Jason Schmidt Rumors

Odds & Ends: Smoltz, Cubs, Melky, Lima

Links for Monday…

Odds and Ends: Rule 5, Beltre, Schmidt, Bako

Stray links I’ve collected over the past few days…

Thoughts On Horacio Ramirez, Jason Schmidt

There are a couple of opinions I’m forming that I’m kind of afraid to admit.  They don’t seem to be on bound with most of what I’ve read, though a few might agree.  Might as well ‘fess up.

The first one is that the Mariners didn’t get ripped off on the Horacio Ramirez for Rafael Soriano trade.  This opinion began forming before I read about Soriano looking like a lost puppy on the mound and topping out at 91.

There’s been a lot of Horacio-bashing, and obviously the thought of a soft-tossing bottom-rotation guy doesn’t excite the way a flamethrowing setup man does.  But some points on Ramirez first.  He’s left-handed and he just turned 27.  He gets groundballs 54% of the time.  A concussion, hamstring strain, and torn finger ligament marred his ’06 season.  He’ll give up a ton of hits, but could be good for 32-33 starts, tons of grounders for Lopez and Betancourt, and decent control.  I could see a 4.50 ERA from him in 200 innings next season.  He’s got three years before free agency; league average pitchers make a lot more than $3MM these days.  League average guys could cost $10MM in 2008.

I can see how this trade still favors the Braves but it doesn’t seem like a huge rip-off to me.  The bummer is that Bavasi could’ve gotten more for Soriano.

On the other hand, I’m not impressed by the Jason Schmidt signing.  At least here I have some good backupI ran my own projection for Schmidt the other day, and arrived at a 3.95 ERA in 198 innings.  The ZiPS projection system at Baseball Think Factory came to a very similar conclusion.  Schmidt’s not an ace anymore, and paying $16MM for the 36 year-old version could be ugly.  I don’t think the Dodgers made a mistake here; they can afford Schmidt and he makes them a better club next year.  I’m just not calling this a bargain or the deal of the winter or something.

Schmidt Deal Not Done?

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have been told there’s no deal yet for Jason Schmidt.  This is as of 4:14 CST today.

I quote:

"DeWitt and Jocketty have been told that there’s no deal yet — and that they (Schmidt and his agents) would like to still have discussions…. so as far as the Cardinals are concerned, there’s still reason to have discussion with Schmidt’s agents… and I am told the Cardinals are making a ‘strong" offer.’"

This would be quite a development, as the deal has been reported all over.

Schmidt to LA?

According to MLB, Jason Schmidt is headed to Los Angeles to join all of Ned Colletti’s other acquisitions.  The deal is reported as 3 years, $47 million.  Sounds like LA waited to make their final bid until they knew they were out of the running for Greg Maddux, who is close to a deal with the Padres.

This gives the Dodgers a fantastic rotation: Schmidt, Derek Lowe, and Brad Penny at the top, followed by Randy Wolf and one of Chad Billingsley, Mark Hendrickson, Brett Tomko, and a few other possibilities.  That, of course, would change quite a bit if Penny is included in a deal for Manny Ramirez. 

By Jeff Sackmann, Brew Crew Ball

Cardinals To Meet With Jason Schmidt’s Agents

Joe Strauss’s article from this morning confirms that Walt Jocketty will meet with the Hendricks brothers, who represent Jason Schmidt.  About a week ago, Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz mentioned the Cards’ interest but seemed to think the switch to the Hendricks brothers will be a hurdle.  Jeff at Lookout Landing had this to say on Schmidt:

"Jason Schmidt is a guy whose name value rather substantially exceeds what he actually brings to the table on the field."

As Larry from Viva El Birdos has mentioned to me, the Cardinals pursue a big-name pitcher every winter and usually fail.  Examples include Mike Hampton, Pedro Martinez, Tim Hudson, and A.J. Burnett.  They did snag a big fish in the Mark Mulder deal, however.

Cards Still Looking For Starters

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a roundup this morning of Walt Jocketty’s remaining agenda.

With one starter (Kip Wells) and a second baseman (Adam Kennedy) now in tow, the mission is to find two more starters and an affordable outfielder.

Goold names Jason Schmidt, Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, and Mark Mulder as players whom Jocketty has contacted or will contact soon.  As Larry Borowsky of Viva El Birdos has told us, the Cards always target a top flight starter before settling for less (see Burnett, A.J. last year and many more).

The outfielder of choice seems to be Luis Gonzalez, who’s been a speculative Cardinal for what seems like a month now.

Pitchers on the move

Jason Schmidt has been offered $45 million over three years to join the Cubs.  If that offer has been leaked already, $60M/4 seems within the realm of possibility.  Strangely, Schmidt has already said he’s not interested in the East Coast–you’d think he’d wait until Cashman made an offer and drove up his price before saying no.  Once Schmidt signs, it’ll be fun to watch Scott Boras conduct the sure-to-be-insane bidding for Barry Zito.

Some team (to be announced tonight) won the bidding for Kei Igawa for $25 million.  Hanshin has accepted.  That’s the second largest posting fee ever–somebody must think Igawa is pretty good, definitely on the high side of the typical #3/#4 projection he’s gotten.  I’m guessing it’s not the Cubs, or we wouldn’t be hearing so much about the other pitchers they’re after.  That leaves plenty of other possibilities, though.

The Baltimore Orioles are continuing their quest to build the most expensive bullpen of all time: Chad Bradford is close to a three-year deal with them.  Anybody think it’s a little odd that the O’s traded Chris Britton for a reclamation project and are now probably spending about $8M a year for Bradford and Danys Baez?  (Odd?  Yes.  In character? Absolutely.)

And, this just in: the O’s are also adding Scott Williamson.  He’s cheap–only $900K for the year.  Oddly enough, he could be the best of their new additions.  I’m a little surprised nobody else was willing to go higher for him on a one-year deal.

Many of you have emailed me about a possible Angels-White Sox trade involving Ervin Santana and Chone Figgins for Freddy Garcia and Joe Crede.   As Rotoworld points out, this could be a recycled rumor; regardless, Kenny Williams says no.  And there’s no way Bill Stoneman deals Santana for Garcia without getting a lot more in return.  Five years of a good pitcher under the team’s control for one year of Garcia?  Right.

By Jeff Sackmann

Paul Sullivan On Cubs Hot Stove

Could the hiring of Gerald Perry as hitting coach signal an era of change in Chicago?  Thus far Jim Hendry has made a point of ignoring the free pass, but Perry is said to encourage a little patience.  Of course, Oakland’s walk mandate was organization-wide so we can’t give Perry all the credit.

Anyway, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has the word on the Cubs’ latest hot stove dealings.

– Final offer for Aramis Ramirez will probably come in Saturday night.

– The Cubs wouldn’t mind adding Dave Roberts as the new leadoff man.  He walks at about 10% of the time, which is nice. 

– They may also consider bringing Miguel Batista back to serve as the fifth starter.  Batista was last seen in Chicago as a 26 year-old starter with control issues.  The Cubs traded him in ’97 for Henry Rodriguez.  Now Batista is a 36 year-old starter with a tad better control.  You could do worse for a #5; he keeps the ball on the ground.

– Sullivan’s sources close to Carlos Lee say that the North Side is the slugger’s preferred destination – not Houston.  We had been hearing this talk in Chicago papers for a while but the Houston hype has drowned it out lately.

– The Cubs have interest in Jason Schmidt at four years or less.  I would hope that’d be the breaking point – five years would be truly absurd.

Olney: Schmidt Is Yanks’ Plan B

If the Yankees don’t win the Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes, which pitcher becomes the top target?  According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, it will be 34 year-old free agent Jason Schmidt.  Said Olney in his blog:

"I’ve heard the Yankees’ Plan B, if they don’t get Matsuzaka, will be the pursuit of Jason Schmidt. Talked to his agent the other day, and he said that any perception that Schmidt is devoted to the idea of playing close to his home in Washington is ‘completely inaccurate’ and that he hasn’t ruled out any team, in any time zone."

Schmidt brings more risk than Barry Zito in the long term, but projects to be worth about 4.8 wins next year according to Baseball Prospectus.  BP sees Zito as a 4.2 win player in ’07.  While we’re at it, here are some other projected WARPs for free agent starters:

Clemens – 4.9
Glavine – 2.3
Padilla – 2.7
Mussina – 3.4
Maddux – 3.4
Pettitte – 4.9
Meche – 1.5
Lilly – 2.1
Weaver – 3.5
Suppan – 2.9
Williams – 2.1
Eaton – 2.3
Wolf – 2.6
Mulder – 3.6
Batista – 0.9