Links for Wednesday...
- NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman says reports suggest the Rangers may be the top suitor for high school lefty Yusei Kikuchi. Newman adds a new team to the mix for Kikuchi based on comments from GM Ed Wade: the Astros.
- More from Newman, on what he calls "an interesting counter-point to the Kikuchi situation." Well-regarded Dominican righty Rafael DePaula, who has been suspended by MLB for misrepresenting his age, might head to Japan to begin his professional career.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News talked to Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, who hopes the team re-signs catcher Bengie Molina. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks Molina might be the best catcher in San Francisco Giants history. Molina has a .278/.302/.440 line in his three seasons with the team. He projects as a Type A free agent.
- Michael Young says the Rangers have to re-sign outfielder Marlon Byrd, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Byrd, 32, has a .280/.325/.479 line in 590 plate appearances and projects as a Type B free agent.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star adds Zack Greinke's recent New York-related quote to a list of Greinke gems.
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).
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.
"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 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.
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.
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.
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.
here for today's chat transcript.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella hinted on ESPN Radio today that Milton Bradley will not play another game for the Cubs (via ESPN Chicago). The talented outfielder has two years and $21MM remaining on his contract, but Piniella suggested Bradley will spend those two seasons elsewhere.
"Now we try to find somebody else," Piniella said. "I know Jim [Hendry, the team GM] will work very hard at it."
Piniella is hardly the first one to suggest that Bradley will likely continue his career with another team. The Padres could have interest in Bradley, but the Royals won't bite. Ken Rosenthal suggested this weekend that the Giants, Rangers, Rays and Mets could all have interest in the 31-year-old.
The Cubs manager also criticized Bradley for his total of 40 RBIs. Bradley often hit second, so he didn't have as many opportunities to produce runs as some, but he failed to capitalize when given the chance; only eight of the 266 players with at least 300 plate appearances drove home a smaller percentage of runners than Bradley, who brought home just a tenth of those who reached base ahead of him.