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Some Thursday night links…
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports note that the Phillies had a creative idea for third base before signing Placido Polanco – they asked Orlando Hudson if he'd make the position change. He passed.
- Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III spoke openly about the club's limitations in retaining Albert Pujols beyond his current deal, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Signing Pujols and free agent Matt Holliday to new contracts would almost definitely mean committing upwards of 40% of the team's payroll to two players.
- If the Tigers cannot re-sign free agent relievers Brandon Lyon or Fernando Rodney, they may have to look into a pair of Type A free agents, writes James Schmehl of MLive.com. Atlanta's Mike Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano could appeal to Detroit, but they would require the forfeiture of a first-round pick.
- Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes conducted a live chat today on MLB.com. It sounds as though Byrnes would be content to more or less stand pat this offseason, telling one fan that most of the club's impact players evolve within their system rather than "arrive via offseason splash." Don't expect Arizona to go after a second baseman this winter either as Byrnes says he looks forward to competition over the spot this season, featuring late-season acquisition Tony Abreu.
- More from Arizona as the club outrighted a pair of prospects to their Triple-A affiliate – pitcher Kyler Newby and catcher Luke Carlin, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic writes that the move was not made in anticipation of a free agent signing or trade.
- Matt Stairs told Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News that he would like to play next season. Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says not to expect Stairs back in Philadelphia next season, as Phils GM Ruben Amaro offered him the opportunity to audition for other teams at Spring Training.
- Jacque Jones also wants back in baseball, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The 34-year-old last played in 2008, seeing time in 42 games in which he recorded an OPS of .446. However, his agent insists that teams will be impressed with his physical conditioning and desire to continue his career.
Earlier this week, the Dodgers, as expected, declined to pick up their side of a $10MM mutual option for Jon Garland. However, one has to think that Ned Colletti & Co. would like to hang on to the 6'6 righty after surrendering Tony Abreu for him.
In 2009, Garland turned in an ERA of 4.01 in 200+ IP. The 30-year-old shined in his limited time in Dodger Blue, recording a 2.72 ERA with a 2.89 SO/BB ratio in six regular season games. While he would be a fairly attractive option in any free agent class, this winter's weak crop of starting pitchers may make Garland an even hotter commodity.
With Randy Wolf and Vicente Padilla also entering free agency, should the Dodgers look to hang on to Garland? What kind of an offer would you extend to him?
The Diamondbacks received infielder Tony Abreu from the Dodgers to complete the Jon Garland trade, according to the team's Twitter feed. Abreu had been rumored as the likely return since the August 31st trade, but presumably the teams waited until now because he did not clear waivers. Another factor: a dispute over Abreu's service time. MLB.com's Ken Gurnick says this grievance was settled, with Abreu receiving an additional 30 days service time.
Abreu, 25 in November, hit .353/.385/.615 in 236 Triple A plate appearances this year. He spent most of his time at second base, and is expected to compete for the starting job in Arizona next year. The D'Backs clearly think highly of Abreu, since they were willing to take on Garland's remaining salary as well as his buyout.
Now that we've taken a look at the week that was, let's anticipate what lies ahead. There aren't as many pennant races to watch as usual this year, so keep your eye on the following stories as the week progresses:
- When Josh Beckett throws his first pitch tomorrow afternoon, his 2010 option will kick in for $12.1MM.
- Kevin Millwood will likely pitch against the Mariners on Friday. If he goes eight innings or more, he will have pitched 180 innings on the season and his $12MM option for 2010 will vest.
- One final option to monitor this week: Magglio Ordonez is a mere 27 plate appearances from seeing his $18MM option kick in for next season. It could happen this week, but, depending on playing time, Maggs may have to wait longer.
- For recaps of these options and more, check out Tim's post from earlier in the week.
- Tony Abreu filed a grievance against the Dodgers and Glen Perkins may file one of his own against the Twins. We'll see if either player reaches a resolution with his club this week.
- Don't rule out trades, either. Could the Rangers acquire an infielder? Could the Phils add a bench bat?
When the Diamondbacks sent starter Jon Garland to the Dodgers late last month, they expected to receive infielder Tony Abreu in return. In addition to his gaudy minor league stats, Abreu appealed to Arizona because he still had two more pre-arbitration years ahead of him and five years total before he became a free agent.
However, as Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports, the team had no way of knowing that Abreu and the Dodgers were close to reaching an agreement to settle a grievance filed in 2007. As a result of the settlement, Abreu may be awarded additional service time that may make him arbitration eligible in 2011 instead of 2012. The D-Backs believe LA did not act in good faith during negotiations.
The grievance came after Abreu was optioned to the minors in July 2007, and he claimed he should have instead been placed on the disabled list with an abdominal injury. As you know from our service time primer, a player can accrue service time while on the DL but not while in the minors. Abreu would pick up 47 additional days of service time thanks to the grievance, which would likely make him a "Super Two."
As Piecoro explains, it's unclear what action the D-Backs will take at this point, but teams can file grievances with MLB over disputed trades. They could ask to amend the original list of players the two teams agreed upon to complete the deal, or they could ask for the Dodgers to kick in some cash to cover Abreu's increased salary.
No wonder why they always say abdominal injuries will linger if they aren't taken care of properly.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has the latest on the D'Backs catchers and their return for Jon Garland:
- Chris Snyder's back problems may not be serious, but they could become a problem for both the club and the catcher. The D'Backs hope to trade Snyder in the offseason to address other weaknesses and Snyder would presumably like to play every day. If Snyder returns in time to re-establish some of his value, he would help himself and the D'Backs.
- Piecoro hears that the Dodgers won't necessarily send Tony Abreu to the D'Backs to complete the Jon Garland trade. It remains likely that Abreu will join the D'Backs, however.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports…
- Bobby Abreu and the Angels have mutual interest in continuing their relationship, according to his agent Peter Greenberg. Greenberg says there have been discussions but they'll probably wait until after the season. Abreu, 36 in March, is hitting .297/.391/.428 in 547 plate appearances while playing subpar defense. He should end up earning $6MM given his plate appearance incentives. He'll easily achieve Type A status again.
- Rosenthal praises the Royals for extending GM Dayton Moore, and suggests the team should commit to a full-bore rebuild. Rosenthal believes it would've been wise to trade Mark Teahen and Gil Meche.
- Rosenthal says to expect another overloaded 1B/DH market this winter. Survey the free agent market here. I think we might find a .400 OBP on the cheap in Nick Johnson, while Jason Giambi is in for a minor league deal. Carlos Delgado, Russell Branyan, Hank Blalock, Ken Griffey Jr., Hideki Matsui, Aubrey Huff, Gary Sheffield, and Jim Thome are some of the other names.
- The Phillies decided to stick with Miguel Cairo as their right-handed bench bat, rather than pursue Nomar Garciaparra.
- A rival exec Rosenthal spoke to feels that Tony Abreu is not enough for Jon Garland, since the D'Backs are picking up all of Garland's contract.
The latest from Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times covers the future of Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and also reveals details from the team's acquisitions of Jon Garland and Jim Thome.
- Colletti faces a mutual option for 2010. He says he'd love to be back, but hasn't discussed his future with owner Frank McCourt yet. Sure, Colletti has been able to operate under a budget. But his work as a GM is a mixed bag at best. SI's Jon Heyman recently weighed in on Colletti's recent work; check that out here.
- The White Sox are paying $1.4MM of the $2.4MM still owed to Thome. From Chicago's point of view, the benefit was saving a million bucks. With all the penny-pinching in the Dodgers' trades the past few years, I'm surprised they were willing to spend that million for one month of a bench bat.
- Hernandez heard that Tony Abreu is the player to be named later in the Garland deal, as had been rumored. Abreu, a Scott Boras client, is hitting .351/.382/.609 in 213 Triple A plate appearances.
- Hernandez says the Dodgers are "not expected to retain" second baseman Orlando Hudson. Hudson may not be up for a one-year, incentive-laden contract this time around.
- The Nationals renewed Ryan Zimmerman‘s contract and will pay him $465K in 2008, but still hope to sign him to a longer deal. Zimmerman will be eligible for arbitration in 2009.
- According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles recently discussed free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse with his agent, Scott Boras. Lohse was originally seeking a five-year deal for approximately $50 million, but word is his price has come down drastically.
- The Detroit Free Press says the Tigers "have mild interest in Houston’s Humberto Quintero but are giving strong consideration to Dane Sardinha, the starting catcher at Triple-A Toledo last year."
You know what I love about the Kansas City Star? The enormous, extreme close-up pixellated player photo that seems to accompany every article. It’s bizarre in a good way.
Anyway, Bob Dutton gives us the latest on hot commodity Octavio Dotel. According to Dutton, the Dodgers and Indians are at the forefront, with the Red Sox, Mets, and some other teams monitoring the situation.
As before, Dutton indicates that the Dodgers are the best possibility. They refuse to part with Tony Abreu, however. Abreu is seen as Jeff Kent‘s replacement at second base, though Kent is still going strong and his 2008 option becomes guaranteed with 550 plate appearances this year. Barring injury, he’ll reach that.
This seems parallel to the shortstop situation, where Rafael Furcal is signed through 2008 and Chin-Lung Hu is knocking on the door. For some reason Dutton seems to view Hu as more available than Abreu.
The Indians won’t give up outfielders Franklin Gutierrez or Ben Francisco, at least not yet. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirms the info. Is Francisco really anything more than a fourth outfielder?
The Red Sox could go after Dotel and Reggie Sanders in a package deal, perhaps with Wily Mo Pena going to KC.
If Dayton Moore gets anything close to his asking price, the Dotel rental will end up a fantastic move.