Pablo Sandoval Rumors
The Marlins will be paying Ozzie Guillen $2.5MM this season not to manage the team, according to D.J. Short of NBCSports.com (via Twitter). The financial figure is higher than all but the salaries of two players on the squad. Here's the latest news and stories making headlines from around the Major Leagues.
- Astros owner Jim Crane spoke in front of his ever-evolving ballclub on Saturday to share his vision for the future for the franchise and his plans on how to get there, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. "Certainly our fingerprints are all over this now and all the changes we made are our changes," Crane said. "Bo [Porter] told them this and I told them this: Neither one of us have lost in anything we've done, and we're not going to start now. We're expecting to turn this into a winner, starting today."
- Justin Upton and B.J. Upton are already over the initial joyous feelings that come with playing side-by-side with one's brother at the Major League level and focused on spoiling Davey Johnson's swan song, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. While the Nationals may have a more complete roster on paper than the Braves, each one of the Braves' starting outfielders, including Jason Heyward, poses a legitimate threat to compete for NL MVP.
- Pablo Sandoval's inability to keep his weight at an optimal level continues to be an ongoing issue for the hefty third baseman, says Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The veteran met with Giants manager Bruce Bochy in a closed-door meeting to discuss how being in baseball shape (Sandoval played winter ball) is not the same as playing at a healthy weight. "Like all the guys, we’ve got to get ourselves in game condition," Bochy said. "Even though he’s been playing games, it’s fair to say he has to shed a few pounds, and he will. He has the time. He’s up there working as we speak."
No MLB team finalized more extensions this offseason than the Giants, who locked up five of their top players. General manager Brian Sabean committed more than $200MM in future salaries in the four-month period from the beginning of January to the beginning of April. The extensions promised to solidify the team’s rotation long-term and cap the future earnings of a pair of arbitration eligible All-Stars.
For the most part, the extensions have worked for the team. Tim Lincecum's disappointing season is the largest blemish on an otherwise encouraging set of contracts for San Francisco.
Lincecum, whose early-career accomplishments assured him of a substantial raise, signed a two-year, $40.5MM contract extension to cover his final two arbitration years. Though he has pitched better lately, his ERA sits at 5.30 in what has been the most disappointing season of his MLB career. It’d be understandable if the Giants are relieved Lincecum didn’t accept their $100MM extension offer before the season. In that context, $40.5MM isn’t so expensive. Still, if the team had gone year to year with Lincecum, he wouldn’t have been locked in for a $22MM salary in 2013; a non-tender would have been possible.
Three other Giants starters have exceeded expectations since signing multiyear deals. Vogelsong, who signed a two-year, $8.3MM contract in January, is repeating last year's success. He has a 2.85 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 on his way toward a career high in innings pitched. Vogelsong would have been a free agent after the 2012 season if the Giants hadn't locked him up. They'll surely be glad to have him back for just $5MM in 2013 (the extension also includes a 2014 club option).
Like Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner has replicated his 2011 success. The 23-year-old left-hander has inserted himself into the NL Cy Young Award race by posting a 2.83 ERA with five times as many strikeouts as walks in 171 2/3 innings this year. He obtained a record deal for pitchers with one-plus years of MLB service (five-years, $35MM), so it’s not as though Bumgarner obtained anything less than full value back in April. But this deal could hardly be going better for the Giants.
Matt Cain also obtained a record-setting contract this spring. He obtained a five-year, $112.5MM contract that established a record for right-handed pitchers. He's earning Cy Young Award consideration again after pitching a perfect game and posting a 2.83 ERA in 174 2/3 innings. If Cain had reached the free agent market this offseason, he would be the most sought-after pitcher available. The Giants could have re-signed him, of course, but not without spending considerably more than they did in April.
Lastly, Pablo Sandoval's play has justified his new three-year, $17.15MM contract -- at least when he's been on the field. Although he spent time on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and a fractured hamate bone, he does have an .821 OPS in 294 plate appearances. This extension had limited upside for the Giants in the first place, since it didn’t buy out any free agent years or include any club options.
For now the Giants are presumably focused on maintaining their division lead over the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. A few months from now, once the most chaotic part of the offseason has ended, Sabean and the rest of the San Francisco front office will encounter a familiar challenge: it'll be time to consider extensions for a new set of players led by All-Star catcher Buster Posey.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
A few items of note from MLB's West divisions ...
- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was questioned by police and faces possible sexual assault charges following an incident at a beach resort in Santa Cruz County, Calif., a source tells Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. No assumptions should be made about the incident, writes Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com, but the Giants are growing frustrated with Sandoval's questionable work ethic and are unsure whether he'll be part of their "core in years to come."
- The Padres make for an interesting study in the dilemma that small- and mid-market teams face when locking up young players to long-term contracts, writes Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. While extensions for Cameron Maybin, Cory Luebke and Nick Hundley were generally well received by fans and pundits, those players have struggled with slumps and/or injuries so far this season.
- Mike Trout is the best prospect the Angels have produced in the team's 51-year history, opines Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times. Many Halos -- including Frank Tanana, Devon White, Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus -- enjoyed excellent big league careers, but none were as good at such a young age as Trout is, Dufresne writes.
On this date last year, Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano no-hit the White Sox. Here are some links for Thursday afternoon, starting with a note on Jered Weaver, who no-hit Liriano's Twins last night...
- Weaver pitched a no-hitter for his hometown team in front of his fans and family last night and as Scott Miller of CBSSports.com writes, it's for days like yesterday that the right-hander signed a long-term deal with the Angels. Weaver signed a five-year, $85MM contract last summer instead of testing the open market, where he likely would have obtained a larger guarantee. So far this deal seems to be working well for both sides.
- Outfielder Erik Komatsu expects to learn if he has a new team by tomorrow, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The Cardinals designated the Rule 5 pick for assignment earlier in the week and other MLB teams now have the chance to claim him off of waivers.
- Pablo Sandoval is expected to miss four to six weeks with a fractured hamate bone, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported (on Twitter). The Giants are calling up Conor Gillaspie for now, and it appears they'll rely on their internal options while Sandoval's out.
The Giants and Pablo Sandoval have agreed to a three-year extension, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The deal is worth $17.15MM plus incentives, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News tweets. Morgan Advisory Group represents the 25-year-old third baseman.
Sandoval, who was arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, had a projected $3.2MM salary for 2012 and would have been in line for raises in 2013 and 2014 via the arbitration process. The deal doesn't delay his free agency -- he's still on track to hit the open market after the 2014 season.
Sandoval has had two tremendous offensive seasons and one forgettable one since becoming a full-time player in 2009. He posted a .315/.357/.552 line with 23 home runs for the Giants in 2011 and owns a .307/.356/.501 line with 64 home runs in his career. The Venezuela native is easily recognizable because of his stocky physique (he's listed as 5'11" and 240 lbs) and colorful nickname: the Kung Fu Panda.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
- Ryan Morgan, Pablo Sandoval's agent, told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he has had "very broad discussions" with Giants VP Bobby Evans about Sandoval's 2012 contract and that Sandoval is open to a multiyear contract. Sandoval is going through the arbitration process for the first time this winter and Baggarly thinks the two sides could revisit the idea of an extension if Sandoval shows up in great shape to Spring Training.
- Mark Cuban is interested in bidding to become the new Dodgers' owner, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Cuban will receive a "bid book" that contains the team's financial information, though having a bid book doesn't necessarily mean Cuban will indeed make a bid to buy the team.
- The Dodgers have already much of their free money this winter and are still short two starting pitchers, reports Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Both Dilbeck and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) don't think the Dodgers will have enough to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda.
- Also from Knobler (via Twitter), the Rockies turned down the Braves' offer of Martin Prado in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith and prospect Nolan Arenado. Given that Arenado is one of Colorado's top prospects, this was a total pie-in-the-sky offer from the Braves.
- Newly-signed Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez appeared on the Venezuelan sports radio show Los Cronistas today (Twitter link, in Spanish) and said he isn't sure if he'll be physically able to keep playing beyond his current contract. Hernandez will be 37 by the time his two-year deal with Colorado expires. Thanks to Nick Collias of our sister site Rumores de Beisbol for the translation.
- Justin Upton holds the top spot on Keith Law's list of the top 50 players who are 25 years old and under (ESPN Insider subscription required).
Pablo Sandoval has catching experience, but the Giants won’t attempt to re-position him behind the plate when he returns from the disabled list, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Here’s Heyman’s latest from around the league:
- Mets minority owner David Einhorn is expected to have a say in major team decisions, though he won’t have the final call. If the Wilpons have to sell the team, Einhorn will have the first opportunity to buy it.
- The Dodgers have not explored possible trades for Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp and rival teams haven’t called to express interest in the outfielders, according to Heyman. The Dodgers would like to lock both up long-term instead of allowing them to hit the open market after next year.
- One Dodger who won’t be getting a long-term contract offer: James Loney. The first baseman is a likely non-tender after the season, according to executives around the league.
- The Rangers are looking for a reliever and would prefer a right-hander. Heyman hears they’ll consider Francisco Rodriguez of the Mets.
- The Cubs don’t plan to exercise Aramis Ramirez’s $16MM option for 2012, according to Heyman.
Emilio "Millito" Navarro, believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player at 105, passed away in Puerto Rico today. The former Negro Leaguer also played in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico during his career. Our condolences go out to his family.
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that former Mets GM Omar Minaya has spent the past two days on a "friendly visit" with Indians GM Chris Antonetti, president Mark Shapiro, and manager Manny Acta. Cleveland interviewed former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes during the offseason, and Hoynes says Antonetti has "made [it] no secret that he'd like to add the right person to the front office."
- While researching the impending free agency of young stars, SI's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) learned that we can count on Jered Weaver and John Danks filing after 2012.
- It's been a bad day for star third basemen, writes Justin Sablich of the New York Times. The Giants lost Pablo Sandoval for 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his right wrist and the Nationals announced that Ryan Zimmerman, who has been on the disabled list since April 12, will miss at least an another six weeks. If both players return within those timeframes, it's unlikely that either squad will look for an out-of-house fill-in.
- Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs questions the Blue Jays' wisdom in demoting Travis Snider to work on his hitting after just 99 plate appearances in 2011.
Some news about the defending World Series champs and their division rivals...
- The Padres "remain open" to the idea of signing another Major League starter, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. This is just pure speculation, but of the five hurlers on Luke Adams' list of pitchers that could benefit from the NL, three (Jeremy Bonderman, Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood) are still available and would likely be open to the idea of pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
- Brandon Belt "has a legitimate chance" to win an everyday job playing first base or left field in San Francisco, writes MLB.com's Chris Haft. Belt, who turns 23 in April, has just one minor league season to his name, but he hit .352/.455/.620 in 595 plate appearances for the Giants' Class A, Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
- Pablo Sandoval has lost 17 pounds training with former Olympic decathlete Dan O'Brien and plans to lose more weight before the start of Spring Training, Rich Aurilia tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Sandoval was threatened with a demotion to the minors by GM Brian Sabean unless the "Kung Fu Panda" improved his conditioning this offseason.
- The Rockies' big extensions with Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki put more pressure on the team's minor league system to produce low-cost, quality players, writes Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post.
It's been less than a week since the Giants were crowned World Champions, but GM Brian Sabean has already started to act on his offseason agenda. Here's the latest from San Francisco, courtesy of Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News...
- Sabean was very explicit in saying that Pablo Sandoval will be sent to the minors next year if he doesn't improve his conditioning. Kung Fu Panda will spend the winter with fitness and nutrition experts in San Diego before reporting to Spring Training a month early. He will have benchmarks to meet this offseason.
- Sabean has reached out to the agents for Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe, and although he acknowledged that both players are priorities, he couldn't commit to bringing them back. The market could play out very favorably for those two.
- The team is currently discussing Pat Burrell internally, who would be brought back in a reserve role if anything. Remember that the Giants will have Mark DeRosa and his righty bat back from injury next season.
- Sabean's priority is to get more left-handed, and when asked about Carl Crawford, he responded "We'll see. That's the best answer I can give you."
- Sabean also said that he's still upset about being portrayed as a suitor for CC Sabathia two offseasons ago, claiming he never met with the player or his representatives. "[W]e do not want to be somebody’s fallback or stalking horse to be used as leverage," said the game's longest-tenured GM.
- Baggarly doesn't think the Giants will be serious players for Jayson Werth, and their desire to get more athletic could take them out of Adam Dunn sweepstakes.
- The team's payroll is expected to eclipse the $100MM mark for the first time, and Sabean wouldn't commit to offering arbitration to all eight of his eligible players. He is interested in bringing them all back, however.
- It almost goes without saying, but Sabean is hopeful that the World Series victory will make San Francisco a more desirable landing spot for free agents.