Jose Vidro Rumors

Rosenthal’s Latest: Teixeira, Liriano, Garcia, Willingham

Ken Rosenthal has a new hot stove article up.

  • Rosenthal leads with some Mark Teixeira-Angels speculation, but admits the Braves aren’t considering trading him and the Angels are content with their team.  The Halos’ .706 team OPS ranks 12th in the AL; something should be done.
  • All kinds of Mariners turmoil.  They could look to acquire a center fielder given the move back to right for Ichiro.  Releases of Richie Sexson and Jose Vidro could be on the agenda.  And chemistry problems abound, with Ichiro and Kenji Johjima at the center.
  • The Ms might consider Chris Antonetti and David Forst for the GM job, but both could choose to wait for the position to open up on their current teams.  Antonetti seems likely to stay put, based on his comments and actions.
  • Adam Dunn likes the Reds’ future and wants to stay.
  • If the Twins keep Francisco Liriano in the minors a bit longer, he will lose his shot at becoming a Super Two player.
  • Past reports have named the Mets, Red Sox, Braves, Yankees, White Sox, Rangers, Indians, Mariners, and Tigers as clubs interested in Freddy Garcia.  Rosenthal adds the Rays to the mix.
  • On Sunday, Peter Gammons said the Red Sox "might look at a count worker like the Marlins’ Josh Willingham" if David Ortiz needs surgery.  Rosenthal agrees that the Sox "indeed might be interested" but believes the Marlins want to hang on to him (even though he reaches arbitration after this season).
  • The Cardinals "made a quick inquiry" on Michael Barrett but backed off when Yadier Molina’s injury turned out to be day-to-day.

Mariners May Lock Up Several Players

I noticed a John Hickey article from three days ago that hasn’t been mentioned here at MLBTR.  Hickey notes that the Mariners like to sign players to extensions during spring if possible.  He assesses the chances of extensions for Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Kenji Johjima, Raul Ibanez, and Richie Sexson in the article.

Johjima, Ibanez, and Sexson are all set to reach free agency after the ’08 season.  Johjima seems the most likely to stay, though prospect Jeff Clement may be close to big league ready.  Sexson is as good as gone, while the decision on Ibanez will likely hinge on ’08.  I’m not sure how Jose Vidro‘s vesting option for ’09 works; Ibanez may be best served filling his DH spot.

Hickey expects to see Felix locked up before the season begins.  A deal would buy out his three arbitration years (2009-11), at least.  The Ms could also incorporate the ’08 season into the contract.  The Angels bought out John Lackey‘s three arb years for $17MM, but that was two years ago.  Chris Young‘s deal covered his final four years of team control for $14.5MM; that was signed a year ago.  Matt Cain‘s contract may also be a comparable.

Hickey does see Bedard getting an extension; he can become a free agent after the ’09 season.  Bedard recently signed at $7MM for ’08.  His deal could be massive, in the $18-19MM per year range.

Reaction To The Vidro Trade

As expected, Mariners fans are up in arms about this deal.  Check out Lookout Landing or U.S.S. Mariner if you don’t believe me.  Nationals blogs, on the other hand, are ecstatic.

There is just no way to rationalize that trade.  None.  I’m guessing that it was like one of those Emperor’s New Clothes things in the Mariners’ front office when this thing came to fruition.  No one would admit to Bavasi that his trade was downright awful.  I tried to defend the Horacio Ramirez acquisition a little bit, but the Vidro trade just can’t be rationalized.

Who would’ve thought the Ms would swap Fruto, Snelling, and Soriano for Ramirez and Vidro?  Ramirez may have been nontendered and Bowden would’ve gladly sent Vidro away for much, much less.  I actually thought it was the Nats paying 75% of Vidro’s contract to in effect purchase the two prospects.  That it’s the other way around and a vesting option was added is laughable.

Mariners Acquire Jose Vidro

The Mariners have traded Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto to the Nationals for second baseman Jose Vidro, according to the Washington Post.  The Mariners intend to pay $12MM of the $16MM remaining on Vidro’s contract for 2007-08.  Jim Bowden did well.

Vidro, 32, hopefully will not supplant young Jose Lopez as the starting second baseman.  In getting into 126 games last year, Vidro had his healthiest season in a while.  However, his power seems to have evaporated and he’s not exactly nimble in the field.  Sure, he’s cheap, but he’s not particularly good.  He’s little help at 2B or DH.

Snelling is another oft-injured player, though he is only 25.  Many of his injuries have been the result of bad fortune, but he’s been through a lot.  He’s still a good gamble for a team like the Nats.

Fruto is just 22 and is a high-upside arm with three plus pitches, according to Baseball America.  He hasn’t started since ’03 but maybe the Nats will want to reinvent him.

Speculation: Vidro To Be Traded?

I have a feeling Jose Vidro‘s tenure with the Nationals will come to an end before summertime.  Vidro hates RFK Stadium and seems to have a rocky relationship with team president Tony Tavares.

Vidro’s stock is as high as it’s been in years.  He seems healthy and is hitting .357 with 3 HR and 10 RBIs in 42 ABs.  And the club has a left fielder who’s desperate to move back to second base.

Vidro has a no-trade clause for 6-8 teams…anyone know which?  Of course, players can be convinced to waive such things.  He makes $7MM this year, $7.5MM in ’07, and $8.5MM in ’08.  2008 will be his age 33 season, and the contract will be a massive burden at that point.  If Jim Bowden can get out from under any portion of Vidro’s terrible deal he should. 

I think any deal with Vidro would be a salary for a salary, similar to the Finley for Alfonzo trade.  I suppose a swap to the Mets for Kaz Matsui could work.  The Cards have a need at second base, but I don’t see a good fit there.  And that’s about it for Bowden’s options.  After looking at just how bad Vidro’s contract is and how few teams need a second baseman, I’m starting to waver on my inital feeling that he will be dealt by summertime.  And that was just a few paragraphs ago. 

No truth to the Kerry Wood for Vidro rumor that surfaced in late December.   

Latest Red Sox Rumor – Clement, Vidro, Milledge

Several emailers have alerted me to a post made over at Sons of Sam Horn late last night.  A respected poster lays out this scenario:

Red Sox trade Matt Clement and Alex Cora
Nationals trade Jose Vidro and Jay Bergmann
Mets trade Lastings Milledge and Xavier Nady (with some chance of Victor Diaz instead of Milledge)

Red Sox receive Milledge and Nady
Nationals receive Clement and Cora plus cash if Clement pitches over 150 innings
Mets receive Vidro and Bergmann plus a PTNBL from either Nats or Sox depending on Vidro’s health. (Livan Hernandez could end up with the Mets as well)

I paraphrased a few things but this is all from the post.  I haven’t heard anything about these players lately, but I thought the rumor would make for interesting discussion.  My thoughts:

From the Red Sox point of view, it’s either a steal or a salary dump.  It’d be a steal if Milledge were indeed the centerpiece.  However, there are some who believe Milledge is not even a top 100 prospect.  Don’t gasp, Mets fans – David Luciani knows what he’s talking about and still respects Milledge.

If the Red Sox are acquiring Diaz and Nady for Clement, I can’t see a big improvement to their club for 2006.  It would have to be motivated by the $19MM owed to Clement over the next two seasons, but the Red Sox aren’t having budget problems so it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  The issue of whether the Sox have starting pitching depth from which to deal has been debated endlessly; it depends on how you evaluate their young guys.

The Nationals wouldn’t be surrendering much to get Clement.  I’ve been told Vidro’s health is still questionable, and he makes $23MM over the next three seasons.  The team would love to get out from under that contract.  24 year-old Bergmann looks like a decent enough reliever, but not a top tier prospect.  The Nationals would definitely have to bump someone out of the rotation to give Clement a spot.  They are currently six deep with Tony Armas, Ryan Drese, Livan Hernandez, Brian Lawrence, Ramon Ortiz, and John Patterson.

The deal makes the least amount of sense for the Mets.  It’s been stated repeatedly that the team wants to hold onto Milledge, and that is thought to be the only reason they haven’t traded for Barry Zito.  So the addition of Vidro and his albatross contract doesn’t equate here.  Add Livan Hernandez and you might have something, but the 30 year-old may not be ace material anymore after posting a 1.43 WHIP in 2005.

Kerry Wood for Vidro & Church?

A new Cubs trade rumor found its way into my inbox this morning courtesy of loyal reader Derek.  Yesterday, Jim Williams wrote a column for the Washington Examiner suggesting the Cubs might deal Kerry Wood for Jose Vidro and Ryan Church this spring.

He mentions the health issues surrounding both Wood and Vidro and that both players would have to be ready to play.  Williams also says Wood’s huge contract could be a concern.  Looking at the numbers, Wood makes $11MM in 2006 and has a $13.5MM option for 2007 with a $3MM buyout attached.  Vidro will make $7MM in ’06, $7.5MM in ’07, and $8.5MM in ’08.  Church makes the minimum, having played just 132 games in the bigs.

I talked to three of my Cubs sources to see if they thought this rumor had any validity.  One called it "totally absurd."  The another said that given Wood’s blanket no-trade clause, the rumor’s not feasible.  I haven’t been able to find Jim Williams’s email address to ask him about that aspect of the deal.  A third source called the rumor sounded "shaky," saying that Wood would probably approve a deal to the Astros or Rangers, but not the Nationals.  He mentioned that Wood will need more than spring training to prove his shoulder is healthy, and a July trade wouldn’t be a surprise.   

My thoughts on the players: Vidro’s decline is coming on fast and he may never be completely healthy again.  Church will be a solid Major Leaguer if he gets the opportunity.  Wood seems destined for the bullpen in the long-term, perhaps with a Gagne-like run in the cards.