Sunday, February 19, 2012

Remaining Free Agents and Halladay's new car

With teams already underway in Spring Training, a few players are still left on the market wondering just what happened over the last four months.  Was it bad decision making? No interest from teams? The asking price?  Whatever the reason, these players are still left without contracts heading into the 2012 season.

OF Johnny Damon: thought a deal with the Yankees was in the cards, but has turned to "PLAN B"Red Sox, Rays, Orioles in play?  White Sox have been mentioned

OF Vladimir Guerrero: has said he would play for the Yankees for a one-year deal worth $1 million, a return to the Orioles or a date with the Blue Jays may be possible.

OF Magglio Ordonez: not much talk about the free agent, but he won't be accepting a minor-league deal.  Blue Jays and Orioles a good fit, maybe the Rays?

INF Eric Chavez: looks like the A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh deal has actually helped Chavez return to the Yankees.

OF Hideki Matsui: has been linked to the Athletics, Yankees and Rays, but boy has the "DH" role been a non-topic this off season.

P Brandon Webb: once a top of the line starter, will be throwing for scouts soon in hopes of landing a minor-league deal.

OF Xavier Nady: could help a club with bench depth.  Has hit 10 home runs in last 3 seasons after 20 in 2007.

SS Edgar Renteria: claims to be returning to MLB and has had interest, maybe the Reds?

P Javier Vazquez: has hinted at retirement if doesn't get a major league deal.  Fastball was clocked at 85 mph at one point last season.  

OF Raul Ibanez: has been linked to the Yankees for the last two weeks, and a deal seems likely as early as Monday.

P Roy Oswalt: Red Sox, Cardinals and Rangers all still in the mix.  The Phillies called, but it doesn't seem likely.  The Rangers are trying to deal relief pitcher Koji Uehara to free up money for the $10 million he's looking for.

1B Derrek Lee: hard to believe the former Cub is close to a retirement presser.

C Ivan Rodriguez: has to be the quietest off season for "Pudge" as no teams as emerged as a clear cut favourite for the 21-year vet.

In case you missed it:

Roy Halladay showed up to spring training for the Phillies in this 1932 Ford.  One of the better entrances since Willie Mays Hayes in Major League.

You know times are a changing, when the Yankees are trying to cut payroll before adding more pieces to the roster.  Saving money on the Burnett deal allows them to sign Ibanez for only a million and re-sign Chavez for the same.  It's been years, almost 20, since they had to operate like this.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pirates and 3 other teams interested in Burnett

Getty images

It was revealed today that apart from the Pirates, three other teams have expressed interest in acquiring pitcher A.J. Burnett from the Yankees.  Ken Rosenthal did not mention any of the other teams, so we can only speculate at this time.

The Pirates have agreed to absorb more than $10 million of the $33 million left on his contract in any deal, according to various reports. Garrett Jones, rumoured to be part of any deal, has been ruled "not available" by the Pirates.

So just who would the other three teams be?  We can only guess, but these three teams may be in the mix.

Cincinnati Reds:

The Reds have been linked to free agent Roy Oswalt, so why wouldn't they take a shot at acquiring Burnett?  If it costs them upwards of $15 million, maybe they will take a chance.  The rotation is set up now with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman.  Bailey is out of options and has to make the team out of spring this season, but he may be the player dealt, and Chapman may be better suited for a relief role.

Detroit Tigers:

The Tigers have been looking for a fifth starter for the entire off season, and now with Brad Penny signed in Japan, maybe the Tigers continue their spending spree and acquire Burnett.  These two teams have discussed players before, most notably with Curtis Granderson and Austin Jackson being traded for one-another.

Roy Oswalt apparently turned down a one-year deal worth $10 million with the Tigers last month, so we know the Tigers are still willing to spend on pitching.

Baltimore Orioles:

Burnett and his family make their home in Maryland, so it would make sense that the Orioles get involved in the discussion.  Burnett would become part of a young rotation that has Tommy Hunter, Wei-Yin Chen,  Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, and Brian Matusz already fighting for the five spots.

Wild-Card team: Blue Jays

Although a major long-shot, the Jays are still looking for another starter, and A.J. would love to return to Toronto.  Making a deal within the division and giving a prospect to New York is probably not in the cards for the management team of the Jays, although I've seen stranger things happen. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fantasy Baseball up and running? Not yet

With Super Bowl now in the books, the next thing on the agenda of sports fans is fantasy baseball.  Yahoo! Sports looked to get a head start on their leagues this morning showing that Fantasy Baseball is up and running, only to click on it and find that the game is still closed.  On second look, it's the '07 season. 

some leaders from the '07 MLB season, or are they?  Take a look at the teams beside each player from that season, Prince was apparently already a Tiger in '07!

Hope it's up and running soon!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Marcum gets paid and Manny close to a decision

A few free agents still remain on the market, Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, Rick Ankiel, Jon Garland, Kosuke Fukudome, Shawn Camp, Felipe Lopez, Rich Harden, Hideki Matsui, Derrek Lee, Brad Penny, Magglio Ordonez, Roy Oswalt, and Manny Ramirez.  Where they sign will depend on their demands going down.  Damon and Guerrero are still looking for contracts upwards of $5 million,  Oswalt wants to pitch for two teams (Rangers and Cardinals) that don't have the cash, Penny may pitch in Japan, Ramirez will have to serve a 50-game suspension before playing, Lee might retire, Rich Harden's camp has been quiet and teams have finally realized that Felipe Lopez is a player most likely to play in triple-A.

Manny Ramirez will reportedly make a decision soon on what team to pursue a contract with.  No team has offered him a contract as of yet.  Manny is just going to decide what team (Jays, Orioles or Athletics according to the report) is a good fit.

Shaun Marcum and Brewers avoided arbitration Friday, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.725 million. The soon to be free agent gets a pay raise of almost $3 million.  Last season for the Brewers Marcum went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA in 33 starts.

Here is a breakdown of Marcum's salary over his career:

Blue Jays 2007: $386,100 (12-6, 4.13 ERA in 159 innings)
Blue Jays 2008: $402,500 (9-7, 3.39 ERA in 151 innings)
Blue Jays 2009: $405,200 missed the season due to injury
Blue Jays 2010: $850,000 (13-8, 3.64 ERA in 195 innings)
Brewers 2011:   $3,950,000 (13-7, 3.54 ERA in 200 innings)
Brewers 2012:   $7.725,000


Marcum was drafted to by the Blue Jays (Ricciardi) in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft.

He was traded to the Brewers for none-other than Brett Lawrie.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A sobering look back at a Blue Jays projected lineup

Let this sink in.
I was browsing baseball site upon baseball site, looking for nuggets of inspiration when I came across this gem located within the depths of Fantasy Baseball Cafe: A projected lineup for the 2011 Toronto Blue Jays aka last season.

I'm not really sure what else to call this thing other than horrifying. For those of you who don't know, this was the Baseball America projected 2011 lineup for the Jays. Things to take away from this: Scouting is an imperfect science.

Catcher: J.P. Arencibia
1B-Adam Lind
2B-Aaron Hill
3B-Kevin Ahrens
SS-Justin Jackson
LF-John Tolisano
CF-Vernon Wells
RF-Alex Rios
DH-Travis Snyder (is it me or does everyone named Travis go to the DH?)
Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan, Brett Cecil, Shawn Marcum and closer Jeremy Accardo.

Let's go one by one, shall we?

J.P. Arencibia - A BLUE JAY! Say what you will about J.P., some say he's the worst defensive catcher in baseball, others say he's the owner of the best power year for a catcher in Jays history and both are probably objectively true. At the end of the day he's a great twitter follow and likely not long for Toronto with Travis D'Arnaud on the way. An inspired prediction here.

Adam Lind - A BLUE JAY! Given that Adam Lind drives a fair portion of Jays fans absolutely insane, I'll keep this brief. He had one "great" year, and I use quotes because Jose Bautista has since showed everybody what a great year actually is. Lind is now, perpetual "if they could just move him" discussion fodder. That being said, good call on the prediction of the move to first. There was no reason to expect then, though.

Aaron Hill - Currently an Arizona Diamondback after being traded in the middle of 2011. That being said, started the year in Toronto which makes this a correct pick. At the time, Hill looked like he would become the Jays franchise player. It was not to be.

Kevin Ahrens - Our first major swing and a miss. Ahrens has been bouncing between Rookie, A and A+ ball since 2007 which actually predates the post in question here. Total bust.

Justin Jackson - See: Kevin Ahrens. Jackson was promoted from A+ to AA in 2011, where he OPSed a whopping .621 in 28 games. He finally earned that promotion after OPSing .703 in A+ and hasn't been a positive offensive contributor since (tada) 2008. Total bust.

John Tolisano - See: Justin Jackson. On the brightside, and unlike his shortstop equivalent Jackson, Tolisano was the epitome of average offensively in 2011, his first year with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He has been in the Jays system, like Ahrens and Jackson, since 2007 with zero results to show for it.

Vernon Wells - Currently a member of the Anaheim Angels and owner of arguably the worst contract ever given to a nonpitcher (likely worst contract in all of baseball if not for Barry Zito). Would not have lasted in Toronto as long as he did had it not been for said contract.

Alex Rios - Member of the Chicago White Sox. Most infuriating player in Jays (and White Sox?) history. Came closest to reaching his potential when he was rumoured to be the trade bait for acquiring Tim Lincecum. Was given away to Chicago in a deal the Jays likely won in retrospect. Was a negative WAR player (-0.7) in 2011.

Travis Snider - Still a Blue Jay and currently slated to be a platoon partner in left field for 2012. Bounced back and forth between the big club and affiliates in 2011. Still seen as a high ceiling prospect, but not as highly touted as he was at the time of his debut.

Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan, Brett Cecil, Shawn Marcum and closer Jeremy Accardo.

Strikeout indicates that the pitcher is no longer a Jay.

Obviously the state of the franchise has changed dramatically (read: better GM) since this forum user copied and pasted this BA roster prediction four years ago. The real lesson here is that we ought to chill out a little bit before we get giddy about the projected lineups that you can compile with this farm system. A lot can change in three years.

Just ask Kevin Ahrens, he's exactly where you left him.