Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bay & Holliday news

Pending the always important physical, the Mets have signed OF Jason Bay to a 4-year / $66M contract.  After a couple months of waiting and wondering if Bay would return to the Red Sox, we now know that a return is indeed not a possibility.  The Mets, who first made an offer to Bay on December 10, wanted to make a splash this year with at least 1 big name, as the fans were getting tired of the Yankees receiving all the headlines.  Bay might not make a major difference in 2010 though.  Hitting the ball out of Citi Field is a lot harder then Fenway Park.  In 2009, 130 homeruns were hit at Citi Field.  Not many at all.  So it will be interesting to see not just how many HR's he does hit, but how his defense is as well. 

Projected Lineup

SS Jose Reyes
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
LF Jason Bay
CF Carlos Beltran
RD Jeff Francoeur
1B Daniel Murphy
C Omir Santos
P (Pitchers spot)

C Bengie Molina is next on the Mets list and if he signs (offered a 2-year deal December 10 as well) along with 1B Carlos Delgado (playing Winter Ball and wants to return to the Mets) the lineup will be a force to deal with again.

Matt Holliday did not sign with the Cardinals just yet.  Reports surfaced last night that he signed an 8-year / $144M contract, but he did not sign anything just yet.  The Cardinals have offered a long-term deal and the Orioles have stepped up their offer, but no official news just yet

The D'Backs signed 2B Kelly Johnson to a 1-year deal and the A's brought back P Jason Duchscherer on a 1-year deal worth $2M with a ton of incentives.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Whispers from around the league and a free agent update

It's almost the new year and almost 120 free agents still remain on the market.  Players have either priced themselves off teams, can't make a decision or teams have yet to call.  I won't list every name, just the players I feel can make a difference for a team in 2010.

P  Danys Baez - no news on him all off-season
3B Melvin Mora - thought he could get a multi-year deal; not likely

Red Sox
OF Jason Bay - still talking with Red Sox? Mets the best fit for the dollars!

White Sox
OF Jermaine Dye - 7 teams interested.  Will he play OF or 1B?
OF Scott Podsednik - Cubs want him; he's asking for a lot though

P Jarrod Washburn - trade to Tigers really hurt him; Jays should take a chance

C Miguel Olivo - great HR totals, will land a job no problem

OF Vladimir Guerrero - Rangers look to have the upper-edge

INF Orlando Cabrera - Twins looking at Tejada right now

OF Johnny Damon - having more luck on TV (WWE appearance) then new contract
INF/OF Eric Hinske - has luck with teams making the playoffs (good luck charm?)
OF Xavier Nady - Yankees want him to return at a reduced price

P Erik Bedard - too many arm issues; may have to take a deal in the $1-2M range
P Miguel Batista - still wants to start; will never make the $8M he did last year
3B Adrian Beltre - Agent Boras still feels he is the best defensive 3B in league?

OF Marlon Byrd - Cubs look to be his only possible destination for the $$$ he wants
INF/DH Hank Blalock - staying in Texas people are saying

Blue Jays
C Rod Barajas - wants a 3-year deal; should only get 1 though, not hearing any teams interested!
INF Kevin Millar - may be a manager soon

P Doug Davis - a good guy to add to rotation; if Wolf can get 3 years he should too
1B Chad Tracy - good role player and can hit too

OF Garret Anderson - still wants to play; return to Angels possible
1B Adam LaRoche - asking for 3-years / $30M.  Way to much although played well for Braves in final months

P Kevin Gregg - still asking to close, should worry about a contract first
OF Reed Johnson - Rockies going after him

1B Jason Giambi - may stay with Rockies; Yankees may give him a call
C Yorvit Torrealba - should have signed the 2-year offer from Rockies

INF Miguel Tejada - Twins discussing him playing 3B
P Jose Valverde - just saw Rodney get $11M, D'Backs waiting to see if he will take a 2-year / $8M offer

C Brad Ausmus - solid as a back-up still
INF Ronnie Belliard - played well for Dodgers down the stretch, can hit .300 each year
P Jon Garland - wants to stay on West Coast, so East Coast teams don't call
INF Orlando Hudson - this is starting to become a bad trend for Hudson; win a gold glove....can't find a job the next season
P Vicente Padilla - Texas didn't want him, now the Dodgers don't, even after a good playoff run
1B/DH Jim Thome - White Sox expected to re-sign him

INF Felipe Lopez - solid player when he wants to be; teams scared of his history of not playing hard

1B Carlos Delgado - playing Winter Ball, rumours have surfaced about a return to Jays to DH with Lind staying in LF
OF Gary Sheffield - teams sick of this act for sure, but he can still make differnce when game on the line

P Scott Eyre - has said he only wants to play for the Phillies
P Pedro Martinez - Mets have talked about getting him back
P Brett Myers - haven't heard a thing about this guy all off-season

OF Rick Ankiel - Rays, Tigers, Twins talked to him but nothing happening
OF Matt Holliday - turned down a extension from Rockies for 4-years and almost $80M while back, Cardinals have offered $15M per season for 5 years and Mets / Red Sox had offers for $80-90M, no decision yet though.  Teams want a decision, but it's clear he was hoping the Yankees would call
P Joel Pineiro - Mets like him and will offer contract of 2-years and $10M + per season soon according to reports

C Bengie Molina - Mets offered 2 years, waiting to see if Bay signs as well feeling if Bay signs elsewhere, Mets would offer him more, not sure about his theory though
P Randy Johnson - can he still pitch?, we will wait and see!

OF Austin Kearns - once thought to be a good prospect with Reds, good bargain signing I think

I left the Cardinals INF Mark DeRosa off the list as he is close to a 2-year / $12M contract with the Giants

The Yankees are hoping Xavier Nady lowers his price tag; they really want him to return

Mariners signed C Josh Bard & P Chad Cordero to minor-league contracts; good move taking a chance on Cordero

Worst signing this year to date in my opinion was P Brandon Lyon: 3-years / $15M with the Astros.  His control was bad and does anyone remember how he couldn't close a game in the spring or regular season?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mets sign Escobar and looking at others

The Mets have signed former Blue Jays P Kelvim Escobar to a 1-year / $1.25M contract.  I mention former Blue Jay due to the fact that Escobar always said he would love to return to Toronto one day, this year wasn't a fit though.  Escobar returned to the majors last year on June 6 and made one start going 5 innings allowing only 2 earned runs.  Escobar, coming off shoulder surgery, felt after the start he should shut it down for the remainder of the season due to discomfort.  In his career, Escobar has gone 101-91 with 59 saves (14 blown saves) in 411 career games.  He is a gamble for the Mets, but if he can ever return to form, like his 2004 season when he struckout a career high 191 batters, he will be a free agent steal I think. If healthy, and he is pitching in Winter Ball now, he should be able to join the rotation for 2010, if not, he would be perfect for the 7th or 8th inning.

In other news, the Mets have targeted P Joel Pineiro as their next signing.  Pineiro went 15-12 last season for the Cardinals.

OF Jason Bay and OF Matt Holliday have yet to sign.  They both should have new homes in the beginning of the new year, but Bay's offer from the Red Sox may have been the best so far at 4-years and $60M & Holliday had a 5-year / $82.5M from the Red Sox (also the best offer to date)

In case you missed it, the Nationals signed P Matt Capps to a 1-year deal & P Eddie Guardado to a 1-year contract.  P Jason Marquis was signed last week to a 2-year / $15M deal.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Extra Base Hit: Running the Bases with Blue Jays P Casey Janssen

Extra Base Hit had a chance to ask Blue Jays P Casey Janssen a few questions, but first a little history.  Janssen was drafted in the 4th round by the Blue Jays in 2004 & made his major league debut on April 27th, 2006 vs Baltimore.  His first win was against the Angels on May 7th, 2006 when he defeated the team he grew up watching 3-1.  After the trade of Brandon League to the Mariners, the Blue Jays will look at Janssen in Spring Training as a guy who could take over League's old role and be the guy in the 6th or 7th inning to get a few outs.  Janssen, once thought of as a starter, is 10-17, 4.27 ERA in his career making 22 starts in the 110 career games played.  In 2007, his best season to date, Janssen went 2-3 with 6 saves in 70 games posting an outstanding 2.35 ERA.

5 Questions:

Favourite Player growing up: Roger Clemens

Favourite Restaurant: Mastros Steakhouse

Best Road City: Seattle

First Strikeout in the majors: Orioles C Ramon Hernandez

Straight "A" student or Class Clown (High School): In between

Yankees in trade mode

According to reports, the Yankees have acquired P Javier Vazquez from the Braves.  Vazquez had a no-trade clause, but he will waive it for the Yankees for sure.  The Braves will acquire OF Melky Cabrera and another prospect in the deal.  Most people thought the Braves would unload Derek Lowe, but he makes too much money and even the Yankees wouldn't take on the remainder of his salary.  Looking at this rotation now, the Yankees are scary.

Yankees projected rotation
CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Andy Pettitte
Javier Vazquez
Joba Chamberlain / Phil Hughes

Closer: Mariano Rivera

Here is the deal:

To Yankees:
P Javier Vazquez
P Boone Logan

To Braves:
OF Melky Cabrera
P Mike Dunn (prospect)
P Arodys Vizcaino (prospect)

On a side note: big props to the Phillies Roy Halladay who felt he needed to say goodbye to the Toronto fans by way of a 1-page ad in the Toronto Sun.  Very classy!

Blue Jays deal League to Mariners

The Blue Jays have traded P Brandon League to the Seattle Mariners for P Brandon Morrow.  The deal isn't just 1-for-1 though, as a prospect is still yet to be named going to Seattle.  League, who was always thought of as the future closer, went 3-6, 4.58 ERA in 67 games last season.  Morrow, who took a no-hitter into the 9th in 2008 when he was only supposed to pitch 6 innings, will be a huge difference maker in the rotation if healthy.  Morrow, who was injured last season, went 2-4 with 6 saves making 10 starts in 2009.  Seattle has never been able to decide if he was going to close or start, but the Blue Jays like his upside as a starter.  It should be interesting to see if a big name prospect does in fact go to the Mariners though as League for Morrow straight up seems a little unfair.

League - heading to Seattle

Morrow - welcome to the Blue Jays rotation

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nationals news and more

The Nationals are back in the news, actually, there are never really in the news this time of year, but they did sign a free agent today with P Jason Marquis set to join the team.  Last season, Marquis pitched great for the Rockies going 15-13 with a solid 4.04 ERA.  Marquis will be joining his 5th organization since 2000 after spending time with the Braves, Cardinals, Cubs and Rockies.  In his career, Marquis is 94-83 with a 4.48 ERA in 231 starts.  The Nationals rotation now looks like this

Nationals Projected Rotation
Jason Marquis
John Lannan
John Stammen
Garrett Mock / Ross Detwiler
Scott Olsen / Marco Estrada or 1st overall pick Stephen Strasburg (if he's ready to make the jump)

Note: Jordan Zimmermann is out for most of 2010 (elbow)

I guess Marquis will be an upgrade over a rookie starter, but the Nationals won just 59 games in 2009 so they need more help then just a Marquis signing, maybe Capps is on his way though.

The NY Post has a good story on why Jason Bay and Bengie Molina have yet to sign.  They were offered contracts, Bay a 4-year / $65M deal and Molina a 2-year deal around December 10th and have yet to respond.  Molina feels that he should wait on signing the deal as he thinks he can get more money out of the Mets if Bay decides to sign elsewhere.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Bradley Rumours can finally stop

After 2 months of rumours surrounding OF Milton Bradley, news came today that the Cubs had finally traded him to the Seattle Mariners for P Carlos Silva.  Bradley, who will be joining his 9th team since 2000, basically fooled the Cubs into giving him a 3-year  / $30M contract after hitting .321 with 22 HR for Texas the year before.  Bradley was suspended by the Cubs for the final 2 weeks of last season for criticizing the team and atmosphere that surrounded it.  Bradley, a career .277 hitter, has had so many problems over the years from fighting and screaming at fans during the game, throwing beer at fans and has had trouble with teammates as well, yet organizations still felt the need to give him a shot each year due to the potential he has to perform at a high level.  If he ever put everything together, he probably would have been a pretty decent ball player.  The Cubs in return will be getting a problem of a different kind as Carlos Silva just can't win games.  He signed a 4-year / $48M deal with Seattle two years ago and has 5 wins to show for it.  his ERA last season was 8.60 and in 2008 it was 6.46.  He got the big contract after he had just an average season for the Twins going 13-14, 4.19 ERA.  The Cubs don't care though, as they have finally unloaded their big mistake.

In other news, the Yankees have signed 1B Nick Johnson to a 1-year contract & the White Sox officially traded for the Dodgers OF Juan Pierre.

The Mariners have all but ruled out signing Jason Bay and the Red Sox had offered Holliday a 5-year deal before signing Lackey according to reports.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Extra Base Hit: Whispers from around the majors

With the blockbuster deal completed between the Phillies, Mariners, Blue Jays and the last minute Athletics, other teams are now moving on to the next step for their clubs after these 4 just made a major splash.  With Christmas approaching quickly, players such as Jason Bay and Matt Holliday will be making decisions real soon on their next destination.  Here are some whispers from around the league:

The Orioles are spending as they have signed former Braves P Mike Gonzalez to a reported 2-year / $12M deal and signed 3B Garrett Atkins to a 1-year deal after he was non-tendered by the Rockies

The Red Sox have wanted 1B Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres for a while now and they might be getting closer

If the Padres do trade Gonzalez, they will have a team payroll under $20M for 2010 after such a trade.  They lost Peavy off the books and the highest paid player for next season would be P Chris Young at $6.375M.  After him, only a handful of players (Correia, Eckstein, Bell) will make a million or more.

The Pirates are looking at 2B Kelly Johnson according to the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette

According to reports, the Dodgers and Reds are discussing an Aaron Harang deal after the Dodgers failed to trade for Halladay

Mariners GM went to meetings looking to sign Rich Harden, but talked about Lee at that time

Matt Holliday is being linked to the Mets, Cardinals and Orioles

Jason Bay will probably be an Angel or Met very soon

The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott looks at the 3 prospects the Jays acquired

Over 180 free agents are still on the market, Extra Base Hit will be reviewing these players in the next post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Welcome to the Phillies Doc

It's still hard to believe that Roy (Doc) Halladay is now a Philadelphia Phillies player.  After watching the press conference, you are reminded of what a class act he really is.  He enjoyed his time in Toronto and loved the city.  Now he will have to contend with the much tougher Philadelphia media and especially the fans, who won't turn on him right off the bat, but might one day if things go bad, something that he has never dealt with in Toronto.  This picture was my wake up call that Halladay is indeed no longer a Jay.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halladay trade news: Day 2

After following all the trade talk last night I still can't believe how many times the names changed throughout the night.  All writers and reporters were working their butts off to try and come up with the correct prospects going to the correct team.  Just when we thought different sources had the deal right, another name was brought into the mix (Drabek) and then the deal, around 10:20 looked drastically different. 

Today, the deal is still not complete, but we have a pretty good idea where all parties are going.  They are still calling this a 3-team trade, but the Jays are not getting any of the Mariners people so really it's a trade between the Blue Jays and Phillies then the Mariners and Phillies.  Here is a look regardless of where the players are going

To Phillies: P Roy Halladay, Canadian P Phillippe Aumont (from SEA) & outfielder prospect Tyson Gillies (from SEA) + cash from the Jays (almost $6M according to reports)

To Mariners: P Cliff Lee


To Blue Jays: P Kyle Drabek (from PHI), OF Michael Taylor (from PHI) & catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud (from PHI)

The Blue Jays would trade OF Michael Taylor to the Athletics for 1B/3B Brett Wallace a former No. 1 pick of the Cardinals.  This would mean the end for 1B Lyle Overbay as Toronto has talked about moving Wallace to first and Lind would remain the DH/LF.

Wow, what a deal.  Some are saying this could be one of the biggest deals ever as you have 2 Cy Young Award winners and prospects that have potential way above many others in minor-league systems right now.

Halladay, age 32, has agreed to sign an extension that would pay the 148-76 lifetime pitcher $20M a season starting in 2011.  He has passed his physical according to all reports, so the deal just needs to be finalized by MLB.  Halladay will not have his spring training program changed at all, as the Phillies train just 5 minutes from Dunedin, where the Jays have trained since 1977.

The Blue Jays will play the Phillies in Toronto June 25-27.  Should be interesting to see if Halladay will indeed face the only team he has played for.  The Mariners will not play the Phillies in inter-league in 2010.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Halladay traded

When the day started, I don't think anyone expected to see this much action in the world of baseball.  Everything started with a report that the Blue Jays had traded P Roy Halladay to the Phillies in a 3-team trade that would have seen P Cliff Lee going to the Mariners.  The Jays would acquire Canadian P Phillippe Aumont from the Mariners & OF Michael Taylor or OF Dominic Brown and C Travis D'Arnaud from the Phillies.  Halladay was in Phily taking a physical and according to reports agreed to sign a 3-year / $60M contract extension.  Many names and contract issues were involved all day which makes this type of deal very complicated.  The deal was expected to be announced sometime Wednesday, as MLB had given the Jays and Phillies a 72-hour window starting yesterday to complete a trade if they can decide, along with Seattle, on the prospects.  The Phillies, by the way,  are in town to face the Jays June 25-27.  But then things changed.

Rumours really started to get going!

At (8:05 PM ET) reports surfaced from the Associated Press that the Phillies P J.A Happ, OF Domonic Brown & P Joe Blanton took physicals in Phily, could they be part of the deal? 

(8:27 PM ET) Now P Kyle Drabek, who the Phillies say they won't trade, is back in the mix and may be part of the deal.

UPDATE: (10:20 PM ET) Now the trade has taken a major twist.  According to reports, the Blue Jays would receive OF Michael Taylor, Phillies prospect C Travis d'Arnaud & either P J.A. Happ or P Kyle Drabek.  The Phillies would receive Canadian prospect P Phillippe Aumont from the Mariners along with Halladay & the Mariners get P Cliff Lee & maybe P Joe Blanton. The Phillies would also receive cash from the Blue Jays.

Wow, is all I can say.  The deal is not yet official, but it's been great trying to cover the story.  I can't remember the last time a story this big took so long to get the names involved out through the media.  This should be all sorted out very soon.  Hopefully!

In other news, the Angels are close to signing DH/OF Hideki Matsui to a 1-year / $6.5M deal & the Red Sox are close to signing P John Lackey to a 5-year / $85M deal.  I guess that 5th year is a big deal now, right Jason Bay! The Red Sox didn't stop there, signing OF Mike Cameron to a 2-year / $15.5M deal.
The Cardinals offer to OF Matt Holliday was for 8-years and almost $130M according to reports out of St. Louis & the Yankees have called Jason Bay's people, shocker!

After all this news, here is a look at how the projected roations will look for the Mariners, Red Sox, Blue Jays & Phillies

Felix Hernandez
Cliff Lee
Ryan Rowland-Smith
Luke French
Garret Olson / Brandon Morrow / Carlos Silva / Joe Blanton (pending a trade)

Roy Halladay
Cole Hamels
Joe Blanton (pending a trade)
J.A. Happ (pending a trade)
Antonio Bastardo / Jamie Moyer

Blue Jays
Ricky Romero
Scott Richmond / J.A. Happ
Marc Rzepczynski
Brett Cecil
David Purcey / Shaun Marcum / Jesse Litsch / Kyle Drabek

Red Sox
Josh Beckett
John Lackey
Jon Lester
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Tim Wakefield / Clay Buchholz

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blue Jays making some moves

The Blue Jays have been in the news Sunday signing a free agent & agreeing to terms with some of their arbitration players.  They signed C John Buck, who was with the Royals to a 1-year / $2M deal, OF Joey Gathright to a minor-league deal & C Raul Chavez, who was non-tendered Saturday, was re-sign by the team to a minor-league contract.  Last season, Buck hit .247 with 8 HR & 36 RBI.  He had a career high 18 HR in 2007 with the Royals.

2 arbitration players agreed to terms on 1-year deals.
OF Jose Bautista will earn $2.4M & P Dustin McGowan will earn $500,000

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Arbitration Deadline

Baseball is the only sport I know that is non-stop in the off-season.  After the World Series players file for free-agency, the awards for the season are announced throughout a week and half span, teams have decisions regarding offering arbitration to their free agents, the Winter Meetings start, free agents start signing, trades and rumours are happening & then the fun starts, with a day like today.  Tonight at 11:00 PM ET there is another deadline for arbitration eligible players with 3-6 years service time.  These types of players, like the Blue Jays P Brian Tallet & Rockies 3B Garrett Atkins have to be tendered a contract by tonight.  If the team tenders a contract, that player can negotiate a contract for 1-year or more.  If an agreement cannot be reached, the two sides will announce how far apart they are and an arbitrator will have to step in if a deal can't be made.  If the teams don't tender a contract, the player becomes a free agent.  This is something we see more of now with this option in place as teams feel they can save by not tendering these players a contract.  Players back in the day, like the Twins David Ortiz, have been in this situation before, and have made out pretty good as a free agent after there former teams make these decisions.

Here is an early look at some of the players in the news today:

Tendered Contracts (big names):

Rays P Randy Choate
Astros P Wandy Rodriguez
Astros OF Hunter Pence
Astros P Matt Lindstrom
Whiye Sox P Bobby Jenks
Blue Jays P Jeremy Accardo
Cubs P Carlos Marmol
Cubs SS Ryan Theriot
Twins P Jesse Crain
Marlins 2B Dan Uggla
Nationals OF Josh Willingham
Pirates P Zach Duke
Blue Jays P Brian Tallet
Blue Jays P Jason Frasor
Blue Jays P Brandon League

Non-Tendered Contracts; become free agents:

Yankees P Chien-Ming Wang
Braves 2B Kelly Johnson
Braves OF Ryan Church
Rockies 3B Garrett Atkins
Athletics DH Jack Cust
Reds OF Jonny Gomes
Mets P Tim Redding
Pirates P Matt Capps
Blue Jays C Raul Chavez
Giants 1B Ryan Garko

The Padres avoided arbitration with P Kevin Correia signing him to a 1-year / $3.6M deal.  He was one of the players rumoured to become a free agent, so big news for Padres fans.  Other players to avoid arbitration:

Rays agree to terms with C Dioner Navarro on a 1-year / $2.1M contract

Braves agree to terms with OF Matt Diaz on a 1-year / $2.55M contract

Marlins agree to terms on a 1-year / $1.1M contract

Royals agree to terms on a 1-year / $1.8M contract

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rays sign their closer

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms on a 1-year / $7.25M contract with P Rafael Soriano.  The Rays acquired the righthander during the winter meetings after he accepted the Braves offer of salary arbitration.  Last season, Soriano went 1-6, 2.97 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 75.2 innings.  Soraino had 27 saves in 2009 with only 4 blown saves.  In his career, the former Mariner & Brave has 43 saves in 57 chances (yes 14 blown saves)  Last season the Rays started the season with Troy Percival as their closer and moved to a committee before J.P. Howell stepped up and closed down the stretch with 17 saves in 25 chances.  The Rays were tied with Boston for saves as a team last year with 41, ranking 7th in the AL, but had 22 blown saves.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Meetings: Thursday recap

Last day of the meetings and what a week!  Things didn't get too crazy, but the General Managers were working overtime on some of the proposed deals and the rumours were all over the hotel in Indy.  Here is the latest from late last night and throughout the day:

The Rays acquired P Rafael Soriano from the Braves.  After he accepted arbitration, the Braves knew he would welcome a trade out of Atlanta as they had already signed Wagner & Saito to fill the void they thought they had with Soriano and Gonzalez free agents.  Rays have a true closer now after the retirement from Percival

The Blue Jays have signed OF Joey Gathright according to reports

The Royals have release 1B Mike Jacobs to clear a roster spot

Red Sox acquired P Boof Bonser from Twins after they had designated him for assignment

The Red Sox have traded 3B Mike Lowell to the Rangers for C Max Ramirez, the deal is expected to be official in the next few days

Astros signed 3B Pedro Feliz to a 1-year / $4.5M deal & are close to signing P Brandon Lyon to a 3-year / $15M contract.  Good for both these guys.  Feliz would have made more if the Phillies picked up his option, but $4.5M is still a surprise & Lyon, after blowing saves early in Detroit, is getting the contract of the year so far!

Mets still want to spend as they have offered C Bengie Molina a 2-year deal worth over $12M and are in on the Jason Bay sweepstakes.  They will offer him in the $65M range according to reports

The Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay was once again the prime target of discussion Thursday as rumours had him going to the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies & Angels in the last 24 hours.  The latest news is that the Phillies are prepared to offer P J.A. Happ or P Cole Hamels in any deal.  Angels are still offering Saunders & Aybar.

The NewYork Daily News gives it's take on things in this artice, which oddly enough, was next to a Tiger Woods story on their front page!

All-in-all the meetings were a success in the minds of us baseball fans.  Trades were made, rumours were starting day and night & GM's around the league either signed or came close on players they feel will be helping their clubs in 2010.  To no one's surprise, the big boys, Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or John Lackey didn't sign & Halladay was not traded, but it's still in early December, so we will all stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Meetings: Wednesday recap

Day 3 of the meetings is here & the Yankees are back at it again. More Roy Halladay news & a few trades. Here are the latest stories & rumours from Indianapolis:

The Yankees have re-signed P Andy Pettitte to a 1-year deal for almost $12M.  This comes as no surprise as Pettitte has said he would return in 2010, but for the Yankees.  The question now is surrounding Roy Halladay.  If they can still make a deal for the Toronto ace, the rotation of CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett & Andy Pettitte as the top 4 will be the best in baseball and make them the obvious favourites to repeat as World Champs.

Hideki Matsui has offers from the Angels & White Sox according to reports out of Japan.  In the 1-year / $7M range.

Twins designate P Boof Bonser for assignment

Orioles still trying to acquire both Rangers P Kevin Millwood & Marlins INF Dan Uggla, so far, the asking price for both is high.

Red Sox top prospect Casey Kelley has decided he will give up his dream of playing shortstop for Boston and pitch for Portland (AA) next season.  He will be invited to spring training by the Red Sox

Angels have decided that making INF Erick Aybar available might land them Halladay or another starting pitcher

Phillies sign INF/OF Ross Gload to a 2-year deal, they still believe they have a shot at Halladay as well

Pirates sign former Athletics INF Bobby Crosby.  Pittsburgh will make him their starting SS at about $1M for 1-year.  They are still talking to the Jays about C Ryan Doumit

Blue Jays might have been the third team in the mix before the Tigers, Yankees & D'Backs made the 7-player deal

Brewers broke the bank signing P Randy Wolf to a 3-year / $29.75M deal & P LaTroy Hawkins to a 2-year / $7.5M deal

Rays have asked the Braves about P Rafael Soriano

The Astros acquired P Matt Lindstrom from the Marlins, he should be closer as Valverde is all but gone

The Kevin Millwood trade is almost done according to reports.  He will go from Texas to Baltimore for P Chris Ray

P J.J. Putz close to signing with White Sox

Canadian P Rich Harden close to an agreement with the Rangers according to reports, 1-year  / $7.5M range

It appears that the Angels have made the first offer for Roy Halladay according to the Toronto Sun.  The Blue Jays would acquire INF Erick Aybar, P Joe Saunders & OF prospect Peter Bourjos.  Aybar would play SS with Alex Gonzalez most likely traded.  Saunders would become the 1-2 punch with Ricky Romero and Bourjos, age 23, would become a good prospect in the system.

Mike Lowell is being shopped and the Rangers look like his destination

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Meetings: Tuesday recap

Another slow start to the day, but rumours are starting to heat up.  Here is the latest from Indianapolis from the start of the day & throughout the night:

The blockbuster deal between the Yankees, Tigers & Diamondbacks is back on according to reports.  The Yankees really want to acquire OF Curtis Granderson & if thats what the Yankees want, they probably will get him

The Brewers offered P Randy Wolf a 3-year deal

Mets are offering P John Maine to 2 or 3 clubs

The Red Sox have finally had a meeting with Jason Bay & his people, the Red Sox really want Bay in LF next season.  Mariners would play Bay at DH according to reports

White Sox agree to terms with 3B Mark Teahen on a 3-year / $14M contract

Braves designate OF Ryan Church for assignment

The proposed 3-team deal is complete:

To Yankees: OF Curtis Granderson
To Tigers: OF Austin Jackson, P Max Scherzer, P Daniel Schlereth, P Phil Coke
To D'Backs: P Edwin Jackson, P Ian Kennedy

Analysis: Yankees get a true CF with speed and power, Tigers get younger and free up money for the 2011 season & Edwin Jackson will be the 3rd starter after P Dan Haren & Brandon Webb.  Winner: Yankees, they get the best player in the deal.  OF Johnny Damon told a blogger at the NY Post that he is still open for a return to the Yankees even after the deal was completed.

Cubs insiders have OF Milton Bradley being traded real soon, Mariners, Rays possible teams

Pirates & Blue Jays discussing C Ryan Doumit...again!

Pirates hope to have INF Bobby Crosby signed soon

Mets close to signing C Bengie Molina; expected to be a 2-year deal with option

Mariners sign INF Chone Figgins to a 4-year / $36M deal; most likely to play 3B, but depends if 3B Adrian Beltre returns.

Angels ownership want John Lackey to return pretty bad

Cardinals sign P Brad Penny to a 1-year / $7.5M contract; he passed his physical in St. Louis today

Halladay still being linked to Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Angels & mystery team yet.  The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott doesn't think the Granderson deal in which they gave up OF prospect Austin Jackson will make a difference.  If the Yankees want Doc, they will get Doc.

Rockies offered a 2-year deal for C Yorvit Torrealba for the second time in 2 weeks.  The two sides can't decide on the money, even after the Nationals signing of C Ivan Rodriguez for 2-years / $6M

Orioles are still trying to make a deal for P Kevin Millwood according to the Baltimore Sun

A Rangers blogger has an idea about C Jason Kendall going to Texas

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Meetings: Monday recap

Slow start to day 1 of the meetings, but I'm sure things will pick up soon.  Some General Managers only arrived in Indianapolis Monday so signings & trade talks didn't really get started until later in the day.  Here is a look at the news of the day:

Yankees traded P Brian Bruney to the Nationals for a player to be named later

Tigers traded P Clay Rapada to the Rangers for a player to be named later

Congrats to Manager Whitey Herzog & Umpire Doug Harvey, who were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee

P Justin Duchscherer declined arbitration from Athletics

Tigers re-sign SS Adam Everett to a 1-year deal

The NY Post reports that P Andy Pettitte declined a 1-year contract offer from the Yankees for around $10M.  He wants to pitch in 2010 though & the Yankees know he would prefer to be a Yankee

The Rays have denied a rumour that they have asked about Roy Halladay with names like P Wade Davis & OF B.J. Upton going to Toronto

Mets are looking to make some big moves with P John Lackey a main priority

P Carl Pavano accepted the Twins offer of salary arbitration

Cardinals sign P Brad Penny to a 1-year / $7.5M deal, pending a physical

The Yankees, Diamondbacks & Tigers talked about a 3-team trade that would have seen OF Curtis Granderson go to the Yankees, P Edwin Jackson go to the D-Backs & P Max Scherzer going to the Tigers

P Rafael Soriano accepted the Braves offer of salary arbitration.  Atlanta, probably shocked with this news, now have Saito & Wagner along with Soriano in the bullpen worth almost $20M for 2010.

C Rod Barajas, OF Jason Bay, OF Matt Holliday only 3 of the many players to turn down their teams offer of arbitration

Nationals sign C Ivan Rodriguez to a 2-year / $6M deal.  "Pudge" has come a long way from last season where he struggled to find a job.

Brewers close to signing P Randy Wolf to a 3-year deal

P Rafael Betancourt accepted the Rockies offer of salary arbitration.

Angels hoping Jason Bay is playing in LA next season along with P John Lackey

Overall: Not a lot of trades or signings, but rumours started late Monday night, a good sign that teams are willing to talk about some potential moves.  The arbitration deadline has come and gone with 3 players accepting their teams offers, last year 2 players accepted the offers (Weathers, Oliver)

Tuesday will provide us baseball fans with more stories, rumours & news from around the league

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Preview: Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings are finally here!  Monday thru Thursday General Managers, Team Executives, Players, Agents & others will gather in Indianapolis for the most popular meetings of the year.  Teams usually arrive at these meetings with game-plans for trades and free agents, but this year, clubs seem to have plans that are more detailed and thought out.  For the first time I can remember, many teams are telling media outlets the needs for their teams, weaknesses they may have, and payroll numbers for 2010 before the meetings even start.  It feels as if each team is more organized, and for that reason I believe we will see more decisions this week on free agents & trades then the normal rumours we always here about. 

The Mariners are expected to start things out with the announcement of the 4-year deal to INF Chone Figgins.  They are also going after John Lackey & Jason Bay and are waiting for an arbitration decision from 3B Adrian Beltre.  Other news leading up to the meetings:

Braves P Rafael Soriano expected to accept arbitration, could make upwards of $8M in 2010

Rockies P Rafael Betancourt expected to accept arbitration, rejected a multi-year deal from Colorado just last month

Angels are hopeful that John Lackey will stay in LA, as well Vladimir Guerrero wants to remain an Angel

In what is no surprise, Red Sox & Yankees expected to start bidding war for Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay Monday

The Rays are close to acquiring OF Milton Bradley from the Cubs & are interested in OF Nelson Cruz

Marlins expected to make decisions on 2B Dan Uggla & closer Matt Lindstrom by Wednesday

Mets like C Benjie Molina, but he likes the idea of playing for Mariners, Rockies, even the Jays

Rod Barajas may be a Met soon

Carlos Delgado could be returning to the Mets, will be a contract full of incentives

Orlando Hudson, who was hoping to have received arbitration from Dodgers, may have to switch to 3B or SS to get a job

Orioles have money and may be talking to Miguel Tejada about a return, talking about Kevin Millwood trade as well

Pirates thinking about bringing back OF Xavier Nady

8-10 teams wondering about P Noah Lowry, it's amazing how these left-handed pitchers are always favourites of GM's around the league

Twins hoping Carl Pavano accepts arbitration

Extra Base Hit will be all over the meetings Monday thru Friday with recaps each night & breaking news as it happens.

Where do you think Jason Bay will sign?  E-mail us at with your thoughts.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chone Figgins & Mariners strike a deal

The Mariners have signed 3B Chone Figgins to a 4-year contract worth $36M.  The deal will be announced Monday according to reports due to the fact the Mariners have to wait until a decision is made regarding Adrian Beltre's arbitration situation.  For some reason, the Mariners offered Beltre arbitration, and now might be stuck with him if he accepts.  Figgins will still be signed, but the decision may change the contract or at least change the direction the club will go.  Figgins will most likely hit after Ichiro in the lineup & play third.  Seattle ranked 16th in the majors with 89 stolen bases, a number that will increase for sure.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Scutaro Signs

The Red Sox have signed SS Marco Scutaro to a 2-year contract plus an option for 2012.  The Blue Jays will receive a supplemental pick in this years draft & a 1st round pick from the Red Sox, depending on the remainder of Boston's transactions.  Scutaro, at age 34, is coming off his career year hitting .282 with 12 HR, 100 runs scored & 60 RBI for the Blue Jays. He will be an upgrade offensively over former Red Sox SS Alex Gonzalez for sure.  Scutaro has played well at Fenway hitting .290 in 28 career games.  We can almost assure you that All-Star 2B Dustin Pedroia will not have to move to shortstop now.

In other news, the Rangers claimed INF Joe Inglett off waivers from the Blue Jays.  Last season, Inglett hit .281 in 36 games.  Inglett was great in 2008 filling in for an injured Aaron Hill hitting .297 with 3 HR & 39 RBI in 109 games.  The Rangers are hoping Inglett can make the team after they lost Omar Vizquel to the White Sox.

The Brewers have signed C Gregg Zaun to a 1-year / $2.15M deal with an option for 2011.  Zaun hit .260 with 8 HR for both the Rays & Orioles in 2009.

Extra Base Hit: Around the League

A few whispers from around the league

The Rockies are interested in INF Bobby Crosby & P Noah Lowry according to the Denver Post

The Mariners, who are also interested in Jason Bay & John Lackey are close to a 4-year deal with INF Chone Figgins

Marco Scutaro worked out for the Red Sox as they wanted to test the heel that he injured late in September

A Brewers blogger writes that the Brewers are interested in Gregg Zaun.  Why does this always happen, he will play till he is 50!

The Pirates are looking to spend this off-season, well, just a little bit I guess, they are looking at P Noah Lowry & J.J. Putz.

New player union leader Michael Weiner says the players want a best-of-seven series in the first round of the playoffs & fewer days off

Congrats to the Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.  He will return for a 61st season in 2010. Scully is 82 years old

Mariners talking to Jason Bay & John Lackey

The 2 best free agents might just find themselves on the same team.  The Mariners, who have almost $50M off the books for 2010, are talking to free agents Jason Bay & John Lackey.  Bay, who has said that he would one day love to play close to Vancouver, his hometown, would command a huge deal, but the Mariners have the cash he is looking for, 5-year / $80M range.  Lackey, who is looking for a 5-year / $100M deal,  would be a welcomed addition to a staff that has ace Felix Hernandez, Ian Snell, Brandon Morrow, Luke French & Ryan Rowland-Smith projected to start as of now.  Having Bay play in the outfield will be a huge upgrade over the projected LF for next season, fellow Canadian Michael Saunders.  The last 3 season vs Seattle, Bay has hit .219 in 32 at-bats, .227 at Safeco Field.  John Lackey has a great record the last 3 season at Seattle going 4-0, 1.24 ERA, in 29 innings at Safeco.

In other news, the Phillies have signed Placido Polanco to a 3-year / $18M deal.  The Phillies would like Polanco to play 3B next season.  Last season with the Tigers he hit .285 with 10 HR, 72 RBI.  Polanco played for the Phillies from 2002-05 hitting over .285 each season while playing 95 games at third over that time.  Polanco made only 5 errors at the position before moving to second base.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Arbitration Breakdown

The arbitration deadline has come and gone, as 23 players have been offered arbitration by their teams. In the Type A category, if the player declines arbitration, a team who then signs one of these players would have to give up a first or second round pick. So if Braves P Rafael Soriano accepts arbitration he would automatically have a deal in place with the Braves for next season for 1-year. The terms of the deal may have to be worked out by an arbitrator though. If he rejects the offer, and another team, say the Cubs, sign him, then the Braves would receive a draft pick from the Cubs (1st or 2nd-round, but it can’t be one of the top 15 picks of the draft since those picks are protected. Teams can sign multiple Type A free agents, like the Yankees of 2008 with Teixeira, Sabathia & Burnett, but the draft picks vary depending on many factors. Signing a Type B free agent is a little more clear as teams that lose the player will receive a supplemental round pick in return. (that round follows the first round in the draft) Here is the list of the Type A & Type B players that were offered arbitration. Remember, last year, only 2 players (the Reds P David Weathers & Angels P Darren Oliver accepted arbitration.

Type A

INF Chone Figgins LAA
P John Lackey LAA
OF Jason Bay BOS
SS Marco Scutaro TOR
P Mike Gonzalez ATL
P Rafael Soriano ATL
OF Matt Holliday STL
P Billy Wagner BOS
P Jose Valverde HOU
P Rafael Betancourt COL

Type B

C Rod Barajas TOR
P Justin Duchscherer OAK
P Joel Pineiro STL
3B Mark DeRosa STL
3B Adrian Beltre SEA
C Ivan Rodriguez TEX
OF Marlon Byrd TEX
P Brandon Lyon DET
C Gregg Zaun TB
P Jason Marquis COL
P Brian Shouse TB
P Fernando Rodney DET
P Carl Pavano MIN

Some teams like the Dodgers didn’t offer arbitration to any of the 15 eligible, so it’s a gamble for some teams & for others, they just move on.