Monday, March 29, 2010

The Most Expensive Bench, Ever.

In light of the Nationals deciding that Cristian Guzman would not be their starting shortstop (after losing out to the great Ian Desmond), I thought it be worth a look around the majors at the most expensive bench players. Thanks to injuries, poor play, or both, these guys will be starting year doing what many us do best, sitting on the bench:

Mike Lowell, Red Sox, $12 million: It's hard not to feel bad for Lowell. It was only two years ago that he was one of the Red Sox top players and an integral part of their 2007 World Series winning team. But with Adrian Beltre on board, the Red Sox unable to trade him, and Lowell struck by a variety of injuries, there are very few options for Lowell...other than the bench or the DL.

Cristian Guzman, Nationals, $8 million: Like Lowell, Guzman has been hampered by injuries this spring and has been the casualty of the improved play of Ian Desmond. Guzman has been on the decline defensively for years now and his inability to get on-base further diminishes his value.

Gary Matthews Jr., Mets, $11 million: The Angels opted to pick up all but $2 million of Matthews' salary just to get him off their roster. It looks doubtful that Matthews will beat out Angel Pagan to be the Mets' starting center fielder, so look for Matthews to play the role of expensive fourth outfielder until Carlos Beltran gets back.

Eric Chavez, A's, $11 million: I'm thrilled to see Chavez off the DL, but the odds of him being able to contribute as a first baseman are rather slim. Chavez has not been fully healthy since 2006 and expecting Chavez to be anything more than a bench player is a far fetched in my eyes.

Eric Byrnes, Mariners, $11 million: Sure the Mariners are only on the hook for the minimum with Byrnes, but it says something when the low budget Diamondbacks were willing to cut their losses with Byrnes by paying him to play elsewhere.

Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks, $4.75 million: The combination of Miguel Montero's emergence and Snyder's injury plagued 2009 season have Snyder on the outside looking in this season on the Diamondbacks' depth chart. I'd expect the Diamondbacks to continue to search for a landing spot for Snyder throughout the season, but then again, Snyder is a nice asset to hash away.

The total for those six players is $57.75 million dollars. To put that in perspective, that total is more than the Pirates, Marlins, and Padres individual payrolls.

Does this article actually mean anything constructive? Not really. The point is this, as much as we like to think that GMs are getting smarter and wiser with their spending, teams are still paying the price for bad contracts past.

David Ortiz: Tennis Star

It's been awhile since anything Rosenthal has written has made me laugh out loud. Well, this nugget a good way:
"Look out, Roger Federer: David Ortiz said he played tennis for the first time in his life on Saturday, volleying with his wife, Tiffany. For what it’s worth, Ortiz said he exceeded his wife’s expectations, but needs work on his serve."
Any chance Papi spits on his hands before he serves?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Armando Benitez and Edgardo Alfonzo Back Together Again

Rejoice, fellow Mets fans! It's 2000 all over again....

...sort of...
"The Newark Bears announced today the signing of pitcher Armando Benitez and infielder Edgardo Alfonzo to the 2010 roster. Benitez and Alfonzo were teammates for the 2000 New York Mets. 

“I am excited to add to the Bears tradition. Two more established Major Leaguers, Edgardo and Armando were both key components to the Mets success in 2000,” said Manager Tim Raines. “They are both proven talents on the field and their leadership in the clubhouse is the perfect fit for our 2010 team.”

Edgardo enters his third season in the Atlantic League, having spent time with the Long Island Ducks and Bridgeport Bluefish. He played last season in Japan as a member of the Yomiuri Giants. The 36-year-old and former Mets star returns to New York after spending eight seasons in Flushing and has spent time with three other clubs (Giants, Angels, Blue Jays).


Benitez enters his second season in the Atlantic League as he spent 2009 with the Bears. He recorded a 1-0 record with a 2.86 ERA and 16 saves, which was third best in the league. The 37-year-old and former Met was signed by the Houston Astros’ AAA affiliate in Round Rock late in the season and went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA and a save in seven games."
It's hard to believe that both of them are still around, but the presence of Fonzie and Armando will absolutely give me a good excuse to check out the Bears this season. Ahhh, the good 'ole days.

Any chance the Bears can sign Jay Payton and Timo Perez as well? Let's make this a 2000 Mets reunion!

Make it happen!

Thursday, March 25, 2010



After almost two years of blogging on Jorge Says No!, I have decided to start a new venture in the baseball blogging world.

Effective immediately, I will begin blogging anew at my new website, Thanks to the wonderful people at the bloguin network, the new site has been developed very quickly, looks sharp (I think), and I believe we have a strong blueprint for success.

The purpose of this new site is simple: to cover free agency to the best of my ability and begin a discussion with baseball fans that will last throughout the season, into the winter, and hopefully into next year's free agency and beyond. I encourage you to check out the posts pages and let me know what you think of the site's organization, layout, etc.

Honestly, the more feedback, the better. Email me anytime!

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

I'm happy to report that Jorge Says No! will remain. This site has blossomed into something that I never expected it to be and I am thrilled to watch the site continually grow. I am working on a fresh batch of content for Jorge Says No!, which will be up next week. I don't expect to post anything until then, but stranger things have happened.

Thank you for your continued support of Jorge Says No!

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

And finally, here are some ways to keep in touch with!

TWITTER: @mlbfreeagency (FOLLOW US!)

FACEBOOK:!/pages/MLBfreeagency/104863969546245?v=info&ref=ts (FRIEND US!) mlbfreeagency


Please visit the site often and leave some comments! Once again, thank you for all your support.

All my best,

Jorge Says No!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quote of the Day: Jim Callis on Joe Mauer

Via chat:
Jason (St. Louis)

It sure seems more and more likely Mauer hits FA. If the Red Sox and Yanks get in to a bidding war on him, what potentially do you think he could end up signing for? Is 8 years 225 mil outside the realm of possibility?

Jim Callis

Not outside the realm of possibility if he becomes a free agent, but I still think he resigns with the Twins.

Now I'll pose the question: would you commit $200+ million to a catcher?

I wouldn't. I don't care how good he is or if his name is Joe Mauer, the risk is simply too high at that price.

Joe Mauer is a Gambler

So says Sid Hartman:

So you wonder if reigning American League MVP Joe Mauer and his agent, Ron Shapiro, are concerned about the consequences of Mauer suffering a serious injury should the former Cretin-Derham Hall all-around athlete choose to not re-sign with the Twins this year and become a free agent at the end of this season. If Mauer did suffer a serious injury, the market certainly wouldn't be what it is today.

Mauer has missed a total of 120 games because of various injuries out of the 974 regular-season games the Twins have played since he joined the team in 2004.

He missed 69 games in 2004 because of a torn meniscus in his left knee after being injured in April. Mauer was healthy in 2005 and 2006, when he played in 131 and 140 games, respectively.

However, the 26-year-old All-Star catcher missed 29 games in 2007 because of a strained left quadriceps muscle suffered in May. After playing in 146 games in 2008, he missed all of spring training and 22 games into the 2009 season because of an inflammation of the right sacroiliac joint.

But if Mauer happened to get seriously hurt before signing, the big-money, long-term offers would disappear. The Yankees and Red Sox haven't thrown money around like they have in the past. Those two clubs would likely be the most interested in signing Mauer to a big contract.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If Mauer signs an extension with the Twins before the season begins, then he will surely be giving up money on the open market (in theory) in return for security.

If Mauer holds off on the extension with the Twins until after the season, then people, like Sid Hartman, will scrutinize the decision because Mauer is only one injury away from losing big money.

Being a catcher in the majors is a huge injury risk, but my advice to Mauer is this: do what your comfortable with and don't play the what if game. Because in the end, asking what if will drive a person nuts.

Especially when we're talking about a nine figure payday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Yankees Make an Appearence in the Joe Mauer Negotiations

We'll call this a brief cameo, thanks to Bill Madden:
Like everyone else in baseball, the Yankee high command is watching with keen interest how the Joe Mauer negotiations with the Minnesota Twins play out this spring.

Unlike most other teams, however, the Yankees have both the financial resources to afford the MVP catcher as well as the surplus of talent it would take to acquire him should the contract talks reach an impasse and the Twins elect to put him on the trade market. Indeed, if there is one area where the Yankees are rich in prospects it is catching where Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are rated by most scouts as can't-miss major leaguers. The question is, which of them - if either - will be the one to succeed Jorge Posada.


"But in my opinion," said one scout, "the next catcher for the Yankees will be Joe Mauer. Imagine if the Twins don't sign him and he goes out there on the market next winter with both the Yankees and Red Sox in need of a catcher? That will be the wildest bidding war in baseball history, and don't think his agent doesn't know it. And if they (Twins) decide to trade him, the Yankees have the better pieces to get him."

I still can't believe it will ever come to that. With their new taxpayer-funded, open air Target Field (on which they refused to spend the extra $150 mil to equip with a retractable roof), the Twins cannot afford to let their hometown catcher leave - and yet there have been some unsettling rumblings out of Minneapolis and Fort Myers that the two sides remain far apart with an opening day deadline looming.

This story proves that the news week is slow. If someone can explain to me why the Twins would ever trade Mauer, please let me know. As far as I'm concerned, the mere thought of trading Joe Mauer this season is crazy. Even if the Twins and Mauer cannot come to terms on a deal by the "deadline," the Twins have a new stadium opening this year and trading away the top draw would not be a good business move. Also, the Twins (even without Joe Nathan) are pretty good team on paper.

The Mauer to the Yankees dream will live on until a long term deal with the Twins proves otherwise, but I'd be willing to bet anything that the Twins will never, ever trade Mauer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Carlos Pena's Love for Tampa

Once again, Carlos Pena professes his love for the Rays and his desire to stay there long term. I never expected to see anyone express a strong desire to stay with the Rays long term, but wow have times changed:

Pena carries that mentality everywhere. So don't ask him if he is worried about his 0-for-18 start to Spring Training after missing the final 25 games of the 2009 season, or if he finds himself thinking about the fact that his three-year contract with the Rays expires after the season.

He doesn't.

Sure, most players will say they don't think about upcoming free agency because it's the right thing to say. But Pena absolutely lives it.

He said he never really speaks to his agent, hardball negotiator Scott Boras, about his talks with the Rays, nor does he care to hear from Boras about it.

As of now, Pena said, "nothing has really happened" in terms of a possible deal, but he wouldn't mind coming to terms on an extension during the season, because he would love nothing more than to stay with Tampa Bay.

"I think everyone knows how much I like it here, how much I appreciate this place," said Pena, who's making $10.125 million this season. "So it's one of those things I know that I cannot control, because I'm not the one in the driver's seat there. But I know what I can control -- that's be prepared, do my exercises so I can stay healthy, make sure I'm present so I can enjoy my teammates.

Somewhere in his agent headquarters, Scott Boras is probably pulling his hair out. Boras is notorious for trying to get as much money for his guys as possible, but if Pena is serious about returning to the Rays long term, then there is almost zero chance that Pena will maximize his earning potential.

But then again, this could set up an interesting sub plot. Will Boras be able to use Pena's love of Tampa as a bargaining tool with other teams? Essentially, will he be able to say to teams, "Look, Carlos loves it in Tampa and if you want to sign him, then you're going to have to pay a premium for him services." Or something to that extent.

It seems as though that the only way for Pena to maximize his value on the open market next winter is to play the field, move on from Tampa, and let Boras work his magic. But then again, Pena's priorities seem to be all about comfort and if that's the case, then his mind is probably already made up about where he would like to play in 2011 and beyond. The question then becomes if the Rays can afford to keep him.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Line of the Day: The Struggles of Ben Sheets

Ugly line from Ben Sheets today:

0.0 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 1 BB, 1 HR


Despite his poor performance, Sheets's optimistic approach reminds us all that this is spring training:
"I felt great," said Sheets, who missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery. ... Today was a good day, and I felt like I was going to get in some good work."
It's refreshing to hear Sheets talk so optimistically, but results like this, spring training or not, are just ugly. It remains to be seen what kind of pitcher Ben Sheets can be over the course of an entire season and because he is a free agent after the season, there is plenty riding on his 2010 performance.

Heath Bell's Hometown Discount

Padres closer Heath Bell will not be a free agent until after the 2011 season, but that doesn't stop folks from questioning Bell's future with the Padres. Will Bell stay in San Diego long term or will his rising salary force the Padres to eventually trade him? Common sense would suggest the latter, but Bell is willing to take less to stay in San Diego:
As for Bell, the Padres encouraged trade offers on him last summer and last offseason. Then they kept him and signed him for $4 million. Bell would have more trade value now if Padres upper-level executives had OK'd the terms that then-GM Kevin Towers and Bell's agent had agreed to in the 2008-09 offseason. According to Bell, that pact would've guaranteed him $1.2 million in 2009 and $2.1 million this year. "I like the number 21 and wanted those numbers -- 1.2 and 2.1," said Bell, who wears 21.

When the club deemed the deal too risky, Bell signed for one year and put up enough numbers to raise his salary to $4 million. He said escalators in the scuttled deal would've bumped his 2010 salary to $3 million.

Bell said he'd be agreeable to signing an extension that is budget friendly for the Padres.
This all sounds great on the surface. Bell wants to stay in San Diego and he is willing to take less money to do so. However, given that the Padres have a $40 million dollar payroll and that closers of Bell's quality make around $8 million or so annually (roughly), what are the odds that they are willing to commit somewhere in the $6-$8 million dollar range long term for a closer? Slim to none? None?

Because of their financial limitations, it might be economically impossible for the Padres to keep Bell even if he is willing to take less.

David Ortiz's Future with the Red Sox

When you think about the Red Sox from 2003-2009, the image of David Ortiz immediately comes to mind. Big Papi has been the face of the Red Sox since he burst onto the scene in 2003, but will 2010 be Ortiz's final season with the Sawx? You be the judge:

Ortiz is tight-lipped when asked if there is anything that might be weighing on him. The most obvious potential source of discontent is his contract situation: The Red Sox hold an option on the 2011 season for $12.5 million.

Ortiz said he has had no conversations with the club regarding his contract.

"I'm just focusing on playing, not being a distraction about anything,'' he said. "It's going to be up to them to come talk to me. So I'm getting prepared to play.''

Given how poorly Ortiz played last season, there is no reason for the Red Sox to approach Ortiz about a new deal or extension at this point. The bottom line is that no matter how much Ortiz has meant to the Red Sox since 2003, he has plenty to prove to the Red Sox in 2010. If Ortiz shows that his 2009 season was not a fluke, then the Red Sox will simply let Ortiz go and go in another direction at DH.

But where this gets interesting is if Ortiz puts together a solid 2010 season. Let's say Ortiz hits .265 with 30 home runs and drives in over 100 with a .380 OBP. Would the Red Sox pick up his option then? Economically, it might not be the best decision, but could Ortiz make the Red Sox decision difficult with a solid season? No doubt. But in the end, $12.5 million is a lot to commit to a 35 year old designated hitter even one as popular and lovable as David Ortiz.

The Future of Cristian Guzman

As Ian Desmond continues to make his case to be the Nationals starting shortstop, one has to wonder where this would leave free agent to be Cristian Guzman. The Nationals know that Guzman has lost a step defensively and is not going to be a long term asset for the franchise, so it makes sense for the Nationals to give Desmond a long as the Nationals think he's ready. What's clear is that if Guzman wants another hefty payday, then he needs to have the chance to start, not come off the bench:
On Sunday morning, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore, “Money has nothing to do with who’s going to play.”

But later that day, Rizzo balked when I asked him about the possibility of releasing Cristian Guzman if Ian Desmond won the shortstop job.

Guzman is guaranteed $8 million this season.

“He’s still a long way from that type of discussion,” Rizzo said. “He’s a .300 hitter. He can still play short. He’s not an old player by any means.”

Guzman, who turns 32 on Sunday, is not a .300 hitter — his career batting/on-base/slugging line is .271/.307/.386. He also is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

Desmond, 24, batted .280-.318-.561 last September in 89 plate appearances. While that sample is small, he has resumed his standout play this spring.

Would the Nationals make Guzman an $8 million backup? Possibly. More likely, they would give Guzman one more chance and return Desmond to Triple A. If Guzman faltered, the Nats then could release him.

Classic GM double speak from Rizzo. From the statements above, it's clear to me that he wants to start Ian Desmond at short, but having Guzman on the roster complicates things. Rizzo is publically talking up Guzman for a number of different reasons. Perhaps Rizzo wants to convince the fan base that Guzman is still a good option at short or perhaps Rizzo wants to exclaim Guzman's credentials to see if he can find a taker for his services.

The best thing that can happen for Guzman is that he gets the opportunity to play everyday. Yes Guzman will be 33 once the 2011 season gets underway, but the class of free agent shortstops in very weak (aside from Derek Jeter, who will be a Yankee anyway). Conceivably, if Guzman is able to put together a solid 2010 season and demonstrates improved defensive skills, then I don't think it's unreasonable for Guzman to land a multi year deal.

There is so much that can change between now and then, but it's too early to discount Cristian Guzman given the advantageous situation he could find himself next year on the free agent market.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Random Chatter: Joe Mauer to Boston?

That's is everything doesn't pan out with the Twins of course....
“In the end, I think the Twins sign him,’’ said a National League assistant general manager. “If they don’t, my bet is Boston. First of all, there’ll be a limited market. Two or three teams? One of them will be the Yankees, but if you know Mauer, he’d pick Boston over New York.’’

“If he doesn’t sign and he becomes a free agent, it favors Boston,’’ seconded an American League GM.
Given that the odds of Mauer leaving Minnesota are relatively small, take these quotes with a grain of salt. But then again, these quotes do offer some slim hope to Red Sox fans...right?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bad News for Brandon Webb

Setbacks are always frustrating especially when they come in a player's contract year. Tough break for Brandon Webb, who is set to be a free agent after the season:
Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb is almost certain to open the season on the disabled list, multiple sources said Friday, and the team is now examining at least one way to increase its rotation depth.
In time, Webb needs to prove that he is healthy, but until he is able to do that, I see the dollar signs decreasing and the amount of risk that teams are willing to take on Webb diminishing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hal Steinbrenner Confirms What We Already Know

Nearly a month ago, Brian Cashman declared that there will be no talks with either Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera regarding contract extensions:

When Brian Cashman looks at Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi, the Yankees GM paints his shortstop, closer and manager with the same brush.

And with spring training opening next week in Tampa, Cashman has no plans to stray from his plan of not negotiating with them. All three contracts are in the final year.

“I don’t think you can separate one from the other,” Cashman explained. “I am not saying they are the same, but the questions will come, ‘If you did one, why didn’t you do the other?’ If this was Kansas City, it would be different — but it’s not.”

And yesterday, Chairman Hal Steinbrenner reiterated that point:

"Everybody does business in a different way," the team's managing general partner said Tuesday following a news conference to announce details of the first Pinstripe Bowl at new Yankee Stadium, "I just don't believe in contract extensions, and that's throughout the organization, no matter who it is. Hopefully nobody takes that personally. It's just business."

Jeter's $189 million, 10-year contract expires after the World Series, as does Rivera's $45 million, three-year deal. Girardi is entering the final season of a $7.8 million, three-year contract.

"I've got a great relationship with them all," Steinbrenner said. "I've expressed to all of them that, `You're part of the Yankee family and you're wanted. It wouldn't be the same without you.' But as far as no extensions, it's a business policy of mine."

This is obviously big news in Yankee land because Jeter and Rivera will be free agents at the end of the season, but I don't think there is a baseball fan out there that seriously thinks that either guy will leave the Bronx. The fact that Jeter and Rivera are not under contract with the Yankees beyond this season means that this story will have legs all season, which is unfortunate given how unlikely it is that either guy will leave.

Jose Reyes has a Thyroid Problem...Maybe

The Mets say yes. Reyes says no. Who to believe?

Jose Reyes has an overactive thyroid. The Mets said late Tuesday that tests administered in New York on Monday confirmed the original diagnosis. The club said little else except that Reyes is to remain in New York for additional blood tests, which will determine how he is treated. The results of those tests are not expected before Thursday.
But Reyes told's Enrique Rojas later Tuesday: "The specialists who took care of me in New York have told me that I'm fine and that there's nothing wrong with my thyroid. The test [taken to follow one conducted during his physical] showed that I'm fine. We just have to wait for the results of the additional test. The [doctors] found inflammation in my throat and no medicine to treat the thyroid or any other condition has been prescribed."
2010 was supposed to be the year where Reyes showed all of his doubters that he was healthy. Even though he rarely missed games from 2006-2008, the injury prone label has never fully escaped Reyes especially after missing most of the 2009 season.

We have talked in the past about the 2011 team option facing Reyes ($9 million) and I remain confident that the Mets will pick up the option. However, if the thyroid condition pops up at any point in the season, it could sound the alarm for the Mets especially if Reyes is struggling.

We'll see how this thyroid issue effects Reyes moving forward, but there is no doubt that until he proves his detractors wrong, this will be another issue facing Reyes. There was a time where I seriously believed that Reyes was sure to land a contract exceeding $100 million when he became a free agent after 2011 (assuming the Mets picked up his option after the 2010 season), but after missing most of 2009 and now the thyroid issue, that claim is now filled with tons of doubt.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's a Slow Recovery for Brandon Webb

After weeks of positive reviews, free agent to be Brandon Webb has experienced a set back:

Webb initially was going to throw to hitters Sunday or Monday, but that session was pushed back a couple of days. Manager A.J. Hinch said Webb might throw a bullpen session next instead of live batting practice, but did not set a date.

"He's not feeling bad, but he's not feeling strong," Hinch said. "It's not necessarily that unexpected. He is seven months post-surgery and these things get a little testy from time to time."

Webb, coming off shoulder surgery in August, was unavailable for comment before the Diamondbacks faced the Colorado Rockies in a split-squad game. But the 2006 NL Cy Young Award winner sent word through a team spokesman that he felt fine after playing catch.

Hinch has said Webb could pitch in his first spring game around the middle of the month. But Webb, who made only one start in 2009, likely will need to throw at least a couple more times before making his first start.

"He's not having trouble being on the mound," Hinch said. "He's not having trouble every time he throws a baseball like he did last season. He's in a little bit of a dead period in his rehab program that we're trying to get him past before we move him on."

Webb is so important to the 2010 Diamondbacks that the team has no reason to push him hard right now. Patience is the key word. As Webb looks forward towards free agency, teams might shy away from him if he spends considerable time on the DL, but Webb needs to do everything possible to perform at a high level for an extended period of time this season.

Even though thr 2010 season has yet to officially begin, doubts are growing about Webb's ability to land a multi year contract this winter. I hope he proves me wrong, but only time will tell.

Line of the Day: The Struggles of Jeremy Bonderman

Not such a good start yesterday from free agent to be Jeremy Bonderman, who will be a free agent after the season:

0.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR

I don't want to make too big of a deal about one spring training performance, but considering that Bonderman's last good season was 2006 and his last full season in the majors was 2007, this is not a good sign. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road for Bonderman, but keep in mind that Bonderman is only 27 years old.

Red Sox Optimistic About Beckett Talks?

According to Nick Cafardo, the contact talks seem to be progressing:
4. Josh Beckett, RHP, Red Sox - One major league source indicated that there’s more optimism about the Sox and Beckett reaching a contract accord this season. It seems talks have been amicable, if not productive. The Sox could insist on medical language similar to what’s included in the deals of John Lackey and J.D. Drew. Jason Bay wouldn’t bite on the language, but Beckett may consider it just to stay in Boston, where he has already forged a great relationship with Lackey and continues to build one with Jon Lester.
Sox fans, before you get excited about the prospect of keeping Beckett around long term, remember this: Beckett has previously said that he does not want to negotiate during the season so if the Sox and Beckett are going to come to terms on a new deal, then it will have to happen in the next three weeks.

That's not an impossible task, but I have my doubts that the Red Sox and Beckett will come to terms before the season begins.

Can the Brewers Keep Prince Fielder in Milwaukee Past 2011?

Can the Brewers keep Prince Fielder past 2011? Doug Melvin thinks so, but the debate lingers on:

So is it possible to pay Fielder what the market might bear in two years, thereby allocating a disproportionate chunk of a small-market team's payroll to one player?

"It's possible," said Melvin, noting that other teams have done it. "But it's challenging."

Then he reiterated what the Brewers have been saying for the last few weeks. "Our goal is to keep Prince here," Melvin said.

Melvin can talk optimistically about keeping Prince in Milwaukee, but the fact remains that if Prince wants to maximize his earning potential, then the Brewers will have a tough time keeping him. ESPN's Buster Olney outlined Prince's future in Milwaukee a few weeks back, and while he sounds more optimistic about the Brewers keeping Prince long term than most writers have been, I still think the odds of Prince staying in Milwaukee are slim.

You have to think that the Brewers will have to commit almost $20 million annually to Prince, which is a major issue when the Brewers payroll will likely remain in the $80-$90 million dollar range in the future. Can the Brewers afford to spend $20 million annually on one player and still expect to compete? I think not, but then again, they are spending $17 million this season on Dave Riske and Jeff Suppan, so what do I know.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Future of Derrek Lee

Will 2010 be the last season for Derrek Lee as a Cub? Perhaps, but it looks like there is mutual interest on both sides:
The last time Derrek Lee was up for a new contract, he signed a five-year extension at the outset of the 2006 season and suffered a season-changing wrist injury a couple of weeks later.

Now Lee is in no hurry to get a deal done before he enters his second "walk" year as a member of the Cubs, confident he'll put up the kind of numbers that will make him a coveted free agent in November.

Lee wants to end his career as a Cub, and the Cubs want him back.

But there will be no negotiations this spring and probably not any during the season. Unlike last time, there's no guarantee Lee will be back.

"I'd like to (retire as a Cub), but if it doesn't happen, I understand that also," Lee said. "It's really not a big issue."
Lee is a fan favorite in Chicago and has been one of the top players for the Cubs since his arrival in 2004, but the Cubs are making a smart choice in holding off negotiations with their first baseman. Even though Lee put together a phenomenal 2009 season at the dish, their are a number of factors that suggest that the Cubs should take negotiations slow with Lee.

1. age
-Lee will be 35 in September and the Cubs need to be completely assured that his skills are not declining before they re-commit to him

2. power
-After breaking his wrist in 2006, Lee's power numbers took a hit in both 2007 and 2008 as he failed to hit more than 22 home runs. Lee bounced back nicely in 2009 by hitting 35 home runs, but the Cubs need to make sure that his power is back for sure before giving him another lucrative extension.

3. Options
-There are a number of quality free agent first base options out there this winter so if the Cubs lose Lee, then there are a number of players who they can go after to fill the void. Even though Lee is a fan favorite in Chicago, he is replaceable should his price tag become too high for the Cubs liking.

2010 is an Important Year for Kevin Correia

2010 is a big year for free agent to be Kevin Correia. And he knows it:
“I want to repeat and improve on what I did last season,” the right-handed starter said Saturday.

If he does, the 29-year-old native San Diegan could be sitting pretty this time next spring.

Correia is a free agent at the end of this season.

After going 12-11 last year with a 3.91 ERA in 33 starts, Correia got $3.6 million from the Padres for this season — the sides settling in lieu of arbitration.

But when the 2010 season ends, the Padres hold no options on Correia. He is free to sign with anyone.

“Yes, this is an important year,” Correia said. “But every year is like that. What’s good about this year is that I have last season to build from. It’s given me some momentum.”

Ultimately if Correia is able to repeat his 2009 performance, then it's doubtful he will be back with the cash strapped Padres. One factor that is working against Correia is that the class of free agent starting pitchers is very strong and features a number of big names and high upside pitchers. If Correia is going to land a lucrative multi year deal and avoid Todd Wellemeyer territory, then he needs to put together a big 2010 season that proves that he is not just a one year wonder and continue to show that he can pitch effectively away from PETCO Park.

The 2010 Royals

With the baseball season right around the corner, anything is possible. Spring means a new beginning and renewed optimism for beleaguered and tortured franchises. Hell, even the Royals think they can win a World Series right now!

But the odds are that the Royals will not win the World Series. Why? Because their talent is vastly inferior to other teams in the AL Central and in the American League in general. Let's face it, if your going to get involved in sports betting and put all your money down on the Royals winning the World Series, then you might want to get your head examined. This team has BOTH Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Guillen!

There are those who believe that hey, if the Royals get a few lucky bounces and some things go their way, then maybe they can be baseball's version of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints shocked the football world by winning the Super Bowl behind Drew Brees even though most experts counted them out at the beginning of the season. And on a side note, my buddy Joe loves football betting and made a killing on the Saints this season. Who Dat!

As much as I want to believe that the 2010 Royals can do the impossible, there are simply too many harsh realities for this team to face. On paper, they stink. And even with the best case scenario for the 2010 Royals, the outlook is rather bleak.