Rosenthal: Sox, Cameron in ‘serious talks’

The headline pretty much says it all, but Ken Rosenthal just reported on Twitter that the Red Sox and Mike Cameron are engaged in “serious talks.” Yankee fans have lusted after Cameron for the last few years. He brings a power bat and great defense to the table. With this move and their earlier signing of John Lackey, the Red Sox seem out of the market for Jason Bay or Matt Holliday. Will the Yankees jump in on a left fielder who isn’t Johnny Damon?

Getting to know Curtis Granderson

It’s been hardly a week, but we’ve already heard about all the wonderful things Curtis Granderson does both on and off the field. Anthony McCarron profiled the Yanks’ new centerfielder over the weekend, writing about his children’s book, how he was still getting A’s and B’s as a double major while playing in the minors, the money he’s donated to charity, and plenty of other great stuff. Make sure you check it out, fantastic read.

Halladay set to join Phils in three team blockbuster

Via MLBTR, Blue Jays’ ace Roy Halladay is set to join the defending NL Champs … as soon as he agrees to a contract extension. Based on what we know right now, Cliff Lee would go to the Mariners, and presumably a boatload of young players would go to Toronto. The Yanks have been connected to Halladay all offseason, and Joel Sherman mentions that they talked to Phightin’s about Lee, however didn’t like the price.

Wang’s in no rush to sign

Chien-Ming Wang chuckin'Last week was a pretty eventful one for the Yankees, who brought back Andy Pettitte and added two players to their outfield while trimming the fat in the bullpen. The weekend was just as eventful for ex-Yanks’ ace Chien-Ming Wang, who was handed his walking papers on Saturday night. Six teams (three AL, three NL) immediately expressed interest in the sinkerballer, though the Yanks tried to woo him back with a split contract that guaranteed he’d be in the big leagues once his surgically repaired shoulder was good to go.

Despite all the interest in the former Cy Young runner up, Buster Olney is reporting that Wang might not sign for a few months according to his agent, Alan Nero. His client’s plans for the immediate future including getting checked out by Dr. James Andrews in early January, heading to Taiwan for some R&R, then returning to Arizona to keep working out. Doesn’t sound like the agenda of someone desperate to find a job.

Waiting until early in the season – or even midseason – to sign a contract is one of the newest trends hitting baseball these days. We’ve seen Roger Clemens successfully pull it off numerous times, and Pedro Martinez did the same thing with the Phillies this season. There’s also another guy that tried to pull this off in 2009, though things didn’t go so well for him: Ben Sheets.

Sheets started the offseason as one of the most sought after free agent pitchers, then had a little bit of a setback that was going to push his 2009 debut back, and before you knew it he was having elbow surgery that would sideline him the entire season. Shoulders are much trickier than elbows (remember, there wasn’t any ligament damage in Sheets’ elbow), but if Wang is confident in his health and his ability to recover, then he should (in the words of his agent) “be prudent” and explore what’s out there for him.

Teams will surely be looking for rotation help in March and April and May, and Wang will likely be the best available pitcher on the free market. And, of course, he won’t be ready until basically mid-season anyway, so it makes sense for him to remain patient and see what’s out there. Nero said Wang could eventually re-sign with the Yanks, and if a scenario plays out in which Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain is struggling, or one of the front three is on the shelf, or basically anything that would open a gaping hole in the rotation, then suddenly that split contract could turn into a Major League guaranteed deal worth more than it might be right now.

Hopefully for Wang, who I’m certain has made millions in endorsements, it’s the right decision.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Report: Angels in serious discussions with Matsui

Via Jayson Stark, the Angels are in serious talks with free agent Hideki Matsui, presumably to have him replace Vladimir Guerrero at DH. Brian Cashman‘s made it clear that the team’s priorities this offseason are pitching and leftfield, going so far as to say that it’s easy to find another DH, so Matsui probably didn’t want to sit around and wait. Hard to picture the World Series MVP in another uni, no?

Update (2:40pm): Buster Olney says Matsui will get $6.5M over one year. The Yanks have to match that, right?

Update (3:17pm): Joel Sherman says that the Yanks told Matsui they couldn’t do anything with him until they addressed their pitching and leftfield issues, but Godzilla wanted a quicker resolution. He also mentions that The Halos will give Matsui a chance to play the outfield. Good luck with that.

Report: Red Sox close to signing Lackey

The Little Engine That Could is at it again, apparently close to bringing in free agent pitcher John Lackey after he took a physical for the team today. Kenny Rosenthal expects the deal to be similar to A.J. Burnett‘s five year, $82.5M deal. It’s good to see the only the 16th largest market in the game able to go out and do something to improve their team.

What Happened To All Those Draft Picks? Part One

One of baseball’s weird little quirks is draft pick compensation. If a team signs a free agent considered to be among the top 20% at his position based on outdated methods, they’ll send their top pick to the team that lost him. Last year we saw free agent compensation limit the markets for Juan Cruz and Jason Varitek (among others), and already this year we’ve seen one high profile Type-A free agent accept arbitration (Rafael Soriano) in lieu of a potential multi-year deal for fear of having his market limited. As the game has shifted towards younger (and cheaper) players, draft pick compensation has become a major consideration when targeting free agents.

From what I’ve been able to find, MLB starting handing out draft picks as compensation for losing free agents back in 1979, fifteen years after it instituted the draft. The rules regarding draft pick compensation have changed over the years; there wasn’t always a supplemental first round, the first 15 picks weren’t always protected, and some other stuff as well. As you can imagine, the Yankees have surrendered a ton of draft picks as a result of their free spending ways, 38 picks in 30 years in fact. In the compensation pick era, the Bombers have kept their true first round pick just 12 times in those 30 years.

Surely some of these forfeited picks turned into decent players, right? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out. In part one of the series today, we’ll take a look at the players the Yankees signed as free agents from 1979 to 1985, as well as what happened to the draft picks the Yankees forfeited to sign those players. If there’s any missing/incorrect info in any of these posts, let me know. It was tough to research some of the older players.

Fun starts after the jump.

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