Week In Review: 1/11 – 1/17

We heard a lot about some deals that are close on the horizon this past week, which could suggest we’re in for a busy one ahead. Let’s take a look back at all the news from the past seven days:

  • The Braves continue to be busy this offseason. They swooped in and signed Derek Lowe to a four-year, $60MM contract. Not only do the Braves get to have Lowe for themselves, they also don’t have to face him with the Mets. Paying $15MM for Lowe by the time he’s 38-39 years old is a risk, but the move looks good for right now. They also signed super-utilityman Omar Infante to a two-year, $4.325MM contract, and we learned that the Kenshin Kawakami signing was for a nice value of three years, $23MM.
  • There was a lot of drama surrounding Michael Young this week, as we learned that the All-Star shortstop demanded a trade from the Rangers after being asked to move to third base. After a lot of speculation about where Young could potentially end up, and who could afford to take on his contract, he came out and publicly stated that he would play third base in 2009, making room for top prospect Elvis Andrus.
  • The Phillies made a great signing this week, when they gave World Series MVP Cole Hamels a three-year, $20.5MM extension. Hamels has solidified himself as a top-tier starter in the game, and keeping him around at roughly $7MM per year is a tremendous bargain. I absolutely love this move for Philadelphia.
  • Red Sox fans have reason to celebrate, too. Kevin Youkilis signed a four-year, $41MM extension with the BoSox this week. Great value for a guy who finished third in the AL MVP voting, plays Gold Glove caliber defense, and is one of the leaders of that clubhouse. Nice move by Boston.
  • The Red Sox may not stop with Youk, however. We heard this week that they want to discuss an extension for Jason Bay prior to the 2009 season, but after the other free agent outfielders sign. Bay would be one of the better hitters on the market if he elected free agency; will he test the market or stay in the Boston spotlight? The Red Sox also signed Mark Kotsay to a one-year, $1.5MM deal this week.
  • The Red Sox were one of several teams looking to extend core players this week. The Orioles and Nick Markakis are reportedly nearing a six-year, $64-$66MM extension. This would be a tremendous signing for a great, young, five-tool player in my opinion. The O’s also inked veteran catcher Gregg Zaun to a one-year, $1.5MM deal with a $2MM option for 2010. Zaun should be a nice mentor for Matt Wieters. Andy MacPhail says Zaun will get the bulk of the playing time, but I find that hard to believe. You have to imagine Wieters will force himself into the everyday role.
  • Continuing on the extension theme, the Twins would like to give Jason Kubel a two-year extension to buy out his arbitration years. Kubel had a nice season as the Twins’ DH last year, and is one of the only power sources in the Twins’ lineup. I think they’d be wise to keep him around. Minnesota is also looking at Eric Gagne and Brandon Lyon for the eighth inning. Gagne could be a huge bargain; he quietly had a nice finish to 2008 and has only been bad for roughly one calendar year.
  • Apparently Russell Martin has taken note of this current trend. He’d like to discuss an extension with the Dodgers over the winter.
  • One person NOT getting an extension with the Dodgers is Andruw Jones. They released him this week, cutting ties with what has proved to be a disastrous signing for Los Angeles.
  • Lastly, Tim had a chance to ask Ken Rosenthal some questions earlier this week. Here’s a look at the interview.

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