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Some links for your Friday…
- Tom Verducci of SI.com said on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show that he expects Carl Crawford to sign with the Yankees after the season, because "nobody is going to outbid them." The Yankees and Red Sox both love Crawford, according to Verducci.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Dodgers should spend more aggressively, especially considering they led the league in attendance last year.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com points out that Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek, Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida will combine to make only $10MM or so less than the entire Pirates team this year. Why is that noteworthy? All four Red Sox are expected to be bench players.
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry is under contract through 2012, but he tells ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that he knows "these jobs aren't forever."
- The Pirates say Pedro Alvarez needs seasoning above AA, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sending the third baseman to the minors limits his MLB service time, so it's a sound financial decision by the Pirates.
- The A's haven't called Joe Beimel, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The A's worked out Wagner Mateo on Tuesday, according to Slusser.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney thinks that the Joe Mauer contract negotiations, which remain cordial, could continue in a few months if the sides don’t reach a deal in Spring Training.
- The Dominican prospect already worked out for the D'Backs and will likely work out for the Indians.
- Twins minor league director Jim Rantz told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that another Dominican prospect, Miguel Sano, has "tremendous upside." Kovacevic says it's still too early to know how much the Pirates missed out on when Sano signed with the Twins instead of the Pirates.
- Phillies prospect Phillippe Aumont tells Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that he thought he was heading to the Blue Jays at one point this offseason.
- Carl Crawford tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that he's comfortable with the speculation about his future since it "comes with the territory." Crawford is a free agent after the season.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Boston Red Sox | Carl Crawford | Chicago Cubs | Joe Beimel | Joe Mauer | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miguel Sano | Minnesota Twins | New York Yankees | Oakland Athletics | Pedro Alvarez | Philadelphia Phillies | Phillippe Aumont | Pittsburgh Pirates | Tampa Bay Rays | Wagner Mateo
Let's check out some Pirates-related tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch..
- With Ramon Vazquez on the trading block, Langosch stresses that any talk of him being Texas-bound is merely conjecture at this point. Furthermore, if they do move him, they are unlikely to get much back and may have to eat some of his $2MM salary. However, Pittsburgh might be willing to move the 33-year-old for next to nothing.
- One reader asks if the Pirates are considering locking up their young prospects, like Milwaukee did with Ryan Braun or like Tampa Bay did with Evan Longoria. Langosch says that the Pirates will wait until players like Jose Tabata, Brad Lincoln, and Pedro Alvarez establish themselves in the majors to open up discussions.
- Speaking of Alvarez, Langosch expects the Pirates to hold off on bringing him up to the big leagues. Pittsburgh delayed Andrew McCutchen's promotion last season in order to give him more seasoning in the minors and, in all likelihood, to extend his time under team control.
A few notes from around the majors…
- Veteran Greg Norton tied a major league record in what may be his final season, says MLB.com's Mark Bowman
- In another blog entry, Bowman said that though Martin Prado spent some time in the outfield while playing in his native Venezuela, Prado is not a candidate for Atlanta's right field job.
- MASN's Steve Melewski reports that the Orioles have signed their first Guatemalan player, 17-year-old Manuel Hernandez
- In a chat on MLB.com, Pirates president Frank Coonelly said that Andy LaRoche was "open" to the possibility of playing second base next season given some of Pittsburgh's minor-league options at third base (including top prospect Pedro Alvarez).
- Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports on two changes to Kansas City's coaching staff in 2010.
Here are some links to kick off Sunday morning:
- Some Blue Jays players approached CEO and President Paul Beeston with complaints about Cito Gaston, reports Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun. “They raised the issues,” said Beeston. “They were listened to. They have not been addressed at this time. I had my ears open. I kept my mouth shut. I gave them some comments and that’s all I want to say about that.”
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com writes that newly appointed Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos was emotional in his introductory presser. The article notes that the position of president and CEO will be filled soon, relieving the interim hire, Paul Beeston. Beeston says that while the next president and CEO will have the authority to hire its own staff, he will recommend that Anthopoulos remain as GM.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that Kevin Towers didn't deserve to get fired considering all the obstacles he has had to work around in San Diego.
- Towers conducted a farewell press conference in San Diego and Craig Elsten of 619sports.net posted some key sound bytes. Towers insisted that the organization maintained a strong focus on scouting and player development under his watch. He also said that he has been contacted by seven or eight other teams to work immediately, but wants to take some time off before jumping into another job. The 47-year-old made it known that he wants the opportunity to be a GM again. Also available are team owner and CEO Jeff Moorad's post-podium comments.
- The Pirates have talked to Andy LaRoche about possibly moving from third base to second next year to make room for Pedro Alvarez, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Pirates would like to call-up Alvarez by the middle of the 2010 season, but first he must improve his strength and conditioning. The 22-year-old excelled after his mid-season promotion to AA, posting .333/.419/.590 with 13 HR in 60 games.
- More from Kovacevic as he labels the Pirates' trade of Nate McLouth to the Braves to be the worst personnel move of the year. Kovacevic says the deal hurt the players' trust in Pittsburgh management and was a poor public relations decision.
- Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post tweets, "Jerry Manuel was in meetings all morning and said he expects an announcement tomorrow on changes and the team's offseason plans."
- Jon Heyman reports via Twitter that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria refused to comment on a possible manager change. Recent reports suggest that Fredi Gonzalez could be on the way out and Bobby Valentine could be on the way in.
Some links for Monday morning…
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer believes the Reds should be quiet on the free agent market after the season because they have many needs and very little money. And why don't they have enough money? They've spent too much on big contracts already.
- But Scott Miller of CBS Sports says small-market teams can still contend. He points to recent winners such as the Twins, Indians, Rays and Rockies to show that low-budget teams can succeed.
- A year ago this time, Pedro Alvarez was the center of attention as he signed with the Pirates. Now, he's heating up in the minors, but he won't make his MLB debut this year, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- Erik Manning of FanGraphs says he was wrong to assume the Cards gave up too much to acquire Matt Holliday, who's been on an extended tear since joining his new club.
Some links for your Friday afternoon…
- Baseball America lists the hottest prospects in the country. Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez and Martin Perez are some of the more recognizable players heating up.
- A's prospect Brett Wallace tops Marc Hulet's list of top prospects traded this summer over at FanGraphs.
- Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail hears that the Jays have no interest in Jason Giambi.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia tells ESPN.com's Tim Kurkjian the keys to his club's suddenly unstoppable offense: effective baserunning and contributions from all 13 position players. Kendry Morales has performed well at first in place of Mark Teixeira and the rest of the Angels are all hitting.
- Torii Hunter, who was having a big year before hitting the DL, experienced a setback this week, according to his blog.
- The Angels signed 40th overall pick Tyler Skaggs for an undisclosed amount, according to Ben Bolch of the LA Times.
Updates on some of baseball's best prospects;
- It's fair to expect intense negotiations between Stephen Strasburg, Scott Boras and the Washington Nationals this summer. In this Philadephia Inquirer article by Don McKee, Jered Weaver says his negotiations were too "frantic" back when he was a top college pitcher like Strasburg.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the D'Backs are creating so many new ways to lose that they could end up with a worse record than the Nationals and the chance to take Bryce Harper first overall next June.
- Dave Mackall of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Pirates first rounder Tony Sanchez is "not oblivious" to the critics who say the Pirates drafted him too early.
- Pedro Alvarez has been promoted to AA, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Steve Melewski of MASN.com reports that Mychal Givens was surprised when the Orioles drafted him. O's scouting director Joe Jordan says he'd be surprised if Givens signs soon.
John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus catalogues a decade and a half of poor decisions by the Pirates in his latest column, up at ESPN.com. Some of the team's more memorable gaffes:
- Releasing Tim Wakefield.
- Signing Pat Meares to a four year $15MM deal that surprised even Meares.
- Commiting nearly $10MM to Derek Bell, then claiming the deal sent "shock waves through baseball" during the same offseason that Alex Rodriguez signed for $252MM.
- Giving Bronson Arroyo up on waivers only to have him return to Pittsburgh as an All-Star for the Reds and call the Pirates the "most inept organization in baseball."
But the Pirates have shed some contracts in recent years and appear poised to get younger and better under current GM Neal Huntington. After next year they have commitments to Paul Maholm, Nate McLouth, Ian Snell, Ryan Doumit and Pedro Alvarez, but no one else. They reportedly have a good chance of signing 16-year-old shortstop prospect Miguel Angel Sano and are considering top talent with the fourth overall pick that they hold in this year's draft.
So what's the verdict on the Pirates? They don't appear likely to end their streak of 16 straight losing seasons this year, but are they on the right track? Or do they need new direction? What moves have to take place for the Pirates to join the best teams in the NL Central?
Links for Saturday…
- The Astros claimed 25-year-old pitcher Wilton Lopez off waivers from the Padres and assigned him to Double-A, according to this AP article.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic relays some recent Orlando Hudson comments. O-Dog said the D'Backs made him an offer this offseason, it just didn't appeal to him.
- Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog suggests that we could see the Mets release Marlon Anderson today to make room for Livan Hernandez.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle sounds confident about the Astros' chances this year.
- John Perrotto of Pirates Report anticipates a 2009 MLB debut for Pedro Alvarez.
- Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald discusses Scott Boras in light of the Nick Adenhart tragedy.
- MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports that the White Sox still haven't found a fit for their leadoff spot.
A few links for Saturday…
- Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette heard from a talent evaluator who says Pedro Alvarez is the most talented Pirates prospect since Barry Bonds.
- Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe looks at some of Chris Carter's quirks.
- Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press believes the Tigers need a top-notch closer.
- According to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune Padres executive Paul DePodesta now reports to GM Kevin Towers, not CEO Sandy Alderson.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney expects Gary Sheffield to help the Mets.
- MLB.com's Lisa Winston notes that only eight of the 21 Rule 5 draftees are still with their new teams.
- MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch has some minor Pirates transactions.
- And Stephen Strasburg improved to 6-0 last night with six strikeouts in as many innings. The prospect is averaging almost two punchouts per inning, so this is nothing for him.
- Kevin Baxter of the LA Times reports that Torii Hunter thought Strasburg looked sharp.