Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Well now...

Here I was thinking that there would be nothing to write about, on this, the day after the night that only had 1 game that I didn't bother to watch.  Well it turns out that there's plenty.

First off, I guess some guys played whatever the baseball version of shinny hockey is, with the National League winning the all-star game or something.  Don't ask me what happened, because I have no fucking clue.  And now we get another off-day, followed by some kind of halfsy schedule of games tomorrow; which at least features the Jays and Yankees.

And honestly, I figured that I'd basically have what's written above, except in a more pissy tone with more swearing, and that would be my entire post for the day.  That is until I found out about one cute little piece of news, and remembered about another.

We'll start with the one I remembered, since it happened first, and, more importantly, is about the Jays.  The once thought-to-be-unsignable draft selection, Tyler Beede, whom the Jays selected 21st overall in this year's draft, may be close to signing.  Beede has committed to pitch at Vanderbilt, and was supposed to report to summer school yesterday, but didn't.  It seemed as though Toronto would have to break the bank (as was their plan) to sign Beede, who was reportedly, before the draft, seeking a big-ass signing bonus in order to forgo his commitment to Vandy.  The deadline to sign is August 15th, and most picks won't sign until right around then.

The other piece of news regards the NY Mets, who have traded away Francisco Rodriguez, a.k.a. K-Rod, and $5MM cash (the remainder of his 2011 salary) to the Milwaukee Brewers, for 2 players to be named later.  The Mets really needed this to happen to avoid the $17.5MM option on K-Rod's contract from vesting, which would have happened if he had finished 21 more games, thanks to a clause in his contract.  The clause is still in place for the Brewers, but closer John Axford should be finishing out the lion's share of the games for Milwaukee (as opposed to NY, where Rodriguez was closing games).

Given the Brewers spot in the NL Central/wild card at the moment, that is certainly a worthwhile risk to take, since they expect to contend again next year, and having K-Rod on a bloated contract like that is certainly a better business move for a contending team, as opposed to the rebuilding Mets.  If Rodriguez's option doesn't vest (so basically, if John Axford doesn't get hurt really soon and for the rest of the season), the Brewers will be faced with a $3.5MM buyout, and Franky will become a Free Agent.  K-Rod projects as a Type-A free agent, but he made $11.5MM this season, and would probably get at least a slight raise in arbitration, which is a big big contract for a setup man, and therefore I'd be surprised if the Brewers offer him arbitration at the end of the year, making this a 3-month rental for a team who is right in the thick of things in the NL playoff race, and who need some bullpen help.  Having said that, K-Rod may still be looking for a multi-year deal as a 29-year old closer, who is still pretty decent, so it could happen.

A commenter on Fangraphs gives us this (I've fixed his math here, in square brackets... he had 12.8M):
To clarify some details on the contract:
To qualify for the option, K-Rod needs to finish (not close) 55 games this year, and be certified healthy at year’s end. He’s got 34 GF, so needs 21 more.
The Brewers owe [$17.8M] if the option does vest:
$4.97M for the remainder of this year (70 games)
$0.30M in bonuses
$17.5M in 2012
minus $5M from Mets

The Brewers owe $3.47M if the option doesn’t vest:
$4.97M for the remainder of this year (70 games)
$3.5M buyout
minus $5M from Mets
So basically, assuming this option doesn't vest, which it probably won't, the Brewers are paying $3.47MM and 2 minor leaguers for 3 months of service.  He's only been worth 0.7 fWAR to this point in the year (pace for about 1.3).  He'll be in a slightly weaker division in the NL Central (faces Phi, Atl less, Hou, CHC more), though there may not be enough games left for that to matter all that much.  My take on this deal is that this seems like a slight overpay on the part of the Brewers, but the marginal wins make it worthwhile, as long as they can guarantee themselves that the option doesn't vest.

I'd be surprised if Bob Melvin was entirely finished in terms of getting bullpen help, which sort of makes me worry about the future of this team, considering all of the minor leaguers he's going to have to give up, how mediocre this offense will be next year (and going forward) without Prince Fielder, and how hilarious they are defensively behind a pretty good rotation.  Even with Fielder's contract off the books, they have a lot of arbitration raises coming to guys like Marcum and Axford, plus raises to guys like Braun, Greinke, and Hart, and I don't really see them going out and getting a bat to replace Fielder without a big increase in payroll (which could happen with a playoff run this year).

The real question is about what the Mets plan to do with this extra money that they're saving(ish).  They are no longer at risk for being on the hook for that $17.5, and they may be looking at moving Carlos Beltran as well (The Giants are a rumored destination there, according to Brian Wilson), which would free up another ~$6MM (depending on how soon the trade happens).  A little Mets firesale to free up some room on that waterlogged payroll (plus a new co-owner) may be just enough to hang on to Jose Reyes, who is a free agent at the end of the season.

** I can update this: according to (I think) Keith Law, more money is moving to MIL than whatever was first thought.  NYM is responsible for the $3.5MM buyout if that happens, plus whatever is owed for the rest of this season.  Having said that... Kevin Goldstein of reports that only $2.23MM is changing hands. Might be some drama.

Tyler Beede has signed, according to a couple of sources who have been retweeted by some of my favourite sources, but there's nothing official yet.

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