September 2009

Offseason Outlook: San Diego Padres

Next up in our Offseason Outlook series, the Padres.  Their likely commitments for 2010:

C – Nick Hundley – $404K
C – Eliezer Alfonzo – $400K
1B – Adrian Gonzalez – $4.75MM
2B – David Eckstein – $1MM
SS – Everth Cabrera – $400K
3B – Kevin Kouzmanoff – $432K+
IF – Luis Rodriguez – $675K+
IF – Edgar Gonzalez – $407K
LF – Kyle Blanks – $400K
CF – Tony Gwynn Jr. – $405K
RF – Will Venable – $402K
OF – Chase Headley – $412K
OF – Drew Macias – $401K

SP – Kevin Correia – $750K+
SP – Chris Young – $6.25MM
SP – Mat Latos – $400K
SP – Clayton Richard – $405K
SP – Tim Stauffer – $400K

Other candidates: Aaron Poreda – $400K, Sean Gallagher – $410K, Cesar Ramos – $400K, Wade LeBlanc – $402K, Cesar Carrillo – $400K, Josh Geer – $402K

RP – Heath Bell – $1.255MM+
RP – Luke Gregerson
RP – Mike Adams – $415K
RP – Joe Thatcher – $404K
RP – Greg Burke – $400K
RP – Luis Perdomo – $400K
RP – Edward Mujica – $410K

Other candidates: Adam Russell – $405K, Ryan Webb – $400K

Non-tender candidates: Shawn Hill, Cha Seung Baek, Luis Rodriguez

The Padres have about $21.5MM committed before arbitration raises to Kouzmanoff, Rodriguez, Correia, and Bell.  By my estimate those raises will put the team in the $30MM range for 2010.  The Padres had an Opening Day payroll of $42.7MM, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.  New Padres CEO Jeff Moorad told MLB.com's Corey Brock in August that he's comfortable with a $70-80MM payroll, "but it's likely that it will take us a couple of years to get back to that level."  While Moorad doesn't expect a huge free agent splash, Padres GM Kevin Towers should realistically have at least $15MM available this offseason.

Towers recently suggested to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Padres could be a .500 team or even a playoff contender next year.  The GM added, "I don't know if we need to do a lot this winter."

ESPN's Buster Olney and various Baseball Prospectus writers covered the Padres a few days ago, suggesting the team might add a veteran starter and outfielder despite Towers' comment.  The article ponders trading Bell to free up the payroll space needed for bigger-name free agents like Chone Figgins, Randy Wolf, or John Lackey.  I like the idea of trading Bell, but the salary relief would just be a side benefit.  I'd trade him simply because he may be at peak value and Towers is skilled at building bullpens out of nothing.  Problem is, there's a surplus of closers on the market this winter.

Towers has admitted interest in bringing Milton Bradley back, talking with ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  If the Cubs are desperate enough to cover $17MM of the $21MM left on his contract, it'd be as if Towers signed a potential .400 OBP bat to a two-year, $4MM deal.  It's a chance worth taking, and it'd leave the Padres with a surplus of outfielders.  The Padres are second-to-last in the NL with 3.96 runs scored per game this year, but a Gonzalez-Blanks-Bradley heart of the order could be decent.  More silver lining: Headley, Venable, and Kouzmanoff have been offensive assets in the second half.

It'd be nice to have Wolf back, but even the classic San Diego discount might result in a $10MM salary.  I'd rather entertain Lackey for $15MM.  Either way, a quality veteran addition would push Richard to the fifth starter role and give the team surprisingly strong rotation depth months after trading Jake Peavy.

If Towers truly has a quiet winter and keeps the payroll around $30MM, it'd be a stretch to see the 2010 Padres contending.  But with the right free agent strikes and perhaps a shrewd Bell trade, they'd have a chance.


Odds & Ends: Kikuchi, Bengie Molina, Marlon Byrd

Links for Wednesday…


Mets Likely To Re-Sign Alex Cora?

The Mets are likely to re-sign Alex Cora as their backup infielder for 2010, according to Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News.  Cora, 34 in October, hit .251/.320/.310 in 308 plate appearances for the Mets this year.  The Scott Boras client earned $2MM for his efforts.

MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone appreciates Cora's intangibles, but would hate to see GM Omar Minaya overpay him with a two-year deal (see Marlon Anderson and Julio Franco).


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alex Cora | New York Mets

Indians Fire Eric Wedge

The Indians have dismissed manager Eric Wedge and his entire coaching staff, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.  A press conference is scheduled for 12:30pm CST.  Castrovince says Wedge and his staff were informed Tuesday night, and will finish out the season.  Castrovince believes the new manager will be an external hire.  His stats on Wedge:

In seven seasons, Wedge has compiled a record of 560-568, with one division title and playoff appearance in 2007, when the Indians finished one win shy of the World Series. Among the 39 full-time managers in Tribe history, Wedge ranks fifth in wins, third in losses and fourth in games managed.


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Cleveland Indians

Miguel Angel Sano To Sign With Twins

WEDNESDAY: Kovacevic has details on the breakdown in communication between the Pirates and Plummer.  MLB.com's Jen Langosch has a statement from Huntington; here's the money quote:

"Miguel Sano has apparently agreed to terms with another organization without his agent engaging the Pirates in legitimate negotiations."

TUESDAY: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Twins will sign Dominican shortstop Miguel Angel Sano. Sano will receive a bonus of $3.15MM, the largest for an international amateur player given this summer. Sano's would be the second largest Latin American signing bonus ever behind only Dominican pitcher Michael Ynoa, who signed with the A's for $4.25MM last year, says Baseball America. It's the second largest in Twins history behind Joe Mauer's $5.15MM.

Last May, Kovacevic said Sano's bonus could reach $3MM. The deal will be signed tomorrow; however, Jorge Arangure of ESPN the Magazine adds via Twitter that "this deal isn't completed until Sano gets a visa to play in the U.S. And that's no given." While his age remains unconfirmed, Sano's saying he's 16.

The signing comes as a surprise. As many as 8-10 teams were reportedly interested in Sano, but it was the Pirates that had intensely pursued him. Kovacevic notes a breakdown between Sano's agent, Rob Plummer, and the Pirates:

"Plummer made clear that his relationship with the Pirates, particularly general manager Neal Huntington and Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo, became frayed during the process. The Pirates were the most aggressive team once the July 2 international signing period began, making offers of $2 million at the time and $2.6 million a month ago — the latter payment to be split in three parts — but talks were minimal in the past three weeks… each side expressed strong distrust in the other."

According to Kovacevic, Plummer says Huntington never believed other teams were interested in Sano and was overly concerned he was bidding against himself.

Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.


Brad Penny Reflects On Time With Giants

Brad Penny was greeted rudely by the American League this year, but he pitched well in four of five starts for the Giants after being released by the Red Sox in late August.  Penny had kind words for the Giants, speaking to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.  Penny's thoughts on re-signing with San Francisco:

"We'll see.  I've loved it here, but I haven't thought about next year yet."

Baggarly notes that Penny does prefer to pitch for a West Coast team.  A return to the Dodgers is presumably out, so if Penny wants to stay in the NL and sticks to his geographic preference he's looking at the Giants or Padres.  Baggarly senses Penny will "let market forces determine his fate."  Despite a 5.15 ERA in 164.3 innings this year, Penny remains intriguing and will be guaranteed millions.  With a 94.0 mph average fastball velocity this year, he's easily the hardest-throwing free agent starter.


Elias Rankings Update

At the end of each season, The Elias Sports Bureau ranks all MLB players numerically based on a bunch of stats.  Every player is categorized in one of five position groups and by league.  The rankings cover a two-year time period.  They are used to determine whether free agents are Type A, Type B, or neither.  If you'd like a reminder on how draft pick compensation works, read up here.

Eddie Bajek of Detroit Tigers Thoughts reverse-engineered the Elias Rankings last year.  Eddie's incredible work was made possible in large part due to information provided by ESPN's Keith Law.  Eddie is now providing the rankings exclusively to MLB Trade Rumors.  Today's snapshot covers the beginning of the 2008 season through September 28th, 2009.  The rankings will change over the remainder of the season.

View the latest Elias Rankings below.


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Elias Rankings

Elias Rankings Update

At the end of each season, The Elias Sports Bureau ranks all MLB players numerically based on a bunch of stats.  Every player is categorized in one of five position groups and by league.  The rankings cover a two-year time period.  They are used to determine whether free agents are Type A, Type B, or neither.  If you'd like a reminder on how draft pick compensation works, read up here.

Eddie Bajek of Detroit Tigers Thoughts reverse-engineered the Elias Rankings last year.  Eddie's incredible work was made possible in large part due to information provided by ESPN's Keith Law.  Eddie is now providing the rankings exclusively to MLB Trade Rumors.  Today's snapshot covers the beginning of the 2008 season through September 28th, 2009.  The rankings will change over the remainder of the season.

View the latest Elias Rankings below.


Full Story | Comments | Categories: Elias Rankings

Ed Wade On Biggio, Bagwell, Matsui, ‘Pen

Astros GM Ed Wade told Houston Chronicle readers that he doesn't expect Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell to become the team's next manager. Here are the details from Wade's online chat with fans:

  • The Astros are looking for an experienced manager who relates well with players.
  • Wade expects Kaz Matsui to be the team's everyday second baseman next year. 
  • Expect the Astros to be younger next year.
  • Wade says he'd "love" to have LaTroy Hawkins and Jose Valverde back next year, but doesn't say whether he thinks the club has a realistic shot at re-signing either free agent-to-be.
  • The Astros will probably be working with less than the $107MM they spent this year.

Odds & Ends: Pirates, Drew, Red Sox, Valentine

Some more links to read as we ready ourselves for another Tigers-Twins game…

  • The Pirates just added Anthony Claggett to their roster, so he could make his debut with the club tonight, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Pirates won't bring back coach Rich Donnelly, but pitching coach Joe Kerrigan will return.
  • On the weekend, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported (via Twitter) that the D'Backs will listen to offers for Stephen Drew. Nightengale says the club wants pitching and suggests the Red Sox will likely have interest in Drew.
  • Rob Neyer of ESPN.com says it wouldn't make sense for the Red Sox to trade Clay Buchholz to the D'Backs to acquire Stephen Drew. Buchholz, after all, has shown that he can pitch in the AL East. The Red Sox need a shortstop, but Neyer doesn't consider Drew a proven player.
  • Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post reports that Bobby Valentine is "totally committed" to his new job as an ESPN analyst, though the former MLB manager acknowledged that he could manage in the bigs again at some point.