Odds & Ends: Downs, Soriano, Dodgers, Guillen

Here are a variety of news items as baseball wraps up another Jackie Robinson Day…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Phillies can't take on any extra salary right now and the presence of two Philadelphia scouts at Blue Jays games is just "normal coverage."  Rosenthal adds, however, that Jays reliever Scott Downs "makes sense" for Philly's relief needs.
  • ESPN's Rob Neyer believes "there's a 50/50 chance" that the Cubs will release Alfonso Soriano before his contract expires at the end of the 2014 season and the club will simply eat what is left of the $90MM owed to the underachieving outfielder.
  • The Dodgers are satisfied with rookie A.J. Ellis as their backup catcher and will likely not look to acquire another backstop in the wake of Brad Ausmus' back surgery, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • Tom Van Riper of Forbes Magazine tears down the myth that players step up their production in the last year of their contracts.
  • Jose Guillen was the subject of trade rumors over the winter, but the Royals outfielder had a much more traumatic offseason experience as he tells The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton about a life-threatening health scare.
  • Barry Bloom of MLB.com reports that Hal Steinbrenner (unsurprisingly) wants Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi to remain Yankees, but isn't willing to break the club's policy of in-season contract negotiations to work on extensions.  "I hope everybody is reasonable and we can work it out easily. But there's no doubt I want them here," Steinbrenner said.
  • As we approach the 50th anniversary of the infamous Rocky Colavito/Harvey Kuenn swap, Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer looks back at the trade that infuriated Indians fans.

20 Responses to Odds & Ends: Downs, Soriano, Dodgers, Guillen Leave a Reply

  1. SosaCrackers 5 years ago

    Soriano will not be released! Yes, he is on decline, but last year was not his fault. Last year he was injured almost the whole year and proved what he means to this team. He sacrifices himself for the team, and showed his loyalty when he told Bradley if he wasn’t about the team then we don’t want you. He is a team leader, and doesn’t deserve the booing that he’s getting.

    • Released before 2014, it says. I’m willing to back that prediction 100%. He’s release-worthy now. If Jermaine Dye can’t find work, then Soriano shouldn’t even be able to buy a ticket to a ballpark.

      Only thing stopping it from happening is a career ending injury.

  2. davidchu 5 years ago

    the jays will gladly pay scott downs salary if that means a better prospect is coming back in return.

  3. jb226 5 years ago

    Wow. I read Neyer’s ESPN article hoping for some glimmer of insight into what the Cubs might do, when they might do it.

    What I read instead was a posting 44% of which (by word count) was him re-posting what he said about the contracts given to outfielders that year. If you count intros and conclusion about them, you can add another 22% of the post. And he managed to slip in something about how he predicted the economic collapse too. I kid you not.

    All of that is bad enough, except that he spent yet ANOTHER 16% of his article quoting somebody else’s article, and then explaining that when you have a bad contract you can either live with it, suck it up and release the player or swap it for another bad contract. BRILLIANT!

    I wasn’t sure that somebody could bloviate for three pages without saying anything of note, but there it is — possibly the worst article ever written by somebody who calls themselves a professional. The only interesting thing he said was exactly what made it into this blog entry, that there’s a 50/50 shot they release Soriano sometime in the next four years. No analysis of why he thinks that, nor even a hint as to why he picked the percentages he did. Hell, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if it was because “they might release him and they might do something else” is a 50% chance of releasing him. It was really that bad.

    Don’t waste your time with the article. Or perhaps more accurately, there’s a good chance you’ve already read the article — three and a half years ago. I’d put the odds at… let’s say 50/50.

    • Koby2 5 years ago

      Not to necessarily defend him because I do agree with a lot of what you say (and this is coming from a Royal’s fan who used to read every letter of what Neyer said way back when Neyer used to be a Royal’s fan) but this was a blog post and not a true article. Even still, it’s a pretty self serving blog post that merely serves for Rob to point out, “Hey, I got these predictions about these bad contracts! Look at me, I’m smart!” when even back then at the age of 16 and still learning about the nuances and structure of baseball, I recognized that most of those contracts were going to be bad by the end; usually a good number of free agent contracts end bad. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  4. Suzysman 5 years ago

    “ESPN’s Rob Neyer believes “there’s a 50/50 chance” that the Cubs will release Alfonso Soriano before his contract expires”

    Wait, does that mean there is a 50% chance we DO get stuck watching him hobble around the outfield and flail away at the plate the whole 5 seasons? :*(

    But really, do agree with jd226 that it was a very poor article. And it seems to be more a vessel to try and toot his own horn then anything else.

    • Here’s one of my favorite Soriano facts:

      Percentage of fastballs thrown to him, from 2008 through 2010:

      2008: 54%, .374 wOBA
      2009: 46%, .314 wOBA
      2010: 40%, .273 wOBA

      Yeah, this season’s sample is awfully short, but pitchers figured out how to beat Soriano: sliders, sliders, sliders.

      Per 100 pitches, Soriano has a +1.94 pitch value mark against fastballs, but a -0.82 pitch value mark against sliders, by far the worst of any pitch. This guy is just getting absolutely killed by breaking stuff.

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        Its also greatly compounded by the fact that he cant get around on the FB like he used to. Meaning you can bury him in sliders without fear. Even if you happen to fall behind in the count and are forced to put one over the plate, he wont necessarily be able to do anything with it.

        Soriano is looking really bad already, and sadly there is plenty of room to get worse. With his horrific discipline, he is the type of guy who could be a star one day and out of the game the next after the loss of ability to hit the FB. Well, of course, unless he is on a 8 year contract paying him enough money to buy a club with, as is our case…

  5. Jay18 5 years ago

    I strongly feel, playoffs or not this year, that Hendry will at the minimum finish out his current contract.

    • Cosmo3 5 years ago

      Sadly, I feel the same way. Everyone’s saying that Hendry’s head will role after this season, no doubt–but if we’ve learned anything as Cubs fans, it’s this: logic often falls by the wayside

    • Suzysman 5 years ago

      the Ricketts have continually stressed that they will evaluate and hold people accountable based on results. And specificity we have stuff like this

      “And secondly, you want accountability. It’s Jim’s responsibility, and he knows it.”

  6. Dev0 5 years ago

    what could the jays get for Downs with salary paid?

  7. gmart68b 5 years ago

    Is Soriano overpaid? Yes.

    Is he laboring under high expectations? Yes.

    …and justifiably so, given the contract. If you look at his numbers, he’s clearly in decline, but he hasn’t been completely horrible.

    Worth the price? Certainly not.

    Still serviceable as a player? Yes.

    • Suzysman 5 years ago

      “Still serviceable as a player? Yes.”

      For how long?

      He acts like he could care less out in the outfield and is providing horrible fielding results. At the plate he cant hit anything but the fastball, but that is where the problem comes in – he can barley even do that at this point. And if that declines any more, what service will he be able to provide? Keeping the bench warm for the pitcher?

  8. Dev0 5 years ago

    I don’t see it

  9. SosaCrackers 5 years ago

    Soriano and his huge contract arn’t hurting the team. What prospect is looking to take over LF? What free agent would you have like for them to sign the last few years that he’s been here? There is no power hitting outfielder that can out-produce him in the system, and there hasn’t been on the free agent market. He’s still the best option they have.

    • Zumi10 5 years ago

      Colvin or maybe Nady. However, I still can’t see the Cubs just releasing Soriano. We may as well get SOMETHING from him, even if that something is a warm bench… maybe.

  10. Agreed, there’s absolutely no reason that Hendry should get past this season if the Cubs aren’t in the playoffs. He’s constantly signed worthless players to multi-year, multi-million dollar deals (Miles, Grabow) and overpaid aging veterans.

    He destroyed the team’s financial flexibility by signing all of those guys (Zambrano, Soriano, Dempster, Lee, Ramirez, Bradley, Fukudome, Lilly) to huge deals and giving NTC’s to practically all of them, and the team’s previously awful farm system hasn’t been able to supplement that talent with much beyond Soto, Theriot, Marmol, and Wells.

    The Cubs should be like the Yankees of the NL, routinely one of the best teams in the game, but they’ve been ran so poorly that they’re probably not going to be a great team until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest.

  11. Cosmo3 5 years ago

    The Soriano contract is somewhat forgivable, due to the circumstances and pressure from ownership. But Hendry has made plenty of unforgiveable contracts since–i.e. Bradley, Grabow, etc. At least with the Bradley deal, we got a halfway serviceable pitcher out of it. Wish we could say the same with the Grabow deal.

  12. I doubt it. The opinions on Aumont vary more than on most prospects, but he’s got a great arm and I think that Philadelphia wants to try him as a starter again.

    Maybe they could get J.C. Ramirez, though, who’s nearly as good of a prospect but doesn’t get nearly as much hype. Tough to say what a few months of Downs would land at this point, but I wouldn’t expect to get blown away.

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