Jamie Shields Rumors
The Royals, as chronicled by MLBTR's Transaction Tracker, had a busy winter acquiring James Shields and Wade Davis in a blockbluster seven player trade, re-signing Jeremy Guthrie, and dealing for Ervin Santana and his $13MM salary. The Royals haven't reached the playoffs since winning the World Series in 1985. Could this be the year the post-season drought comes to an end? Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, in a Twitter Q&A exchange, says the list of things that have to go right for that to occur is shorter than in any season for maybe 20 years. Here are the other highlights from Dutton's weekend sessions:
- Dutton doesn't see the Royals extending Shields during the season and the likelihood of it happening after the season or next year isn't much better. Dutton argues why wouldn't Shields, who the Royals hold a 2014 team option, want to test the free agent market unless overwhelmed with an offer and why would the Royals make an overwhelming offer to a pitcher who will be 33.
- Elliot Johnson, the player to be named later in the Shields-Davis trade, was discussed as the final piece in the deal almost from the beginning. Johnson's inclusion as the PTBNL was announced one week after the Rays designated him for assignment.
- Dutton believes there's a good chance Johnson and Miguel Tejada both make the team as utility infielders, but adds neither is a lock.
- Jeff Francoeur, entering the final year of a two-year, $13.5MM contract extension he signed in August 2011, needs to show increased production to hold his job for the entire season.
- Dutton sees seven to nine guys making the Royals' 2013 Opening Day roster who weren’t with the team a year earlier.
Let's take a look at the latest from SI.com's Tom Verducci.
- Interesting line: "One journeyman reliever, for instance, turned down a $2 million offer, saying he would retire before taking that kind of money." Many veterans will choose between swallowing their pride and retiring this spring.
- Verducci makes a comparison between Cole Hamels and James Shields, who were called up 19 days apart. The extra service time for Hamels gave him Super Two status, meaning he became arbitration-eligible four times instead of three. That decision probably cost the Phillies more than $10MM.
- The Mets were willing to give Derek Lowe $14MM per year.
- The Giants don't believe Manny Ramirez is anywhere near a decision right now. He's a special case for them (they're not in the market for an outfielder) but they won't enter a bidding war.
- The Blue Jays aren't interested in Orlando Cabrera; they're content with Marco Scutaro.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have reached out to Ian Snell's agent about a long-term deal. Snell's salary will increase drastically in 2009 as he reaches arbitration. For that reason, I've wondered whether he might be next offseason's available young ace. Jamie Shields' deal could serve as a guide if the Bucs just want to buy out Snell's three arb years from 2009-11. Shields gave up his arb years for $13.75MM, though the last of those involves a club option. $13-14MM (not necessarily guaranteed) seems to be the going rate for a young pitcher's arb years, looking at Shields, Chris Young, and Matt Cain.
Additionally, the Bucs are talking to first baseman Adam LaRoche about an extension. LaRoche is set to reach free agency after the '09 season. I was surprised to see that LaRoche's career numbers aren't much different from Justin Morneau's (granted Morneau has played in the tougher league and has an MVP trophy). Morneau recently gave up four free agent years at $14MM a pop; LaRoche should ask for at least $10MM per year for 2010 and beyond. Looking at Morneau's contract reminds me that he is far from a bargain.
Finally, Kovacevic says talks with Matt Capps have "fizzled" because Manny Corpas' deal raised the bar. That's odd, because Corpas has a team-friendly contract. He gets $12.25MM over his arb years, with the last of those a club option. Then the Rockies have a club option on Corpas' first potential year of free agency at $8MM.
UPDATE, 1-23-08 at 4:49pm: If all of the Rays' three one-year options on Shields are exercised, the deal could reach seven years and $44MM. Certainly a unique deal.
UPDATE, 1-23-08 at 9:15am: Topkin says the deal could be worth more than $40MM over seven years with incentives. $12MM and the first four seasons are guaranteed.
FROM 1-22-08 at 3:32pm:
According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, a six or seven-year extension for starter James Shields should be done tonight. Topkin notes that it's odd for a young pitcher with two years of service time to get such a long deal. The Rays must really love him.
His '07 season was very impressive. At age 25 he threw 215 innings in the toughest division in baseball and posted a 3.85 ERA with a 5.1 K/BB ratio. That's not something you see every day.
We discussed the Carlos Pena deal here, but now we have the breakdown via Marc Topkin. He'll get $6MM in '08, $8MM in '09, and $10.125MM in '10. Meanwhile fellow Boras client Matt Holliday will get $9.5MM in '08 and $13.5MM in '09. Holliday may be the superior player, but is he 60% better? Seems Pena just wanted the security and likes Tampa Bay.
Topkin wrote earlier today that Scott Kazmir expected to have an arbitration hearing with the Rays. However, Kazmir and the Rays were able to agree on a $3.785MM salary for '08. Avoiding a hearing might help a bit if the Rays attempt to sign Kazmir long-term in the future.
Topkin adds that the Rays are trying to sign Jamie Shields to a six or even seven-year deal (and he's not even arbitration-eligible yet). I believe he's not due for free agency until after the 2011 season. Marc Lancaster says it could be a five or six year deal with Shields and "it may be wrapped up within the next week."