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Links for Friday…
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tells us via Twitter that the Astros released pitchers Chad Paronto and Billy Sadler.
- The Nationals interviewed longtime Braves scouting director Roy Clark, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Blue Jays fired J.P. Ricciardi advisor Dick Scott, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.
- Interesting note from WEEI's Alex Speier. Back in 2002, upon purchasing the Red Sox and selling the Marlins, John Henry attempted to have Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett transferred to the Sox.
- NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman says NPB is lobbying Japan's High School Baseball Federation to have Yusei Kikuchi appear in person for meetings with NPB teams but not MLB clubs. Newman still likes the Rangers as Kikuchi's top suitor, based on reports.
- Newman also tells us that pitcher Koji Mitsui, who was posted twice last winter but received no bids, has been released and will attempt to sign with an MLB team.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times has a plan for the Cubs that includes signing Chone Figgins and avoiding long-term free agent deals.
- Padres exec Paul DePodesta explains the team's recent roster moves.
- Via Twitter, ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. passes along info from Miguel Angel Sano's agent Rob Plummer.
- In an MLB.com chat, Blue Jays reliever Jeremy Accardo says that his first choice is to stay with Toronto for his entire career, but his second choice is to pitch on the West Coast.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Atlanta Braves | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Chone Figgins | Houston Astros | Jeremy Accardo | Josh Beckett | Koji Mitsui | Miami Marlins | Miguel Sano | Minnesota Twins | San Diego Padres | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals | Yusei Kikuchi
Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com suggests the Blue Jays might want to set their sights on 2010, after which they stand to lose Lyle Overbay, Scott Downs, Scott Rolen, and Roy Halladay to free agency. Not to mention Cito Gaston and J.P. Ricciardi, whose contracts will both expire barring an extension. Morosi writes,
"Six pitchers currently reside on the disabled list, and ace Roy Halladay was a recent visitor. Vernon Wells and Alex Rios, signed through 2014, haven't been hitting. The team is in fourth place and would probably need to climb the standings quickly in order to convince ownership that additions to an $80 million payroll are warranted this month."
Morosi adds the following:
- Halladay is not going anywhere.
- Ricky Romero and Scott Richmond are most likely staying put, says Morosi, and I doubt anyone here disagrees.
- Pitching is not a need for 2010 with the anticipated return of Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan.
- The Jays are almost certain to keep Downs, who has become a premier reliever in the American League.
Morosi suggests, the Jays trade a pitcher or two to boost their team OPS which lags in the AL East behind the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays. Given the above, Morosi suggests Brian Tallet as a trade chip. "Tallet could be looked upon as a viable option for teams looking for a mid-rotation left-handed starter, particularly if the Mariners stay in the race and elect not to move Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn."
They may also look at dealing from their collection of right-handed setup men, such as Casey Janssen, Jeremy Accardo, Brandon League, or Jason Frasor. Just speculating here but Janssen may be the most attractive since he can start. As a reliever in 2007, Janssen had a 2.35 ERA in 72.2 IP with 6 saves before missing 2008 with a torn labrum.
Morosi has a few more bullet points to discuss:
- Freddy Sanchez's contract contains an $8MM option for 2010 that automatically vests after 635 PAs, or only 600 if he makes the All Star team. So, it stands to reason that Sanchez will either make the All Star Team or see his trade value increase. This may be moot given Sanchez is on pace for 660 plate appearances. Morosi says one Mariners official doesn't think Pittsburgh is considering trading Sanchez. The M's have need for a pure hitter as well as a second baseman given concerns about Jose Lopez ability to stay at 2B long term.
- The M's asked about Jeremy Hermida, but there wasn't a lot of movement. Morosi notes Hermida's trade value has fallen significantly.
- Kevin Correia is pitching fantastically but the Padres haven't put him on the open market. Morosi doesn't report much excitement among other clubs.
- Morosi says "one person in the industry who knows Oakland general manager Billy Beane well," guessed Matt Holliday will stay with the team so Beane could collect the compensatory draft picks. Morosi quotes the source: "Billy loves the draft."
SI.com’s Jon Heyman has seven more players who avoided arbitration today: Jeremy Accardo ($900K), Heath Bell ($1.225MM), Ryan Church ($2.8MM), Gerald Laird ($2.8MM), Javier Lopez ($1.35MM), Bobby Seay ($1.3MM), and Joel Zumaya ($735K). I think next year we’ll put all of these in one constantly-updated post.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick says Angel Pagan signed for $575K.
Many teams were interested, but Brian Sabean and the Giants prevailed in the Shea Hillenbrand sweepstakes late Friday night. The deal marks Sabean’s first of the year and first ever with J.P. Ricciardi (as far as I can tell).
The average National League first baseman has hit .286/.366/.504 this season, while Hillenbrand is at .301/.342/.480. While he’s a below average fix at first, it sure as hell beats the .714 OPS the Giants have gotten out of the position thus far.
Hillenbrand moves from a ballpark that inflates home runs by about 18% and batting average about 5% for right-handed hitters. His new home has a similar effect on batting average but suppresses right-handed home runs by about 4%.
The pitchers Hillenbrand faced this year with the Blue Jays allowed an aggregate line of .260/.345/.416. Every Giants hitter with more than 200 plate appearances has faced tougher pitching than that. Another interesting fact: Hillenbrand is one of the most likely double play victims in the game.
Defensively, the Fielding Bible rates Hillenbrand as the fourth-worst first baseman in baseball, ahead of Giambi, Delgado, and Sexson. The Giants currently boast the third-best defensive efficiency mark in the NL, however.
The Blue Jays threw in Vinnie Chulk in the deal and received Jeremy Accardo. Baseball Prospectus notes that Accardo "finally made The Show on the basis of a mid-90s fastball, a developing slider, and a filthy cutter that some compare to Mariano Rivera’s bat-sawing Frisbee."
Accardo appears to be an upgrade from Chulk, who is three years older and has mediocre stuff.