February 2008

Red Sox Evaluate Freddy Garcia

Rob Bradford of the Boston Herald reports that free agent pitcher Freddy Garcia is in the Red Sox clubhouse today.  He believes it’s more than just a visit; the Red Sox may be evaluating his health.  No signing appears close though.  Garcia may have a dozen teams to choose from if he proves healthy and markets himself around June. 

Michael Silverman confirms that Boston’s training and rehab staff took a look at Garcia.

Odds and Ends: Hughes, Nathan, Pedro

Here’s today’s collection.

  • Interesting article about Phil Hughes‘ blog.  We should see more and more player blogs as the Internet generation reaches the Majors.
  • Jonathan Mayo’s book Facing Clemens has hit shelves.  The MLB.com writer attempts to put you in the batter’s box against the Rocket.
  • Nothin’ doin’ on the Joe Nathan talks.  I thought they’d hammer this one out to restore some Johan goodwill.  Guess not.
  • Like reading about injuries?  Take a look at Baseball Injury Report, by my friend Rick Wilton.  Especially good for fantasy junkies.
  • Pedro isn’t going to approach the Mets about an extension, but he’d listen if they came to him.  The Mets want to see at least part of this season play out before considering it.

Bartolo Colon Signs With Red Sox

TUESDAY: The Boston Herald has the contract details.  Colon gets $1.25MM if he’s in the bigs, and the deal can reach $7MM if he makes 30 starts.

SUNDAY: According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Red Sox have signed starter Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal.  The deal has no guaranteed money.  That’s a far cry from the guaranteed two-year big league deal Colon wanted at the beginning of the offseason.

Colon will add depth to Boston’s rotation, and you certainly have to like the move for the Red Sox.  Maybe Colon was motivated by a chance to win or a good medical staff, because Boston seems a poor place to find innings if he’s mediocre or worse.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Roger Clemens

Last week we looked at one face of the steroid era (Barry Bonds) and wondered where he might end up playing in 2008. Today let’s take a look at the newest face of the steroid era, Roger Clemens. Clemens has yet to decide whether to pitch in 2008.

While his friends believe that the Astros are the only option, Buster Olney suggested the Cardinals could also be an option. And while the Yankees and the Red Sox have shown zero interest, we can’t rule out a mid-season return to either team. Both have question marks in their rotations, and if the proposed solutions don’t pan out, they will be in the market for a proven pitcher in July, no matter what Hank Steinbrenner says now. Another team that could be a darkhorse after the All-Star break is the New York Mets. We learned yesterday that they have tried trading Orlando Hernandez, as there appear to be serious concerns about his health. And if the Mets are fighting for a playoff spot in July, memories of last year’s collapse with the added pressure of having added Johan Santana will fuel the effort to win "at any cost." Let’s also not forget that 11 more wins would put Rocket into the Top 5 all-time and 20 wins (2009?) would make Clemens the third winningest pitcher ever, behind only Cy Young and Walter Johnson. Let’s take a look at what some are thinking about Clemens in the Blogosphere.

If there is a topic you would like to see covered in "Baseball Blogs Weigh In" please let me know HERE.

  • The Redbird Blog does not see Clemens as a difference-maker for the Cardinals, and wonder if it is worth signing him.
  • C70 At The Bat does not think that the Cardinals pitching situation is as dire as some have portrayed, so the need for Clemens may be minimal.
  • My Baseball Bias reiterates what Hank Steinbrenner stated…Clemens will not pitch for the Yankees. They also think that the Astros are the only logical destination for Clemens.
  • Center Field feels that the Phillies would be a good match based on an actual letter sent from PETA to Clemens urging him to become a vegetarian.

And that’s it from the Blogosphere. Is Roger Clemens pitching in ’08 a non-story? Is there a team out there that we are not considering that the Rocket could help this season? Let us know in the comments.

By Cork Gaines

Brian Roberts Rumors

Yesterday, SI.com’s Jon Heyman wrote that the Cubs-Orioles Brian Roberts trade talks still have a little life, and the O’s are scouting various young Cubs.  On Sunday Jim Salisbury said the Orioles only needed to decide which pitchers they want to complete a deal.

Today, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times checks in with the latest.  To begin with, Mark DeRosa‘s heart complications seem under control, and won’t force the Cubs’ hand.

Wittenmyer adds that the ball is indeed in Baltimore’s court, and their scouts will need at least a week to observe various Cubs.  He says the Orioles are requesting Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, and two more top youngsters.  That steep price could cause the Cubs to turn to Coco Crisp or Marlon Byrd.  However, neither the Red Sox nor the Rangers seem to value either as a fourth outfielder.

Shannon Stewart Signs With Blue Jays

TODAY: Fun fact/correction, courtesy of Susan Slusser.  Turns out the A’s will not be receiving a compensation pick for Stewart, since he signed a minor league deal.  It also seems a long shot that they get one for Mike Piazza, as he could retire, settle for a minor league deal, or head to Japan.

2-24-08: According to Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail, Shannon Stewart has signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays. It seems that Stewart’s agent switch helped facilitate the contract, as the Jays made an offer earlier in the winter.  My guess is that this is around a million bucks, and you really can’t complain about that.  Stewart is a fine defender in left and a solid fourth outfielder.  Stewart was originally drafted by the Jays 19th overall in ’92.  That draft also had Derek Jeter, Jason Kendall, and Johnny Damon in the first round.

By the way, the A’s are set to receive the 39th or 46th overall pick as compensation for Stewart, depending on what Mike Piazza does.

Meanwhile, Adam Lind joins the class of expendable young outfielders with MLB experience.  Lind, 24, didn’t hit much last year but projects at .267/.324/.443 according to PECOTA.  That’s a notch below other available guys like Matt Murton and Gabe Gross.

2009 MLB Free Agents List

Our trusty 2009 MLB Free Agents list is back (players who are free agents after the ’08 season).  The link has also returned to the sidebar for easy reference.  Have a look.  Thoughts on the shape of the market, or corrections to the list?

Orlando Hudson Heads Into Contract Year

Second baseman Orlando Hudson is set to reach free agency after the 2008 season, with Mark Ellis as the strongest alternative in his class.  Hudson will be 31 for the ’09 season and figures to get a deal averaging at least $7MM.  Baseball Prospectus’ numbers say a fair value four-year pact would be around $25MM.  But Hudson is significantly better than Luis Castillo, who recently received that deal from the Mets.  Hudson should easily pass $30MM on a four-year deal. 

Perhaps only Aaron Hill can rival Hudson’s second base defense.  Hudson is no slouch with the bat either, though his splits show a large boost from Chase Field.  He’s still not an easy player to replace.  The D’Backs can afford Hudson, but their willingness to pony up the cash for him is unknown.  For his part, Hudson says he wants to finish his career in Arizona.

Theo Epstein WEEI Interview: Crisp, Santana

WEEI recently posted an interesting interview with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.  Epstein was frank with his answers and didn’t duck questions.  A few points of interest:

  • Epstein observed a "horrible free agent market, bereft of talent."  The one surplus he noted was center field, which he feels resulted in the lack of a trade market for Coco Crisp (the best defensive center fielder in the game last year, according to Epstein).  Epstein said he learned his lesson with Jay Payton and does not want to be forced to trade Crisp as he was Payton.  He won’t deal Crisp from a "position of weakness."  Michael Silverman believes a team will have to have its center fielder significantly injured for a market for Crisp to develop.  Or, a prospect like Felix Pie or Colby Rasmus will have to prove not ready or be traded.
  • As for Johan Santana, the Red Sox were "in it, with limits."  Epstein said he left the Twins with two solid offers, but Bill Smith wanted a package that would’ve been "completely irresponsible."  He felt that Boston’s offer was better than that of the Mets.

Who Wants Sammy?

Jon Heyman talked to Sammy Sosa‘s agent, who indicated that Sosa is intent on finding a near full-time offer.  Sammy hit .252/.311/.468 last year, earning $1.85MM.  Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system sees a .256/.327/.470 line in 282 plate appearances this year, worth about $3MM.

Sosa’s splits indicate he should be playing part time: .328/.410/.613 against lefties, .222/.267/.410 against righties.  Plus, who has an open full-time DH job?  Many of the 14 spots are occupied with no flexibility.  Actually Sosa in a strict platoon with Jack Cust would be interesting.

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