Miguel Cabrera Rumors

Cabrera: Ordonez Hopes To Return To Tigers

While Magglio Ordonez hasn't been seen in the Tigers' clubhouse since he underwent season-ending surgery last month, he has kept in touch with teammates such as Miguel Cabrera.  Earlier this evening, Cabrera told reporters that his good friend wants to remain in Detroit next season, writes Jason Beck of MLB.com.

"I've talked to [Ordonez]," the first baseman said. "He said he feels better. He wants so bad to play, but his injury, he feels bad. He wants to come back next year here. He wants to stay here."

Ordonez seemed likely to return to the club as he needed just 540 plate appearances or 135 starts in order for his $15MM option for 2011 to vest.  However, a broken ankle suffered in late July made it an impossibility.

The 37-year-old slugger hit .303/.378/.474 with 12 homers in 84 games this season.

Cafardo On Suzuki, Cabrera, Griffey, Zambrano

In Nick Cafardo's latest piece for the Boston Globe, he takes an extended look at the Red Sox' early-season catching issues. He reiterates that if David Ortiz's struggles continue, the logical solution is to move Victor Martinez to DH and acquire a catcher. Cafardo names Kurt Suzuki as a player who would intrigue the Sox, since he can hit as well as play defense. Here are a few of Cafardo's other notes:

  • Other catchers to keep an eye on for the Sox include Chris Iannetta, Miguel Olivo, Chris Snyder, and even Twins prospect Wilson Ramos, though he'd be costly.
  • Cafardo praises the work Miguel Cabrera has put in to improve his image after last year's off-field problems. According to Cafardo, the Tigers "entertained trade proposals for him, but they wanted the farm in return."
  • Ken Griffey Jr. is off to a slow start this year, but the Mariners will give him time to work through it. Seattle may eventually have to limit his playing time if his bat doesn't get hot, but would never release him.
  • Cafardo is skeptical that the Cubs will be able to trade for a setup man and move Carlos Zambrano back into the rotation in the near future, suggesting the relief market is fairly thin.
  • One AL international scout's assessment of Cuban shortstops Jose Iglesias and Adeiny Hechavarria: "Iglesias is certainly the more polished player at this stage, but Hechavarria has more upside…. I’d say Iglesias could play defensively in the big leagues right now, where Hechavarria would need a year or two to refine his game a bit." While the Sox would like to give Iglesias more minor league experience, they could bring him up if something were to happen to Marco Scutaro or Dustin Pedroia.

Largest Contracts In Team History

We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time and position, so let's now dig up the largest contracts ever given out by each of the 30 teams. These are in terms of guaranteed money only, but some could end up being even larger because of incentives and option years.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

Largest Contracts By Service Time

When Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo signed his five year, $30.1MM extension earlier today, it marked the largest contract ever signed by a pitcher with less than three years of service time.

Let's look at the richest contracts by service time, in terms of guaranteed money…

Less Than One Year
Position Player: Ryan Braun. Eight years, $45MM
Pitcher: C.C. Sabathia. Four years, $9.5MM.

One To Two Years
Position Player: Chris Young. Five years, $28MM.
Pitcher: Fausto Carmona. Four years, $15MM.

Two To Three Years
Position Player: Hanley Ramirez. Six years, $70MM.
Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo.  Five years, $30.1MM.

Three To Four Years
Position Player: Albert Pujols. Seven years, $100MM. 
Pitcher: Scott Kazmir. Three years, $28.5MM.

Four To Five Years
Position Player: Miguel Cabrera. Eight years, $152.3MM.
Pitcher: Justin Verlander. Five years, $80MM.

Five To Six Years
Position Player: Derek Jeter. Ten years, $189MM.
Pitcher: Jake Peavy. Three years, $52MM. 

Six-plus Years
Position Player: Alex Rodriguez. Ten years, $275MM.
Pitcher: C.C. Sabathia. Seven years, $171MM.

Some thoughts…

  • The most regrettable deals were signed very early in the player's career, Young and Carmona. Might be a lesson in using up those pre-arbitration years before taking the plunge.
  • The largest contract signed by a position player with less than one year of service time after Braun's deal is Evan Longoria's, which will pay him just $17.5MM over six years. Is Braun overpaid, or is Longoria underpaid? I think the answer is clear.
  • Sabathia's four year, $9.5MM deal nearly tripled Roy Halladay's three year, $3.7MM deal with Toronto, which was the previous record for a pitcher with less an a year of service time.
  • One only of the above contracts has expired.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

Detroit’s 2011 Payroll Situation

Once the Tigers traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson for four pre-arbitration eligible players, the thought was that owner Mike Ilitch was trimming payroll after the recession hit Detroit especially hard. However, he then approved a massive extension for ace Justin Verlander as well as the signing of Johnny Damon, and now his team's Opening Day payroll is expected to be somewhere around $130MM, up from $115MM last year.

Lynn Henning of The Detroit News wrote about the payroll savings GM Dave Dombrowski will enjoy after the season, which are pretty significant. Here's a look at the money the Tigers have coming off the books after the 2010 season…

That's $57.025MM in savings right there, and the team would be wise to avoid letting Magglio Ordonez reach the 540 plate appearances needed for his $15MM option to vest.

Ilitch isn't shy about spending big on the free agent market, and he'll have the money available to add a big bat to complement Miguel Cabrera (Jayson Werth, Aramis Ramirez if he declines his option?) as well as another elite starter to a rotation that already includes Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer (Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee?) after the season. Keep in mind that I was just throwing some names out there off our 2011 free agents list, and that the Tigers have not been linked to any of those players in any rumors we've seen.

The Tigers are already in a position to compete in the AL Central, and once they shed some dead money after the season, they'll have a chance to jump ahead of the pack if they spend wisely. 

Cafardo On Sheets, Lowell, Pineiro

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why more teams don't take advantage of arbitration hearings. Clubs do have a history of winning cases against their players in recent years. Here are Cafardo's latest rumors:

  • A Red Sox source tells Cafardo that it's unlikely the team signs Ben Sheets. Not a surprise, given Boston's rotation depth.
  • One scout is certain Ron Mahay will be on a major league roster by the time Spring Training starts. 
  • An NL scout considers Miguel Batista a "very serviceable piece."
  • Since Miguel Cabrera was in rehab for alcoholism this offseason, teams weren't eager to trade prospects for the first baseman and pay his $20MM salary.
  • As we heard last week, the Twins are interested in signing Jim Thome. 
  • The Red Sox and Angels considered swapping Mike Lowell for Gary Matthews Jr. before concerns about Lowell's thumb emerged. 
  • An AL GM considers Joel Pineiro "another middle-rotation guy." 

Cafardo On Damon, Hernandez, Delgado

In his new column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe discusses the Red Sox' decision to move Jacoby Ellsbury from center field to left field, concluding that the 26-year-old should excel in left. Here are some other notes from Cafardo's piece:

  • Despite having a productive season, Johnny Damon acknowledges that he's expecting to take a pay cut. Right now though, he isn't willing to slice his earnings in half, which is what he'd be doing if he accepted a deal worth $6-7MM annually, after making $13MM in each of the last four years. Is returning to the Bronx still a possibility for Damon? "I don’t know. I haven’t had any conversations with them recently. Nothing would surprise me, but there’s nothing there right now."
  • Talks between Felix Hernandez and the Mariners are "getting serious" and there's a chance that they could work out a long-term deal before the season begins.
  • The Mets and Orioles are the primary suitors for Carlos Delgado. Baltimore is more interested in Delgado as a first baseman than a designated hitter, since they'd prefer a right-handed DH.
  • Gary Sheffield still feels he can be an everyday player, but says a market hasn't developed for him yet this offseason.
  • Cafardo describes the lack of interest in Miguel Tejada so far as "baffling."
  • Although Miguel Cabrera's name popped up earlier in the winter as a possible trade candidate, it looks like the enormous price tag (in terms of both his salary and the required return) has quieted those rumors for now.
  • Colby Lewis' impressive numbers in Japan over the past two seasons could earn him a multi-year contract. Cafardo says that at least six teams are interested, and that the Red Sox aren't one of them.

Gammons On Bay, Holliday, Gonzalez, Cabrera

Yesterday, Peter Gammons appeared in-studio on WEEI with Dale & Holley to talk about the state of the offseason in Boston.  Here are some notes from his hour-long chat…

  • It's unlikely that the BoSox will be able to bring back Jason Bay, as they already made him the best offer that he has received.
  • Gammons quips that Bay would "rather play in Beirut than Queens" and adds that he should have taken Boston's offer of $60MM over four years back in July.
  • As for the Mets, if they are unable to land Bay, Gammons doesn't see them adding anybody else of a similar caliber.  With their unwillingness to go over the luxury tax threshold, they are more likely to pocket the money to make a mid-season deal.
  • Gammons calls Scott Boras "brilliant," but questions his wisdom in turning down the five-year $82.5MM offer the Red Sox made Matt Holliday.  That could be the best offer he has seen so far.
  • While we have heard rumors of an Adrian Gonzalez-to-Boston swap for months, the two sides have yet to exchange names.  Gammons says it would be virtually impossible for the Padres to deal him before July.
  • Miguel Cabrera could become available if the Tigers stumble out of the gate.  If he is available, Boston would be interested, despite concerns about him off-the-field.
  • Gammons expects Josh Beckett to be the second most-coveted free agent on the market next winter, behind Cliff Lee.  Naturally, a healthy season would go a long way towards boosting his value.
  • After reading the post here on MLBTradeRumors about Frank Wren saying that the Braves were going to get a major bat, he was surprised to later find out that the slugger was Troy Glaus.  Trading Javier Vazquez and Rafael Soriano was about saving $16MM, not about the players they received.

Red Sox Rundown: Kelly, Bay, Dice-K

Several Red Sox links floating around out there, let's put them all together to simplify things:

  • Amalie Benjamin at the Boston Globe reports that Sox prospect Casey Kelly has decided to focus entirely on pitching. Kelly had worked both as a pitcher and a shortstop, but has decided to take his four-pitch arsenal full-time. Red Sox brass rave about Kelly's potential, and he's been mentioned frequently in connection to Roy Halladay trades. Kelly, 19 this past season, posted a 2.08 ERA and 0.85 WHIP through 95 innings between Class-A Greenville and High-A Salem this year. He walked just 16 overall and allowed only four home runs.
  • Nick Cafardo looks at the developing market for Jason Bay, and quotes both Theo Epstein and Terry Francona as saying Bay is their priority. Epstein recognizes that there are alternatives, including Matt Holliday and Josh Willingham, should Bay land with another club.
  • Additionally, in the same piece, Cafardo adds that the Sox haven't ruled out John Lackey, and are trying to keep blockbuster windows open to explore deals for Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Halladay.
  • Peter Abraham looks at the repaired relationship between Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox organization.
  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier analyzes what the Red Sox offense would look like in 2010 without Bay orHolliday, but with Marco Scutaro in the picture.

Twitter Rumors: Doumit, Mahay, Wolf, Jenkins

Collecting some tweets I couldn't quite turn into posts…

  • Four unknown teams are in on Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • The Nationals have interest in free agent catcher Brad Ausmus, says MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
  • The Red Sox have interest in free agent lefty Ron Mahay, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. The 38-year-old posted a 4.29 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9 in 50.3 innings for the Royals and Twins this year.  Two years ago he was quite a hot commodity on the free agent market.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says Brett Myers is seeking a two-year deal.  The Rangers and other teams are interested at one year.  Crasnick wrote a few days ago that the Astros are also interested, while Andrew Baggarly named the Giants as a suitor today.
  • Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times shoots down Danny Knobler's rumor that the Pirates have interest in Juan Pierre.  Nonetheless, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets of interest from the Pirates, White Sox, and a third team.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees want to resolve the Andy Pettitte/Johnny Damon situations before moving on to Hideki Matsui and other starting pitcher options.
  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune that the Sox are not in the market for a pure DH.
  • The Brewers are making a "strong run" at Randy Wolf, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Ruben Amaro Jr.'s comment that "those are guys we will probably count on" implies relievers Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey will be tendered contracts by the Phillies (Andy Martino reporting).
  • Crasnick says Geoff Jenkins wants to make a comeback in 2010 and has been working out at first base and outfield in hopes of landing a bench role.
  • Crasnick says to expect the Cubs to tender a contract to Mike Fontenot on Saturday.
  • Bill Shanks quoting Braves manager Bobby Cox: "clubs are knocking on the door for Kelly Johnson."  I imagine Johnson will be dealt by Saturday.
  • ESPN's Gordon Edes says that while Red Sox owner John Henry is a big fan of Miguel Cabrera from their Marlins days, the Red Sox "don't have the Major League-ready position players Detroit wants in return."
  • Crasnick expects Elmer Dessens to re-sign with the Mets, though the pitcher has talked to the Dodgers and Padres.
  • Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Braves want to move Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez, but not Kenshin Kawakami.
  • Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies will meet with Chan Ho Park's agent today "and attempt to resolve their differences over Park's value."  The Phils did not offer arbitration to Park, a Type B free agent.  Park craves another shot at starting, which won't happen in Philly.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Phillies like Brandon Lyon, but aren't "willing to pay the price for him."  Lyon is said to be seeking a multiyear deal.  He is expected to turn down the Tigers' offer of arbitration today.  The Yankees have been named as another suitor.
  • Crasnick says the Astros "have very little money to spend, unless Drayton McLane suddenly has a change of heart."