Freddy Sanchez Rumors
Pat Burrell's move to the American League did not go as smoothly as he or the Rays hoped. Burrell left the World Series-winning Phillies to sign a two-year, $16MM free agent contract with Tampa Bay last January, and then suffered through a season's worth of injuries and inconsistency to finish with a career-worst .682 OPS (.221/.315/.367) in 476 plate appearances.
With $9MM due to Burrell in 2010, the Rays have been openly shopping the slugger this winter. Rumors of a deal of Burrell-for-Milton Bradley swirled for months before the Cubs dealt Bradley to Seattle last week. With seemingly their best trade option gone, it appears as if Tampa Bay will go into next season with Burrell back in the DH spot --- which, if 2009 was just an aberration, might not be a bad option given Burrell's 251 homers and .852 OPS over his first nine years in Philadelphia.
If the Rays still want to move Burrell and save some cash, however, here are a few of the clubs that are in need of a DH/LF type and might have the payroll flexibility to absorb some or all of Burrell's contract.
- The Mets. Should they give up on signing Jason Bay (or lose him to the Red Sox), New York would still have a hole to fill in left field. The downside of Burrell going to a National League team, however, is his glove. He played just two games in the outfield last season, and according to Fangraphs, his defense ranged from mediocre to terrible (a -25.2 UZR/150 in 2007) over his last four years in Philadelphia.
- The Cardinals. Just as Burrell is a backup plan for the Mets if they don't sign Bay, he can also be a backup plan for St. Louis if they don't sign Matt Holliday.
- The Braves. Atlanta's biggest offseason need was a right-handed power hitter. While they are close to a deal with Troy Glaus, Glaus made just 32 plate appearances in 2009 after undergoing shoulder surgery last January. Burrell is perhaps a more reliable option, and may regain his batting stroke back in the NL East.
- The White Sox. Ozzie Guillen likes the idea of a rotating designated hitter, but GM Kenny Williams didn't close the door on the possibility of picking up an everyday DH if the right opportunity presented itself.
- The Giants. Mark DeRosa may be coming in as San Francisco's new left fielder, but Burrell could be an interesting alternative should DeRosa not accept the Giants' offer. Or, the power-starved Giants could acquire Burrell to play in left, and then sign DeRosa to play third base, thus moving Pablo Sandoval over to first. (Or, Sandoval plays 1B, DeRosa plays 2B and Freddy Sanchez moves over to 3B.) If the Rays pay some of Burrell's contract, then he is a much cheaper option for San Francisco than Johnny Damon.
Recently re-signed GM Brian Sabean has his work cut out for him this offseason. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle brings us the latest on the Giants offseason:
- Giants brass are discussing whether or not they feel Buster Posey will be ready to play in the majors at the start of the 2010. Even if they decide he's not, Bengie Molina isn't likely to be back in San Francisco. As we've heard elsewhere, the Mets are interested in the 35-year-old catcher.
- Sabean said that as of Thursday, the club wasn't close to a deal for Florida's Dan Uggla. However, Schulman notes that Sabean pointed out Freddy Sanchez's ability to play third base, which leaves open the possibility of acquiring someone to play second base.
- Sabean also said that he is looking at "second-tier" free agents who want to play at AT&T Park. One player to keep an eye on is Nick Johnson, who is beloved by manager Bruce Bochy. In 133 games with the Nationals and Marlins last season, the 30-year-old posted .291/.426/.405 with 8 HRs - his lowest total in any 100+ game season.
5:31pm: Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the contract is worth $6MM a year, so $12MM total. Sanchez takes a $2.1MM pay cut in 2010, but ends up with more guaranteed money in the long run.
5:17pm: The Giants have re-signed second baseman Freddy Sanchez to a two-year deal, according to CSNBayArea.com. The terms of the contract have not been released.
The 31-year-old Sanchez hit .284/.295/.324 in just 107 plate appearances for the Giants after coming over from the Pirates at the trade deadline, missing time with a strained shoulder and a torn meniscus in his left knee. His $8.1MM option for 2010 did not vest, and the team decided that instead of picking it up or buying Sanchez out for $600K, they're better off renegotiating a new deal.
Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has the goods on the Giants, after speaking with GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy.
- Technically, Sabean and Bochy's contracts are up at the end of the month. They don't have commitments for 2010 in hand, yet the expectation is that both will be back.
- In discussing Tim Lincecum's upcoming arbitration case, Sabean referenced Ryan Howard's record first-time award ($10MM) from February of '08. Of course, with Howard, the Phillies screwed up by submitting only $7MM. Sabean wants to file his salary request for Lincecum before discussing a long-term deal, so as to not show his hand early.
- Closer Brian Wilson is another first-time arbitration-eligible player, and you have to think he'll jump up to $5MM+.
- The Giants would like to restructure Freddy Sanchez's $8.1MM option into a two-year deal, but seem confident in his return. Baggarly says they even consider the option as a fallback if the restructuring fails. I can't see Sanchez getting $8.1MM on the open market.
- A Brad Penny return appears unlikely. If he sticks to the NL and the West Coast he'll be down to the Padres pretty much. It'd also be surprising to see the Giants re-sign catcher Bengie Molina, who wants a two-year deal worth more than $6MM annually.
- Sabean wouldn't rule out trading a pitcher for a bat, but said he'd agonize over such a decision.
- Brandon Medders, Justin Miller, and Ryan Garko are non-tender candidates. The Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner call-ups locked up two 40-man roster spots.
- Quoting Baggarly: Sabean justified the $18.5 million contract he gave [Edgar Renteria] last winter by saying they needed a veteran shortstop."
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Juan Uribe, who has pieced together a strong year for the Giants, wants to stay on board in 2010. The 30-year-old's numbers have exploded in the last month as he has been brought into the everyday lineup, hitting his way to an OPS of 1.091.
Uribe proved to be a great value as he inked a $1MM minor league deal with the Giants in late January. Fangraphs estimates his worth in 2009 to be $12.8MM. The Dominican Republic native has recorded his best slash line since his rookie year, posting .298/.336/.507 in 116 games. Brian Sabean believes that Uribe can produce at a similar level with a more regular workload.
With the Giants holding an $8MM option on 31-year-old second baseman Freddy Sanchez, they could conceivably let Sanchez walk and put Uribe in his place. In 110 games this year at the position, Sanchez posted a UZR/150 of 5.8 compared to Uribe's 11.1 over 38 games. Offensively, Sanchez has posted an OPS to top Uribe's 2009 mark just once.
As the Giants, would you extend a multi-year offer to Uribe, or would you let another team allow him to cash in?
SATURDAY: Baggarly got the chance to interview Sanchez on Saturday afternoon about his injury, free agency, and many other topics. He suspects the Giants will attempt to re-sign the second baseman to a two-year contract this winter.
THURSDAY: The Giants expected more from Freddy Sanchez when they dealt highly-regarded pitching prospect Tim Alderson to the Pirates for him in July. Regardless, they will likely try to bring Sanchez back after the season, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. The decision to turn down the second baseman's $8.1MM option will be "almost automatic" for the Giants, but there's still an "excellent" chance that the club will bring Sanchez back on a multi-year deal.
Sanchez started the season well and even represented the Pirates at the All-Star game, but since arriving in San Francisco, knee troubles have limited him to just 25 games and an OPS of .619. It looked like he would pick up the 600 plate appearances it would have taken for his $8.1MM option vest, but a torn meniscus sidelined him. Sanchez will have offseason surgery on his left knee, but the Giants should still have interest in him.
A few vesting options to watch in September...
- Josh Beckett needs two more starts for his $12.1MM option to vest for 2010. It's not much of a story since the Red Sox would exercise that option anyway.
- The Rangers lose the ability to void Kevin Millwood's $12MM option for 2010 if he pitches 13 more innings this year. Back in March Rangers owner Tom Hicks said he wanted Millwood's option to vest, so he must be pleased with the pitcher's 3.61 ERA.
- Since he made the All-Star team, Freddy Sanchez's 2010 option for $8MM vests if he makes 159 additional plate appearances. That won't happen in one month. Sanchez's shoulder strain couldn't have come at a worse time.
- Magglio Ordonez's $18MM option for 2010 vests with 42 more plate appearances. He had 80 PAs in August with a .961 OPS, so Scott Boras will take issue with excessive benching.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Pirates wanted Aaron Hicks or Danny Valencia from the Twins for Freddy Sanchez. LEN3 has a few other hot stove tidbits as well.
- ESPN's Keith Law finds the Giants' trade of Tim Alderson for Sanchez reasonable, due to "slippage in Alderson's stuff."
- Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe talks about how major additions such as Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez, or Victor Martinez would help the Red Sox. Via Twitter, ESPN's Amy K. Nelson heard from a source guessing that Gonzalez has a ten percent chance of being moved.
- Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post reports via Twitter that the Mets designated pitcher Elmer Dessens for assignment to make room for catcher Robinson Cancel.
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports say the Mets "do not intend to give up a significant prospect" in their quest to add a left-handed reliever.
- Via Twitter, Ken Davidoff of Newsday informs us that the Blue Jays expanded their coverage of the Yankees' farm system. Davidoff feels that this coverage more likely reflects the Yanks' interest in relief help than in Roy Halladay.
- The Pirates don't have anything serious going on with relievers Matt Capps or John Grabow, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They might be done.
- Joe Smith and Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times find the Rays unlikely to make a major deal, with Cliff Lee off the table.
- ESPN's Buster Olney lists all kinds of holes that could be filled via the trade market for various clubs.
Did anyone expect the deadline to be this active? What a week. Some more tidbits:
- The Rangers signed their third-round selection, LHP Robbie Erlin, reports T.R. Sullivan at MLB.com.
- Jayson Stark has an extensive breakdown of the Cliff Lee trade--the Cy Young pitcher they needed, not the one they necessarily wanted.
- The Yankees have interest in Tigers OF Josh Anderson, says Danny Knobler at CBS Sports, and now Jim Leyland agrees, says Steve Kornacki at mlive.com.
- John Fay at the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that in a very roundabout fashion, the Reds traded Paul O'Neill for Wladimir Balentien.
- Mark Bowman at MLB.com reports that the Braves have been quiet on the trade front, and aren't pressured to make a big splash after the Cliff Lee deal. They've inquired on a few relievers that apparently aren't available.
- Despite the Phils' acquisitions, the Marlins are still in it to win it, says Alden Gonzalez at MLB.com.
- Fangraphs gives their analysis of the Freddy Sanchez and Jason Hirsh deals.
- Todd Zolecki at MLB.com gets Phillie rival players' takes on the Lee deal.
6:19pm: Kovacevic says that no money is being exchanged in the Sanchez deal, which makes it all the more impressive for the Pirates. Keith Law (Insider) recently ranked the 20-year-old Alderson the 26th-best prospect in all of baseball.
5:51pm: Kovacevic is reporting that the minor leaguer is AA pitcher Tim Alderson. This is an impressive haul for Sanchez--Alderson was ranked the #4 prospect in the Giants' system by Baseball America. What we thought was a salary dump deal has turned into a pretty solid coup for the Pirates.
5:46pm: Henry Schulman at the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that it's a done deal, Sanchez straight up for a minor-leaguer. Stay tuned for the name.
5:42pm: Instead of making a scheduled flight to Phoenix, Sanchez has apparently been asked to stay at AT&T Park in San Francisco, reports Kovacevic. Looks like we'll find out the details of a deal very soon.
4:52pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hear that the Pirates are talking to the Giants, Twins and at least one other team about Sanchez, but don't have a deal in place.
4:43pm: Kovacevic reports that the Giants' doctors found no major problems with Sanchez's knee and consider him day-to-day.
3:31pm: Kovacevic hears that the Pirates turned down Sanchez's offer. He proposed a deal that would have paid him $6MM next year, $6.5MM in 2011 and $7.5MM in 2012.
3:17pm: Langosch hears that Sanchez's offer is for $20MM over three years.
Meanwhile, Kovacevic hears that the Pirates have absolutely "no deal" in place, though the Giants and Pirates have the framework for one.
2:46pm: Kovacevic reports that Sanchez made the Pirates a three-year offer.
2:40pm: MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports that the Giants and Pirates have a deal in place that would send Sanchez to San Francisco. The Giants will look at the infielder's knee this afternoon before deciding whether to complete the deal, which wouldn't send any major leaguers to Pittsburgh.
However, Kovacevic says no deal is in place.
2:20pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Giants are in serious talks for Sanchez. The teams are discussing John Bowker, Kevin Frandsen and Jesus Guzman.
2:04pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Giants are "definitely getting Freddy Sanchez." The Pirates already traded Jack Wilson today, so they could conceviably lose their entire double play combo in one day.
10:27am: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hears that the Pirates worked on possible trades involving Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson until late last night. The Giants seem to have the greatest chance of acquiring Sanchez since GMs Brian Sabean and Neal Huntington had extensive discussions earlier in the week and may even have set up the framework of a deal.
The Twins are interested in John Grabow and Sanchez, whose knee injury may have slowed down the trade process. Meanwhile, the Red Sox still have interest in Wilson.
And you're not the only one checking out the Pirates rumors. Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Sanchez and Wilson are MLBTR readers. We're glad to have them aboard!