Chris Carter Rumors
A few links for Saturday...
- Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette heard from a talent evaluator who says Pedro Alvarez is the most talented Pirates prospect since Barry Bonds.
- Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe looks at some of Chris Carter's quirks.
- Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press believes the Tigers need a top-notch closer.
- According to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune Padres executive Paul DePodesta now reports to GM Kevin Towers, not CEO Sandy Alderson.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney expects Gary Sheffield to help the Mets.
- MLB.com's Lisa Winston notes that only eight of the 21 Rule 5 draftees are still with their new teams.
- MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch has some minor Pirates transactions.
- And Stephen Strasburg improved to 6-0 last night with six strikeouts in as many innings. The prospect is averaging almost two punchouts per inning, so this is nothing for him.
- Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reports that Torii Hunter thought Strasburg looked sharp.
The Red Sox don't plan on pursuing any recently released players, according to Daniel Barbarisi of the Providence Journal. Names like Frank Catalanotto and Jeff Keppinger have been floated in connection with Boston, but club officials believe the roster is set (Keppinger's already an Astro).
"It looks like we have our team," manager Terry Francona said Thursday. The Sox appear satisfied with Chris Carter and Nick Green as viable fill-ins for injured players Mark Kotsay and Julio Lugo.
Here's the latest blog post from ESPN's Peter Gammons...
- Takashi Saito is mentioned as a free agent this winter, but I believe it's a situation where he can only re-sign, return to Japan, or retire.
- Gammons heard talk that Russell Martin could be switched permanently to third base. In that scenario, the Dodgers would sign a pitching-oriented catcher such as Jason Varitek. Would that be a good move?
- Adam Dunn knows it's cliche, but he intends to prioritize winning over money when he hits free agency.
- The D'Backs were asking a lot for Carlos Quentin last winter, with the White Sox, Red Sox, and Indians interested. Josh Byrnes was not able to get Michael Bowden, Jed Lowrie, or Cliff Lee. Arizona ended up getting Chris Carter from Chicago and flipping him to Oakland in the Dan Haren deal. Carter mashed 39 home runs in A ball this year. You can't say the Diamondbacks gave Quentin away for nothing, since they acquired a crucial component for the Haren trade.
- A year ago, Yankees GM Brian Cashman asked Joe Torre and his coaches their opinion on a Robinson Cano for Orlando Hudson swap. Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa were heavily in favor of keeping Cano.
Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal, who should probably take a vacation in August.
- The D'Backs inquired on Mark Teixeira, but a trade is unlikely. Tex might be the best available hitter, as Matt Holliday seems likely to stay put.
- The Rockies scouted Nick Adenhart's last start. The Angels have more interest in Brian Fuentes than Holliday.
- Tons of scouts converged on Camden Yards last night to watch A.J. Burnett and George Sherrill pitch (those hoping to see Sherrill were disappointed). The Cardinals, Phillies, Yankees, Brewers, Marlins, Dodgers, and Tigers all had scouts there to watch at least one of the pitchers.
- Rosenthal says trade interest in Burnett "remains minimal," as teams fear the pitcher's contract.
- The Orioles are taking a look at the Brewers' Triple A team, but it is believed that they are reluctant to part with more prospects.
- The A's chose first baseman Chris Carter over Emilio Bonifacio in the Dan Haren trade.
The first domino fell tonight as an ace starter, Dan Haren, was dealt to the Diamondbacks for a bevy of prospects. I believe the D'Backs won this one. Let's dig into the details.
Take Haren, a horse of an American League pitcher, and throw him in the easier league. The D'Backs got themselves a bona fide ace to pair with Brandon Webb, and they get him for three years at a reasonable price. He makes a mere $16.25MM over 2008-10; he's worth at least three times that amount. (Arizona also gets 26 year-old reliever Connor Robertson, who hasn't really conquered Triple A yet.)
To balance out the immense value of Haren, the A's get six young players. Four of them represent the #1, 3, 7, and 8th ranked prospects on Baseball America's top ten for the team.
Carlos Gonzalez, 22, is the stud of the group. He can play right or center and has definite star potential. However, he's no lock to become Carlos Beltran or Jeff Francoeur.
Southpaw starter Brett Anderson turns 20 in February. He's more about polish and command than stuff, and is a curious guy to be the main pitching prospect in the Haren deal. He'll try to tackle Double A in 2008.
We've discussed 21 year-old first baseman Chris Carter recently; the D'Backs just acquired him for Carlos Quentin. Who knew it was setting up a Haren deal. He's a slow guy with massive power and plenty of strikeouts. He'll give High A ball a try in '08.
Outfielder Aaron Cunningham turns 22 in April. He's one of those guys who doesn't do anything poorly but isn't great at any one skill either. Baseball America thinks he'll become a solid fourth outfielder.
24 year-old southpaw Dana Eveland came to Arizona along with Doug Davis. He's drawn David Wells comparisons and has proven himself in the high minors. He missed a lot of '07 with a torn tendon in his pitching hand.
Greg Smith is a 24 year-old southpaw starter with a good curveball and mediocre fastball. His strikeout rate was just 5.85 per nine at Triple A in '07.
I'm surprised Billy Beane didn't get more "sure thing" young players for his best trading chip. Gonzalez will probably pan out, but he really needed a high octane near-MLB young gun starter too and he didn't get it. I will give him credit for spreading out his risk over six prospects, though. Josh Byrnes gets an ace without giving up anyone he needed in '08.
It looks like Billy Beane has pulled the trigger on a trade for Dan Haren, sending him to the Diamondbacks for a package of prospects. The departed: Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Chris Carter, and Aaron Cunningham. The A's also sent right Connor Robertson to the D'Backs.
The D'Backs also completed another deal, sending closer Jose Valverde to the Astros for Chris Burke, Chad Qualls, and Juan Gutierrez.
Tim will be around later to share his views on the trade.
UPDATE, 12-14-07 at 10:09am: Ah, now the true story comes out on Otsuka. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers were going to send him to the White Sox for Chris Carter but the Sox nixed the deal after looking at Otsuka's medical reports. No surprise the Rangers non-tendered him, now. Hat tip to Rangerfans.com.
FROM 12-14-07 at 8:47am:
Reliever Akinori Otsuka hit the free agent market on Wednesday; he turns 36 in January. With a career ERA of 2.44 in 232 innings, it's surprising the Rangers chose to non-tender him. Otsuka earned $3MM in 2007, and even with a raise he'd have been a decent play on a one-year deal.
Unless, of course, the Rangers believes something is still wrong with Otsuka's elbow. I think that has to be the case, despite a trickle of positive reports recently. The Phillies are the latest team to express interest in Otsuka. Also, Tom Krasovic suggested a few days ago that the Padres might look to bring him back.
Back to the Phillies for a moment - Steve King notes that they have no interest in free agent Morgan Ensberg. Also, they're still planning to watch Kris Benson throw next week.
According to MLB Radio via MetsBlog, the D'Backs will send outfielder Carlos Quentin to the White Sox for first baseman Chris Carter. Here's the MLB.com link. Kenny Williams and Josh Byrnes have gotten together on many trades in the past.
Carter was recently ranked Chicago's 4th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein, and their best position player prospect. The 21 year-old first baseman will try his hand at High A in 2008. Goldstein calls him a "true slugger with tremendous strength and power to all fields," while noting that he is poor defensively even at first base. Carter's a few years off, so Conor Jackson doesn't have to worry quite yet.
Quentin didn't have a place on the D'Backs after they signed Eric Byrnes to a contract extension. 2007 was a lost year for Quentin as he dealt with shoulder and hamstring issues. He plans to have labrum surgery to fix the shoulder this winter. The 25 year-old has mashed at Triple A and knows how to take a walk - he is exactly what the White Sox needed. Faith in Kenny Williams has been restored, perhaps.
It's tough to pick a winner here; I like the deal for both clubs. I love it for the White Sox, who had a strong need for position-playing young talent. The D'Backs did well getting Carter, though they weren't able to spin Quentin into a starting pitcher. Quentin wouldn't have gotten a chance to rebuild value with Arizona at the big league level in 2008 anyway. Yahoo's Jeff Passan is not impressed with the move for Arizona.
UPDATE: Looks like my below tip on Desmond didn't pan out - Svrluga says pitcher Emiliano Fruto is the player going to Arizona. Fruto was received from Seattle in the Jose Vidro deal.
UPDATE: A source tells me that 22 year-old defensive-minded shortstop Ian Desmond is rumored to be headed to Arizona to complete the deal.
Turns out the Wily Mo Pena trade was a three-team affair. The Nationals received Pena. The Red Sox will receive 25 year-old first baseman Chris Carter from Arizona. Since he's not on the Diamondbacks' 40-man roster, I believe the Sox can get Carter now. That leaves a player to be named later going from Washington to Arizona. Barry Svrluga has heard it's someone not on Washington's 40-man roster - perhaps Winston Abreu, Arnie Munoz, or Chris Booker. The D'Backs are looking for relief help, but those all look like journeymen to me.
Carter is a respectable return for Pena. According to Baseball America, he's below average on defense but has the bat speed to become a middle of the order hitter. He's put up decent numbers in Triple A since 2006, though Tucson Electric Park definitely favors hitters. Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein isn't jazzed with Carter, labeling him a Quad-A type. He's definitely not appealing to scouts, but could one day make a decent DH. Interestingly, Todd Helton tops Carter's comparables list but Dan Johnson is second.