A few links today related to NPB and Japanese players...
- East Windup Chronicle looks at 2009 projections for Japanese players coming to MLB, in posts here and here.
- The Orioles have had "initial discussions" with three Japanese pitchers. There seems a good chance Koji Uehara and Kenshin Kawakami are two of them.
- The Softbank Hawks signed Kameron Loe and Justin Germano for their rotation. Loe gets about $2MM over two years, while Germano gets about $525K over one.
George King of the New York Post swapped emails with Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who admitted to "some" interest in free agent southpaw Andy Pettitte. Ken Rosenthal originally reported the Dodgers possibility on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Ken Davidoff talked to a team official who considered a deal unlikely.
With Pettitte considering the Dodgers, King says the Yanks have a dilemma regarding the decision to offer him arbitration. River Ave. Blues runs through the scenarios. In a recent poll of over 2,700 MLBTR readers, 39.1% expected the Yanks to offer Pettitte arbitration.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is back on the scene to get us up to speed with the latest Pirates rumors. Let's start with the team's five veteran trade candidates:
- Jack Wilson: The Tigers and Dodgers are said to be the main suitors. The problem is that neither team wants to send the Pirates top prospects while paying all of the $7.85MM Wilson has coming. Additionally, the Pirates do not view Dodgers shortstop prospect Chin-Lung Hu as a possible trade centerpiece. The Bucs have spoken to at least two other clubs about Wilson, but Kovacevic rejects the previously reported three-team scenario. It seems that some of the top free agent shortstops will need to sign to create a better market for Wilson.
- Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche: The Pirates have received "mere inquiries" on these two.
- John Grabow, Ronny Paulino: Grabow is a free agent after '09, so his trade value may never be higher. The Pirates are apparently pushing Paulino, but don't want to sell low on him.
- Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps: These four are described as "as close to untouchable as it gets" for the Pirates.
- On the free agent front, the Pirates have made contact with Paul Byrd. However, GM Neal Huntington implied he's not finding the starting pitching bargains he expected. The Pirates haven't made offers to Doug Mientkiewicz or Jason Michaels; those players are considering proposals from other teams.
- Kovacevic adds: "The Pirates also had discussed acquiring a right-handed power bat for the outfield through free agency, but there has been no known movement on that front." Just looking at who's out there, I imagine this could be referring to Pat Burrell. Still, that's entirely speculative and he's probably out of their price range.
Let's take a look at what is being written around the Blogosphere...
- River Ave. Blues debates Ben Sheets versus A.J. Burnett and wonders if Sheets will be the better bargain in the end.
- Detroit Tiger Thoughts shows that Jason Varitek is not a good fit with the Tigers, even in a platoon situation.
- Fire Brand of the American League lays down several reasons why the Red Sox should avoid signing Teixeira.
- Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? sees no downside to the Pirates' signing of Indian imports Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh.
- The 'Burgh Blues feels Eric Hinske is an economical fit for the Bucs.
- Amazin' Avenue does not see Raul Ibanez as an upgrade for the Mets, suggesting he may not be any better than Fernando Tatis.
- The Baseball Opinion breaks down what the acquisition of Tyler Lumsden means for the Royals and Astros.
- Batter's Box takes a look a recent J.P. Ricciardi quote and the current state of the economy and wonders if the Jays are going to reduce their payroll.
- Royals Review lists the ten best free agent signings in Royals history, topped by David Cone. Amazingly, four of the signings occurred in the last five seasons.
Tim Kurkjian at ESPN.com has a Friday morning round up for us, looking at several prominent team needs around the league.
While the article mentions several big names like Mike Mussina, Matt Holliday, Francisco Rodriguez and Trevor Hoffman, perhaps the most interesting part of Kurkjian's article is that which discusses the offseason plan for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Part of that plan may include trading outfielder Eric Byrnes. Byrnes has two years and $20MM left on his deal with the D'Backs, and will be a challenge to move, says Kurkjian. Byrnes certainly has upside, with great speed and decent pop. But injuries have kept him from really breaking out in the past.
Also, Kurkjian offers Raul Ibanez as an "ideal" solution to Arizona's everyday player needs. However, he doesn't expect the D'Backs to be able to keep up in what is expected to be a fierece bidding competition for the right fielder. With the Mets, Phillies, and Cubs apparently involved, Kurkjian would appear to be spot on in that assessment.
The Diamondbacks have a lot of needs to address with just a little bit of money--Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, Randy Johnson, Brandon Lyon and Juan Cruz are all likely departing via free agency this offseason.
Cubs f/x reports Freddy Garcia has injured his throwing shoulder during a game in the Venezuelan Winter League. The post cites a pair of sources, including an official team website and an article at Venezuelan newspaper El Universal.
The extent of the injury is presently unknown, but regardless, it certainly won't help convince teams to sign Garcia to any sort of substantial contract this offseason.
Fewer starting pitching options may push contract values up, but few teams were likely pinning their hopes for a World Series on a healthy and effective Freddy Garcia.
Alex Walsh can be reached at email@example.com.
The Philadelphia Phillies have signed RHP Mike Koplove to a contract that includes an invitation to spring training, reports David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Koplove has only seven major league appearances since 2005, but has pitched 254.2 innings in his career. The 32-year old uses a high-80s fastball along with a slider and change-up to get hitters out.
Murphy says Koplove is likely to end up at Triple A Lehigh Valley, but will be in Clearwater, FL when the Phillies begin spring training.
Alex Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Thanksgiving! Here are some links to snack on before the big meal.
- Blue Jays interim CEO Paul Beeston believes they have a chance to re-sign A.J. Burnett, but may choose to save the money earmarked for him if he signs elsewhere.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark assesses the Tigers. Catching seems to be their top priority this winter, though they need a shortstop and closer too.
- There is a growing sentiment that the Blue Jays will have less to spend this winter than originally anticipated.
- Bill Plaschke attempts to get clarification from Jamie McCourt on her recent quotes.
- Curt Schilling remembers the events leading up to his trade to the Red Sox.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says the market is eerily quiet for Adam Dunn so far.
Rafael Furcal seems to be the hot topic around these parts. Let's see where MLBTR readers expect him to land.
According to Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News, Brian Fuentes' agent told the Mets he's looking for three years and $10-11MM per. The article headline says this demand "rocks" Omar Minaya, but the body of the article just says Minaya finds it "a bit high." It's hard to imagine the Mets being surprised by Fuentes' asking price, as most fans could've guessed it. Earlier reports actually had Fuentes asking for more.
Rubin says the Mets will negotiate on parallel tracks for Fuentes and Francisco Rodriguez, content to sign either closer.
Other minor news: Minaya confirmed interest in Raul Ibanez, and will talk with Scott Boras at the winter meetings to determine Oliver Perez's asking price.