15 years ago today, the Mariners' acquisition of third baseman Dave Hollins was completed when they sent a 20-year-old first baseman named David Ortiz Arias to the Twins. Arias had just hit .322/.390/.511 for the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. By the following year Ortiz had dropped the Arias in his name and earned a September call-up. Ortiz posted a .266/.348/.461 line in 455 games spanning 1997-2002 with Minnesota, battling wrist and knee injuries. After the '02 season the Blue Jays reportedly expressed interest in Ortiz, but ultimately the Twins non-tendered him in lieu of a raise from his $950K salary. New Red Sox GM Theo Epstein signed Big Papi for $1.25MM, and the rest is history. Today's links...
- The Pirates are far apart in contract talks with Andrew McCutchen, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden. Bowden feels that a six-year deal in the $47-49MM range, plus a club option, would be a fair compromise. In my opinion, there's a good case to be made for a McCutchen contract to exceed the $51.25MM Justin Upton received over six years in March of 2010. McCutchen has played in over 100 more games than Upton had at that point, their offensive lines are very similar, and McCutchen plays center field.
- ESPN's Keith Law discusses MLB's European presence and what must be done for further growth.
- Answering a question from Craig Heist of WTOP about playing in Washington, Rays center fielder B.J. Upton said he'd love to remain in Tampa Bay but otherwise would like to play for the Nationals with old friend Ryan Zimmerman. You can follow Craig on Twitter here; MLB.com's Bill Ladson transcribed the discussion. Upton is heading into his last arbitration year and projects for a $7MM salary.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo names 20 young, next generation GM candidates. To check out MLBTR's top 20 plus honorable mentions, click here.
- Mike Cameron was consistently one of the best players in baseball when he was on the field, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.
- The Orioles will try Chris Davis at third base for the rest of the season, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The 25-year-old was a key piece of the July 30th Koji Uehara trade with Texas. With Mark Reynolds getting comfortable at first base, it's conceivable that the Orioles will sit out the corner infielder bidding this winter.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports chronicles how Joey Gathright went from being managed by Jose Canseco as a member of the independent league Yuma Scorpions to a minor league deal with the Red Sox.