Cafardo On Rays, Lee, Fielder, Cubs, Eckstein

At Thursday's Baseball Writers Dinner, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that he felt good about his rotation heading into Spring Training, but admitted that the Yankees and Rays have fewer question marks in their respective rotations, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  The GM might now have the payroll flexibility to bolster the starting five after sending Marco Scutaro to the Rockies for Clayton Mortensen last night.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • After taking care of their first base vacancy, the Rays can now accelerate a deal for B.J. Upton to get a shortstop.  Currently, Sean Rodriguez is slated to play there over Reid Brignac.  Tampa Bay could also use an everyday catcher, with Jose Molina currently slated to start.
  • Astros first baseman Carlos Lee has to approve any deal because of his 10-5 rights, and hasn't been receptive to waiving those privileges in the past.  The veteran is scheduled to make $18.5MM, but the club has said that they are willing to eat half of it to get a deal done.  Cafardo thinks they'd cover even more of it to appeal to a team like the Tigers.
  • One AL East GM thinks that the Prince Fielder sweepstakes will come down to the Rangers and Nationals, with the Brewers and Cubs taking a shot if he settles for a one-year deal and elects to become a free agent again.
  • There has been talk that Victor Martinez’s injury could open the door for the Cubs to unload overpriced players such as Alfonso Soriano or Marlon Byrd, but Cafardo isn't buying it.
  • David Eckstein, who didn't play last season, has decided to retire even though there were teams willing to bring him into camp.  The 37-year-old hit .280/.345/.355 in his ten-year Major League career.
  • If the Orioles, Tigers, or Yankees don’t come through soon, Johnny Damon could be in a real bind as far as finding a job.  Cafardo opines that he would be a great fit in Detroit to replace the veteran leadership of Martinez.
  • With DH openings few and far between, Cafardo also wonders about the futures of Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Magglio Ordonez, Raul Ibanez, and J.D. Drew.
  • Cherington says that he won't consider bringing Drew back to Boston.  Recently, an National League GM told Cafardo that he believes that Drew can be a great bat off of the bench for an NL team.
  • Larry Lucchino won’t say whether he has re-upped with the Red Sox on a long-term deal, but Cafardo takes that as a yes.

102 Responses to Cafardo On Rays, Lee, Fielder, Cubs, Eckstein Leave a Reply

  1. Iconoclast17 4 years ago

    If Damon’s not careful he’s going to wind up back in Oakland.

    • Why sign Damon when you can sign Manny?!?!

      • Richard Ellard 4 years ago

        Thomas- REALLY? Maybe because Manny would have to serve a 50 game suspension first!

        • It was a joke.

        • Iconoclast17 4 years ago

          Well, Beane could sign both. The A’s need a DH and BB usually grabs a veteran bat (very veteran) to fill that role: Thomas, Piazza, Matsui, Cust, for instance.

          • Beane should control the pitching. When it comes to hitting, he has no clue.

          • Iconoclast17 4 years ago

            Sadly, true. And, when the A’s to get hold of a real hitter, Andre Eithier, Carlos Gonzalez—Beane quickly dispatches them.

            Beane’s very smart but he continues to overvalue the Derek Barton’s of the world. Coco Crisp is an exception to the walk rule, though, so maybe there’s hope.

      • Richard Ellard 4 years ago

        Thomas- REALLY? Maybe because Manny would have to serve a 50 game suspension first!

  2. scott brecht 4 years ago

    There is no reason the Cubs would sign Fielder on a 1 year deal.  This writer’s credibility is lost with that statement.  

    • kräftig. entschieden 4 years ago

      Not a writer, an “AL East GM”. But I agree, it wouldn’t make sense with the acquisition of Rizzo.

      • scott brecht 4 years ago

        Nick Cafardo wrote the article.  

        • SumatranRatMonkey 4 years ago

          Really confused as to what you’re thinking here.  Yeah Nick Cafardo wrote the article, but it’s not his opinion on Fielder, it’s what someone else said.  How is his credibility lost?

    • kräftig. entschieden 4 years ago

      Not a writer, an “AL East GM”. But I agree, it wouldn’t make sense with the acquisition of Rizzo.

    • stewie75 4 years ago

      i think it’d be a GOOD idea to sign him, cubs would give up what, a 2nd round pick in a draft where teams are restricted in spending? and if fielder has his usual first half, theo & jed could flip him for prospects further along with minor league scouting reports, meaning the bust factor would be lower and they’d be ready for the majors sooner. and all it’d cost is a 1 year deal? what’s the downside here?

  3. Fielder should become a Blue Jay. That would be great.

  4. As much as I don’t like to say this stuff, Maggs, Ibanez, Drew, and Vlad look to be unemployed next year unless they take pay cuts/part time jobs. Damon has his shot still and Matsui is probably the biggest threat out there just because he attracts the Asian crowds. However Detroit wants Cepedes and will probably go with an in-house candidate over the FA market.

  5. As much as I don’t like to say this stuff, Maggs, Ibanez, Drew, and Vlad look to be unemployed next year unless they take pay cuts/part time jobs. Damon has his shot still and Matsui is probably the biggest threat out there just because he attracts the Asian crowds. However Detroit wants Cepedes and will probably go with an in-house candidate over the FA market.

    • I agree. Matsui is still a threat at the plate. the yankees need a left-handed bat (to platoon with Andrew Jones), he is still seen as a WS-hero in NY, and he can help Kuroda transition to a new league/clubhouse. he will be cheap to sign and the fans still love him!

  6. CandyMaldonadoLand 4 years ago

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call Marlon Byrd overpriced. John Lackey, on the other hand…

  7. rockfordone 4 years ago

    Blockbuster – Rays send Upton, Moore, Lee and Brignac to White Sox for ARam and AJ Pierz

  8. Eckstein, you will always be remembered for your stance and that World Series MVP award.

  9. Upton for a SS? Hmm…..who matches up?

    I personally thought the RFO was set with Upton in CF going forward.

    • inb4 Ian Desmond. There aren’t that many short stops available worth Upton, even though he’s been a bust. 

    • What about JJ Hardy though? He’s 30 years old and the Orioles won’t compete for years and years. Upton has some upside. And they have some money, so if they can’t resign him they can always trade him for a couple of prospects.

      • stl_cards16 4 years ago

        Upton is a free agent after this year, Hardy just signed an extension. How does this make any sense?

      • Do you seriously think Hardy for Upton is even remotely fair for the Rays, or that it makes sense at all for them?

        • I think if the Rays could get Hardy for Upton, they wouldn’t think twice.

        • diesel2410 4 years ago

          I would absolutely swap Upton for Hardy. He brings tremendous power to the lineup and fills the SS hole. It’s very unlikely though because it doesn’t make sense for Baltimore

  10. Blue_Bomb 4 years ago

    If they trade for an SS, is S-Rod still a starter? He’s my fantasy 2B :(

    • tigers22 4 years ago

      that’s unfortunate. 

      • Blue_Bomb 4 years ago

        Well I drafted him in one of the last few rounds of a 16-team league, so i’m sure I can find or trade for someone else if need be.

    • diesel2410 4 years ago

      Then your team must suck

  11. johnsilver 4 years ago

    The idea of JD Drew as a DH is one of the most outlandish and never going to happen of the many Cafardo always writes about every week.

    Drew cannot even hit anymore..Big **IF** he manages to find a job, if will be because he can play a still decent RF with a good arm and not because he can hit. His bat deserted him 2 years ago and has long since been MIA.

  12. sourbob 4 years ago

    Marlon Byrd’s 2011 value, according to Fangraphs: $9.1MM.
    Marlon Byrd’s average value, last 5 yrs, Fangraphs: $11.5 MM.
    Marlon Byrd’s 2012 salary, 2012: $6.5MM.

    How is that overpriced?

    The Cubs have some serious dead weight to unload, but Byrd is a guy they can deal while rightly insisting his contract has surplus value.

    • scott brecht 4 years ago

      i expect him to have a better year this year than last.  he never looked comfortable after coming back from getting beaned in the face.  

      • Philip Marlowe 4 years ago

        I also heard that he dropped forty pounds this offseason by doing Muay Thai. He could come out the gates pretty hot this year.

    • I loved Marlon when he was here in Texas with the Rangers. I was dissapointed that we couldn’t pay him. He’s a great guy and a really good/underrated player.

  13. I don’t buy Upton getting traded at this point.  His value to other teams would be pretty low while Rays would value him higher.  If Upton continues to produce the way he has been doing for last couple of years, he would elect FA after turning down arb. offer.  

    Possibly meaning two 1st round picks for compensation.  There is also a possibility Upton finally having some breakout year due to his first FA year and with the slash line he had after August, .333/.432/.606 in last 26 games.

    I don’t think there is any viable SS option in market who projects to be better than S-Rod neither.

    • javywoz 4 years ago

      I think this is pretty dead on.  Any SS who might be available (outside of HanRam) is a minimal upgrade to SRod, and that improvement would pretty much be completely negated from the dropoff of BJ to a Fuld/Guyer platoon. 

      • IndianaBob 4 years ago

        Desmond Jennings will play CF if Upton is traded.  They could try to upgrade with youth at SS/1B/corner OF/C in return for Upton.

  14. diehardmets 4 years ago

    If I’m the Rays, I would keep Upton for now and let Sean Rod start at SS. He has had some gaudy minor league numbers and perhaps he can tap into them to some degree. If not, Beckham and/or Lee should be ready for the majors soon. As for C, Chirinos or the lesser known Stephen Vogt could start there with Molina as back up and probably produce acceptable offensive numbers.

    • IndianaBob 4 years ago

      Sean only hits lefties (.377 lefties vs .259 righties wOBA).  Brignac does not hit anyone.  They really need a SS that is decent against righties.

  15. Vote4DougWilson 4 years ago

    I could live with
    Jackson (cf) Damon (dh) Boesch (rf) Cabrera (1b) Avila (c) Delmon (lf) Peralta (ss) Inge/Kelly (3b) Santiago (2b)

  16. Block Buster: Geo Soto, Darwin Barney, Brett Jackson for Upton and Shields

  17. Dynasty22 4 years ago

    If I were the Rays, I would try B.J at the number 2 slot before I would trade him. He seemed to do well there during the final two months.

    • javywoz 4 years ago

      This, Upton had a 1.000+ OPS batting 2nd towards the end of the year. 

  18. Not that this changes the fact that Tampa Bay could use a catcher, but I’m fairly certain that, if they started the season with this roster, they’d use Jose Lobaton in platoon with Molina (at least, and probably as the primary backstop). Lobatan put up big numbers in a half-season at AAA last year and got several starts during the stretch drive. I don’t think he’s a long-term solution, but certainly has more upside than 37-year-old Jose, who has never been a #1 option anywhere. 

  19. I was thinking the M’s could ship Olivo and Ryan to Tampa for a bag of oranges. Then I remembered, it said the Rays needed a catcher.

    The M’s will sign Fielder. Have you heard anything from the M’s? That’s the way it always is with Zduriencik.

  20. JJ Hardy for Niemann, Beckham(SS prospect), Dietrich(SS/3B prospect) ?

  21. H E I N Z 4 years ago

    Blue Jays will sweep in for Fielder once most of the offers from other teams are official and the Jays will pull something off.

    okay im dreaming but thats what i would do like the Angels did. 

  22. Didn’t Eckstein donate a kidney? Can he still play after that?

  23. BlueCatuli 4 years ago

    Marlo Byrd is overpriced?

  24. owlssc 4 years ago

    Ibanez might be a good fit for Detroit if they’re willing to go to the FA market. Possibly 2 years, $20-24 Million?

  25. I thought J.D. Drew was supposed to be retiring? For that matter, does anyone retire anymore? They just seem to fade away. 

    • The big players do. The other small players “retire,” also known as “I can’t find a job.”

      • Unless it’s guys like Manny, Vlad and Wakefield who are just stat-chasers. These guys would take $12 an hour from the Astros for the love of statistics.

        • Philip Marlowe 4 years ago

          It might also be because, you know, they’re professional baseball players. It’s their livelihood; it’s all they’ve ever known; it’s what they’re better at than anything else in the world, and they’re better at it than 99.99% of the world’s population. If I’m Vladimir Guerrero, I’m gonna swing a bat till my arms fall off.

          For the love of the game.


  26. Chris Perry 4 years ago

    Carlos Lee waived his 10-5 rights when he signed his contract, in favor of a limited no-trade clause that takes place this season.  So the Astros can trade him to any of the teams he said he would allow without his consent.

    • Hal Jordan 4 years ago

      Reportedly, most AL teams are on Lee’s no-trade list because he doesn’t want to DH.

      • I read that the Indians, Twins and Tigers are not on his No trade list though, since they are all Central teams.

  27. Jesse Heiman 4 years ago

    Bj upton to nats for Espinosa or to Astros in package for Angel Sanchez and Catcher Q

    • Chris Perry 4 years ago

      The Astros would take that offer 10 times out of 10.  Why do you want Sanchez and Q?  They’re terrible.

  28. Jesse Heiman 4 years ago

    Danny Espinoza to the rays for Upton he had 21 hrs last yr

  29. Andrew McCutchen from Pit to TB for:  BJ Upton, Tim Beckham, Hak Ju Lee, Alex Colome

  30. mgsports 4 years ago

    BJ Upton back to SS or sign Edgar Renteria.

  31. mgsports 4 years ago

    Bring back Bartlett or Trade for Hudson and put Zobrist at SS.

  32. Wrek305 4 years ago

    Why is Marlon Byrd over priced? He makes like5 mil a yrs. compared to Soriano’s 18mil a yrs. Byrd is a good clubhouse guy I’d keep him and trade Soriano and 90% of his contract for a Single A player from Detroit.

  33. No. Soriano is terrible and we would be stuck with him for three years instead of just Burnett for two.

  34. The Yankees don’t need Soriano. He can’t stay healthy, field, or get on base. I’d rather have Burnett, because at least he has shown he can pitch in a couple of big games. He might turn it around this year after Rothschild reworked his mechanics. Soriano is just a bad player now. 

  35. But at least he’s more productive than Upton will ever (probably) be.

  36. Alexei Ramirez.

  37. I don’t know. That does include Soriano and Dempster.

  38. For the Cubs, not the Rays.

  39. GoAwayNow 4 years ago

    Ya that guaranteed future first ballot HOFer is terrible.

  40. Jeter also hit .300 last season and played decent defense (inb4 sabermetric lovers). Soriano is done and he has been for years. He has no value. I love Soriano, but I’d rather the Yankees sign Bonds.

  41. MetsMagic 4 years ago

    I thought he was referring to this guy instead:

  42. leachim2 4 years ago

    Kotsay has a bench job, and that’s the same that jd drew will get. And kotsay got a job for his “veteran presence and intangibles”.

  43. diesel2410 4 years ago

    Kurt Suzuki, Brandon Allen, and Grant Balfour for Wade Davis and Alex Colome

  44. Iconoclast17 4 years ago

    Suzuki is known for his excellent handling of young pitchers, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to trade him, yet. You have Milone and Parker in the rotation this year and Peacock not far behind. Also, I think vet. assets like Suzuki and Balfour get traded separately.

    The A’s indeed need position players, so why make Davis, a pitcher the centerpiece of a trade from Tampa? Doesn’t add up.

    Also, the A’s need their payroll to reach an unofficial minimum. Who will be signed to replace (no, it won’t be Oswalt) to make up the $10 million represented by Zooks and Balfour? Just some thoughts.

  45. Like whom?  Seems like the Rays are one of the few that could send back something even close to value

  46. IndianaBob 4 years ago

    UZR/150 of -8.8 would be defined as bad rather than decent I think.  Hitting as OK though.

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