April 2008

Rockies Acquire Jason Grilli, Jorge de la Rosa

The Rockies and Tigers made a swap today.  The Rockies get 31 year-old pitcher Jason Grilli, while the Tigers receive 22 year-old pitcher Zach Simons.

Grilli has served as a mop-up man for the Tigers the past two years, eating bullpen innings at a mediocre ERA.  The Rox may have been drawn to his typically decent groundball rates.

Simons appears to be a long shot to reach the bigs; he wasn’t among the Rockies’ top 30 prospects.

The Rox also completed their long-rumored deal for lefty Jorge de la Rosa.  He’ll jump right into the rotation.  The 27 year-old is an interesting arm when healthy.

Orlando Hudson Denies $15MM Asking Price

On April 9th, Jack Macgruder of the East Valley Tribune said that D’Backs second baseman Orlando Hudson seeks $15MM per year for his next contract.  That would suggest he is in Chase Utley‘s class.

MLB.com’s Barry Bloom inquired with Hudson on this topic today but didn’t get much out of him.  Hudson did tell Bloom that Macgruder’s report was false, though.  Hudson also made a point to say that he’d love to stay in Arizona.

Wilkerson, Norton Designated

3:28pm: Greg Norton was the other player designated.  Starting Balentien and Clement regularly should be a nice offensive upgrade for the Mariners.

3:04pm: According to Ryan Divish of the News Tribune, Brad Wilkerson‘s locker has been cleared out.  Divish speculates that Wilkerson has been designated for assignment.  He expects the Ms to make one other move to accomodate for callups of Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement.

Wilkerson, 30, hit .232/.348/.304 for the Mariners in 56 ABs.  He makes $3MM this year, plus up to $2MM in plate appearance bonuses.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Mark Ellis

A’s second baseman Mark Ellis might be the affordable alternative to Orlando Hudson next winter.  In September of last year, the A’s chose to exercise Ellis’ $5MM option for ’08.

Ellis, 30, was ranked as the fourth-best defensive second baseman by the Fielding Bible’s panel of experts, behind Aaron Hill, Hudson, and Brandon Phillips.  The market might undervalue second base defense – Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection system values Ellis at about $30MM over the 2009-11 seasons.  He seems unlikely to become a $10MM a year player.

Ellis also has offensive value.  He’s good for a .330 OBP and .400 SLG, which is at least league average for the position.  And he is capable of more power, having hit 19 home runs last year.

Ellis seems likely to snag a contract of three years at $6-7MM per season. Sure beats Hudson’s asking price.  Ellis just missed Type A classification last winter; I think he’ll reach it this time (here’s a refresher on the stats used for the Elias rankings).  Because of the likely Type A draft pick compensation, I can see him playing out the string in ’08 with the A’s.

Odds and Ends: Morris, Moeller, de la Rosa

Let’s kick things off with an odds and ends post today.  By the way did anyone watch Max Scherzer‘s debut last night?  Damn.

Jason Botts Designated

WEDNESDAY: Botts wants out of Texas; he’d like a fresh start with another team.  GM Jon Daniels will attempt to find a taker, but otherwise Botts will have to go to Triple A.

TUESDAY: The Rangers have given up on Jason Botts, designating him for assignment.  Botts, 27, played first base and various other roles in 15 games for the Rangers this year.

I can see him passing through waivers unclaimed.  Botts may have earned the dreaded Quad-A label.  He’s failed to produce in 282 big league ABs but has raked Triple A pitching.

Corey, Aquino Designated

The Red Sox designated reliever Bryan Corey for assignment today to make room for Mike Lowell.  Also, the Orioles designated reliever Greg Aquino.

Corey, 34, has decent big league stats in 53 career innings but could never hold a job.  Aquino, 30, has been done in by home runs, walks, and injuries in his career.    He did manage to close for the D’Backs in ’04.

Matt Morris Retires

According to Justin Rodriguez of the Times-Herald Record, pitcher Matt Morris has retired.  He confirmed it with Rodriguez; Morris has no desire to battle his way back or work out of the bullpen.

Morris finishes with a 3.98 career ERA in 1806 innings, including a respectable 121 wins.  Kind of nice that the career ERA didn’t get pushed over 4.00.  Retired at 33 with $60MM earned…can’t say I don’t envy him!

The Bonds Situation

This is one topic that’s been hashed and rehashed about a million times.  Oh well; let’s talk Barry Bonds once again.

SI’s Tom Verducci analyzes the situation and determines that the Blue Jays make the most sense.  J.P. Ricciardi indicated a lack of interest to Verducci, though.

The fact remains that no team has offered Bonds even the league minimum.  I am often asked whether I think he will play this year, and I keep saying yes.  Here are the objections, and my answers to them:

  • "Bonds will be too expensive."  We can’t say that until a team actually makes him an offer.  He could very well play for a million bucks.
  • "Bonds can only DH."  Given certain NL left fielders, that is quite arguable.  But even so, some contenders have obviously worse DHs.
  • " Bonds used steroids, he’s a cheater."  Gary Bennett, Mike Cameron, Brendan Donnelly, Eric Gagne, Jose Guillen, Jerry Hairston Jr., Matt Herges, Paul Lo Duca, Andy Pettitte, Nook Logan, and Ron Villone allegedly cheated; they were all signed as free agents.  Teams and fans don’t care about this as long as it improves the chances of winning.
  • "Bonds will destroy the clubhouse chemistry."  Does one man really have this power?  I imagine Bonds would be on his best behavior knowing that he was hanging by a thread and could easily be released.  I think this angle is overblown by the media.
  • I’m not a Bonds apologist; I am just explaining why I think a team should/will sign him.  It’s of no concern to me whether he plays.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Krivsky, Scherzer, Edwin Jackson

Ken Rosenthal has a new column up; let’s take a look.

  • Rosenthal gives a good refresher on July trade candidates; pretty much the names you’d expect.
  • Reasons for Wayne Krivsky’s firing are discussed.  By the way check out John Fay’s blog for some candid final comments from Krivsky.  One interesting note is that he had no extension talks with Adam Dunn.
  • The D’Backs could use Max Scherzer to strengthen their bullpen, or they could shop Chad Tracy for a reliever.
  • Rosenthal wonders whether the Nationals might consider the under-30 segment of the next free agent class.
  • Plenty of teams continue to express interest in the Rays’ Edwin Jackson.  Something has to give in their rotation when Scott Kazmir returns, but demoting Andy Sonnanstine to the pen would solve the logjam.