Archive for 2008 Winter Meetings

The terms: 3 years, $37M. That sounds like three guaranteed years at an AAV of $13M per with a $1M buyout on an option for a fourth year. K-Rod is supposedly going to take a physical tomorrow, which should seal the deal. Jerry Manual has a scheduled press conference at 4pm Vegas time today, so we’ll dig up more then.

Update (12:48pm): Joe just saw Minaya in the hallway talking to Gammons and other media types with a big grin on his face.

Update (12:55pm): I just huddled around Minaya with the other NY media guys … he emphasized that the deal is not official but he feels “better about where it is today then yesterday.”

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League
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The Torii Hunter Project

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Here’s a shot of the press conference for the newly founded Torii Hunter Project; Torii’s foundation provides scholarships and all sorts of educational support for children. You probably recognize the two guys in the middle: Hunter and tennis legend Andre Agassi. Agassi’s school in Las Vegas is one of three partners with Torii on this project. The gentleman to the far right is the representative of another partner school in Orange County, while a representative from the third partner school in Hunter’s hometown of Pine Bluff, Arkansas wasn’t available because school is in session.

Torii spoke, and he seems like a genuinely great and caring guy. His bling nearly blinded me though.

Categories : Not Baseball
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The Bill Hall Rumor Mill

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The Brewers are set to announce that they’ve resigned incumbent third baseman and ex-Yankee Mike Lamb, which likely puts Bill Hall out on the trade market. Ken Rosenthal and Ed Price noted that the Yanks have interest inĀ  CC Sabathia‘s close friend (8:44pm post), who would presumably take the role of primary utility man and righty pinch hitter. And I don’t get it.

First off, CC Sabathia’s decision to sign or not sign the Yanks will not be based on Bill Hall’s presence, so don’t even worry about that. Secondly, what exactly makes Bill Hall so desirable? Usually when I dig deeper on a player (like Nick Swisher or David DeJesus) I can find some information that the player is undervalued and a viable buy-low candidate, but that’s not the case with Hall.

First off, Hall’s contract is ugly. He’s owed $6.8M in 2009, $8.4M in 2010, then a $9.25M option or $500,000 buyout kicks in for 2010. That’s a lot of cheddar for a bench guy. Secondly, his production has declined for three straight seasons as he entered his prime years. Hall had a monster year in 2006 that landed him that fat contract and Joe a fantasy baseball title (.369 wOBP, 35 HR, 44.3 VORP), but he then dropped down to a .317 wOBP & 6.7 VORP in 2007, and bottomed out with a .297 wOBP & -5.1 VORP this past year. Inconsistent playing time and at-bats off the bench will not sharpen up his production, and he’s already made it known that he doesn’t like being a part-time player.

Hall’s biggest asset is that he’s extremely versatile; he’s spent significant time at short, third, and in centerfield over the last few seasons, and has also seen action at second. However he’s below average at best at each of those spots, with career RZR’s of .838 in center, .723 at third, and .804 at short. That’s not just bad, that’s horrific. Citing Hall’s versatility as a plus is the same as saying Jon Garland is an innings eater, it just means he can suck at more spots.

Granted, Hall would come dirt cheap because of his contract (if the Yanks take on all of that money, they could get him for like, a C-minus prospect) and maybe there’s some bouceback potential because of the change of scenery, but there’s nothing to suggest that. His BABIP has been steady and reasonable, his line drive rate is consistent, and his plate discipline numbers don’t show any significant spikes. There’s just nothing to suggest that his three year decline was a fluke.

Pass on Bill Hall, I’m sure Cody Ransom could approximate his production for 1/17th of the cost. If you want a player on the Brewers and one of CC’s buddy, go for Mike Cameron. It makes so much more sense.

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Just a quick aside: I overheard a Milwaukee writer talking to two other writers not far away from us, he said he’s looking forward to the Yanks signing both CC and Sheets because “then the Brewers would get the Yanks’ two first round picks.” Heh.

Update (1:00pm): I just overheard the guy say he confirmed with Baseball America that the Yanks’ can’t lose the Gerrit Cole pick. That only took two-plus hours.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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You don’t have to be in Las Vegas to get the sense of uncertainty surrounding Major League Baseball. There haven’t been any major signings in this free agency period, and it appears that the most sought-after free agents — Sabathia, Teixeira, Burnett — will end the week still unemployed. So what gives?

It appears that teams are playing everything close to their chests. Information continues to leak out, but in most cases it is quickly debunked. Just check out MLB Trade Rumors, where the tireless Tim Dierkes is not only reporting on every rumor he sees, but is constantly updating posts with new information, most of which contradicts the original reports.

Let’s take the Ben Sheets situation for example. Last night, while I was losing $100 on blackjack, Ben found a Mark Feinsand report that the Yanks were preparing an offer to the righty in the two-year, $30 million range. A bit later, Joel Sherman, who like most people here is shorter than I imagined him, said that the Yankees aren’t quite sure they’ll make an offer. Then, later in the night (or early in the morning), Feinsand updated his post to say that the offer would be in the $26 million range.

So are they going to make an offer? How much will it guarantee Sheets? What are his other prospects? At this time we don’t have answers to those questions. Everyone will do some digging, though, and I’m sure we’ll hear something later today about another team, possibly the Red Sox, becoming interested. Little will come of it, at least in the immediate future.

Even in the cases of players who seem closer to signing or being traded — Francisco Rodriguez and Jake Peavy, most notably — we’re still not sure exactly what’s going on. Omar Minaya and his crew supposedly met with the closer on Sunday and made an offer. That was rumored to be for three years, then we heard two and a vesting option. Now we’re back to hearing three guaranteed, for $37 million. The Peavy trade now supposedly involves four teams, and could go down as early as today.

I’m really hoping these moves do happen. It would at least be good for the mood around here. However, even though they’re proclaimed to be close, I’m not quite sure. I’m not quite sure of anything out here in Vegas.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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It’s still early here; the press room and halls are pretty empty. Don’t worry, it’ll pick up.

Categories : Whimsy
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Day 1 of the Winter Meetings, and nothing is going on. You’d think this wouldn’t make for interesting radio, but I think Mike and I do the best we can with what we’ve got.

First impression of the Winter Meetings: a bit of overwhelm. There are lots of people here who we only know through their quotes in the media and their goofy avatars. That wore off later in the day, but it was still awesome to walk right past Peter Gammons. Dislike him now if you want, but the man is a legend.

You can check out all of our Winter Meeting 2008 posts here. You can also check out our Twitter feed, where we give some shorter, less meaningful updates.

Onto the podcast. It is available in a number of formats. You can download it here by right clicking on that link and selecting Save As. If you want to play it in your browser, just left click the link. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, which will send it to you every Thursday. You can also subscribe in iTunes. Finally, we have the embedded audio player below.

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We appreciate any feedback. You can leave it in the comments or email either of us.

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Nothing much to pass along, so I thought I’d share a bit on the MLB Hot Stove blog about the Blue Jays meeting with Carl Pavano’s agent Tom O’Connell. He claims he’s going to talk to 10 teams this week, though there’s no indication that they’re all about Pavano.

Categories : Asides
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We know that The Yanks are on CC Sabathia’s list. Now we hear via Jayson Stark that last night’s meeting was mostly a session for CC to gauge life in New York. That’s fair enough. As Stark notes, this is a major life decision for CC, as he’ll likely be signed through most of his remaining productive years. Why not have all the information possible at hand before making that decision.

(Though someone might disagree about obtaining as much info as possible to make a decision.)

The Yanks are also making moves on their second free agent target, A.J. Burnett. Jerry Crasick reports that the Yankees are looking to make an offer, and “might be willing to surpass the guaranteed dollar figure that Atlanta has on the table for the free agent right-hander.” The Atlanta deal is reportedly for four years and $60 million, with an option for a fifth year which could bring the package to $75 million. No one seems sure about the nature of the option; early word was that it would vesting, though it could just be a team one.

Oh, and Sheets is in the house. When asked about the Yankees, he replied: “I haven’t even given it thought.” That might not sound good, but he also had this to say about his prospects in general: “There’s nothing out there for me to contemplate right now.” So we will see.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Jerry Crasnick of notes that the Manny – Dodgers relationship might be coming to a close. He acquired this quote from GM Ned Colletti:

“I just find it curious,” Colletti said. “We made a [contract] offer and never heard back. We made a [salary] arbitration offer and never heard back. Maybe we have to look into the communications we’re using.”

First off, they did hear back on the arbitration offer; Manny declined. Minus that nitpick, Colletti certainly isn’t projecting a feeling of optimism regarding Manny. Most telling, to me, is that he didn’t discuss an improved offer. When asked about the chances of Manny showing up to Dodgers’ Spring Training, Colletti gave a roundabout answer. Colletti also joked that he didn’t want to go out to the lobby and see Scott Boras.

This, of course, is going to open the rumors of the Yankees being interested. I wouldn’t put much stake in these until we hear something substantial. Which in many cases means until we get a confirmed report of a signing, or that Boras and the Yankees are “deep in talks.” I don’t expect to hear anything of that nature in the next few weeks, if ever.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Just overheard two writers near me talking about Mark Teixeira: The Angels are ready to go to eight years for him, and $20M per year “isn’t even an issue.” He also said the Beltway Teams (Nats and O’s) are hard after him as well. There was also brief talk about the Halos wanting Justin Masterson from the Sox in exchange for Jeff Mathis or Mike Napoli.

Like I said, I overheard two media guys talking about this not more than 6 feet away from me. Just a rumor.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League
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