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Luke Scott Rumors
Links from the AL East..
- The Orioles could have an interesting decision to make on 33-year-old Luke Scott after the season, writes Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. Scott will enter his final year of arbitration after making $6.4MM this season and the O's probably won't want to pay much more than that. Trading him might be the logical move but Zrebiec doesn't see much of a market for the 33-year-old.
- After being DFA'd, outfielder Mike Cameron pointed to his lack of playing time with the Red Sox for hurting his overall play. However, the veteran knew that he'd be seeing a reduced role this season, writes Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.
- The New York Times Co. has sold more than half its holdings in the Fenway Sports Group, which includes the BoSox, for $117MM, writes Beth Healy of The Boston Globe. Times Co. has recouped more than what the media company spent on its entire original investment. The purchasers of the shares were affiliates of existing partners, according to Sox owner John Henry.
ESPN's Jayson Stark recently chatted with fans about several topics, including these hot stove-related items…
- Stark predicts there won't be "a lot of difference-making starters" available at the trade deadline this summer, so a lower-tier arm like Jason Marquis could garner some interest if Washington makes him available.
- It has been widely assumed that this is Jonathan Papelbon's last year in Boston, but Stark isn't so sure the stopper will find a better deal elsewhere. "He'll test the market," Stark writes, "but you'll have a ton of closers out there this winter. [Papelbon] might not get what he thinks he'll get."
- Stark hears from teams who have "kicked the tires" about acquiring Derek Lowe that the Braves want to keep the veteran right-hander. (Stark's ESPN colleague Buster Olney reported the same earlier this week.) Atlanta values its starting pitching depth, which has already been tested this season with Brandon Beachy's current DL stint.
- The Phillies "can't add anybody who makes even modest money unless ownership signs off on it," which could leave them unable to make a major acquisition at the trade deadline.
- Stark has heard from some general managers that "eventually, there will be a push to get rid of the DH" to get both leagues playing under the same set of rules. Such a rule change would be years away from being implemented, however, since teams have spent a lot on players who they intended to use as designated hitters now or in the future.
- The Orioles don't seem like they'd be willing to trade Jeremy Guthrie, and Luke Scott "isn't an easy guy to deal" given his controversial political views.
- Jesus Montero "isn't ready" for the majors yet, according to some International League scouts.
- Scott's contract includes a standard awards package that could put another $350K into his pocket according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.
- President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail talked to a group of Baltimore School of Law students today, and The Baltimore Suns' Keith Van Valkenburg has the goods. MacPhail acknowledged that the team will not "be buying No. 1 pitchers" because they're expensive and fragile by the time they hit free agency. "It's just a bad place for us to spend our money."
- MacPhail said the team intends to stay the course and build from within, especially on the mound. "Given the economics of it, it's the only approach. It's not just the right approach, it's the only approach. We have to stick with it."
- The franchise is not able to sustain a $140MM payroll, and MacPhail doesn't foresee a salary cap anytime soon. "If you want a cap, OK, but in my opinion that means you're going to have no baseball for at least a year. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking the players will cave."
- ESPN.com's Keith Law tells Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com that he doesn't like what the Orioles have done this offseason. Vladimir Guerrero is, in Law's estimation, "in the toaster" even if he's not yet toast. Blocking Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie with Guerrero doesn't make sense to Law.
The Orioles avoided arbitration with Luke Scott, agreeing to a $6.4MM deal, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. As our Arb Tracker shows, Scott filed for $6.85MM, while the O's countered with a $5.7MM offer.
Scott led the Orioles in homers (27) last year, when he earned $4.05MM. The 32-year-old hit .284/.368/.535 in 517 plate appearances, mostly as the Orioles' DH. Scott will play left field in 2011, when Vladimir Guerrero takes over as the Orioles' everyday DH.
The Orioles can retain Scott in 2012 if they offer arbitration, but they could choose to cut him loose after the season if they determine that his salary as a fourth-time arbitration eligible player will out-strip his production.
Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is one of eight arbitration eligible players who is still without a contract for 2011.
The Yankees already added a reliever today. Here are some notes on what their division rivals are up to…
- Adrian Gonzalez says he hasn't imposed a deadline for extension negotiations with the Red Sox, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Gonzalez, who worked out at Red Sox camp today, did not seem worried about talks with Boston, according to Cafardo.
- The Blue Jays' arbitration hearing with Jose Bautista will take place Monday, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Jays signed Ryan Shealy to a minor league deal, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter). The 31-year-old appeared in five games for the Red Sox last year after spending the 2009 season in the minors. Shealy posted a .231/.345/.472 line at Triple-A for the Red Sox and Rays last year.
- Speaking of Boston, Alex Speier of WEEI.com introduces us to the team's many bullpen candidates. They have lots of left-handers to choose from. Felix Doubront, Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Hideki Okajima and Dennys Reyes will provide manager Terry Francona with plenty of options.
- The Orioles are actively discussing deals with Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The O’s don’t appear to be on the verge of an agreement with either arbitration eligible player. Scott’s hearing is next Monday and Guthrie’s hearing will take place Wednesday. Keep track of all the remaining arbitration hearings with our Arb Tracker.
It's been a surprisingly busy winter for the Orioles with their newest acquisition coming tonight in the form of a one-year, $8MM deal with Vladimir Guerrero. Here's are some of the reactions to the newest Oriole plus other pieces of O's news..
- The $8MM deal with Guerrero will bring Baltimore's payroll to roughly $93MM, up from $73MM in 2010, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun.
- Landing Guerrero puts an exclamation point on an offseason that started poorly, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. In a separate tweet, Heyman calls the $8MM deal a "miracle" for the slugger.
- New Orioles right-hander Justin Duchscherer was asked to undergo a more rigorous physical exam than most, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com. The 33-year-old has been through two hip operations over the last two years.
- The O's haven't made any progress on their arbitration case with Luke Scott, tweets Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Both parties are still hopeful that they can avoid a hearing. Scott has already said that he would like to sign a long-term deal in Baltimore. You can keep track on all arbitration cases with MLBTR's Arb Tracker.
Hunter Pence and his representatives at Beverly Hills Sports Council likely took notice when Mike Napoli and the Rangers agreed to a $5.8MM salary for 2011. And Pence’s agency will probably be watching the cases for Luke Scott and Delmon Young just as carefully (keep track of all arbitration submissions with MLBTR's Arb Tracker).
Pence, a super two who is arbitration eligible for the second time, asked for more money than Scott, Napoli, or Young even though the Astros outfielder is a year further from free agency than the others. Pence can ask for $6.9MM through arbitration, since his career totals compare well with players like Scott and Young, who are on track to hit free agency after 2012.
Pence doesn’t have as much big league experience as Scott, Napoli or Young, but he has more career runs and stolen bases than any of them and comparable home run and RBI totals. Pence is also working from a relatively high base salary ($3.5MM) and is the only one of the players above to have made an All-Star team.
Length and consistency of career contribution matter in an arbitration hearing, which plays in Pence’s favor. He has appeared in 156 games or more in each of his three full seasons, hitting exactly 25 homers three times in a row. He has finished the past two campaigns with a .282 batting average, so it shouldn’t be hard for BHSC to show that Pence has been consistent and durable.
Pence is far from a perfect player; he has been successful just 61% of the time he has attempted to steal bases and doesn’t walk as much as Scott or Napoli. But it's his $6.9MM asking price that could become his biggest problem. Napoli, a comparable player in terms of career accomplishments, settled for $5.8MM. Carlos Quentin, another comparable player, already settled for $5.05MM, reducing the others’ leverage.
Young ($6.25MM) and Scott ($6.85MM) filed for less than Pence, but they could still help their fellow-outfielder by winning in arbitration. If they lose or settle, however, Pence will have a hard time explaining that he’s worth more than the $6.025MM midpoint (the Astros filed at $5.15MM) when comparable players are making $5-6MM.
Pence and the Astros are headed to arbitration soon and what happens with Scott and Young could have a major impact on how much the Astros are paying their right fielder for 2011 and beyond.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
Last season, the AL East produced two 95-win teams and two more who won at least 85 games. However, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the division has seen recent success off the field as well as on it. Three AL East teams – the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Rays – rank among the top five in Sherman's list of baseball's best offseasons. Here are a few other division-related items:
- Luke Scott would be "all for" signing a contract to keep him in Baltimore long-term, he tells the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly. As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Scott is one of two remaining arbitration cases for the Orioles, along with Jeremy Guthrie.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star (Twitter link) thinks it makes a lot of sense for the Jays to sign Eric Chavez to a minor league deal, though he acknowledges that the third baseman has other offers and the final say.
- Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News believes Andy Pettitte will pitch for the Yankees again, "sooner rather than later."
- Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times runs through a few moves the Rays could make in the coming weeks, but says the team is "pretty much set" for Spring Training.
Some news items out of the Orioles' FanFest event this weekend…
- The Orioles have discussed a multiyear contract with Jeremy Guthrie, the right-hander tells MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski. "I love pitching here and anytime you can provide your family with security, it's a great option," Guthrie said. "I'm very happy to also play it out year-by-year and have the motivation to go out and do the best that I can. Whatever happens, I'll be a good spot." Guthrie is going through the arbitration process for the second time in his career; MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently analyzed Guthrie's case.
- Kevin Millwood is still an option for the O's, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Andy MacPhail told the FanFest crowd that the idea of re-signing Millwood "hasn't been ruled out 'by any stretch,' " but the Orioles can't guarantee a rotation spot to Millwood or any free agent starter. We've heard that Millwood is interested in returning to Baltimore, but without the promise of a regular starting gig, he could turn to other suitors like the Indians or Yankees.
- Luke Scott has told Buck Showalter that not only is he willing to move to left field if Baltimore signs Vladimir Guerrero, but Scott "wants to play defense," Showalter tells Steve Melewski. Scott played 106 games in left in 2008 and had a very solid +5.8 UZR/150 rating, but he has made just 40 outfield starts over the last two seasons.
Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. Let's keep track of those figures here, with the latest updates on top. You can track all of the players that avoided arbitration today here.
- MLB.com's Jane Lee tweets that Craig Breslow filed for $1.55MM, but the Athletics countered with $1.15MM.
- Zachary Levine of The Houston Chronicle has some figures for the Astros. Wandy Rodriguez filed for $10.25MM, Hunter Pence for $6.9MM. The team countered with $8MM and $5.15MM, respectively.
- Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star tweets that Billy Butler filed for $4.3MM while the Royals countered with $3.4MM.
- Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Javier Lopez filed for $2.875MM and Andres Torres for $2.6MM (Twitter link). The Giants countered with $2MM and $1.8MM, respectively.
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