Eric Young, Jr. Rumors
On this day in 2006, the Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year, $136MM deal. In five seasons with Chicago, Soriano has a slash line of .266/.320/.498 and has averaged 129 games per year. Here are some links for Sunday afternoon..
- Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports is surprised at what teams are paying for sure-handed middle infielders. Specifically, he says the Twins and Dodgers paid role players like final pieces to the puzzle and are counting on them for too much (referring to Jamey Carroll and Mark Ellis, respectively).
- Eric Young Jr. decided to play in Venezuela this offseason in order to gain more experience playing second base, writes Rafael Rojas Cremonesi for the Denver Post. Young played second base just seven times for the Rockies last season, and is 6-for-20 with three steals in his first six games.
- Luke Scott would be open to negotiating a new deal with the Orioles if he's non-tendered, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Scott is projected to earn $6MM in arbitration.
- Bobby Valentine expects to meet with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on Monday and could emerge as the favorite for the job if his meeting goes well, a source tells Jeff Passan of Yahoo (via Twitter).
- Astros owner Jim Crane is prepared to make a swift decision on the futures of president Tal Smith and GM Ed Wade, writes Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle.
- There are team executives who are furious with aspects of the new labor agreement, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney. Some believe that MLB's new draft structure hurts the league's small-market and mid-market clubs. One GM told Olney that the changes don't solve any problems and actually make some worse.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post took some time to answer questions from his followers on Twitter just now. Renck touches on a lot of offseason topics for the Rox, so let's take a look (all links to Renck's Twitter):
- If traded, Jason Giambi would prefer to go to the Phillies, but he isn't looking to get traded and would likely be claimed before Philadelphia got a chance at him. Giambi would like to return to the Rockies next season, and Renck sees it happening.
- It's been well-documented that the Rockies would like to add a bat at third base or in the outfield, and Renck says that Michael Cuddyer will be the team's top target in free agency.
- Eric Young Jr. has shown value, but doesn't fit the club unless he's playing second base, according to Renck. Young could be traded, while Ian Stewart will likely be non-tendered.
- Renck predicts that the Opening Day rotation will consist of Jhoulys Chacin, Alex White, Esmil Rogers, and two veterans. Jorge de la Rosa, Juan Nicasio and/or Drew Pomeranz could join the mix in May. Renck notes that De La Rosa is ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
- Kevin Millwood, who currently has a 4.26 ERA in four starts (25 1/3 innings) for the Rockies, could be one of those veterans, but on a minor league deal.
On this day in 2006, the Rockies signed Juan Nicasio as a 19-year-old amateur free agent. Five years later, the right-hander, who started 13 games for Colorado this season, is recovering from surgery to his C-1 vertebrae. As Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post wrote earlier this week, such an injury can lead to paralysis or even death, but Nicasio is "doing at least as well as anyone associated with the Rockies could have hoped for," and intends to pitch again. We wish him the best of luck in his comeback. Here are the rest of today's Rockies notes:
- Drew Pomeranz, who joined the Rockies this week to complete the Ubaldo Jimenez trade with Cleveland, underwent an emergency appendectomy last night, according to the Tulsa Drillers twitter feed. Pomeranz's agent, Steve Rath, confirmed news of the surgery, which figures to end the left-hander's season, to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- In a separate piece for the Post, Renck briefly discusses the Rockies' outfield possibilities for 2012. According to Renck, players like Josh Willingham or Michael Cuddyer could be free agent targets, while Eric Young Jr.'s recent strong play in the outfield is improving his trade value. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also addressed the Rockies' desire for a big bat, either in the outfield or at third base, in his Full Count video yesterday. Renck adds that Colorado would be "first in line" if the Mets made David Wright available this winter.
- In another Denver Post column, Renck and Armstrong provide readers with an extended look at how this year's blockbuster trade with the Indians came about.
The latest from the NL West, where the Rockies have built a 4.5 game lead over the Dodgers, the defending World Champions, the D'Backs and the last-place Padres...
- Steve Foster of Inside the Rockies wonders which position player the Rockies will call on when they decide 13 pitchers are no longer a necessity. Ian Stewart, Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr. and a number of other former big leaguers are among the candidates to join the Rockies.
- Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is essentially facing "the prospect of his second divorce in 18 months," Yahoo's Tim Brown says of MLB's takeover of the club's financial operations. "And the guy who fought his way in will fight more ferociously on his way out, you can be sure of that." Brown hears from a friend of McCourt's that he is a "street fighter" at heart.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that his team isn't left-handed enough. Brandon Belt, who swings from the left side, is playing left and right field in the minors and he'll almost certainly stay in the outfield when he returns to the majors, according to Schulman.
Some links to browse through during your Sunday evening...
- Add the Rangers to the list of clubs that are not interested in recently released Carlos Silva, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan (on Twitter). The Yankees and Cardinals are also out.
- The Angels can opt out of their stadium lease in 2016, but owner Arte Moreno told Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times that the team has not begun exploring the possibility of building a new stadium. That process would have to start at least four years before the planned opening date.
- Indians manager Manny Acta told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that there are likely to be roster moves made on Monday when the 25-man roster is finalized (Twitter link).
- Tom Krasovic spoke to several scouts about teams and players from all around the game.
- In regard to CBA talks, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the "general consensus is that a hangup or even the slightest threat of a work stoppage would be shocking."
- Within the same piece, Cafardo says the Twins aren't as willing to deal Kevin Slowey as it may seem. One scout opined that the right-hander is "throwing too well for them to deal him."
- The Rockies continue to receive calls about their middle-infield depth, but the club isn't looking to move either Eric Young Jr. or Alfredo Amezaga, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- Dave Bush earned a spot in the Rangers' bullpen as a long man, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Bush would have opted out of his contract today if he didn't make the team.
- The Red Sox' bullpen depth has drawn interest from other teams, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
MLBTR's Luke Adams & Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
We're officially less than a week away from the start of the 2011 season! Here are some news items to tide you over as we start the countdown to another great year of baseball...
- Ramon Santiago "is available in the right deal," an anonymous scout tells Steve Kornacki of MLive.com. The long-time Tigers middle infielder started 78 games last season, posting a .662 OPS in 367 plate appearances. Santiago's competition for the utility job, Danny Worth, "has made a great impression on Jim Leyland," Kornacki writes.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post isn't hearing much "trade buzz" (Twitter link) from scouts about Jose Lopez, contrary to a Ken Rosenthal report from earlier today. Renck reiterated his item from earlier this month about how Eric Young Jr. would draw interest if the Rockies wanted to put him on the trade market.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy rounds up the week's minor league transactions.
- The Giants "might be the deepest team in baseball," but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks their "big flaw" is Miguel Tejada and Mike Fontenot at short. Cameron suggests San Francisco should try to move one of their excess outfielders for "a real Major League shortstop."
There are at least a few scouts on hand to watch Eric Young Jr. and with the Rockies' depth at second base, the 25-year-old could attract trade interest, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. There's presently no indication that the club is looking to move Young, Renck tweets, but things can change.
Young, who has also seen time in the outfield, would be an inexpensive addition to any club as he won't be arbitration-eligible until after the 2012 season. The light-hitting second baseman hit just .244 /.312/.285 in 51 games this season though he has shown better hitting ability at the Triple-A level (.787 OPS).
Congratulations to Jack Gillis, Jim Howard, Terry Reynolds and Mike Toomey on their induction into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame! The four long-time scouts will be inducted individually during separate ceremonies through August.
Some news items...
- The Rockies and Rangers were close enough on a Michael Young trade package earlier this winter that a Colorado player who would've gone to Texas, Eric Young Jr., was asked to take a physical, reports Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com. Texas was concerned by the stress fracture that sidelined Young Jr. for half of last season and the two sides couldn't settle on a deal.
- With Vladimir Guerrero struggling to find a contract, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wonders if a similar fate awaits David Ortiz in next winter's free agent market.
- The Blue Jays' decision to start John Buck over prospect J.P. Arencibia in August and September of last season was an organizational call, Alex Anthopoulos tells MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. The Jays GM said he promised Buck an everyday job if he signed with Toronto, and Anthopoulos wanted to stand by his agreement. "When we give our word to someone ... that's part of our brand," Anthopoulos said. "When I'm negotiating with an agent or I'm trying to recruit a player, and we have to tell them something, whether it's good or bad news, they know that we're going to honor our word and we're going to be straight shooters."
- Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago discussed several Cubs and White Sox topics in a chat with fans.
- Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com gives his list of the offseason's biggest winners and losers. I'm not sure if I agree with Urban's designation of Manny Ramirez as the biggest individual "loser" this winter -- he took a big pay cut, but the Rays should still be a contending team.