September 2008

Cards Talking Extension With Lohse?

3:26pm: General manager John Mozeliak recently said in an interview that the press conference will be held tomorrow at 4:30, and that Cardinals fans "would be very happy" with the announcement.

1:59pm: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are possibly discussing an extension with free-agent-to-be Kyle Lohse.

Lohse was scratched from his start today to meet with team doctors, according to manager Tony La Russa, who was quoted as saying:

“There is no Lohse ‘announcement.’ I think what it means is there is interest and possibly progress in the negotiations.”

This situation is very similar to a situation in Spring Training, when the Cardinals had Adam Wainwright meet with team doctors the day before announcing an extension. The Cardinals have a press conference scheduled for tomorrow.

Lohse signed a one-year $4.5MM deal with the Cardinals in the offseason. It’s been well-documented over the past few years that he has been seeking a multi-year deal worth over $10MM per season. He may very well have earned himself that with a career year this season. Lohse will finish 15-6 for St. Louis, with a 3.78 ERA and 119 Ks in 200 IP.

Goold writes that senior baseball writer Joe Strauss has learned that the deal could be similar to the value of the four-year, $48MM contract that Carlos Silva signed with Seattle in the offseason. If it happens, this seems like a considerably better signing than the Silva deal, and one the Cardinals need with some question marks in their starting rotation next season.

I imagine a lot of teams are upset that they passed on Lohse in the offseason, while the Cardinals are very happy with how affordable he was to them, and how late they were able to sign him. Fifteen wins and a 3.78 ERA for $4.5MM is hard to come by from a free agent these days.


Mussina Speaks About Future

Mike Mussina, who goes for his first 20 win season today, is unsure about his future although he does seem open to stay in the game for at least one more year, this according to Kat O’Brien of Newsday.  O’Brien writes,

"If my intent is going for 300, then if I’m in for one, I’m in for three," Mussina said. He added that if he pitched one year and pushed past the 280-win mark: "By then, I would absolutely owe it to myself to try."

If he does return, Mussina said his first choice is to pitch for the Yankees. If he wants to pitch and they do not want him back, he will look elsewhere, but only within a limited radius of his home in Montoursville, Pa., and only in the American League. Said Mussina: "My market’s pretty limited."

If Mussina does continue on a grail quest to reach 300 wins, which he acknowledged does in fact matter if attainable, seems to have limited himself to three teams in the AL East (New York, Boston, Baltimore) and maybe certain AL Central teams like Chicago, Cleveland, or Minnesota. I’ll posit that Kansas City would not be both too far and not provide the opportunity for wins a guy seeking 300 would want.

Tyler Kepner of the New York Times suggests Moose is more tentative. Writes Kepner,

"Mussina has studied the careers of pitchers with comparable statistics, noticing that many limped to the finish. He would rather leave while pitching well, but his career wins total complicates things."


Odds & Ends: Roberts, Holliday, Cashman

Some points of interest:

  • Brian Roberts, once a sure-fire bet to be dealt, is now a priority for the Orioles to resign according to Marc Carig of the Washington Post. The second baseman wants to play for a contender and says all the right things about wanting to stay with Baltimore. Roberts is 31 and will finish in the top 5 in average, doubles, stolen bases, and runs scored.
  • According to Troy E. Renck, Matt Holliday is not happy about the idea that his back injury might influence contract talks with Colorado. Renck quotes Holliday, "It’s a stiff back, and it could get worse if I pushed it. Back stiffness and having surgery, that’s a little different. It’s just ridiculous," Holliday said. "If we were playing meaningful games, I would be in there."
  • George A. King III of the New York Post tells us Brian Cashman has informed Hal Steinbrenner he would like to return. An announcement could come as soon as tomorrow.


Rangers Looking Into Free Agent Market

Jeff Wilson of the Star Telegram reports the Rangers will be having the first of a series of meetings on October 6th to assess the free agent market. They need starting pitching, a right handed bat, a lefty reliever, and improved defense, leading the majors in errors and unearned runs allowed. 

Nolan Ryan plans to overhaul the attitude of the pitching staff, and the general consensus is that the young pitching staff will be improved next year. Nelson Cruz will be counted on as a right handed power bat, and the Rangers will have an opportunity to re-sign Milton Bradley. C.J. Wilson could become that left handed reliever if Frank Francisco remains the closer.

Wilson’s article provides quotes from Jon Daniels, all of which express confidence in his current team. Still, the Rangers shouldn’t count on simply improving internally if they want to be competitive in 2009, and these meetings will sort out where they feel their priorities are. It’s good to hear they’ll have a plan going into the GM Meetings in November 3rd-6th.


Rockies Not Giving Up On Re-Signing Fuentes

Brian Fuentes has expressed his desire to stay with the Rockies, but as we’ve written before, its likely that he’ll sign with another team.

The Rockies, however, are keeping an open mind in trying to retain the veteran pitcher as GM Dan O’Dowd told the Denver Post:

"On the surface it would seem like it would be a longshot to keep him, but that’s something we are still talking about."

Fuentes will be one of the most coveted free agent relievers this upcoming offseason, but he’s prepared to listen to any offer the Rox make:

"If they want to discuss that internally and decide what they are going to do, that would be great," Fuentes said. "I love playing here, and I believe the team is going to be a lot better in years to come."

According to the Post, it’s assumed that the Rockies would get two compensatory draft picks once Fuentes rejected arbitration.

Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached at: alexo05 [at] umpbump [dot] com.


Odds And Ends: Mientkiewicz, Michaels, Greinke, Soria, Scheppers

Some links for Saturday lunch, I’ll add some more as the day progresses:

Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: alexo05 (at) umpbump [dot] com.


M’s Unsure About Bedard

The Tacoma News-Tribune’s Ryan Divish is keeping us up-to-date on the status of Erik Bedard‘s shoulder. The lefty had told reporters he felt he had a torn labrum or extensive damage, but after undergoing surgery to remove a cyst, the Mariner’s said there’s no such thing:

Dr. Lewis Yocum removed the cyst from the shoulder and performed a minor minor labral debridement (clean-up of some fraying). But in the search for any major structural damage, none was found.

With the news, Divish thinks Bedard may get to pitch next year and may do so in a Mariners uniform.

Team president Chuck Armstrong, however, wasn’t too enthusiastic about Bedard’s possible return. Speaking to the Seattle Times, he was "deliberately vague:"

"It’s like trying to invest in the stock market," Armstrong said. "If you make a bad stock pick, you don’t go back and … well, some people do, but you have to teach yourself. You don’t hold on to it hoping it’s going to come back. If it’s a bad one, you move on."

According to the Times, it is widely assumed the M’s will tender Bedard a contract, and if he is heatlhy enough to pitch next year they could trade him midseason for prospects.

Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: alexo05 [at] umpbump (dot) com.


Blue Jays To Offer Burnett Four-Year Deal

According to the Toronto Star’s Cathal Kelly, the Blue Jays are preparing to offer a new four-year deal to staff ace A.J. Burnett.

The new deal would add two years and $30MM to Burnett’s existing contract, which still has two years left. The contract would total $54MM and it would increase his salary to $15MM per year by 2011-2012.

"I think that’s probably a fair number," a source close to the negotiations told Kelly. "I think that’s where it will end up."

Burnett cannot opt out of his current deal until ten days after the World Series ends, which means the Jays have until the end of October to re-sign him before he gets to hear any other offers.

Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: alexo05 [at] umpbump (dot) com.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Tigers, Teixeira, Burnett

A look at what is being written around the Blogosphere…

  • MVN Outsider takes a look at some potential offseason moves for the Tigers, including trading Magglio Ordonez and Gary Sheffield and signing Brian Fuentes.
  • Baseball Banter takes a look at the five teams most likely to go after Mark Teixeira this winter.
  • River Ave. Blues wonders if the Yankees should consider signing A.J. Burnett because of his strong career numbers against the Red Sox.
  • Pending Pinstripes takes a look at the Yankees 40-man roster and some potential offseason changes.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com and can be reached here.


Heyman’s Latest: Gillick, Pedro, Dempster, McLouth

Here’s a look at the latest column from SI.com’s Jon Heyman.

  • Heyman is hearing "scuttlebutt" that GM Pat Gillick may not leave the Phillies after all.
  • Theo Epstein’s new deal is worth about $7MM over three years, which might be highest among GMs.
  • Pedro Martinez‘s agent insists Pedro will pitch next year.  In May, Martinez said he wanted to pitch two or three more years a couple days after suggesting retirement was an option.
  • Moises Alou is undecided on 2009.
  • Cubs GM Jim Hendry expects to re-sign Ryan Dempster after the season.
  • Heyman says the Yankees "will likely make a big play" for Nate McLouth.  The Pirates center fielder is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, meaning he’s under team control for three more seasons.  McLouth’s defense does not rate well (-21) under the previously discussed plus/minus systemCarlos Gomez is tops among CFs at +16.  Rumored Yankees target Matt Kemp is a +1.