Paul Byrd Rumors
Yahoo's Tim Brown talked to free agent pitcher Paul Byrd, who appears ready to sign soon instead of waiting until the All-Star break. Good news for the Red Sox, who will receive a supplemental pick if Byrd signs before the June draft. Byrd said, "I'm ready to make a move." He's been training for months and estimates he'd need two weeks in the minors. A handful of teams have been in contract with Byrd's agent (the Angels reportedly among them).
Just speculating, Byrd could be a nice match for the Blue Jays, Royals, White Sox, Indians, the entire AL West, the Mets, Cardinals, Astros, Brewers, and Dodgers. Byrd told Ken Rosenthal in January he'd ideally pitch close to his Georgia home, however.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a new article up looking at a bunch of free agents.
- Crasnick talked to one American League exec who views Pedro Martinez as "strictly a National League pitcher." Coupled with his price tag and long layoff, the market isn't big for Pedro.
- Ben Sheets is weeks away from a throwing program. He's probably a ten-start guy this year, but interest figures to be strong.
- Jim Edmonds hopes to sign by May. He'll need two to three weeks to get ready. Mark Grudzielanek also wants to play, and tells friends he only needs a week. He'll look for a contender, and the Royals will hope he signs before June so they get that supplemental draft pick. Jacque Jones is another guy who still hopes to play.
- Geoff Jenkins is taking grounders at first base to increase his versatility.
- Jay Payton suffered a shoulder injury lifting weights last month, but once he's healthy a few months from now he still wants to play.
- Nothing appears to be cooking for Frank Thomas and Luis Gonzalez, who could be forced to retire. Dave Roberts hasn't officially retired, but a comeback appears unlikely.
- Paul Byrd's plan remains unchanged: sign with a contender around July.
- Jon Lieber's agent says the pitcher has retired. 131 wins, including 20 in '01. Lieber finishes with a 4.27 ERA in 2,198 innings for the Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, and Phillies. He earned over $46MM, according to Baseball Reference.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, the Angels are now looking outside the organization for pitching help. GM Tony Reagins acknowledged contacting the agents for Pedro Martinez, Paul Byrd, and Mark Mulder. DiGiovanna says nothing is imminent. Reagins may also be considering trades.
Each of the three free agent pitchers has an issue - with Pedro it's price, Byrd it's desire, and Mulder it's health. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote Sunday that Mulder believes he can be ready two weeks after signing, with the Nationals, A's, and Dodgers extremely interested.
The best reinforcements figure to come internally - DiGiovanna says John Lackey and Ervin Santana may begin minor league rehab assignments this week.
With little more than a week remaining before the regular season begins let's check the list of unsigned free agents..
- Pedro Martinez is the biggest name out there. The Dodgers don't like his asking price of $5MM and Omar Minaya says Pedro's not coming back to the Mets.
- Orlando Hernandez, Mark Mulder and Will Ohman are still on the market.
- And don't forget about Paul Byrd and Ben Sheets, who could return midseason.
- Richie Sexson, Mark Grudzielanek and Ray Durham are some of the more interesting free agent infielders
- Dave Roberts and Jim Edmonds could offer outfield depth, but haven't attracted a lot of reported interest.
- Luis Gonzalez is on the market too. Could he return to the Marlins? He could return to the D'Backs if he retires as a player.
Links for Thursday...
- RotoAuthority ranks the outfielders for fantasy baseball.
- All kinds of interesting comments from former Phillies GM Pat Gillick, including his thoughts on Pat Burrell and Milton Bradley.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch weighs in on the Cardinals' second base situation.
- ESPN's Keith Law evaluates the Nationals' Adam Dunn signing. He considers it "$20 million for a few meaningless wins over the next two years."
- Evan Brunell of Fire Brand of the American League interviewed free agent hurler Paul Byrd.
- Rob Bradford of WEEI has quotes from Theo Epstein about trading young players.
- Shoutout to our readers in the United Kingdom, who account for 11,000 of MLBTR's pageviews this month.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Red Sox have sent outfielder Mickey Hall to the Indians to complete the trade that sent Paul Byrd to the Red Sox last season.
The news comes the day after we heard that Byrd will sit out the first half of the 2009 season.
Hall, who turns 24 in May, hit .232/.333/.456 in 82 AA games last year in the Boston organization.
Links for Thursday...
- John Smoltz told Dan Patrick that the Yankees and Dodgers also courted him.
- KNBR had interviews with Scott Boras and Ned Colletti yesterday.
- The Dodgers are "only monitoring" Kris Benson and Chad Cordero.
- The Phillies have "kept tabs" on Cordero and Eric Milton.
- Baseball America ranked the Rangers' farm system as the best in baseball.
- Andy MacPhail says the Orioles don't necessarily have to add a first baseman.
- South Side Sox and Sox Machine on the Bartolo Colon signing.
- Jon Paul Morosi says Jason Isringhausen is a "natural fit" for the Tigers.
- The Red Sox will only get a supplemental pick for Paul Byrd if he signs before the June draft.
- Barry Bloom gathers responses from baseball execs on the salary cap issue.
- Eddie Bajek made a breakthrough in his attempt to crack the Elias code.
- Richard Justice has an interesting story involving new Astro Russ Ortiz.
- Rickey Henderson says he's still available to play. Asked about the WBC, he responded, ""What is [the WBC], wrestling?"
- Transcript of an interview with Red Sox owner John Henry.
According to Ken Rosenthal, free agent starter Paul Byrd will sit out the first half of the season and then possibly join a contender. Byrd said he had "nice, competitive" offers to play all year but wants to spend more time with his family.
It's uncertain whether Byrd will draw interest midseason, but I imagine he will. Remember how many teams were eyeing Freddy Garcia last year? The Braves, Rays, or Marlins woud be Byrd's preference.
John Perrotto's latest Every Given Sunday column at Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the top 20 remaining free agents (sorted by WARP3 - Wins Above Replacement Player) and offers destination predictions and top suitors (or lack thereof in some cases) for each one. For those without a BP subscription, here's a quick summary:
- Manny Ramirez - Dodgers
- Orlando Cabrera - Athletics
- Derek Lowe - Braves/Mets/Cubs
- Adam Dunn - Nationals
- Bobby Abreu - Reds
- Ben Sheets - Rangers
- Orlando Hudson - Nationals
- Andy Pettitte - Astros (at less than $10MM)
- Jason Varitek - Red Sox (at less than $10MM)
- Ty Wigginton - Astros
- Ivan Rodriguez - Not much of a market, may have to take a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training if he's not signed soon. Could he end up involuntarily retired, a la Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza?
- Kevin Millar - Orioles
- Mark Grudzielanek - Padres
- Braden Looper - Brewers
- Garret Anderson, Eric Hinske, Ray Durham, Jim Edmonds, Paul Byrd, Odalis Perez - All of them (with the exception of Byrd, who may retire) are drawing little to no interest and may be without a club on Opening Day.
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports had an e-mail exchange Friday with free agent Paul Byrd.
Byrd wrote that he is "still thinking possible retirement or maybe a mid-season joining of a team with a need." Brown seems to think that Byrd might be joking about retirement, but points out that he declined an arbitration offer from the Red Sox three weeks ago, so he may be serious. The 38-year-old right-hander was 11-12 last season with a 4.60 ERA, playing for both Boston and Cleveland.