Mark Teixeira Rumors
As the ALCS gets underway, let's look at some news from around the majors...
- Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com (Insider subscription needed) proposes that if the Phillies can unload some big contracts, they could make a run at signing Cliff Lee this winter. Adding Lee to the current Roy Halladay/Roy Oswalt/Cole Hamels mix would create one of the all-time great rotations in baseball history, but this seems like a major longshot. If the Phils can really move Joe Blanton or Raul Ibanez like they can in Churchill's scenario, one would think they'd spend that freed-up money on more pressing needs than pitching.
- Writing for MLB.com, former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire strongly endorses Sandy Alderson for the vacant Mets GM job. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith profiled Alderson earlier today.
- Yoon Chul, the reporter who wrote that Shin-Soo Choo wanted a "transfer" to a winning team, has apologized to the Indians for "editing problems" that altered the meaning of the Cleveland outfielder's words according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Another Korean journalist, Jeeho Yoo, told the Tribe that Choo said "he wants to stay with one club for a long time and Cleveland would be his first choice."
- Jed Lowrie's strong second half has made him a candidate to either take over the starting shortstop's job from Marco Scutaro or to become trade bait for a club looking for a young infielder, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
- Some conflicted early reaction to Seattle's pending hire of Eric Wedge: CBSSports.com's Scott Miller thinks "the Mariners could not have made a more uninspiring hire," while 710ESPN Seattle's Shannon Drayer gets great reviews of Wedge from former players and Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com looks back at the Rangers' 2007 trade of Mark Teixeira and how it was the starting point for the club's current success. Texas acquired Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones from Atlanta for the slugging first baseman --- safe to say the Rangers won that deal.
- Speaking of Teixeira, he cited teammate C.C. Sabathia as "arguably...the best free agent signing in Yankees history." The story from Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger cites Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Teixeira himself and others as candidates for that title, plus Yankees GM Brian Cashman posits that Orlando Hernandez might've been the best signing from a pure dollars-to-performance standpoint.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle writes that the Astros can take some lessons from how the Rangers rebuild their franchise, and that the Astros have finally belatedly gotten started on their own youth movement.
- Austin Kearns tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he "would love to stay" in New York next season.
Seven years ago today, Luis Castillo popped a ball up into the stands at Wrigley Field and a fan caught it, even though Moises Alou was right there. The Cubs were five outs away from clinching a World Series berth, but they ended up losing the 'Steve Bartman game' and the 2003 NLCS. Here are your links for Thursday...
- The Twins aren't expected to bring Orlando Hudson back or pick up Nick Punto's $5MM option, according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier.
- Cesar Izturis, a favorite of Buck Showalter's, seems more likely to return to Baltimore than other Orioles free agents, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. Last month, Izturis told MLBTR that he "definitely" wants to return to Baltimore.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that he's "comfortable" with the fact that the Yankees didn't complete their near-trade for Cliff Lee. The lefty will take the Yankees on in the ALCS and he figures to be a difference-maker.
- Mark Teixeira told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that he and Alex Rodriguez are happy for Michael Young and the Rangers. Both Teixeira and Rodriguez spent years in Texas before joining the Yankees, but they don't figure to show much mercy in the League Championship Series.
Links for Friday...
- Hayden Penn cleared waivers and now has until Monday to decide whether to report to Triple A or become a free agent, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). The Pirates designated Penn for assignment Monday.
- Jose Veras, who was designated for assignment Wednesday, has been outrighted to Triple A by the Marlins, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). This presumably means Veras cleared waivers.
- The Rockies called up Joe Beimel, according to the team. Beimel's deal pays him $850K in the major leagues.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick heard that Bret Boone is trying to recruit Doug Mientkiewicz and Bobby Kielty for his Golden League team (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Keith Law offers updates on some of the top prospects eligible for this June's draft, including Bryce Brentz, an outfielder who Law considers "one of the top college bats in this draft."
- Fred Lewis and his representatives had been asking the Giants for a trade for nearly a year, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- FanGraphs' Jack Moore calls the Lewis deal a no-brainer for the Blue Jays and a head-scratcher for the Giants.
- Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun takes us on a must-read behind the scenes look at the Adeiny Hechavarria signing.
- Recent injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron will test Boston's depth, says WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America brings us up to date on the latest round of minor league transactions. Among the notable players released: Brady Clark and Curtis Thigpen.
We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time, so now let's break it down by position...
Joe Mauer: Eight years, $184MM
Mark Teixeira: Eight years, $180MM
Chase Utley: Seven years, $85MM
Alex Rodriguez: Ten years, $252MM
Alex Rodriguez: Ten years, $275MM
- If you want to count DH as a position, which I guess it technically is, then Travis Hafner's four year, $57MM deal would top the list.
- Joe Mauer's contract is more than three and a half times larger than Jorge Posada's four year, $52.4MM deal, the second largest among active catchers. Mike Piazza's seven year, $91MM deal is the second largest for a catcher all-time.
- A-Rod only spent three years of his $252MM at the shortstop position before sliding over to third. The next largest contract ever given to a shortstop belongs to his teammate, Derek Jeter, who signed a ten year, $189MM deal in 2001.
- The Twins are the only team besides the Yankees to employ two of the largest contracts at their respective positions.
- The Soriano, Wells, Zito, and Hampton deals are all ones ownership wish they could take back. Brown spent a lot of time on the disabled list, but he did post a 3.23 ERA in close to 1,100 innings during the life of his deal.
- The Utley and Rivera deals are ones the teams would happily do again, but the jury is still out on the rest.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
However, that is a confusing bit of information. Market value is likely starting with Mark Teixeira and his eight-year, $180MM contract. So would San Diego merely have to reach this number, but some could be deferred? Or would the Padres need to exceed this to make up for the deferred money?
More to the point, it is far from clear that San Diego can afford Teixeira-type money, even if the money is deferred. But it is worth remembering, especially if talks start to heat up, the Padres might have a little extra cushion there.
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.
On this date back in 1983, Dodgers' hurler Fernando Valenzuela became the first player in baseball history to receive a seven-figure award through the arbitration process. During his first two-plus seasons as a big leaguer, Fernandomania had been named the Rookie of the Year, appeared in two All Star Games, and won a Cy Young Award. The arbitration panel awarded him a $1MM salary in his first year of eligibility, nearly tripling his 1982 salary.
As the last few present day arbitration cases wrap up, here are some links to check out from around the baseball blogiverse...
- Mets Paradise reviews the Amazin's offseason, and says they aren't a finished product even if the team believes they are.
- Capitol Avenue Club examines a potential Adrian Gonzalez-to-Atlanta trade, and notes that it's the same situation as the Mark Teixeira swap of 2007.
- Turn Two looks at some AL and NL position battles.
- The Sports Banter tries to find homes for the best remaining free agents.
- Phillies Nation grades the Jose Contreras pickup.
- Gear Up For Blue Jays Baseball breaks down Kevin Gregg and the rest of Toronto's bullpen.
- Tipi Talk wonders if Rafael Perez could contribute to the Indians as a starting pitcher.
- Dodgers Digital answers questions about how the Dodgers' roster decisions will affect their Triple-A affiliate.
- AdamAdkins.net ranks the top five catchers in the game today.
- Brew Crew Ball provides an easy-to-use guide for creating your own Spring Training story.
Here are some links on an understandably slow Thanksgiving night...
- Baltimore GM Andy MacPhail tells Steve Melewski of MASN Sports that the Orioles are willing to offer a big contract under the right circumstances. MacPhail points out that the club offered $140MM to Mark Teixeira as evidence that they are willing to spend. Given their recent history, do you believe him?
- The Padres are keeping close watch on first round draft pick Donavan Tate, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The third overall pick is recovering after undergoing sports hernia surgery in October.
- Despite plans to shift Ryan Theriot from shortstop to second base, Cubs GM Jim Hendry tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he has faith in the soon-to-be 30-year-old. Theriot has been told to prepare for a shift to the other side of the bag to make room for Starlin Castro. Recently it has been reported that the Cubs are interested in Mets second baseman Luis Castillo.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona was on WEEI's Dale & Holley earlier today (audio here, transcript courtesy of Alex Speier here), and spoke about a variety of Red Sox offseason topics. Let's round it all up...
- The team is currently interviewing candidates for openings in their coaching staff. Bench coach Brad Mills has since moved on to take over as Astros' skipper.
- Francona hopes the team re-signs Jason Bay, but he acknowledges that he's going to have other options. "You know we’re going to be a major player. We always are."
- He also thinks Bay won't drag out his decision until mid January.
- Francona says he has gone on free agent recruiting trips before, most notably to speak to John Smoltz and Mark Teixeira.
- Whenever GM Theo Epstein talks to him, Francona always tells him to get a pitcher.
- The team has met with John Lackey's agent, and Francona considers him "one of the best." He also notes that you're talking about a lot of years when committing to a player like that.
- Francona acknowledged that Alex Gonzalez stabilized the shortstop position, but "you look at that .310 on-base percentage, for a full year, if that’s what you’re going to go with, you’ve got to recoup that somewhere else."
Francona also spoke about how they mix stats and scouting, and how they "try to look at both and make good decisions."