- GM Kenny Williams told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that the White Sox aren't desperate for anything right now.
- Reporters asked Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik about Lee, but Zduriencik just repeated that the Mariners are focusing on winning as many games as possible, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies have a scout at tonight's Yankees-Mariners game, though it could be part of the scout's normal coverage.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that Mets infielder Ruben Tejada would not be enough to anchor a deal for Lee, but prospect Wilmer Flores could be (Twitter links). Earlier today, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes looked at the Mets' ability to acquire Lee without giving up Jenrry Mejia.
- Now that the Indians have given first rounder Drew Pomeranz his physical, they're one step closer to starting negotiations with the left-hander, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- Cal Ripken Jr. told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that he may take a job in the Orioles organization. So could Ripken become the team's next manager? No.
- Many players read MLBTR, but something tells me Adam Dunn isn't one of them. He told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he hates trade rumblings when he's involved in them. The Nationals are open to making deals and teams are interested in Dunn.
Archives for June 2010
The Red Sox would like to see more consistent production from their bullpen, but they aren’t about to give good prospects up to acquire relievers, GM Theo Epstein told Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Red Sox relievers not named Daniel Bard have had ups and downs this year, so Epstein is open to adding arms.
“It’s no condemnation of our current bullpen, but to be realistic about it, you add a really good reliever it always makes our team better,” Epstein said.
The Red Sox thought they were adding a really good reliever in 2007 when they acquired Eric Gagne for Engel Beltre, Kason Gabbard and David Murphy. As any Red Sox fan will tell you, Gagne’s stint in Boston (6.75 ERA) was not a successful one. Last year, the Red Sox traded Chris Carter for Billy Wagner and even obtained a top pick in this year’s draft. The Red Sox may need help behind the plate, in the infield or in the outfield, but if they decide to prioritize relief help, don’t expect them to hand over highly-valued prospects.
"My strong belief is that we couldn't have replaced Carlos," Hendry said.
Zambrano, then 26, had already pitched four full seasons in the Cubs' rotation and had a career ERA of 3.66 with nearly one strikeout per inning pitched. He was in the midst of another strong season and had an outside shot at 20 wins with free agency just months away.
The deal came less than a year after the Cubs committed $136MM to Alfonso Soriano. And it came less than a year after the Giants signed Barry Zito for $126MM. Zambrano, three years younger than Zito and better at striking hitters out, threatened to leave the Cubs if he didn't get an extension, and other clubs had interest in the right-hander. Here's how some writers initially reacted to the deal that gave Zambrano the fifth-highest salary in the game, behind only Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Derek Jeter:
- Tim Dierkes, MLBTR: "I've been back and forth on my opinion of a huge Zambrano extension … Part of me says that the Cubs got a slight discount, Zambrano's been an injury-free horse, and he'll still be pretty young throughout the deal. The other side of me says that his best years are behind him, he's got a ton of mileage on his arm, and almost no free agent pitcher deal of this magnitude could possibly work out. I think you could make a legitimate case for either side – sorry for the cop out."
- Rob Neyer, ESPN.com: "Does Zambrano deserve $18 million per season? Well, if you think Barry Zito deserves his $18 million per season, then Zambrano is definitely worth that much. OK, bad example. Zambrano's one of the five best pitchers in the National League, so he was going to get this money or more, somewhere. Still, I wonder if the Cubs might have been better off spending their $91.5 million who's been tested in the real major league."
- Bruce Miles, the Daily Herald: "In this day and age of cynicism, especially when it comes to the mega-money world of professional sports, it's difficult to take anything anybody says at face value. Once in awhile, though, people say things and then follow through on them. All along, Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, his agents and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry stated it was their goal to agree on a multiyear contract extension for Zambrano … It got done Friday, and it all got done without public sniping … Maybe this time, everybody will live happily ever after."
- Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune: "[The contract is an example of] putting your money where your mouth is."
Edwin Rodriguez will remain the Marlins' interim manager for the remainder of the 2010 season, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told the team the news today. The Marlins, who have been linked to Bobby Valentine ever since they fired manager Fredi Gonzalez, will reevaluate their long-term options after the season.
The Marlins were reportedly considering D'Backs third base coach Bo Porter for the opening after philosophical differences between Valentine and the team became apparent. Valentine was considered the favorite for the job and appeared to have won it as recently as a few days ago.
Rodriguez, who had been managing the Marlins' Triple A affiliate, has two wins since taking over, including one last night in his native Puerto Rico. Overall, the Marlins are 2-4 under Rodriguez.
GM Theo Epstein says the Red Sox will evaluate the players replacing Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez before deciding whether to pursue a trade for depth up the middle, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Bill Hall, Eric Patterson, Jason Varitek and Gustavo Molina will get the chance to fill in while Pedroia and Martinez heal.
If that quartet is as productive as outfielders Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald, Epstein may not have to deal at all. The club may consider pursuing other players, but as Epstein points out, standout second basemen and catchers are hard to find.
“Those middle of the field guys who can really make an impact offensively, they’re the toughest ones to replace,” Epstein said.
Not only would it be difficult to trade for a productive catcher or middle infielder, it would be necessary to create roster space when Martinez and Pedroia return. That’s another consideration for Epstein, who says trades would have to make sense long-term and short-term.
“You don’t want to make a major trade that all of a sudden three or four weeks from now doesn’t fit,” Epstein said.
Earlier today, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported that the Red Sox and Cubs talked about a deal that would have sent Mike Fontenot to Boston. WEEI reported last week that the Red Sox have some interest in Adam Everett. The Red Sox appear to be considering options in case Hall and Patterson do not meet expectations, but Epstein says the current Red Sox will be given every opportunity to succeed.
Before the Eric Patterson trade, the Red Sox and Cubs discussed a possible deal that would have sent Mike Fontenot to Boston, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Red Sox are down an infielder now that Dustin Pedroia's fractured foot has sent him to the DL. The Cubs could deal Fontenot, who doesn't play every day, and keep their starting lineup together.
Fontenot, 30, makes $1MM this year and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season. He is hitting .286/.331/.414 in 145 plate appearances and has been an average defender in recent years according to UZR/150. So far in 2010, he has played second, third and short, so his versatility no doubt appeals to the Red Sox.
The Cubs' recent trade talks don't mean they are willing to start selling. Two sources told Morosi that the 33-43 Cubs are "halfway" to sell mode (Twitter link). If Fontenot is available, the Phillies and Angels could also have interest given injuries to their infielders.
The Phillies released Willy Taveras, MLBTR has learned. The Phillies signed the speedy outfielder earlier in the month, not long after the Nationals released him. The A's, who are paying most of Taveras' $4MM salary, released him in February, so this marks the third time the former NL stolen base champ has been released this year.
After struggling to produce offensively through 37 plate appearances for the Nats, Taveras moved on to the Phillies' Triple A team. He didn't fare much better in Lehigh Valley, where he hit .208/.255/.271 in 104 plate appearances.
However, Taveras can still point to his age (28), his ability on the base paths (9/9 in stolen base attempts at Triple A) and his record as a solid defender (career UZR/150 of 8.7). Taveras did post a .367 OBP for the 2007 Rockies, but it has been years since he has done much at the plate.
The Mets signed Michael Barrett to a minor league deal, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The catcher will report to class A Port St. Lucie and will likely be promoted to Triple A Buffalo within a few weeks, according to Rubin.
Barrett, 33, hit 16 homers three consecutive times for the Cubs from 2004-06, never posting an OPS below .824 in that time. He hasn't been nearly as productive since the Cubs traded him to the Padres midway through the 2007 season, but he still has a .263/.320/.422 career line. Barrett appeared in the majors briefly last year, backing up Rod Barajas for the Blue Jays. If he plays well in the minors and the Mets call on Barrett, he will once again be backing up Barajas.
Today Chase Utley and Placido Polanco became the latest star infielders to hit the disabled list. Greg Dobbs and Brian Bocock got called up, but the Phillies will have options if they decide to pursue infielders who can help between now and the All-Star break, when Utley and Polanco may be ready to return.
The Red Sox and Rockies have been quiet since losing Dustin Pedroia and Troy Tulowitzki, respectively. The Red Sox acquired Eric Patterson, but so far neither club has made a major move. Since Polanco is hurt, the Phillies have a hole at third, but they may find themselves considering many of the same players who have been linked to the Red Sox and Rockies.
Adam Everett, Mark Grudzielanek, Garrett Atkins, Edwin Encarnacion and Akinori Iwamura are not on MLB rosters and could presumably be acquired for a small financial commitment. Jhonny Peralta, Miguel Tejada, Adam Kennedy, Willie Bloomquist and Mike Aviles are in the majors, but could be available. Ty Wigginton, Dan Uggla and Kelly Johnson would be expensive and the Phillies wouldn't have room for them once their injured players return.
It's not clear whether the Phillies will weather the storm like the Rockies or pursue a player who can start in Utley and Polanco's absence and fill in once Philly's stars return. Utley will see a hand specialist tomorrow, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Until the Phillies know the severity of their second baseman's sprained thumb ligament, they can't do much more than scour opponents' rosters in case they need to make a deal.
The comment came from a New York Times session, as reported by Benjamin Kabak of River Ave. Blues. Kabak notes that despite the pledge to avoid public negotiation, the Yankees may have already reduced their leverage.
Levine and GM Brian Cashman also touched on their approach toward Japanese scouting, the draft, and other topics, so be sure to check out Kabak's summary.