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Click here and then hit Replay This Live Blog to view today’s chat transcript.
Let’s discuss today’s random links.
- We’ll be doing a chat here at 2pm CST, don’t miss it!
- Jon Heyman suggests that the number of unqualified GMs is dwindling. He names seven whose jobs may be in jeopardy.
- Wayne Krivsky cleared the air on various issues, including the signings of Dusty Baker, Josh Fogg, and Corey Patterson.
- Jose Valverde denies the notion that he made outlandish salary demands of the D’Backs.
- Good news on Jorge Posada‘s shoulder; maybe the Yanks won’t have to acquire a catcher.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette discusses five Pirates players who were discussed in winter trade rumors. Neal Huntington wasn’t satisfied with the offers, and decided to keep Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, John Grabow, and Damaso Marte. Huntington says Nate McLouth‘s name was only floated as a "trial balloon."
Bay, Nady, and Grabow have all increased their value through strong Aprils (in part via their stats, in part via good health). Marte seems to have recovered from a rough start. Let’s discuss some possible suitors.
- Bay is off to a .264/.396/.448 start. The 29 year-old earns earns $5.75MM this year and $7.5MM in ’09. His main asset is OBP; the Padres and Mariners could use a boost. And he’d still be a nice fit in left for the Indians.
- Nady is hitting .327/.358/.531. He’s also 29. He’s a Scott Boras client; he earns $3.35MM this year and will also be under team control for the ’09 season. He might be a good fit for the Mets, assuming they have the pieces to re-acquire him. The Bucs could always take Aaron Heilman as part of the deal and put him in the rotation.
- Grabow is under team control through ’09; Marte will be a free agent after this year unless a pricey $6MM option is exercised. The Phillies are said to be looking for a lefty reliever, and the Yankees have inquired in the past.
Today marks Paul Konerko‘s tenth year of big league service time. Happy anniversary Paul! Konerko’s spent more than the last five seasons with the White Sox; as a result, he’s a 10-and-5 player. He can now veto any trade, and sees himself staying in Chicago at least for the length of his current deal (through 2010).
There were some rumblings in the winter that the Angels might make a play for Konerko, but Kenny Williams denied any trade discussions.
Reds beat writer John Fay talked to Ryan Freel tonight. Freel is not amused about sitting tonight in favor of Corey Patterson. Freel has been hitting well lately, better than Patterson.
Wayne Krivsky shopped Freel around this spring, calling the Twins and other clubs. The lack of interest was no surprise; Freel was coming off a lousy season and earns $7MM over 2008-09. The versatile Freel hits lefties well, and was good for a .360-.370 OBP prior to last season. Still, the Reds would probably have to eat some salary or take some back in order to move Freel.
ESPN’s Keith Law has a new blog post discussing possible bonus demands for a couple of projected first-round picks.
- Law says high school first baseman Eric Hosmer has a "reported demand" of $7MM. Hosmer is advised by Scott Boras. Law says Hosmer would go in the #5-8 range if not for his price tag. Could he fall to the Nationals, Rangers, or A’s if one of those teams is willing to pony up?
- Corner infielder Pedro Alvarez might be looking for something in $8.6MM range. Some folks think the Rays will pass but the Pirates will make a splash and take Alvarez.
Today’s link compilation.
- Dusty Baker spoke to Barry Bonds on the phone a few weeks ago, and came away feeling that Bonds does not miss baseball.
- A mere ten million bucks, a team can eat that. But, as Andrew Baggarly says, "They don’t make mouths big enough to eat the roughly $112.5 million that Barry Zito is guaranteed." Zito could be exiled to the bullpen.
- Dave Bush went unclaimed by the other 29 teams because with option waivers, the team can pull the player back if claimed.
- Jim Callis tosses out some options for the Astros with the 10th pick, noting that the team is likely to adhere to slotting guidelines.
- Peter Abraham runs through the available catcher options for the Yankees now that Jorge Posada is DL-bound.
The Padres are 8.5 games out, and it’s only April 28th. It’s not a good place to be. Obviously they aren’t throwing in the towel yet, but if they have a similarly ugly May a fire sale could be in order. Let’s speculate on some trade possibilities.
- Greg Maddux. The Padres’ highest paid player at $10MM, Mad Dog is calling his own shots at this point. I imagine he’d prefer to stay put.
- Brian Giles. The team’s leadoff hitter still knows how to draw a walk. He doesn’t hit lefties much but his overall numbers would look a lot better away from Petco. He earns $9MM this year and has a $3MM buyout for ’09. He can block trades to eight teams and gets a $2MM increase if dealt.
- Jim Edmonds. He’d have to shake off the slow start and remain healthy. Makes $8MM with no-trade protection; the Cards are paying $2MM of his salary.
- Trevor Hoffman. Even if Hoffman loses the closer gig a trade seems unlikely.
- Randy Wolf. He might be one of the Padres’ more tradeable commodities. He’s signed reasonably and just needs to remain healthy. Everyone needs pitching.
- Khalil Greene. Greene gets $4.5MM this year and $6.5MM in ’09. Trading him only makes sense if a good young shortstop comes back.
- Others: Tadahito Iguchi, Tony Clark, Glendon Rusch, Michael Barrett (if healthy).
David Murphy quotes Phillies GM Pat Gillick as saying he’s still looking for lefthanded relief help. Recently signed lefty Steve Kline is in the mix to fill the role, but isn’t a lock. Kline’s currently with the Phils’ Triple A club.
The Pirates’ John Grabow would be a nice addition; he’s thrown twelve scoreless innings. Damaso Marte is also probably available. Ron Mahay, George Sherrill, Scott Schoeneweis, Jamie Walker, and Royce Ring are other possibilities in my mind. But since the Phils already have J.C. Romero doing a nice job, maybe they’ll just pick up a lower-cost guy like Ray King or Mike Stanton.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, first baseman Scott Hatteberg would welcome a trade. Joey Votto, off to a .310/.319/.549 start (AVG/OBP/SLG), seems to have taken Hatteberg’s job. When asked about the situation, new GM Walt Jocketty said he hasn’t had inquiries on the veteran. He makes just $1.85MM, so that won’t be an obstacle.
Hatteberg, 38, hit .310/.394/.474 in 116 games last year for the Reds while facing mostly righties (he’s a lefthanded hitter with a major platoon split). For that reason, Hatteberg wouldn’t pair well with Carlos Delgado on the Mets. He’d be better suited to replace Delgado if the Mets release him. Delgado might have bought himself some time with a two homer game yesterday.
One first baseman who doesn’t hit righties well is Richie Sexson. Hatteberg could be a good fit in Seattle.