Mike Lieberthal Rumors

Odds and Ends: Fukudome, Burrell, Furcal, Rolen

Two of my favorite local blogs have good hot stove posts for us today as part of Odds and Ends.

State Of The Dodgers

The L.A. Daily News’ Tony Jackson has a look at the Dodgers’ upcoming offseason.  You also might be interested in my recent Needs and Luxuries post on the team.  A summary of Jackson’s column:

  • Juan Pierre could be shifted to left field to allow the Dodgers to employ a stronger arm in center field.  It’s odd…teams seem to be souring on last winter’s signings even when they received exactly what everyone expected (Pierre and Jason Marquis, for example).  It’d be different for the Red Sox to sour on J.D. Drew, he played well below expectations in Year 1.  Anyway, Pierre could be moved to accomodate Matt Kemp (perhaps putting Andre Ethier in right), or the Dodgers could pursue a center fielder.  They’ve already been connected to Andruw Jones.
  • The Dodgers perceive third base as a big hole, apparently not willing to give Andy LaRoche another look.  Of course we have to mention Alex Rodriguez.  But how about Mike Lowell?
  • The Dodgers will pass on options for Ramon Martinez and Randy Wolf, but might consider Mike Lieberthal at $1.5MM.  Liebs could earn almost $40K per game next year, not too shabby.
  • L.A. has a couple of non-tender candidates: Mark Hendrickson and Chin-hui Tsao.  Apparently they will keep Hendrickson but cut Tsao loose.

Red Sox Need A Catcher

Jason Varitek needs knee surgery, and WEEI in Boston is saying he may be out 4-6 weeks.  I’m sure Will Carroll will have the definitive word on this Wednesday morning.

In the meantime, the Red Sox are scrambling for a catcher who can hit above the Mendoza line.  They’re going to have to shop for the high-salary, waiver-passing guys.  Who’s available?

Javy Lopez is the first name that comes to mind.  Lopez wants a flat-out release, but the Orioles won’t do that.  According to the Baltimore Sun, the team would like to pass him through waivers and cover some, but not all, of his salary in a trade.  He’s only caught 20 games this year.  There’s always the possibility the Yankees put in a claim on Lopez just to thwart the Sox.  Lopez has worked with current Yankees Jaret Wright and Sidney Ponson before.

Bengie Molina was a name thrown out by Jerry Crasnick today as a possible waiver trade candidate.  Molina makes $5MM on the season and the Jays are 6.5 games back (3-7 in their last ten games).

Mike Lieberthal is in the last year of a huge contract with the Phillies.  Liebs has experience catching Mike Timlin and Curt Schilling.  As a 10 and 5 player he can reject any waiver claim.

Jason LaRue is a player the Reds wouldn’t mind sending off.  He makes $3.9MM this year and $5.2MM in ’07.  LaRue is not happy as Dave Ross‘s backup.

Rod Barajas is being pushed aside in Texas, and he’ll hit free agency after the season.  He was a teammate of Curt Schilling‘s for several years in Arizona.

UPDATE:  According to Will Carroll, Varitek’s procedure is minor and should keep him out about three weeks.

Zito, Kendall For Floyd, Abreu, Lieberthal?

A wild rumor has surfaced on the A’s page of MLB.com. According to the site:

"Late Wednesday, another rumor popped up, with the Phillies said to have offered outfielder Bobby Abreu, catcher Mike Lieberthal and pitching prospect Gavin Floyd for lefty Barry Zito and catcher Jason Kendall."

Lieberthal and Kendall had about equal value on the field in 2005.  Comparing contracts, the catcher part of the deal is a big win for Oakland.  Kendall’s on the hook for $19MM through 2007, while Lieberthal is owed $7.5MM for 2006 only.  So the A’s come out a good $11.5MM ahead here, especially considering how bad Kendall could be by 2007.

Zito will be paid $7.9MM in 2006 before he hits free agency.  Here’s Dayn Perry’s thoughts on the lefthander:

"He’s a good starting pitcher who eats innings and is a safe bet to be a tick or two above average in terms of preventing runs. However, Zito’s not an ace. That he might be treated as one on the trade market is part of the reason why Oakland should deal him now."

Abreu is a star, and he will be paid like one for the next two or three years.  He’ll get $28MM through 2007 with a $16MM club option for ’08 and a $2MM buyout.  So the A’s would be on the hook for a ton of money, but they are getting a more valuable player.  Plus, even the A’s would consider signing Abreu as a free agent if he was asking for two years, $30MM.  That’s not a terrible price and the length is reasonable.

Gavin Floyd is kind of a throw-in to make Beane feel better about the salary he’d be taking on.  Floyd had a very ugly 163 innings in 2005, and still hasn’t come near mastering Triple A.  28 solid Major League innings in 2004 probably gave him a reputation he didn’t deserve.       

Thanks to the several emailers who passed this rumor along.