November 2008

Reds In Trade Talks For Dye?

SUNDAY: A small update from Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune – any deal involving the Reds and Dye is "complicated by financial matters."  Not sure why; Dye is only on the hook for $11.5MM next year.

SATURDAY: John Fay got Walt Jocketty to admit he’s talked to the White Sox (nothing is close).  Jocketty’s non-denial about the Dye rumor seems to indicate it’s accurate.

TUESDAY, 5:42pm: MLB.com’s Scott Merkin notes that the Mets and Phillies are two of the six teams on Dye’s no-trade list.  Dye’s agent, Bob Bry, has not been contacted by Ken Williams in regard to a possible trade to either club.  The Reds don’t appear to be on the list, though, so Williams would not need clearance to make a deal with them.

12:13pm: Lance McAlister of 1530 WCKY in Cincinnati has a rumor up regarding trade talks between the White Sox and Reds.

McAlister’s source says the White Sox initiated talks to send Jermaine Dye to the Reds for Homer Bailey and another player.  Ken Rosenthal says Dye’s no-trade clause mostly covers teams in the northeast.  Perhaps the Sox can trade him to the Reds without his consent.  Ken Williams and Walt Jocketty matched up in July on the Ken Griffey Jr. trade.  It’s known that Jocketty prefers trades to free agency.


Boston Set To Sign Junichi Tazawa

SUNDAY: Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe talked to a baseball source who says the Red Sox have an agreement in place with Tazawa.  Look for an official announcement later in the week, after he takes his physical.  It appears to be a Major League deal for $3MM over three years.  He’ll be arbitration-eligible after three years of big league service time.

FRIDAY: Japanese amateur pitcher Junichi Tazawa appears close to signing with the Boston Red Sox, reports Chad Finn at the Boston Globe. The offer for the 22-year old is reportedly a three-year, major league deal nearing $6MM, putting Tazawa on the 40-man roster.

Tazawa has officially declined offers from the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers according to the Kyodo Wire, says the article.

Signing Tazawa would complicate current opinions on the "gentleman’s agreement" previously observed by MLB teams, which prevented American teams from signing Japanese amateurs. Might Japanese teams start making offers to American amateurs if Tazawa is signed?

Alex Walsh can be reached at alexander.walsh@gmail.com.


Week in Review: 11/23 – 11/29

Action this offseason will likely pick up with tomorrow’s arbitration deadline, but let’s take a look back at the week leading up to it:

  • Early in the week we heard a false rumor that the Giants had signed Edgar Renteria to a two-year, $18MM contract. I didn’t understand the signing at the time, and the fans seemed to share my sentiment based on the comments.
  • The Pirates signed Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, two finalists in India’s Million Dollar Arm competition, to minor league contracts.
  • The Angels emerged as players for C.C. Sabathia this week, although Mark Teixeira remains their top priority.
  • We heard a couple different reports that the Red Sox are set to sign Japanese amateur Junichi Tazawa to a three-year, $6MM major league deal.
  • Andy Pettitte may consider teams other than the Yankees, and is reportedly giving thought to the Dodgers. Ned Colletti confirmed that there is "some interest" in signing the veteran left-hander. My personal opinion, but I doubt Pettitte will be offered arbitration, and therefore won’t cost any other teams a pick.
  • A few minor moves: The Astros acquired Tyler Lumsden from Kansas City for cash considerations or player to be named later; The Brewers signed R.J. Swindle to a major league deal, and the Red Sox acquired Wes Littleton from the Rangers for cash considerations or a player to be named later as well.
  • Here’s a closer look at the Rule 5 Draft for those who want more information on it. The draft will be held on Dec. 7.

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Perrotto’s Latest: Teixeira, Burnett, Wilson

John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus has his Sunday article up. Let’s go through it:

  • The Angels may be willing to match the Yankees $140MM offer to CC Sabathia. They won’t offer 10 years to Mark Teixeira. If they can’t land Teixeira, they will consider Pat Burrell for first base.
  • A.J. Burnett is looking at the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Braves, Orioles, and Phillies.
  • The Twins want a left-side infielder for Delmon Young, so they can open a spot for Denard Span in the starting lineup.
  • The Tigers are pursuing Jack Wilson from the Pirates and Matt Treanor from the Marlins. They are also putting high priority on signing Joe Beimel who’s getting interest from a number of teams.
  • The Dodgers will not re-sign Rafael Furcal for health reasons so the Giants, Athletics, and Reds are his most likely destinations.
  • The Cubs will need to offer more than Jason Marquis to the Royals for David DeJesus. If they can’t get it done, they’d sign Raul Ibanez over Bobby Abreu.
  • The Braves are interested in Javier Vazquez and Jermaine Dye
  • The Reds need to offer more than Homer Bailey to get Dye.
  • The Mets are considering Jon Garland, Vazquez, Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine. The Rays want more than Aaron Heilman for either of their starters.
  • The Mets could soon become suitors for Manny Ramirez.
  • The Brewers could soon become suitors for Francisco Rodriguez.
  • The Astros are targeting Paul Bako and David Ross as backup catchers.
  • The Rockies are trying to find lefthanders, eyeing Alan Embree, Will Ohman, Brian Shouse, and Glendon Rusch.

Cafardo’s Latest: Lowe, Lowell, Dye, Saltalamacchia

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says when Derek Lowe sat down with his agent, he inquired first about the Boston Red Sox. Says Cafardo,

"This Lowe doesn’t bear much resemblance to the guy who left the Sox after 2004. Back then, his out-of-control personal life seemed to consume him. The Red Sox didn’t want to deal with it and let him become a free agent. Lowe feels leaving was the best thing. ‘I think I’m a lot better pitcher now, teammate now, than I was four years ago,’ he said. ‘Sometimes you have to learn, and I think getting out of Boston was the best thing for me.’"

Lowe notes the Red Sox fit the mold of what he’s looking for in his next team.

And around the bigs:

  • Roy Oswalt is pushing Ben Sheets to consider the Astros.
  • Split opinions on interest in Mike Lowell, but either way this shouldn’t affect the Red Sox pursuit of Mark Teixeira. Cafardo lists Dodgers, Angels, Indians, and Twins as possible destinations for Lowell.
  • Jermaine Dye is a good fit for Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and the Mets. The White Sox would want more than Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson in exchange for Dye.
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia looks good in the Dominican League, hitting .435 with 4 homeruns and 2 doubles in 23 ABs.
  • Willie Bloomquist could be Alex Cora’s replacement at utility in Boston.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Peavy, Wilson

Lots to cover in the latest from Ken Rosenthal:

  • Jake Peavy to the Cubs is still being explored despite complications: The Cubs are being sold. Ryan Dempster was re-signed for 4 years, $52MM. The Padres are trying to include a third party to net the package GM Kevin Towers is seeking. If this happened then the Cubs would need to move Jason Marquis. Rosenthal suggests the Padres could take him if the Cubs ate around $3MM of his $9MM owed next season, or the Cubs could deal him and cash to another team (Rosenthal suggests the Rockies, Reds, or Giants). Rosenthal also backs the rumors of the Orioles involvement as the third team and having interest in Felix Pie.
  • As an update to this post, the Dodgers stopped pursuing Jack Wilson when the Pirates asked for a third player in the package of Chin-Lung Hu and Delwyn Young as compensation for the Dodgers request for cash to reduce Wilson’s contract. Wilson is set to make $7.25MM next season with an $8.4 club option or $600,000 buyout, and the Dodgers don’t believe Wilson offers enough offensive production to justify those figures. The Pirates agreed to include cash and would offer more cash for a better prospect; however, the Dodgers did not want any part of that.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Dunn, Wood, Sheets

Ken Rosenthal suggests that in this economy some teams may not offer arbitration to Type A free agents to avoid risking a payroll hit. Further, some players may opt to accept the certainty of arbitration over "a volatile free agent period."

The Dbacks were always expected to offer arbitration to Adam Dunn and he was expected to decline thus netting Arizona two draft picks to compensate for the three players they dealt in August. In arbitration, Dunn would command $15-16MM. Says Rosenthal,

"…if the D-backs made the offer, it’s doubtful that Dunn and his agents would determine by midnight Saturday that a multiyear contract was beyond their reach. What’s more, the D-backs always could trade Dunn if he accepted their offer. In that sense, he would be an asset on a one-year deal; the Nationals, among other teams, would jump."

In arbitration, Kerry Wood would get around $9-10MM per year but it’s obvious the Cubs are not interested in even one year at that price – that money is better spent improving the rotation. The Cubs see Carlos Marmol, not Wood, as their closer and have opted to replace their setup man by trading for Kevin Gregg rather than paying Wood to slot into the role. Rosenthal notes Wood said he would have returned on a one year deal, and if he were to accept arbitration then the Cubs would most likely look to deal him – perhaps to the Rangers?

Rosenthal also points out that arbitration contracts are not guaranteed, but releasing Wood in Spring Training would result in a grievance by the players union. It would be hard to justify releasing a player of Wood’s caliber.

Ben Sheets
could command $13-14MM in arbitration and for an ace-quality pitcher that’s reasonable. Rosenthal makes this easy:

"If the Brewers fail to offer Sheets arbitration, it will be a clear indication that club officials are concerned about his ability to stay healthy in 2009. And remember, the Brewers know Sheets better than any other team."


Royals Sign J.R. House

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Royals signed catcher J.R. House to a split contract.  House, 29, hit .306/.378/.480 in 454 Triple A at-bats this year.  Back in the day, House was considered the Pirates’ top prospect before he was derailed by injuries.  There was a time when Jason Kendall was expected to move to the outfield to accomodate him.


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Third Team In Peavy Deal: Orioles?

According to Jeff Zrebiec and Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles appear to be the third team in the Jake Peavy-Cubs trade talks.  Kevin Towers told Tim Brown earlier this week he may have found the third team.

According to the Sun, one scenario could have the Cubs sending Felix Pie to Baltimore for Garrett Olson, who would become part of the Cubs’ package for Peavy.  The Orioles once targeted Pie during the Brian Roberts talks, while the Padres wanted Olson for Khalil Greene.  No deal is imminent.  The authors add that acquiring Pie would not affect the Orioles’ pursuit of Mark Teixeira, even if some current team members lose playing time.


Odds And Ends: Astros, Kawakami, Uehara, Giambi, Cabrera

It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon, but one gets the feeling there’s a major signing or trade lurking right around the corner. In the meantime, here are some odds and ends:

  • Fox Sports’ Jeff Moore looks back at the top trades of the past three offseasons. His number one? Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to Boston for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia.
  • The Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice says everyone knows Astros owner Dayton McLane has told GM Ed Wade "to keep the payroll at around $100 million," but "to keep the current team together would mean a $120-million payroll." Justice says McLane should ‘fess up about his financial shortcomings.
  • SI’s John Donovan gives a shoutout to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, which is most writers’ go-to site for baseball contract info.
  • NPB Tracker, a site that reads Japanese baseball articles and distills them into bite-size English nuggets, says the Rangers are interested in Kenshin Kawakami, while Koji Uehara is practicing throwing a Major League ball (which is slightly larger than the ball they use in Japan).
  • DRays Bay wants the Rays to sign Jason Giambi.
  • MASN’s Roch Kubatko says, "The Orioles still haven’t decided what to do with pitcher Daniel Cabrera, but they have until Dec. 12 to figure it out. That’s when they’ll need to tender him a contract and risk going to arbitration, or turn him loose and hope he doesn’t evolve into another Curt Schilling."

Coley Ward writes for Umpbump.com and can be reached here.