Tag:AL East
Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:53 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 10:13 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part III: Pitchers



By Matt Snyder


As we conclude the short series on overpaid players, we'll take a look at the man on the hill: The pitcher.

The interesting thing I found about pitchers is that not too many "long-term" contracts stood out like a sore thumb as being bad in terms of what is left on the current deal. A lot of the honorable mention types are for just one year, maybe two. This, I believe, illustrates the caution the overwhelming majority of teams exercise when coughing up long-term deals for pitchers.

That doesn't mean there are no guys on the list, however. We have a couple really good fits.

As a reminder, we're only talking about the contracts from now until the conclusion of the deal. Any money already banked doesn't count in this exercise.

Right-handed starters

Worst: John Lackey
Remaining contract: 3 years, $47.85 million

Ignore that Lackey is injured now and will miss all of the 2012 season. In fact, that actually helps the Red Sox here if last season was any indication. Lackey was brutal in '11, putting together a 6.41 ERA, 1.62 WHIP while leading the majors in earned runs and wild pitches. He allowed a whopping 203 hits in his 160 innings pitched and posted a negative WAR (Wins Above Replacement player). And when he's healthy again, he'll be 34.

Honorable Mention

A.J. Burnett, Yankees: He helped the Yankees win the World Series title in 2009, but was he really integral? He was bad in the ALCS and was terrible in one of his World Series starts after leading the league in walks and wild pitches during the regular season. Since then, Burnett is 21-26 with a 5.20 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He's now the Yankees' fifth starter and will make $33 million for the next two seasons.

"Fausto Carmona," Indians: He may miss the season after being caught for identity fraud (his name is actually Roberto Hernandez Heredia). He's due $7 million this season.

Jake Peavy, White Sox: It's hard to not appreciate the way Peavy is an absolute bulldog on the hill, but he was 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA last season as he battled back from a severe injury and he's set to make $17 million in 2012.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals: Twelve starts in 2010 got Westbrook a two-year deal with the Cardinals. He's going to make $8.5 million this season after a pretty bad 2011 campaign.

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs/Marlins: He'll make $19 million this year, but the Cubs are paying most of it so Big Z can pitch for the Marlins.

Derek Lowe, Braves/Indians: He'll make $15 million this year, but the Braves are paying most of it so Lowe can pitch for the Indians.

Left-handed starters

Worst: Barry Zito
Remaining contract: 2 years, $39 million

Perhaps the worst news is there's actually a club option for 2014. Now, obviously the Giants won't pick that up, barring Zito becoming Tim Lincecum overnight, but there's a $7 million buyout if they don't pick up the option. So Zito will cost the Giants $47 million more, at the very least, before they can wash their hands of him. This actually has to be one of the worst contracts of all time. Zito is 43-61 with a 4.55 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and zero postseason innings pitched in his five seasons with the Giants.

Honorable Mention

Johan Santana, Mets: He was earning his deal pre-injury, so this one isn't really anyone's fault. Santana is due $49.5 million for the next two seasons, though, so that is rough.

Relievers

Worst: Rafael Soriano
Remaining contract: 2 years, $25 million

Soriano wasn't even the Yankees' best setup man last season (David Robertson was way better). Soriano was a stud in Tampa Bay in '10, so it's possible he's a great closer for the Yankees in 2013, if Mariano Rivera retires. But even when Soriano had a good second half last season, his numbers weren't awesome. And, again, we're talking about a non-closer making eight figures per season.

Honorable Mention

Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: It will be interesting to see how Papelbon performs throughout this contract. He could very well earn his $50 million over the course of the next four years, but I'm wondering what the Phillies' front office thought when they saw that the Reds signed 2011 Philly closer Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal. I also wonder how this deal will feel if the Phillies can't find a way to lock up Cole Hamels long-term (he's a free agent next offseason). So this one has less to do with Papelbon and more to do with what the deal might end up costing the Phillies, because $50 million is an awful lot to give to a closer.

Brandon Lyon, Astros: Lyon will make $5.5 million this season. His 2011 season was cut short due to an injury, but he had an 11.48 ERA with as many blown saves as actual saves (four).



Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part II: Outfielders and designated hitters

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:43 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:55 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part II: OF/DH



By Matt Snyder


As we continue our look at the most cumbersome contracts in baseball, today we'll look at outfielders and designated hitters. We covered the infield and catchers Wednesday and will look at pitchers Friday. As a reminder, we're looking at what is left on the contract, not what the player has been paid through the duration of the deal.

Left Field

Worst: Vernon Wells, Angels
Remaining contract: 3 years, $74 million

Man, this was a tough call because it's a crowded field (see below), but we'll go with Wells because the average annual value remaining on the contract is insane. He hit .218/.248/.412 last season and had a negative WAR, meaning a replacement-level player was better than a guy making over $25 million for the season. At age 33, he could certainly bounce back, but it's hard to see him all of a sudden becoming worth as much money as he's making.

Honorable Mention

Carl Crawford, Red Sox: There are six years and $128 million left on the deal, and I feel like many will argue that Crawford's remaining contract is worse than Wells'. I'm willing to give the 30-year-old Crawford a mulligan for his catastrophic first season in Boston. Next year at this time we'll know a lot more.

Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: Amazingly, he still has three years and $57 million left. Wow.

Jason Bay, Mets: In two seasons for the Mets, Bay has hit .251/.337/.386 (what an ugly slugging percentage for a supposed power hitter) with just 18 homers in 218 games. He still has two years and $36.25 million left, too, in addition to a $3 million buyout should the Mets not pick up his option year.

Center Field

Worst: Alex Rios, White Sox
Remaining Contract: 3 years, $38.5 million

While his teammate got much of the blame last year in terms of the White Sox's shortfall -- and you'll see him below -- Rios was pretty awful himself. He hit .227/.265/.348, which was good for a 65 OPS-plus (if you don't know what that is, trust me, it's embarrassingly bad). He actually posted a negative 1.5 WAR, meaning -- according to the stat -- that he single-handedly cost the White Sox a win and a half just by being in the lineup when he was. And now, thanks to that contract, he's untradeable.

Honorable Mention

Actually, I've got nothing here. Once one-time center fielders' contracts get too big they are usually shoved to the corners. The big-money guys here (Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, etc.) are fairly compensated.

Right Field

Worst: Jayson Werth, Nationals
Remaining contract: 6 years, $116 million

Very easy choice. I fully expect a bounce-back season from Werth this year, as several things didn't go his way last season. That being said, the Nationals are paying Werth like he's a superstar all the way until the season in which he turns 38. He wasn't even a superstar his last year in Philadelphia, when he was 31.

Honorable Mention

Nick Markakis, Orioles: There's a reason you only hear about other teams asking for Adam Jones in a trade and not Markakis. The latter is due $43.05 million over the next three seasons while he hit .284 with 15 homers and 73 RBI last season. You need more offense than that from a corner outfielder in order to pay him almost $15 million a year.

Designated Hitter

Worst: Adam Dunn, White Sox.
Remaining contract: 3 years, $44 million

Another easy one. Like Werth, I also expect Dunn to bounce back, but there's no way he can be good enough to earn his full contract over the next three years, especially considering how bad he was last season. He was historically awful with the bat -- there's really no need to rehash the gruesome details at this point -- and that's all he does. And if he does field, his value actually decreases because he's such a butcher with the glove.

Honorable Mention

Travis Hafner, Indians: Nitpicky here, but Pronk will make $13 million this season. He's only averaged 91 games per year the past four seasons. No one else really warrants mention, because Big Papi, for example, is still worth the big bucks.

On the Other Hand ...

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Thanks to an early Longoria-type extension, Upton is set to make $46.109 million over the next four seasons. He made just under $4.5 million last season, when he finished fourth in a crowded NL MVP field. Since Upton is only 24, the D-Backs will have to pony up again -- and probably in huge fashion -- to lock him up through his prime, but for now this is a very team-friendly contract.

Special Cases

Bobby Bonilla, Mets: This is both hilarious and sad at the same time. When the Mets bought out Bonilla's $5.9 million contract in 2000, they agreed to repay him with interest starting 11 years later. Beginning July 1, 2011, the Mets are paying Bonilla an annual salary of roughly $1.2 million until 2035. Or around $35 million in all. In 2012, the Mets will pay Bonilla more than the following regulars/rotation members: Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.

Manny Ramirez, Dodgers: We'll ignore that the Red Sox are paying Manny B. Manny $2 million per year until he's 54 because he helped bring them two World Series titles. But the Dodgers are paying Ramirez $8.33 million in 2012 and 2013. Assuming Clayton Kershaw gets more in arbitration, that means Manny will be the Dodgers' sixth highest-paid player this season. Of course, Frank McCourt is still going to make a billion dollar profit, so ...


Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part III: Pitchers, coming Friday

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:57 pm
 

Red Sox 'unlikely' to add starter before spring

Ben CheringtonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt are still looking for a new home -- and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he doesn't expect it to be in Boston.

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"We won't rule out adding a starter, but I think it's unlikely at this point," Cherington said during a taping of a NESN Hot Stove special (via the Boston Herald). "We're going to keep looking for ways to improve the team, including the pitching staff, but I wouldn't expect any major changes between now and the report date."

Now, not to say anything bad about Cherington, or to suggest he's being anything less than truthful, but these things can always change. Even Cherington noted that while he expects the Red Sox to go into spring with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz as the three definite members of the rotation, the team could add a starter during spring training or during the season. Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves will go into spring trying to transition into starters and the team has also taken flyers on Vicente Padilla, Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva.

"We know that teams evolve," Cherington said (via the Providence Journal). "That doesn't mean you don't want to go into spring training with every position perfect and the team filled out, because optimally you would. That's never the case.

"The Cardinals are the obvious recent example of a team [evolving], but you can't count on that. You can't count on that and end up in the same spot they did. All we can do, we have the guys we have now and we'll keep looking for ways to add to that group and we don't know when those opportunities are going to come. We're confident that the group we have has a chance to be really good, and we'll do everything we can to add to that if there are opportunities."

The Red Sox could get Daisuke Matsuzaka back by midseason and also make a move at the trade deadline.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:34 pm
 

Matt Garza's 2008 AL championship ring stolen

Matt GarzaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

We've all seen how garish World Series rings are, but did you know the runners-up get pretty impressive rings themselves?

Former Ray and current Cubs pitcher Matt Garza reported his 2008 American League championship ring stolen from his Fresno, Calif., home and it's listed as worth $30,000, according tot he Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

According to the Fresno Bee, the burglary happened between the afternoon of Jan. 26 and the morning of Jan. 31.

It seems the Rays are popular victims of crimes. Last spring the house rented by Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, David Price and Reid Brignac reported $56,000 worth of property stolen, including Longoria's AK-47 rifle. Police arrested three suspects in that robbery in August.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Category: MLB
Posted on: February 1, 2012 3:21 pm
 

Carlos Guillen returns to Seattle

Carlos GuillenBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Guillen is back with the Mariners. The 36-year-old infielder signed a minor-league deal with the team on Wednesday with a big-league invite to spring training.

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Guillen spent the last eight seasons with the Tigers, making three All-Star teams, after playing parts of six seasons with the Mariners.

While he played shortstop for the Mariners and Tigers earlier in his career, he was limited to just second base, first base and DH last season, appearing in just 28 games, hitting .232/.265/.368 with three home runs. He hasn't played in more than 150 games since 2007, playing in just 177 over the last three.

The Mariners traded Guillen to the Tigers for Ramon Santiago and minor-leaguer Juan Gonzalez before the 2004 season. Santiago was a flop in Seattle, returning to Detroit in 2006, where he's played ever since.

In other minor-league deals, former Phillies reliever Chad Durbin signed with the Nationals and Rays hero Dan Johnson signed with the White Sox.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: January 31, 2012 1:38 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Yankees hire Jim Hendry as special assistant

By Matt Snyder

Jim Hendry was the Cubs' general manager from 2002 until last August. He was notified he would be fired last July, but stayed on until late August to aid in the transition. He wasn't unemployed for long, however, because the Yankees have hired Hendry as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. The news was first reported by ESPN Chicago.

Hendry, 56, led the Cubs to three NL Central championships (2003, 2007, 2008), but the latter two teams were swept in the NLDS and Hendry left the cupboard pretty bare for the new Cubs administration, headed up by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

Hendry started working for the Cubs in 1995 and there aren't many people in the business who dislike him as a person. He's also known to have a very strong work ethic.

It's possible this job will be a stepping stone for Hendry getting another shot at GM, as Kevin Towers was fired from being the Padres' GM post in 2009 and took a similar position with Cashman and the Yankees. Towers was then hired as the Diamondbacks' GM, his current job.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 1:14 pm
 

Increased drug tests don't bother Bautista



By Matt Snyder


Major League Baseball has "random" drug testing on its players, but Jose Bautista has seen a drastic increase in testing the past two seasons. Bautista had never hit more than 16 homers in a season until he hit 54 in 2010 and then 43 in 2011. There's a group of fans and media who seem to think the only possible way to make that kind of jump is to take some form of illicit "supplement." It could be a coincidence, but Bautista's testing has increased along with his home run totals. 

On TSN 1050 radio, Bautista estimated he's been tested 16 times in the past two seasons (via TSN.com). But don't get all worked up about it, Blue Jays fans and Bautista supporters, because he's cool with it.

More Blue Jays coverage
"It has increased in the last two years compared to before but I'm not complaining whatsoever. It's a question that I was asked so I gave an honest answer. It's not in my interest to make it seem like I'm getting picked on."

More:

"I don't mind it; it's something that is not going to affect my focus and I'm not going to allow it to affect how I play my game," Bautista said. "They are entitled to do whatever they want and test you as many times as they want. If I get picked to be tested a million times, that's fine with me."

I've emphatically supported Bautista against the small-minded haters the past two seasons and these comments make me dig my heels in even further.

It should be noted that it's entirely possible random testing causes sporadic testing, meaning you could be tested zero times one season and 20 the next -- like flipping a coin and having heads turn up 20 times in a row -- so I'm not trying to accuse the MLB of anything nefarious. For me, the most important takeaway here is the fact that Bautista basically says "bring it on" and has passed all these tests.

Hat-tip: Hardball Talk

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:16 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 12:38 pm
 

Report: Mariners wanted Lawrie for Pineda



By Matt Snyder


The Blue Jays had to field some questions from a few disgruntled fans Monday night in their State of the Franchise meeting concerning a seeming lack of major moves this offseason. At one point, general manager Alex Anthopolous reportedly discussed a trade that he didn't make because he would have had to give up a "major-league ready player" in return.

And reliable Toronto Globe and Mail reporter Jeff Blair says sources tell him the proposed deal was third baseman Brett Lawrie for then-Seattle starting pitcher Michael Pineda (Update: Geoff Baker of the The Seattle Times back up this assertion). The Blue Jays refused to deal Lawrie, so instead the Mariners went out and flipped Pineda for then-Yankees designated hitter Jesus Montero.

Interesting.

Pineda-for-Montero swap
The Mariners interest in Lawrie makes a ton of sense. Not only is he a great young talent, but M's GM Jack Zduriencik was the Brewers director of amateur scouting when they drafted Lawrie in the first round 2008. Plus, the Mainers have a hole at third.

But, personally, the most interesting part here is from the Blue Jays' angle. Lawrie is only 22 and had a great debut for the Jays last season, hitting .293/.373/.580 with nine homers, 25 RBI and 26 runs in just 171 plate appearances. That's a line that has future star written all over it. Pineda, though, is only 23 and was an All-Star for Seattle last season. He faded down the stretch, but still struck out 173 hitters in 171 innings. Considering the Blue Jays need pitching more than hitting at this point, that they could play Jose Bautista at third and also that they have a handful of young outfielders, this move might have made some sense.

Instead, it seems Anthopolous played his own little game of Would You Rather Have and elected he wanted Lawrie more than Pineda (but wait, how could he possibly "compare" a third baseman and a pitcher?!?).

And when Anthopolous did balk at making the move, it opened the door for the Yankees to make a deal that strengthened their pitching staff.

Only time will tell on what would have been the right move here for the Blue Jays, but it's certainly an interesting nugget on a slow Tuesday to chew on.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com