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10:39pm: Frisaro says the Marlins released McPherson, as they were unable to find a trade.
10:36am: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the latest on the Marlins.
- Out of options Marlins shortstop Robert Andino remains on the Pirates' radar; the interest dates back to at least the Winter Meetings. Frisaro wonders if the idea of an Andino-Brian Bixler swap could be reignited. However, with Andino being out of options and Bixler raising his profile during Spring Training, that seems unlikely. My own speculation – the San Diego would be a good destination for Andino.
- Frisaro says the Marlins appear to be shopping third baseman Dallas McPherson, who is also out of options. McPherson, 28, hit .275/.379/.618 with 42 home runs in 448 at-bats last year at Triple A. Projection systems remain unimpressed, but I'd like to see what he could do in Minute Maid Park.
- The Marlins are eyeing lefty relief help, with Frisaro naming Pittsburgh's Sean Burnett and free agent Ron Villone as possibilities.
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan has a few Rangers rumors tonight.
- Aside from Gary Sheffield, the Phillies have interest in Rangers outfielder Andruw Jones. Sullivan says the Phils "have been scouting Jones extensively this spring."
- Also, having unloaded Jeff Keppinger, the Reds are looking for utility infield help. One person of interest is Rangers shortstop Joaquin Arias. Arias, who came to Texas in the Alex Rodriguez trade, has strong defensive tools and may yet establish himself as a regular according to Baseball America.
- In another post, Sullivan says reliever Derrick Turnbow has decided to accept his assignment to Triple A Oklahoma.
1:10pm: According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies released outfielder Geoff Jenkins. They'll assume the $8MM left on his contract. The Tigers started a trend with Gary Sheffield!
Jenkins, 34, hit .246/.301/.392 in 322 plate appearances last year.
7:36pm: MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says Sheffield has interest in the Marlins, but Frisaro believes Geoff Jenkins would be a better fit.
5:12pm: Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer learned from a team source that the chances of the Phillies signing Sheffield are "very slim." Martino did learn from Sheffield's agent Rufus Williams that a part-time role is not off the table for his client.
SI.com's Jon Heyman looks at the situation, and has a hard time finding a match for Sheffield.
9:15am: More from Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press. He says this isn't even a club record – the Tigers ate $14.3MM on Damion Easley back in '03. Morosi says Sheffield said "it ain't close" to the end of his career, and he has a preference for the Rays.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki wonders whether the Phillies could be a fit for Sheffield.
8:41am: According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, the Tigers released DH Gary Sheffield. They'll eat the $14MM owed to him for '09. It's quite surprising to see the team assume all that money to make him go away, especially since he's healthy right now. Plus he's just one home run shy of 500 for his career.
Let the speculation begin on where Sheff will end up. Obviously his options will open up if he can play the outfield. To kick off the discussion…would the Blue Jays make sense?
According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Nationals released Wily Mo Pena today. Pena refused his assignment to the minors after opposing teams chose not to claim him off waivers. Now that the Nationals are on the hook for his $2MM salary, he might be able to find a job somewhere.
Pena, 27, came to the Nationals in August of 2007 from Boston for Chris Carter. He had a nice initial stint with Washington, and signed a contract in December of that year. But 2008 was a lost year due to shoulder problems.
Additions: Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Nick Swisher, Damaso Marte (re-signed), Jason Johnson, Sergio Mitre, Brett Tomko, Kevin Cash, Angel Berroa, Todd Linden, John Rodriguez. Midseason: Xavier Nady.
Subtractions: Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Bobby Abreu, Kyle Farnsworth, Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson, Wilson Betemit, Ivan Rodriguez, Chad Moeller. Midseason: Morgan Ensberg, LaTroy Hawkins, Ross Ohlendorf
Back in October I wrote, "If the Yankees somehow sign Sabathia, Teixeira, and another starter, they'll be looking fantastic for 2009." Well, they did that and then some. Let's see what the spending spree will get them.
Last year's offense was unimpressive – 7th in the AL with 4.87 runs per game. The new lineup, even with A-Rod projected to miss a quarter of the season and play at less than 100%, projects at 5.41 runs per game using CHONE and the lineup analysis tool. That level of offense would've ranked second in the AL last year. And that projection doesn't include Swisher, who projects to outhit Nady.
Last year's rotation posted a 4.58 ERA in 898.3 innings, with only Pettitte and Mussina making more than 20 starts. They won't be giving starts to guys like Rasner and Ponson in 2009. This year's group: Sabathia, Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes, projects at a 3.90 ERA in 862 innings. And Wang figures to top the projected 133 innings.
The '08 bullpen had a 3.79 ERA in 543.3 innings. This year's group has more Marte, Bruney, and Coke and no Farnsworth, Hawkins, Ohlendorf, or Chamberlain. CHONE says it will shake out to a cumulative 3.71 ERA for the '09 pen. At the least, the bullpen shouldn't be worse.
The Yankees were the second-to-worst defensive team in the AL last year according to The Fielding Bible II. They could gain 40 runs on defense by employing Teixeira and Nady over Giambi and Abreu.
All of these offseason in review pieces have skewed toward the optimistic side. I guess I am just a glass-half-full kind of guy. If you agree with what I wrote above and peg the Yanks for 870 runs scored and 640 allowed, that's a 105 win team. That's extreme, but it would not surprise me to see this team win 100 games.
Bottom line: In a dream offseason for Yankees fans, Brian Cashman improved the offense, rotation, and first base defense drastically by signing three top free agents and more.
4:01pm: Hubbuch says the Mets put Nieve on waivers and will keep Rule 5 reliever Darren O'Day. Nieve, who is out of options, was claimed from the Astros recently.
12:20pm: According to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, the Mets released veterans Jose Valentin, Tony Armas Jr., and Junior Spivey today. Valentin could return to the organization as a coach eventually.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Astros acquired out of options infielder Jeff Keppinger from the Reds for a player to be named later. Looks like Keppinger will be Houston's third base addition. MLB.com's Alyson Footer says he'll complement Geoff Blum at the hot corner and also play the middle infield positions. Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News says the minor leaguer the Reds will receive must be chosen by May 1st.
Keppinger, 29 in April, hit .266/.310/.346 in 502 plate appearances last year while playing all around the infield (mostly shortstop).
Click here to read today's chat transcript.
According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Cubs GM Jim Hendry is working the phones in an attempt to sort out his bullpen situation. Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman, David Patton, and Jeff Samardzija are vying for two spots. Samardzija can be sent to Triple A, but Patton is a Rule 5 pick and the other two are out of options. Something has to give; a trade of Guzman or Gaudin seems likely. Gaudin may be less desirable given his $2MM salary, but Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post figures he'll land on the Rockies' radar. Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald weighs in here.