Chad Billingsley Rumors
Links for Wednesday...
- Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal thinks that Victor Martinez's inability to contain baserunners could cost him millions in free agency and compromise his long-term future with the Red Sox.
- Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that Tom Hicks is "concerned" about the sale of the Rangers to new ownership. Hicks' comments prompted MLB to release a statement in which they say the league has taken control of the Rangers' sale.
- Despite Stephen Strasburg's hot start, Mike Rizzo has no plans to rush his prized prospect through the minors, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington. Rizzo says that when Strasburg arrives in Washington, the club wants it to be for good.
- Ever seen a $17.875MM reliever? Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs are moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen on Friday. Carlos Silva will remain in the rotation; Tyler Kepner of the New York Times recently looked at his potential resurgence.
- In a pair of February articles, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune noted that Mark Buehrle's 10-and-5 rights kick in on July 6th, while A.J. Pierzynski's date is June 14th.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times posits that if the Mariners hadn't traded Adam Jones, they wouldn't have Jack Zduriencik and Franklin Gutierrez.
- Though he'll continue to work for ESPN, Joe Morgan has joined the Reds as a "special advisor to baseball operations." Morgan will not be involved in the team's day-to-day operations, learned John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says the Diamondbacks looked into a trade for Nate Robertson before the southpaw was dealt to Florida. Crasnick's article deals with the performances of nine important fill-ins so far this season.
- FanGraphs has added an aspect of catcher defense to its Wins Above Replacement stat.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports talks about the plight of Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley. I imagine quite a few teams would like to try to get him back on track.
- Kevin Millar, released by the Cubs in March, has joined the MLB Network as an analyst according to Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball.
Let's take stock of each team's top trade chips, starting today with the NL West...
- Diamondbacks: Arizona moved two of its best trade chips this winter in Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth, and there's obviously no way Justin Upton will be moved. The cupboard is a little bare right now, but Stephen Drew could be available for the right price. He has two more years of team control left after 2010. Conor Jackson, who won't be a free agent until after 2011, could be attractive as well. Top prospect Jarrod Parker is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- Dodgers: Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are deal breakers, but Chad Billingsley could be dangled after popping up in rumors during the offseason. The 25-year-old posted a 5.21 ERA in his final 19 appearances last year, though his peripheral stats were in line with what they had been in previous seasons. He won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.
- Giants: Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval aren't going anywhere and Matt Cain just signed a new extension, so Brian Sabean's best trade chip is lefty Jonathan Sanchez. The 27-year-old owns a career 9.3 K/9 and won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2012 season. Madison Bumgarner's stock is down while he battles with Missing Velocity Disease, and Buster Posey isn't going anywhere.
- Padres: Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell aren't just San Diego's two best trade chips, they're among the best in the game. Gonzalez is one of the baseball's premier power hitters at age 27, and will make just $4.75MM in 2010 with a $5.5MM club option for 2011. Bell has emerged as one of the league's most dominant closers, and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season.
- Rockies: Everyone wants to get their hands on Troy Tulowitzki, but it's just not happening. Brad Hawpe is the player most likely to be moved, and there should be interest given his annual .890 OPS's and 25+ homers. He has a $10MM option for the 2011 season with a cheap $500K buyout, and Colorado has a glut of young and productive outfielders to replace him.
The front of the Dodgers' rotation is pretty well set, with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla set to occupy the first four spots. There's no shortage of candidates for that fifth spot, but as Steve Dilbeck of The Los Angeles Times notes, most of the contenders have unfavorable contract situations.
Eric Stults and Charlie Haeger are both out of options, Carlos Monasterios is a Rule 5 pick, and both Ramon and Russ Ortiz are believed to have out clauses in their contracts. The one rotation candidate that doesn't have any strings attached is James McDonald, but it doesn't help that he has a 20.25 ERA and a 3.56 WHIP in just over five innings this spring. Regardless of who LA picks for that last spot, there's a chance they'll lose some depth as the other guys succumb to roster limitations.
Let's open this one up for discussion. Who do you think the Dodgers should put in their last rotation spot, and what should they do with the other players? Essentially your choices are a) put them in the bullpen, or b) risk losing them to waivers/out clause/Rule 5 rules. Here are the Spring Training stats, not that they mean anything.
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with Chad Billingsley, agreeing on a contract for 2010, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Billingley, who made $475K last year and was arbitration-eligible for the first time, will earn $3.85MM this year, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers are a "long shot" to land Roy Halladay, while Los Angeles GM Ned Colletti indicated an unwillingness to add Chad Billingsley into any Halladay deal.
It doesn't take much of a leap to think the former is a result of the latter.
Colletti refused to discuss Halladay specifically, but said of his desire to improve the pitching staff, "We would like to improve our pitching, especially starting pitching. I don't believe we can subtract from it in order to improve it."
The Dodgers have plenty of prospects for a potential Halladay deal, but adding Billingsley, an established arm, would give them a leg up on other teams who would have the financial flexibility to sign Halladay long-term.
Hernandez also writes that Colletti has been in contact with Brad Ausmus, but hasn't had discussions about Brandon Phillips or Dan Uggla.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale suggests we keep an eye on a possible three-way trade between the Tigers, Mariners and one other club. The Tigers would give up Edwin Jackson and the Mariners would give up Brandon Morrow. Here are some more rumors to read as you wonder who that third team might be:
- Nightengale says the Rays are the "clear-cut favorite" to acquire Milton Bradley from the Cubs.
- The Yankees are apparently letting teams know that Nick Swisher is available. Swisher was involved in his share of trade rumors after the Yankees acquired him last season.
- The Dodgers are focusing on Roy Halladay, who would potentially cost Chad Billingsley and others.
Here's some more links on a busy first day at the GM meetings...
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier writes that when Jed Hoyer took over as GM of the Padres, it only made it tougher for the Red Sox to pull off a deal for Adrian Gonzalez. “He knows all my tricks, and I know his,” said Theo Epstein of Hoyer.
- Meanwhile, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports that Roy Halladay has identified the Red Sox as a team he'd be willing to accept a trade to. Doc has a full no-trade clause.
- Andy Pettitte has apparently told his Yankee teammates that he'd like to come back for one more year, though there's been no definitive word according to SI.com's Jon Heyman. GM Brian Cashman said he expects the team to be more "cautious than anxious" this offseason, and that he plans to go slow, even with their own free agents according to Joel Sherman of The NY Post.
- Mets' GM Omar Minaya "has told several of his friends in the industry that he badly wants to add a run-producing bat at either first base and/or left field," according to Sherman.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports that Chris Snyder confirmed there has not been a setback in his rehab from back surgery. The Blue Jays nixed a potential Snyder for Lyle Overbay swap over the weekend over concerns about the catcher's back.
- The Orioles claimed righthander Armando Gabino off waivers from the Twins, according to Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune. Meanwhile, a team press release says the Rays claimed righty Ramon Ramirez off waivers from the Reds.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report that Melvin Mora is working out at other positions to increase his versatility and up his value as a free agent.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs compared Jason Bay to Mike Cameron, and determines that the latter is a better value.
- Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts breaks down some Chad Billingsley rumors.
The latest from SI's Jon Heyman...
- Heyman, like many writers, believes the Dodgers need a #1 starter. He says Dodgers people "aren't overly optimistic" about snagging Roy Halladay or John Lackey, however.
- Heyman believes the Dodgers should consider trading one or all of James Loney, Russell Martin, and Chad Billingsley. Billingsley was ineffective in July and September, but the 25-year-old is under team control for three more years. Interest would be very strong.
- Heyman guesses the Indians might be willing to go to $2.5MM for Bobby Valentine, while GM Mark Shapiro doesn't expect money to be a factor.
They're not quite as good as Saturday morning cartoons, but here's some Saturday morning links...
- David Lennon of Newsday writes that the Mets are among a handful of teams that are exploring a deal for Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. We learned that Chapman was officially declared a free agent by MLB yesterday.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. sat down for a chat with Jose Iglesias, who the Red Sox signed for over $8MM this summer. When asked why he chose the Sox, Iglesias said they "were a team that needed a shortstop," and "they are my father's favorite team."
- With Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Russell Martin, George Sherrill, and Hong-Chih Kuo all eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, Dylan Hernandez of The LA Times says that the Dodgers could be looking at raises totaling about $20MM.
- Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune says that Royals "upper management still considers (Milton) Bradley a talented hitter who could thrive in a low-key environment such as the one in Kansas City." He also wonders if a Bradley for Aaron Rowand deal could work.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive right on in...
- Southpaws Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw are likely to start the first two games of the playoffs for the Dodgers, but Kershaw must recover from his dislocated non-throwing shoulder first. The back-to-back lefties would be a big advantage if LA played the lefthanded hitter heavy Phillies. Rosenthal also mentions that the Cardinals, despite being so righty heavy, have the second lowest team OPS (.675) against lefthanded pitchers in the National League.
- Hiroki Kuroda would likely start game three for the Dodgers, followed by either Vicente Padilla or Jon Garland. Chad Billinglsey will likely be left out of the rotation.
- The Cards have put their contract extension talks with Mark DeRosa on hold until the offseason, making it more likely that he'll become a free agent. The deal St. Louis originally proposed was less than the three-year, $17.5MM contract Casey Blake received as a free agent last offseason. DeRosa is a year younger now than Blake was then, but the offseason wrist surgery he is scheduled to have makes the situation cloudy.
- The Cubs will be open to "anything and everything" this offseason, including trading Milton Bradley and/or Carlos Zambrano. Anything to improve the club, basically. However, perhaps the only way the Cubs could unload Bradley would be to take on another underachieving, overpaid player in return.
- Zambrano has a full no-trade clause and is owed $54MM over the next three years, but he's still only 28-years-old and still incredibly talented. The free agent market for starting pitching is thin, which may work in Chicago's favor. Big Z might be appealing at the right price.
- Ken Macha will likely remain with the Brewers, but at least four other managers are in danger of being fired. The list starts with Cecil Cooper of the Astros, and also includes Jim Riggleman of the Nationals, Dave Trembley of the Orioles, and Eric Wedge of the Indians.
- Among general managers, Ned Colletti of the Dodgers, Brian Sabean of the Giants, and Dan O'Dowd of the Rockies are all without contracts for next year, and two of them are going to the postseason. The only GM that appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job is J.P. Ricciardi of the Blue Jays.