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Two weeks ago, the Marlins agreed to send basically every player making decent money on their roster to the Blue Jays for a package of prospects. The 12-player blockbuster became official a week ago, leaving Miami with just three players scheduled to make $2MM+ in 2013. Ricky Nolasco ($11.5MM) and Yunel Escobar ($5MM) could both still be moved before the end of the winter as well.
This isn't the first time the Marlins have torn things down and rebuilt from scratch, of course. They did it immediately following their 1997 World Series win, then again a few years after bringing home the 2003 World Championship. On this date in 2005, the team officially swung a pair of trades sending three of their highest paid players elsewhere.
Trade #1: Boston Red Sox
Josh Beckett, then just 25, was coming off a 3.38 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 178 2/3 innings for Florida. He earned $2.4MM in 2005 and was due a significant raise in his second trip through arbitration, plus the team was unlikely to re-sign him long-term when he hit free agency after 2007.
Beckett had significant trade value, so the Marlins took advantage by attaching then-31-year-old Mike Lowell to him in talks. If a team wanted Beckett, they had to take Lowell as well. The third baseman slipped to .236/.298/.360 with eight homers in 558 plate appearances that year, but more importantly he was scheduled to earn $18MM total from 2006-2007.
Few teams could meet Florida's demand for a young shortstop, but the Red Sox were one of them. The two sides worked out a seven-player trade that sent Beckett, Lowell, and Guillermo Mota to Boston in exchange for prospects Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and Jesus Delgado. The Marlins saved all $18MM owed to Lowell in addition to second- and third-year arbitration salaries for Beckett and a third-year arbitration salary for Mota. The trade worked out well for both teams as Beckett and Lowell helped the Red Sox to the 2007 World Championship while Ramirez developed into an MVP candidate and Sanchez became a rock solid innings-eater for the Marlins.
Trade #2: New York Mets
During the 2004-2005 offseason, Florida landed the top free agent slugger by signing Carlos Delgado to a four-year, $52MM contract with a fifth-year vesting option. The then-33-year-old hit .301/.399/.582 with 33 homers in the first year of the contract, good enough to earn him a sixth-place finish in the MVP voting. However, like the contracts of Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, Delgado's deal with the Marlins was heavily backloaded. He earned just $4MM in 2005, then his salary was scheduled to jump to $13.5MM in 2006, $14.5MM in 2007, $16MM in 2008, and potentially $12MM in 2009 if the option vested ($4MM buyout).
Rather than pay him that huge salary over the next three years, the Marlins traded Delgado to the Mets for three minor leaguers: Yusmeiro Petit, Mike Jacobs, and Grant Psomas. The Mets also received $7MM from Florida in the trade, but it was a drop in the bucket compared to the $48MM left on the contract. Delgado hit .265/.349/.505 with 100 homers during his first three years with New York, which was enough for the team to exercise his option even though it didn't vest. Jacobs had three decent years with the Marlins while Petit and Psomas flamed out, but the real get for the club was the $41MM in payroll savings. Combined with the Red Sox swap, the Marlins shed more than $59MM in contract obligations with these two moves seven years ago today.
So far this offseason, only one of Tim Dierkes’ Top Ten Free Agents has signed a new contract: Hiroki Kuroda (#9) re-upped with the Yankees. That’s not at all uncommon at this point of the winter, as most top free agents tend to wait until the Winter Meetings in early-December before deciding on their next baseball home.
The market for outfielders Josh Hamilton (#2), Michael Bourn (#3), B.J. Upton (#5), and Nick Swisher (#6) have been pretty robust so far, ditto Zack Greinke (#1). Anibal Sanchez (#4) has generated some buzz as well, but things have been slow for Edwin Jackson (#7), Dan Haren (#8), and Kyle Lohse (#10). That will change soon enough. One of these guys will soon follow in Kuroda’s footsteps and ink a new deal, but who will it be first?
The Royals have been shopping top prospect Wil Myers but only in exchange for starting pitching, reports Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. Earlier this week, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reported that Kansas City was known to be at least listening to offers for Myers and top position players like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. The only untouchable Royals appear to be Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez due to their team-friendly contracts — "executives consider [Perez's deal] the best in the game," Passan writes.
The Royals have discussed trades with the Rays, Mariners, Diamondbacks and Athletics, Passan reports. While Myers would be of interest to any team, he is of particular value to low-payroll teams like the Rays and A's given that Gordon and Butler have large contracts and Moustakas/Hosmer are Scott Boras clients.
Here are some more items from Passan…
- The Rockies' asking price for Dexter Fowler is "absurd," one rival executive tells Passan. It appears to be a buyers' market for center fielders right now, though another executive warns that "it will shake out" as the offseason progresses.
- The Indians are shopping Asdrubal Cabrera, though "not at Black Friday prices," an executive says. Cabrera is one of a few shortstops on the trade market, along with the Astros' Jed Lowrie and the Marlins' Yunel Escobar.
- Teams are more worried about Brandon McCarthy's history of arm injuries than with his season-ending brain surgery. If McCarthy's medicals are clear, however, a team executive thinks the right-hander will get a multiyear contract.
- Anibal Sanchez's demands for a six-year, $90MM contract are "crazy, and he's probably going to get it," an executive tells Passan.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alcides Escobar | Anibal Sanchez | Arizona Diamondbacks | Brandon McCarthy | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Dexter Fowler | Houston Astros | Jed Lowrie | Kansas City Royals | Miami Marlins | Oakland Athletics | Salvador Perez | Seattle Mariners | Tampa Bay Rays | Wil Myers | Yunel Escobar
Excel Sports Management now represents Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. When agent J.D. Smart left Hendricks Sports for Excel earlier this year, Kershaw made the transition too. At the time it wasn’t clear if Smart was bringing Kershaw with him. Agent Casey Close, who oversees Excel’s baseball department, will assist Smart in contract talks for Kershaw.
The Dodgers have expressed interest in reaching a long-term extension with Kershaw. However, Heyman reports that the sides haven’t started discussing a new deal. The left-hander will earn $11MM in 2013 then hit free agency following the 2014 season. He has considerable leverage after winning the 2011 Cy Young award and finishing second in this year’s balloting.
The Dodgers are focused on their contract negotiations with Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and on free agent pitchers, Heyman writes. Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez are on Los Angeles’ radar and Kyle Lohse could be of interest as well.
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5:12pm: The Dodgers "are not in" on Kuroda, an industry source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Feinsand adds that the Angels appear to be out of the running for Kuroda as well.
4:00pm: The Yankees are seen as the favorites to sign free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. In fact the Yankees are "very confident" they'll sign Kuroda, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Stark suggests Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees if he's pitching in MLB next year. However, Heyman reports that the Yankees sense a threat from Japan, where Kuroda pitched before joining MLB.
The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox have also expressed interest in Kuroda, who is linked to draft pick compensation after declining a qualifying offer from the Yankees. It appears the Dodgers and Angels are shifting their focus elsewhere, Stark writes. The Dodgers are now pursuing Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and others, according to Stark. The Angels are also targeting Greinke.
Blockbuster trades motivated by one team's desire for financial flexibility (AKA a salary dump) like the Marlins-Blue Jays deal or the Red Sox-Dodger swap are nothing new in baseball history. On this date in 1947, the St. Louis Browns and the Boston Red Sox began a two-day trading frenzy involving 13 players (four Browns and nine Red Sox) and the Browns receiving $375K (worth nearly $3.1MM in today's dollars). Here's the latest news, notes, and comments from the present-day American League:
- The Yankees continue to have conversations with free agent outfielder Scott Hairston, writes the New York Post's Dan Martin. Hairston would bring a right-handed power bat to the outfield mix and could fit into a platoon, as the Yankees have already had preliminary discussions to bring back Raul Ibanez.
- The Yankees still want to trim payroll to $189MM by 2014 for luxury tax and revenue sharing refund purposes, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if Hal Steinbrenner isn't risking a brand worth billions for the millions the team would earn by doing so.
- If the Tigers fail to re-sign Anibal Sanchez, the signing of Torii Hunter will still make the offseason a success, team president and GM Dave Dombrowski told George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. "We'll see where other things take us," Dombrowski said. "If we end up with this major move (Hunter) being our major move of the winter, I would be very happy."
- The Indians have yet to set their 2013 budget, but it is expected to be in the neighborhood of this past season's $65MM, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. As a result of this "fluid" situation, GM Chris Antonetti must take any intriguing proposals to ownership.
- Also in that article, Hoynes lists the five best and five worst free agent signings by the Tribe.
- The Red Sox will interview Craig Counsell and Greg Colbrunn for their hitting coach opening, reports Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Counsell, a special assistant to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, will interview tomorrow while Colbrunn, the hitting instructor for the Yankees' Single-A affiliate in Charleston, is in the process of being scheduled for another time during the week. The Red Sox have already interviewed their minor league hitting coordinator Victor Rodriguez, former Diamondbacks hitting coach Rick Schu, and Braves assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher.
The Twins have not yet made any moves this offseason, but John Shipley of The Pioneer Press says the team continues to monitor the free agent pitching market. GM Terry Ryan also acknowledged talking to the Marlins prior to their blockbuster with the Blue Jays.
"Anybody who is a starting pitcher that we've identified as having some ability, you can assume we've touched base with them," said Ryan, adding that they were "aware of (the Marlins) feelings" before the blockbuster.
Shipley said the team's list of pitching targets includes Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, Brandon McCarthy, and Joe Saunders, though some may be more realistic than others. The club has approximately $25MM to work with this winter assuming they'll maintain a similar payroll level next season, and outside of 26-year-old lefty Scott Diamond, no one from Minnesota's 2012 rotation is guaranteed a spot in 2012.
With Torii Hunter joining the club on a two-year deal, the Tigers will now focus on re-signing Anibal Sanchez according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. They're unlikely to pursue another big name pitcher if they can't bring the right-hander back, however. Here's the latest from the American League, starting with some more on Hunter…
- Hunter told teams he wasn't interested in talking to them unless things didn't work out with the Tigers, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Yankees saw Hunter as a good fit but never made him an offer, reports Erik Boland of Newsday (on Twitter). They don't have any offers out to position players at the moment and are focused on re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera.
- Hunter would have taken less than $26MM he received from Detroit to re-sign with the Angels, but a one-year contract was a non-starter at any price according to Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
- Knobler listed the pros and cons of trading David Price just a few hours after the left-hander took home the Cy Young Award. Some people with the Rays even identified the Rangers as the ideal trade partner.
- The Red Sox won't alter their rebuilding plan in the wake of the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster, said GM Ben Cherington to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "We know we have a plan this offseason and we're going to see how much we can execute it … We've started that and we'll continue to do that," said Cherington, who mentioned he found out about the blockbuster through MLBTR.
Here's the latest from Bob Nightengale of USA Today…
- The Dodgers are "aggressively pursuing" Torii Hunter according to a team executive. GM Ned Colletti wouldn't confirm the team's interest, but he did say that he did not have any trade talks about Andre Ethier during the GM Meetings this week.
- The Dodgers will have meetings early next week to formulate a plan that involves signing Hunter and acquiring a frontline starter. They've already spoken to representatives for Zack Greinke and Anibal Sanchez, but are out on Ryan Dempster.
- The Rangers tried to acquire Andrelton Simmons from the Braves so they could flip him to the Diamondbacks in a deal for Justin Upton. Arizona wants a young shortstop, but Texas is loath to give up Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. Atlanta wouldn't budge, however.
Here's the latest on the Twins from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN…
- So far, the Twins have reached out to free agents Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, and Brett Myers. They're interested in Myers as a starter. They've also reached out to Brandon Webb even though he hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2009.
- The club continues to have regular conversations with Alan Nero, who represents right-hander Scott Baker. The two sides are working on a new contract after Baker's $9.25MM option was declined.
- The Twins have not shown any interest in Jon Garland and were not present when the right-hander threw for teams during an audition back in September.
- Talks with reliever Jared Burton about a contract extension are underway. Matt Swartz projects a $2.1MM salary for the right-hander next season, after which he'll become a free agent.
- The Twins have inquired about reliever Randy Messenger, though the Hanshin Tigers in Japan will not allow the right-hander out of his contract.
- The team has not contacted Bill Bray after he hit free agency. Special assistant Wayne Krivsky acquired the left-hander during his tenure as Reds GM.