Quick Hits: Andrus, Blue Jays, Astros, Karstens

Congratulations are in order for the Reds, who clinched their second NL Central title in the last three years with this afternoon's win over the Dodgers. Top offseason addition Mat Latos threw eight shutout innings in the win. Here's the latest from around the league as Saturday turns into Sunday…

  • The Rangers will not trade Elvis Andrus this winter, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). They haven't had any talks about moving him and don't plan to.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com Gregor Chisholm that Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow are the only starters guaranteed a rotation spot next year (Twitter link). Both pitchers are signed to guaranteed multiyear contract extensions.
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told Zachary Levine of The Houston Chronicle that he will meet with owner Jim Crane and other front office members on Monday to "gauge the pace" of their managerial search.
  • Jeff Karstens has not started a game for the Pirates since August, and Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says (on Sulia) that it could be because the front office wants to get a longer look at some other starters. Karstens will earn $3.1MM this year and is a non-tender candidate.
  • Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times looked back at all the prospects traded by Ned Colletti during his tenure as Dodgers GM. Only two — Edwin Jackson and Steve Johnson — are playing important roles for contenders this year.


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43 Comments on "Quick Hits: Andrus, Blue Jays, Astros, Karstens"


safari_punch
2 years 11 months ago

So having a contract guarantees a pitcher a rotation spot? Riiiiight.

Jaysfan724
2 years 11 months ago

Well if they didn’t have a contract, it would be kind of hard right? None of those other guys are being paid or are locked up like Morrow or Romero, so the other 3 spots are fair game for anyone already on the team or anyone acquired in the offseason. Plus with their rotation inexperience I don’t think anyone else is pushing those two for their spot. Do not discredit Romero for one bad year, there are plenty of other guys going through tough years as well and will be right back at it next year. Halladay, Lincecum, Lester, Haren, Jimenez

Lunchbox45
2 years 11 months ago

main difference is halladay, lincecum, lester and haren have a long history of success and some of the poor performance is due to age..

Romero may have a guaranteed spot to start the season, but if things start to head south again and he’s walking 5 a game, he’ll be hopping on that bus to buffalo

Jaysfan724
2 years 11 months ago

I’m aware of that, but one bad season wasn’t going to render him an instant demotion to AAA the following year. You have to let him start next year in the rotation to see if it wasn’t some freaky fluke. As for the age statement, that would only apply to half of those guys. Doc is 34 and Haren is 32. Lester, Lincecum and Ubaldo are all 1 year older than Ricky. I could be misinterpreting the ‘some’ in your statement but I just wanted to bring it up if not.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
2 years 11 months ago

Romero has been lost this season. I would think if it continues into next season, his guaranteed rotation spot will be in Buffalo.

john12121212
2 years 11 months ago

LOL of course AA spent alot of money/time. Of course he will say that.

bigpat
2 years 11 months ago

So the Pirates would rather tank the season instead of using their second best starter? What a joke. Karstens needs to learn how to pitch a full season, and the starters actually have to go more than 4-5 innings if Hurdle wants them to get better. Jeff Locke was pitching great the other night yet they pulled him for no reason.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
2 years 11 months ago

I disagree with the author on Jeff Karstens. Non tender candidate? He’s not by any means a great pitcher and if the Pirate can get someone better they should. But he’s definitely useful as a back end of rotation starter and worthy of a contract.

. Of course, nothing Pittsburgh does would surprise me so there’s that.

bigpat
2 years 11 months ago

Next year they have Burnett, Rodriguez, and McDonald, and not much else.

I agree they would be best served keeping Karstens around. It’s also a shame that Gerritt Cole didn’t get a little bit of work. He could have been a stud out of the pen at least if they didn’t want to start him. Sick of looking back on what could have been.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
2 years 11 months ago

Things are a little bizarre around Pirate land. They really ought to consider that Clint Hurdle may not be the manager to get them to the next level and that Navy Seal training ought to be reserved for um, Navy Seals.

I agree that taking a look at Gerritt Cole made a lot of sense and it’s a shame they didn’t do it.

LazerTown
2 years 11 months ago

Karstens will start to get a bit expensive if he is not going over 150 innings a season. His durability isn’t there to depend on for a good team.

Beersy
2 years 11 months ago

So the Rangers won’t trade Andrus? Is that just Daniels trying to improve the return he gets? Either Andrus or Profar needs/seems to be dealt this offseason and why not say one/both aren’t available just to get the market up.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
2 years 11 months ago

My bet, it’s part posturing and part serious. If the Rangers lose Hamilton and get a good young power hitting prospect and then some for Andrus, they’ll deal him right away. Even if they don’t lose Hamilton they’ll take the right deal. However, they’re not going to just deal Andrus for the sake of opening up a spot. They can always start Profar in the minors and wait for injuries to open a spot.

Gator4444
2 years 11 months ago

Yeah if Hamilton leaves that’s a lot of homers gone. They need to flip one of their MIF’s for a power bat unless they can rely on Beltre for 3-4 more seasons.

LazerTown
2 years 11 months ago

They need Hamilton back. That lineup loses almost all of it’s punch with his departure. Beltre would be the only middle of the order hitter, their lineup is dependent upon him, I have a hard time seeing them let him go.

LazerTown
2 years 11 months ago

I still think it makes sense to trade Andrus if Profar is ready. He is still cheap, and can net a pretty big return. It’s not a point keeping someone around that is ready, or even having them sit on the bench. Same thing i said last year with the angels and Bourjos. He was coming off a good year and had trade value. Get some prospects for down the road if you have extra depth in the majors, as long as it isn’t pitching.

notsureifsrs
2 years 11 months ago

how is he going to say right now “yeah, we’ll look at trading him”? the kid is out there in a pennant race; you can’t mess with him like that

in other words, no matter what the truth is, if you ask daniels that question right now, he has to give the answer he gave

jwsox
2 years 11 months ago

they dont NEED to be delt, they could very easily move kinsler to left or right fieldI(his bat would still play well there, his arm is better suited for left) and have andrus or profar play 2nd with the other playing SS, keeping olt at 1st and trading cruz for someone to replace hamilton if he walks, IF hamilton does not walk than trade cruz for a pitcher its actually in their best interests to keep both players

Juan
2 years 10 months ago

It looks like they’re grooming Profar for 2B, so I would say Kinsler to the outfield at this point. Elvis just brings too much to the team (especially in clubhouse presence) to let him go for a power-hitting prospect that might do well. I see Elvis as the next face of the franchise, especially if Hamilton leaves in the offseason.

bucsws2014
2 years 11 months ago

I’d argue that Edwin Jackson clone James McDonald played a key role in a contender’s collapse :-)

At this point I have no issues with having Karstens take a back seat to Locke & McPherson. The Bucs need to know if they have to go shopping for starters or if either of those two are MLB caliber starters. They know what they have in Karstens, who is a #4-#5 on most teams.

nebelski
2 years 11 months ago

Karstens is the best #5 starter in baseball. Not only does he throw strikes, work fast, and have a large arsenal of pitches, but he’s also usually pretty successful. I enjoy watching him pitch more than anyone else on the team. I hope they wouldn’t non-tender him. His little injuries are annoying, but he’d be worth the $4.5M or so that he’ll get next year.

LazerTown
2 years 11 months ago

$4.5M is starting to get expensive if he doesn’t fix his durability. His high for innings was last year at 162, and all other years its 122 or less. I’m kinda glad tabata didn’t work out too, just cause Nady was a pretty mediocre player.

HummBaby
2 years 11 months ago

Congratulations are also in order for the San Francisco Giants for clinching the NL West title, Mike.

notsureifsrs
2 years 11 months ago

exactly. narrowing the question to “which prospects are playing well for contenders” is a cheap and obvious trick

LazerTown
2 years 11 months ago

Sure it looks bad now, but back then Santana was back in A ball. Blake helped the dodgers win the division and make it to the NLCS. An 84 win team probably didn’t have the strength to make it all the way though.

Lunchbox45
2 years 11 months ago

Worst pitching performance in franchise history…

Roy Halladay, 2000. 10.64 ERA, 67.2 IP ,5.6 bb/9 5.9 k/9.. that actually happened..

I actually agree with much of what you said, i hate the fact that pieces were used to strengthen the bullpen, regardless of how scouts perceive those pieces will end up.

I think this offseason will be the true test of our GM, I think he has to be aggressive not only in trades but in the FA market. I know after a season like this, fans can’t be disheartened and think we’re too far away. But a good trade or two with some rebuilding teams for some arms and 1-2 decent FA signings and the team will be set up to compete. Go out and get masterson, choo, garza, morneau, whoever, sign ortiz, jackson, peavy.. yes you might have to overpay a bit, but lets not forget that many analysts applauded the padres and A’s for their Gio, and Latos deals. There’s a price on controllable starting pitching, you either pay it or you don’t.

I know that seems like a lot to ask, but other teams have historically done it in the past. Will be interesting none the less, but this is the first time AA has to do something. pressures on

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

I don’t mind what they did with the bullpen or how they did it. The “pieces” were running out of options and getting “back pressure” from new “pieces” (Gose Marisnick Pillar).

I agree with the moves suggested by you guys. But, I don’t share your belief in the impact they will have.

In my opinion, the real push will occur when the “young arms” arrive. There are enough of them to handle any attrition rate associated with prospects.

LazerTown
2 years 11 months ago

If they can keep their pitching healthy they should be able to compete. They have outscored the O’s and rays while missing bautista, and when they did have him he wasn’t as good as previous years. Romero returning to form would be a big part of their pitching.

MetsMagic
2 years 11 months ago

That Halladay season was just crazy. It’s mind-boggling that the Blue Jays might have won the division if they hadn’t had Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter on their team.

Lunchbox45
2 years 11 months ago

hard to argue that adding masterson and Jackson to the rotation and choo and ortiz to the lineup wouldnt have an impact..

reality is next year this team is automatically better just because they won’t be as injured..

gose and marisnick both took steps back this year, hard to justify trading anyone took make room for them at this point. Especially if you want to win in the immediate future. Rays & Texas have 2 of the best farm systems, they let their players dominate in AAA before calling them up or trading someone to make room. Seems like a much better philosophy rather than banking on untapped raw talent to take the next steps .

LazerTown
2 years 11 months ago

They gave up a bit too much to the sox. The deal will help the team in the short term, but the amount of salary they took on, they shouldn’t have had to give up much value.

Jaysfan724
2 years 11 months ago

Masterson isn’t having the greatest year either. Would be a tall order having Romero and Masterson in the rotation hoping they return to their potential. Could get ugly if they don’t.

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

The scenario you provide probably turns Jays into a 48 to 50 fWAR team. Definitely good enough to be in the main pack of competitors as opposed to being a “dark horse” who is sight of the pack but barely within reach. My only concern to this approach would be do you have to “go for broke” to make these acquisitions. If so, that level of performance won’t be sustainable in future years or susceptible to bad luck such as 2008. Myself, I prefer to see some “bridge” moves that allow you to keep money reserve and the farm system growing.

Texas & Tampa have the advantage of a strong major league roster. It affords them the ability to manage their prospects in this manner. Here is hoping Jays reaching that stage in the near future.

notsureifsrs
2 years 11 months ago

it looked very bad at the time and way worse now

even in high-A, santana’s performance in LA’s system earned him top 25 prospect status. a catcher with power and an advanced approach at the plate was traded for half of a season of blake, a guy who had been passed around on waivers for years before settling in cleveland as an average regular

Lunchbox45
2 years 11 months ago

hard to say that one trade would be going for broke..

they don’t need to do that.. but how many years can we toy with bautista’s brilliance.

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

I counted four acquisitions that adds approx. $40 mil to the payroll. I don’t mind having $120mil payroll. Except, I expect to have 60 fWAR at that price. Rangers have done it and seem to be sustaining it.

Edit – Again, I wouldn’t go for broke if the foundation is solely based on Bautista. Going for broke because of Halladay certainly failed the team in 2008.

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

I see it being more like 9 to 12 fWAR as the “net” impact of the proposed acquisitions.

There will be gains by keeping players healthy. Team probably lost about 7 fWAR (calculated by subtracting actual fWAR from fWAR calculated from common 2012 projections).

At the end of the day, Blue Jays are a middle of the road team who can be viewed as a “dark horse” competitor. I can’t see them “leaping” into the mix with one bold move. It is more a matter of waiting to see which young prospects emerge into being solid players.

I wouldn’t count on any impact moves until more young players establish themselves at the major league level. Expect 2013 to be another stepping stone year.

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

This team going into the off-season is at about the same project-able level as the start of last off-season. So, I can appreciate your feeling of no progress. But, I would say the “risk factors” associated with the projections are lower. My view is 2012 was used to establish “who is reliable”. Basically a sifting process. I expect another sifting process for a new set of players (Gose D’Arnaud Hechavarria along with a few re-entrants etc)

I doubt AA gives up any draft picks to sign a free agent because high draft picks are the most affordable way to acquire top talent. A second round pick in 2013 will mean drafting about 37th/38th overall. This can yield a Top 20 High School prospect. AA covet’s these types prospects.

I am sure he will attempt to acquire players who can “impact” the teams’ situation. But, acquiring four is a tall order. Especially when there are only about 120 players you can reliably count on for 3 fWAR or more. Probably five of them will be available as free agents without compensation. Failing that, I expect AA to fallback on getting “solid” players to bridge them to the “Lansing 3″ expected arrival time.

Lunchbox45
2 years 11 months ago

how does it add 40 million in payroll?
you have to discount players that are subbed out/traded

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

Sure, we can factor in those players and still get “roughly” $40 mil in additional payroll. Unless you actually believe AA can trade/dump Adam Lind.

Lunchbox45
2 years 11 months ago

40 million temporarily.. remember at some point hutchinson, drabek, and to a lesser extent, perez, mcgowan and litsch will be back, at that point you can move some people around.

realistically lind is the only bad contract on the team we can live with that

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

ok I get you. I think we are of the same mindset on getting players to “bridge” the team to another point. The type of players you outlined might…might be a tall order. Never the less, it will be fun to watch the off-season unfold and follow mlbtraderumors

johnsmith4
2 years 11 months ago

ok I get you. In fact, you and @Lunchbox45:disqus seem to be on a similar track. I suspect AA is trying to maintain a $2mil per WAR payroll. @Lunchbox45 is advocating going beyond it (up to the $120 mil limit) in the interim while waiting for the players/prospects who will make this objective possible.

It sounds somewhat reasonable to me. But, by going to the limit, you do lose the ability to jump on some opportunities. It is hard to say which approach is better. Me, I will give AA the benefit of the doubt.