J.D. Drew Rumors
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show this morning; let's take a look.
- Epstein admitted the Red Sox need a contingency plan in case Jason Bay leaves, but he still believes "[Bay] wants to be here, and we want to keep him and take a shot."
- Epstein says J.D. Drew has been worth "a tick more than $14MM per year," due to his offense, defense, and baserunning. FanGraphs has the best-known public player valuation system, and they say Drew has averaged $14.93MM in regular season value over 2007-09.
- The Red Sox GM was not trying to send a message through the media when he said DH David Ortiz needed to be a force in 2010.
- Epstein considers reliever Daniel Bard a "work in progress," and implies thrusting him into the closer role in 2010 wouldn't be beneficial long-term for Bard.
- In other Red Sox news, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says the team has "expressed interest in meeting with [Aroldis Chapman] and watching him throw, although it is premature to categorize their interest as anything beyond preliminary."
Let's see what FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal has for us in his latest Full Count video...
- Chone Figgins could be one of the most popular free agents this winter. The White Sox have long had interest in him, and his skills as a leadoff hitter will make him attractive to many teams, perhaps even the Yankees.
- Figgins will come cheaper than Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, and the Yanks could easily withstand his lack of power if they put him in left field. Four years younger than Johnny Damon, Figgins and Derek Jeter would make a dynamic 1-2 punch atop the Yankees' lineup.
- Apparently, Hanley Ramirez isn't very popular in the Marlins' clubhouse. The complaints should only go so far though, because he's played hurt this seasons and is on target to play in 150 or more games for the fourth straight year. Hanley's also batting .385 with runners in scoring position this year after hitting just .239 in those spots last year. He's also worked very hard to improve his defense as well.
- The Dodgers did well by adding Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla to their rotation, but one National League GM is worried about Clayton Kershaw because he's approaching 3,000 pitches thrown on the season, which is when you start to worry.
- Maybe it's time to cut J.D. Drew some slack. Sure, he's missed 92 games in three seasons with Boston, but one team official told Rosenthal he'd sign Drew to the same contract (five years, $70MM) again in a second. The Red Sox consider Drew one of the five best right fielders in baseball when you consider on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and defense.
Time for another round of links...
- John Grabow tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he enjoys playing for the Cubs and likes the city of Chicago. Grabow, who becomes a free agent after the season, sounds open to re-signing with the Cubs.
- Manager Ken Macha thinks the Brewers could use some power arms, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Tyler Hissey of Around the Majors argues that the J.D. Drew contract- $70MM over five years- isn't quite as bad as people think.
- Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi tells Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star that he takes full responsibility for the Blue Jays' disappointing play. The club has faded steadily since its 27-14 start.
Scott Boras told 619 Sports that he was never looking to sign Stephen Strasburg to a $50MM deal, despite reports that he was using Daisuke Matsuzaka's contract as a reference point for the number one overall pick.
"I can assure you our first offer was well less than half of that," Boras said.
Here are some more points Boras makes over the course of the interview:
- Boras says revenues around baseball have increased in the last decade, so he argues that money should trickle down to players and draft picks.
- He also suggests that more teams are holding onto their players, which leads to smaller crops of free agents.
- Boras says American players deserve as much as international ones.
- Boras says J.D. Drew didn't sign with the Phillies because they told him they didn't believe him.
- The agent praises Donavan Tate and Strasburg on their intelligence.
- Boras says every organization makes mistakes with players, but suggests adding players with questionable character hurts teams most of all.
- Check out the audio for Boras' description of deadline day. It's pretty interesting stuff.
In his latest piece for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo reports that the Indians turned down an offer of Clay Buchholz for Victor Martinez according to an NL scout. The Red Sox then countered with a package of Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson, and an outfield prospect, but the Indians turned that down as well.
Let's round up the rest of Cafardo's rumors...
- In addition to Boston, the Indians are also fielding offers from the Rays and Giants for Martinez, but aren't inclined to make a deal unless a team's best prospects are involved.
- Cafardo runs through the list of other pitchers that "could be pried away," including Scott Kazmir, Cliff Lee, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, and George Sherrill. He says it'll take "a blockbuster package" to land Lee.
- Aubrey Huff and Kevin Millar are also available.
- The Red Sox will "dip in the (Roy) Halladay sweepstakes" if the price comes down, but otherwise will look for a righthanded bat that can play the outfield.
- Cafardo says it will be interesting to see if the Yankees, Phillies and Dodgers are aggressive at the deadline or take a pass, considering all three clubs are playing well right now.
- The White Sox could pull off something big because GM Kenny Williams "has a bit of gambler in him."
- It'll be interesting to see if the Giants' plans to add a bat are put on hold after the sudden death of principal owner Sue Burns.
- Twins GM Bill Smith may add a middle infielder and/or a reliever before the deadline. Last night we learned that they were "deep into talks and talking composition of a deal" with the A's about Orlando Cabrera. The team might be able to stretch it's normal payroll with Target Field opening next year.
- Cafardo proposes a "swap of underachieving Scott Boras clients," J.D. Drew and Magglio Ordonez.
- While there is some uneasiness about there not being any substantive talks between the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg, those kind of deals can come together quickly. The signing deadline is August 17th.
- The Rangers are unable to add payroll, which will hamstring their efforts that the trade deadline.
Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal wrote today that evaluating Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is "as tricky as [Julio] Lugo trying to field a hot grounder." The reason, says Donaldson, is that the Sox can afford to make expensive mistakes like Lugo's contract.
Donaldson seems to argue that Epstein is overrated, citing continual problems at shortstop and big contracts to Daisuke Matsuzaka and J.D. Drew as his biggest flaws so far.
Well, if our readers can't resolve this, nobody can. What do you think? Does large payroll capacity allow Epstein to get away with mistakes? Where do you rank his moves compared to those of other GM's?
If you need a crib sheet, don't forget MLBTR contributor Brendan Bianowicz's GM Trade History for Epstein from last year.
According to WEEI's Alex Speier, when Hideki Okajima's 2009 vesting option triggered it also guaranteed that the reliever is under team control through 2012 if the Red Sox want him. There had been some debate about whether Okajima would become arbitration-eligible after his current contract; the answer is yes.
Also, WEEI's Rob Bradford notes that J.D. Drew is entering the phase in his five-year contract where certain injury situations would allow the Sox to void the last two years of this deal. It seems unlikely, though.
A look at what is being written around the Blogosphere...
- MetsBlog recognizes that Francisco Rodriguez will improve the team and appease fans, but is not sure he is worth a four or five-year deal.
- Mets Geek projects the Mets '09 roster and looks at some options from outside the organization with Pat Burrell and Derek Lowe being the biggest offseason targets.
- Was Watching says bringing back Brian Cashman was a mistake.
- River Ave. Blues assesses the Matt Holliday market and feels that Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano for Holliday "doesn't make much sense."
- Sox and Pinstripes provides an in-depth preview of the upcoming offseasons for the Yankees and Red Sox and wonders if Theo Epstein can convince the Rockies to take J.D. Drew and a top prospect for Matt Holliday.
- iYankees notes that Brian Cashman wants to make the Yankees' OBP a priority this winter and feels Mark Teixeira fits the bill.
- Oriole Post does not want to see Mike Mussina return to the O's and would prefer they "stay the course" with young players.
- C70 At The Bat takes a look at the Cardinals' decision to sign Kyle Lohse and what it could mean for the offseason ahead.
- Viva el Birdos projects the Cardinals '09 roster and payroll.
- McCovey Chronicles reacts to some quotes from Brian Sabean and what they mean for the Giants' offseason.
- Newberg Report thinks the price for the Rangers to acquire Jake Peavy would be too high, even if he'd waive his no-trade clause to go there.
- Athletics Nation sees no point in signing Jason Giambi.
Here's a look at the latest blog post from MLB.com's Jim Molony.
- Molony agrees with previous reports - the Red Sox are eyeing outfield help. An inquiry on Darin Erstad fizzled, while Mark Kotsay remains on the radar. Drew might be headed to the DL.
- The Red Sox might also be eyeing another starter, given Josh Beckett's injury. Molony speculates that Kevin Millwood or Vicente Padilla could make sense (both have cleared waivers).
- Molony expects Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson to be traded this winter. Johnson, 26, slipped to .264/.333/.405 in 482 plate appearances this year. He'll be arbitration-eligible for the first time.
- The Brewers and Red Sox are both showing interest in Kotsay. The Brewers would only pursue a trade if Ryan Braun's ribcage injury worsens, and so far he looks more than fine. The Sox made a play for lefty-hitting Brian Giles before Giles vetoed the deal, so it makes sense that they'd exert similar effort toward Kotsay. Even more so now that J.D. Drew has a herniated disc.
- Fuentes is expected to be put on waivers this week, a process that's not usually made public, let alone announced, so the Rockies must be keen to see if they can do better in a trade than the two first round draft picks they get by keeping Fuentes. According to Rosenthal, as things stand, the Dodgers currently have waiver priority. If they pass for salary reasons, the Phillies could be a roadblock for the Mets.
- Rosenthal also mentions a delicate situation in Atlanta: Tom Glavine and John Smoltz both want to pitch next year, and Glavine only wants to pitch for the Braves. The Braves are faced with re-signing the inevitable Hall of Famers without being as reliant on their health as they were this year, or letting them go despite their long history with the team. Toss Mike Hampton's arm into the mix as well.