As Spring Training winds down and Opening Day draws near, let's dig up some of the more interesting stories on MLBTR from April of 2007, 2008, and 2009 to see what kind of news we can expect in the coming weeks..
- On April 11th, 2007, the Twins made a low-ball offer to Johan Santana. Minnesota offered their superstar pitcher a two-year extension for $36MM, plus a club option for 2011. Tim summed it up perfectly when he wrote, "I know you have to start somewhere with negotiations, but the Twins could essentially double their offer and it would still be well below market value." Santana later denied that the Twins made such an offer.
- We saw a handful of extensions agreed upon in the coming days, including a three-year, $33MM extension for Jake Westbrook and a two-year, $7MM contract for Ryan Freel.
- The Braves gave John Smoltz a contract extension towards the end of that month. The deal gave him $14MM in 2008 with vesting options for '09 and '10 for a similar rate. Smoltz pitched 28 innings in 2008, terminating his deal at season's end.
- Now we fast forward to April of 2008, where Evan Longoria signed a long-term deal with the Rays early in his rookie season. Though Longoria signed with very little Major League experience, this has become the game's most team-friendly contract.
- Scott Hatteberg said that he would welcome a trade after being slotted as the understudy to Joey Votto.
- Kenji Johjima inked a three-year, $24MM extension with the M's, only to bolt for the Hanshin Tigers in the fall of 2009.
- Toronto was fed up with Frank Thomas and released him, leaving them on the hook for more than $7MM. The thrifty A's signed the Big Hurt to a cheap deal.
- Matt Morris retired from baseball soon after being released by the Pirates.
- The Rockies and the Tigers closed out that month with a rare April trade, swapping pitchers Jason Grilli and Zach Simons.
- In April of 2009, Indians GM Mark Shapiro denied that the club was willing to part with Cliff Lee. Lee would continue to be a member of the Tribe - until right before the trade deadline.
- The White Sox made what proved to be a great pickup when they signed Scott Podsednik to a minor league deal.
- Manny Ramirez, as he is wont to do, decided to be Manny and stated publicly that he would like to return to Cleveland before the end of his career.
- There were plenty of interesting signings in this month - Chad Gaudin hooked on with San Diego, Ron Villone signed with the Nats, and Dallas McPherson joined the Giants.
Could you see the Cardinals presenting Albert Pujols with an offer well below market value, similar to how the Twins handed Johan in 2007? Do you think the Padres, similar to the Indians last season, will shoot down Adrian Gonzalez trade talk, only to deal him closer to the deadline? Let's hear your thoughts.