Click below to read the transcript of today's chat with Tim Dierkes.
Archives for September 2010
There are only 30 general manager jobs in baseball, but for every GM, there’s a qualified candidate to replace him. At SI.com, Jon Heyman lists 30 GM candidates, some of whom will likely be hired to run big league teams at some point.
Heyman’s list includes former GMs Josh Byrnes, Allard Baird, Jerry Dipoto, Ben Cherington, Wayne Krivsky, John Hart, Mike Port, Gerry Hunsicker, Joe Garagiola Jr., Sandy Alderson and Pat Gillick.
Not all of those execs would necessarily want another GM job, but Heyman has many alternatives to consider. Rick Hahn (White Sox), Damon Oppenheimer (Yankees), Dan Jennings (Marlins), Kim Ng (Dodgers), David Forst (A’s), Thad Levine (Rangers), John Coppolella (Braves), Al Avila (Tigers), Bill Geivett (Rockies), Logan White (Dodgers), De Jon Watson (Dodgers), John Ricco (Mets), Mike Arbuckle (Royals), Charlie Kerfeld (Phillies), Jason McLeod (Padres), Mike Chernoff (Indians), Tom McNamara (Mariners), A.J. Preller (Rangers) and Peter Woodfork (Diamondbacks) are also candidates.
The Marlins come next in our arbitration eligibles series…
- First time: Andrew Miller, Mike Rivera, Burke Badenhop, Brett Carroll
- Second time: Leo Nunez, Anibal Sanchez, Ronny Paulino, Jose Veras, Clay Hensley
- Third time: Dan Uggla, Ricky Nolasco
Uggla and Nolasco are the Marlins' two big names. Under new representation, Uggla is reportedly seeking five years and $58MM against a Marlins' offer of roughly three years and less than $30MM. Uggla could get over $10MM through arbitration, and his free agent years are worth more, so the Marlins will have to do better. Talks with Nolasco have a similar theme. He might be better off going through arbitration, where a $6MM salary seems possible.
Nunez, Sanchez, Hensley, and Badenhop also seem like locks to be tendered contracts. With 55 saves to his name Nunez could jump past $4MM and become a trade candidate. Sanchez sports 30 wins and a 3.76 ERA in 471 innings and will be building upon a $1.25MM base and a strong platform year.
Miller, once a highly-touted prospect, has struggled badly with his control and could be on the bubble. If the Fish tender him a contract in December, they'll be faced with his out-of-options status next spring. Rivera, Carroll, Paulino, and Veras may be expendable. Paulino probably sealed his fate when he snagged a 50-game PED suspension in August.
Jake Westbrook has found the National League to his liking since being acquired by the Cardinals on July 31st. He's provided them with 67.3 innings of 3.48 ball, improving his strikeout and groundball rates. Westbrook would be open to returning to the Indians next year, and the Cardinals could try to extend him next month, but let's analyze his situation assuming he heads to free agency for the first time.
- Westbrook has always been a groundball monster, but his 62.8% National League rate harkens back to his best years and would rank second in the league behind Tim Hudson. Teams in homer-happy ballparks figure to target Westbrook.
- He won't cost a draft pick. In fact, he's not even close to Type B status, so the Cardinals have no reason to offer arbitration.
- Westbrook tallied fewer than 190 innings from 2007-09 due to Tommy John and hip surgery and an oblique strain; the missed time could suppress his price.
- Some teams may be concerned that Westbrook's improved National League performance wouldn't hold up if he left Dave Duncan's tutelage. That might be unfair; Joel Pineiro was no worse for the wear this year.
- Perhaps Westbrook's asking price will be significant – he's finishing a three-year, $33MM contract and should be one of maybe seven free agent starters coming off a 200 inning season. Hudson received a three-year, $28MM extension from the Braves in November of last year with a much smaller post-Tommy John innings sample.
- Westbrook is not a dominant pitcher. His career K/9 is 5.0 and he's allowed 9.6 hits per nine innings.
Westbrook might be able to find a two-year, $15MM deal in the mold of the contracts signed by Pineiro and Jason Marquis last winter. He'd be wise to jump on an offer guaranteeing multiple years, as GMs figure to remain cautious this winter in general.
The Cubs are finishing up their first losing season since 2006; of course the focus is on next year. The latest:
- The Cubs "remain intent on taking a run at Joe Girardi," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- The Red Sox "have a lot of interest" in Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, reported ESPN's Bruce Levine in a chat yesterday. It is assumed Ramirez will exercise his $14.6MM player option for 2011, and the clubs would have to work around issues of a no-trade clause and an assignment bonus. Plus, I imagine the Cubs would have to swing another trade to find someone to replace Ramirez at the hot corner.
- Levine writes that "Adam Dunn is a top priority for the Cubs if they can afford him." We learned last month that Dunn likes Wrigley Field and Jim Hendry, but the slugger made it clear yesterday he's tired of discussing his future.
- Levine notes that Cubs ownership has indicated there will be a slight decrease in payroll for next year. Hendry might have to move a current contract or two to create flexibility.
- Cubs starter Ryan Dempster endorsed Mike Quade as manager, saying to CSNChicago's Patrick Mooney and others, "He’s done a great job and I hope that he’s here longer than just this year (and) managing for us next year because he deserves it." Mooney also spoke to hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who's intent on honoring his three-year contract regardless of the team's manager changes.
The Braves are next in our arbitration-eligibles series.
- First time: Jair Jurrjens, Eric O'Flaherty, Martin Prado
- Second time: Peter Moylan
- Third time: Melky Cabrera, Scott Proctor
- Fourth time: Matt Diaz
A hamstring injury cut into Jurrjens' season, and that gets part of the blame for his worst season. The Scott Boras client still heads to arbitration with 37 wins and a 3.52 ERA, putting Jered Weaver's $4.265MM reward in sight at the least. Prado is coming off his best year and owns a .307 career average, so he'll top a million bucks. Relievers O'Flaherty and Moylan also figure to be tendered contracts.
Outfielders Cabrera and Diaz were unexpectedly bad this year. The Braves could save $6MM by non-tendering both, and that money could go toward a new left fielder. Proctor spent most of his season at Triple A after May 2009 Tommy John surgery; he didn't fare well and will probably be cut.
No team in baseball will have a worse record than the Pirates this year, so Pittsburgh will have the top selection in the 2011 first-year player draft. The Mariners and Pirates could both finish 61-101 if the Mariners lose all of their remaining games and the Pirates win all of theirs, but even if that happens, the Pirates will have the first overall pick. Pittsburgh's record was worse than Seattle's in 2009, so the Mariners will not select higher than second. For a look at how the rest of the picks are shaping up, check out MLBTR's reverse standings.
The Pirates will have the first overall pick for the fourth time in franchise history. The organization selected Jeff King (1986), Kris Benson (1996) and Bryan Bullington (2002) with its other top picks. Baseball America's Jim Callis took a closer look at those three picks on Monday.
The Pirates have a poor major league product that clinched an 18th consecutive losing season earlier this year, but GM Neal Huntington has spent aggressively on amateur talent. For example, the team signed second overall selection Jameson Taillon to a reported $6.5MM bonus this year, so look for the Pirates to draft the best amateur player available next June. Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon might be the favorite; Huntington told Dejan Kocacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last night, "Prior to the [ankle] injury, Rendon's a very interesting player. We've got to see where he is post-injury."
Links for Tuesday night, as the Rays, Yankees and Reds clinch playoff berths…
- Former Rangers and Indians GM John Hart has prepared in case he becomes a candidate for the Mets GM job, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark profiles Braves manager Bobby Cox, whose storied managerial career is coming to an end after the season.
- The Blue Jays, who were once managed by Cox, are looking for a new manager, but GM Alex Anthopoulos says the organization's search cannot be rushed, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- Brewers bench coach Willie Randolph would like to manage in the big leagues again, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy will resign after the season, according to this MLB press release.
- Jason Giambi told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that there's "no chance" he's retiring after the season (Twitter link).
- A.J. Pierzynski would like to return to the White Sox next year, according to Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald. His teammate, Omar Vizquel, told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he'd like to return, too.
Scot Shields, who was a durable, sometimes dominant weapon in Mike Scioscia’s bullpen for the last decade, told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that he’s “probably” going to retire after the season. He realizes the Angels have younger options and would like to spend more time with his family.
"On the personal side, your family comes first, and I've missed too much of my life with them. It might be time to go home," Shields said.
Shields missed most of the season’s last month with a sore elbow and his season ERA is now 5.28. The 35-year-old right-hander can still strike opponents out (7.6 K/9), but he walks too many batters (6.7 BB/9). This was Shields’ second consecutive disappointing season; he struggled last year before undergoing knee surgery.
At his best, Shields defined the Angels bullpen (along with Francisco Rodriguez and, for a while, Troy Percival). He averaged 85 innings per season from 2004-08 with more than a strikeout per inning and a 3.11 ERA in that five-year stretch.
When we look back at the 2009 trade deadline, the deals that come to mind first are the ones that shaped the remainder of that season. After all, Victor Martinez, Matt Holliday and Cliff Lee led their new teams to the postseason a year ago. But some of last year's deadline deals had a major impact on this year's pennant race. Here's a closer look at five of them:
- Reds acquire Scott Rolen – Rolen has played excellent defense in Cincinnati this year, adding 20 homers and batting .288/.361/.504.
- White Sox acquire Jake Peavy for Clayton Richard and others – Here's a question for you: where would the Padres be without nearly 200 innings of 3.71 ERA ball from Richard? I'm guessing they'd be more than 0.5 games out of a playoff berth if Kevin Towers hadn't pulled the trigger on the Peavy deal. Keep in mind that Heath Bell and Adrian Gonzalez both stayed put last summer despite considerable interest from other teams.
- Giants acquire Freddy Sanchez – The Giants didn't make the playoffs last year, but they signed Sanchez to an extension soon after the season ended. He hit .296/.345/.403 this year when shoulder problems didn't keep him out of the lineup. GM Brian Sabean was hoping the former batting champ would lead the Giants to the postseason last year, but Sanchez has helped his team in the uncomfortably close NL West this year.
- Blue Jays keep Roy Halladay – Does Roy Halladay end up on the 2010 Phillies if the Blue Jays trade him last summer? It's possible, but lots of other teams had interest in Halladay, too.
- Phillies acquire Cliff Lee – Not only did Lee help the Phillies reach the World Series, last summer's trade set in motion the sequence of events that led Lee to Texas, where he helped the Rangers win the AL West.