Terrmel Sledge Rumors

Odds & Ends: Atkins, Twins, Carlyle

Links for Friday, as the free agent market officially opens…

Odds and Ends: Jenkins, Piazza, Kuroda

Random rumors for this evening…

  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Rays have contacted Geoff Jenkins‘ agent.  They’re eyeing him to replace Delmon Young in right field.
  • Cubs lefty Scott Eyre exercised his $3.8MM player option for 2008.
  • Terrmel Sledge never quite caught on in the U.S., so he’s headed to Japan.  I thought he was a sleeper entering 2007 as he’d posted a .985 OPS in Triple A in ’06.
  • The Yorvit Torrealba deal is official at two years and $7.25MM with a $4MM mutual option for 2010.  Mutual options never get exercised by both sides so that doesn’t mean much.  Michael Barrett and Paul Lo Duca are the two remaining free agent starting catchers.
  • It’s true, Mike Piazza does have some interest from a Japanese team.  But he also has three MLB teams interested, and he’s much more likely to stay in the U.S.
  • Could Yasuhiko Yabuta lead the Royals to sign Hiroki Kuroda?  It’s a possibility.  The D’Backs are after him as well; Nick Piecoro has some in-depth info about Kuroda.

Adam Eaton Dealt To Rangers

Kevin Towers made a great trade today, acquiring promising youngsters Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez (plus Terrmel Sledge) for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka.  I didn’t think a deal was imminent yesterday, but I also didn’t think Jon Daniels would surrender a comparable, younger pitcher in the trade.

In what way is Adam Eaton better than Chris Young?  Putting their numbers side by side, I’d say Young is already the preferable pitcher.  Their strikeout rates are comparable, and Young’s superior control results in fewer baserunners.  Young’s durability is an unknown, but it couldn’t be much worse than Eaton’s.  Eaton’s had a nice assist from Petco, while Young threw well in his initial exposure to the pitchers’ hell that is Ameriquest.  Throw in the fact that Young is four years away from a big payday while Eaton is right around the corner, and this looks like Jon Daniels’s first misstep.

What’s more, Adrian Gonzalez is a better bet than Akinori Otsuka.  Gonzalez hit .338/.399/.561 in his third crack at Triple A this year.  He never stuck with the Rangers, but only received 192 at-bats in the Majors.  He’s a useful player at his current level, and at 23 years old he can certainly improve.

Otsuka showed some serious signs of decline in his second Major League season.  He’s 33 years old and had a dangerously bad walk rate in ’05.  Strikeouts were down as well.  He still may be helpful to the Texas bullpen, as he appears to keep the ball in the yard.  But keep in mind that’s based on just 66 non-Petco Major League innings. 

The Otsuka-Gonzalez part of the deal is still fairly reasonable in light of each team’s needs.  Replacing Eaton with Young, however, heavily favors the Padres. 

Nationals Snag Soriano, Will Remain At 2B

ESPN is reporting that Jim Bowden picked up Alfonso Soriano for the Nationals and sent Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge over to the Rangers.

The trade is a pretty fair one by my off-the-cuff analysis.  I’ll probably have some player projections on RotoAuthority tomorrow, given that players are moving from an extreme pitchers’ park to a home run haven.

Once extra piece of information that we’ve managed to acquire contradicts a statement in the ESPN report.  According to ESPN:

"With Jose Vidro already entrenched at second base, it’s believed that the Nationals would move Soriano to left field."

My source is saying that the Nationals’ front office is quietly concerned that Jose Vidro may be done for his career.  Expect Soriano to see most of his time at second base in years to come.