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The key to the Rays' success so far has been their pitching staff, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, who praises Tampa Bay for playing so well despite a few slumping bats. Cafardo says that it may be hard for the club to add another piece or two before the trade deadline, since their budget is already maxed out. However, Cafardo acknowledges that with Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena facing free agency, the Rays may go all-out this year and stretch their budget a little in hopes of winning a championship. Here are some of Cafardo's other notes:
- After this season, David Ortiz is probably "done in Boston unless he takes a massive pay cut." Ortiz might have trouble catching on anywhere next year, since there's virtually no market for one-dimensional players, and he may not be willing to accept a role similar to Jason Giambi's in Colorado.
- If Ortiz and Victor Martinez continue to hit, the Red Sox are very unlikely to pursue Chris Iannetta.
- One of the winter's most disappointing new additions has been Garrett Atkins, who is homerless and sports a .221/.261/.283 slash line in 119 plate appearances. The Orioles will have to consider releasing him if he doesn't turn things around.
- The Rangers are looking for a starting pitcher and a productive right-handed bat. A Rangers official tells Cafardo that he'd still love to see Mike Lowell in Texas.
- Cafardo thinks that if the Red Sox fall out of playoff contention and become sellers, they could replenish their farm system, acquiring multiple players for Martinez, Lowell, Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Hermida. I'm less optimistic than Cafardo about the caliber of talent the Sox could land for most of those guys.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe would like to see the Red Sox acquire a marquee player in his prime. Let's dive in and check out the tidbits that he has for us today..
- The Red Sox will shed a great deal of payroll this offseason thanks in large part to David Ortiz and Mike Lowell coming off of the books. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined the team's 2011 contract issues recently, suggesting $40MM could be freed up. With that newfound breathing room, Cafardo writes that the BoSox would like to zero in on one of three elite first basemen this winter. While he anticipates Albert Pujols remaining in St. Louis, he says that Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez could be acquired via in-season trades.
- If Kerry Wood can show that he's healthy, he should be able to attract a contending team as we approach the trade deadline. Wood was recalled from his rehab assignment in Akron on Friday. The 32-year-old is set to make $10.5MM this season but if a team were to trade for him they would only have to assume the prorated portion of that.
- David DeJesus is "more than available" for teams seeking a lefty outfield bat. In return, the Royals would seek bullpen help and a positional prospect. Kansas City was said to be expecting serious interest in DeJesus this winter. The 31-year-old earns $4.5MM this season with a $6MM option for next season.
- While there's still some skepticism in Houston that Lance Berkman would really leave the organization, one Astros organizational person opined that the 34-year-old would "fit Boston like a fiddle". However, considering his advanced age and his offensive struggles this season, he's an unlikely fit for the club at present. Meanwhile, Cafardo mentions the Mariners and White Sox as teams that could really use a bat like Berkman's.
- Meanwhile, Jeremy Hermida is an outfielder that would seem to fit Seattle, though it doesn't appear that the Red Sox would entertain offers for him right now.
If you're in the Northeast, here are some links to check out while you take a break from shoveling…
- ESPN's Jayson Stark ranked baseball's ten-year contracts, with Derek Jeter's soon to be completed ten-year, $189MM deal coming in as the best.
- The Marlins agreed to one-year contracts with 12 of their pre-arbitration eligible players according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, including Sean West, Chris Volstad, Emilio Bonifacio, and Dan Meyer.
- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio confirmed that he will be involved in long-term contract discussions with Prince Fielder, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). Haudricourt also tweets that Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin met today to discuss the situation and there will be no deadlines imposed on the 25-year-old.
- Rich Aurilia, who stopped by the Giants' camp today, says that while he's still looking for a job, he will retire if he doesn't have one by the end of spring, tweets Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse. The 38-year-old has a broadcasting deal in place if he is unable to find a job on the field.
- Shin-Soo Choo says that he would like to stay in Cleveland long-term, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Choo, like Morales, cut ties with his former agent (Alan Nero) in favor of Scott Boras.
- Michael Weiner, the executive director of the players' union, confirmed that the union is participating in an investigation into alleged unauthorized withdrawals from Kendry Morales' bank account by a former employee of his former agents, Hendricks Sports Management (Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reporting). Morales recently dropped HSM and hired Scott Boras.
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides a few quotes from Albert Pujols about his contract situation. "Do I want to do this right now and take care of this so we don't need to worry about it? Of course," said Pujols. "If it happens, it happens. But there are some things I am able to control and there are other things that are out of my hands that I can't control. And that's the truth."
- The Mariners signed righty Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor league contract, according to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. The 27-year-old had been out of baseball since 2005 because of substance abuse issues, though he resurfaced with an independent league team last season.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report indicating the the Orix Buffaloes are moving towards a deal with Freddie Bynum. The White Sox released Bynum last week so he could pursue opportunities in Japan.
- Meanwhile, Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Felipe Lopez will provide the Cardinals with a great amount of flexibility.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post calls the contracts of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and other Yankee players "time-bomb contracts."
- John Tomase of The Boston Herald says the Red Sox have a deep bench with Mike Lowell, Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida, and Jason Varitek.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Albert Pujols | Alex Rodriguez | Bill Hall | Boston Red Sox | C.C. Sabathia | Chris Volstad | Cleveland Indians | Dan Meyer | Derek Jeter | Emilio Bonifacio | Felipe Lopez | Freddie Bynum | Jason Varitek | Jeremy Hermida | Kendrys Morales | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Mark Teixeira | Miami Marlins | Mike Lowell | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Yankees | Prince Fielder | Rich Aurilia | San Francisco Giants | Sean West | Seattle Mariners | Shin-Soo Choo | St. Louis Cardinals | Tom Wilhelmsen | Transactions
We'll round up any and all players that agree to deals today to avoid arbitration in this post, so check back in for updates…
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports (via Twitter) that the Rangers have avoided arbitration with reliever Frank Francisco by agreeing to a one-year, $3.265MM contract.
- The official Brewers Twitter site is reporting that Carlos Villanueva has agreed to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $950K according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (via Twitter).
- The Red Sox and Jeremy Hermida have agreed to a one-year deal for 2010 to avoid arbitration according to a team press release. Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald reports (via Twitter) that Hermida will earn $3.345MM in 2010. Theo Epstein's streak of avoiding arbitration lasts another year.
Links for Wednesday…
- The Tigers signed lefty Brad Thomas out of Korea, and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that they paid $1MM.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed our report of the Pirates' interest in Kelly Johnson, explaining that the Pirates view him as a corner outfield option.
- FanGraphs' Dave Cameron wonders why teams seem to undervalue Cliff Lee. In a related story, Lee's agent Darek Braunecker believes their position has been mischaracterized.
- ESPN's Buster Olney expects Jamey Carroll to choose between two-year offers from the A's and Dodgers, probably today (I mistakenly wrote the Angels earlier).
- Mentioned first on Twitter: I've heard that Coco Crisp would prefer a one-year deal with the Padres or A's.
- Boston's Mike Cameron signing was officially announced today. Michael Silverman and John Tomase of the Boston Herald have details on the two-year, $15.5MM contract. John Lackey's deal was also announced.
- WEEI's Alex Speier says the Red Sox told Jeremy Hermida they'd trade him if they re-signed Jason Bay. Speier wonders if the Cameron signing will prompt a Hermida deal.
- The Angels' one-year, $6.5MM deal with Hideki Matsui was also announced, as was John Buck's one-year, $2MM deal with Toronto and Ross Gload's two-year, $2.6MM deal with the Phillies.
- The Royals put out word they've re-signed outfielder Shane Costa to a minor league deal. Costa, 28, missed almost the entire '09 season with a leg injury.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweets details on LaTroy Hawkins' two-year, $7.5MM deal with the Brewers.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker examines the reports about reliever Ryota Igarashi, who might be headed to the Red Sox or Mets.
- The Mariners signed 19-year-old shortstop Pedro Okuda to a minor league deal, according to a team press release. Okuda was born and raised in Brazil but attended high school in Japan.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Boston Red Sox | Chien-Ming Wang | Cliff Lee | Coco Crisp | Detroit Tigers | Hideki Matsui | Jamey Carroll | Jason Bay | Jeremy Hermida | John Buck | John Lackey | Kansas City Royals | Kelly Johnson | LaTroy Hawkins | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mike Cameron | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Ross Gload | Ryota Igarashi | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Toronto Blue Jays
7:58pm: The deal is in the range of $15.5MM for two years, tweets Ken Rosenthal.
7:53pm: Mike Cameron has agreed to sign a two-year deal with Boston, the AP reports.
6:38pm: It is "believed" that Cameron would play left field for the BoSox, with Jacoby Ellsbury in center and J.D. Drew in right, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. This would make recently-acquired Jeremy Hermida the team's fourth outfielder.
The Cubs and Mariners both had interest in Cameron, but shied away for different reasons. The Cubbies were waiting on a taker for Milton Bradley while the M's continue to focus on Jason Bay. The Braves also had interest, but it now it sounds as though Boston has the inside track.
Speaking of Bay, Crasnick wonders aloud (via Twitter) if this is the "final nail" in the free agent's chances of returning to Fenway.
5:40pm: Free agent outfielder Mike Cameron is in "serious talks" with the Red Sox, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The two sides are reportedly discussing a two-year pact.
Rosenthal adds that it is unclear whether the BoSox would place Cameron in left field or center field.
Peter Abraham takes a look at the Red Sox checklist as they head into this year's Winter Meetings. Abraham is sure to note that his focus is on what Boston needs, not the fantasy trade scenarios that fans may want. Says Abraham, "The Sox needs refining, not rebuilding." That said, let's take a look:
- The easy solution in left field is to bring back Jason Bay. Abraham says though, that the acquisition of Jeremy Hermida presents Boston with the option of signing a right-handed hitter, such as Xavier Nady, to form a platoon. The Red Sox could also let Bay go in favor of pursuing Matt Holliday.
- While the rotation appears to be set for now with Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield, Abraham says the Sox could use a "No. 5.5 starter, a No. 6, and possibly a No. 7" for depth. He names the usual suspects, including Ben Sheets, Erik Bedard, and Rich Harden.
- Boston has requested medical reports on Mike Gonzalez, and will need to fill out the back of the bullpen for 2010. Abraham feels the Red Sox will invite about a dozen relievers to camp and see who performs well.
- Boston should look to add a veteran outfielder and infielder for bench depth. Abraham says Boston doesn't seem interested in keeping Rocco Baldelli around. He names Adam Everett, Craig Counsell, Reed Johnson, Marcus Thames, and Adam Kennedy as options.
- Abraham doesn't see Buchholz, Casey Kelly, or Ryan Westmoreland being dealt. He names Casey Kotchman, Josh Reddick, and Manny Delcarmen as trade chips.
- Abraham also speculates on the possibility of Jonathan Papelbon being traded. With Daniel Bard waiting in the wings, this isn't the first time someone has speculated on the possibility of Papelbon being shipped off.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam Everett | Adam Kennedy | Boston Red Sox | Casey Kelly | Casey Kotchman | Clay Buchholz | Craig Counsell | Jason Bay | Jeremy Hermida | Jonathan Papelbon | Josh Reddick | Manny Delcarmen | Marcus Thames | Matt Holliday | Mike Gonzalez | Reed Johnson | Rocco Baldelli | Ryan Westmoreland | Xavier Nady
Links for Friday…
- Lefty reliever Darren Oliver "will play in 2010 and perhaps beyond," according to his agent Mike McCann (MLB.com's Lyle Spencer reporting).
- Free agent Hideki Matsui ruled out the possibility of returning to Japan, says NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman (via Twitter).
- The Indians have hired their new pitching coach: Tim Belcher.
- The decision on Michael Cuddyer's $10.5MM option for 2011 is due by Monday, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Cuddyer would like to finish his career in Minnesota.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel considers Jeremy Hermida among the all-time exasperating Marlins.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has comments from Andy Pettitte about the future.
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent Brian Goldberg told C. Trent Rosecrans of CNATI.com that Junior's future will be decided soon.
On this date 33 years ago, Bill Campbell became one of the first players to sign a contract with a new team under baseball's new free agency system. After saving 20 games with the Twins in '76, Campbell signed a four-year, $1MM deal with the Red Sox. In his first season in Boston, he would save 31 games and make his only All-Star appearance. As we enter the 34th Hot Stove season, let's take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere…
- MLB Notebook suggests Ben Sheets or Erik Bedard for the Dodgers over Vicente Padilla.
- Around the Majors breaks down why Jeremy Hermida is a good pick-up for the Red Sox.
- Fire Brand of the American League explores what it will cost the Red Sox to sign Josh Beckett to an extension.
- Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? likes what Akinori Iwamura brings to the Pirates both on the field and off.
- Raise the Jolly Roger wonders if Iwamura is worth the cost-controlled Jesse Chavez.
- Baseball Daily Digest says that the Iwamura acquisition is the Pirates latest move into the international market.
- Beyond the Boxscore feels the Pirates got a steal, noting that Iwamura is worth $7.5MM more than his $4.85MM salary
- Twins Geek laments the near-acquisition of Iwamura by the Twins.
- Mets Fans Forever hopes the Mets pass on Hideki Matsui.
- Crawfish Boxes takes a look back at every move the Astros made before and during the '09 season.
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein says he bought low on a player with considerable promise when he acquired Jeremy Hermida.
"He hasn't fulfilled his potential yet," Epstein said of the former top prospect. "We acquired him today to see if he can fulfill that potential."
It's impossible to predict whether Hermida can become a star, but Red Sox saw "positive indicators" that suggest the 25-year-old can improve upon the .259/.348/.392 line he posted for the Marlins this year.
Hermida hit .284/.398/.436 throughout the minors, with plate discipline and flashes of power. As recently as 2007, he posted an .870 OPS in the majors, so Hermida has succeeded in the big leagues before.
The Red Sox consider Hermida an average defender in either left or right field. According to UZR/150, Hermida has slightly below average range and a slightly below average arm. Ultimately, the Red Sox wanted to see if a change of scenery can improve Hermida's production.
"It was a chance to get a guy with unfulfilled potential for a reasonable cost," Epstein said.
The Red Sox have Hermida under team control for two seasons. The outfielder has missed time due to a variety of injuries, but the Red Sox say he doesn't have lingering structural problems.