Cafardo On Tanaka, Jimenez, Cruz, Lackey, Ichiro

In this week's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the Orioles owe it to their fans to take a shot at a championship by bolstering the roster.  The O's moved Jim Johnson to save on his expected $10MM salary for 2014 but the nixing of Grant Balfour's deal leaves them without a proven closer.  The Orioles, with a few fixes, could be exciting and fun to watch, but they need more if they want to win it all.  More from this week's column..

  • Cafardo cautions not to sleep on the Red Sox in the Masahiro Tanaka hunt and one AL scout says it’s the perfect time for the Red Sox to strike. “They have veteran pitchers in the final year or two years remaining on their deals,” he said. “They’ll be clearing out a lot of payroll soon. I know they feel they have good young pitching on the horizon, but Tanaka should be a very good No. 2 or No. 3 starter on any staff. I would think with their emphasis on pitching, they would get into it.” The Yankees, Cubs, Rangers, and Dodgers figure to be the most aggressive and the Angels, Phillies, Royals, and Blue Jays are expected to get into it.
  • Will the Red Sox's experience with Daisuke Matsuzaka scare them off of Tanaka?  “I don’t think that can enter their thinking. I’m sure they would have gone after Yu Darvish in retrospect,” said one National League GM.
  • Cafardo recently spoke with a few GMs who feel the Yankees may wind up with Ubaldo Jimenez, even if they land Tanaka.  “He had an excellent second half, has great stuff, and he has the type of personality that would fit New York,” one GM said. “He doesn’t let things get to him. He’s good at shrugging off things and turning the page.”  If the Yankees ink both pitchers, it's pretty difficult to see them staying under the $189MM mark.
  • Nelson Cruz is the best available free agent among position players, but his demand of four years at $75MM has turned off teams.  While other PED guys such as Jhonny Peralta have cashed in, teams are worried that Cruz, who more relies on his power is of greater concern for teams who worry that being off the stuff could hurt his power numbers.
  • John Lackey’s name has come up consistently this winter, but the Red Sox aren’t motivated to deal him.  That could change, but the club is enthused about his $500K option for 2015.
  • It'll be interesting to see if the Yankees can move Ichiro Suzuki given their crowded outfield.  The Giants remain a possibility, Cafardo writes.
  • The Dodgers could still trade from their outfield surplus.  When it comes to Matt Kemp, of course, teams want to see how he rebounds from shoulder and ankle surgeries.
  • With Brian McCann aboard and Francisco Cervelli as backup, Yankees catcher Austin Romine is very much available.  
  • Johan Santana is getting closer to making a decision on a minor league deal with a team. There’s been some speculation about the Twins since Santana still resides in Fort Myers, Fla., where the Twins have spring training.  A small-market team such as the Astros could also have some interest.

58 Responses to Cafardo On Tanaka, Jimenez, Cruz, Lackey, Ichiro Leave a Reply

  1. John Moore 2 years ago

    ubaldo did not turn the page with the rockies: he had his feelings hurt, started whining and didn’t stop until he was traded. he can be very good and i wish we had him back, but cafardo’s characterzation is not completely accurate

    • PDJ70 2 years ago

      Couldn’t agree more, John. I watched UJ a lot with Cleveland. He lets things get to him. When you saw Ubaldo make “the Face”, you knew he was done. It might be a close call at first, or a questionable strike call, but when he had that look of frustration on his face you knew he was toast. The UJ the Yanks get will not be the one they saw the last half of the season.

    • Pete Harnisch 2 years ago


  2. I don’t think anyone should sleep on the Red Sox at any point, but it would certainly be shocking if they did land Tanaka. As for Jimenez, I wouldn’t mind it. I actually talked about it earlier with a friend that I would prefer him and his up/down nature to Garza. He has a better ground ball rate and that would help him in YS3. I think Murphy has more value and shine as opposed to Romine. He had a solid year in AA-AAA and played a bit in the majors last year. Aside from Sanchez, he has the most value out of our catchers.

    • Lionel Bossman Craft 2 years ago

      I wouldn’t mind Jimenez but not with a $100million+ contract

  3. MB923 2 years ago

    As bad as Ichiro was , I think he can still be a key bench player for the Yanks as a pinch runner or defensive replacement. It’s at the plate where he is terrible

    • Zak A 2 years ago

      Ichiro wasn’t terrible. He fell off in August & Sept, he was .283 BA .342 OBP in the 1st half.

  4. dc21892 2 years ago

    I wouldn’t be happy if they moved Lackey. 500k is going to be an absolute bargain.

    • Michael 2 years ago

      Plus, they stand to lose three starters after 2014 (Lester, Peavy, Dempster). It just makes sense to keep him around.

    • It’s hard to imagine what the return would have to be like to make a deal like that look good.

      • dc21892 2 years ago

        I would imagine they would be asking for the world, and rightfully so.

    • BlueBlood1217 2 years ago

      Totally agree, plus I think he has a chance to be really good for the next 2 seasons

      • BlueBlood1217 2 years ago

        Lackey that is

        • Berny Gabriel 2 years ago

          red sox should try to sign Nelson Cruz since ellsbury when to the Yankees.
          Gomes,nava in left field— victorino in center field— and I hope Cruz could sign with Boston so he could play right field.

          Cruz could bat 6 or 5 he could protect Ortiz or napoli…

          • sheerterror 2 years ago

            LOL you really want Cruz to play right field at fenway.

        • TFF17 2 years ago

          The Red Sox should sign a good defensive CF to replace Ellsbury. Doesn’t matter if he hits or not, they have plenty of offense. But they’ll dearly miss Ellsbury’s defense if they don’t add somebody with range.

          Except they don’t need to sign somebody like that, they have him waiting in the minors.

  5. Pei Kang 2 years ago

    As a Met fan, I am sentimental, wouldn’t mind seeing him back on a minor league deal…and aren’t the Mets considered a “small-market” team? 😉

  6. Benjamin Rush 2 years ago

    Johan to the Orioles on an incentive based minor league deal? Makes too much sense to even happen. Thanks Pete.

  7. Leonard Washington 2 years ago

    I am super wary of signing Tanaka after hearing about the innings he has on his arm. Plus he is likely to be way too expensive. Hope Ben sits this one out. I smell a bust.

    • charles stevens 2 years ago

      Darvish had pitched just as many innings in Japan. He’s a good pitcher. I don’t think he has the stuff of Darvish but would probably make a good 2 or 3. The question is how much money is that worth?

      • Sawksfan 2 years ago

        Certainly not what he’s gonna end up with.

      • Harrisonc27 2 years ago

        What if darvish was signed with the posting fee at 20 million dollars too. He would have gotten prob the same amount tanaka will get

        • charles stevens 2 years ago

          Had Tanaka been posted 3 years ago he would not have received as much as Darvish. The money gets bigger every year and I’m sure the next Tanaka/Darvish will make even more.

  8. Next year would be the perfect time to strike. If the Sox were going to go beyond the luxury tax, it should be with a third basemen or Drew rather than pitching.

  9. charles stevens 2 years ago

    I don’t see why anyone would even think of throwing a major contract at Jimenez or Ervin Santana. Thats just asking for a meltdown. Garza may be a little more injury prone but atleast you know what you’re going to get when he’s on the mound.

  10. sackseph 2 years ago

    The O’s standing pat is no surprise. They are probably under a hard budget. They probably have only about $10MM to spend in FA if u look at the Grant Balfour failed deal.

  11. Tigers72 2 years ago

    Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t the Astros a big market team and there not spending because they are rebuilding. I think that if they sign Johan and Arroyo that would help a lot in developing Peacock, Oholtzer and I think the last ones name is Castro. They would both be on one to two year deals so when Appel and probably Rondon are ready they wouldn’t block them.

    • Tigers72 2 years ago

      My bad Oberholtzer and Cosart.

    • thysonstro 2 years ago

      Yeah. Maybe “low-payroll” or “rebuilding” team would have been a better term to use. “Small market” is just frankly incorrect.

  12. Paul Fregosi 2 years ago

    please no ichiro sf

    • Why not? What if Pagan gets hurt again? Or Morse doesn’t pan out? It’d be nice to have Ichiro to throw into the mix. And, it’s not like we’d be giving the guy multiple years and 10+ million…

      • I also say, “why not”?
        Ichiro makes more sense batting 7th over a whole season than Morse does.
        And if Morse DOES show promise, flip him high at the deadline for a decent return and plug Ichiro into the mix.

    • Giants55 2 years ago

      No room… Pence, Pagan, Morse, Blanco, Perez will be the 5 man OF. Blanco/Perez are way cheaper.

  13. 0vercast 2 years ago

    With a decent rotation that’s shaping up to look like Nolasco, Hughes, Correia, Pelfrey, and (Gibson, Worley, Diamond, Albers, or Deduno), I don’t see how the Twins can even fit Johan on the roster anymore. Not to mention the youngsters who may make their debuts in 2014, including Meyers, May, and Berrios.

    • Did you really just call Minnesota’s rotation “decent”? I like Hughes in MIN more than NY and Nolasco is good as a number 4, but wow, that rotation is terrible. League-worst 5.26 ERA, 4.64 FIP, and 4.93 K/9 from the rotation! Hughes and Nolasco do not improve it nearly enough to be considered decent.

      • cman 2 years ago

        Depends. If Nolasco has a decent year, Hughes bounces back, Correia duplicates last season’s stats and Pelfrey is serviceable they WILL be decent to mediocre. But certainly not league worst again.

  14. Lefty_Orioles_Fan 2 years ago

    The Orioles could use a lot of things
    Angelos selling the team and leaving town

  15. Dodgers.714 2 years ago

    When will the writers get it.. Matt kemp is NOT gonna be traded..

    • BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

      You beat me to it. If Kemp is healthy enough to be traded, he will be too valuable to be traded. Not to mention, the latest Puig adventure should also tell us if we didn’t know already that the Dodgers don’t necessarily have four regular outfielders.

    • Nathan Wagner 2 years ago

      its not that the writers are making this up. There are serious rumors within baseball that Matt Kemp may be moved. It would be silly of them not to discuss the possibility of him getting moved, due to the money and years that he is owed. You may think that Kemp is the same MVP’ish player that he was in the past, but when there are serious industry wide concerns about his ability to respond from multiple serious injuries then he become a trade candidate. I personally don’t feel like he will be moved based on nothing but opinion but for those whose job it is to discuss this things to not talk about the chance that this happens would be neglecting a very major storyline. Matt Kemp is a trade candidate. He has high upside and some warts, get over it.

  16. Timothy Grega 2 years ago

    Jimenez absolutely does not have the attitude for NY. One of the CLE games that I was watching in 2012, Ubaldo really struggled to do anything, and was pulled in the 4th. The entire stadium was booing, and he cried all the way to the dugout.

  17. Berny Gabriel 2 years ago

    Boston red sox should try to sign Nelson Cruz since ellsbury when to the Yankees.
    Gomes,nava in left field— victorino in center field— and I hope Cruz could sign with Boston so he could play right field.

    Cruz could bat 6 he could protect Ortiz or napoli…

    • sheerterror 2 years ago

      Cruz would stink playing right field at fenway. He just could not cover the ground needed for that job. Victorino needs to stay in right field!

      • Berny Gabriel 2 years ago

        Idk man victorino runs fast so he could play center since ells is not in the team no more and Cruz could cover some ground in right field.

        • sheerterror 2 years ago

          Never mind the PED’s did you see him trying to play right field the last time texas made the world series? No thanks, they have JB to play CF.

          • Berny Gabriel 2 years ago

            I’m not sure if jB is ready to play in a mlb level last year he struggled alot batting.

          • TFF17 2 years ago

            He struggled in April, when he was jumped to the majors without a single game at Pawtucket. He barely played the rest of the year, but had mixed success in those opportunities. I would still look for a good defensive CF before chasing Cruz.

          • sheerterror 2 years ago

            He only had 95 pro AB, one way to find out would be to stick him out there everyday. His glove will more then make up for his bat if he does have a hard time.

    • TFF17 2 years ago

      Cruz would stink defensively playing anywhere. I’m not positive he is an upgrade over Gomes when all is said and done. I know defense is tough to measure, but Bradley should be a good defensive CF. That is more valuable than whatever power you might add by sticking Cruz out there.

  18. BG921 2 years ago

    I keep seeing people say “Tanaka will be a bust” or “he isn’t worth it!”, but you fail to realize that which ever team that signs him will make a great deal of money back through advertising and merchandizing. People always want to compare him to Darvish (as most Americans tend to generalize all Japanese pitchers), but he’s not the same type of pitcher. Tanaka has great control and already has a better idea of how to pitch than Darvish did when he came to MLB. He gets ground balls and limits his walks, where as Darvish gets a ton of strikeouts, but is prone to walking batters. I do think he will be worth whatever contract he gets and with the posting fee so low now, teams can afford to give him more in his contract. I think a 5 year, $100M deal would be a good starting point. Given the other pitchers on the market like Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, and Ubaldo Jimenez… I feel like they’re all risks, but I think Tanaka is the best risk worth taking, especially for the money the others will be demanding.

    • burnboll 2 years ago

      I haven’t seen anyone say he will be a bust. Could you please provide a link to someone claiming he will be a bust?

  19. Zak A 2 years ago

    Ubaldo could be worth a 2nd round pick for the Phillies, esp if they are attempting to unload Cliff Lee for prospects.

  20. BrickTops 2 years ago

    I think it’s in accurate to call the Astros a small market team. They have one of the smallest payrolls right now, but Houston is by no means a small market. Before this rebuild they had a top
    5 payroll in MLB.

  21. MB923 2 years ago

    Maybe he does next year

  22. Why should honor factor in when Suzuki is being paid millions on a contract that the Yankees probably shouldn’t have given him?

  23. MB923 2 years ago

    Maybe he wants to stay in the states 1 more year and then go home.

  24. 0vercast 2 years ago

    Don’t forget Tsuyoshi Nishioki and the $3MM he walked away from.

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