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Ron Belliard Rumors
The Dodgers and infielder Ronnie Belliard have agreed to a one-year deal worth $825K. Belliard could earn another $250K in incentives tied to plate appearances on this non-guaranteed contract. Though Belliard passed his physical this morning, the Dodgers asked that he weigh no more than 209 pounds at the start of Spring Training.
The 34-year-old Belliard hit .351/.398/.636 for LA after coming over from the Nationals in a mid-season trade, and .277/.325/.451 overall. Mini-Manny (remember that nickname?) is capable of playing first, second, and third, though he doesn't play any of the three positions particularly well.
Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explains that the Indians would have been hesitant to offer Carl Pavano arbitration if they hadn't traded him to the Twins. After a healthy season, he could command close to $10MM if offered arbitration and the Indians are reluctant to commit that much to the righty, though they may end up bringing him back. Here's more on some free agents the Indians may consider:
- GM Mark Shapiro is looking to add a right-handed hitting first baseman. Hoynes wonders if Robb Quinlan (.651 OPS vs. LHP last year) and Kevin Millar (.723 OPS vs. LHP last year) might fit. Either player would presumably be cheap compared to other options on the market.
- The Indians are looking for an extra infielder. Hoynes suggests Ronnie Belliard, Alex Cora and Craig Counsell could be fits for the Tribe.
The Nationals are considering a number of options up the middle. Here's the latest:
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson expects the Nationals to try trading Cristian Guzman this offseason. It won't be easy, given his $8MM salary.
- Manager Jim Riggleman likes Ian Desmond, but others within the organization believe the infielder needs more minor league seasoning.
- Could Ronnie Belliard return to play second base? Ladson doubts it.
- Jamey Carroll doesn't seem likely to return to Washington, either. At least nine teams have interest in the 35-year-old.
- The Nats are considering a couple defensive shortstops, too.
- Since 2007, no fielder has cost his team more runs than Adam Dunn, according to Matthew Carruth of FanGraphs. Dunn will make $12MM in 2010 before becoming a free agent. It's hard to imagine him signing with an NL club again after next season.
Jon Heyman has a new column up at SI.com, so let's dive on in…
- Scott Boras said on Sunday that the Cardinals have not made any proposals in an effort to retain Matt Holliday, and Heyman says "the chances for Holliday to remain a Cardinal look slim at this point."
- A source familiar with the situation said the Angels offered John Lackey an extension earlier this year worth less than $40MM over three years on top of 2009's $10MM salary, so if they wish to re-sign him now, they'll have to completely rethink their original stance.
- The Red Sox are trying to bring Jason Bay back on a four year, $60MM deal, though his agent maintains that Bay is the "most complete player on the market."
- The Mets, Giants, Braves, Cubs, Mariners, and Yankees could also be interested in Holliday and/or Bay.
- The Mets are believed to have Holliday higher on their wish list than Bay, and are also expected to pursue Randy Wolf.
- There is speculation that Lackey would like to pitch at home in Texas, but the Rangers' interest might depend on how quickly their sale is resolved.
- Heyman says that "MLB has set a tentative Thanksgiving deadline for the sale of the Rangers, but the price tag is expected to be in the $500 million range, and in cases of such big money there are no guarantees that things will go quickly."
- Roy Halladay, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Dan Uggla, and Milton Bradley should highlight a star studded trade market.
- Halladay seems like a good bet to be moved, while the Red Sox and Dodgers represent possible suitors for Gonzalez.
- Tampa has a replacement for Crawford in top prospect Desmond Jennings, while Jenks and Uggla would be moved in cost cutting deals.
- Teams will certainly inquire on the availability of Felix Hernandez, but Heyman says the team plans to spend the winter trying to lock him up long-term. At the GM Meetings today, GM Jack Zduriencik said "Felix is our property. We're going to have him the next two years."
- The Yankees have started to think about re-signing both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.
- Both the Brewers and Mariners are expected to have interest in Jarrod Washburn.
- If the Angels don't re-sign Chone Figgins, they are expected to pursue Adrian Beltre to fill their third base hole.
- The Rangers will let Hank Blalock walk as a free agent, and are expected to promote top prospect Justin Smoak next year.
- Orlando Hudson is expected to leave the Dodgers as a free agent, though Heyman says they could re-sign Ronnie Belliard to compete with Blake DeWitt at second base.
- Team officials would not be shocked if the Red Sox tried to move David Ortiz and/or Mike Lowell, though it's going to be tough to move them with all the DH-types available on the free agent market.
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A few Monday evening links….
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs argues Joe Torre is making the Dodgers worse by giving Ronnie Belliard playing time at the expense of Orlando Hudson. Belliard is outperforming Hudson lately, and keeping Hudson on the bench is saving the Dodgers some money, but Cameron thinks that playing Belliard at second base in October would hurt the team's World Series chances.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Giants prospect Angel Villalona has pleaded innocent to the charge of murder. Still, Baggarly says it's anyone's guess whether Villalona will ever play baseball again.
- After some recent speculation that the Marlins might attempt to move Josh Johnson, imaginations are already running wild. Roch Kubatko at the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network wonders what kind of prospects it could take to get Johnson to Baltimore.
Talking to Jim Peltz of the L.A. Times, Dodgers manager Joe Torre would not commit to Ronnie Belliard over Orlando Hudson as the team's starting second baseman. Belliard has started at second base in eight of the team's 18 games this month, as well as a few times at third.
Hudson stands to lose money as a bench player, though he was gracious in comments made to Peltz. The way his contract is set up, Hudson is currently earning $10,000 per plate appearance up until his 632nd. He's already earned $7.63MM on the season, despite a base salary of $3.38MM.
The larger effect of the benching may be on Hudson's next contract. He faces strong competition among free agent second basemen, and will have a hard time topping this year's salary.
Ronnie Belliard, a 35-year-old second baseman, landed in Chavez Ravine this August, via trade, after posting a .247/.297/.376 batting line in 203 plate with the Nationals. He's been on a tear ever since, hitting .308/.345/.615 in 52 at-bats for the Dodgers and even stealing playing time from switch-hitting Gold Glover Orlando Hudson.
Belliard hits the free agent market this winter, and we're having trouble getting a grasp on his value. He's climbing quickly in age, and has limited range at second base, but always seems to rattle off impressive offensive streaks. Can he still be a regular in the major leagues? And who might want a player like him? Get after it in the comments.
Want more on the 2010 free agent class? MLBTR has you covered.
The first round of links for today…
- The Ronnie Belliard pickup is costing Orlando Hudson some major bucks, as Dylan Hernandez of The LA Times points out. Hudson entered the week with 577 plate appearances, and he'll earn $10K for every PA between 576 and 632 according to his contract. However, Hudson has sat in favor of Belliard four times in the last 11 games.
- Jim Reeves of The Star Telegram writes that the Rangers' financial plight will probably hamstring the team, with no immediate relief in sight. Club president Nolan Ryan said he can't see the team being sold before April or May at the earliest.
- Toni Ginnetti of The Chicago Sun Times says that acquiring a "true leadoff hitter with speed and base-stealing ability" should be on the shopping list for Cubs GM Jim Hendry this winter.
- Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports posted his All-Overachiever and All-Underachiever teams. Is it fair to consider Pablo Sandoval and Aaron Hill overachievers?
- Tyler Kepner of The NY Times has an amusing story about Sean Henn and what he went through when he was traded from Minnesota to Baltimore earlier this month.
In his latest blog post at ESPN, Peter Gammons writes that the NL West has quietly become very competitive thanks to three California pitcher's parks that make it such a pitching dominated division. Through the help of scouts and team executives, he points out all the great young talent in the division, highlighted by the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Pablo Sandoval, Troy Tulowitzki, and Mark Reynolds.
Here's a roundup of Gammons' rumors…
- Gammons jokes that Dodgers GM Ned Colletti "could be arrested for shoplifting," because in the last two seasons he's acquired Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, George Sherrill, Jon Garland, Jim Thome, Doug Mientkiewicz, Ronnie Belliard, and Vicente Padilla while paying them approximately $2.7MM combined.
- The Red Sox will get their first look at Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias, who they signed for $8.5MM back in July, in the Arizona Fall League. Gammons spoke to an NL GM who said he would have given Iglesias $12MM if his team could afford it, because "Our scouts say he's the best defensive shortstop they've ever seen."
- If you're interested, you can see the full Arizona Fall League rosters here.
- Jim Leyland was never told anything about benching Magglio Ordonez so his $18MM option in 2010 wouldn't vest. "He's going to make it," Leyland says. "So anyone who said otherwise has egg on his face. Dave Dombrowski has never even mentioned the vesting option." Ordonez needs just 35 more plate appearances this season to lock in the option.
- Bobby Valentine's name was mentioned by Nationals' ownership during every interview they hosted while searching for a permanent GM, so he might be in the mix for their managerial job.
The Nationals acquired Double A lefty reliever Victor Garate to complete the August 30th Ronnie Belliard trade, according to Pete McElroy of MASN. The Nats already received A-ball pitcher Luis Garcia in the deal.
Garate, 25 later this month, came to the Dodgers in '07 from the Astros via the Rule 5 draft. Baseball America wrote in this year's Handbook that he "projects as a poor man's Brian Fuentes." Garate must be thrilled with the trade, as he'll move quickly up the ladder in the Nationals' bullpen.