Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blue Jays state of the franchise and quick thoughts

The Toronto Blue Jays hosted their 11th state of the franchise Monday night, and as many as 900 season ticket holders took to the stands to ask questions to Paul Beeston, John Farrell and GM Alex Anthopoulos.

Here is a breakdown of some of the questions that were answered including Prince Fielder talk, contract length for players going forward and John Farrell grades himself on last season.

Quick hits:

 If the Orioles fail to land free agent pitcher Edwin Jackson, A.J. Burnett may be a fit. The Yankees are willing to send cash to any team interested, so that makes it appealing to the O's. Burnett lives in Monkton, Maryland in the off season, so even better for his family. Burnett is owed $33 million over the next 2 seasons, and the Yankees may decide to pay more than the $8 million rumoured to be offered in any deal. If the Orioles offered Edwin Jackson a 3-year deal upwards of $40 million, would Burnett be a better option?

Johnny Damon wants to play for the Yankees, but until they free up money, that's not happening.

Roy Oswalt want $10 million this season, and the Cardinals are his first choice, only, the Cards have an offer of $7.5 million on the table. Trading Kyle McClellan and his $2.5 million would be a difference maker though.

The Blue Jays, still looking for a starting pitcher, are out on the Oswalt sweepstakes, but looking via trade for an upgrade. Gavin Floyd of the White Sox and Francisco Liriano of the Twins may be options. Liriano, rumoured last season to be going to the Yankees, would be a perfect fit, and the Twins in need of some salary relief, may be willing to deal him.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pence avoids arbitration; who's left?

The Philadelphia Phillies and outfielder Hunter Pence avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $10.4 million deal.

Last season Pence hit .314 with 22 home runs for both the Phillies and Astros.

With Pence signed, what players are left to sign before a hearing between the club and player? What is this process all about anyways?

If players can't reach an agreement with their club, a hearing will be scheduled, and those usually aren't good for the player.  It's a war of words some say, as teams fight tooth and nail to win the case. Money is at stake, and the owners want to win. Players attend the meetings and hear all sorts of fun stuff.  They listen to their bosses talk everything negative that player did that season, strikeouts, errors, even getting personal at times.

Again, the team has a case why they offered X amount, and they want to win.  On the other hand, players ask for what they think they're worth, and that's why they get to this point.

Here are some of the remaining cases to be settled, with more than a few million in some cases separating the two sides.

The Red Sox David Ortiz: asked for $16.5 million, club offered $12.65 million.

The Indians Asdrubal Cabrera asked for $5.2 million, club offered $3.75 million.

The Rangers Mike Napoli asked for $11.5 million, club offered $8.3 million.

The Rangers Nelson Cruz asked for $7.5 million, club offered $5.5 million.

The Cubs Matt Garza asked for $12.5 million, club offered $7.95 million.

The Dodgers Clayton Kershaw asked for $10 million, club offered $6.5 million.

The Brewers Shaun Marcum asked for $8.7 million, club offered $6.75 million.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Prince Fielder is introduced

Prince Fielder was introduced to the Detroit media today looking a little slimmer than last year.

I can't put a name to it, but he seems to look more like Glen "Big Baby" Davis on second look. Maybe?

Prince will make $214 million over the next nine seasons, and what I love most about his contract is his request for a hotel suite while on the road was accepted by the Tigers.  Wonder how Verlander and Cabrera feel about that?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marcum proud of his Grand Slam

Ricky Romero's latest tweet revealed this classic photo texted from ex-Jay and current Brewer Shaun Marcum.

Last season, Marcum hit a grand slam off Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson.  Before the home run, Marcum was 4-40 lifetime at the plate.

Marcum is also known for allowing the 600th home run to Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Morneau talks concussions

Paul Brothers of theScore.com had a chance to talk with Canadian Justin Morneau about a variety of topics, but one that stood out was his take on concussions in general and in the NHL.

Morneau suffered his second concussion in 13 months, when diving for a ball on August 28th at Target Field. The Twins first baseman dealt with his first concussion after a collision in at second base, taking a knee by Jays shortstop John McDonald to the side of the head.

Morneau in his career is a .281 hitter with 185 home runs in 1,017 games.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yankees add Pineda, Kuroda

A quiet off season for the New York Yankees changed very quickly Friday night, first making a huge deal with the Seattle Mariners to acquire starting pitcher Michael Pineda, and minutes later, signing ex-Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a 1-year deal worth $10 million.

The Yankees rotation, led by CC Sabathia, will now feature one of the better free agents that was still on the market, Kuroda, and one of the brighter young talents in the American League in Pineda.

The Yankees had to give up talent to receive Pineda, officially trading catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Pineda and pitcher Jose Campos.

Last season, Pineda started 28 games for the Mariners going 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA.  In the 171 innings pitched, he recorded 173 strikeouts and only walked 55 batters.  Pineda did give up 18 long balls, 9 at home and 9 on the road.

Pineda held right handed batters to a .184 average, while limiting left handers to a .237 average.  He has never pitched at Yankee Stadium, only facing New York one time in his short career, tossing 5 innings and allowing 3 runs at Safeco Field.

Montero was called up by the Yankees on September 1st and hit .328 in 61 at-bats.

Signing Kuroda to the free agent deal also gives the Yankees the much needed depth for the starters.  Kuroda, who was looking for more years and more per year, obviously lowering his demands over the past few weeks, signing a deal for $10 million with the chance to compete for a World Series.

Last year Kuroda went 13-16 for the Dodgers with a 3.45 ERA.  He finished the year strong, going 7-3 in the finals two months of the season.

The Yankees rotation now consists of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, and A.J. Burnett. (in no particular order)  I think they have some depth now!

Advantage Yankees...and oh ya, the Red Sox countered all this by reportedly offering catcher Jason Varitek a minor-league deal.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prince Fielder still waiting

The best remaining free agent on the market, Prince Fielder, is still without a contract as of today, January 11th.

One would wonder if teams really are waiting for agent Scott Boras to drop his price a little, something that is unrealistic if you were to ever ask that camp.

Most in baseball would have expected Prince to part of an organization by now.  If your wondering about deals this late into the off season, one of the latest signings by a bigger free agent was Carlos Delgado.  Carlos waited until January 26th of 2005 to sign with the Marlins, a 4 year deal worth $52 million.

Other big deals that have come later in January in recent years have been:

Vladimir Guerrero: 5-year / $70 million with the Angels, Jan 11 2004 and Carlos Beltran: 7-year / $119 million with the Mets, Jan 10, 2005.

The countdown is still on for teams to sign Prince, but the chances of the 8-year deal worth $25 M per season doesn't look good.  The Nationals, Rangers , Marlins, Mariners and Brewers still look to possible landing spots.  Milwaukee has been rumoured to be out on bringing Prince back, but if they did offer him a 5-year deal for $100M before he elected for free agency, maybe that deal is still on the table.

Last season, Prince Fielder hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBI.