Carlos Santana Rumors
Extension season might not be over yet, but if recent history is any indication, we've seen most or all of this spring's extensions. You have to go back to 2008 to find an extension completed in May or June, so there's a chance that Ryan Braun's deal will be the last one of its kind for a few months.
If that's the case, 37 players will have signed extensions since the beginning of the 2010-11 offseason. Exactly one of those players, Ryan Hanigan of the Reds, is a catcher. It's noteworthy, if not downright surprising, that no starting catchers signed extensions when you consider that dependable catching is hard to come by and that teams spent aggressively last winter.
Unlike the 2009-10 offseason, when the Twins extended Joe Mauer, no backstop was an obvious candidate for an extension. Mike Napoli is getting expensive and he doesn't have a reputation as a good defender. Matt Wieters hit just .249/.319/.377 last year, so it's understandable that the Orioles didn't commit to him on a mutliyear deal. And it would have made little sense for the Indians to extend Carlos Santana, who had an operation to repair a damaged knee ligament (his LCL) last August.
Buster Posey was an extension candidate, but there's no rush for the Giants to extend him, since he's under team control through 2016. Perhaps the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year will be in line for a long-term deal after 2011 if he repeats his breakout rookie performance.
Geovany Soto would have been a more traditional candidate for an extension. He hit .280/.393/.497 with 17 homers last year and was arbitration eligible for the first time in his career after the season. Soto is young enough for the Cubs to want him to keep him around (28) and close enough to free agency that they might be thinking about securing his services for an extra season or two (Soto is eligible for free agency after 2013). They didn't agree to terms on a long-term contract and instead signed a one-year, $3MM deal.
Given the circumstances surrounding each extension candidate, it's easier to see why Hanigan was the only backstop to sign long-term. Next year, however, more catchers, including some of the ones above, could sign extensions. Elite catchers don't hit free agency often, so the teams that develop catching may choose to keep it in place long-term by offering promising catchers extensions.
Two years ago today the Athletics acquired Matt Holliday from the Rockies in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, and Greg Smith. Holliday hit .286/.378/.454 in exactly 400 plate appearances with Oakland before being dealt to the Cardinals for a package led by Brett Wallace at the 2009 trade deadline.
Street has battled injuries but has been solid when on the mound for Colorado, pitching to a 3.30 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 109 innings. Smith has appeared in just eight games for the Rox (all starts), putting up a 6.23 ERA. The real get was CarGo, who will certainly be in the MVP mix after a .336/.376/.598 season with 34 doubles, 34 homers, 26 stolen bases, and a batting title.
The hot stove league will certainly bring us more blockbuster trades, but for now you'll have to settle for this long collection of links, the best the blogosphere had to offer this week...
- SPANdemonium interviews Twins prospect Niko Goodrum.
- M.C. Antil reflects on Bobby Cox's time as a GM and manager (part one, part two).
- We Should Be GMs lists the longest tenured player on all 30 teams.
- Sabernomics dispels some hot stove myths.
- U.S.S. Mariner lays out their plan for Seattle's offseason.
- FanSpeak does the same, just for the Baltimore Orioles.
- Meanwhile, Prospect Insider comes up with some trade ideas for the Mariners.
- Baseball Time In Arlington examines the idea of the Rangers signing Carl Crawford.
- Meet The Mess looks at some potential free agent targets for the Mets.
- Royals Review wonders who the "real get" in the David DeJesus trade is.
- At Home Plate thinks the DeJesus deal shows that Kansas City wants to win.
- Drunk Jays Fans chimes in on Zack Greinke and the Blue Jays as only they can.
- The Process Report explains why trading B.J. Upton now makes sense for the Rays.
- Ivy Report believes the Cubs need to strike fast and trade for Adrian Gonzalez.
- SD Sports Net lists some outfielders that could help the Padres next year.
- Athletics Nation provides a scouting report on Hisashi Iwakuma with some help from PitchFX.
- Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness looks at Tsuyoshi Nishioka as a second base option for the Dodgers.
- Red Sox Beacon muses about Boston picking up David Ortiz's option.
- Wahoo Blues looks at some backup plans for the Indians in case Carlos Santana has a setback from his knee injury.
- Examiner wonders if a Prince Fielder for Edwin Jackson trade makes sense.
- Analyze This looks at Jorge de la Rosa as a dark horse free agent.
- Yankeeist examines some designated hitter options for the Yankees.
- Baseball Analytics breaks down Ryan Howard's fall from grace.
- Redleg Nation wants to discuss how valuable Jay Bruce is.
- True Grich rants about the Angels and their offseason.
- Crashburn Alley reflects on Jamie Moyer's playing career.
- Mets Gazette provided part one of their top 50 free agents list with predictions. Here's Tim Dierkes' list for comparison.
- Fantasy Rundown compiles links for all of the various prospect lists out there.
- Last, but certainly not least, Pine Tar And Pocket Protectors provides your 2011 Montreal Expos roster.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Links for Friday, as interleague play resumes...
- Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies tweets that Colorado signed second round pick Chad Bettis after he passed his physical.
- The Royals signed seven draft picks according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel, and MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros have done the same.
- Ozzie Guillen said bluntly "A.J. [Pierzynski] isn't getting traded," according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times. Said the ChiSox manager: "I talked to A.J. a couple of days ago and said 'Listen man, you're not going to get traded." (Twitter links).
- Meanwhile, Pierzynski can't wait for his 10-and-5 rights to kick in this weekend, says Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune.
- Pirates' GM Neal Huntington chatted with fans about this week's amateur draft at MLB.com.
- The Athletics have signed 17 draft picks according to a team press release, including sixth rounder Tony Thompson and ninth rounder A.J. Kirby-Jones.
- Jeff Wilson of The Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers have signed 19 draft picks, highlighted by eighth rounder Jonathan Roof.
- The Braves have agreed to terms with second round pick Andrelton Simmons, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (via Twitter).
- A team source told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that White Sox GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen almost came to blows yesterday.
- Guillen downplayed the tension between him and Williams and told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he wants to stay in Chicago (Twitter link).
- You can now go back further than ever through MLBTR's recent posts by clicking "Previous" at the bottom of the site.
- The Reds are expected to sign their second rounder as early as tonight, according to Mike Pryson of the Jackson Citizen Patriot. Ryan LaMarre told Pryson that he has come to terms with the Reds.
- If you're a Mariners fan, I don't recommend reading this: Tom Verducci of SI.com explains how Yuniesky Betancourt may have cost the Mariners the chance to draft Stephen Strasburg.
- Carlos Santana got the call from the Indians and will debut tonight, writes Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (link in Spanish). Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer confirms the move via Twitter.
- Dan Connolly and Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun report that the Orioles will interview Bobby Valentine for their managerial job today.
- Connolly notes that the Orioles interviewed Eric Wedge Wednesday.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Orioles are also considering Buck Showalter for the job.
- Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe wonders if the Red Sox should release Mike Lowell instead of playing with what is essentially a 24-man roster.
Links for Thursday, as Omar Vizquel goes deep for the first time this year...
- Cleveland manager Manny Acta said Carlos Santana could join the Tribe before the All-Star break, reports Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The club wanted Santana to work on his game-calling and throwing before bringing him up to the majors, but Acta says the young catching prospect is progressing defensively.
- Kendry Morales will indeed miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery, according to Mark DiGiovanna of the LA Times. There had been some hope that Morales could return in 2010.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin explained to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that developing pitchers takes years. The former Rangers GM pointed to C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis, two strong starters who were drafted about ten years ago under Melvin.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times takes an in-depth look at what GM Jack Zduriencik has done with the Mariners.
- The Astros signed nine draft picks, including fourth rounder Robert Doran, according to a team press release. Doran is a 6'6" college right-hander.
- Ben Goessling of MASN.com says Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham are players the Nationals could someday win with, not players they should look to move.
- As Pat Andriola of FanGraphs shows, the Marlins have made some fantastic low-key acquisitions in recent years.
- Josh Beckett told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he hasn’t thought about the way his recent back injury may have affected his free agent value had he not signed a four-year extension this spring.
- Former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey would like to manage the team, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Dempsey, a MASN broadcaster who happens to be Gregg Zaun's uncle, has been a candidate to manage the O's three times before.
- Canadian catcher Kellin Deglan, who agreed to a deal with the Rangers, would have liked to play for the Blue Jays, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.
- Jake Peavy told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Padres' decision to fire former GM Kevin Towers was an "absolute joke."
- Mike Lowell told Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe that he has though about how he would fit in Anaheim. Lowell also realizes he could be in line for a minor league deal after this season and that possibility does not appeal to him.
Despite owning the second worst record (19-31) and run differential (-64) in the American League, Indians' GM Mark Shapiro is under no orders from CEO Paul Dolan to make trades and cut payroll like he has during the last two seasons, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes.
"We are not actively engaged in talks about anyone right now," said Shapiro. "The season's natural cycle will dictate when we consider some alternatives. We're not mandated to make any trades for monetary reasons.
"We'll look at each trade (possibility) as an opportunity to acquire talent and it's budgetary impact. But the acquisition of talent will be the primary driver."
Shapiro indicated that he could explore trades involving "anyone in the last year of their contracts," so that includes Russell Branyan, Austin Kearns, Mark Grudzielanek, Jhonny Peralta, Mike Redmond, Jake Westbrook, and Jamey Wright. Even if they move Westbrook, the Indians feel they may have a chance to re-sign him after the season as a free agent.
Top prospect Carlos Santana is expected to be up at some point this season, but Shapiro did make sure to mention that his defense needs to improve, particularly his throwing. They plan on taking advantage of every day possible in the minors to help him develop, which shows that the team is looking for production on both sides of the ball, not just at the plate.
The Indians figure to be a prominent player at the trade deadline this year given their inventory, with Westbrook representing to be their most desirable chip. Even though he's still owed about $7.6MM this season, his 4.36 ERA in 11 starts might be a big enough upgrade to justify the cost for some teams.
From now on, teams that call prospects up to make their major league debuts no longer have to worry that those players will go to arbitration an extra time. It's now June and prospects that debut from this point on will not pick up more than 124 days of MLB service time this year. There's almost no chance that that would be enough for super two status after 2012. We all know when to expect Stephen Strasburg, but let's take a look around the majors and anticipate the arrivals of some more top prospects:
- Mike Stanton - You thought Jose Bautista had a lot of homers? Stanton hit his 19th and 20th of the season tonight at AA in front of Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. The 20-year-old Stanton, ranked by Baseball America as the Marlins' best prospect this offseason, entered today's action with 39 walks and 50 strikeouts. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says it may not be long before Stanton is playing in the majors.
- Carlos Santana - The 24-year-old catcher began the season as one of the best prospects in baseball and he has lived up to expectations so far in 2010. Santana has hit .315/.450/.565 at Triple A with ten homers and more strikeouts than walks. Lou Marson, who is actually younger than Santana, struggled early on for the Indians, but has impressed Indians manager Manny Acta lately. Still, Marson has a .216/.270/.276 line this season, so Santana appears to have more offensive potential.
- Pedro Alvarez - The Pirates, who have scored the second-fewest runs in the National League, might be tempted by the .261/.349/.511 line Alvarez has posted in Triple A. No Pirate has a slugging percentage as high as the one Alvarez has posted in the minors and just Ryan Doumit and Andrew McCutchen have been getting on base as much.
Stanton, Santana and Alvarez have played well, but they aren't the only ones who could arrive in the majors before long. Desmond Jennings, Jeremy Hellickson, Aroldis Chapman and Brett Wallace could conceivably get the call within a few weeks.
Happy birthday, Jayson Werth! Let's celebrate by reading these news items...
- FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi outlines the unique contract situation of right-hander Chris Resop, who has been a revelation as a starting pitcher this season for Atlanta's Triple-A team.
- A bit further down the FOX Sports Buzz page, Morosi notes that Mat Gamel's time playing first base during his rehab assignment isn't necessarily a hint about Prince Fielder's fate in Milwaukee.
- In response to a piece about the Dodgers' spending under Frank McCourt, Fanhouse's Tom Krasovic relates how L.A. shipped Carlos Santana to Cleveland in the Casey Blake deal rather than pick up $2MM of Blake's salary. If Santana becomes the star catcher that he's projected to be for the Tribe, Dodger fans might be regretting that $2MM worth of savings for a long time.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Giants may have Eric Hacker replace the struggling Todd Wellemeyer in the rotation. Star prospect Madison Bumgarner has pitched well in Triple-A this season, but Schulman thinks the Giants want the young left-hander to have more innings at that level before they bring him up to the majors.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post writes that the recently DFA'ed Willy Taveras worked out in Houston this week. The Astros offered Taveras a minor league deal over the winter, so Taveras' workout could represent a rekindling of the club's interest, or it could've just been a courtesy extended to a former Astro.
- Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks Michael Brantley and the Indians would both be better served by having the outfield prospect back in the majors. Pluto points out that if the Tribe are trying to stall Brantley's service time, then they shouldn't have had him start with the club on Opening Day.
- The Rays have had almost as many key injuries as the Yankees this season, but Tampa Bay's depth made them better prepared to deal with it, writes Steve Slowinski of the DRaysBay blog.
- Speaking of those Yankee injuries, Brian Cashman said today that the club would look within their system to fill the holes, reports Chad Jennings of The Journal News.
Thursday night linkage..
- Indians catching prospect Carlos Santana is making major strides behind the plate, writes The Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises.
- Boston GM Theo Epstein doesn't believe that personnel changes in May can make much of an impact, writes Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald.
- Astros outfielder Carlos Lee says that he may retire following the 2012 season, writes Bernardo Fallas of The Houston Chronicle. Lee is due to make $18.5MM in each of the next three seasons.
- The Mariners have promoted Michael Saunders after placing Milton Bradley on the restricted list, tweets Shannon Drayer of ESPN Radio Seattle.
- Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com spoke to Scott Podsednik, who said that he wasn't surprised that the White Sox didn't come up with an offer strong enough to keep him. After months of negotiation, Scotty Pods signed a one-year, $1.75MM deal with Kansas City, which included a 2011 club option.
Links for Sunday....
- Injuries have really soured the Royals' half of the Mark Teahen trade so far. Both Chris Getz and Josh Fields are on the disabled list, and the Associated Press reported today that Fields will undergo hip surgery that will likely end his season.
- Ethan Trex has an interesting article up on CNN.com that highlights some unusual contractual clauses over the years, including George Brett becoming partial owner of a Memphis apartment complex back in 1984 and Charlie Kerfeld receiving 37 boxes of orange Jell-O in 1987. Seriously.
- It looks like a trend is developing in the NL Central. A few days after the Cubs moved Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the Brewers will do the same thing with Jeff Suppan and his $12.5MM salary. As for Zambrano, the Cubs won't use him on back-to-back days for now, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tries to play matchmaker and work out a Carlos Silva-George Sherrill/Jamey Carroll trade between the Cubs and Dodgers. I'm not sure such a swap necessarily makes sense for either team, given the Cubs' lefty surplus and Silva's price tag next year.
- Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes that Victor Martinez is working overtime to improve his throwing, presumably hoping to silence the constant rumblings about the Red Sox shopping for a catcher.
- The latest mailbag from Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer includes a Carlos Santana update and an assessment of the Indians' free agent prospects following the 2010 season.
When ESPN's Keith Law ranked baseball's top prospects earlier this year, only two players placed ahead of Indians catcher Carlos Santana: Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg. So far in 2010, Santana, who is currently day-to-day with a knee bruise, has done nothing to dissuade the notion that he's a future star. The 24-year-old has posted a ridiculous .364/.451/.727 slash line, homering four times in 51 Triple-A plate appearances. So when will we see him in an Indians' uniform?
Cleveland's catching duo of Lou Marson and Mike Redmond has been unproductive thus far, to say the least. With only two singles and two walks in 28 plate appearances, Marson's numbers coming into today sit at .080/.148/.080, and Redmond's (.190/.227/.238) aren't much better. Even if Santana takes some time to adjust to playing at the Major League level, he should still be an immediate upgrade.
The Indians have already postponed Santana's free agency for a year by keeping him in the minors until now, and will have to decide how much longer they'll delay his big-league debut. In an article for ESPN.com, Baseball Prospectus' Christina Kahrl suggests that in the AL Central, the Indians are "contenders by default" and that they're "minimizing their already slim playoff chances" as long as Santana remains at Triple-A Columbus. As one of the more cost-conscious teams in baseball though, Cleveland could save millions by putting off a Santana promotion until June, preventing the catcher from eventually qualifying as a Super Two player.
For a team with deeper pockets and more serious postseason aspirations, calling Santana up now would be a no-brainer. At 24, he appears ready to contribute in the bigs, and he'd replace a black hole of production behind the plate in Cleveland. However, even in the AL Central, it's unlikely that the Indians have the talent to make a playoff run this season, meaning we shouldn't expect to see Santana called up for at least a few more weeks. It may test the patience of Indians fans, but for an organization frequently forced to trade away their pricier stars, looking to the future and delaying Santana's service time clock is the right move.