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Links for Monday, as Angels number two prospect Tyler Chatwood prepares for his big league debut against the first place Indians…
- The Red Sox were non-negotiable on getting two club options on Clay Buchholz's contract, reports Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Buchholz explained, "If it was me and I didn’t have a wife and a kid that I had to take care of, it might have been a decision that we would have thought about a little bit more."
- Teams are locking up their best players earlier and placing increased emphasis on club options, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, and the result may be that "the best players in the game are going to be significantly underpaid during their primes," while the free agent market could become even more inflated.
- Reliever Duaner Sanchez signed with the Long Island Ducks, the team announced. Sanchez hasn't pitched in the Majors since May of '09, his career derailed by a July '06 taxi cab accident. His Ducks teammates include Ruddy Lugo, J.R. House, Lew Ford, and John Rodriguez.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes about how Royals owner David Glass changed his tightfisted ways upon hiring Dayton Moore as GM about five years ago. Glass won't rule out keeping his talented wave of top prospects together on long-term deals "regardless of who their agent is."
- Baseball America links: Conor Glassey chatted with potential top draft pick Anthony Rendon, while J.J. Cooper lists the youngest players in every league.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has details on the iPads Carl Crawford's agent Brian Peters distributed as a promotional tool early in the outfielder's free agency. Though GM Theo Epstein said the iPad didn't change his evaluation of Crawford, he was compelled to return the favor with some Red Sox Beats By Dre headphones. First Dr. Dre mention in MLBTR history?
This day in baseball history saw the birth of the Blue Jays in 1943…the Philadelphia Blue Jays, that is. The Phillies adopted the 'Blue Jays' nickname in what new team president Bob Carpenter saw as a break from the club's largely mediocre history. The nickname didn't stick, however, and it wasn't until the Toronto expansion franchise came into being that the Blue Jays name returned to Major League Baseball.
Some news items to take us into the weekend…
- Bobby Abreu's $9MM option for 2012 will vest if he makes 433 plate appearances this season. As Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com points out, the Angels could face a tough playing-time decision since the veteran is coming off his worst full season, yet can still be productive. MLBTR's Mike Axisa recently profiled Abreu as a make-or-break year player, though given Abreu's durability, his status for 2012 shouldn't be in question as long as the Halos play him.
- Juan Uribe tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that the Dodgers contacted his agent almost every day before finally signing him to a three-year, $21MM contract.
- Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner profiles Anthony Rendon, who may be the first overall pick in June's amateur draft.
- Right-hander Brian Sanches is out of options and is battling for the last spot in the Marlins' bullpen, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Sanches has a 2.40 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 120 innings for Florida over the last two seasons, so he'll definitely draw interest if the Marlins put him on waivers or try to trade him.
- Steve Slowinski of Fangraphs.com looks at the 10 completed and about-to-be-completed $100MM contracts in baseball history. Of those 10 players, only four played consistently well enough to make those contracts a wise investment — Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. (Rangers fans may argue that last one, but Slowinski is strictly looking at player performance.)
- The Orioles agreed to terms with all of their pre-arbitration players except for right-hander Jason Berken, whose contract was renewed, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Berken also had his deal renewed last season.
- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com lists the top 10 prospects in the Padres' system. Mayo puts three pitchers (Casey Kelly, Simon Castro, Cory Luebke) in San Diego's top four, as he notes the emphasis the team puts on developing young arms.
- In a chat with fans on ESPNChicago.com, Bruce Levine notes that scouts were in attendance to see Carlos Silva during his six-run first inning and subsequent dugout altercation with Aramis Ramirez on Wednesday. Levine says that the Cubs would probably be able to trade Silva, not release him, if they wanted to part ways. There's also the $11.5MM salary Silva is owed for this season that the Cubs would have to swallow if they released the right-hander.
The two biggest free agents available next winter could potentially come from the NL Central – Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. The Pujols negotiations have been well documented, and it was Fielder's turn to address the issue today when he arrived at the Brewers' camp. Though he declined to comment on his own contract situation, the Brewers slugger also received a few questions about Pujols. Asked whether, as a baseball fan, he wants to see the three-time MVP remain in St. Louis, Fielder replied that he'd like to see Pujols play "where he's happy," tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Here are the rest of today's NL Central links:
- Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch argues that the Cardinals should've done with Pujols what the Phillies did with Ryan Howard, and worked out an extension long before it became a potential distraction. Easier said than done, I'd imagine.
- The Cardinals had interest in Miguel Batista for a few years before signing him this offseason, as Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes. Batista, who is on a minor league contract, is the favorite to land the team's final bullpen opening.
- While Pirates president Frank Coonelly said he expects GM Neal Huntington to be with the team "for a long time," Huntington's contract will expire at the end of the 2011 season. According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the club will continue to evaluate Huntington's performance this year before making any long-term decisions.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at Anthony Rendon, who is the current favorite to be drafted first overall by the Pirates this summer. Rendon is being advised by Scott Boras.
- Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. was surprised the team lost its arbitration hearing with Hunter Pence, says Stephen Goff of the Houston Examiner.
Anthony Rendon tells Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Scott Boras is acting as an adviser to the college baseball star (Twitter links). In the second tweet, Kovacevic notes that since Boras is just an adviser to Rendon, the relationship doesn't affect Rendon's amateur status. Rendon, a junior at Rice, is eligible to declare for the amateur draft after this season, and is a favorite to be selected with the first overall pick, held by the Pirates.
As Kovacevic mentions in his initial tweet, the Bucs could once again find themselves negotiating with Boras over a highly-touted amateur third baseman should Boras eventually become Rendon's agent. Pittsburgh selected Boras client Pedro Alvarez second overall in the 2008 draft, and the two sides became embroiled in a dispute over whether or not Alvarez agreed to a contract before the August 15 deadline. The situation was eventually resolved, but one wonders if the Bucs might use this incident as motivation to instead take George Springer, Gerrit Cole or another top prospect with the first pick.
Some notes on the AL West with an update on a potential Hall of Famer and another take on the Vernon Wells trade…
- Rangers president Nolan Ryan told the Dallas Morning News that he hasn't ruled out bringing Vladimir Guerrero back. Ryan likes the idea of adding another powerful bat, but suggests Vlad may seek more playing time elsewhere.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com examines this prediction of Ryan's: Texas will win 90-95 regular season games in 2011.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs wonders if the Vernon Wells trade is, at least from the Angels' perspective, the most inexplicable deal in recent history.
- The Mariners, who select second in this June's draft, will consider amateur players including Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, Matt Purke and George Springer, according to MLB.com's Greg Johns.
Let's help ring in the New Year with some links..
- "I've grown to really like that mlbtraderumors.com site," said David Aardsma to Kirby Arnold of The Herald. "I find out so much information about everybody – who we're bringing in, who we're looking at. So, it's kind of hard to miss it. In a way, I'm flattered they believe other teams would want me to be their closer." Welcome to the site, David!
- Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon has been cleared to resume full baseball activities according to Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle. Rendon suffered severe injuries to his right foot and ankle this past July, and is the early front runner to be the first overall selection in a loaded 2011 draft.
- The Royals see Zach Miner as a potential starter depending on how well and how quickly he comes back from Tommy John surgery, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Earlier today the Royals signed the right-hander to a minor league deal.
- Indians reliever Justin Germano has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Columbus, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Meanwhile, the club's signing of Austin Kearns is not yet official due to the holidays.
- Gabe Lacques of USA Today writes that there are no major gaps for the Tigers to fill.
- Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues wonders what the next collective bargaining agreement could mean for the MLB draft.