Ryan Zimmerman Rumors
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 email@example.com 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.
Links for Monday...
- Become a fan of MLB Trade Rumors on Facebook! We're up to 9,828 fans.
- Jed Lowrie will have wrist surgery, and Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe learned that he could return by the All-Star break. Julio Lugo, recovering from knee surgery, should be ready to take over soon.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. says "negotiations between the New York Yankees and Cuban exile prospect Felix Perez have broken down because of the outfielder's problem in obtaining a visa." Perez was set for a bonus north of $3MM, but questions have been raised about his age. The Yanks may have interest in a couple of other Cuban players, Noel Arguelles and Jose Iglesias, once they're declared free agents.
- According to Phil Miller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Torii Hunter would seemingly like to finish his career with the Twins.
- MLB.com's Alyson Footer says sending Drew Sutton to the Reds for Jeff Keppinger was "a great, great deal for the Astros." Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle explains why the move was made.
- Aaron Gleeman weighs in on the Twins' decision to swap out Philip Humber for Juan Morillo.
- David Pinto of Baseball Musings gives his opinion of the Ryan Zimmerman extension.
- South Side Sox and Sox Machine discuss the minor tiff between Ozzie Guillen and Nick Swisher.
- Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News says the Dodgers signed pitcher Chuck Tiffany to a minor league deal. They'd traded him to the Rays in '06 as part of the Danys Baez deal, and the Rays released him in March of this year.
3:10pm: Chico Harlan of the Washington Post says the Nationals are closing in on a five-year, $45MM extension with Zimmerman. The deal would begin with 2009, erasing his current contract. By comparison, Markakis will earn $47MM over the same service time slice of his career.
2:35pm: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Nationals are closing in on an extension with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. The talks are getting serious, with Zimmerman aiming for a deal similar to Nick Markakis' six-year, $66.1MM deal. Rosenthal says a Zimmerman extension "likely would cover his remaining arbitration years and at least two years of free agency." Markakis' deal bought out all three arbitration years and three free agent years with a mutual option for a fourth.
Looking at Zimmerman's accomplishments, is he worth a big-money extension? Or are the Nationals locking him up because he's their best young player?
MONDAY: Extension talks for Zimmerman are indeed on hold until after the season, according to Chico Harlan of the Washington Post. Zimmerman does not seem concerned, noting that "it's come a long way" and expressing relief to have entered the arbitration system.
SATURDAY: According to the Associated Press, via the Miami Herald, Ryan Zimmerman wants long-term contract negotiations to cease once the regular season starts. The Nationals have been working toward a multi-year extension with their 23-year-old third baseman since spring training began.
Zimmerman tells The Associated Press on Saturday that if there isn't something in place by Monday's first game, he wants a break in negotiations. He says the last thing he needs is to be worrying about something other than trying to help the Nationals win.