Woody Williams Rumors
3:47pm: According to the AP, Williams plans to retire rather than scavenge for another job.
10:36am: According to Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros released 41 year-old starter Woody Williams. The Astros will pay Williams $6.5MM to not play for them. It's good to see Ed Wade looking at Williams as a sunk cost, opting for a better pitcher in Chris Sampson.
Williams joins guys like Russ Ortiz, John Thomson, Jeff Weaver, and David Wells in the free agency ranks.
It looks like Dave Roberts is going to be a Giant. This will save San Francisco fans from self-immolation over their front office's apparent inability to make stupid deals, and ensure that the Giants theme of "oldsters in the outfield" remains intact even with Steve Finley and possibly Barry Bonds on their way out.
In other news: Woody Williams got a two-year deal with the Astros for $12.5M. That seems remarkably sane, though I wouldn't plan on drafting Woody for your fantasy team. He had an okay year in Petco, but he's moving to one of the unfriendliest parks in baseball for pitching. If the short porch in left is going to do wonders for Carlos Lee, it's going to hurt Williams nearly as much.
Phil Rogers offers a plethora of random thoughts: the Cubs want to move Jacque Jones; Jones or Geoff Jenkins would be an improvement for the White Sox (so he says); and the Sox could send Scott Podsednik and Juan Uribe to San Fran for Omar Vizquel (much less likely after the Roberts signing, I'd imagine). Emphasis on "could": he's obviously just making stuff up.
Speaking of making stuff up: now that most of the center fielders out there have found homes, it's time for the second basemen to start falling into place. There's been more news lately of Adam Kennedy, who is likely to land in St. Louis, or possibly Toronto. The market for Kennedy, Ronnie Belliard, and others may depend on whether Julio Lugo and/or Ray Durham end up as outfielders, which would shrink the market for those teams who need second basemen.
By Jeff Sackmann
Tim sends his best from Cancun and wishes everyone was with him.
They are still trying to find their honeymoon hotel so he's not quite sure when he'll be back. And, no, he didn't send any Cancun beach shots. Dang..
Speaking about vacations, how about the Astros signing Lee at $100m/6? Wow. My take is this - the power starved Astros obviously felt they were one player away and Lee happened to be available. He'll probably hit 40 home runs despite all the talk about his lack of power after April last year. Don't forget Minute Maid is full of hot air.
The Astros also jumped on Woody Williams at $12.5/2. I suppose this is a message to Astros fans that Pupura doesn't expect the Rocket to resign. Just a guess. At 40-years old, Williams is a huge risk of course.
The Rangers signed Frank Catalanotto to a $13.5m/3 year deal today too. Dan Szymborwski at the Baseball Think Factory believes it is a solid deal for the Rangers, and I agree.
MLBTR's reader eeleye99 was kind enough to offer up that the Blue Jays are reportedly ready to sign Rod Barajas as their every day receiver around $6m/2. Nice catch eeleye99 - thanks.
Another MLBTR reader - Rayman, found that Dave Roberts is reportedly picking the Giants over the Brewers. Kudo's for the find Rayman.
At The Plate has started compiling all the teams top 10 prospects by publication. They have done a great job of this for several years now. You might want to bookmark the site.
Bucco Blog has indicated that the most sought out pitcher on the Pirates staff this winter has been southpaw Tom Gorzelanny. There have been rumors that the Braves wanted Gorzelanny and Maholm for LaRoche, and today Tracy Ringolsby, the award winning columnist of the Rocky Mountain News, has indicated that a Rockies Brad Hawpe trade has been discussed with the Pirates who will only give up Maholm. I assume they also want Gorzelanny in any package. I love Tracy's writing - the guy is flat out kewl.
Interestingly, Ringolsby is also reporting in that article that agents are complaining that the Rockies didn't offer enough to Francis in his latest $13.5/4 year deal. I suppose the agents had to find a way to say the "C" word this year, despite the soaring value of contracts so far.
Have you ever read the The Carbolic Smoke Ball blog? OMG - it is Hilllll ar ious.
By Jake at Bucco Blog
The Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros have offered multi-year deals to Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee. Houston has been viewed by many as the frontrunner for El Caballo, but I hadn't heard anything about their interest in Soriano.
The article also notes that the Astros "are in serious discussions" with Woody Williams. I suppose if they aren't counting on getting Roger Clemens back for another year, they may feel the need to add a different 40 year old in the rotation.
By Jeff Sackmann
Last year, one of the "in the bag" free agent signings was Frank Thomas to the Athletics. It had been long-rumored, and both sides wanted to make it happen. This year, Woody Williams and the Astros may be a similar match.
Said John P. Lopez of the Houston Chronicle on August 31st:
"And that front-line starting pitcher the Astros will try to land come the winter? He's out there, watching. His name could well be Woody Williams, the Padres starter and long-rumored Astros acquisition who's apparently keen on making it happen this time."
Williams is thought to be intent on becoming an Astro because he is a Houston native. If Williams is truly looked at as a front-line guy in this winter's market, perhaps he won't be the fourth starter for my All-Bargain Free Agent rotation after all. Woody's making about $5MM this year, and could be in line for a deal similar to the one Kenny Rogers received before this season. Rogers inked a two-year, $16MM contract with the Tigers.
Baseball Prospectus projects Williams to be worth about $5.6MM from 2007-08, but you have to overpay for starting pitching.