Ryan Zimmerman Rumors
NL East teams have nearly finished their offseason shopping, but could make a move or two while Spring Training is underway. Here are the details...
- Chipper Jones was thinking about retirement last year, but tells Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) that he wants to play until the end of his current contract, which is guaranteed through the 2012 season. The Braves hold a $7MM option on Jones for 2013 which can also vest if Jones plays a certain number of games over the next two seasons.
- Ryan Zimmerman pushed the Nationals to re-sign his friend Adam Dunn, but Zimmerman said his disappointment over Dunn's depature shouldn't be interpreted as criticism of the the club, writes CSNWashington's Mark Zuckerman. "I was just expressing more frustrations of losing a teammate and a friend than anything," Zimmerman said. "I think a lot of people took it as I was taking a stab at [the Nats] or talking bad about them, which was completely the opposite."
- Michael Weiner said the MLBPA was happy with Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies, rather than sign for larger contracts in Texas or New York, tweets Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. "Not only were we not upset Cliff got to go to the Phillies, we applauded him," Weiner said.
- Donald Trump told Alison Leigh Cowan and Ken Belson of the New York Times that he's interested in buying a majority stake in the Mets. Trump says he called Fred Wilpon about two weeks ago to set up a meeting.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says it's "unlikely" that the Mets discuss an extension with Jose Reyes before Opening Day, according to ESPNNewYork's Adam Rubin. Reyes is set to hit free agency after the season and has said he's open to a long-term deal. The $1 billion lawsuit against the Mets owners won't prevent the Mets from signing Reyes to a multiyear deal, Alderson said.
- Jason Isringhausen auditioned for the Mets today, according to Newsday's David Lennon (on Twitter). Alderson and two of his assistants, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta, are familiar with the longtime closer from his time in Oakland. Isringhausen first appeared in the majors as a starter for the Mets in 1995.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney says the Phillies' starters would rather pitch than talk about their place in baseball history.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The Nationals shocked the world today, and they're not done yet..
- Even after shelling out $126MM over seven years for Jayson Werth, the Nationals are still looking to make a splash in free agency. The club is still in on pitcher Carl Pavano, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Every player on the Nats, excluding Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, is being considered in trade talks, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Josh Willingham, who has long been talked about in trade rumors, seems especially likely to be headed elsewhere now.
- The Nationals are in the mix for Carlos Pena, but his preference is to stay in Tampa Bay, tweets Ladson.
Ron Santo, the longtime Cubs star and broadcaster, died overnight. Condolences to his family, friends and many fans. Here are today's links...
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick profiles Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who expects to be a players' manager, partly because his experience as a player allows him to relate to those who are struggling to produce.
- The Orioles offered Adam Dunn a four-year deal worth about $40MM before he agreed to sign with the White Sox, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
- The Pirates have had "ongoing discussions with multiple free-agent starters, and would be pleased to sign more than one starting pitcher to compete for a spot in the rotation," president Frank Coonelly told fans in a chat on MLB.com. The team made Jorge de la Rosa an offer and is also open to upgrading in right field, at first base or at short.
- The market for Kevin Correia is heating up, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The right-hander is in "active negotiations" with two or more teams.
- Ryan Zimmerman tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he wouldn't mind signing a Troy Tulowitzki-like extension (Twitter link).
- "It's no secret we want Cliff [Lee], and we will do what we can to get him," Hank Steinbrenner told ESPN.com. Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker insists he never said he's looking to match C.C. Sabathia's $161MM deal.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock suggests Brendan Ryan might be a better trade target for the Padres than Jason Bartlett (Twitter link).
While dreams are coming true for hundreds of high school and college players this week, let's compare the paths of some 2005 first round draft picks. Nothing is more interesting than seeing how teams did choosing players at the same position. In a draft, it is the closest teams come to the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Meanwhile, those lists haunt fans' memories for years to come.
- Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) vs. Ryan Braun (Brewers): This battle between Zimmerman, picked fourth, and Braun, picked fifth, was to be a test of hot corner prowess. But while Zimmerman has excelled at the position, winning a Gold Glove in 2009 and grading well under more advanced defensive metrics, Braun settled in left field after proving to be a disastrous fielder at third base. So far, Braun has a .931 to .836 edge in OPS, but with Zimmerman putting up an .888 in 2009 and at .986 so far in 2010, that gap may well have disappeared. Moving forward, the edge goes to Zimmerman, a terrific hitter, though a notch below Braun, but a far more valuable defensive player. Both teams won here, though.
- Cameron Maybin (Tigers) vs. Andrew McCutchen (Pirates): These high school center fielders went back-to-back, with Maybin going tenth and McCutchen going 11th. The early returns suggest that the Tigers made a poor choice here, though they ultimately packaged Maybin in a deal for Miguel Cabrera, so they're not exactly complaining. McCutchen has hit since he arrived in Pittsburgh last season, and a 23-year-old with an .847 OPS in his first 733 major league plate appearances stands an awfully good chance of being an elite player for years to come. Maybin is still immensely talented, and could turn into a star- but McCutchen already is one. Pirates win- how often do you get to read that?
- Craig Hansen (Red Sox) vs. Joey Devine (Braves): This throwdown is a lesson in the perils of college pitchers. They seem like sure things, compared to high schoolers, and from the start, the Red Sox and Braves thought they had their ninth-innings mapped out for years to come. Hansen, drafted 26th out of St. John's, has yet to find command at the major league level, with 63 walks against 70 strikeouts in 93.2 innings. The right-hander was one of the moving parts in the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles. Hansen's troubles were baffling, until the discovery of a degenerative nerve condition that has his career in doubt. Devine, chosen 27th, got traded to Oakland for Mark Kotsay, so Atlanta didn't benefit much from choosing him, either. The Athletics got a fantastic 2008 out of Devine- a 0.59 ERA in 45.2 innings with 49 strikeouts. Tommy John surgery kept him out for 2009, but he is currently on track to return to Oakland by the end of June. Winner here? Clearly, the Athletics.
Memorial Day linkage, as Ubaldo Jimenez continues to amaze...
- T.J. Simers of the LA Times offers a profile of refreshingly down-to-earth Angels owner Arte Moreno.
- Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune explains the dilemma the White Sox will face when they have the chance to select Ozney Guillen on draft day.
- Ryan Zimmerman would like to see the Nationals acquire Roy Oswalt, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
- A scout told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that he would be interested in Adam Jones if the Orioles considered trading him, despite the young outfielder's 2010 struggles.
- MLBTR is looking for an intern with strong Excel skills and a willingness to contribute for 30 minutes a day. If you are interested in this unpaid data entry position, send a short e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day.
- We will be giving away a DVD of the movie Sugar to our 30,000th Twitter follower (currently 584 followers away). Sugar chronicles a Dominican pitcher trying to make it to the Majors.
- The Cubs announced the promotion of 2008 first-round pick Andrew Cashner. The big righty will work out of the bullpen. Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle notes that several years ago, Cashner offered the Astros a hometown discount and they declined.
- The Pirates benched second baseman Akinori Iwamura in favor of Neil Walker, reports Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Iwamura, the team's highest-paid player, was an out-of-character acquisition for GM Neal Huntington. At the time of the trade there had been talk about an extension, but we have to assume that idea has been tabled.
- Dontrelle Willis' agent Matt Sosnick spoke to MLB.com's Jason Beck, saying his client could benefit from a fresh start despite a fair chance with the Tigers.
- Rany Jazayerli says Dayton Moore is not the worst GM in baseball, and it is too early to judge his organizational rebuilding effort.
- With one week left, AOL FanHouse's Frankie Piliere has his third first-round mock draft. ESPN's Keith Law also posted a mock draft, for those who have Insider.
- Heath Bell explained to Bill Center and Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune why he still has hostility toward the Mets.
We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time and position, so let's now dig up the largest contracts ever given out by each of the 30 teams. These are in terms of guaranteed money only, but some could end up being even larger because of incentives and option years.
- Angels: Torii Hunter, five years, $90MM
- Astros: Carlos Lee, six years, $100MM
- Athletics: Eric Chavez, six years, $66MM
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells, seven years, $126MM
- Braves: Chipper Jones, six years, $90MM
- Brewers: Ryan Braun, eight years, $45MM
- Cardinals: Matt Holliday, seven years, $120MM
- Cubs: Alfonso Soriano, eight years, $136MM
- Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson, four years, $53.4MM
- Dodgers: Kevin Brown, seven years, $105MM
- Giants: Barry Zito, seven years, $126MM
- Indians: Travis Hafner, four years, $57MM
- Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, five years, $90MM
- Marlins: Hanley Ramirez, six years, $70MM
- Mets: Johan Santana, six years, $137.5MM
- Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, five years, $45MM
- Orioles: Miguel Tejada, six years, $72MM
- Padres: Jake Peavy, three years, $52MM
- Phillies: Chase Utley, seven years, $85MM
- Pirates: Jason Kendall, six years, $60MM
- Rangers: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $252MM
- Rays: Wilson Alvarez, five years, $35MM
- Reds: Ken Griffey Jr., nine years, $116.5MM
- Red Sox: Manny Ramirez, eight years, $160MM
- Rockies: Todd Helton, nine years, $141.5MM
- Royals: Gil Meche & Mike Sweeney, both five years, $55MM
- Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, eight years, $152.3MM
- Twins: Joe Mauer, eight years, $184MM
- White Sox: Frank Thomas, seven years, $64.4MM
- Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $275MM
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson caught up with Washington GM Mike Rizzo, and the results were quite interesting.
- Rizzo says that while nothing is imminent, he's never finished improving his team, and talks to "ten general managers per day." In other words, the roster he starts the season with could include players not currently in camp.
- Rizzo's biggest concern is his team's health, particularly Scott Olsen, Chien-Ming Wang and Cristian Guzman.
- The plan is not to rush Stephen Strasburg, though it is worth noting that Rizzo didn't explicitly rule out Strasburg starting the year in Washington.
- Rizzo said the Nationals have begun to "dabble" in contract extension talks with Adam Dunn.
More links, with less than a week remaining for contenders to add pieces...
- Pete Abraham of the Journal News says the Brian Cashman and the Yankees were smart not to trade for Johan Santana, even though it seems likely that the Mets will get their ace back.
- Matthew Carruth of FanGraphs argues that Santana won't likely be worth the $90MM-plus remaining on his extension.
- Ryan Zimmerman's extension has worked out well for the Nationals, and Tyler Hissey of Around the Majors believes the team deserves some credit.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that talks between the Pirates and Miguel Angel Sano have stalled. The Pirates made a formal offer at the beginning of July, but pulled it back more than a month ago.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says Carlos Zambrano's next meaningful start will come on Opening Day 2010.
- It looks like top Japanese amateur Yusei Kikuchi will play in Japan, as Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker shows.
- Jerry Ford of PerfectGame.org says Bryce Harper has been overhyped. But has his ability been overrated? Not at all - Ford says he has tons of potential. Check out the entire piece for a wide-ranging discussion of the top prospect.
Links for Wednesday...
- WEEI's Alex Speier points out that Ryan Zimmerman's deal mirrors the Kevin Youkilis extension, despite the difference in performance. Tyler Hissey of Around The Majors likes the Zimmerman contract nonetheless.
- Speier also reports that the Red Sox placed pitcher Devern Hansack on unconditional release waivers, not long after he dislocated his shoulder. UPDATE: Hansack will be re-signed to a minor league deal.
- Athletics reliever Joey Devine had Tommy John surgery, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star talked to Royals GM Dayton Moore, who said the decision to recall Brian Bannister over Luke Hochevar was not financially motivated.
- Randy Wolf doesn't have hard feelings toward the Astros, according to MLB.com's Michael Murphy. The 'Stros wisely yanked their three-year, $28.5MM offer to Wolf in November.
- Josh Levitt names the worst contract extensions in the game.
MONDAY, 5:56pm: Harlan has details on Zimmerman's new contract. He says one of the final hold-ups was Zimmerman's insistence that there be no club options. It seems that this deal has been done for a few weeks now.
SUNDAY, 9:26pm: Chico Harlan weighs in with an update. It is indeed a five-year, $45MM extension for Zimmerman, as previously speculated. This contract overrides the one-year, $3.325MM deal that Zimmerman and the Nats agreed on prior to the season. Zimmerman had a refreshing take on the negotiation process:
"It just gets to the point where you think, 'How much [money] do you really need? How much do you need, and do you really want to be here?' I think that's the most important thing...The whole point of being a free agent and having a negotiating power is to play where you want to want to play. And I don't really need to go into that. I'm happy here."
8:43pm: MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes that the Nationals have agreed on an extension with Ryan Zimmerman. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but an official announcement could come tomorrow.
Previously we'd heard that Zimmerman didn't want to negotiate mid-season, but clearly things have changed. Last week, there was speculation that his extension would be five years, $45MM, and would take effect during the 2009 season.