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Takashi Saito Rumors
After extending Adrian Gonzalez this week, the Red Sox have guaranteed nearly $300MM to their two big offseason acquisitions, Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. However, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, some baseball people feel that Jayson Werth would have made more sense for the Sox than Crawford. One AL GM says he's "not sure that many of us are unhappy they chose Crawford over Werth," adding that Werth seemed to be a better fit for Boston's lefty-heavy lineup. Here are the rest of the highlights from Cafardo's Sunday Notes:
- The Red Sox may not have even been in on Crawford or Werth this winter if they had re-signed Jason Bay a year earlier. A National League GM calls Bay leaving Boston "one of the worst decisions both by a team and by the player," suggesting that both sides miss each other.
- According to Cafardo, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers was willing to deal Justin Upton to the Red Sox in the offseason, but only if he got the Adrian Gonzalez package or Clay Buchholz in return.
- Several teams have spoken to Omar Minaya about potential job openings. Minaya, who dubs himself a "free agent," says he's still sorting through everything and searching for the best fit, but he could make a decision soon.
- Cafardo points out that spending time on the disabled list could cost Takashi Saito a good chunk of money this season. Currently on the shelf with a hamstring injury, Saito can earn up to five $100K bonuses based on time spent on the active roster.
Notes from the NL Central as we wish the best of luck to all those affected by the earthquake in Japan…
- Brewers reliever Takashi Saito won't have to return to Japan, since his family has been safely accounted for, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (on Twitter).
- Outfielder Brett Jackson headlines MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's list of the top 10 prospects in the Cubs organization.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times shows that the Cubs-White Sox rivalry doesn't seem fierce now, since White Sox GM Kenny Williams supports the Cubs and Cubs GM Jim Hendry has nice things to say about the White Sox.
- Baseball writers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch weigh in on the following question: will Albert Pujols play even better than usual in 2011? The Cardinals slugger is months away from hitting free agency for the first time in his career.
Updates to a few recently completed contracts…
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer has the breakdown of Joey Votto's new contact with the Reds. The reigning NL MVP will earn $5.5MM in 2011 and $9.5MM in 2012 before jumping up to $17MM in 2013. His $6MM signing bonus will be paid out between now and 2014.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports that Takashi Saito has a clause in his contract stipulating that the Brewers must release him after the 2011 season. That prevents the team from offering him arbitration if he qualifies as a Type-A free agent.
- Jim Thome's deal with the Twins includes a boatload of incentives, reports Joe Christensen of The Star Triibune. The slugger will earn $200K for 200 plate appearances, and $300K each for 300, 350, and 400 plate appearances.
- Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com tweets that Willie Bloomquist's contract with the Diamondbacks will pay him $900K in 2011. It also includes a mutual option for 2012 worth $1.1MM.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that Austin Kearns' contract with the Indians contains incentives tied to plate appearances. He'll earn $50K each for 400, 425, 475, and 500 plate appearances.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark put together a list of the offseason's most creative contract clauses.
As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, lots of free agent relievers remain unsigned. Here's the latest on the relief market:
- Takashi Saito's deal with the Brewers guarantees him $1.75MM and gives him the chance to earn $1.5MM more through incentives, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy adds details on the contracts for Sean Green and Craig Counsell.
- Brian Fuentes is telling teams that he would like to close, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Several teams are interested in the lefty and the Rays are one interested club that could offer a closing job.
- The Reds will likely avoid arbitration with Jared Burton today and agree to a one-year deal with the reliever, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
- The Nationals are pursuing another reliever who can pitch late in games and potentially close, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes listed relief help as one of the Nationals' remaining needs last week.
Here are some recent updates on contracts from around the majors:
- Reliever Takashi Saito will earn a base salary of less than $2MM with the Brewers but incentives could push his salary close to the $3.2MM he made with Atlanta last year, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Saito could mark the Brewers' last major offseason acquisition.
- Adrian Beltre will earn $14MM in 2011, $15MM in 2012, $16MM in 2013, $17MM in 2014, and $18MM in 2015, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Left-hander Chris Capuano gets a base of $1.5MM in 2011 but he could earn more than $4.5MM through incentives, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Padres agreed not to offer salary arbitration if Orlando Hudson, Brad Hawpe, or Aaron Harang end up being Type A free agents, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- If they make the Bucs' major league roster, Garrett Atkins and Brian Burres will earn $800K and $600K, respectively, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. If Atkins is not on the 25-man roster on April 1 or June 1, he can request his release. Burres also has an out clause of sorts as can sign with an Asian team for $50K between now and Opening Day or for $100K during the season.
The Brewers signed reliever Takashi Saito to a one-year deal, the team announced today. The contract guarantees Saito $1.75MM and gives him the chance to earn $1.5MM more through incentives, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Saito has a chance to match last year's $3.2MM salary through appearance and roster bonuses; his physical is already done. Nikkan Sports was first to report the possible deal, which NPB Tracker passed along on Twitter. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement. Saito is represented by CAA.
Saito, 41 in February, posted a 2.83 ERA, 11.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9, and 43.6% groundball rate in 54 innings for the Braves this year. He dealt with hamstring and shoulder injuries and has had serious elbow issues in the past, so the deal reflects the health uncertainty despite Saito's fantastic numbers.
The Brewers' bullpen ranked 12th in the NL with a 4.48 ERA this year. Saito will join John Axford, Kameron Loe, LaTroy Hawkins, and Sean Green in the 2011 pen. Todd Coffey, Trevor Hoffman, Carlos Villanueva, and others have departed.
In addition to their release of Melky Cabrera earlier today, the Braves have also released reliever Takashi Saito and dropped catcher J.C. Boscan from the 40-man roster, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Though Saito still has a year of arbitration eligibility left, the one-year deal he signed with Atlanta last winter stipulated that he be granted free agency at its conclusion. Most Japanese veterans have similar clauses in their contracts allowing them to pursue free agency rather than go through the arbirtration process. His official release is a procedural move that was widely expected — MLBTR's Tim Dierkes even examined Saito's stock on the free agent market last week.
Boscan began his pro career in 1997 at age 17. After 14 years in the Atlanta, Milwaukee and Cincinnati systems, Boscan finally made his major league debut this season, walking and scoring a run in his only plate appearance. O'Brien points out that the Braves could re-sign Boscan to a minor league deal.
Reliever Takashi Saito told reporters today he's uncertain about his future, but still believes he can pitch, according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Free agent stock watch time!
- Back in the National League, Saito's numbers this year were reminiscent of his Dodgers days: 2.83 ERA, 11.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and four home runs allowed in 54 innings. Unlike last year with the Red Sox, Saito was particularly tough on right-handed hitters.
- Saito is likely to sign a one-year deal.
- He could handle a closing job, and that strict usage would effectively limit his workload.
- Saito turns 41 in February. Back in 2008 he became the first pitcher known to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection into his elbow, which allowed for a quick recovery from a torn ulnar collateral ligament. With the Braves this year he dealt with hamstring and shoulder ailments. At this point in his career Saito cannot be counted on for 50 innings. I'm no doctor, but you'd have to worry about that ligament fully tearing.
- 2009 may have been a fluke, but Saito's periperhals suffered in the American League.
Saito signed with the Braves for a $3.2MM base salary and another $2.3MM in incentives. If his shoulder and elbow check out, there's no reason he should sign for less this time around. In fact, he'd have a case for a raise. He'll be appealing to most teams looking for a tough late-game reliever, but clubs will attempt to keep the base salary low and sign him to an incentive-laden deal given his age and recent injury history.
Links for Sunday as Phil Hughes takes the mound against Boston..
- Brewers manager Ken Macha will have to wait to learn about his future, GM Doug Melvin told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com writes that even a turnaround in playoff fortunes wouldn't have changed Dodgers skipper Joe Torre's mind about retiring.
- Mark Kotsay told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that he does not anticipate returning to the White Sox next season.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes that Prince Fielder may have played his last home game in a Brewers uniform today.
- Whether or not manager Ozzie Guillen returns to the White Sox will be one of the many factors that play into Paul Konerko's decision, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- Adam McCalvy of MLB.com tweets that Trevor Hoffman earned an extra $250K today when he closed out the Brewers' home finale.
- Reliever Takashi Saito's career could be in jeopardy as he is hampered by shoulder tendinitis, writes Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson will have a say in whether soon-to-be free agent Brandon Webb returns to action this year, writes MLB.com's Andrew Pentis.
- Thomas Harding and Joey Nowak of MLB.com spoke to Rockies outfielder Jay Payton, who is happy to still be playing baseball at the age of 37.
- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says the future looks bright in Chicago, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in…
- If the Red Sox decide to give Mike Lowell more at-bats at the expense of David Ortiz, don't be surprised if it happens soon. Just six of their next 26 games are on the road, and Lowell is a .303/.361/.513 career hitter at Fenway. Yesterday we heard that the Sox would probably release Ortiz before keeping him on the bench.
- Should the Orioles decide to part ways with manager Dave Trembley, Rosenthal calls Greg Maddux an outside the box replacement candidate. Andy MacPhail has long admired Maddux's baseball smarts, and thinks he could succeed in any role. Keep in mind that the 355 game winner is currently working for Cubs GM Jim Hendry, and his only tie to the O's is MacPhail, his former GM with Chicago.
- The Diamondbacks' rotation depth remains an issue, but they have minimal interest in Jarrod Washburn. They only have so much money to spend, and Washburn is coming off knee surgery and hasn't been through Spring Training. Arizona believes they're better off waiting until other teams fall out of the race and the trade market begins to develop.
- The concern in Atlanta is about Bobby Cox's bullpen management. The 38-year-old Billy Wagner and 40-year-old Takashi Saito have been worked hard in the early going.