Author Archives: Paul Moro

Catcher Michael Barrett Now Free Agent

The San Diego Padres have announced that Michael Barrett has opted for free agency after clearing waivers. As an eleven-year MLB veteran, Barrett has the right to decline being optioned to the minors and has instead decided to hit the open market.

During a 2008 season that saw him hit the DL twice, limiting him to only 107 plate appearances, the 31-year old had a poor .202/.274/.298 line. These numbers are a far cry from what he had done as a Cub between 2004-2006, during which he had an OPS of at least .824. While getting out of San Diego should do him some good, it’s becoming quite clear that Barrett no longer hits well enough to compensate for his defensive deficiencies.

Paul Moro writes for and can be reached here: Paul *at* umpbump *dot* com.

Giants Discussing Uggla, Konerko And Lee?

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers mentions some names that the offensively-challenged San Francisco Giants are considering acquiring this off-season, specifically, Dan Uggla, Paul Konerko, and Derrek Lee. He writes:

San Francisco, desperate for a proven bat, is expected to pursue one-dimensional second baseman Dan Uggla. The Giants also may kick the tires on first baseman Paul Konerko of the White Sox and Derrek Lee of the Cubs, both of whom have full no-trade clauses. They probably would have to deal a young pitcher—Jonathan Sanchez or Matt Cain.

I understand why the Giants would want to add some bats. They averaged 3.95 runs per game in 2008, just barely ahead of San Diego who had an MLB-worst 3.93 runs/game. But I do not understand why they’d want these three guys specifically.

  • Uggla is arbitration-eligible this year and you’d have to assume he’s due for a pretty big raise from his current $417K salary. Despite this, Uggla will probably cost around $6MM in 2009, which is a steal in today’s market. He’s certainly no defensive asset, but second basemen with 30+ HR power are not exactly plentiful. But here’s the issue – Uggla’s going to be 29 in March, which is rather old for a first-year arbitration player. If the Giants somehow manage to get him on the cheap, then good for them. If they need to give up one of their young pitchers to do so, that would be a mistake.
  • If the White Sox trade away Konerko, they’d be doing so at what could be a bargain price. The first baseman will be 33 on Opening Day and is a 10-and-5 player and as such has a full no-trade clause, not to mention the $24MM due to him over the next two years. I’m not sure how you’re going to convince him to waive that no-trade without tacking on another two years to the end of that deal. And while I expect Konerko to have a decent bounce-back year in 2009, he’s never going to be a 40+HR bat again. The Giants are not going to be competitive in 2009 and Paul Konerko is not going to change that.
  • A similar argument can be made against the idea of getting Derrek Lee to the Bay. Also signed for two more seasons (at $13MM per), Lee’s a bit older than Konerko and his power numbers have dropped quite a bit. And as Rogers mentions, the Cubs will not let Lee go without getting compensated with a Cain or Sanchez in return. Lee may have two more above-average years left in him. Cain and Sanchez is worth far more than that to a rebuilding team like the Giants.

Paul Moro writes for and can be reached here: Paul *at* umpbump *dot* com.

Speculating On The Yankees: McLouth and Lowe

The New York Post and Daily News are providing us with some ideas on what’s being considered by the front office in the Bronx this off-season.

George A. King III of the Post writes
that the Yankees and Pirates have not yet discussed the possibility of Nate McLouth roaming center field when the new Stadium opens in 2009.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington has declared nobody is untouchable, and the Pirates are looking to upgrade a poor minor league system and major league talent base, so McLouth’s name has been tossed around. The Yankees are in the market for a center fielder.

Thanks to increased playing time, McLouth easily surpassed his previous career highs in HR, RBI, R, and doubles this year, but it also doesn’t appear to have been a fluke. He’s always been able to take a walk and his increased power (career high .497 SLG%) seems sustainable considering his age (will be 27 on Opening Day ’09). Although I don’t think that he’s as strong defensively as Melky Cabrera has been, he’s definitely an offensive upgrade.

Next, the Daily News’ Anthony McCarron wonders if Derek Lowe might be in pinstripes next year. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has stated that the team needs some pitchers capable of throwing 200-plus innings, and McCarron thinks that the 35-year old righty fits the bill.

Lowe is just the kind of pitcher the Yankees want to insert into their rotation – a durable winner with a playoff pedigree.

I suppose a lot of this will depend on what Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte decide to do. If those two retire or leave via free agency, the Yankees will have a very young rotation as of right now. Do the Yankees need a guy like Lowe, an aging Boras client coming off one of the best seasons of his twelve-year career?

Paul Moro writes for and can be reached here: Paul {at} umpbump {dot} com.

Odds and Ends: LaRoche, Bonds, Salazar

As America collectively recovers from yesterday’s festivities, here are some odds and ends from the world of baseball.

Paul Moro writes for and can be reached here.  Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.

Wondering About The Future Of J.P. Ricciardi

With the firing of Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star speculates on the future of J.P. Ricciardi.

The Blue Jays GM has certainly had a bit of a rough week, from having to axe his manager and friend Gibbons to the Adam Dunn debacle. And Griffin thinks that his firing will be the next step. Griffin writes:

Make no mistake, the hiring of (new manager Cito) Gaston was not the embattled GM’s idea. The statistics-driven, micro-managing Ricciardi likes his managers to be beholdin’ to him – see Carlos Tosca and John Gibbons, two men never considered to manage elsewhere, but given the chance of a lifetime with the Jays. Gaston is not J.P.’s type: a proven winner more popular than J.P. himself. He is, however, nostalgic (team) president (Paul) Godfrey’s type.

Griffin also mentions that Godfrey was “furious” about Ricciardi’s unprovoked criticisms of Adam Dunn and that after giving J.P. nearly seven years at the helm without much to show for it, patience is running very thin. Seventy-five games into 2008, the Jays find themselves already 10.5 games out and in last place in the AL East. The team does have movable pieces as we near the trading season, but the question remains as to whether or not Ricciardi will be allowed to navigate those waters.

Paul Moro writes for

Oakland Designates Calero For Assignment

To make room for RHP Santiago Casilla, the Oakland A’s have designated reliever Kiko Calero for assignment.

The 33-year old Calero began the season on the disabled list with a torn rotator cuff and finally returned on May 30th. Since then, the righty reliever was used very sparingly, only pitching 4 2/3 innings in five appearances in 2008 and had a 3.86 ERA over this span. Last year, Calero’s season ended in early September due to the rotator cuff injury and he had also missed three weeks in July with a sore shoulder.

Oakland now has ten days to waive, trade, or release him.

Paul Moro is a writer for and can be reached here.

Cleveland GM Shapiro Ready To Talk Trades

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Joe Maxse writes that Indians GM Mark Shapiro will soon be talking to every team in an effort to upgrade his roster. The Tribe have gotten off to a surprisingly slow start in April and May and currently have a 22-26 record, 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox.

While Shapiro concedes that major trades don’t usually occur so early in the season, he’s already apparently ready to consider all options:

"We will get on the phone with every team in the league, although sometimes a trade of magnitude comes down the road. We will explore everything at this point."

The question then becomes "What could Shapiro do". The Indians’ pitching staff has been fantastic in 2008, only allowing roughly 3.8 runs per game. But the offense has been lacking, scoring 4.1 per game.  Thus far, Grady Sizemore has been the only starter pulling his weight offensively. But does the Cleveland lineup even have any movable parts right now?

Posted by Paul Moro

Esteban Loaiza DFA’d – Kershaw Called Up

It’s a DFA kind of day, I suppose. To make room for the much-anticipated call-up of 20-year old lefty Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers designated Esteban Loaiza for assignment today. The team now has ten days to either trade him or release him unless Loaiza accepts a demotion to AAA Las Vegas.

In his final year of a three-year deal worth over $21MM, Loaiza is guaranteed at least $7MM in 2008, plus has a $375K buyout on a 2009 option. Picked up by the Dodgers after he was waived by Oakland back in August, Loaiza’s struggles in the Bay Area followed him down to LA, where he compiled a 6.94 ERA in twelve appearances. The 36-year old righty has been on the DL since early May due to a shoulder problem.

Posted by Paul Moro

Jorge Sosa Officially Released

Designated for assignment by the New York Mets back on May 13th, Jorge Sosa was officially released yesterday (bottom of the page) after the team was unable to find any takers on the trade market. Once he was DFA’d, it was a given that he and his $2MM salary would at least clear waivers. Sosa ended up declining an assignment to AAA New Orleans and is now a free agent.

Since joining the Mets prior to the 2007 season, Sosa was primarily used as the longman out of the bullpen, during which time he compiled a 4.89 ERA. But a rough start to 2008 (7.06 ERA) was compounded by a logjam of relievers in the New York bullpen, and the team was unable to justify keeping him on the roster.

Paul Moro writes for and can be reached here.

Rangers Not Interested In Turnbow

Deep within this Dallas Morning News piece, Evan Grant writes that the Texas Rangers are not very interested in acquiring Derrick Turnbow, the reliever who was DFAed yesterday by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Texas GM Jon Daniels said that the team would "do some due diligence" but it doesn’t appear that they plan on pursuing the righty reliever.

Aside from the anomaly that was 2005, Turnbow’s problem has always been his inability to find the plate. His terrible start in 2008 was compounded by the fact that the strikeouts, which has been Turnbow’s calling card throughout his career, became infrequent.

Posted by Paul Moro