Brian Matusz Rumors
Links for Friday...
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News reports that Marcus Thames can opt out of his contract with the Yankees if he doesn't make the team out of Spring Training. Thames signed a minor league deal earlier this month that would pay him $900K in the big leagues.
- Alyson Footer, the Astros' Sr. Director of Social Media, tweets that the team has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with infielder Tommy Manzella worth $400K. He's expected to be the team's regular shortstop in 2010, and he has less than a month's worth of service time.
- Mike Aviles and Anthony Lerew agreed to terms with the Royals according to a team press release. Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star tweets that both deals are expected to be worth less than $500K. Both players are not yet eligible for arbitration.
- Meanwhile, the Marlins also agreed to terms with six of their pre-arbitration eligible players, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that Orioles' lefty Brian Matusz has changed agents, and is now represented by CAA Sports. He had a 4.63 ERA in 44.2 innings last year, and is widely considered to be one of the two or three best pitching prospects in the game.
- Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo spoke about the Livan Hernandez signing to MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling, and said that the righty isn't guaranteed a rotation spot.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports polled nearly 20 baseball people about Carl Crawford's next contract. Many of the agents and executives expect Crawford to command a five-year deal worth $12-16MM per season, but some think the left fielder could make as much as $18MM per year when he hits the open market, probably after 2010.
- Scott Rolen was happy to restructure his contract so the Reds could "free up some money to go out and be more competitive," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Nationals pitcher Rafael Martin tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he agreed to his deal on February 8th (Twitter link).
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd told Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports that he wants his players to be driven by "more than money." O'Dowd also told Ringolsby that he did not shop Brad Hawpe this winter.
- The Mets are still looking at lefty and righty relievers, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (via Twitter).
- Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt tells Scott Lauber of the News Journal that he expects Placido Polanco to make a smooth transition to third base.
- Marlon Byrd tells USA Today's Bob Nightengale that he's uncomfortable being compared to friend and former teammate Milton Bradley.
- Big market clubs sent $433MM to small market clubs last year, according to Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball.
- The Red Sox don't generally use insurance on their long-term deals. Principal owner John Henry tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that "it isn't always easy to get paid," even once players are injured.
- Jose Julio Ruiz may be close to signing, but it won't be with the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- Astros owner Drayton McLane, who has "a huge amount of confidence" in GM Ed Wade, would consider selling his team for $600MM or more, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle.
Some more links for your Thursday night...
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald says the Red Sox believe Adrian Beltre to be "one of the most game-changing defenders in the majors."
- Two GMs tell Tom Verducci of SI.com that they were shocked to see the Astros commit $15MM to Brandon Lyon.
- Verducci reports that the Yankees called the Tigers about Curtis Granderson before the World Series began.
- The Nats still plan on adding multiple veteran starters, according to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.
- Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News says the Rangers have to be "extremely selective with multi-year deals, stock a good farm system, fill in with low-risk, high-reward short-timers and churn regularly." So far, Sherrington likes Jon Daniels' strategy.
- MLB.com's Ian Browne expects Mike Lowell to be a positive presence in the Texas clubhouse.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti tells MLB.com's Ken Gurnick that he's "not close" on any deals.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Steve Kornacki of MLive.com that there's a chance Phil Coke starts in Detroit.
- The D'Backs don't appear to have much money to spend, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- Marlins president Larry Beinfest tells MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that "there is still some stuff simmering." The club hopes to trade Dan Uggla, according to Frisaro.
- Orioles starter Brian Matusz told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that he grew up watching Kevin Millwood pitch for the Braves. Now, the two will be teammates.
- Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports that the Dodgers turned down a Japanese club that wanted to buy Eric Stults' contract.
- Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that Juan Miranda could potentially DH for the Yanks next year.
The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly details the questions facing a Baltimore team with some young offensive talent, some terrific young pitching on the way, and a lot of extra cash.
Connolly writes that while the 64-98 record Baltimore had in 2009 was the third-worst in team history, "there is a sense that the future has promise because of the emergence of young starting pitchers Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen, catcher Matt Wieters and outfielders Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie."
Left unsaid, of course, is the emergence of Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continuing to be a tremendous player.
The good news? The Orioles, according to Connolly, went from roughly $77MM owed in payroll at the start of the 2009 season-including $9MM to Jay Gibbons and Ramon Hernandez- to a $30MM commitment for 2010, not including raises through arbitration.
The bad news is that there aren't many marquee free agents (though there is Jason Marquis), and those that do qualify- Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, John Lackey- aren't great fits, particularly Bay and Holliday in an overcrowded outfield.
Connolly captures the problem of desires vs. realistic options perfectly here:
"The preference is to find a right-handed or switch-hitting first baseman in his prime, like the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira. But there's no one who fits that profile in this year's class. The best free-agent options might be left-handed-hitting first basemen Russell Branyan and Hank Blalock or right-handed do-it-all Mark DeRosa."
So what's an Oriole to do?
FRIDAY: The Orioles reached an agreement with Matusz on a Major League deal worth $3.47MM.
THURSDAY, 12:51pm: MLB.com's Spencer Fordin says the O's and Matusz inched closer to a deal, perhaps for a Major League contract worth $3.1MM. However, no agreement is confirmed.
11:16am: Roch Kubatko confirms Matusz's presence in Baltimore for a physical, but stresses that the pitcher has not signed yet. All signs point to a deal getting done though.
9:43am: According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, Orioles top draft pick Brian Matusz is expected in Baltimore today for a physical and a deal is close. Zrebiec believes Matusz sought a big league contract for $5MM.
Nationals fans have to hope the Matusz deal is wrapped up early and can be used as a benchmark to sign Aaron Crow.
10:51am: Baggarly has the latest on Posey. He says it's a "spitting contest" between Scott Boras and Posey's agency to have the highest-paid draft pick.
7:46am: The latest links involved unsigned first-round draft picks.
- Sam Mellinger explains the decision Eric Hosmer faces. He might have to go against Scott Boras' advice.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle denies Andrew Baggarly's Buster Posey report yesterday, calling it "premature Posey-ing." Schulman talked to the Giants' director of player personnel, who said the deal is not done and the number is not $7.5MM. There is no verbal agreement, either.
- Schulman also heard the Orioles are about to sign Brian Matusz for less than $7.5MM. Most folks believe this will get done as a Major League deal.
- The Pirates are cautiously optimistic about Pedro Alvarez. It's possible Scott Boras could drag this out to within minutes of the deadline.
- Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein has an update on all unsigned picks. He believes both Yonder Alonso and Justin Smoak will sign. Publicly, Reds GM Walt Jocketty is 50/50 on Alonso.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo gives his take on Matusz, Josh Fields, and Allan Dykstra.
The deadline to sign '08 draft picks is 11pm CST on Friday. Here are the latest rumors.
- MLB.com's Kevin Czerwinski has a new summary of the unsigned first rounders.
- The Nationals and Aaron Crow are not close. It's been said Crow wants a Major League deal in the $8-10MM range.
- The Orioles are reluctant to give a big league deal to Brian Matusz.
- John Perrotto expects Pedro Alvarez to sign at the last minute. Dejan Kovacevic dismisses the notion that it would be OK for the Pirates to shrug off signing Alvarez and take next year's #3 pick.
- The August 15th deadline doesn't apply to Mariners top pick Joshua Fields, since he was a college senior.
Let's kick off the morning with some random links.
- Live chat here today at 2pm CST.
- Brian Matusz is hopeful about striking a deal with the Orioles by Friday's deadline. Roch Kubatko has a source saying it's likely.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis warns us not to listen to the posturing - he still expects all the first-round draft picks to sign with the possible exception of Allan Dykstra.
- Should the Mariners offer Raul Ibanez a three-year deal at $10-11MM per?
- No word yet on possible Rays acquisitions in wake of the Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria injuries. Marc Lancaster wonders if Kenny Lofton or...don't say it...Barry Bonds would make sense.
- The Mets had no interest in Adam Dunn. They wonder about his passion, according to Joel Sherman. Did you know he doesn't like baseball?
- The Phillies were more interested in Casey Blake than Manny Ramirez.
- Athletics Nation looks at some free agent options for '09.
- Shannon Stewart didn't understand his latest Blue Jay Experience.
- The Yankees, Mets, Angels, and Padres have scouts at the Olympics to watch Hitoki Iwase, Koji Uehara, Kenshin Kawakami, Yu Darvish, and Kyuji Fujikawa.
Let's round up some links concerning the unsigned '08 draft picks.
- The Orioles haven't made much progress with Brian Matusz, but they haven't gone backward either. His agent seems cautiously optimistic.
- Reds top pick Yonder Alonso told the Miami Herald there's a 50-50 chance he doesn't sign and goes back to college. One of Alonso's "advisors" said the Reds and Alonso were way off on figures.
- Sam Mellinger says some think Royals top pick Eric Hosmer might be willing to try college. Hosmer is advised by Scott Boras. Mellinger considers fourth round pick/first round talent Tim Melville the Royals' backup plan. Ideally, they'll sign both high-ceiling talents.
- How much of this is just posturing? We'll know on August 16th.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reminds us of baseball's next deadline: this year's draft picks must be signed by end of day August 15th. Mayo provides links updating progress on unsigned top ten picks Pedro Alvarez, Eric Hosmer, Yonder Alonso, and Aaron Crow. No news on Gordon Beckham.
- Roch Kubatko says both the Orioles and Brian Matusz remain confident a deal will be done. No hard feelings on either side regarding the delay.
- Based on this Q&A with Nationals GM Jim Bowden, talks with Crow apparently haven't gotten too far.
- As for Alvarez, the Pirates have a dollar figure they'd prefer not to exceed.
MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has some draft tidbits tonight.
- The idea has been floated that the Rays could draft Pedro Alvarez with an eye on moving Evan Longoria to second base down the road. Alvarez's position really shouldn't be a concern - Carlos Pena might be gone by the time he's ready. Mayo's heard buzz that the Rays have narrowed it down to Alvarez or Buster Posey, despite what Tim Beckham's dad said.
- Standard speculation is that the O's are looking at Brian Matusz and Justin Smoak, but Mayo's heard there might be a non-Beckham dark horse.
- The White Sox have Smoak, Yonder Alonso, and perhaps Andrew Cashner on their radar at #8.