send off signals. But we’ve heard nothing up to this point about his hip.  Kubatko implied that Charles was in dangerous territory with his claim.