December 2011

Mariners Sign George Sherrill

That Mariners have officially signed George Sherrill, the team announced in a press release. It's a one-year contract worth $1.1MM plus incentives.

Sherrill, 34, originally broke into the big leagues with the Mariners in 2004 after spending time with four different independent league teams. He was part of the trade that sent Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and others to Baltimore for Erik Bedard before the 2008 season, but he spent last season with the Braves. Sherrill held left-handed batters to a .256/.275/.333 batting line with 32 strikeouts and just one walk in 81 plate appearances in 2011.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com broke the news of the agreement (on Twitter), and both Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times and Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider (on Twitter) reported that the two sides were close to a deal. Churchill provided the contract details.


Reds Rumors: Cordero, Madson, Phillips, Theriot

The Reds acquired Sean Marshall from the Cubs one week ago, but it doesn't sound like there are any other moves coming in the immediate future. “I’ve spoken to some agents and some clubs,” said GM Walt Jocketty to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer. “But everyone kind of shuts it down until after the first of the year.”

Here's the latest from Cincy, courtesy of Fay…

  • “We’ve made an offer,” said Jocketty, referring to Francisco Cordero. “He’s deciding what to do. He’s got a couple of other offers.” Jocketty said it's a one-year offer, and Fay guesses it's for $7MM or less.
  • The Reds have not talked to Ryan Madson's people, which would mean Scott Boras.
  • “We decided to table it 'til January,” said Jocketty, referring to talks with Brandon Phillips about a contract extension. Earlier this month we heard the two sides had made some progress.
  • The Reds have spoken to Ryan Theriot's representatives, but nothing is close. “We’re trying to get a hitter first,” Jocketty said, and that hitter would have to be an outfielder according to Fay.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Darvish, Bailey, Pineda

On this date in 1935, a left-hander named Sanford Braun was born in Brooklyn. He went on to throw a perfect game, win three Cy Young Awards and one MVP, and be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. Braun changed his surname after his mother remarried during his childhood, and rose to stardom with the Dodgers as Sandy Koufax. Here are this week's batch of links, the final BBWI of 2011…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here. Only one email per week, please.



Olney’s Latest: Yankees, Ethier, Angels, Blue Jays

In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney ranks the ten best outfields in the game. The Diamondbacks, Yankees, and Rangers top the list, though I thought it was surprising the Rays didn't even garner an honorable mention. Here are Buster's rumors…

  • The Yankees have "quietly checked around" on possible right field alternatives to Nick Swisher as they prepare for his possible free agent departure after next season.
  • Andre Ethier can also become a free agent after 2012, and Olney points out that a pre-deadline trade involving the Dodgers outfielder is possible.
  • "[Angels owner Arte Moreno] made it known he wants to leave the baseball decisions to the baseball department," said one talent evaluator. Manager Mike Scioscia essentially dictated moves in the past, but that has changed since Moreno hired GM Jerry Dipoto earlier this offseason.
  • Sources tell Olney that the Blue Jays are much more like to hold or even cut their payroll rather than increase it.

Quick Hits: Madson, Phillies, Orioles, Hanrahan

It was on this day in 2009 that the Mets signed Jason Bay to a four-year, $66MM contract.  The deal was almost immediately panned as one of the worst moves of the 2009-10 offseason and time has proven the critics right; Bay has hit just .251/.337/.386 in two injury-plagued years in New York.

Some news items as we head closer to 2012…

  • Ryan Madson is "the loser of the offseason," writes Fangraphs' Eric Seidman.  With no obvious teams still in need of a long-term closer, Seidman thinks Madson may have to settle for a one-year contract and try again for a multiyear deal next winter.  32.36% of MLBTR readers polled believe Madson will sign with the Angels, with just under 21% picking 'other' and 17.55% picking the Reds.  Though LAA and Cincinnati have cheaper closing options in the fold already, they're also looking to win now.  They'd both surely jump at Madson on a one-year deal and are probably Madson's only realistic suitors for a multiyear contract, though who knows what Scott Boras may yet pull out of his hat.  (The 'other' voters clearly know all about Boras' relationship with the Mystery Team.)
  • The Phillies aren't likely to bid on Yoenis Cespedes and Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that Jorge Soler (the other intriguing Cuban outfield prospect on the market the winter) is also too unproven and expensive for the potential $20MM+ contract he could receive from a team.
  • Also from Brookover, he lists Jonny Gomes and Scott Hairston as potential targets for the Phillies as the team looks for a fifth outfielder.  If the Phils want to spend more to fill the spot, Brookover suggests Cody Ross and Ryan Ludwick.
  • The Rangers' January 18 deadline for signing Yu Darvish is also the day the "logjam will break" for Prince Fielder, opines Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.  If the Rangers can't sign Darvish, they "will be all over Fielder" to counter the Angels' signing of Albert Pujols.
  • There are "roughly six teams that have shown consistent interest" in Wei-Yin Chen, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  The Orioles are one, the Pirates presumably still another, and the other four are yet unknown.  
  • Also from Connolly's piece, he predicts Edwin Jackson will find at least a four-year contract on the free agent market and notes that while "Jackson's upside intrigues the Orioles," team management has shied away from that long a commitment to free agent pitchers in the past.
  • Pirates closer (and MLBTR fan) Joel Hanrahan tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he doesn't expect to receive a long-term contract offer from the Bucs this winter.  Hanrahan is projected to earn around $4MM this winter in his second trip through the arbitration process.  He said the team hasn't made contact with him or his representatives yet about his 2012 contract, but this was also the case during his first taste of arbitration last year.

AL West Notes: Pujols, Wilson, Balfour, Kata

Between the Angels' big signings, the Rangers winning the Yu Darvish bidding, the Athletics' rebuilding, the Mariners' dabbling in the Prince Fielder derby and even the news that the Astros are coming in 2013, no division has generated more news than the AL West this offseason.  Here's the latest…

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post


White Sox Notes: Danks, Williams, Contracts

Here are a few items about John Danks' five-year, $65MM extension with the White Sox, which was officially announced today…

  • Danks has a full no-trade clause for the first year of his contract, reports MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  Danks will have partial no-trade protection for the remaining four years, able to block deals to six teams.
  • The extension "really did come out of nowhere," Danks told media (including CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien) during a conference call today.  "Obviously, there was a lot of trade talk, and you can’t help but wonder and think…But I think I kind of took the attitude that until something happens I was going to prepare to be with the White Sox. Fortunately, this came along and I couldn’t be happier.”
  • As Garfien notes, this is the first time the White Sox have ever given a pitcher a five-year deal.  Owner Jerry Reinsdorf prefers to keep pitchers on contracts of three years or less due to concerns about health and consistency.
  • From the same conference call, GM Kenny Williams said his comments earlier this month about the White Sox beginning a "rebuilding" phase were misconstrued.  "We are still in win mode,” Williams said. “But at the same time that you’re in win mode, you can be in a little bit of a rebuilding phase, and I tried to articulate that, although I guess that message got lost after I said we were rebuilding. I tried to articulate that it wouldn’t be dominoes falling in terms of a true rebuilding because we have too many good veterans, and veterans looking to bounce back.”

AL East Notes: Jurrjens, Chen, Longoria, Yankees

Here's the latest from the AL East….

  • The Red Sox are not in on Jair Jurrjens, but the Orioles, Blue Jays, Rockies and Tigers remain in on the Braves right-hander, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • The Orioles are still interested in Chunichi Dragons left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, and the team has scouted Chen several times in Japan.  The O's were linked to Chen earlier this offseason and we've also heard that the PIrates had an interest in the free agent southpaw.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted Chen could be signed for a contract in the neighborhood of four years and under $20MM.
  • Rays third baseman Evan Longoria texted the St. Petersburg Times (reported by The Times' Marc Topkin) to deny recent internet rumors that he wanted to leave Tampa Bay.  "I don't have any idea where that rumor came from! It's completely false,'' Longoria said.  "I've said from the start I love Tampa, I love the direction we are heading as a franchise and there is no better place for me to continue to grow as a player and person.''
  • The Yankees have been quiet this winter seemingly in an attempt to avoid a hefty luxury tax penalty next season, but one AL executive doesn't think this strategy will last.  "I think they can sit back right now," the anonymous exec told The Star-Ledger's Jeff Bradley, "because on paper they have a very strong team. But do I think the Yankees won't spend aggressively if they start to dip in the win column? Not a chance. I think they'll do what they have to do to win."
  • The Athletics wanted right-hander Noah Syndergaard from the Blue Jays as part of any trade for Gio Gonzalez, reported Jeff Blair on the Fan590's Prime Time Sports radio show (passed on by Andrew Stoeten of the Drunk Jays Fans blog.)  Syndergaard was drafted 38th overall by Toronto in the 2010 draft and has posted impressive numbers in his first two years of pro ball.
  • Earlier today, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith posted a collection of Red Sox notes.

Padres Notes: Rizzo, Maholm, Young, Quentin

Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune held his weekly chat with fans today and shared some news about some possible moves the Padres could have cooking this offseason…

  • Center thinks Anthony Rizzo will be traded "in the next week or two."  He predicts Rizzo will be sent to the Rays, who will then flip Rizzo to the Cubs, where he is "still coveted" by (former Padres executives) Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.
  • The Padres will begin negotiations with Cameron Maybin about a multiyear contract once the team has dealt with its arbitration-eligible players.  We heard earlier this week that the two sides would revisit contract talks in January.  Center predicts a Maybin extension would be worth "at least" $15-18MM and be five or six years in length, which would buy out all three of Maybin's arbitration years and at least one of his free agent years.
  • Center believes the Padres will add another pitcher through free agency, and says he's heard the names of Paul Maholm and Jon Garland connected to the club, though Center doesn't think Garland returning to San Diego is likely.  Garland pitched for the Friars in 2010 and then opted out of a mutual option to enter the free agent market.  Garland ended up signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers but made just nine starts for L.A. due to an oblique injury and season-ending shoulder surgery in July.
  • The team "apparently can't put together a deal that would interest Chris Young" since "it would have to be incentive laden and the Padres aren't offering incentive contracts."  Young, who pitched for San Diego from 2006-10, has been plagued by shoulder injuries that have limited him to just 22 starts over the last three seasons.  Young posted a 1.88 ERA in four starts with the Mets last year before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair an anterior capsule tear in his throwing shoulder.
  • "There is nothing close" between the Padres and White Sox about a possible Carlos Quentin trade.  The Friars were known to be targeting Quentin last month.
  • The Padres may choose to take cash from the Pirates to finalize last July's Ryan Ludwick trade, rather than a player to be named later.
  • Center thinks the Padres "desperately" need to acquire a close-to-Major League-ready middle infield prospect.

Rockies Notes: Prado, Jurrjens, Spilborghs, Ross

Troy Renck of the Denver Post shared a number of Rockies tidbits with his Twitter followers this afternoon.  Here are a few of the hot stove-related highlights…