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Links for Wednesday…
- Check out Huston Street's contract extension details, courtesy of Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Free agent reliever Joe Nelson has expressed an interest in pitching for the Cubs, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Nelson seemed like a bargain signing by the Rays at $1.3MM, but his control and flyball rates took a turn for the worse and he was designated for assignment in September.
- ESPN's Keith Law ranks the farm systems, from the Rangers at #1 to the White Sox at #30. Law's Top 100 Prospects list comes out tomorrow.
- Baseball America is also kicking into gear, with their Prospect Handbook coming out soon. They're holding an all-day chat Friday, with BA editors as well as prospects Tim Alderson, Ryan Westmoreland, Logan Morrison, and Casey Crosby available for your questions.
- ESPN's Tim Kurkjian has a must-read article on Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and his plan to bring the team back to prominence.
- Scott Lauber of The News Journal tweets that while the Phillies like Chien-Ming Wang, but he might not be a fit because he won't be ready for the start of the season.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets are on a "Pollyanna streak," currently regarding their rotation. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports seems to believe the Mets are a total mess, and suggests they start over.
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News that he wouldn't have made the Billy Wagner deal last August without the shot at two draft picks.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says that the A's agreed not to offer arbitration to Ben Sheets if he's a Type A free agent after the season. Achieving that status seems impossible anyway after he missed all of '09 and did not receive DL days. Slusser also notes that Coco Crisp received a $250K signing bonus, bringing his deal to $5.5MM guaranteed.
Brendan Bianowicz is back with a bunch of updates to the GM Trade History series. The Excel spreadsheets linked below cover each GM's trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks via tabs along the bottom. It's interesting to see each GM's most frequent trade partner – for example, Omar Minaya has matched up with Larry Beinfest and Mark Shapiro most often in his career.
Let's gather up the latest Mets hot stove links…
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Jesse Spector of the New York Daily News, and Ken Davidoff of Newsday all trashed yesterday's signing of Alex Cora for $2MM. The basic premise is that every dollar counts when you're up against a payroll limit, and uninspired signings like Cora, John Grabow, and Ramon Hernandez for $2-3MM hurt.
- In that same blog post, Davidoff says the Mets "like Matt Holliday, but it's pretty apparent that they're not going after him the way they pursued Carlos Beltran five years ago."
- The Mets are poised to add Henry Blanco and Chris Coste as backup options, but Davidoff says their top free agent target is Bengie Molina. If he's offered arbitration today and turns it down later, Molina would cost the Mets' their #40 draft pick (unless they also sign a higher-ranked Type A who turned down arb, in which case their #40 pick would go to another team and the Giants would get #71). Davidoff notes that Gerald Laird and Chris Snyder were Mets trade targets in the past, and that other free agent catchers would not cost a draft pick. Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post says the Mets are interested in Type B free agent Rod Barajas.
- Roch Kubatko of MASN talked to Orioles president Andy MacPhail about Wayne Krivsky leaving his special assistant position with the O's for a better position with the Mets. Knowing that Krivsky wants to be a GM again, does this put more pressure on Omar Minaya?
A few more links to peruse, including some fascinating news out of Queens and L.A….
- Sources have informed SI.com's Jon Heyman that the re-signing of longtime Mets scout Sandy Johnson is an indication of the "diminishing faith" in general manager Omar Minaya. Johnson was apparently talked into returning because of the stability he brings to the front office. He had been considering retirement.
- According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Frank McCourt revealed in his divorce filing Wednesday that he fired his wife, Jamie, as Dodgers CEO because she had an affair with her personal driver and "undermined the chain of command by not reporting directly to him." This is only going to get uglier and could hurt the stability of the organization as we near the offseason.
- SB Nation's Viva El Birdos is hosting an ongoing discussion on some of the Cardinals' potential offseason trade chips. Skip Schumaker, Ryan Ludwick and Mitchell Boggs are among the names being thrown around.
According to Peter Gammons, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon is the general manager of the Mets, not actual GM Omar Minaya.
Gammons went on to describe Minaya as "the one out there to take the heat” on Michael Kay's 1050 AM radio show Wednesday.
This has implications for how the Mets will proceed this winter, of course. The good news is that if Wilpon wants to spend money on a player, he doesn't need to run it by ownership, since he is, in fact, ownership. The bad news is, no one knows exactly how much baseball expertise Jeff Wilpon has.
The quote from former Mets' co-owner Nelson Doubleday in 2003 isn't encouraging:
“Mr. Jeff Wilpon has decided that he’s going to learn how to run a baseball team and take over at the end of the year… Run for the hills, boys. I think probably all those baseball people will bail… Jeff sits there by himself like he’s King Tut waiting for his camel.”
This has ramifications for recently-jettisoned Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo as well. After all, Jaramillo has been linked to the Mets before, and the well-respected coach once managed a young minor leaguer named Omar Minaya.
While a failure to bring in Jaramillo doesn't prove much, if the Mets do bring him in, it goes a long way toward showing that Minaya still has some power with the Mets.
Some links to peruse in between innings of the Cards/Dodgers game….
- Barry M. Bloom at MLB.com writes that Twins catcher Joe Mauer is concerned with "winning, not fame." Mauer's willingness to fly under the radar might be good news for Minnesota fans worried that the batting champ will eventually leave town for a larger market. Of course, I'm sure knocking off the Yankees would help too.
- No one thinks former Padres' GM Kevin Towers will be out of work for long. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Towers should be the first choice for any team seeking a general manager. The New York Post's Bart Hubbuch adds that he expects Towers to join the Mets' front office, since Omar Minaya's tenuous grasp on his job could result in an eventual promotion for Towers.
- Joel Pineiro tells MLB.com's Tom Singer that developing a sinker was the key to his 2009 success. Singer points out that Pineiro leads all free agent starters in a handful of categories this year, including baserunners allowed. The 31-year-old righty will get a chance to prove his effectiveness on a bigger stage this weekend against the Dodgers.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe speculates on Joba Chamberlain's 2010 role, wondering if "the pitcher Red Sox fans love to hate may be no better than a set-up man after all."
- Baseball America's Aaron Fitt views the settlement between the NCAA and Andy Oliver as a "return to status quo" for the draft's "no agent" rule, but doesn't anticipate it lasting long.
- We've heard some rumblings that Oakland's David Forst might be in the mix for the Padres' vacant GM spot. ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wonders, if it's true, why the Padres wouldn't just hire the ex-A's assistant GM they already have: Paul DePodesta.
Mets GM Omar Minaya has interest in hiring two of his former counterparts, Kevin Towers and J.P. Ricciardi. Joel Sherman of the New York Postsays Minaya contacted the ousted GMs "to express his support…and also to lay the groundwork to speak to both soon about possible jobs in the Mets' organization."
Sherman notes that Minaya is on thin ice, and bringing in his potential replacement is a double-edged sword. Plus, Minaya would have to deal with Towers ribbing him about the Heath Bell trade.
In other Mets news, Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reported on Twitterthis morning that Minaya fired coaches Sandy Alomar Sr. and Luis Alicea while retaining Howard Johnson and Dan Warthen. Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has a few more details.
On this date five years ago, Carlos Delgado hit his 300th career home run. He would go on to hit three more home runs that game to become just the 15th big leaguer to hit four in one game. Now in the final year of a five-year, $60MM contract, Delgado has a season average of .298 with four homers and 23 RBI in the 26 games he played before his hip surgery. Jon Heyman reported that the Mets are open to bringing him back next year. However, Adam Rubin wrote that the Mets will not offer Delgado arbitration. With one week remaining before the off-season starts for most teams, let's take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere…
- MLB Notebook looks at where Brandon Webb could end up if the D'Backs decline his option.
- Royals Authority wonders if the Phillies would be a good trade partner to land Joakim Soria.
- The Bottom Line writes that the Red Sox either have to re-sign Jason Bay or pick up Matt Holliday.
- Bucco Fans says the Pirates have money to spend this off-season and speculates on where that money might be spent.
- Jorge Says No! speculates on what it might take to sign Justin Verlander to an extension.
- Prospect Insider looks at what it might take to sign Felix Hernandez to an extension.
- Blogging Mets lists Omar Minaya's worst moves.
- Sports: A Game Of Inches compares Jonny Gomes to Adam Dunn. Gomes will be arbitration-eligible after the season.
Links for Wednesday…
- Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune talked to Aramis Ramirez about his $14.6MM player option for 2011, and the Cubs' third baseman was noncommittal. Other third basemen who may become free agents after the 2010 season include Garrett Atkins, Jorge Cantu, Mike Lowell, Jhonny Peralta, and Scott Rolen.
- Former top prospect Andy Marte spoke with Indians GM Mark Shapiro about the future, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Shapiro told Marte to play first and third base in winter ball and show up early to Spring Training. It was a tough year for Marte, who turns 26 in November. He was designated for assignment to make room for Juan Salas in February, cleared waivers, raked at Triple A, and then struggled in the bigs.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told MLB.com's Mark Bowman that Derek Lowe "pitched really well for us." Aside from his home run rate, Lowe's numbers declined across the board this year.
- The Nationals will improve their minor league catching depth for next year, GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Miguel Angel Sano is on the backburner for the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of MASN learned from team president Andy MacPhail. MLB's inconclusive age investigation is the problem.
- David Waldstein of the New York Times says Ramon Pena, a special assistant to Mets GM Omar Minaya, will not be back next year. Waldstein says a scouting/player development shakeup is in order. Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has info on possible changes aside from Pena.
- White Sox closer Bobby Jenks is out for the season with a calf injury. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders about the righty's future, given a possible $7MM arbitration reward for the 2010 season.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News notes the impending raise for Giants closer Brian Wilson, who enters his first arbitration year. Jenks' $5.6MM salary this year will serve as a comparable, so the Giants will add around $5MM to the payroll compared to Wilson's $480K this year.
- Braves manager Bobby Cox was not happy with the way GM Frank Wren handled the John Smoltz situation last winter, according to Yahoo's Gordon Edes.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andy Marte | Aramis Ramirez | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Bobby Jenks | Brian Wilson | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Cleveland Indians | Derek Lowe | Frank Wren | John Smoltz | Miguel Sano | New York Mets | Omar Minaya | San Francisco Giants | Washington Nationals
Links for Friday…
- Yahoo's Gordon Edes on what might've been: Alex Rodriguez in Boston.
- MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone interviewed GM Omar Minaya.
- Milton Bradley is not a fan of the Chicago media. He explained why in an exclusive chat with MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- Rob Bradford of WEEI talks about the scarcity of middle-of-the-order bats on the free agent market, as it relates to the Red Sox.
- Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald wonders if Luis Vizcaino could return to the White Sox.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Sponichi report indicating that the Hiroshima Carp are in contract talks with minor league veteran Scott McClain.
- Mike Thomas of The Herald News caught up with Shea Hillenbrand and got the player's take on the various incidents in his career.