June 2009

This Week’s MLBTR Chat

Apologies to those of you who joined the chat today. It didn't work out (I'm still trying to figure out why). Come by tomorrow at 2pm CST and we'll get our weekly chat in then. 

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Pirates, Nats Agree To Multi-Player Trade

1:40pm: Kovacevic says the teams have agreed in principle to exchange Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett.

1:39pm: Chico Harlan of the Washington Post and MLB.com's Bill Ladson agree that the Nats and Pirates are close to completing a deal.

1:35pm: The deal isn't complete, but Kovacevic has an update. It would also send Sean Burnett to Washington and Joel Hanrahan to Pittsburgh.

12:05pm: The Pirates already made one deal this morning, but that's not stopping them from talking trades. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates are close to dealing Nyjer Morgan to the Nationals for Lastings Milledge. However, nothing is final yet.

We first heard of the possible swap on the weekend.

Tim Lincecum Contract Update

As one of the best pitchers in the game, Tim Lincecum can expect a massive payday when he goes to arbitration for the first time after this season. However, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News points out, the Giants could have saved themselves millions by keeping Lincecum in the minors for another month early in his rookie season. 

He began the year by overwhelming the Triple A competition, so the Giants called him up on May 6th. That allowed him to collect extra service, so he's now expected to gain Super Two status after the season. As a result, he'll go to arbitration four times, instead of three. The Giants weren't going anywhere in 2007; a more cautious approach would have saved them millions.
Lincecum and his agent, Rick Thurman, appear to be content to negotiate salaries year-to-year. The Giants haven't discussed a long-term deal with their ace since the season began, but Lincecum's representatives are open to a multi-year contract.

Yanks Considered Trading Rivera For Wells In ’95

Former Yankees GM Gene Michael told John Harper of the New York Daily News that he considered dealing Mariano Rivera to the Tigers for David Wells back in 1995. Rivera was still considered a starter then, and he was one of the players the Tigers had interest in. Michael, now a scout, says he held onto Rivera because of his control and mid-nineties fastball.

"But nobody ever could have foreseen him doing all of this – and really with just one pitch."

The Tigers dealt Wells to Cincinnati, where he pitched to an ERA of 3.59 in 11 starts. The Yankees would ultimately sign him two different times as a free agent. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports caught up with Joe Klein, who was the Tigers GM at the time. Klein assures Tigers fans that he would have made the deal if Rivera had been available. Imagine if Mariano had been closing games for the Tigers in place of Todd Jones, Troy Percival, Matt Anderson and others.

Olney On Felix, Reds, Dye, Indians

ESPN.com's Buster Olney imagines there will be a long lineup of suitors for Felix Hernandez when he hits free agency after the 2011 season. Players as good as King Felix will sign massive deals regardless of the economy, Olney says. Here are the rest of his rumors:

  • The Reds, who are looking for a right-handed bat, will probably choose between marginal improvements and busting the budget for a pricier hitter like Matt Holliday or Jermaine Dye. They'd have to give up better prospects to obtain the salary relief they'd like, but they're reluctant to part with top talent.
  • For those wondering if Jermaine Dye could fit in San Francisco, Olney says the White Sox and Giants don't match up particularly well.
  • Olney suggests the Red Sox should trade for a first baseman and move Kevin Youkilis over to third if Mike Lowell has to miss much time, 
  • It makes sense for the Rockies to play Garrett Atkins more. Not only is he hitting better, teams will have more interest in Atkins if they see him perform well.  
  • Any deal that makes the Indians stronger for 2010 is worth making if they aren't going to contend this year. Cleveland's now 12.0 games out of a playoff spot.

Yankees Acquire Eric Hinske

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  reports that the Yankees acquired Eric Hinske from the Pirates for two minor leaguers, Casey Erickson and Eric FryerJoel Sherman of the New York Post says the Yankees are getting $400k in the deal, which is about half of what's still owed to Hinske. Sherman also offers eight reasons the Yankees made the deal.

Erickson, 24 in August, has 37 strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA in 44 innings of A ball this year. Fryer, who will turn 24 two days before Erickson does, has an OPS under .700 and 11 steals as a catcher and outfielder in A ball.

DeRosa Has A Shot At Type A Status

When we last checked, Mark DeRosa was ranked as a Type B free agent as a member of the Indians.  At that time, he was grouped with the American League second basemen, third basemen, and shortstops.  His 61.7 score put him about ten points below the lowest Type A in the group, Melvin Mora.

Now a Cardinal, DeRosa will be ranked with the NL 2B/3B/SSs by Elias after the season.  I just ran the numbers with DeRosa as part of this group, and his score jumped to 67.9.  He's still a Type B, but is now only three points from the lowest Type A in the group (Troy Tulowitzki at 70.9).  The seven stats that go into DeRosa's ranking: plate appearances, batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, runs batted in, fielding percentage, and total chances at his designated position.

So the Cardinals may have received more than just three months of DeRosa; they also could end up with one or two draft picks as free agent compensation.  For that to happen they'd need to offer him arbitration, then see him decline and sign elsewhere.  Offering arbitration means the Cards would risk DeRosa accepting and landing a one-year contract for 2010 north of his current $5.5MM salary.  As Ken Rosenthal alluded to today, some teams might prefer certain free agents ranked as Type Bs so that there would be no deterrent for another club to sign them.

Odds And Ends: Halladay, Yankees, Rangers

Links for Tuesday morning…

Rosenthal On Tejada, Rockies, Mets

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues that the Cubs don't need to make a trade, they just need their hitters to start producing. Here are his most recent rumors:

  • Ed Wade says Miguel Tejada's impending free agency is part of the reason the Astros aren't asking him to move from shortstop to third base. Tejada would probably move, but Wade would rather not ask him to.
  • The Rockies are looking hard for relief help. They were interested in Joel Hanrahan earlier in the season, but he's much less appealing now. 
  • LaTroy Hawkins, Chad Qualls and Takashi Saito are all more appealing than Hanrahan, but Rosenthal says they're "longshots."
  • The Rockies aren't that interested in Cla Meredith and Danys Baez 
  • One GM said the Royals are under pressure to win as many games as possible this year.
  • The D'Backs believe Doug Davis has more value as a trade chip because he projects as a Type B free agent. Check out the latest Elias rankings here.
  • One official believes the Mets are better off with Daniel Murphy than Nick Johnson 
  • When the Cardinals inquired on Matt Holliday they heard the A's aren't looking to move him and would require a strong offer to part with him.  

Giants Scouting V-Mart, Dye

Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Giants are scouting Jermaine Dye and Victor Martinez. The Indians aren't shopping V-Mart and the White Sox aren't sellers at this point, but the Giants need a bat. 

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle confirms that the Giants sent a scout to the Indians-White Sox game and wonders whether they might have their eye on Martinez. He clearly appeals to many teams, but there's no indication that V-Mart's available. After all, the Indians can keep him next year, when they could contend.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Dye says he's not talking trades. He says the White Sox, who are only 4.0 games back of the division lead, should try to win this year.