Welcome to today's roundup...
- Josh Byrnes would never give a pitcher eight years, just so you know (hat tip AZ Snakepit).
- South Side Sox explains how Josh Fields was posturing in not signing his contract. Unrelated interesting fact - Fields seemed headed to Florida in a Miguel Cabrera for a split-second in December.
- Bobby Jenks' salary is set to skyrocket next year, as he becomes arbitration-eligible.
- Freddy Garcia's agent talks about the Mets, Yankees, and Red Sox for his client. Garcia is targeting a June or July return.
- DRays Bay's free season preview guide is now available. Speaking of the Rays, owner Stuart Sternberg may be willing to spend some money for midseason acquisitions if need be. And he "sounded as if he were open" to the idea of signing Barry Bonds, according to Marc Topkin.
Nothing groundbreaking on the Brian Roberts front, but here's the latest from Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Zrebiec says the O's won't send their scout to watch the Cubs until next week. It's still looking like Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, and one or two others. Zrebiec adds:
Both sides remain optimistic that a deal could get done.
This is obviously dragging, but the Orioles have no incentive to rush.
According to Mark Hale of the New York Post, outfielder Shawn Green has decided to retire. He had interest from a half-dozen clubs, but apparently nothing close enough to his California home. Green retires at 35 with about $100MM earned in his career. That'd be kind of nice, wouldn't it?
Green finishes with a line of .283/.355/.494 and 328 home runs. He topped 40 HR in three different seasons.
According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have signed closer Manny Corpas to a four-year deal with two option years. The options cover his last year of arbitration and first of free agency. $8MM is guaranteed, with potential for $22MM. Renck has the details here. It's definitely a team-friendly contract. The Rox have also locked up youngsters Troy Tulowitzki and Jeff Francis. Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe are currently going year-to-year.
There has never been a deal of this kind, a closer with less than two years service time signing for four years. Closers like Jonathan Papelbon and Matt Capps, also possibilities for long-term deals, have two years service time.
In today's Baltimore Sun, Dan Connolly hashes out the oft-rumored idea of the Orioles signing hometown boy Mark Teixeira after this season. He opines:
If Peter Angelos sets a club salary record, it would be for Teixeira.
Connolly also notes the team's repaired relations with Scott Boras and the agent's occasional tendency to push clients to bad teams to maximize paydays. For his part, Teixeira's not saying much. There's plenty of reason to stay in Atlanta if they offer something competitive.
If Teixeira has a huge 40 HR, 120 RBI year, he'd seemingly be in line for at least Connolly's predicted six years, $120MM. In my mind, the legitimate possible suitors are the Orioles, Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, Mariners, Mets, and Giants. You could throw the Los Angeles teams into the mix, though they have solid young first basemen.
Time for a new series here at MLBTR called Blocked Prospects. We'll name some position players with Double A or better experience who seem to be buried on their current team's depth chart.
One such player is Cubs second baseman/center fielder Eric Patterson, who turns 25 in April. Patterson hit .297/.362/.455 in Triple A last year. Baseball America applauds his speed and surprising power, but isn't keen on his defense. Patterson is able to draw a walk, something his brother Corey never figured out. Patterson is behind Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot, Ronny Cedeno, Sam Fuld, and Felix Pie in the eyes of the Cubs; repeated tardiness last year didn't help.
With a .268/.332/.422 projection from Baseball Prospectus, Patterson's bat would be league average at second base or center field. He could make sense as Brian Roberts' replacement in Baltimore. He could be useful in Minnesota, where center field and second base are unsettled. Patterson could provide competition for Jose Lopez in Seattle. The Giants need any kind of position-playing talent, though their outfield is more than full. San Diego is somewhat feasible, especially since Kevin Towers and Jim Hendry often match up for deals. What kind of future do you see for Eric Patterson?
Mark Hale of the New York Post recently spoke to Mike Piazza's agent, Dan Lozano. Piazza may retire if he doesn't find the right opportunity, but he is currently mulling two interested teams. Lozano indicated that there is one team from each league under consideration. Japan is not a possibility for Piazza.
Piazza, 39, hit .275/.313/.414 in 329 plate appearances last year as Oakland's DH. He was limited by a shoulder strain and bruised triceps. Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system has him at .255/.310/.426 in 294 PAs this year, a performance worth $675K. If Piazza gets a Major League deal, the A's will get a decent draft pick.
Tampa Bay would be a reasonable guess for the AL club. Could the Marlins make sense in the NL? If I recall correctly Piazza didn't fare too well in his stint at first base with the Mets, so I'm not sure if that's an option.
- Scott Spiezio is in trouble with the law, and the Cardinals decided to release him for it. Joe Ostermeier notes that the Cards now have about $20MM in dead money on the payroll for '08.
- Evan Grant believes the Rangers would want Jose Ceda or Donald Veal in a deal for Marlon Byrd.
- Call it informed speculation, but Mike Berardino wonders whether Carl Pavano could end up back with the Marlins eventually.
- Ken Rosenthal recently wrote that the Padres were eyeing Gabe Gross. Tom Haudricourt found out that Kevin Towers never inquired on the Brewers outfielder, but that doesn't mean the Friars weren't eyeing him.
- Ken Davidoff makes a case for why the Astros should sign Roger Clemens.
- Sadly, the Rockies pulled the plug on a deal with Neifi Perez at the last minute.
- We hear "best shape of his life" often in Spring Training, but not with the newly signed Bartolo Colon. The Red Sox have some history pursuing Colon, as noted by Rob Bradford.
- Conor Jackson switched agents.
One 2009 MLB free agent who's not getting a ton of attention yet is lifetime Angel Garret Anderson. The Angels are faced with a tough decision - $14MM for '09 or a $3MM buyout. So Tony Reagins will need to ask himself if he'd sign Anderson to a one-year, $11MM deal. PECOTA says he'll be worth less than $2MM in '09.
Finally free of injuries, Anderson had a big second half in '07. This year, the Angels will wisely give him a break by rotating him through the DH spot on occasion. As Mike DiGiovanna writes in the above-linked article, the Angels' decision on Anderson will be especially tough if he has a good but not great season (something similar to his last three).
Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, says "People are being cheated" by not being able to see Bonds play. Interesting choice of words. Beyond the mild Tony La Russa flirtation, Heyman notes one anonymous AL GM who wanted Bonds but had his owner veto the idea.