December 2008

DeRosa Traded To Indians

12:44pm: Levine says the three minor league pitchers coming to Chicago for DeRosa are Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub.  The move feels like a salary dump – of a player whose production was worth $19.4MM this year.

A note from Bruce Miles: the Cubs’ ownership situation will have to be settled before the Cubs are able to complete a Peavy trade.  Levine says the same in his post.

12:25pm: Levine and Buster Olney are saying it’s a done deal – DeRosa to the Tribe for three minor league pitchers.  The Cubs have trimmed roughly $9MM from the 2009 payroll with their recent moves.  Coming in: $3.5MM for Luis Vizcaino (plus another million sent in salary relief) and $2.2MM for Aaron Miles.  Going out: $5.5MM for DeRosa and $9.875MM for Jason Marquis.

11:27am: According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Radio, the Indians are getting close to a deal for Mark DeRosa that would send two or three young pitchers to the Cubs.  At least, that statement was attributed to him in the station’s recent SportsCenter update.  Levine recently scooped the Cubs’ signing of Aaron Miles.

In his blog, Levine suggests a DeRosa match with Cleveland but does not say a deal is close.  Levine considers the Cubs’ Milton Bradley signing "a done deal" and says they’ve back in the mix for Jake PeavyJon Heyman says Bradley seeks a three-year deal.

Cubs Sign Aaron Miles

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs signed infielder Aaron Miles to a two-year deal worth $4.9MM.  The deal was first reported by ESPN Radio’s Bruce Levine.  Speculation is that the move could allow the Cubs to trade Mark DeRosa.

Miles, 32, hit .317/.355/.398 in 408 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year while playing all around the diamond.  Miles was one of the top free agent bargains of 2008 at $1.6MM.

One Year For Giambi, Abreu?

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney:

Keep hearing this: Players like Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu might be forced, by circumstance, to settle for one-year offers.

That has to be what the Rays and A’s are hoping – these would be excellent one-year signings.  The Yankees’ decision not to offer arbitration to Abreu is looking prescient.

Rockies Sign Luis A. Gonzalez

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies signed utility man Luis A. Gonzalez to a minor league deal.  Gonzalez played for the Rockies for three years until they sold his contract to the Yomiuri Giants.  Gonzalez was suspended in May for amphetamines.

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Latest On Andy Pettitte

According to John Harper of the New York Daily News:

A person in regular contact with Yankee brass said Tuesday he believes the club still wants Andy Pettitte back and believes a deal will get done, perhaps as early as next week. According to this person, someone in the Yankee organization was putting out that word as something of a scare tactic, knowing that Pettitte badly wants to pitch for the Yankees next season. "They just want him at their price, that’s still the bottom line," the person said.

Pettitte, 36, posted a 4.54 ERA in 33 starts this year.  His 2.9 K/BB and strong groundball rate indicate he’s capable of bouncing back.  He’s more than a fifth starter.

Odds and Ends: Mariners, Jeter, Penny

Links for Wednesday…

Dodgers Sign Claudio Vargas

According to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, the Dodgers signed pitcher Claudio Vargas to an incentive-laden, one-year deal.  He’ll earn $400K and has $1.4MM in incentives.

Vargas, 30, spent 2008 in the Mets’ organization.  He pitched 85.3 innings across various levels, dealing with elbow pain at one point.  He’d been released by the Brewers in March.

Reds Sign Willy Taveras To Two-Year Deal

WEDNESDAY: Taveras’ deal with the Reds is worth $6.25MM over two years.

SATURDAY: The Reds have signed Willy Taveras to a two-year contract according to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News. The terms of the deal aren’t yet known.

The 27-year-old figures to play center field and lead off for the Reds. He’s stolen at least 30 bases in each of the last four years, including 2008 when he set a career high with 68 steals in spite of a .308 OBP.

Boras Contacts Dodgers To Discuss Manny

10:43pm: A bit more from’s Ken Gurnick.  Boras left a voicemail for Colletti, and they’ll probably talk this week.

8:48pm: Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Scott Boras has contacted Dodgers GM Ned Colletti regarding the future of his superstar client Manny Ramirez.

The contact was likely motivated by a recent Times piece that quoted Colletti as saying Ramirez was the Dodgers’ "first choice." Boras may be feeling pressure to get a deal done for his client, as recent rumors have connected the Dodgers to Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu. If the Dodgers were to sign one of those free agents, they would likely no longer be interested in Ramirez.

With the list of potential suitors for Manny already shrinking, taking the Dodgers out of the picture would probably force some creative thinking on the part of Scott Boras to get his client signed.

Marquis For Vizcaino Deal Close

7:28pm: Ken Rosenthal confirms what most people are saying–that this deal is close, but not yet official.

7:11pm: Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald calls the deal "possible, but not done yet." Additionally, says Miles, the deal is apparently "more in the Rockies’ hands than the Cubs’ right now."

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times says a deal is "close," and suggests a Milton Bradley signing may be the next move for the Cubs.

6:20pm: This story has been confirmed by Troy Renck of the Denver Post. 

While the deal likely won’t be official until next week, it looks like the Cubs will be paying $1MM of Marquis’ salary in 2009. That makes a net reduction of roughly $5MM in payroll for the Cubs.

4:44pm: According to ESPN’s Steve Phillips, the Cubs and Rockies are close to a swap of starter Jason Marquis for reliever Luis Vizcaino (saw it scroll across the screen on ESPN2).  Marquis is set to earn $9.875MM in ’09, while Vizcaino will make $3.5MM plus a $4MM option for 2010 with a $500K buyout.

Marquis, 30, tossed 167 innings of 4.53 ball in 2008.  He did roughly the same in ’07.  Vizcaino, 34, posted a 5.28 ERA in 46 innings.  He dealt with a strained shoulder and later expressed concerns that he didn’t pitch enough.  His velocity was up from ’07 and he whiffed more than a batter per inning, but he was done in by walks and home runs.  Vizcaino added a DUI to his resume in October.