Saturday 31 December 2011

White Sox Trade Quentin, Idiots collide?

Kenny Williams has just Kenny Williams'ed again.  Just days after telling the world that he wasn't rebuilding, and was probably done making trades, he trades Carlos Quentin away for two prospects.  The prospects that he's gotten aren't really anything special, so this is probably a bit of a salary dump for Kenny.  They do have guys like Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro de Aza who need positions, and guys like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios who are still getting paid a shitload of money and aren't likely to take a backseat for either guy.  Basically, moving Quentin allows them to pick up a couple of prospects to throw in to their league-worst farm system, and creates an equal number of positions and players to fill them in terms of 1B/OF/DH.  I think it's pretty safe to just let Kenny Williams go ahead and do whatever the fuck he thinks is right on whatever given day, whether that be trading players for middling prospects or extending your best trade chip.  Kevin Goldstein of was just on a radio station in Chicago, and compared KW's offseason to the mood swings of a manic-depressive.

The other side of this coin looks at the Padres, and just what the fuck they're thinking.  They gave up two (meh) prospects for a mediocre, injury-prone outfielder just a couple of weeks after trading their best pitcher away for prospects.  The Padres don't really have any reason to want to acquire Quentin unless they're trying to use him as a means to flip prospects for prospects at the trade deadline.  Quentin offers an upgrade for a pretty shitty lineup in SD, but I don't really see any reason to go out and acquire him and add $6MM to their payroll, especially when they don't have any hope of contention this year.  Of course, they just added Huston Street for no real reason, so who knows?  And of course, Petco.

The Jays were briefly linked to Quentin, but based on the return that KW got, it doesn't look like they were all that interested.  I'm wondering if other teams wanted CWS to pay for some of Quentin's salary, because frankly this seems like an underwhelming return based on the perceived interest in Quentin earlier this summer.

Jays Sign Aaron Laffey

Remember yesterday when I said that this time of year typically presents us with a bevy of minor free agent signings?  Aaron Laffey, ladies and gents.

According to MLBTR, Toronto is willing to give Laffey a chance to start (or at least compete for a starters job), apparently, which uhhh... yeah.  He was non-tendered by the Kansas City Royals, of all teams, so I'm not sure why he'd be a useful starter in the AL East, but whatever.  I mean, it's not like he was terrible last year, with a 103 ERA+ over 50 innings and change, but I definitely wouldn't call him a good pitcher, especially in this division.

Most people who transition from relieving to starting will add a run or so to their ERA, by virtue of platoon splits (i.e. as a reliever, he'd face more LHB's than RHB's due to managers using their bullpen to get their matchups, whereas he'd face more RHB's as a starter since opposing managers will put more righties in their lineups on a given day where a lefty is starting for the other team), though he doesn't really have a pronounced split in his stats; career OPSagainst of .718 vs. LHB, and .795 vs. RHB.  .718 OPS vs. LHB is terrible for a lefty pitcher, by the way.  His formula of giving up a lot of hits, and striking out slightly more people than he walks probably doesn't bode well for his plans of being a starter in the majors.

Anyway, it's a split contract, which means that he'll make the prorated portion of an MLB salary for his time spent in the majors, and the prorated portion of a minor league salary if sent to the minors.  I'm wondering if this is one of those AA things, similar to Scott Podsednik last year, where Laffey will be given the chance to compete for a starters' job in Toronto, and get released with the chance to find a job elsewhere if he can't get the starters gig in Toronto.  Podsednik was signed by the Jays last offseason, and was granted his release when it was apparent that he wasn't going to get MLB playing time.

Friday 30 December 2011


I just googled the word "ramblings" and there are 4 boobs and a vagina in the first 20 or so results.  You can't explain that.

The Blue Jays have signed 41-year-old lefty specialist Darren Oliver to a 1 year deal with a club option for 2013.  Terms have yet to be disclosed, but he made $3.25MM last year, so draw whatever conclusions you'd like from that.  Oliver has been pretty goddamned solid over the last few years, more or less since becoming a full-time reliever.  He personifies LOOGY, but he has been worth 5.5fWAR over the last 4 seasons, or ~260 innings, most of which being pretty high leverage.  I, for one, didn't really think there was a big need for any real additions to the Jays' bullpen, but this does address the possibility of needing a lefty, with Luis Perez being the only one in there (though Brett Cecil might find himself in the pen as well).

Other than that, slow news day.  That Oliver contract won't be finalized until after the new year, what with the 41-years old and needing a physical, plus stuff like holidaze, but I don't really fear much here.  Beyond that, I'll probably do another fantasy draft, this time with MVP 2005 for the XBOX entertainment console over the next few days, though I plan on getting obliterated drunk on New Years' Day and probably won't do much until after my girlfriend's vacation time is over.

By then, I'm sure something will happen on the free agency frenzy, as it typically does right around the new year, which Dave at Fangraphs examines here.  Beyond the Prince Fielder stuff, which probably won't be done for quite some time, and the Yu Darvish stuff, which should go right down to the January 18th deadline, we're going to see a lot of 1- and 2-year deals with teams paying variable amounts for pitchers of similar awesomeness.  And of course, we'll look back at these signings in a few months time and regale about how right we were about some guys, and how wrong we were about some others, forgetting that a single-season sample is nowhere enough to truly evaluate how good or bad some contracts were, but hey, what else is the internet for?

Thursday 29 December 2011

Pujols Contract Details Released

Jerry Crasnick of twitter, I guess... is reporting that Albert Pujols agreed to take less money early in his contract in exchange for massive sums of money over the back half.  Now, I know that such an agreement sounds more like a favor to Pujols, as opposed to a favor to the Angels (and it is, make no mistake), but it was apparently something that Pujols agreed to in order to help the Angels sign CJ Wilson.

Instead of just paying Pujols $25.4MM a year for the next 10 years, or even doing something like the Yankees did with ARod, which is to load the most value in the middle years, leaving some sort of financial flexibility, the Angels opted to give Pujols $12MM and $16MM in the first two years, and then giving $30+MM over the last 8. [Update- $12MM in '13, 16 in '14, then $23MM in '15, jumping up a million each year until he gets $30MM to play baseball as a 41year old man in 2021.]

Like I wrote last week on Nowhere Plans, the Angels would have been better off front-loading the contract, or at least sticking the most money in the middle years, in order to avoid paying $30+MM for someone who isn't very good anymore.  This is because teams who have giant contracts on their hands tend to still trot these guys out there instead of playing the guys who are much cheaper and need the playing time...  I used examples in the piece linked above, and will do so again: extreme examples include Alfonso Soriano, Barry Zito, Carlos Zambrano, and if I can see in to the future, Ryan Howard, but also guys like Adam Dunn and Aaron Rowand still got consistent playing time in their respective horrific season(s) recently.  Vernon Wells is going to be paid $21MM this year, and is almost certainly going to hold Mike Trout back, ready or not.

10y/$254MM probably wasn't a good idea in the first place, but there was definitely a way around the badness.  Instead, they opted to backload the deal, and will be paying $32+MM to a 41 year old 1B/DH a few years from now.  Meanwhile, 5 years from now, Peter Bourjos is going to be a free agent, and 7 years from now Mike Trout will as well.  Good luck Arte Moreno and Jerry DiPoto.


Not much goin' down here lately.  The Red Sox traded for Andrew Bailey the other day, giving up a couple of prospects, but beyond that...  I dunno, there's not really ever much happening between Christmas Day and New Years, which sort of explains why I haven't written anything anywhere over the last week.

Basically, what we've missed includes the above mentioned trade, which I really like the A's side of, just from a perspective of losing salary that isn't useful; Bailey is set to make $3.5MM through arbitration this year, and will likely only pitch 40-50 innings, none of which will be overly important this year, seeing as Bailey is one of those closer guys, and Oakland isn't going to come anywhere close to contending.  It's a fine deal for Boston, I guess, assuming they're going to have some high-leverage innings late in games.

The big piece (and I use that term very liberally) of news lately in these parts involves the Jays being interested in the last two years of control for Matt Garza, whom the Cubs are shopping.  I think the Cubs want starting pitching prospects in exchange, based on everything I've read, and the Jays obviously have plenty of that, though I'm not sure how high up the list they'd be willing to go for two years and an increased payroll.  Obviously it wouldn't take just a single pitcher for a guy of Garza's caliber, but I dunno, I guess I'd just be protective of the best(ish) farm system in the game if I were in charge of it.

Speaking of farm systems, Jim Callis ranked Nestor Molina as the 17th best prospect in the Jays system before he was traded, but that hasn't stopped him from being ranked as the best in the White Sox system post-trade, per John Sickels of Minor League Ball.

Other than that... I don't really have much for you.

Friday 23 December 2011

Two More Bite the Dust

... in terms of potential Blue Jay acquisitions that is.  Sidenote- Queen is fantastic.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I can't say I'm overly surprised, but bear with me.  Big news yesterday, as the A's traded Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals for an absolute haul of prospects, AJ Cole, Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, and Tim Milone.  The former three are ranked 3,4 and 9 in Baseball America's top-10 Nationals prospects list.  Peacock and Milone could contribute to the MLB-team this year.

There are some rumblings all over the place, saying that Gonzalez really wasn't worth quite that much, and was simply a product of pitching in a positive run-environment.  The Coliseum in Oakland is certainly favorable to pitchers, though not by a huge margin, and the Oakland defense has been pretty good in the last few years, so it's certainly possible that Gio isn't as good as his numbers suggest, but his OPS-against at home isn't terribly different from his OPS-against away, especially when you look at the babip differential between the two.  He does walk an awful fucking lot of batters though.  I expect his numbers to get a fair bit uglier next year playing in the NL East.

It will be interesting to see what the A's do for the rest of the winter.  They already unloaded Trevor Cahill for a few prospects (Jarrod Parker being the main guy in that one), and now have gotten 4 more for Gio.  I'm told that two of them shouldn't really offer a whole lot in terms of upside, but they have a pretty solid minor league setup right now in terms of stockpiling young arms (and Norris is a highly touted catcher with power).  I'd look for Billy Beane to keep on unloading stuff for the rest of the offseason.  They have Kurt Suzuki under contract until 2014, and there's always a market for catchers since there is so much attrition at that position, and they still have a few arms.

I'm not sure what they could get for guys like Brian Fuentes or Grant Balfour, but their value probably rises as the trade deadline nears.  There are still a few surplus arms available, though none really need to be moved for salary purposes, and I can't see a huge haul for any other than Brett Anderson.  I can see Anderson, Dallas Braden, Guillermo Moscoso, Brandon McCarthy, Josh Outman and Tyson Ross (plus Peacock and Milone, if desired) all being logical options for the rotation, though Anderson has missed time in each of the last two years due to injury, and Braden is coming off Tommy John surgery or something, so maybe he'll just stand pat.  Maybe Ryan Sweeney or Daric Barton could bring something back?  Andrew Bailey is still an obvious trade candidate, and is almost a guarantee to be moved this offseason.

Noteworthy, I suppose, is that the price for starting pitching is outrageous now, and with both John Danks and Gio Gonzalez off the market, Alex Anthopoulos will have to pay a fucking bounty if he wants to acquire a top starter.  He could always take the Roy Oswalt route, or go after Edwin Jackson, but if he actually wants to trade for, say, Matt Garza, I'm pretty sure the Epstein/Hoyer combo are smart enough to realize what the A's got for Gio and adjust their asking prices accordingly.  There's obviously a difference in terms of price, age and years of control, but Garza is a better pitcher and has handled the AL East just fine in the past, so I'm sure the tag on Garza would be pretty comparable to Gio's.  Now that Washington has acquired Gio, Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler, or John Lannan could be available, though none of them are really front-line guys.

The other piece of news from yesterday, or the other dust-biter, if you will, is Carlos Beltran signing in St. Louis.  The move ships Lance Berkman to 1B, and allows for Allen Craig to recover from injury/surgery before kicking Jon Jay to the bench (presumably).  This is all something that could have been avoided by keeping Colby Rasmus, but hey, I'm not complaining.  I'd expect Jay to still get plenty of playing time, such as strategically placed days off for Beltran when the Cards play on turf, or when Beltran DH's in AL parks.

In a world where Michael Cuddyer gets 3y/$31.5MM, 2y/$26MM for Beltran is a fucking steal.  The Giants didn't offer arbitration, per a clause in Beltran's contract, so the Cards aren't giving up a draft pick, nor are the Giants getting one.  Brian Sabean probably doesn't even realize how fucking stupid he is, but he gave up Blake Wheeler for 2 months of Beltran and then didn't even bother offering him market value, though, based on this, maybe he just didn't want to be in SF. (Note- He actually vetoed a trade to Cleveland last year, and allowed a trade to SF, sooooo.....)

The Jays were rumored to be interested in Beltran as well (they're rumored to be interested in everybody!) as a DH/LF kinda guy, but that's too bad.

Other Stuff
The Reds have finalized the Travis Wood-for-Sean Marshall deal, sending two prospects to Chicago with Wood.  They should be getting a prospect or two if anything, but instead they're giving up two decent-to-not-terrible guys, in Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes.  Sappelt has some halfway decent minor league numbers as a LF over the last few years.  Torreyes is 19 years old and is listed as 5'9'', 140lbs, which I assume is wrong, but he's completely raked in two seasons of A-ball and the Florida rookie league as a 2B/SS/3B/LF.

The Jays announced their coaching staffs for the 2012 season.

A couple of tweets from Ken Rosenthal (I'm just linking his profile here and you can find them yourself if you care that bad) claim that the Red Sox were looking to trade for both Gio and Andrew Bailey for the last few days, only to focus solely on Gio once the Nats jumped in to the picture.  They're still looking to acquire Bailey.

Fangraphs has more on the A's new batch of prospects.

I wrote on Nowhere Plans the other day and can't remember if I linked to it or not, but don't really care if this is a second reminder on the matter or not.  It's part two of the Albert stuff, this time looking at what the contract is going to do to the Angels' lineup and payroll going forward.  Part one is here as well if you missed that one.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Just Missed it

Thanks to MLBTR for re-mongering the rumor about literally anybody having any clue about the Yu Darvish bid that the Jays made.  I linked to Richard Griffin's misleading post about the Jays' bid yesterday, so now I may as well link to a post claiming that they weren't even close, nor was anybody, to the Rangers bid of $51.7MM.  A number of sources are claiming that the Rangers won by a landslide, which is funny in my opinion, based on what happened with Dice-K a few years back.  Jeff Blair was the first guy to step up and call bullshit publicly about Griff's article, but, like I said yesterday, he doesn't explicitly say that the Jays bid $50MM+ in his article, and frankly, the title of his article looks like someone else read it and made their own title falsely quoting him or something.

Anyway, within that MLBTR link above, Buster Olney and Jon Heyman both say that the Jays were definitely in on Darvish, but didn't come anywhere close to matching the Rangers bid.  I'd have to do some research, and I probably won't since I don't really care all that much, but I'm pretty sure both originally reported once the posting was finished that the Jays made a "whopper" of an offer, soooo... I dunno, this seems like National "lose-your-credibility-as-a-reputable-source-for-baseball-rumors-and-maybe-stick-to-just-writing-about-things-you-see-instead-of-trying-to-be-an-insider" week for guys like Kevin Gray at least, maybe he's got some company.  Either way, I doubt we'll ever know exactly what the Jays bid on Darvish, so we may as well quit speculating.

Elsewhere, Kenny Williams is at it again... instead of trading away John Danks and actually rebuilding his team the way he claimed to be doing as recently as a week ago, he instead extending John Danks, giving him a 5 year, $65MM contract, buying out his final year of arbitration and his first 4 free agent years.  Who knows, he just traded away Sergio Santos for the Jays 18th best prospect 3 months after extending him, so he could do the same with Danks if he really wanted to, I suppose.  This still strikes me as odd though.  This is going to be the most expensive rebuild ever, with Adam Dunn and Alex Rios being pretty much untradeable without eating a bunch of salary.

The Danks deal comes at a pretty fair valuation, so that's obviously not what I'm making fun of.  I just don't understand, with today's market for pitching, why Williams wouldn't trade Danks for prospects.  The haul that Mat Latos brought in (Latos is younger and has less service time) makes me believe that Williams still could have gotten a nice haul, especially if he allowed for negotiations for an extension, the way Bill Smith did with the Mets and Johan Santana. Smith got fucking worked over on that trade, mind you, but I think that was more of an anomaly in the sense that none of those prospects turned in to anything useful.  Basically, I don't see the point in committing $65MM to one player if he's only going to help you win 70 games.

There are still useful pieces on the roster, such as Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez, but if he's not willing to part with Danks then who knows what's going to happen?  A closer look:

  • Konerko is essentially the Chicago Todd Helton, so he probably won't be traded.  Even if he is, there probably won't be much of a haul; he's making $12MM this season, and $6.5 next, as well as deferred payments from 2014-2020.  He's still productive, and has aged magnificently, but will be 36 on opening day, so he could just turn to dust any minute now.  Chicago would probably have to assume some money on any trade to get anything useful in return.
  •  Quentin isn't incredibly valuable, as a slightly-above-league-average player.  His value is entirely found in his bat, which, I suppose is fine for a LF.  He was worth 2.6fWAR this season after back-to-back dumpsterfires in '09 and '10, mostly due to missing time and defensive ineptitude.  Bill James projects a .351 wOBA, so as a DH he could be fairly useful, but he's arbitration eligible for the 3rd time this year before becoming a free agent next year, and he'll probably make over $6MM.
  • Ramirez is locked up through 2015 (option for '16), so the Sox could totally just hang on to him.  He's pretty close to league average offensively (which is very good for a SS), and fields his position well.  He's their best trade chip by far, but is also a guy that will probably not get moved, since by the time this rebuild should be finished, he'll still be very useful.  In this market, I'd probably intend on hanging on to him, but would obviously listen.
  • Floyd is pretty comparable to Danks, though several years older.  He'll make $7MM this year, and will have a $9.5MM club option for '13.  He put up a fip of 3.81 this past season, and was fairly unlucky with a 67.7% LOB, which is one of those luck dragon things like babip.  I fully expect him to be traded, now that Danks has been extended, but he's sort of at a nadir in value after having his ERA balloon by almost half a run.
Does Williams really think he can hold on to all of those guys and rebuild just by moving Rios/Dunn/Peavy?  I fucking hope so.  This rebuild might take 20 years.

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Dec 21 Stuff

Rany Jazayerli of Baseball Prospectus/Grantland/The Baseball Show with Rany and Joe/pretty much everything has a piece on Grantland about prospects being used and overvalued in trades.  Basically, teams are giving up their star players in trades for people who aren't exactly can't-miss prospects, and basically getting really owned, the way Minnesota did on Johan Santana.  He views the Molina-Santos deal and the Cahill/Breslow-Parker/others deal as a microcosm of those, and then suggests that AA just go ahead and rape everyone with all their prospects.

AA was on air with Jeff Blair yesterday, talking about the Darvish stuff, and he basically said that he won't disclose any info on whether or not he placed a bid, despite conflicting reports that claim that the Jays bid was over $50MM *cough Richard Griffin*.

Speaking of that little cough, Griffin doesn't site a specific source with that tidbit, but insists that sources within the industry claim that the Jays bid was over $50MM, only to contradict-ish himself the next paragraph
The Jays have been eternally close-mouthed when it comes to confirming their participation in the chase for any free agents and trades, not just in the case of Darvish, but as a matter of policy. In fact, Anthopoulos maintained he would not even have staged a conference call except for the volume of requests that he had and the subsequent recommendation of his media relations staff.
so basically, we don't really know.  The real meat of that piece is the fact that the Jays (supposedly) bid in the $50MM range.  As in "OMG the Jays are spending money!" as if that actually really means anything.  Richypoo says that AA's plan hasn't changed, and that the offseason isn't over, and that AA is probably still going to add an arm to the rotation, and another to the bullpen.

Tao of Stieb has a piece looking at the bright side of the Jays not getting Darvish.

The Jays have been linked to Carlos Beltran, possibly because of some unlimited flights thing between Puerto Rico and Canada or something?  It wouldn't be a terrible fit, but it would definitely be a precursor to a trade, I feel.  I don't really see enough positions/lineup slots to fit Snider, Thames, Lind and Encarnacion if Beltran comes aboard.

The Reds and Cubs are apparently set to trade Travis Wood for Sean Marshall.  The Reds acquired Mat Latos the other day, and now have a whole bunch of back-end starters.  I thought this was retarded when I first read about it, but Marshall is a pretty good shut-down reliever, and Wood isn't necessarily projected to become awesome without a bunch of work.  The Reds are apparently set to going to include prospects, which is probably a dumb idea, considering they're giving up a 24-year-old starter with 4 years of control for a reliever with 1 year of more expensive control.  It looks like a slight overpay, even without the prospects, so depending on who the prospects are, this might get ugly.  Walt Jocketty appears to be in the business of slightly overpaying for stuff, after giving Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal (among others) to get Mat Latos.

Finally, today in Dayton Moore news, Yuniesky Betancourt has gotten a 1 year, $2MM major league contract from the Kansas City Royals.  What the fuck are you doing?  Betancourt has never posted anything resembling a league average OPS, nor has he posted an on base percentage above .310 in any season in his career.  He's also an absolute dogshit fielder (which is a bad idea if you're a terrible hitter), and has been worth -0.3fWAR over the last 4 seasons combined.

Tuesday 20 December 2011


Because this whole "not-getting-Darvish" thing is the end of the world, amirite?

I think the real moral of the story here, and I'm guilty here too, is to not get too caught up in the rumors until we know for sure.  I know it's hard, especially when it's a big-ticket item such as Yu Darvish, and when seemingly every source known to man is saying that it's going to be the Jays who won the bid...

Anyway, I remember looking at this last night thinking that no matter what happens, either way, it's not a big deal.  If the Jays lose, they don't have to spend $100MM+ to sign someone who's never pitched in the MLB.  If they do win, we get our pitcher that we've been looking for, meanwhile taking a massive risk with a $100-125MM contract on our hands, which is really the entire antithesis of AA's business model.  I want to get this point across as loudly and clearly as possible: Yu Darvish alone would not have gotten the Jays to the playoffs.  He would simply be another piece on the way, and one who would require a giant pricetag.

There are clearly some positives and some negatives to bidding on and signing a guy like Darvish, but not being the winning team really doesn't signify anything in terms of the Jays and their plans to compete in the near future.  I'd like to reiterate that just because they didn't win the Darvish race doesn't mean that they're not going to spend money.  They've already loaded up their farm system and scouts, going crazy on international and draft expenditures over the last 2 years, plus including cash in the Rasmus and Wells deals.  There are different ways to skin a cat, per se, and if spending doesn't increase at the major league level this season, it doesn't really have any bearing on the future, or the present, with regards to spending money (though the new CBA might throw a wrench in that and force spending at the MLB level anyway, so shut the fuck up and be happy with what you're getting, even if you don't actually want it, despite not knowing any better).  If Rogers are in fact a bunch of cheap fucks, we won't know it for a while, as it will only be determined a few years from now, when they don't pony up the cash to maintain guys like Lawrie and Arencibia when they hit free agency, and has nothing to do with the current crop of free agents.  And even if that does happen, the farm system is in a good enough place that the Jays can just Tampa Bay their way to success, without actually needing to spend a billion dollars.

I think AA realizes that free agent contracts are pretty inefficient, and that he wants young, controllable players on his team, not only because they're cheaper, but because they're typically better and more useful for longer periods of time.  The whole idea is to get guys in their primes, not to get guys who have one year of peak left before regressing for the rest of their careers, while paying them top dollar.

Finally, and I've said this a few times and could very well be wrong about it, but going after Matt Garza now makes no sense to me unless he would like to sign an extension for cheap, which I doubt will happen.  If Darvish became a Jay, the Jays would still be a piece or two away from being contenders for the division, and giving up assets for 2 years of Garza would then make some sense.  Giving up pieces for Garza now will just improve the Jays from 81 wins to 85 wins.  The Rays won 91 last year for the Wild Card and the Yankees won 97 for the division (with the Red Sox at third with 90).  I don't know exactly what a full season of Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus is worth, but I really don't think we can expect the Jays to get improvements from everybody to the point where they can win 100 games in the AL East.  Garza and Darvish, which replaces Cecil and [Jojo/Litsch/Mills/Mcgowan], plus improvements... maybe we're talking.  Basically, I don't expect the Rays to regress at all, and don't expect the Yankees or Red Sox to regress enough for the Jays to justify going out and grabbing one piece, because it probably won't be enough.  On the other side of the coin, I don't see AA going out and giving up a ton of assets to land Garza and another pitcher (Gio, Niese, whoever), because I don't think we want to sacrifice the future just to win now.  He wants sustainable success going forward.  I'd rather wait and just crush in 2013 through 2018.

Monday 19 December 2011



Seriously, hurry the fuck up.  Meanwhile, chew on this:  Baseball America released their top 10 Jays prospects today, with Travis d'Arnaud ranking #1, unsurprisingly.  Read here.

8:15 ET: MLBTR tells us that the Jays are in on Matt Garza and Gio Gonzalez, because both guys are pitchers.  Basically, people are saying "well if they don't get Darvish, they're going to want to give up some assets for pitchers.  I'm not so sure, but whatever.  I kind of think that they'd be more likely to give up some assets and grab a Gio or a Garza if they get Darvish, as a kind of a means of moving the plan forward.  Because if you think about it, why would they get Darvish and still then not be good enough to win this year?  What looks better? Romero-Darvish-Morrow-Alvarez-[Cecil/Mcgowan/meh] or Romero-Darvish-Garza-Morrow-Alvarez?

8:20 ET: Some Knobler guy tweets that it might be another 3-4 hours before we find out.  At least we know that the Nippon Ham Fighters will definitely be accepting the high bid and will post Darvish.  This Knobler guy also kind of looks like Danny Devito in the most recent season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is in no way a compliment.  Nevertheless, that tweet was about an hour ago, so that's a bit of a silver lining.

8:35 ET: Some light reading on Jays #2 prospect, Anthony Gose, courtesy of Arden Zwelling of

The Nationals are looking at Gio Gonzalez, which should obviously drive up the price for he and Matt Garza, should the Jays become truly interested in either.

8:50ET: New Dark Knight Rises trailer, this time without the bottom 70% of the screen ripped off.  Once the Darvish excitement wears off, this should take over.

To watch more, visit tag

8:55 ET: OMG OMG OMG Kevin Gray of that Graymatter blog thing writes that AA has called a press conference to announce that the Jays have won the bid and negotiating rights to Yu Darvish.  Lettuce be cereal.

9:03 ET: Jon Morosi just shit on that.

9:08 ET: More waiting room magazine stuff... Victor Conte of Barry-Bonds-steroids fame says that Ryan Braun is fucked.

9:13 ET: Gotta pee.  BRB.

9:22 ET: Kevin Goldstein of tweets a bunch of stuff about Darvish's actual ability, and figures that Darvish will likely need to ditch his curveball, and that he probably won't throw his changeup anymore either, since he rarely threw it in Japan, presumably because it's his worst pitch.

9:35 ET: Gray just tweeted again that the Jays are the winners....

9:55 ET: Well he hasn't rescinded it yet.  He actually says that there is a source who is publicly claiming that his tweet is true.  More at 10 ET, according to his source, who appears to be this guy?  Either way, the process is as follows: Nippon Ham announces that they accept the bid, and then MLB announces the team who had the high bid.  Then we all either go crazy and touch em all Joe, or it's a sad, sad day for baseball.

10:05 ET: Stoeten says that the twitter account linked above is that of the NH Fishercats' pitching coach, as if he'd have any idea/publicly come out with it.  Let's forget about this one, and about Gray in general for tonight.

But then there's this tweet, in which someone claims that Sportsnet plans to make an announcement in an hour-ish.  I don't see any announcement from Sportsnet quite yet, but that's obviously my next stop.

10:30 ET: This seems legit, though I don't really know.  Currency value has changed the worth of the $50MM USD compared to the Japanese Yen from ~Y6B to ~Y4B over these past 5 years, despite a nearly identical bid in both situations.

10:54 ET: A fake Bud Selig twitter account has claimed that the Jays have won for $52MM.  Shut up.

11:00ET: 10 minutes away, according to a Shi Davidi tweet.  Watch the end of wrestling and then come back.

11:13 ET: Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan thinks the Rangers win.  Passan is a really good source, so it's probably right, but I wouldn't call anything official quite yet.  For what it's worth, MLBTR has hardly posted anything as far as rumors go until this Passan thing came out, so I think it's pretty likely that this is legit, but there's always a chance.  And you know what, fuck it.  That's $100MM+ that can go towards not having a painful albatross contract, 1 year after losing the Vernon Wells clustershit.  More coming.

11:37 ET: Thoughts, in no particular order.

  • Well Kevin Gray has lost pretty much all credibility, at least for now.  He's apologized on twitter, but meh.  A lot of people are now considered idiots based on this whole thing, and more are coming on various comment sections and blogs over the next few days.
  • It would have been really cool if the Jays won it, just to see something new and exciting in Yu Darvish pitching for us every 5th day, but this is far from the end of the world.
  • $51.7MM is the rumored bid.  If the Jays went to $52MM, plus presumably another 55ish for the actual contract, that's over $100MM on top of their current payroll.   It's really hard to justify/rationalize any anger about this whole scenario.  If you're mad about the Jays not boosting their expenses by $60MM this season, in a year where they aren't certain to compete for the division, even with Darvish in the mix... well, I don't really have a whole lot to say to you.  I still trust what AA and Beeston have going on.
  • Along those lines, if people are mad about the Jays not spending, why does anybody think that they were the favorites this whole time?  Can anyone really blame them for not spending?  What was the plan here, if they weren't spending?  Do people actually believe that the Jays weren't really a threat to sign Yu?  Or that they weren't close to the Rangers' bid?  $50MM bid is too cheap, but $52 would have been fine?  I challenge anybody reading this who are mad about Rogers not spending enough to explain themselves.  And to fuck off.
  • I forget the name of the GM in Arizona, but if I were him, I'd be thrilled.  He signed Jason Kubel to a 2 year, $15MM contract this morning or last night or something, and has apparently invested something like $36MM across 7 players who were worth 3WAR last season.  Or something like that.
  • Tonight's twitterage was fun as shit, no matter the result.  Silver lining: there's a Leaf's game tonight, and there was Monday Night Football, and Yu Darvish and the Toronto Blue Jays were still generating massive amounts of buzz.
  • I'm so curious as to what the Jays bid was.  We'll probably never know, however.
  • I still think it's more likely that we see young prospect starters get a chance to start and show what they can do, as opposed to going out and getting someone.  That appears to be a pretty unique point of view, based on my twitter feed (Shi Davidi and Gregor both seem to think that AA is still going to look for an upgrade to the rotation), but really, I don't see much point in going after a Garza-type if all it's going to do is get the Jays closer to contention but not all the way there.  Had the Darvish thing gone down, I think making a trade makes way more sense.

Stuff on a Monday

Fortunately, not a whole lot has happened over the last 3 or 4 days, because I've been pretty busy with work, a wedding, my brother and nephew visiting for the week, drinking, impromptu Dec. 17th Christmases, etc., so I haven't really had a ton of time available to me to dedicate to writing.  There have been a few rumors and rumors of rumors, but nothing really major has happened if memory serves me correctly.

The main item, still, is the Yu Darvish sweepstakes.  I've heard anything and everything about the winning bids, including conflicting pricetags, winners, and proper conversion factors to go from $USD to Japanese Yen.  The most popular rumor in all of this is the report claiming that the Jays will be announced as winners, simply by process of elimination, with a value of $48-50MM, though a report was released yesterday (or maybe the day before, I don't remember) that suggest the price for Darvish was higher than that of Daisuke Matsuzaka's $51.1MM that the Red Sox paid in 2007.  The announcement will be made tonight, and I'm really excited.  All rumors suggest that the only two teams with a shot are the Jays and Rangers.

The San Diego Padres traded ace pitcher Mat Latos to CIN for an absolute haul of prospects.  I can honestly see this one working out very well for both teams, though I'd be surprised if CIN doesn't come to regret this one a while down the road.  Latos is 24 years old, and still has 4 years of control, but has pitched his career in pitcher-friendly San Diego.  Latos doesn't appear to be a huge benefactor of Petco, based on his rate stats and home/road splits (more from Tango, here), but I'm not sure there's enough of a sample to seriously determine that or not.  Dave at Fangraphs checks this one out.  This trade kind of snuck up on me, in the sense that I didn't really know that Latos was all that available, plus I wasn't at my computer when I found out about it.  It turns out that a bunch of teams were asking for Latos.  As result, I originally felt like the Reds could have gotten more/given up less, and that Walt Jocketty should have been fired immediately, but the more I thought about it, combined with the  new info that Latos apparently was being shopped (or at least listened about), and this seems pretty fair.

This trade crushes some Blue Jay fans and their hopes of getting Joey Votto anytime soon, as he will now remain in CIN without Yonder Alonso biting at him.  The same can be said about future catcher Devin Mesoraco and prospect Yasmani Grandal.

Currently, there is about a 3:1 ratio of MLBTR readers who believe that the Padres won this deal, though I'm not quite so sure I'd go that far.  If there was a third option of "both" or something like that, I think that would probably be in the lead.  And of course, 70% of MLBTR readers are retarded.  Anyway, it seems to me like both clubs are getting what they want, and neither can really be considered a loser.  Alonso and Grandal were blocked in CIN, and moving those guys for a legit front-of-the-rotation pitcher seems pretty worthwhile, especially if it's to keep a guy like Bronson Arroyo out of the rotation.  Meanwhile, SD wasn't going anywhere this season, so they may as well just pile up some cheap young guys at the peak of Latos' value.  The offseason isn't over, but I think the addition of Latos and the subtraction of Volquez (and more importantly, getting Arroyo out of the fucking rotation for someone like Travis Wood or Aroldis Chapman) could be enough to get the Reds where they need to be.  I assume the loss of Fielder (and 50 games of Braun) will drop the Brewers back down closer to .500, and the loss of Albert Pujols should hurt the Cards by a couple wins.  The Reds should have been better last year, and have definitely improved their big league roster, while the Brewers and Cards should have been worse, and have worse teams coming in to next season.  The Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez the other day to try and ease that pain... good luck.

The Diamondbacks have signed Jason Kubel to downgrade their outfield.  They gave him 2/$15MM with an option for a third year, making Gerardo Parra expendable.  I think they're crazy.  The Twins have now lost both Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer (3y/30MM to Colorado) to free agency, earning them some picks, though they have signed Josh Willingham to a 3y/21MM contract, which is infinitely better value than re-signing Cuddyer.  Both players are comparable, with Cuddyers ability to play 3 positions poorly earning him an extra several million dollars.

The lefty reliever market is slowly dwindling for the Jays.  Targets Dontrelle Willis and George Sherrill have both signed this week, and not in Toronto.  Luis Perez remains as the only lefty reliever at the moment, though Brett Cecil might see some time coming out of the bullpen, especially if another starter is acquired.

Prince Fielder still thinks he's going to get a 10-year deal.  I think Scott Boras is going to fuck him real hard, and if he can find a 6 year deal, he should probably take it.  Nobody is going to value Fielder the way they value Albert Pujols, especially after Pujols has signed.  There are only so many potential suitors for Fielder, and no NL team should give him 7+ years because they don't have a DH-rule.  The Angels signed Pujols, the Jays don't want to give a deal longer than 5 years, the Yankees and Red Sox have 1B and DH filled, and The Rangers sound quite disinterested, likely due to payroll concerns.  Nobody else really seems interested, either due to money, or simply not being ready to contend and spend that money on a player who won't get them to the playoffs right now.

Thursday 15 December 2011

Fake Things

Today, when I got home from "work", which happened to be playing bingo with first graders for an afternoon, I was real hungry.  I didn't really know what I was going to eat, since there were no leftovers in the fridge, and I didn't really want to cook anything since there are usually people there to do such a thing for me, either now or later.  I usually just chill on the couch until someone serves me food, I don't really know what happens in the before or during parts of the cooking.  Anyway, I settled on a delicious bologna and mustard/mayo sandwich, which just happened to be bologna sandwich number 25-ish of December.

You see, bologna, when purchased in bulk, comes in 7 pound logs, because apparently it is humanly possible to willfully eat that much bologna before it spoils, don't let anybody tell you different.

Speaking of bologna, the Jays are rumored to have made a "whopper" of an offer for Yu Darvish, which is apparently in the neighborhood of 50+MM, but they're also still considering Prince Fielder to enjoy a buffet bat as a 1-2 with Jose Bautista for 8+ years.  As if.

(I mean, the Darvish stuff is obviously with some substance, but I'm laughing more at the Prince stuff.)

Monday 12 December 2011

Nighttime stuff

Gregor Chisolm (@gregorMLB on twitter) is giving us a whole bunch of stuff right now.

First off, the Jays have sent cash to St Louis as part of the Colby Rasmus trade.  They agreed to send either 3 PTBNL or cash considerations along with Corey Patterson, Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzep.  We should find out sooner or later through a random trip to Cots someday where I'm bored.

The Jays have agreed to terms with Jesse Litsch and Dustin Mcgowan on contracts, avoiding arbitration.  Litsch will make $975k, and Mcgowan will make $600k.  Casey Janssen, Brandon Morrow, Carlos Villanueva, Kelly Johnson, Jeff Mathis, Colby Rasmus and Benny-boy Francisco are all still arbitration eligible, but I don't think the Jays have gone to arbitration in like 14 years or something, so expect some resolutions there.  Janssen and Villanueva might get a 2-year pact, and Kelly Johnson might as well if he's willing.  The rest will likely get 1-year deals or face arbitration.  Prediction: the Jays will wait until Morrow is good in the first month or so, and then explore a 4 year extension.

[edit- Mathis, $1.5MM.  I'm indifferent.]

Apparently the decision to bring in Ben Francisco was to bolster the bench, according to AA, via Gregor here.  But apparently either flipping Francisco, or using him to fill the bench to replace a Snider or Thames (or Davis) " wasn't the thought of it."

Elsewhere, Joel Sherman thinks that the Jays can sign Prince and then use Lind as the centrepiece of a Gio Gonzalez trade.  I mean, if people from other fanbases think that Lind could be that valuable, maybe it could happen?  I doubt it, but we can dream.

Jays in on Gio

Hey, check it out!  The Blue Jays are apparently trying to get Gio Gonzalez.  The A's are pretty much doing a firesale, trying to get rid of all of their expensive guys, and moving their awesome starting rotation for prospects.  And they may as well, right?  They can't sell any tickets, they can't keep their free agents, and they sure as shit aren't going to win much with the Rangers and A's in their division.

But they still have to field a team everyday out there.  Selling off their young, controllable starting pitchers is a pretty good way to get some impact prospects in to your system, as they just did with Trevor Cahill the other day, but they'll need to get some kids on the field in the meantime.  If the Bluejays really want another front of the line starting pitcher, Gio is certainly a guy who can fit that mold, especially if he ever stops walking 4 guys per 9.  But shit man, 197k's last year... those are "Brandon Morrow over a full season" numbers.

And hey, the Jays just acquired Ben Francisco.  Coincidence?  Probably, but maybe not.  The A's just lost their entire outfield due to free agency, and, like I said, still need to put 25 guys out there everyday, no matter how terrible.  You know, I really kind of doubt that the A's have much interest in Ben Francisco, a 30-year old 4th outfielder with no upside, especially when he costs $1.5-2MM.  This is a guy that the Jays are going to keep around for this year, because they're trading someone else.  You know who would be enough of an impact player to move for Gio?  Travis Snider.

Obviously it would cost more than just Snider, since he's coming off a complete dogfuck of a season, but maybe there isn't much room left for Snider, given the way they sent him down to the minors twice last year, the way Eric Thames hit right handed pitching last year, the pile of outfielders that the Jays already have, and the imminent arrival of guys like Anthony Gose, or Jake Marisnick in the next couple of years.

Would AA really move Snider?  I feel like AA is the kind of guy who would if he thought it was the right move and improved his team's chances of winning this year, or in the long term.  It's not like we couldn't adjust to life without Snider; we hardly got to see him last year, but I'd still like to have him around.  Fuck knows that Thames and Francisco aren't really going to be longterm options, and that the cost of Gio, if Snider was involved, would be at least one other top-10 prospect, plus more.  It would really hurt to see Snider, and say, Noah Syndergaard, become all-stars elsewhere, especially with Gio's walk-rate.

Basically, I'm just sitting here overreacting, reading in to a minor trade that may or may not have future implications.  It's certainly weird, given how crowded the Jays outfield is already.  I worry too much, I suppose.  That's why my friends call me Whiskers.

Stuff, in no particular order

It's been a while.  I'll have a new piece up about the Albert Pujols fiasco on Nowhere Plans in the next day or two, which I'm sure I'll link here, but check out the other stuff up there in the meantime.

 I had my first day as a substitute teacher on Friday, and I successfully went the whole day without saying a swear.  I'm fucking amazed with myself.

The obvious piece of noteworthy news from this weekend is the Ryan Braun banned substance test.  The latest I've heard is that his test showed that he had testosterone levels that were twice as high as anybody who has ever tested before, and that they were synthetic, obviously.  I'm still not sure how this is going to end up, but he's apparently been retested, and will appeal, though nobody has ever successfully won an appeal against the MLB in these circumstances.

The Blue Jays have acquired Ben Francisco from the Phillies for pitching prospect Frank Gailey.  Francisco is the guy who I drunkenly screamed at the most, mainly due to proximity, on the Canada Day game in Toronto.  Jesse Chavez has been DFA'ed to make room.  Benny Boy was a halfway decent bench guy for the Phillies last year, getting 250ish PA's and putting up a .340 OBP.  He's a career .260/.342/.430 hitter over parts of 5 seasons, but he should just be a bench guy going forward.  This could be a precursor to another trade involving the crowded outfield situation, i.e. Travis Snider/Eric Thames, or maybe someone found interest in Adam Lind/Edwin Encarnacion... we'll see.  Gailey has put up good numbers in A/A+/AA ball, but is 26 and has tried those leagues out a few times already.  This trade probably means good things for Domonic Brown, and is probably a bit of a salary dump for the Phils.  Francisco is arbitration eligible for the second time this year, and should make about $2MM.

The Brewers have officially panicked after losing Prince Fielder(probably) and likely missing Ryan Braun for the first 50 games of the year, so they have signed Aramis Ramirez to a 3 year deal.  Terms are not yet disclosed.  They have also signed Alex Gonzalez to start at shortstop, severely limiting the market for Jimmy Rollins, if his re-signing in PHI wasn't already a foregone conclusion.

The Jays are apparently kicking the tires on Prince Fielder, though this may just be some rumor mongering.  The Cubs are probably the front-runners here, though the Mariners are said to be looking too.  The Rangers make the most sense, but apparently they're content with Mitch Moreland and the combination of Mike Napoli and Michael Young.

The Jays are also rumored to be looking to reliever George Sherrill, and have also been talking to the White Sox about Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham, and John Danks.  They're also expected to make a bid on Yu Darvish, the auction for whom ends this Wednesday.

The Jays have claimed Jim Hoey off waivers from the Twins, and have outrighted Brian Jeroloman from the 40-man roster.  Again.  Andrew Carpenter has been outrighted as well.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Winter Meetings -- Day 4

9:00: The Cubs and Rockies have gotten together on that rumored deal from yesterday.  Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers have been sent to Chicago for DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin.  This is basically hot garbage for hot garbage.  Colvin and Stewart are the obvious centerpieces, but neither was at all good in any way this past season.  Stewart has piled up about 2WAR over parts of 5 seasons since debuting, whereas Colvin hit a rather hilarious .254/.316/.500 in 2010 before going to .150/.204/.306 this season.  Colvin in Colorado could lead to some pretty hilarious slash lines.  Colvin also got pierced with a broken bat at some point in the last 2 seasons, which was exactly as funny as it sounds.  I'd much rather Stewart, though that might just be the Coors bias.

7:15:  Something I haven't mentioned, mostly because of conflicting reports about what the actual laws are for each jurisdiction, is the difference between Pujols making $255MM in California and $275MM in Florida (assuming he gives a shit about that extra $20MM), as it pertains to income tax. Pujols is going to be giving a whole bunch that back to the government, and based on a lot of what I'm seeing, the $255MM in California is roughly equivalent to the $275MM in Florida based solely on take-home pay, though I can't really comment on the cost of living.  And really, when we're dealing with numbers this astronomical, especially with someone who has already completed a $100MM contract, not to mention endorsements, does it really matter what his take-home is?  Does it matter how far the take-home on $255MM goes?  I'm sure some economist will have something about this exact topic within the next day or two, but worst case, my friend Mike DH seems to know a lot about this stuff, so maybe he'll write something for me.

6:25: The 6:15 update was a joke, but it appears to have pushed Jonah Keri back a bit on his Primetime sports FAN590 interview.  Should be on any minute though.

6:15: The Lakers have traded Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom to Charlotte for Chris Paul.

5:35: Per the Jays official facebook, they have chosen 3 players in the minor league portion of the rule 5 draft.  RHP Javier Avendano from the Cardinals, 1B Gabriel Jacabo from the Angels and C Hector Alvarez from the Mets.  I know nothiing about these gentlemen, but the point of the minor league rule 5 is to get guys above the level that they would have otherwise been playing.  Presumably, all three of these guys will be playing AAA in Las Vegas (at least at the start of the year), or will be sent back to their original teams' AA affiliate.

In other news, a guy on my facebook got 23:1 odds on the Angels winning the World Series this year, which is a steal.  By the looks of things, once the Pujols deal was made official, Pro-line changed their Angels' WS futures from 23:1 to 12:1.  12:1 is fucking retarded, by the way.

5:05: Filed under "meh", Alex Gonzalez has signed with Milwaukee.  1 year guaranteed, with a vesting option for a 2nd.  Average defense at short will be a welcome change for Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

4:35- Stoeten has some AA comments from the last day or so, mostly from Gregor Chisolm.  There's an interesting one at the bottom about Kelly Johnson and the overall equation of [Current team - KJ + 2 draft picks - prospects in exchange for new 2B.]
"Sure if he left we would have gotten two draft picks, but I think the players we would have had to give up in trade would have been significantly better than the two draft picks. From that respect, one, I think we are a stronger team and two we’ve kept some of younger players."
I still think he would have preferred two draft picks over having Johnson back, but the way he says that they'd have had to give up significantly more than two picks worth of value, he was probably going to make a trade for someone who he feels would be less of an impact player than Johnson.  If Johnson left, I just kind of assumed that he'd go after a fringe-type infielder to fill the gap, and maybe make a deal midseason if needed, but that doesn't appear to have been the case.  There's something that probably went wrong in my "KJ is Gonso" piece two-ish weeks ago.

That player that AA is discussing when talking about the price to pay vs. draft picks is probably Gordon Beckham of the White Sox, but who knows for sure?  You'll notice that Beckham is much worse than KJ as a player, and that he doesn't get on base particularly well, with a .318 career clip over the equivalent of about 2.5 full seasons.  Johnson is clearly a better player offensively, and is certainly passable in the field, but is going to cost in the neighborhood of $6.25MM. Defensively, Beckham is better than Johnson. He's also only 25 years old, and he still has 4 years of control, making the league minimum, which explains the apparently high pricetag in a trade.

Beckham could turn things back around at any time, I suppose, but he appears broken right now, and it's probably good from a wins and losses standpoint that Johnson is back, especially if Beckham was the option. He ranked 17th of 18 qualified 2B's in WAR (ahead of only Aaron Hill), and ahead of only Mark Ellis on wOBA.

Other options could have included Robert Andino, or Jason Bartlett or Emilio Bonifacio if either wanted to convert from shortstop to 2B.  All of those players were worse than Johnson this past year.

I would not be surprised if, instead of going to arbitration, the Jays agreed on a deal with Johnson that includes two guaranteed years with some kind of options attached, though they may just prefer to sit and wait.  Even in an off-year, Johnson's 93 wOBA was above average for 2B, as were his slugging percentage, isolated power, and walk rate.  GB%, FB% and LD% on his batted balls are all pretty well in line with his career rates, so I think we can assume a return to form.  The only thing I see that scares me at all is his whiff rate rising.  He's swung, and missed at more strikes in each of the last two years than he has over his career, which explains elevated strikeout totals obviously, but it seems as though his eye and plate discipline are both fairly solid.

3:30- Red Sox sign Jesse Carlson to a split contract.

Rockies in on Michael Cuddyer for a 3-year deal.  That will likely need to be in the $27MM range to work, since he has an offer on the table from the Twins for $25MM.

1:00: The Marlins offered 10y/$275MM to Pujols.  10/$276MM would have made him the highest paid player ever, but meh.  10y/$254MM is the official deal.

12:40:  Fangraph's Dave Cameron did a live chat, mostly about the Angels, Rangers, and ramifications of the Pujols/Wilson signings on Fielder and the Marlins.

I should also point out that this is pretty much it for the Meetings, though there should be some random rumors trickling in, and that there are definitely still GM's hanging around.  I think most of the media is about ready to pack up and head out though.

Apparently CJ Wilson could have gotten $100MM from the Marlins if he really wanted to, but didn't really care about money, as much as playing in California for a winner.  "If this were about money, I'd be a Florida Marlin right now."

Gregor Chisolm has tweeted some AA comments.  I'm waiting to find them elsewhere so they're easier to copy and paste in one fell swoop though, presumably

Noon: Other than the obvious Albert Pujols signing, we missed some stuff while we slept.  At least I did.  Review!

The Angels have spent $327.5MM over the last 24 hours, possibly more, depending on Pujols' final value, which hasn't been released yet.  It's at least $250MM, plus the now confirmed $77.5 over 5 to CJ Wilson.  Yeah, fuck you Miami.  Here's Dave Cameron's take on the Pujols deal. [Edit] Oooh, and here's Jonah Keri's.

The Blue Jays have DFA'ed Brian Jeroloman again, this time to make room for Kelly Johnson.  Jeroloman was DFA'ed last week, and claimed by the Pirates, who DFA'ed him to make room for Clint Barmes.  The Jays then claimed him, but acquired Jeff Mathis, making Jeroloman expendable again.

The A's and DBacks are still discussing trades, and have discussed Trevor Cahill and 2011 first rounder Trevor Bauer.  Players can't be traded until a year after they've been drafted (or is it signed?), so he would end up being a PTBNL if that even happens... which it shouldn't.

It seems like teams aren't willing to go past 5 years on Prince Fielder, which seems to be really opening the market up.  Now that Pujols has signed, expect things to start heating up on that front, and look for somebody to break down and give him 6+ guaranteed years.  The Rangers are a pretty good fit, especially now that Pujols has signed with a division rival.

Yu Darvish has been posted, as reported last night.  Expect the Jays, Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox to be very interested.  New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine coached in Japan for a few years, so he got plenty of looks and apparently loves Darvish, according to Ken Rosenthal.  The Red Sox and Yankees could use a rotation upgrade and have a shitload of money, so I don't see any reason why they wouldn't beat the shit out of each other trying to get him, if for no other reason than to keep him away from a division rival.  We'll find out who won the posting 4 days from now.

Last night I mentioned that the Rangers were looking at Matt Garza, but those talks have cooled.

The Rockies looked in to Hiroki Kuroda immediately after moving Huston Street and $7MM off their charts.

The Orioles acquired Dana Eveland for some reason, giving up two minor leaguers.

12 players were selected in the Rule-5 draft.  The R5D is a way to keep players from being held back in minor league systems when they could have otherwise useful roles in major league rosters.  Drafted players must remain on the MLB roster for the entire season, or be returned to their original team.  I've never heard of any of the drafted players, and most resort to nothing, so let's just move on.

The Yankees are looking in to trading Hiroyuki Nakajima, the Japanese shortstop to whom they won the negotiating rights.  I'm not sure if they'll sign him first, and then trade him, or simply trade away the negotiating rights, nor am I sure if they're even allowed to do that.  By my count, they've now got 29 days to negotiate a deal.

Now that the Mets have signed FrankFrank and Jon Rauch, and traded for Ramon Ramirez, they might look to move some bullpen depth for a position player.  Bobby Parnell could be expendable now.

Angels sign Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson, Marlins are on the Backburner.

I knew I shouldn't have gone to bed.

Terms haven't been disclosed yet, but the Pujols deal is expected to be in the $250-260MM range, presumably over 10 years.  There is a full no-trade clause.  I'm in shock.  If that wasn't enough, CJ Wilson will sign a 5-year, $75MM deal to join a rotation that includes Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, and Ervin Santana, assuming none of them get traded.  Random thoughts, in no particular order:

Here's what the Angels appear to be expecting out of Pujols (I suppose you could weight production a bit towards the present):

If they front-load the contract a little bit, I can actually see them getting some decent value, assuming Albert isn't 35 already.

The Angels payroll is set to explode, even after signing Jered Weaver to a pretty team-friendly extension earlier this offseason (or possibly during the season, I don't remember). I'm not sure what the plan is for the rest of the offseason, but look for multiple people in the group of Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Vernon Wells to be moved in a trade.  That would be in the order of likelihood, in my opinion.  Morales might not bring back much until he can prove himself to still be useful after missing a season and a half due to injury.  Trumbo was a rookie of the year candidate last year, and still has 5 years of team control, so the return would need to be massive.  I'm sure they'd be looking for prospects, though they could upgrade their infield to an extent if they really wanted.  Hunter and Abreu only have 1 year left on their contracts -- Abreu is worth $9MM, Hunter is worth $18MM with no-trade protection, while Wells is still locked up for 3 more years at $20MM+ per, and none of those three will be worth the full price without a full season of AB's.  If Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout get anywhere near regular playing time (fuck Mike Scioscia if they don't), there's nowhere near enough playing time for the Wells-Hunter-Abreu triple, though one could DH (I'd stick Trumbo in the DH spot myself).

I'd predict the Angels to at least explore moving someone from the rotation.  Santana and Haren are the obvious choices, with Weaver locked up until '16.  Both players are under contract for this season with a club option for next, and both are pretty much locks to have their club options exercised (Santana for $13MM, Haren for $15.5).

By my estimations (and with the help of this spreadsheet on Cots), the Angels have about $78MM committed to their 2014 payroll on Wells, Weaver, Pujols and Wilson alone. Weaver, the youngest, will be 32 at that point.  It's probably going to be worth it, as the Angels are a heavy favorite to win the NL West this year, or at least get a wild card spot, but we've seen what can happen with teams like this (i.e. the Red Sox).  Let's not count the Rangers out yet, either.

The Angels obviously think that they can stick around until '14 (possibly beyond), so they weighed the risk and reward, and decided to go for it.  They obviously didn't think the Vernon Wells deal handcuffed them, but paying 38 year-old Albert Pujols $30MM ought to do the trick, which is why I would front-load the deal a bit, or at least pay the most for the middle of the deal.  Until the financial specifics of the deal are released, I'm going to assume that they need to move someone (Trumbo or Santana) for prospects now, or they risk being successful for 3-4 years, then terrible for 5 after that.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Winter Meetings-- Day 3


Yu Darvish will be posted tomorrow.  Get your dancing shoes on everybody.  Well, don't put them on, I guess, because you're probably getting ready for bed, or at least winding down to the point where you're not going to wear shoes specific for dancing at this point on a Wednesday.  This seems like more of a kick-back-and-relax point in time of the evening, pretty much regardless of your current location worldwide, assuming nobody is reading this from a spot where it also happens to be a good time for dancing.  Anyway, Dave Cameron from Fangraphs said that he expects the Red Sox and Yankees to pretty much strangle each other on the auction for Darvish's services, and I apparently the Blue Jays are fucking poor (FUCK!  RIGHT?!?!), so I think the hype around Darvish in TOR is just that.  I could be wrong though.

There are a few rumblings around the meetings at this time, but I think things are pretty well settled for the night, unless the Darvish news wakes everyone.  CJ Wilson is expected to sign tomorrow, and Albert Pujols was expected to sign today until the Angels hopped in with an offer for $210MM.  I would hazard a guess that the Cardinals' offer is higher, or at least equal to that one, and I only think Pujols would agree to go wherever the highest bid is if it were significant (i.e. the Angels would need to offer much more money/years to make their offer work).  He wants to stay in STL, and the difference between $200MM and $205MM isn't really one that fucking matters, at least it shouldn't.  This is all leverage for Lozano and Pujols to make a shitload of money from the Cards, but ultimately, expect Pujols to sign in STL tomorrow.  Predicting 10y/$216MM.

I think we will probably wake up to a few DFA's or releases or really minor trades as teams make some room for the rule 5 draft.  Teams must have an empty spot on their 40-man roster to be eligible for the rule-5 draft, and I couldn't possibly be bothered to go through and see who has empty spots and who doesn't.  I do know that the Jays currently have a full one, and that the Pirates have released Ross Ohlendorf to make room on theirs, which filled when they acquired Yamaico Navarro earlier tonight.

12:15: Kelly Johnson has accepted arbitration and will be back on the roster for the 2012 season. The Jays will get a paltry 6 picks in the first round of the 2012 draft, instead of the 8 that they would have gotten had Johnson rejected and signed elsewhere.  This isn't the end of the world, because Johnson is probably better than any other 2B option out there, save for maybe Martin Prado.  The Jays will need to remove someone shitty from the 40-man roster if they wish to grab someone in the rule-5 draft.

K-Rod has accepted as well, and will rejoin the Brewers bullpen, at least for now.

11:24:  Expect a CJ Wilson decision tonight.  He appears to want to pitch in Anaheim, but Miami is apparently offering 6 years.

Dan Lozano is still wheeling and dealing for Albert Pujols.  Apparently the Angels are still in, and a mysterious third team is still interested too.  Rumor has it that the Cards' offer is only for 9 years.

Scott Boras says that Prince Fielder has a number of offers, including some from teams he wasn't expecting.  The Marlins are almost certainly out though.

The Cubs and Rangers are discussing a trade for Matt Garza, which pretty much locks up the prospect of the Rangers losing CJ Wilson.

Expect Ryan Madson to decline the Phillies' arbitration offer.  K-Rod is still undecided apparently, for some reason.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired Yamaico Navarro from the Royals for two prospects, Diego Goris and Brooks Pounders.  Pounders was a 2nd rounder in 2009, Goris has played in the Dominican Summer League for four straight years, but other than that I can't really find any info on him pertaining to signing bonuses or whatever.  Navarro was as a free agent by the Red Sox and was traded last year for Mike Aviles.  He hasn;t done much in 125 mlb PA's or something like that, and has pretty mediocre numbers in the minors all the way through.  This was a move to clear up a spot on the 40-man roster for the Royals, presumably so they can get someone in the rule-5 draft tomorrow.

The Latroy Hawkins signing is official.

9:45:  Tigers close to Dotel, Angels close to Latroy Hawkins.  Kelly Johnson's arbitration decision due in 2 hours.

8:39:  It appears the Marlins withdrew their offer to Pujols, as opposed to Pujols/Lozano telling the Marlins that they were out of the running.  I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the Buehrle signing, nor do I know the timeline of what happened between the Marlins and the two free agents, but whatever.

Elsewhere, the Red Sox offered David Ortiz a two year deal worth $18-ishMM this afternoon, and have since upped to to closer to $20MM.  Bringing Ortiz back sort of precludes them from chasing Carlos Beltran to play RF, both from a budget and lineup standpoint.  They may look in to Cody Ross now.  Jayson Stark believes that if Ortiz wins his arbitration case (i.e. they pay Ortiz more than $13-14MM), they probably won't spend big on an OF or a closer.  I'm not sure whether or not that means that they wouldn't trade for a closer or not, but I assume that higher payroll means that they're more likely to make a deal for Andrew Bailey.

Elsewhere, Gregor has stuff about the Jays financial situation, which appears to have been blown so far out of proportion my ears are starting to bleed.

8:30: Nothing major has happened in the last couple of hours, but it seems like we're kind of on the cusp of something-ish.  In the meantime... I didn't mention it earlier, mostly because I had a bit of an idea for a full post that didn't really turn in to anything so I'll just stick it in here.  That's what he said.

The Pirates had a pretty busy day, overshadowed by the Albert Pujols/Mark Buehrle/Prince Fielder/CJ Wilson stuff, by signing Jose Morales, Nate Mcclouth, and Erik Bedard, and apparently being close with Wilson Betemit.  Remember that time that I wrote a book about Paul Maholm and his contract option?  Do you think they couldn't have found a taker here this weekend?  Sure they might have had to eat some cash, but they would have gotten something better than fucking Jose Morales.  The Bedard deal is fine, but they're pretty much stocking up their bench/AAAA talent pool with the other signings.  I thought the Pirates might be kind of ready to compete this year, but the way things are looking now, with the way they opted to load up on organizational 25th-men, I'm not so sure they aren't just going to wait until next year.

8:05ET: Marlins are in on Wilson, not in on Fielder.  Asking prices on Niese and Murphy are "high" apparently.  Which is what you're supposed to say if you're going to trade someone, though if there are 4 teams interested, as is being reported, then there should be plenty of leverage for the Mets.

7:20ET:  Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies may as well be done and good to go.  Rollins et al cancelled a meeting with the Brewers, presumably because they had a deal finished with the Phillies, and now Jim Bowden says that it's close.

Joel Sherman says that the Jays are having a look at Jon Niese, and are spinning the wheels pretty hard along with the Red Sox, Padres and Rockies.  That probably means that the Jays are doing their due diligence, but aren't completely interested.  Yankees have called as well.  Looking at advanced metrics, Niese might be a better option that Gio Gonzalez. Stats compare pretty well, and the price for Niese would probably be much lower.

6:40:  Dan Lozano, Pujols' agent, claims that there are still 3 10y/200MM+ offers on the table, despite the Marlins being out.  By what I've read, Lozano told the Marlins that they were out, and not the other way around.  If that's the case, I call bullshit on the above rumor.  And honestly, I can't see the Marlins just saying "Ok fuck it, we quit" based on how aggressive they've been.  My best guess is that they're just giving everybody else a quick chance at the last minute to toss in an offer, or to get the Cards to jack up the offer a little bit.  Pujols to the Cards within the hour, IMO.

Susan Slusser's take on the Jays joining the Gio Gonzalez race.

6:15ET:  Gregg Zaun is on twitter saying that Jeff Mathis will hit better, now that he's gone from Anaheim.  Mike Scioscia really likes defense from his catchers, so Mathis just focused on D, and not on hitting.  Sounds wild.

A few people are tweeting that the Jays are having a look at Gio Gonzalez.  It's been brought to my attention that Gio walks an awful lot of people...

6:07:  Dan Lozano says that the Marlins are out on Pujols.  We'll see if this is real.

The Mets are looking for a catcher, infielder and some sort of prospect for Jon Niese.  Jays appear to be a fit if the Mets will take prospecty catchers/infielders... otherwise, meh.

6:00-ish: Marlins are still looking at Prince Fielder, despite spending something like $200MM in the last 3 days.

Octavio Dotel is close to signing somewhere, possibly Detroit.

Dave Cameron at fangraphs is doing a live chat right now!  He just called the Nats the favorites to land Yoenis Cespedes, hunches that the Brewers will re-sign Prince Fielder, and thinks the Red Sox and Yankees will go insane on Yu Darvish.

5:20:  I've been spelling Buehrle wrong all day.  B-U-E-H-R-L-E.  Ok.

4y/58MM is ballsy.  Buehrle is 32 (33 by the start of the year), and the Marlins are signing on for his age 33-36 seasons assuming he's a 3.5WAR player right now.  Back to the WAR vs. $ thing that I did yesterday for Pujols (which I made a pretty glaring mistake on now that I think about it... I'll repost once the Pujols deal is done), Buehrle needs to be worth 10WAR over the contract to be worth it, so assuming they're really going for it this year and next, this is sort of excusable in a sense?  But yeesh, the Marlins are just going to be dogshit in 3 years again, so this is pretty much just a big moneygrab I suppose.

Buehrle is bound to start aging sooner or later, but he's been durable enough throughout his career that the Marlins could find some surplus value somewhere.  I'm sure if he puts up 4+WAR this season or next then the Marlins will be fine with their deal no matter what he does over the final two.

5:05: The Marlins have officially lost their minds, signing Mark Buerhle to a 4 year, $58MM deal.  More on that in a minute.  The Marlins are probably out on CJ Wilson

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs has a look at the prospective Albert Pujols deal, kind of like I did, but has a different look at it based on backloading and inflation and correct math, and whatnot.

4:30: Ken Rosenthal says that the Hanley trade stuff is bogus.

4:20: Buster Olney says that Hanley asked the Marlins to restructure his contract because he was mad.  Then the Marlins got sad, and now they're looking to trade him.  This of course sounds exactly like something Buster Olney would say, sooo...  I dunno, wait and see I guess.  Hanley is owed $46MM over the next 3 years, which would help pay for someone else, or just reduce their payroll after adding trillions this offseason.

The Nationals are out on CJ Wilson, but still in on Mark Buehrle.  The Marlins have big offers to both, but will only whoever comes along first.

Aramis Ramirez declined arbitration.

3:52:  Joel Sherman expects the Mets to shop Jonathan Niese, and not Ike Davis.  Davis is at a valley in his value after an injury caused him to miss time last year.  The Mets plan on moving in their fences, so they're hoping Davis can rebuild some value.  Niese is being shopped as an alternative to Gio Gonzalez for whoever misses out on that train.

3:30: Multiple reports claiming that CJ Wilson has a 6-year offer in hand from the Marlins.  The Angels were reportedly in the lead for Wilson, but now if they don't match that, Wilson will probably be a Marlin.

Add David Ortiz to the list of arbitration accepty people.

The Huston Street deal is official, and the Rockies will eat just $1MM of salary.  Expect the PTBNL to never make it to the majors.

Kevin Gray tells us that Ricky Romero and former Miss USA turned pro wrestler turned drunk driver, Rima Fakih, have broken up.

3:00:  JP Morosi thinks Kelly Johnson is going to accept arbitration.  Likely the same with K-Rod.

Johnson accepting isn't really the end of the world.  He'll be an upgrade over the 3/4 of a season of Aaron Hill last year, and he could become a valuable member of the team, not just next season, but going forward as well.  He won't be one of those type-A equivalents or whatever you want to call it next year, so there's a chance of extending him longterm if he becomes worth it with his play this season.  There is obviously the negative aspect of losing out on the two draft picks; there are still 6 picks in the first 2 rounds for the Jays, but 8 is better than 6.
There is really something to say about the market for 2B right now, unless he's just asking for something absurd in terms of a contract.

Trevor Cahill is apparently being shopped by the A's, and Ike Davis is being discussed by the Mets.  The Mets should obviously be in firesale mode, and have said that they would listen on everybody but David Wright.  They should really include David Wright, but what do I know?  Anyway, teams who were interested in Prince/Pujols but missed will probably inquire.

2:50: To be filed under the "What the fuck?" label, the Cubs and Rockies are apparently discussing Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart.  Assuming this is straight up, get ready to laugh at the Rockies.  There also seems to be something brewing with the Red Sox and Rangers, possibly concerning Jed Lowrie and Ranger relievers.  Stay tuned.

2:40: Heath Bell's adjusted type-A status will mean that the Padres will get a pick in the compensation round, and that the Mets will get a 2nd rounder from the Marlins, not the third rounder as was originally reported.  The Marlins have a protected first rounder.

The A's are unlikely to move Gio until after the meetings.  They want a deal similar to the aforementioned Dan Haren trade.

2:25 ET:  Jon Heyman says that the Marlins are pretty much giving up on Pujols and are now going after Prince.  In other words, expect a Pujols signing with STL soon.

2:15:  Pirates sign Erik Bedard.

The Huston Street deal may not be complete after all, but it seems as though they're just exchanging names and values or something, so this one should get done in a matter of hours, says Jayson Stark.

Phillies are out of the Gio bidding.  The A's are poor, so it seems that they require players who are not only cheap, but will remain cheap for a few years, i.e. players with little-to-no MLB experience.

2:00 PM ET:  Jose Reyes' contract is very backloaded.  The Marlins weren't going to give him a full no-trade, so by backloading the deal big time, they're considering that as close as possible.

The Globe's Jeff Blair is claiming that the Jays inquired on Jose Reyes, which shouldn't really mean a whole lot, since THEY INQUIRE ON EVERYBODY.  THIS ISN'T NEWS ANYMORE.
12:50 ET: Unrelated to mostly everything, but OMG REDDIT IS DOWN WTF?!?

12:40 ET:  Everything here is coming fom MLBTR.

The Marlins have no intention of moving Hanley Ramirez.  This is what people typically say when they get ready to move a player though, hoping to jack up the price.  President Larry Beinfest has said in the Jose Reyes presser that they fully intend on having Hanley at 3B this year.

Expect a resolution in the Albert saga today.  Buster Olney of ESPN says that Albert will probably stay in STL, per Cardinal officials.

The D'Backs are making a push for Gio Gonzalez now.  The two teams have hooked up in trades in the past, when the A's sent Dan Haren to the desert in December of '07, in exchange for Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith (both were later shipped to COL for Matt Holliday), Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, and former DFA-Jay Dana Eveland.  Expect a bajillion Gio rumors until something happens, because about 10 teams are going to be in on that one.

Expect Mark Buerhle to sign either today or tomorrow.

12:30 ET:  Early rumblings from today's meetings include:

The Rockies have traded closer Huston Street to the San Diego Padres, presumably to take over for Heath Bell.  My dad used to work with a guy named Heath Buell.  Weird huh?  Anyway, this goes to show how overrated the Closer tag really is.  The initial reports said that the Rockies would eat the entire $8MM contract in exchange for a prospect, but it appears that the Padres are taking the whole contract, and this will basically be a salary dump for the Rockies.  Street's move to Petco should really help his 1.54HR/9 rate.  I assume it will be a PTBNL, but the player going back to the Rockies hasn't been announced as of yet.

The Rockies are now said to be interested in Jair Jurrjens, now that they have some extra cash.

Elsewhere, the Yankees are believed to have won the posting auction for Hiroyuki Nakajima, as if they were going to have any use for him at all.  They have 30 days to negotiate a contract, and apparently plan on using him in a utility role.  Honestly.

The Angels are gunning to get a CJ Wilson deal done today.

The Yankees would be willing to eat $8MM in a trade for AJ Burnett.  Soooo generous.  Burnett is owed $33MM over the next two seasons, and has been goddamn terrible during his first three seasons in NY, so I'm guessing literally nobody bites.  Maybe if they would eat all but $8MM...

Mornin' folks!  Let's see what we missed overnight.

-The Cardinals have apparently upped their offer to Albert Pujols to the 10 year, $220MM range, believed to be in the same range as the Marlins offer.  The Cubs are believed to still be involved, though don't appear to be serious.   All things considered, expect Albert to stick around in STL if the offers are at all similar.

-Philadelphia is interested in Gio Gonzalez as a type of insurance against losing Cole Hamels to free agency.  If they get Gio, they'd probably trade Hamels, who has one year left before free agency.  Domonic Brown has been one name that's been thrown around, though I doubt just Brown would be enough.

- The Red Sox are discussing Andrew Bailey.  Josh Reddick and prospects was the last offer I saw.

- Mike Scioscia wants a pitcher.

- The Rays appear to be in on Yonder Alonso.

- The Dodgers are willing to trade James Loney, and don't want to absord salary.  Whoopty Fuck man.  I'm amazed that Loney hasn't been non-tendered twice by now.

- Look for the Marlins to go hard after Mark Buerhle if they can't get Pujols.