Dustin Pedroia Rumors

Odds & Ends: Standridge, Johnson, Davis, Crede

Links for Thursday…

  • Josh Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick is now "cautiously optimistic" about a potential long-term deal with the Marlins for his client, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. However, the two sides still have differing thoughts on the proper comparables to use for Johnson's 2010 salary.  I'd say Ben Sheets, Carlos Zambrano, and Zack Greinke might be used in that discussion, but given Johnson's $1.4MM salary in '09 he probably can't expect much more than $4.2MM. 
  • What do Tupac, Sandra Bullock, and MLBTR have in common?  They're all favorites of Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
  • Scott Lauber of The News Journal tweets that the Phillies signed righty Jason Standridge to a minor league deal.  The former Rays first-rounder pitched only 12.6 innings for the Marlins' Triple A club this year. 
  • Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports wrote last night that the Twins, Brewers, Mets, and Nationals have interest in free agent lefty Doug Davis.  Davis suggested to MLB.com's Bill Ladson that the Nats are more focused on adding a second baseman.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASN says Joe Crede "appears to top" the Orioles' free agent list.
  • The Mets signed lefty Bobby Livingston to a minor league deal, tweets MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  The 27-year-old southpaw logged 156 innings of 4.15 ball at various minor league stops in 2009.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says players of Adam LaRoche's caliber should take note of his new deal, because "the offers aren't going to get any better."
  • Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post runs through Yorvit Torrealba's suitors, while also noting that Miguel Olivo's $2.5MM option for 2011 can become a player option with 110 games in '10.
  • Catcher Mike Rabelo is a new name among the Tigers' 17 minor league deals announced today, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.

Red Sox, Mets Discussed Castillo For Lowell

TUESDAY, 12:52pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports finds Castillo "highly unlikely to be traded, for Lowell or anyone else."  Joel Sherman of the New York Post learned that the Mets and Red Sox have not discussed a Castillo-Lowell swap for weeks.

MONDAY, 9:52pm: WEEI.com's Rob Bradford writes that a Castillo-for-Lowell deal is "not close."  He feels that it's most likely Lowell will have to prove his health in Spring Training before a trade occurs.  Meanwhile, Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that the Rangers "have not ruled out re-engaging on Lowell."

6:56pm: ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets, "I just heard that Red Sox have talked to the Mets about a Mike Lowell-for-Luis Castillo trade. Not sure how serious it is." He adds that Lowell is expendable with Adrian Beltre in the fold. Also, with Castillo gone, the Mets could go after Orlando Hudson.

The deal certainly clears an unwanted player for both teams. But while it is easy to see Lowell getting some at-bats for the Mets at first, and even spelling David Wright at third base, where Castillo fits in- given his poor defense at second base, and the existence of Dustin Pedroia- with Boston is harder to understand.

The money would be even in such a deal. Lowell is owed $12MM in 2010, while Castillo is owed $6MM in each of the next two years.


Phils Sign Polanco To Three-Year Deal

12:18pm: MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that the deal is official. 

11:44am: Stark reports that the deal will be complete once Polanco passes a physical.

9:35am: MLB.com's Todd Zolecki hears that the Phils are close to signing Polanco to a three-year deal worth $18MM. The contract, which is pending a physical, includes a mutual option for 2013. 

9:10am: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Phils are "believed to be" closing in on a three-year deal worth $18MM with Polanco. The deal should be finalized today.

8:44am: Stark hears indications that the sides are discussing a three-year deal. 

THURSDAY, 8:23am: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com hears that Polanco is "close" to a deal with the Phillies. 

8:57pm: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark classifies Philadelphia's talks with Polanco as "very serious" and Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports concur. A source "with knowledge of the Phillies' intentions" tells the FOX duo that the NL champs could offer Polanco a two-year deal worth between $10MM and $12MM.

7:18pm: Now that signing Polanco won't mean parting with draft picks, one team after another is being linked to the infielder. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that the Philadelphia Phillies are focusing on Polanco for their third base opening, as opposed to Adrian Beltre or Mark DeRosa. Zolecki acknowledges Houston's and Boston's interest, but writes that "it appears the Phillies are further down the line in their pursuit."

7:08pm: MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that Polanco has also "drawn serious interest" from the Houston Astros.

WEDNESDAY, 5:32pm: The Boston Red Sox have expressed interest in Placido Polanco, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne. A source tells Browne that the Tigers' decision not to offer Polanco arbitration yesterday landed the second baseman on Boston's radar.

Polanco doesn't seem like a fit for the Red Sox unless the team asks Dustin Pedroia about playing shortstop, as has been rumored. If Pedroia moved to short, the Sox could sign Polanco for second base without having to give up any draft picks, whereas signing a Type A shortstop like Marco Scutaro would cost the club their first-rounder. Browne notes that Pedroia has said he "would welcome" a move to the left side of the infield.

As Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe indicated earlier, and Tim reiterated today in our Red Sox offseason outlook, switching Pedroia's position is probably a last resort. It looks like the team is keeping all their options open though.



Red Sox Ask Pedroia About Playing Shortstop

3:09pm: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe learned from a team exec that the Red Sox will exhaust their free agent and trade options before turning to Pedroia at shortstop.

10:13am: The Red Sox asked Dustin Pedroia if he'd be able to play shortstop, according to ESPN's Peter Gammons.  Pedroia's thoughts:

"They've put it out there and I've told them I'm all for it. I can do it. I can't wait for Tito [Terry Francona] to call me and ask, 'Can you do it?' I can do it. I really want to do it."

Right now it appears that the Red Sox are just considering the switch for Pedroia.  As Gammons notes, shifting Pedroia would create flexibility, allowing the Sox to pass on Marco Scutaro and pursue Orlando Hudson or even Brandon Phillips.

As you know, other offseason considerations for the Red Sox include trading Mike Lowell and acquiring a third baseman, signing Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, and a possible Roy Halladay trade.  Gammons downplays the idea of Boston acquiring Doc, saying the chances of them trading Clay Buchholz or Casey Kelly are minimal at best.


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.