Author Archives: Zach Links

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Aiken, A’s, Montero

On this date in 2004, at Wrigley Field, Albert Pujols went 5-for-5, including three home runs and five RBIs, as the Cardinals beat the Cubs, 11-8.  The Redbird first baseman’s first three-homer career game helped St. Louis to erase a six run deficit.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Cafardo On Price, Cardinals, Hamels, Benoit

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if the Red Sox will succumb to fan pressure and re-sign Jon Lester.   Lester turned down a four-year, $70MM offer from the Red Sox in spring training and other clubs will almost certainly offer six- or seven-year deals if he reaches the open market.  Boston, of course, doesn’t want to go that far.  “If that’s your philosophy you can’t make exceptions or it will be viewed as a joke,” said one American League general manager. “If you vary from it, that sends a weak message to the baseball community, agents etc., when it comes with dealing with other players. I think the players themselves need to know where you stand as an organization, and if you keep deviating that sends the wrong message.”  Here’s more from today’s column..

  • The Mariners don’t mind dealing for Rays ace David Price without an agreement in place for a long-term deal, but that’s not the case for everyone. The Cardinals are interested in Price but would want a financial commitment, a major league source tells Cafardo.   Cafardo cautions not to rule out the Giants, who also have had interest in Ben Zobrist.
  • The Phillies have been discouraged by what they’re hearing from other teams on Cole Hamels.  The Phillies consider him their biggest trade chip, but will hold on to him if they don’t get what they consider a fair deal. The Red Sox sent their top pitching scout to watch the hurler before the break and the Phillies have scouted Boston’s major and minor league teams all season. One major league source said if the Phillies get a taker on the full contract and they get three top prospects, he’s gone, and Hamels, according to another major league source, wouldn’t mind.
  • Joaquin Benoit is one of the most sought after relievers on the market but a Padres official tells Cafardo that they won’t just give him away.
  • Chad Qualls has resurrected his career with the Astros and teams are calling on him, according to a major league source.  Houston left-hander Tony Sipp has also drawn interest.
  • A.J. Pierzynski, who cleared waivers Friday, has told agent Steve Hilliard that he would like to continue playing.

Yankees Release Alfonso Soriano

JULY 14: The Yankees have released Soriano, per the MLB.com transactions page.

New York will owe Soriano the remainder of the $5MM portion of his salary for which the team is obligated. He will be free to sign with any club (likely at a league-minimum rate), though Soriano has indicated that he would give at least some consideration to retirement.

JULY 6: Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), that Alfonso Soriano has been designated for assignment.  Dropping Soriano from the roster will make room for the newly-acquired Brandon McCarthy.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals

Soriano has been struggling this season, batting just .221/.244/.367 with six homers in 238 plate appearances.  Still, the news comes as a surprise given Soriano’s lifetime body of work.  In fact, before this season, Soriano was in the midst of a career resurgence with a .258/.312/.494 slash line between 2012 and 2013 with the Cubs and Yankees.

The 38-year-old is in the final year of the eight-year, $136MM contract that he signed with the Cubs in November 2006.  Soriano will earn $18MM on the year, but the Yankees are only on the hook for a portion of that with the Cubs paying the majority of the deal.  The Cubs are paying out $13MM of Soriano’s 2014 salary while the Bombers are responsible for just $5MM.

Soriano is sure to find plenty of suitors looking for outfield help, but it remains to be seen how much longer he wants to keep playing.  Soriano previously discussed retiring after the 2014 season but he also indicated that he might want to keep going through 2016.  At the time, he said he’d like to finish his career with the Bombers, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards now.

If Soriano packs it in at the end of the season, or in a couple of years from now, he won’t be hurting for cash.  According to Baseball-Reference, Soriano has earned nearly $158MM over the course of his big league career.  In 16 seasons for the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals, and Cubs, Soriano posted a lifetime .270/.319/.500 slash line and earned seven consecutive All-Star selections from 2002 through 2008.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Miley, Blue Jays, Tanaka

On this date in 2012, Zack Greinke became the first pitcher to start three consecutive games in the same season since Red Faber did so for the White Sox in 1917.  The Brewers’ right-hander was the starting pitcher in the team’s final two games before the All-Star break. Greinke started the Saturday prior to the break only to be ejected for arguing a close call at first base after throwing just four pitches, so manager Ron Roenicke let him start the next day’s game.  Greinke then made it three straight starts when he took the mound to begin the second half of the season for the Brew Crew.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere..

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Quick Hits: Samardzija, Viciedo, D-Backs, Byrd

Jeff Samardzija couldn’t be happier to be joining the A’s, writes MLB.com’s Jane Lee.  “Billy asked me how I felt,” said Samardzija. “I was supposed to pitch today, so I’m a day past my due date to pitch. I’m chomping at the bit. I don’t think there’s any better way to get acclimated than to do it on the mound. It was a no-brainer for me, and I look forward to it.” Here’s more from around baseball.


Red Sox Reluctant To Move Will Middlebrooks

The Red Sox have been receiving decent trade interest in recent days in third baseman Will Middlebrooks, but Red Sox people are said to seem quite reluctant to deal him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Middlebrooks is on injury rehab following his slow start in Boston but the Sox seem intent on keeping him past July.

Still only 25, Middlebrooks has power, and it isn’t easy to come by power bats in baseball these days. On top of that, if Middlebrooks can show something in the second half, he could be a piece if the Sox try and make a run at Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton.  It would obviously take much more than Middlebrooks to get a deal done, but Miami did have some interest in Middlebrooks last winter. Stanton would provide a huge boost for the Red Sox and Boston can build a package with some of the best prospects in baseball to entice Miami if they make Stanton available over the winter. In 21 games this season, Middlebrooks has hit just .197/.305/.324 with two homers.


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Orioles, Thatcher, Melvin

On this date in 2003, Tampa Bay skipper Lou Piniella was a man of his word.  The manager promised his club that if they won three in a row he’d dye his hair and after the Devil Rays topped the White Sox the night before, Lou become a blond.  Here’s this week’s look around the baseball blogosphere.

Please send submissions to Zach at ZachBBWI@gmail.com.


Blue Jays Claim Nolan Reimold Off Waivers

The Blue Jays have claimed Nolan Reimold off waivers from the Orioles, according to Reimold’s cousin Seamus Doyle (on Twitter).  The O’s placed Reimold on waivers last week.

Baltimore was looking at trade options for the outfielder but were unable to find any.  Reimold has been hampered by multiple neck surgeries over the last few seasons but has posted a .902 OPS over 17 games on a Double-A rehab assignment.

The 30-year-old was once considered a top 100 prospect but has never been able to realize his potential due to health problems.  In parts of five big league campaigns, Reimold owns a .252/.327/.439 slash line.

There are now six players in DFA limbo, as shown in MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Orioles Designate Ramon Ramirez For Assignment

The Orioles announced that they have designated Ramon Ramirez for assignment.  The move will make space for Kevin Gausman on the roster.

Ramirez threw a grand total of one major league inning for the Orioles this season.  Over parts of nine big league seasons with the Rockies, Royals, Red Sox, Giants, Mets, and Orioles, Ramirez owns a 3.42 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.

Ramirez becomes the second player to be designated for assignment today after the Yankees DFA’d Alfonso Soriano.  To keep up with everyone in DFA limbo, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.


Yankees Acquire Brandon McCarthy

10:44am: The Diamondbacks will eat $2.05MM of the $4.1MM owed to McCarthy for the rest of the year, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  Meanwhile, the Yankees will pay the $1MM assignment bonus to McCarthy.

10:21am: The D’Backs will be eating money in the deal, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.  McCarthy is owed the prorated portion of his $9MM contract, plus the $1MM assignment bonus he is set to earn after being traded.

The prorated portion of McCarthy’s deal comes out to roughly $4.1MM, not counting the assignment bonus.

10:15am: The Yankees are in fact trading Vidal Nuno to Arizona for McCarthy, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Nuno, 26, owns a 5.42 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 through 14 starts and three relief appearances this season.  While McCarthy is on an expiring contract, Nuno won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season.

The left-hander was originally in the Indians’ system before being released in March 2011.  The Yankees picked Nuno up a couple of months later and after getting 17 big league starts out of him across the last two seasons, they have parlayed him into the 6’7″ McCarthy.

10:10am: The Yankees have acquired Brandon McCarthy from the D’Backs, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish (on Twitter).  The two sides were discussing a deal involving Vidal Nuno last night, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter), but it’s unclear if Nuno is in fact in the trade. MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates

McCarthy, 30, has a 5.01 ERA with 7.6 K/9 – a career best if it holds – and 1.6 BB/9 through 18 starts this season.  While the 5+ ERA isn’t particularly attractive, advanced metrics such as McCarthy’s 2.89 xFIP indicate that he has been much better than that would indicate.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported late last month that McCarthy would earn a $1MM assignment bonus if he was traded.  Olney added that the D’Backs would likely have to pick up the tab on that sum.

The Diamondbacks made a smaller move yesterday when they shipped Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana to the Angels for outfielder Zach Borenstein and right-hander Joey Krehbiel.  Between that deal and today’s trade of McCarthy, it’s clear that the 36-53 Diamondbacks are going to be committed to selling this month.

Despite their underwhelming performances so far this season, veterans Cody Ross and Aaron Hill could also be on the move.  Eric Chavez, Bronson Arroyo, and Mark Trumbo could also be of interest to teams if they show that they’re healthy.  And while Thatcher is already gone, fellow lefty Oliver Perez should have some value.  Thatcher is merely a rental for the Angels but Perez is controlled through the 2015 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.