Dustin Pedroia Rumors

Odds and Ends: Teixeira, Izturis, Gaudin

Links for Thursday…

Red Sox Sign Pedroia To Extension

5:57pm: MLB.com’s Ian Browne wonders if the Pedroia signing is the first of several.  Will the Sox be able to hammer out extensions with Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis, and Jonathan Papelbon this winter?

11:33am: Tony Massarotti has the contract breakdown.

11:18am: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox signed second baseman Dustin Pedroia to a six-year deal worth about $40.5MM.  ESPN’s Peter Gammons was right on this scoop as well.  The deal buys out two years of free agency and also has a club option for 2015.

Rosenthal cites the deals signed by Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, and Ryan Braun as comparables.  Pedroia’s deal covers one pre-arbitration season, all three arb seasons, and two years of free agency.  Ramirez received $54.4MM for the same slice of his career, Wright got $55MM, and Braun received $43.8MM.  Also, Brian McCann gets $37.8MM, Grady Sizemore gets $30.95MM, Evan Longoria is at $31.95MM, Robinson Cano gets  $42.49MM, and Chase Utley gets $55.5MM.  That assumes options are exercised, where applicable.

Red Sox Review

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein spoke to the press yesterday, resulting in a slew of articles in the Boston papers.

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe runs through the team’s entire 25-man roster.  Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald looks at Epstein’s to-do list, as does Joe McDonald of The Providence JournalPaul Kenyon of the Journal looks at the team’s minor free agents.  An overview of various common topics:

  • Jason Varitek.  Silverman sees an effort to re-sign him for one or two years, while McDonald thinks he will look for three or four.  Massarotti thinks things could get nasty here, with Scott Boras in the middle.  Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald has an article discussing the Varitek situation.
  • Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury, Coco Crisp.  Four players for two starting spots.  Epstein didn’t tip his hand as to whether he’ll move any of these players and diminish the depth.
  • Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Bay.  The Sox may explore long-term deals for each.  There’s already been talks with Pedroia, though Massarotti thinks he might prefer to go year-to-year as Youkilis has.  He suggests Papelbon wants a long-term deal but the Sox may choose to play it safe.  McDonald and Massarotti feel the Sox will also explore an extension for Jason Bay.
  • Sean Casey, Mike Timlin, Alex Cora, Mark Kotsay.  Cora might go if Lugo stays.  Timlin may retire.  Massarotti does not think Casey will be re-signed, while McDonald doesn’t see Kotsay returning (he wants to start).
  • Outside options: Epstein could make a big move, or do very little again.  As I mentioned in the Offseason Outlook, C.C. Sabathia might be a better fit than Mark Teixeira.

Stark’s Latest: Young Players, Giles, DeJesus

Jayson Stark’s latest Rumblings and Grumblings column is chock full of information.

  • Stark rattles off Dan Uggla, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, Russell Martin, Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Felix Hernandez, Jeff Francoeur, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia as youngsters who do not have long-term deals in the works.  With Uggla and Greinke, the opposition seems more on the team’s side.  With Hamels and Howard neither side wants a long-term deal.  With the rest, the player is resisting.
  • The Padres’ top trading chip is probably Brian Giles, though a deal would further deplete a weak offense.
  • The A’s are willing to deal, with pitching considered the surplus.  Billy Beane might be able to snag one good prospect for Rich Harden.
  • There’s some doubt as to whether the Rockies will make Matt Holliday this year’s Mark Teixeira as we approach the deadline.
  • Teams other than the Royals are speculating that center fielder David DeJesus might be available.
  • The Marlins and Hanley Ramirez battled over a no-trade clause…and the Fish won.  He has none.

Young Red Sox Strike Back

Not every good young player is salivating at the thought of inking a team-friendly multiyear contract.  Prince Fielder, Russell Martin, and Casey Kotchman are three who seem fine going year-to-year and maximizing earnings.  According to Rob Bradford of the Boston Herald, Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon are two more players "intent on bucking what has become a disturbing trend."

It’s mainly the idea of tossing in multiple team options that bristles the players and their agents.  Bradford reports that more experienced agents have voiced their concern about the trend to the Players Association.

Papelbon, for one, knows he’s an elite closer and is prepared to set the bar for stoppers with his service time.  You may recall that the Red Sox gave him $775K this year to top Mariano Rivera‘s two-year closer service time record.  Though they play different positions, Papelbon’s agent will probably at least reference Ryan Howard‘s landmark $10MM first-year arbitration reward when Papelbon’s time comes before the ’09 season.

Locking Up Young Stars: Martin, Kendrick, Kotchman, Pedroia, Uggla

Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times takes a look at the spate of recent long-term deals for young stars.  Talking to different players and agents, Shaikin found no consensus on whether such contracts are a good idea.

  • Some folks (including Shaikin and Pat Gillick, apparently) believe it’s wise for richer clubs to go year-to-year to avoid getting stuck with a bad contract.  I’m sure teams have done comprehensive studies on these types of contracts, but my guess is that flops are few are far between.  I can only think of a handful (Angel Berroa, Eric Hinske come to mind).  As Scott Boras says, teams usually choose players who will succeed.
  • Boras advises his clients to go year to year and maximize their total earnings.  He suggests young players signing long-term are getting "30 cents on the dollar."  Paul Cohen, author of the Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria contracts, preaches security over maximum earnings.
  • Ned Colletti revealed that he has twice approached catcher Russell Martin about an extension, and has been denied.  Martin will be arbitration-eligible after this season and should add an extra zero to his $500,000 salary, at least. 
  • Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick would consider a long-term offer, and GM Tony Reagins isn’t opposed to long-term deals for young players.
  • First baseman Casey Kotchman is a year-to-year guy.  He astutely notes that in most professions employees aren’t even guaranteed one year.
  • Jumping over to the Boston Herald – the Red Sox have twice approached Dustin Pedroia about a deal.  Pedroia is amenable to the idea. 
  • It’s not known if the Marlins are planning to buy out Dan Uggla‘s arbitration years, but he seems open to it.

Kazmir Calls for Veterans

Yesterday, I posted about the Devil Rays increasing payroll by 20%.  Today, more Tampa talk!  Two Marc’s with a "C" have the scoop: Marc Lancaster and Marc Topkin both reported that lefty ace and ::ahem:: AL strikeout leader Scott Kazmir (or as the Mets refer to him: The One Who Got Away) has called upon management to bring in some veterans.

Despite the payroll increase, 20% of the Rays current payroll is only around $7MM before revenue sharing assistance.  The Rays would like to re-sign Carlos Pena in arbitration and Boras wants a lot.  Yet Kazmir is entering his first year of arbitration and won’t reach free agency until 2010.  The Rays have until then to build a winning club around Kazmir.  And if they do, would he want to stay?

Right now, his comments speak for themselves, "It’s tough being kind of the laughingstock of baseball right now. It really is."

I found this interesting because while I think Kazmir is right, it’s contrary to most of the comments MLBTR readers made yesterday.  Most call for the Rays to trade Carl Crawford, etc, to re-stock young talent; however, you can never underestimate the value of veteran presence.  With the way Mike Lowell took Dustin Pedroia under his wing this season, and how well that turned out, maybe the Devil Rays are a good fit for the veteran? 

Yet to me, this all sounds like a good PR move.  On the heels of Rays owner Peter Sternberg’s announcement of the payroll increase, a high profile player calls on management for help.  Devil Rays are generating good buzz going into the offseason in an effort to boost their market value which is a natural first step toward competing against big market clubs.

As a side note, I got to stand just three feet behind Kazmir during a bullpen session a couple weeks ago and I can report that despite not being very large guy, his forearms arms were shockingly huge!

Posted by: Nat Boyle

Pedroia Falling Out of Favor?

A source out of Boston had a little nugget about Red Sox second base/shortstop prospect Dustin Pedroia.  Pedroia, by the way, is the 11th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball Prospectus.

My source tells me that Pedroia is "falling out of favor with the Sox brass."  Apparently the Red Sox think he’s gotten way too big and is too slow to play shortstop.

Pedroia has come back from a shoulder strain to play shortstop for Boston’s Triple A affiliate.  He was moved to second base last year, but the Hanley Ramirez trade resulted in a switch back to short.  The 22 year-old is hitting .269/.367/.385 for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 52 ABs. 

You have to be worried about Pedroia’s lack of power at the Triple A level , dating back to last year.  Nonetheless, BP projects Pedroia to hit .290/.362/.450 in the Majors this year.  My guess is that Pedroia is showcased in the big leagues within a month’s time.  He could serve as a major young trading chip for Boston this summer.