Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Free Agent at the End of the Season: Randy Wolf

As the Dodgers look forward towards the NLDS in a few weeks, there's little doubt about which pitcher will start Game 1: Randy Wolf. When the Dodgers signed Wolf last offseason, they envisioned Wolf becoming a solid backend of the rotation starting pitcher, who could throw some quality innings and take some of the pressure of the Dodgers' young pitchers. But as we've seen this season, Wolf has been much more than that for the Dodgers.

How will Wolf's stellar 2009 campaign help him on the free agent market? Let's have a look:

The Case for Randy Wolf

-Amazing 2009

I knew that Randy Wolf was having a very good 2009 season, but I had no idea just how good he was pitching this season until I looked at the numbers. Check it out:

6th in WHIP: 1.084
14th in ERA: 3.22
1st in BABIP: .256
2nd in quality starts: 24
7th in quality start %: 73%
11 wins (but Wolf should have closer to 17-18 if he could get some run support!)

The Case against Randy Wolf

-National League West

If you look at Wolf's splits from this season, you'll see a specific trend: Wolf dominates the NL West. Just look at his ERA this season against NL West foes:

Padres: 3.04
Diamondbacks: 3.71
Rockies: 2.79
Giants: 1.35

Those numbers make me believe that Wolf needs to stay in the weak NL West if he wants to maintain this level of success and question how he'd perform in a stronger division facing better offensive teams 10+ times each season.

-Is Randy Wolf
THIS good?

Just throwing it out there. Randy Wolf has not had a season with a sub 4 ERA in any season since 2002. Does that mean anything? Maybe not. Wolf had a very good half season with the Astros and followed up on that success this season with the Dodgers.

But given his history, the odds are that Randy Wolf is a lot closer to the pitcher with a 4+ ERA than the pitcher with a sub 4 ERA.


Wolf's age makes him less appealing than Joel Pineiro, but his consistency and stellar 2009 campaign, you have to put him ahead of guys like Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, and Doug Davis.

Elias Ranking: Type A

There is no doubt in my mind that the Dodgers will offer Wolf arbitration because of his solid 2009 performance and his relatively low 2009 salary ($5 million). I'm sire the Dodgers would be happy to have Wolf back for around $8-$10 million next season and if he doesn't return, then the Dodgers will get two draft picks as compensation.

Food for thought: will teams shy away from Wolf if the Dodgers offer him arbitration?

(3 years/$31.5 million)

According to fangraphs, Wolf has been worth $14 million this season. Now there's no way Wolf is going to get that on the open market, but can Wolf get $10+ million per year on the open market? If the scenarios play out properly, then I could see it happening.


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Free Agent Adjustments: Doug Davis

(For the last few weeks, I've been profiling some of the best free agents on the market this winter. At the end of each piece, I made a prediction regarding the type of contract the player could be in line to see. Obviously, these predictions have to be fluid because the season is still in progress. So which players have seen thier value change over the past few weeks? Let's take a look at the impending free agency of Doug Davis )

Initial Prediction: (3 years/$27 million)

******** *********

New Prediction: (3 years/$21 million)

What Changed: Randy Wolf. Yes after evaluating the free agency of Randy Wolf, I felt that there was no way in hell Davis was going to come close to 3 years/$27 million. That's the kind of contract that I'd expect Wolf to get in this market. Davis is a very good pitcher, and might wind up being a better value than Wolf over time, but Randy Wolf's 2009 season has catapulted him into a different level contractually than Davis. Davis will still do nicely on the free agent market, but I think my initial estimate overshot his true value a bit.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Detroit Tigers: One of the Best Teams Money Could Buy?

Are the Tigers one of the 10 best teams that money could buy? Jon Heyman think so:
10T. Detroit Tigers, $119 million. They've got a few high salaries (Magglio Ordonez at $18.9 million, for example), but they also have a formidable team. As evidenced by their liberal draft strategy, they are always willing to pay for untested talent. Rick Porcello's a great deal, even with him being close to the highest-paid rookie ever ($2.1 million).
It's amazing to me that the Tigers are in contention this season with the amount of high priced, under performing/possibly useless parts they have on their roster right now. Take a look:

Jeremy Bonderman (injured): $12.5 million
Nate Robertson: $7 million (worth $0 million this season according to fangraphs)
Dontrelle Willis (injured??): $10 million
Aubrey Huff: $2 million (worth -$2.7 million this season according to fangraphs)

That's $31.5 million right there. And that's not even taking into account two of the more controversial players on the Tigers' roster right now:

Magglio Ordonez: $18 million
Carlos Guillen: $10 million

A case can be made that both of these guys are egregiously overpaid.

Ordonez had a terrible first half of the season and there was even chatter that the Tigers were going to bench the slugger, but luckily for him (and the Tigers), Ordonez has turned it on in the second half and now resembles a half decent ballplayer even if his power is non existent.

Guillen is another story. He has missed lots of time this season because of injuries and has only played in 74 games. During that time, Guillen has only hit .258 with 11 HR and 48 RBI. Fangraphs says that Guillen has only been worth $3.4 million this season, which is a far cry from the double digit total he's currently earning.

So if you want to say that the Tigers are one of the best teams money can buy, so be it. But that statement makes little sense. The Tigers have at least $31.5 million this season committed to players, who are either injured or performing very, very badly. In addition, they have another $18 million committed to two stars, who are not coming close to performing like stars.

All together, the total amount of under performing stars, struggling veterans, and injured players is $59.5 million.

Still think the Tigers are one of the best teams money can buy? Think again.


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Valuing Joel Pineiro

What kind of contract will Joel Pineiro get on the open market? The great Jon Heyman took a stab at that very question yesterday with this prediction:
"Pineiro, two years, $15 million."
This prediction is interesting to me because it's far lower than my prediction for Pineiro a week back of 4 years/$40 million. Either I really like Pineiro or Heyman really dislikes Pineiro. Or maybe the market just sucks.

But nevertheless, here's my reasoning for the 4 years/$40 million prediction:

1. he's young (just turned 31)

2. fantastic 2009 season

Does anyone realize just how good Pineiro has been this season? According to fangraphs:

-Pineiro has been worth $23.8 million this year
-5.3 WAR
-1st in BB/9 (1.1)
-1st in HR/9 (.3)
-1st in ground ball % (61.4%)
-3rd in line drive % (15.6%)
-9th in WHIP (1.13)
-15 wins

3. Pineiro is one of the best free agent pitchers on the market.

Seriously. Here is my top five:

1. John Lackey
2. Joel Pineiro
3. Randy Wolf
4. Rich Harden
5. Jason Marquis

It's hard to argue that Pineiro is not the second best pitcher on the market right now. He's one of the youngest quality free agent pitchers on the market and is coming off a season where he dominated the National League.

I know Pineiro's history isn't the greatest, but can anyone honestly see teams letting Pineiro get away signing a 2 year/$15 million dollar contract? I doubt it. If the market falls to the point where Pineiro is settling on 2 years/$15 million, then the other free agents in this class are going to have a very rough time.

Thoughts? What kind of deal will Pineiro receive?

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Free Agent Adjustments: Russell Branyan

(For the last few weeks, I've been profiling some of the best free agents on the market this winter. At the end of each piece, I made a prediction regarding the type of contract the player could be in line to see. Obviously, these predictions have to be fluid because the season is still in progress. So which players have seen thier value change over the past few weeks? Let's take a look at the impending free agency of Russell Branyan.)

Initial Prediction: (2 years/$15 million)

When I posted my original piece about Branyan on August 7th, Russell Branyan was on pace to put up some of the best power numbers of any hitter in the AL this season. After struggling for so many years, Branyan broke out in 2009 by hitting .260-24 HR-61 RBI-.361 OBP. Branyan had a legitimate chance to hit 40 home runs if he stayed healthy and productive through the end of September.

******** *********

New Prediction: (2 years/$10 million)

What Changed: Well, Branyan was unable to stay healthy and productive. In the second half of the season, Branyan hit just .193 with 9 HR and 27 RBI. To make matters worse, Branyan has been out since August 29th because of a herniated disk and it's doubtful that Branyan will play again this season. The second half raised lots of questions about Branyan: was the first half of the season just a fluke? Or was his second half so poor because he was injured?

Branyan still finished out the year with an impressive 31 home runs, but those questions coupled with his age and performance history, make me doubt that any team will give him $7 million per.


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Monday, September 28, 2009

Luis Castillo Isn't This Bad, Right?

This little nugget in the most recent Heyman column caught my eye:
"Luis Castillo ($6.25 million) can hit for average and reach base, but this is a $1 million player, at best."
Just for the record Jon, fangraphs states that Castillo was worth $7.7 million dollars this season, which is essence would make him unpaid....but I digress....

Look, I hate Castillo's defense as much as the next guy and yes, we all know that Luis Castillo cannot hit for power. These limitations are painfully obvious. And again, we all know that Luis Castillo performance was embarrassing last the point where he was benched for Ramon Martinez! But saying that Castillo is only a $1 million dollar player is wrong.

The reality is that Luis Castillo can STILL bring a lot to the table and be a productive force at the top of the lineup. Just take a look at some of his stats from this season:

-.311 batting average
- 76 runs scored
-.397 OBP
-68/55 strikeout to walk ratio

I believe in Luis Castillo. I believe that if the Mets lineup was completely in tact this year, than Castillo would have scored over 100 runs and would have been hailed as one of the dynamic catalysts for the Mets offense. However, the Mets offense has been absolutely brutal this year and unfortunately for a guy like Castillo, in order for him to get any significant credit for his performance, then the rest of the guys around him have to be healthy and productive at the dish.

But because the other key guys were all out for long periods of time this season (Delgado, Reyes, Beltran), Castillo's productive season doesn't look quite that good and as a result, people think that he's still one of the biggest busts in baseball. (I'll admit, the drop at Yankee Stadium sure didn't help)

Luis Castillo is not worth $6.25 million dollars or $1 million dollars. The truth is that his value lies somewhere in between those two numbers, probably at a range of $3-$4 million. So yeah, Luis Castillo is a little overpaid by those standards, but by no means is he THAT overpaid. If Castillo was a FA, would teams shell out $6 million+ for him? No. But at the same time, should the Mets be kicking themselves for signing Castillo for $6 million a

Not right now, at least. The Mets have bigger fish to fry moving forward.


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Free Agent at the End of the Season: Jason Marquis

After the 2006 season ended, the future of Jason Marquis seemed to be very much in doubt. Marquis was coming off the worst season of his career where he posted an embarrassing 6.02 for the Cardinals and even led the league in home runs allowed and earned runs allowed.

Luckily for Marquis, he became a free agent at the perfect time. Teams were desperate for pitching and the Cubs decided to take a chance on Marquis. A very expensive chance. The Cubs signed Marquis to a 3 year/$24 million dollar contract that baffled most of the baseball world.

For the first two years of that contract, Marquis was nothing more than a mediocre starting pitcher. But this year with the Rockies has been Marquis best performance since 2004.

The Case for Jason Marquis

-Ground Balls

A big reason why Jason Marquis has been so successful in Colorado this season is because of his incredible ground ball percentage. According to fangraphs, Marquis is third in all of baseball in ground ball percentage (55.2%). That stat alone tells you that Marquis can pitch effectively in a bandbox.

-Home Runs

Good luck hitting a home run against Jason Marquis. Sure, he's no Joel Pineiro (.31 HR/9), but Marquis has been incredible at keeping the ball in the ballpark this season despite pitching in Colorado. Marquis .66 HR/9 ratio puts him in the top 20 in baseball this season, which is an impressive feat with or without the humidor.


Quality innings v. Quality innings? Who cares! In 5 of the past 6 seasons, Marquis has thrown at least 190 innings. Odds are high that when that fifth day rolls around, Marquis will be there to take the ball.

The Case against Jason Marquis


In the three seasons prior to this one, Marquis put up the following ERAs:


While I don't think Marquis is as bad as his 6.02 ERA in 2006 suggests, is he really as good as his 3.98 ERA in 2009 suggests? Or is this just a fluke season at the right time for Marquis?


For the first four months of the season, there weren't many pitchers in baseball that were more consistent than Jason Marquis. However, in the month of September, Marquis has been terrible. His September ERA currently sits at 6.28, which is odd considering his strikeout rate is actually up this month. Nevertheless, Marquis has come back down to Earth in a big way.


I would say that Marquis is a notch or two below Joel Pineiro at this point, but can he compete with Doug Davis, Randy Wolf, Jarrod Washburn, Rich Harden, Braden Looper, and Jon Garland? I think so. And in many respects, you can make the case that Marquis is better than most of those guys.

Elias Ranking: Type B

After making almost $10 million this season, it's hard to see the Rockies offering Marquis arbitration. It's easy to see why they'd like to keep Marquis, but I have a tough time believing that the Rockies can afford to spend $12-$14 million+ on a above average pitcher.

(3 years/$24 million)

I have to give Marquis the Adam Eaton kiss of death contract here: 3 years/$24 million. It's funny because those two pitchers have so much in common stylistically, but so little in common right now. A few months back, maybe Marquis is able to crack the $10+ million per year mark, but after his rough September, I think this amount is fair.


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Free Agent Adjustments: Jim Thome

(For the last few weeks, I've been profiling some of the best free agents on the market this winter. At the end of each piece, I made a prediction regarding the type of contract the player could be in line to see. Obviously, these predictions have to be fluid because the season is still in progress. So which players have seen thier value change over the past few weeks? Let's take a look...starting with Jim Thome )

Initial Prediction: (1 year/$8.5 million)

When I posted my original piece about Thome on August 13th, Jim Thome had 21 home runs and seemed well on his way to hitting 30+ home runs and driving in at least 90 runs.

******** *********

New Prediction: (1 year/$6 million)

What Changed: On August 31st, Thome was traded from the White Sox to the Dodgers, who were in need of some pop of the bench. The trade to the Dodgers gave Thome a great shot at winning a title, but as a result, he hasn't come close to hitting 30-35 home runs. His stats currently sit at 24-77-.248-.367, which are nice, but worthy of $8.5 million next season? I don't think so.


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Friday, September 25, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: The Justin Verlander Contract Extension?

After a strangely inconsistent 2008, Justin Verlander has regained his form and established himself as one of the top pitchers in baseball. In the much tougher American League, Verlander has put together a tremendous, and at times dominant, season. He is 17-9 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and most impressive of all: 256 K in 217 IP.

Verlander has become the ace that everyone thought he'd become. I'd like to tell you that I'm surprised, but Verlander's stuff is so good that I expected him to become an true ace.

However, Verlander's contract situation is an issue that the Tigers will have to address sooner rather than later. Verlander has two years of arbitration left after this season and will become a free agent after the 2012 season. He is due a big raise from the $3.675 million that he earned this season because his performance has been so good.

Hypothetically speaking, let's say that the Tigers approach Verlander about a possible contract extension. Sure their attendance is down and the team lacks significant payroll flexibility this offseason (thanks Dontrelle, Nate Robertson, Bonderman, and Magglio), but GM Dave Dombrowski understands just how important Verlander is to this franchise and wants to avoid the hassle of arbitration and lock up his ace.

Now that we've established that, what kind of contract (years and dollars) do you think would be fair here?

My guess: 4 years/$60 million
Here's why it works for the Tigers:
1. Tigers buy out Verlander's two years of arbitration (yay!)
2. Tigers buy out two years of Verlander's free agency and keep him until at least 2012
3. Verlander will easily get $7-$8 million in 2010 after arbitration...this deal would only increase the Tigers 2010 payroll by $7 million (roughly), which would leave plenty of room for the front office to address the Tigers' other issues.

Here's why it works for Verlander:
1. He would be paid in the same range as many other top starting pitchers
2. Huge raise in 2010....this deal would probably pay him more than he would have earned in arbitration in 2011.
3. He doesn't have to wait to get a huge raise
4. Verlander can still become a free agent after 2013, when he'll be just 30.


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: The Dan Haren Contract Extension

Last August, the Diamondbacks signed Dan Haren to a very team friendly 4 year/$44 million dollar extension that replaced the final two years of his previous contract. By all accounts, Haren was willing to take less than he might have warranted on the open market because he loved Arizona and being with the Diamondbacks.

But now as the 2009 season comes to a close, Haren's contract extension is looking like even more of a steal for the Diamondbacks. Haren, 29, is putting up the best numbers of his career with the Diamondbacks this season (14-9, 2.90 ERA, leading the NL in K/BB ratio and WHIP) and has developed into one of the best starting pitchers in the National League.

So hypothetically speaking, how much larger would Haren's contract with the Diamondbacks have been if he waited until this summer to negotiate a contract extension? Instead of $44 million over 4 years, how much more could Haren have earned? $20 million? $30 million? Or even more?

Would $80 million over 6 years have been unrealistic?

My guess is no. Not only would Haren have had more leverage in negotiations (FA after 2010), but he would be coming off the best season of his career at 29 years old.

Please leave your predictions/thoughts in the comments.


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Free Agent at the End of the Season: Doug Davis

I'm a huge fan of Doug Davis. There is no way that Davis should be considered an ace or even a front line starting pitcher because his stuff is simply not that dominant. However, Davis is your classic middle of the rotation starter, who gets the job done and is about as consistent as they come. While Davis might not be the first choice for many teams, he's exactly the kind of pitcher that so many teams need.

How will Davis' limitations and consistency play out on the open market? Let's take a look:

The Case for Doug Davis


I know the quality start is not the best judge of a pitcher's performance, but what Doug Davis has done over the years is pretty amazing.

2009: 21 quality starts, 66%
2008: 14 quality starts, 54% (injured)
2007: 19 quality starts, 58%
2006: 16 quality starts, 47%
2005: 23 quality starts, 66%
2004: 24 quality starts, 71%

As much as I like Doug Davis, I never actually realized how consistent he has been over the past six years. That's the kind of consistency that so many teams would love to have at the back end of their rotation.


In five of the past six seasons, Doug Davis has recorded at least 30 starts with the lone exception being 2008 when Davis had to take time off to deal with thyroid cancer. Teams will pay for that kind of consistency.

The Case against Doug Davis


One negative about Davis is that he puts lots of runners on base. His lifetime WHIP sits at 1.491 while his 2009 WHIP is 1.495, which puts him 45th in the National League this season.


Doug Davis is not known as a control pitcher, but it has to be concerning to see that Davis currently leads the NL in walks (96).


The market for quality left handed starting pitchers this offseason is quite weak.

-Jarrod Washburn? Old and injured.
-Erik Bedard? Injury prone.
-Randy Johnson? Old and injured.
-Andy Pettitte? Does anyone really think he'll hit the open market?

So pretty much by default, Doug Davis has become one of the premier left handed starting pitchers on the open market (other than Randy Wolf).

Elias Ranking: Type B

I don't think there is enough upside here for the Diamondbacks to offer Davis arbitration. Davis earned $8.75 million and if he accepts arbitration, then he will definitely be looking for a nice raise. Davis is a nice player, but he is certainly not worth $11-$13 million that the Diamondbacks would have to pay him. Also, since Davis is a type B FA, the Diamondbacks wouldn't even get two high draft picks for offering him arbitration.

(3 years/$21 million)

Doug Davis is going to surprise some people on the open market. He's a guy that's been overlooked for a majority of his career, but I'm confident when I say that Davis will get paid this offseason. According to fangraphs, Davis has been worth $7.7 million this season, but in the five year previous, Davis was worth between $9-$14 million dollars. My guess is that his price range falls much closer to $9 million than $14 million.


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2009 Mets: A Blessing In Disguise?

When I think about how baldy the Mets 2009 season has been, I cringe. I can't help but think what could've been, even though I know that this season was doomed from the start. This team was not well constructed and the rash of injuries, no matter how severe they were, highlighted the Mets' shortcomings.

And yes, there were many problems with the Mets that we could focus on today:

-the Mets lack of depth
-inability to produce quality players in the minors, who could step in right away
-dependency on old players
-inability to find proper players to supplement the Mets' core
-all those injuries!

But as the Mets move forward, there's one problem are in particular that the Mets need to address before the 2010 season: the starting pitching. And for the first time in years, I'm actually confident that the Mets will make a move to acquire another top flight starting pitcher.

Why do I think this? Well, because the 2009 season left the Mets with more questions than answers regarding the guys that they currently have after Johan Santana. Each one of these guys was given the chance to step up and be the Mets #2 starter, but no one did.

-Mike Pelfrey: Came into the 2009 season as the Mets #2 starter....5.08 ERA this year...can he become the pitcher everyone expects him to be?....HUGE STEP BACK

-Oliver Perez: Came into the 2009 season as the Mets best left handed starting pitcher not named Johan Santana....6.82 ERA this year...dealt with a variety of injuries...INCONSISTENT

-John Maine: Came into the 2009 season as one of the Mets top starting pitchers...4.13 ERA this year, but dealt with a number of injuries and missed significant time...throws too many pitches and almost never lasts more than 5 or 6 innings

Pelfrey, Perez, and Maine were supposed to anchor the rotation after Johan Santana, but none of those guys showed anything this season for me to believe that the Mets should trust any of them to be the #2 starter. That realization could be a blessing in disguise for the Mets.

Think about it: if the Mets go into the offseason with the mindset that Pelfrey, Perez, and Maine are nothing more than 3, 4, and 5 starters; then there should be a very realistic chance that the Mets make a huge run at a big name pitcher. It comes down to being realistic: the Mets can longer depend on any of these three to be the guy behind Johan Santana in 2010. None of them has proven it consistently in the big leagues.

Having another top flight starter to pair with Johan Santana would help jump start the Mets from 2009's laughing stock to contenders in 2010. And who knows, maybe Pelfrey, Maine, and Perez finally make the leap in 2010 and become the pitchers that baseball people think they could be. But the 2009 season has made it very clear, the Mets cannot afford to not go after a top flight starter this offseason.

And for Mets fans everywhere, this is a good thing.


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Free Agent at the End of the Season: Erik Bedard

The fall has been quite steep for Erik Bedard. When Bedard arrived in Seattle two years ago, he was hailed as the Mariners newest ace and the guy, who would team with Felix Hernandez to give the Mariners one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball. The Mariners were willing to give up Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and George Sherrill for Bedard even though they knew that Bedard was going to be a free agent after the 2009 season.

But now as Bedard plans to explore the free agent market for the first time, he will not be greeted by the lavish multi year contracts that the best pitchers are met with. And the reality is this: when Bedard is actually playing, he IS one of the best pitchers in baseball. But unfortunately for Bedard, the past two seasons have been riddled with injuries and as a result, he is too much of a liability right now for teams to commit to him long term.

What will the market hold for Bedard? Let's take a look:

The Case for Bedard

-Quality left handed starting pitcher

When Bedard is actually on the field, he's one of the best left handed starting pitchers in baseball. In 15 starts this season, Bedard struck out 90 in 83 innings, had a tremendous 2.82 ERA, and produced a 1.19 WHIP. In addition, who wouldn't want a starting pitcher with a K/9 rate of 9.8!

In addition, since 2006 Bedard's ERA has never exceeded 4 and his over the course of his career, Batters have only hit .247 against Bedard.

The Case against Bedard


Can Bedard actually stay healthy? That's the big question. Bedard has only started 30 games in the past two seasons and needs to prove to teams that he can stay healthy and productive for a full season.

Good teammate?

There have been numerous stories written about Bedard over the years stating that he's a quiet guy and somewhat of a strange dude. I don't really put too much stock into this, but we'll see if Bedard's reputation effects whether or not certain teams go after him.


-Because of Bedard's injury history over the past two seasons, there is no way that he should garner anything more than a one year deal with incentives. As a result, Bedard will be competing on the market with other pitchers with a history of injuries and performing well: Justin Duchscherer, Kelvim Escobar, Brett Myers, Jason Schmidt, etc.

The major advantage that Bedard has over the rest of those guys is that he's a left handed starting pitcher. In addition, I'd say that Bedard has more upside than the rest of the guys I listed.

Elias Ranking: Type B

-There's no way that the Mariners will offer Bedard arbitration. Bedard earned $7.75 million in 2009 and there would simply be too much risk in paying Bedard that much money when you take his injury history into account.

(1 year/$7 million) with incentives

Here are some comparable contracts:
Brad Penny (1 year/$5 million)
Jon Garland (1 year/$7 million)
John Smoltz (1 year/$5.5 million)


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What the Hell Were You Thinking? Milton Bradley Edition

I'm sure there are a large and very vocal majority of Cubs fans that are trying to figure out how exactly the Cubs gave $30 million bucks to Milton Bradley. Didn't they know that Bradley was a nut job? Or how about his injury history? Did Hendry really believe that Milton Bradley could fit in with the Cubs?

Well, after some archive digging, I think whatever rationale the Cubs had at the time, no matter how illogical or stupid it looks now, will come to light.

Why Sign Bradley:
So much has been made that the Cubs signed Bradley because he led the AL in OPS in 2008 and the Cubs needed help from the left side of the dish. All of that is true. A healthy and productive Bradley would have made the Cubs 2009 lineup one of the best in baseball on paper.

But what so many people are forgetting about Bradley is that the Cubs really thought that Bradley was a changed man and would fit in very well in Chicago. Take a look at some of these quotes: (January 8, 2009):"As we left the restaurant and stood on the curb waiting for the driver ... [Bradley] said, 'I know it's going to take some time and you have some work to do, but I want to be a Chicago Cub if you want me,'" Hendry said.

"I knew when I left that restaurant that night that he was our guy." (January 8, 2009): "The opinion that he wouldn't be a good teammate or he would be a disruption in the clubhouse couldn't be further from the truth," Hendry said. (January 9, 2009): "He's at a point in his life now where I think he's got it together real good," Hendry said.

Chicago Sun Times: (April 15, 2009): ''I think the fans are going to love him, too,'' Hendry said. ''I don't know why race would ever come into it. He's no different than the rest of us. We've all made a few mistakes in our day and certainly when we were younger. But so many people he played with and played for the last couple years [spoke well of him]. I've felt very comfortable with him coming in here all along.''

WIFR (January 16, 2009): Piniella brushed off any concerns about Bradley's past, and Bradley says he thinks he and Piniella will "click well."

********** **********

Hell, even Bradley himself was optimistic about finally having some long term security and playing in Chicago. (February 15, 2009):"It's the Cubs -- who wouldn't want to play for the Cubs?" Bradley said. "They already have a great team in place. I'm coming in, trying to add something to that. They haven't won in 100 years. You come in and you know you have that, I guess you call it 'pressure' -- that's the media word, 'pressure' -- it's not really like that.

"I just want to be on a team that's going to win. That's all I want to do. Playing at home [stinks] if you're not winning. The Cubs, there's a good team here and we're going to win. I want to be a part of that."

Chicago Sun Times: (April 15, 2009):''I can be like that guy that you watch all the time for whatever reason,'' he said, referring to his track record of angry outbursts and run-ins. ''But I really think I've outgrown it, a lot of the stuff that I did when I was younger.''

Chicago Tribune (January 18, 2009): "I have every intention of being here a long time. This is where I wanted to be a long time. I've had it on my radar, so I have no intention of going anywhere."

Chicago Tribune (February 16, 2009): "As much as we courted him, I've never seen a player court us like he did," Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney told fans at the Cubs Convention. "He was scouting us in the third game of the division series, sitting in Los Angeles trying to figure out where he would play in our lineup, and he left himself, basically, with no escape clause.

"He was negotiating with us and really didn't have a safety net. This is a guy who chose Chicago and the pressure and the limelight. I don't think he expects to fail. He wants to be a Cub."

********* ***********

And for those Cubs fans that think the Bradley signing was some crazy idea that GM Jim Hendry just suddenly acted on, think again. (January 6, 2009): General manager Jim Hendry talked to former GMs, managers and players who've associated with Bradley over the years.

"What I found out was the perception of him not being a positive in the clubhouse couldn't have been farther from the truth," Hendry said. (March 6, 2009): Hendry was eyeing Bradley from a distance for quite a while, and Bradley was impressed by the GM's forthrightness. Hendry told him right away that he was their guy, but that he had to clear up a couple questions related to the ownership change before making an offer. Just like Hendry said, once those questions were cleared up, he called Bradley.

"Jim Hendry's an honest, fair guy," Bradley said. "You don't meet too many like that in this business. He told me it would take some time with the ownership situation but that we'd get it done. I believed him.''

Daily Herald (January 17 2009): "Speaking of assuming," Hendry began, "I think you've assumed in that question that he's not good in the clubhouse. We knew we needed a left-handed hitter by the first week of October, and if you noticed, we didn't sign Milton until the first week of January. So there was a heck of a lot of work done, a lot of information gathering, a lot of medical testing, a lot of discussion with a lot of his ex-teammates from every club, managers, general managers.

********* *************

So it seems as though the Cubs tried to do everything they could to ensure that the Milton Bradley experiment would not fail. GM Jim Hendry took his time with the process in order to get as many different opinions as possible. What's amazing to me is that everyone in the Cubs organization thought that this would work-or simply just talked themselves into saying that.

Either way, the Milton Bradley experiment in Chicago has been a huge fail.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where's Derek Lowe?

I'd like to have a word or two with Ted Keith. Not only did he put Ryan Dempster on the list of worst free agent contracts, but more surprisingly, he did not put Derek Lowe on his list.

How is this possible? Just look at the stats:

-Lowe is now 36 years old
-signed a 4 year/$60 million contract with the Braves last offseason
-still has another 3 years/$45 million left on the deal
-his ERA went up more than a full point this year (3.24 to 4.55)
-his WHIP is way up from 2008 (1.13 to 1.49)
-H/9 is way up this year (8.3 to 10.6)
-strikeouts are way down (99 this season)
-K/BB is way down (1.77)
-hitters are hitting .295 against him this season
-His % of ground balls is at its lowest point in over seven years (56.5%)

So as you can see, it's not hard to look at Lowe's stats and say that the 2009 season has been a major disappointment for him. But for some reason, Keith still keeps him off the list? Was it a mistake? Simply an oversight?

Who knows.

The only way I can see someone rationalizing this is by saying, "Derek Lowe has 15 wins this season so there's no way you can say that Lowe was one of the worst free agent contracts."

But as we can see from the stats, Derek Lowe's season cannot simply be defined by wins and losses. Across the board, Lowe's performance has been down this season. The wins argument is hogwash.


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Ryan Dempster: One of the Worst Free Agent Signings?'s Ted Keith recently outlined "the worst" free agent signings of the 2008 offseason, most of which were not surprising. Oliver Perez and Milton Bradley have been two of the biggest disappointments in baseball. Edgar Renteria and Pat Burrell have shown very little at the dish this season.

But there was one name that I was shocked to see in the "worst" column: Ryan Dempster.
"A career year in 2008 that included personal bests in wins, ERA and WHIP earned Dempster a sizable raise from the three-year, $15.5 million deal that expired last year. But so far he hasn't exactly justified that raise, regressing to a 10-8 mark with a 3.72 ERA. In fact, his numbers are down across the board. He's given up more hits, runs and home runs than he did a year ago, with a worse WHIP and fewer strikeouts per nine innings. He hasn't been terrible, but the Cubs were clearly expecting more this year from a pitcher who signed the fourth-highest contract of any free-agent starter last winter. With his salary increasing each of the next three years and with a $14 million player option for 2012, the Cubs can only hope that Dempster will soon resemble the pitcher who earned that large deal in the first place."
While it's safe to say that Dempster has not been worth the big bucks the Cubs doled out to him this season, I can't help, but think that Dempster's inclusion on this list is unfair. Outside of a poor April and a injury plagued July, Dempster has been one of the Cubs' best starting pitchers this season. And while Keith notes that his numbers across the board are down, Dempster's drop has not been drastic:

WHIP: (2008: 1.21 ) (2009: 1.34)
K/9: (2008: 8.14 ) (2009: 7.54)
ERA: (2008: 2.96) (2009: 3.72)

In addition, when you factor in that Dempster's BB/9 rate has actually improved (3.31 to 3.07), and that his K/BB rate has remained the same (2.46), you get a better picture into the 2009 Ryan Dempster. Dempster is still a very, very good pitcher.

So is it safe to put Dempster on this list? I don't think so. Fangraphs even states that his performance this season was worth $13.7 million, which would actually make him underpaid (Dempster earned $8 million this year). Sure, his performance wasn't the same as it was in 2008, but the Cubs have reasons to believe that Dempster will perform better in 2010.


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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Market for Joe Crede?

Yet another tough break for free agent to be Joe Crede, who will undergo yet another back surgery this offseason:
"Crede, out for the season, said the procedure by Dr. Andrew Dossett, a Dallas orthopedist, will remove fluid from a herniated disk that is impeding on a nerve. Crede expects to have the operation Friday. The date will be finalized Monday.

"It's something I have to do if I want to get back out there," Crede said before Sunday's game against Detroit.

Recovery time is about two months.

The 31-year-old Crede has had two major operations in the past two years, the last in October. He played in only 144 games with 502 at-bats from 2007-08."
At this stage in his career, he's a risk because of his back issues and cannot be counted on to be a starting third baseman. In addition, even though Crede was an all-star in 2007, you can certainly say that Crede has not put together a quality season at the dish since 2006.

You have to wonder what kind of market Crede will have this winter once he become a free agent. The market is not exactly favorable to Crede. There is a number of decent third basemen out there, who come with less question marks than Crede and have been more productive over the past three years (Figgins, Feliz, Beltre, Mora, and possibly Tejada). Crede could have a tough time finding considerable playing time in this market given the number of possible options on the open market.

I feel sorry for Joe Crede. Here was a guy who was one of the best third basemen in baseball in 2006 and was all set to cash in once he became a free agent in 2008, but because of injuries, he has not come close to achieving his full potential-both on the field and in his wallet.


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The Market for Milton Bradley

Oh, Milton. Here we go again. More drama.

And this time, it's serious. Bradley has been suspended for the remainder of the season a la Jose Guillen a few years back (minus the playoffs). Not good.

"The last few days became too much for me to tolerate," Hendry said. "I'm certainly not going to let our great fans become an excuse. I'm not going to tolerate not being able to answer questions from the media respectfully. Whether you feel like talking or not, it's part of all of our jobs.

"There's a right way to do it and a wrong way. I'm not going to allow disrespect to other people in that locker room and uniformed personnel, and I'm certainly not going to let a player, as was mentioned in the article today, (talk about) negativity of the organization."

It's become obvious that Bradley simply cannot return to the Cubs in 2010. Bradley has burned too many bridges within the organization. Change in needed for both sides. So as we look forward towards 2010, what exactly does the future hold for Bradley? Let's start by answering a few key questions.

********* ************

1. Is there any team out there that would pick up the $21 million that the Cubs still owe Bradley?

Believe it or not, this is possible. All the Cubs would have to do is take on a contract that is more egregious than Bradley's, which is not an easy thing to do. Unless the Cubs want to take on one of the worst contracts in baseball (i.e Carlos Silva, Oliver Perez), then the Cubs' best chance to trade Bradley is to accept the fact that they will have to eat some of his salary.

2. What team would be willing to acquire Milton Bradley and all the nonsense that comes with him?

Even though Bradley is crazy, I'm sure that some team would be willing to take a chance on Bradley because when he's healthy and sane, Bradley is a very productive outfielder.

With that said, Bradley's terrible behavior and below average performance with the Cubs, I'm sure there aren't too many teams out there looking to pick up Bradley.

3. What team can give Bradley the "positive environment" he's looking for?

Obviously the Milton Bradley experiment in Chicago failed miserably. Chicago and Milton Bradley just did not mix.

So where does Milton Bradley think he needs to play in 2010?

"I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment. There's too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly. Everyone is just bashing you. You go out there and play harder than anybody on the field and never get credit for it. It's just negativity."
So Bradley wants a healthy and enjoyable environment where there aren't too many people getting all up in his business. Wonderful. In my opinion, Bradley needs to go somewhere in a small market where the bright lights simply don't exist. As we saw in Chicago, the big city and Milton Bradley don't mix well.

Now let's get to the hard part, which "small market" team would actually take a chance on Milton Bradley?

-Padres? Nope. Been there and done that.

-Pirates? Nope. Do you think a young team looking to rebuild needs Milton Bradley around?

-Orioles: Doubtful. Even though Andy McPhail is looking for someone to hit behind Nick Markakis, I just don't think the O's have room for Bradley, unless they plan to have him DH. Any once again, do you think a young team looking to rebuild needs Milton Bradley around?

-Royals? Nope. Even though I wouldn't run it past Dayton Moore to make Bradley to KC possible, he's just not a fit here at all. I must say though, a locker room consisting of Milton Bradley, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Guillen would be highly entertaining and probably give Trey Hillman ulcers by the end of the season.

-Diamondbacks? Hmmmm, interesting. The Diamondbacks could use another big bat in their lineup and Eric Byrnes isn't exactly the world's most productive left fielder. I'd prefer to see the Diamondbacks still with their youth movement instead of investing energy into acquiring Bradley, but the thought isn't that horrible.

-Mariners? I know, Seattle is not exactly a small market. But it's hard to ignore the face that Milton Bradley would be a decent fit with the Mariners. I'm very fearful to see how Bradley would react in Seattle, but this could be a spot for him to succeed. The Mariners could use Bradley in left field and when his various injuries act up, the Mariners could slot him in as the designated hitter. This team has struggled all year to find potent hitters in the middle of the lineup and maybe, just maybe, Bradley could give the Mariners what their looking for.


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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Free Agent at the End of the Season: Joel Pineiro

It's a good time to be Joel Pineiro. After muddling around in the land of mediocrity for the past five years, Pineiro's 2009 season has been a revelation. Seemingly out of nowhere, Pineiro has catapulted himself from an average starting pitcher to the productive and sometimes dominant starter that so many envisioned him becoming when he began his career in Seattle.

And Pineiro's timing could not have been better. He will be a free agent after the season and has put himself in a prime position for the big money that comes with free agency.

How will Pineiro's fantastic 2009 season help him on the open market? Let's take a look:

The Case for Pineiro

-The New Joel Pineiro

Pineiro's stellar 2009 season is not by accident or merely some mistake. Pineiro's success this season has been based on a number of factors:

1. Throwing more fastballs (71.1% fastballs)
2. Lower BB rate (1.06)
3. Higher BB/K rate (4.17)
4. Lots and lots of ground balls (2.66 GB/FB, 61.2% GB)

5. No home runs (only 7 allowed this year)

Pineiro will never be mistaken as a high strikeout pitcher, but the blueprint for his success is there: lots of ground balls, impeccable control, no walks, and keeping the ball in yard.


Pineiro is only turning 31 in September, which means that in theory, his prime years should be ahead of him.

The Case against Pineiro


Was Pineiro's 2009 season a fluke? Only time will tell for sure, but this question has to be asked. We've seen pitchers have big years right before they hit free agency, get the big money, and then revert back to the form that made them just average. Joel Pineiro has not pitched this well since 2003 so the doubts and questions are going to be present.


Pineiro is not in the class of John Lackey, which means that he will be competing with the other second tier starting pitchers: Jason Marquis, Doug Davis, Brett Myers, Rich Harden, Jon Garland, Jarrod Washburn, etc. Is Joel Pineiro a better option that any of those guys? Given his age and tremendous performance...probably (even with the risk involved in signing him). But I wouldn't expect him to get a whole lot more than any of them, but I expect his contract to exceed every other starting pitcher on the market outside of Lackey.

Elias Ranking: Type B

-I'm sure the Cardinals are hoping that Pineiro becomes a type A by the end of the season, but even if he does not, I'd expect the Cardinals to offer him arbitration (if it makes sense to them financially). Pineiro only made $7.5 million this season, so even if Pineiro accepts, he wouldn't be in line for an absurd raise. I could see the Cardinals refusing to offer Pineiro arbitration if they have no intention of paying him the $10+ million it will take to keep him.


(4 years/$40 million)

Here are some comparable contracts:
Kyle Lohse (4 years/$41 million)
Oliver Perez (3 years/$36 million)
Gil Meche (5 years/$55 million)
Ryan Dempster (4 years/$52 million)

I would be very, very hesitant to give Pineiro 4 years+, but I fully expect some team do so. Teams have shown the willingness over the years to overpay for quality starting pitchers, especially young starting pitchers coming off a big season. Pineiro fits that description perfectly.


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Friday, September 18, 2009

Free Agent at the End of the Season: John Lackey

There's no doubt that John Lackey is the big name starting pitcher on this year's free agent market. Lackey is the only guy available, who can be legitimately counted on to lead a starting staff and be a #1 starter.

However, there's considerable risk with John Lackey. In each of the past two seasons, Lackey has missed significant time because of injuries. That fact has to be very concerning.

So I look at John Lackey's free agency like this: it will be a struggle between two sides. One side will see John Lackey the ace, who is the only legit #1 starter on this year's market, while the other side will see risk and a bad contract waiting to happen.

How will this struggle play out on the free agent market? Let's take a look:

The Case for Lackey


Over the past 5 seasons, Lackey has never produced an ERA greater than 4. In each season since 2006, Lackey's WHIP has ranged from 1.21 to 1.26. In addition, Lackey's K/9 (an impressive 7.2) has remained the same in each season since 2007 and his BB/9 during the same time frame has ranged from 2.1 to 2.4. And most importantly (by team standards), Lackey has won more than 10 games in every season since 2003.


It's worth repeating: is there another pitcher on this market that you would feel comfortable shelling out $12-$15 annually for?

John Lackey=Mr. Consistency

The Case against Lackey


This is where teams need to be concerned. In each of the past two seasons, Lackey has started the year on the DL with various arm issues (tricep, elbow). Sure, Lackey has made it back to the Angels both years and his performance has not taken a hit, but the threat of more arm injuries has to make teams think twice about investing in Lackey.

-He Ain't No CC

John Lackey is a very, very good pitcher. At times, Lackey is a great pitcher. He has the potential to be dominant. But make no mistake about it, John Lackey is nowhere close to CC Sabathia, Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, or any of the other GREAT pitchers in baseball. Lackey is not too far behind those guys, but make no mistake about it, Lackey is behind.

And just for the record I'd rather have Lackey take the ball every fifth day for me than AJ Burnett.


As I stated before, there's no one on the free agent market that's in Lackey's league. The real competition could come from the trade market if big names like Roy Halladay and Carlos Zambrano hit the trading block.

Elias Ranking: Type A

In my opinion, there's no reason for the Angels not to offer Lackey arbitration. He only earned $9 million this season and if the Angels can keep Lackey around next year without a long term deal for $14-$15 million, I'd say that's reasonable. And if Lackey gets a big contract elsewhere, then the Angels would get two high draft picks in return. A win-win situation.

(5 years/$80 million)

Here are some comparable contracts:
Oliver Perez (3 years/$36 million)
Derek Lowe (4 years/$60 million)
Carlos Zambrano (5 years/$91 million)
AJ Burnett (5 years/$82.5 million)

The AJ Burnett contract would be a great for Lackey's agent to use as a basis of negotiation. Sure Burnett's stuff might be better, but Lackey is more consistent. Lackey's injury history makes him less attractive in my opinion, but considering that he's the best option out there on the market, he's bound to get $14-$16 million a season from somewhere.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Can't the Mariners Sign Felix Hernandez?

This little nugget about Felix Hernandez caught my eye:
"Felix will be an affordable, young, dynamic budding superstar of a pitcher in 2010. And his home is at the moment unknown. The Mariners don't have the talent to contend against the Angels in the AL West, and it appears that they'd rather trade Felix now, while they can still get a boatload of young talent for him, rather than wait for him to become a free agent and skip town."
For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Mariners would want to trade Felix Hernandez now or anytime in the near future. As the author noted, Felix Hernandez is cheap, young, and a dynamic starting pitcher. While he's under the Mariners control, they should be building around him, not looking to blow the whole thing up.

And further, why can't the Mariners sign Felix Hernandez to an extension or even re-sign him once he reaches free agency? The Mariners are not a financially strapped organization. They are not the Rays, Marlins, or Twins. In fact, their $98 million dollar payroll this year and $117 million dollar payroll last year actually suggests that the Mariners are much closer to the Yankees and Red Sox in terms of payroll.

So why does everyone assume that Felix is simply just going to leave the Mariners? Sure, any deal with Felix Hernandez (like Tim Lincecum) is going to have to be outside the box and unique because a player of Hernandez's ability and age only comes around once in a generation, but the Mariners have funds to spend. According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Mariners only have $41 million dollars committed next season as the contracts of Adrian Beltre, Miguel Batista, Jarrod Washburn, and Erik Bedard come off the books.

That's why I can't understand why everyone is thinking solely about trading Felix Hernandez. Considering how much money they have coming off the books this season, NOW would be the time to discuss a contract extension with Hernandez.

I hope the Mariners hold on to Felix Hernandez for the foreseeable future for two reasons:

1. Seattle doesn't deserve to watch another prized talent skip town
2. There is no way the Mariners would receive equal value for Felix Hernandez.

I'll end with one word:



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Free Agent at the End of the Season: Hideki Matsui

As Hideki Matsui looks towards his impending free agency, he's got to feel good about things. He's proven to the baseball world once again that he is one of the premier hitters in the American League and despite all the talk of injuries, age, and decline; Matsui can still rake with the best of them and should be in line for a nice contract.

How will Matsui's tremendous 2009 season translate on the free agent market? Let's take a look:

The Case for Matsui

-Productive hitter

When Matsui is healthy and able to play, there's no doubt that he can hit. This season, Matsui has put up some big numbers in the heart of the Yankees lineup: .280, 25 HR, 85 RBI, .370 OBP, .886 OPS. And those numbers don't even tell just how good Matsui has been this season: he's been equally productive against lefties and righties (.276 v. .281) and has been great with runners in scoring position (.313, 8 HR).

Sure Matsui is getting up their in age (he's 35), but his numbers at the dish have not taken a drastic decline, even though his health has been shaky. That has to be a positive for American League teams looking to add some power to the middle of their lineup.

The Case against Matsui

-He can't play defense

Because of injuries and age, the Yankees have not counted on Matsui to do anything other than DH this season. It remains to be seen if Matsui can actually play the outfield in the future, but whatever team signs him will have to deal with the limited flexibility that comes with Matsui.


In both 2006 and 2008, Matsui failed to play at least 100 games because of injuries. Even though Matsui has been productive this season, there has been constant chatter about the health of Matsui's knee and as we mentioned before, Matsui has not played the outfield at all this season. At this point in his career, Matsui might be relegated to being a full time DH just to keep him on the field and away from the disabled list.


At this point in his career, I don't think we can count on Matsui to play the outfield in the near future. So for argument's sake, we'll assume that teams will view Matsui solely as a DH. Mastui's chief competition this offseason will be other aging players, who can still be productive hitters: Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Aubrey Huff, etc.

Elias Ranking: Type B

Absolutely no way that the Yankees offer Matsui arbitration. Paying $15+ is way too much for a guy, who can't play the outfield and limits their flexibility.

(2 years/$16 million)

Here are some comparable contracts:
Pat Burrell (2 years/$16 million)
Raul Ibanez (3 years/$31.5 million)
Adam Dunn (2 years/$20 million)

If Matsui stays healthy, then I have no doubt that he can remain a productive power hitter. But with that said, I'd be very hesitant to give Mastui anything more than a 2 year deal at this point given his age and injury history.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Carlos Zambrano Hypothetical Trade #3

So after scouring Cot's Baseball Contracts, we have come up with a number of hypothetical trades for the Cubs and Zambrano this offseason that might, or might not, make sense.

Cubs acquire: Francisco Cordero

Reds acquire: Carlos Zambrano

****** *********

Why this makes sense for the Cubs

-Cordero is one of the elite closers in baseball coming off a fantastic 2009 season

-Adding Cordero to the Cubs' bullpen would give them one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball at the end of the game (Cordero-Marmol).

-Cordero is only signed for the next two seasons

Why this makes sense for the Reds

-The Reds need a front line starter to team with Cueto and eventually, Edinson Volquez. Zambrano fits this mold nicely.

-Zambrano can fill the huge void left by Edinson Volquez, who will most of 2010 because of Tommy John surgery.

-Can they sign anyone better? Free agent starting pitchers aren't exactly clamoring to sign with the Reds...besides Eric Milton.

Why this makes no sense for the Cubs

-Do you really want to trade Zambrano inside the division?

-Cordero's falling strikeout rate has to be concerning, even though he's put up great numbers this season.

-Cordero is overpaid. How comfortable do the Cubs feel paying their closer $12 million a season?

Why this makes no sense for the Reds

-Are they in a position financially to take on Zambrano's contract?

-There is still much work to be done in Cincinnati. Zambrano is a very nice player to have around, but by no means can he be considered the final piece of the puzzle. This team needs more than Zambrano in order to compete in 2010 and beyond.

Bottom Line: Now here's a trade that actually makes sense. The Cubs get the big time closer that they NEED while getting rid of the Carlos Zambrano nonsense, while the Reds add a big time pitcher with a big time arm. This deal would set the Cubs up VERY nicely in 2010 and 2011 and the Reds could have a potentially dominant, young starting staff led by Zambrano, Cueto, and Volquez (once he returns).

Not too shabby, eh?


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Carlos Zambrano Hypothetical Trade #2 (stupid, no?)

So after scouring Cot's Baseball Contracts, we have come up with a number of hypothetical trades for the Cubs and Zambrano this offseason that might, or might not, make sense.

Cubs acquire: Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, Prospects

Mets acquire: Carlos Zambrano, Aaron Miles

****** *********

Why this makes sense for the Cubs

-Castillo and Perez are only signed through 2011, which will save the Cubs money in the long run

-Castillo put up great numbers this season with the Mets with a .310 batting average and a .400 OBP. He would solve the Cubs' 2B nicely and give the Cubs immediate production at the top of the order.

-Perez was miserable this season, but he still has tons of potential. Yes Perez is a headcase, but when he's on (in the past), he's been one of the better pitchers in the National League

-The Cubs don't have to pay a dime for the Mets to take Zambrano off their hands

-Get rid of Carlos Zambrano and his antics!

Why this makes sense for the Mets

-acquiring a pitcher of Zambrano's stature and age would be a major coup for the Mets, who have failed to find a solid #2 starter to compliment Johan Santana

-Get rid of Luis Castillo!

-Get rid of Oliver Perez!

Why this makes no sense for the Cubs

-Who in their right mind would pick up Oliver Perez right now?

-Luis Castillo...two years, $12 million? Pleaaaasse. That's too much!

Why this makes no sense for the Mets

-Can they afford to pick up Zambrano's salary including the money owed?

-What kind of prospects would the Cubs be looking for in this deal?

Bottom Line: Pipe dream, I know. I'd love to see Big Z on the Mets, but this deal just involves too much risk for the Cubs.

And honestly, this trade on paper just looks dumb. Back to the drawing board!

Coming up: Hypothetical Carlos Zambrano trade #3

Does this trade make any sense? Thoughts?

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