May 2008

The Center Fielder Market

Any decent center fielders out there for trade?  It’s a thin market; let’s explore.

  • Coco Crisp, Red Sox.  Believe it not, he’s the best-hitting CF available.  Crisp is signed through ’09.   Brandon Moss and Bobby Kielty are both on minor league rehab assignments.  When they’re healthy, Crisp trade talks may resume.
  • Ryan Freel, Reds.  Freel is a strong candidate to be moved, if a team will take on his $4MM salary for ’09.  I’m sure Corey Patterson is available too.
  • Willy Taveras, Rockies.  Once Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe return, the Rockies could entertain offers for Taveras.  The Rox could also move Cory Sullivan.
  • David DeJesus, Royals.  DeJesus isn’t hitting this month.  He’s locked up cheaply through 2010, which is probably a plus.

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Cristian Guzman To Wait On Contract Talks’s Bill Ladson has some info on impending free agent shortstop Cristian Guzman.  Apparently there will be no extension talks with the Nationals until after the season, a decision made by both sides.  Ladson’s source indicates that Guzman might be willing to cut the Nats a break since he was injured for much of his current four-year deal.  That break might translate to a two-year contract.

We’ll see if Guzman still feels the same after the season.  In my Free Agent Stock Watch post on Guzman, I mentioned him as a cheaper alternative to Rafael Furcal.  Furcal is looking questionable, and Guzman should be popular.  Will he really forego a third year out of gratitude to the Nationals?

Stark’s Latest: Braves, Robertson, Igawa

Jayson Stark has a new Rumblings and Grumblings column up.  Let’s take a look.

  • While Greg Maddux is not out of the question, the Braves are more interested in a younger starter they can control for multiple years.
  • One possibly available starter who hasn’t gotten much buzz: Nate Robertson.  The 30 year-old southpaw hasn’t pitched well since ’06, and he’s signed through 2010.
  • The Mariners will probably talk about Miguel Batista and Jarrod Washburn, but not Erik Bedard.  No big surprise there.  Both Batista and Washburn are signed through ’09.
  • Stark rattles off a bunch of available relievers.  Mostly names you’d expect, but click through and take a look.
  • Kei Igawa, signed through 2011, asked the Yankees if they could find a way to ship him back to Japan during the winter.  They couldn’t find a way to make it work.

Mayo’s Latest: Alvarez, Orioles, Cashner’s Jonathan Mayo has some draft tidbits tonight.

  • The idea has been floated that the Rays could draft Pedro Alvarez with an eye on moving Evan Longoria to second base down the road.  Alvarez’s position really shouldn’t be a concern – Carlos Pena might be gone by the time he’s ready.  Mayo’s heard buzz that the Rays have narrowed it down to Alvarez or Buster Posey, despite what Tim Beckham‘s dad said.
  • Standard speculation is that the O’s are looking at Brian Matusz and Justin Smoak, but Mayo’s heard there might be a non-Beckham dark horse.
  • The White Sox have Smoak, Yonder Alonso, and perhaps Andrew Cashner on their radar at #8.

Twins Add Breslow

According to Joe Christensen, the Twins claimed lefty reliever Craig Breslow off waivers from the Indians.

Breslow, a 27 year-old Yale graduate, has bounced around and only compiled 36.2 innings in the bigs.  His control needs some work, but he may be useful.

Left-Handed Power Options For Cubs

Lou Piniella seemingly wouldn’t mind a left-handed power hitter on his team, even if he’s not complaining about it.  It’s fair to assume the Cubs are locked in at first base, third base, and left field.  That makes the left-handed power pursuit much more challenging.

We can probably rule out Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Chad Tracy, Barry Bonds, Aubrey Huff, and Hank BlalockKosuke Fukudome could be shifted to center field, but none of these guys could handle right regularly.

I came up with three possibly available players who can play right field, somewhat.  I’m thinking of Eric Hinske, Milton Bradley, and Ken Griffey Jr.  Putting Bradley in right field with no DH option seems dangerous, and recent chatter says Junior’s staying put.  Hinske, who is hitting .257/.340/.542 in 162 plate appearances, seems the best target.  Keep in mind that this is just one guy’s opinion, not a trade rumor.

The Left Fielder Market

Today let’s see which left fielders may be on the trade market in the coming months.  I’ll limit it to players who have actually played left this year.  The Indians, Mets, and Cardinals could be looking for help at the position.

  • Pat Burrell, Phillies.  Maybe the Phils’ surging offense could spare Burrell once Jayson Werth returns from the DL.  They’re much more likely to hang on to Burrell though.
  • Jason Bay, Pirates.  The resurgent Bay (.290/.410/.541) is one of the crown jewels of the trade market.  The Bucs were right to wait on trading him.  Since the acquiring team gets him for a season and a half, could he draw a Teixeira-like bounty?
  • Matt Holliday, RockiesKen Rosenthal suggested "almost certainly would consider" trading him.  Jayson Stark’s sources were more skeptical.  Like Bay, Holliday is signed through ’09.
  • Adam Dunn, Reds.  Dunn has a full no-trade clause until June 15th; after that he can block trades to ten teams he’s specified.  According to Rosenthal, Dunn strategically selected high-revenue teams for these ten.  Walt Jocketty has to navigate through all that to find a team willing to give up players worth more than two draft picks in exchange for two months of Dunn.
  • Raul Ibanez, Mariners.  At .263/.325/.444, he’s not tearing the cover off the ball. But Ibanez is a free agent after the season and the Mariners are the worst team baseball.  Ibanez might maintain Type A status, and I could see Bill Bavasi holding on to him.
  • Frank Catalanotto, Rangers.  Fairly useful player who can also help at first base.
  • Chris Duncan, Cardinals.  Trading him now would be selling low.
  • Jay Payton, Orioles.  Doesn’t have any trade value.
  • Dave Roberts, Giants.  Could be back in June but carries burden of $6.5MM ’09 salary.
  • Matt Murton, Cubs.  Murton believes he has 20-30 HR potential and would seemingly welcome a trade.
  • Juan Rivera, Angels.  He’s still buried behind Gary Matthews Jr. and Garret Anderson.
  • Free agents: Barry Bonds, Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders.

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Mets, Mariners Interested In Hatteberg

THURSDAY:’s Marty Noble says the Mets have already discussed Hatteberg internally.  They could move quickly to sign him after he clears waivers, but Marlon Anderson‘s injury is a factor here.

Additionally, the Mariners are "actively pursuing" Hatteberg.  The Ms actually started Miguel Cairo at first last night.

WEDNESDAY: According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, "the Mets have some, but only some" interest in recently-designated first baseman Scott Hatteberg.  Davidoff says the Mets will wait until Hatteberg clears waivers and then perhaps see if Hatteberg is open to a minor league deal.

Hatteberg is a left-handed hitter who succeeds against righties (as is often the case).  Carlos Delgado hasn’t succeeded against anyone this year, but previously he had the same splits as Hatteberg.  The two don’t match up for a platoon, but it’d make sense for the Mets to keep Hatteberg at Triple A until they decide whether to cut Delgado (.215/.294/.387 in 204 PAs).

Beckham A Top Two Lock?

Dejan Kovacevic talked to Tim Beckham‘s father, Jimmy.  Jimmy Beckham says the family has met only with the Rays and Pirates, and he expects his son to be drafted by one of those two clubs.

I’m surprised they are so certain.  Isn’t it possible that the Rays draft Buster Posey and the Bucs opt for Pedro Alvarez?

Astros DFA Borkowski, Sign Jorge Sosa

To make room for Wandy Rodriguez‘s return from the DL tonight, the Astros designated reliever Dave Borkowski for assignment.  They also signed righty Jorge Sosa to a minor league deal.

Borkowski, 31, makes $800K this year.  His 2.67 K/BB (21 innings) this year wasn’t bad, but he allowed too many hits and home runs.

Sosa, 30, was designated for assignment and then released by the Mets earlier this year.  $2MM down the tubes for the Mets.