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Author Archives: Sarah Green
Ray King is currently playing winter ball in the DR, but he’s one of several relievers the Pirates are pursuing — including Chris Bootcheck and Derrick Turnbow, as we knew — according to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. He’s 34, weighs 230 lbs, and a lefty.
King was on the Nationals’ Opening Day roster, but only spent 12 games with the Nats before heading to Triple A (with the affiliates of the White Sox and the Astros). Though his major league ERA has been (well) over 4.00 since 2005, in 32 games with Houston’s AAA Round Rock Express he posted a 2.25 ERA.
In this chat with fans, Diamondbacks CEO Jeff Moorad mentions that Max Scherzer will be the No. 5 starter for Arizona in 2009, and that the No. 4 starter will be "a player to be named." Could indicate they’re looking to acquire someone.
For D-Backs fans still hoping that someone will be Randy Johnson…don’t count on it:
We told Randy’s agents that we wanted to meet with him in-person. They told us that they would get back to us after he filed for free agency. We haven’t heard another word on the subject. We offered to pay Randy what we felt was fair and respect the fact that he chose to explore the market – he will always have a place here in Arizona.
Halfway through his column on free agents expected to decline arbitration, Ken Rosenthal buries this interesting nugget:
Some rival agents**…believe that Boras might be offering [Jason] Varitek in a "package deal" with the catcher’s friend and fellow Georgia Tech alum, free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira. The Red Sox are pursuing Teixeira, and the Nationals are among the other teams that might have interest in both players.
It’s not the first time that Boras has been accused of packaging his players, and it’s not the first time those rumors have concerned the Red Sox: when Boston signed J.D. Drew, there was a raft of unsubstantiated talk that Drew had been packaged with Daisuke Matsuzaka — in whom the Red Sox had already sunk $51.1MM for negotiating rights.
A few more links to add to what Coley posted earlier (if I find more links later this afternoon, I’ll just update this post):
- An assertion that Boston is unlikely to get into a bidding war for any free agent pitcher–that refers mostly to Derek Lowe, A.J. Burnett, and C.C. Sabathia–is buried in this Boston Globe slideshow. It reflects the sentiments heard elsewhere.
- From Bill Chastain of MLB.com, the Rays are starting MLB’s first baseball academy in Brazil. East Windup Chronicle has a good analysis of the move. Though it won’t pay off for years, getting in first will give the Rays a head start in scooping up top talent.
- Bill Ordine and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun debate how aggressive the Orioles need to be at the winter meetings in Vegas.
- MLB sources confirm to Ken Rosenthal that several much-discussed free agents are unlikely to accept arbitration, including Jason Varitek, for whom arbitration had been mentioned as a possible solution earlier today. (Key roadblock there: Varitek’s agent Scott Boras.) This also contradicts an earlier report from Rosenthal, which suggested Varitek might accept arbitration.
3:07pm: There’s a great debate going on in the comments about whether the Twins could swoop in and make an offer to Furcal now that they’ve pulled out of negotiations with Casey Blake. I do wonder if word that the A’s and Furcal couldn’t come to terms precipitated the sudden split between the Twins and Blake. Certainly, Tim saw a good fit between the Twins and Furcal back in October, and Furcal is four years younger than Blake — but still, I think Furcal’s monetary demands are pretty steep. No official Twins-Furcal rumors yet, but if anything comes in in the next couple of hours I’ll update this post again.
As reported here yesterday, after shortstop Furcal rejected the A’s offer of 4 years, $35-40MM, the A’s in turn declined to go any further with Furcal.
2:13pm: Buster Olney says that the market for Rafael Furcal "never really developed; if you were to draw up a list of five players who have been hurt by the economic slowdown, Furcal might be somewhere near the top of the list." Olney breaks down how Furcal’s suitors all ended up looking elsewhere, and says the A’s biggest need is veteran starting pitching. Furcal is "the perfect player for some big-money contender to snag for a big-money, short-term deal, but such an offer may not emerge for some time."
Meanwhile, Athletics Nation agrees that "the only person who believes there is a big market for Rafael Furcal appears to be Furcal" and says A’s GM Billy Beane is now the one holding all the cards in that (apparently bilateral) negotiation.
Chris Haft at MLB.com lists Oakland’s other options at short.
Some news from the winter leagues and beyond:
- Kendry Morales homered and doubled in Dominican Winter League play yesterday. "Morales is 9-for-23 and has homered in four of his six games in the Dominican Republic," reports Rotoworld. "He’s trying to force the Angels to open up either first base or DH for him next year." Of course, if the Angels can’t re-sign Mark Teixeira, Morales may not have to do much forcing (as the Angels have known all along).
- Seen as the future "Babe Ruth of Cuba" until he defected, Dayan Viciedo has been cleared by MLB to be a free agent. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the White Sox ready to snap up the third-base prospect, who is still just 19.
- First-baseman Justin Smoak, the Rangers’ first-round pick this year, is hitting .389 in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is quite a ways from MLB, but even so, I can’t help but think that the last thing the Rangers really need in their pipeline is more offense…
- Another first-base prospect, the Marlins’ Logan Morrison, is leading the AFL in batting average (.457), currently has a 12-game hit streak and has 5 homers through 17 games. Morrison was a 22nd-round pick in 2005, but has come a long way, writes ESPN.com’s Jason Grey, who sees in him the man to anchor Florida’s ‘initial sack’ in the future.
- A little more on those two Indian pitching prospects, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel — 19 years old, they pitched in front of 30 scouts in Arizona on Thursday. Patel hit 90 mph on the radar gun during a 30-pitch session, Singh 84 mph. The two former javelin throwers managed a few breaking balls, as well, and agent Jeff Borris said he expected "multiple offers." No word on whether those offers have come in.
I’m giving up and setting up a post to house Jake Peavy rumors, because I keep coming across different variations. I’ll update the post if I come across more as the afternoon goes on. To recap:
- Buster Olney expects a deal before Thanksgiving.
- Ken Rosenthal has heard that the Braves are getting tired of waiting, at that yesterday, the Padres discussed just keeping Peavy for themselves. He mentioned the Braves, Cubs, Dodgers and Yankees as still in the running.
- Brian McTaggart at the Houston Chronicle has reported that the Astros see themselves as out of the running, because the Padres’ price was so high.
Now for the new stuff:
- Chris de Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times expects a Peavy deal "within the next week" with the pitcher being sent to the Braves, Cubs, or Dodgers: "Those teams are the finalists and, sources say, no other teams will be considered at this point." Not very surprisingly, the three remaining teams are all in the National League.
- David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a long, detailed post on the prospect package the Braves are putting together to try and acquire Peavy. In the long, detailed post he also quotes verbatim a long, detailed email from Peavy’s agent, Barry Axelrod, clarifying his comments about Yunel Escobar.
There will be more to come, no doubt.
- "Club officials believe" that the Nationals are "reasonably close to a breakthrough." They blame 2008’s sorry performance on the raft of injuries Washington suffered, which is why they’re willing to spend now for a big bat — the key names floating around have been the aforementioned Holliday, Adam Dunn, and Mark Teixeira, though Rosenthal seems skeptical they could snag any of them. But what about Manny Ramirez? "Jim Bowden, the Nats’ unconventional GM, probably would love the idea, but D.C. might not be big enough for Manny and Barack Obama." Looking at the impact that Manny has had on the LA’s attendance, and looking at the empty seats at Nationals Park, it could make sense.
- Obligatory Jake Peavy update: Padres discuss keeping the ace, Braves grow impatient. Cubs are still in the mix, while the Dodgers and Yankees are "on the backburner." (Buster Olney had a subtly different take posted a few hours later — that Peavy would be dealt before the turkey hits the sideboard.) Rosenthal also quotes Pads GM Kevin Towers as wanting to move the fences in at Petco (which is hard enough just to write without typing in "cavernous" as an automatic prefix).
- The Mets, among other ballclubs, are interested in Rays’ righties Andy Sonnanstine and Edwin Jackson, but the Rays are in no hurry to make a deal.
- "The White Sox are in an ideal position with" Javier Vazquez if they wait until Peavy, CC Sabathia, et al are placed and then shop him, Rosenthal argues. The 32-year old righty will make $23 MM through 2010, which he calls "a bargain for a pitcher who has produced four straight 200-inning seasons, albeit with a 49-51 record and 4.41 ERA." On the other hand, Vazquez has also hit the 200-strikeout mark in each of the last two seasons.
Sarah Green can be reached here.
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A few notes regarding the Phillies and the Rays, since this is all anyone is talking about today:
- Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that arbitration-eligible Ryan Madson could be in for a nice raise this winter.
- The Biz of Baseball ranked all 30 teams by marginal payroll/marginal win. I’ll let them explain the mathematical details, but unsurprisingly, the Rays win by a healthy margin.
- Howard Bryant discusses Carlos Pena‘s success with Tampa and how he resisted requests to change his hitting approach while he was struggling with Texas, Oakland, Detroit, New York, and Boston.
- A lot of writers published stories today on tonight’s scheduled starter for Philadelphia, Jamie Moyer, but Amalie Benajmin in the Boston Globe does an especially nice job following his long, circuitous career.
- And finally, this headline appeared in today’s Newsday: Mets Deeply Regret Letting Kazmir Go To Rays.
It’s a bit of a slow day for rumors, what with Game 3 of the World Series and all. Nonetheless, here are a few tangential tidbits for the afternoon:
- Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald notes that the Tampa Bay Rays don’t save their best relievers for the 9th inning; Dave Pinto says it’s "a feather in his cap" that manager Joe Maddon can get his pitchers to excel in such undefined roles. If you can get players to buy into it, it’s a cheap and effective way to build a bullpen — witness the 2007 Indians. If not, it’s a wreck — witness the 2003 Red Sox.
- John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times asks: does former GM Chuck LaMar or current GM Andrew Friedman deserve the credit for Tampa Bay’s success this year?
- Canadian teams are feeling the pinch as the Loonie falls in value, writes Don McGowan. As if the Blue Jays didn’t have enough to worry about!