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Tag:Giants
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:33 pm
 

Giants looking to lock up Lincecum, Cain

By Matt Snyder

As CBSSports.com's Scott Miller has previously reported, the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants don't have the money to go after a big name free agent -- like Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins, to name two guys who have been connected to the Giants in rumors. Not only are there some albatross contracts on the books (cough, Barry Zito/Aaron Rowand, cough), but they have some young pitchers who need to be locked up. Starters Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are the absolute foundation of the ballclub, and general manager Brian Sabean hasn't made it a secret what his goal is with the two.

"The first model we have to build is how we keep this pitching staff intact. And how many dollars it's going to take against the budget," Sabean said (MLB.com).

Without signing the duo to extensions, the Giants risk losing either one in the near future -- or both, which would be a disaster. Cain would become a free agent at the end of the 2012 season. Lincecum would have his final year of arbitration for the 2013 season before hitting the market after it. Considering the one-two rotation punch is the backbone and identity of the team, it's easy to see why the priority is locking them up before even thinking about stretching the budget even thinner for a shortstop.

Cain, 27, is a two-time All-Star. He was 12-11 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 179 strikeouts in 221 2/3 innings last season. He's thrown at least 217 innings in each of his past four seasons, so a huge part of his value is durability.

Lincecum, 27, is a four-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner. He went 13-14 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 220 strikeouts in 217 innings last season. He is also incredibly durable, as he's thrown at least 212 innings in each of his four full seasons.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 13, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 6:17 pm
 

Baseball's worst contracts, zombie-style

Werth, zombie

By Evan Brunell

What are the worst contracts in baseball?

Some of them are pretty easy. The names of Vernon Wells and Barry Zito, for example, have been synonymous with horrible contracts. Others aren't as easy to ferret out, but here's one man's look at the 10 worst contracts currently in baseball. To help us figure out which contracts are awful, I turned to a TV show that knows all about things awful: The Walking Dead. Because obviously, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world is completely comparable to the onerous contracts some teams are saddled with.

There are three categories below, inspired by scenes from The Walking Dead that are linked for your viewing enjoyment and quotes, which aren't necessarily tied to the scene in the video. (Don't worry, no spoilers, but if you haven't seen the most recent episode, skip the scene in the last category anyways.) Be warned: If you are squeamish, it's best if you don't click through. Unless you're interested in giving your wastebasket the remnants of your most recent meal.

STILL KICKING

Walking Dead scene
"It's a waste of time, all this hoping and praying." -- Daryl (season 2, episode 2)

These players are nearing the end of their awful deals, like a zombie with no legs. Just like a zombie with no legs would keep crawling along trying to eat humans alive, so do these players keep on kicking. While their contracts don't look too bad given they're of the short-term variety at this point, there's no denying that these players are still of the undead. The years remaining on the contract to qualify for this list is two or less seasons. Also, this list does not include players who were released and are still owed money, such as Aaron Rowand, due $13.6 million by the Giants in 2012.

BayJason Bay, Mets
Contract: 4 years, $66 million, $16.5 million AAV. Remaining: 2 years, $39.25 million (includes 2014's $3 million buyout)

The Red Sox thought they had Bay locked up to a deal to stay in town, but Bay balked at medical contingencies in the contract, designed to protect Boston in case Bay's knees went. That allowed the Mets to swoop in on a deal they quickly regretted, as Bay's bat vanished in Citi Field, then struggled with concussions as his batting line in 2011 sank all the way to .245/.329/.374 with 12 homers in 509 plate appearances. Even though the club is set to move in its fences, it's tough to see Bay bouncing back and earning the rest of his deal which could potentially stretch through 2014. If Bay can reach 500 PA in 2012 and '13 -- a cinch as long as he stays relatively healthy, or 600 PAs in 2013, a $17 million club option vests. That would make this deal look even worse.

LeeCarlos Lee, Astros
Contract: 6 years, $100 million, $16.67 million AAV. Remaining: 1 year, $19 million

The Astros' impending move to the AL East for the 2013 season is coming one year too late. Lee's contract is finally due to expire next season, and one has to imagine that Lee will be the last man in a long time to receive $100-plus million for being such a one-dimensional slugger that can't even hit bombs anymore unless the Crawford boxes in left help him out. At this point, Lee is taking up space that could be better allocated to young players on a rebuilding club. Lee should have been dumped in a deal by now, but he has no interest in leaving Houston and has no-trade rights.

SantanaJohan Santana, Mets
Contract: 6 years, $137.5 million, $22.9 million AAV. Remaining: 2 years, $55 million (includes 2014's $5.5 million buyout)

Santana's never really bandied about as a person with a lousy contract, but the numbers are simply stunning. After the Mets gave up a bounty (of nothingness, as it turned out) to acquire the best starter in the game from the Twins way back in 2008, Santana has given the Mets one season of transcendence. Since then, it's been a whole bunch of injuries, causing the lefty to sit out all of 2011. That means over the last three seasons, Santana's contributed just 54 starts. And it gets worse, as his deal is backloaded for an incredible $55 million coming the next two years, and no guarantee Santana can even approximate the pitcher he once was after undergoing surgery to repair an anterior capsule tear in his left shoulder. New York holds a $25 million option for 2014 that can become guaranteed based on innings pitched and finish in award voting.

ZitoBarry Zito, Giants
Contract: 7 years, $126 million, $18 million AAV. Remaining: 2 years, $46 million (includes 2014's $7 million buyout)

This contract is so bad, even the buyout of Zito's team option in 2014 is horrible. The Giants might be paying Zito $7 million simply to go away. Being paid like an ace, he's been the team's No. 5 starter the last two season and will hold that role again in 2012. The selling point to Zito, despite the regression back to being a league-average player, is the fact he can chew up innings. One problem: the 2014 option vests automatically if Zito pitches at least 200 innings in 2013 or 400 between 2012-13. That's very feasible if the Giants keep him on his regular turn through the rotation, so he might have $18 million in 2014 headed his way.

NOT SO PRETTY

Walking Dead scene
"You don't know what it's like out there. You may think you do but you don't. It's only a matter of time. There's too many of those things. My boy, my wife, I never told them what I really thought. I never even hinted, just, just kept it in, kept us moving, kept it in, kept us moving." -- Rick (season 1, episode 6)

Little girls are cute... except when they're trying to tear your flesh off. Just as in the Walking Dead, baseball has its share of onerous, undead contracts that once looked pretty but now eat up as much payroll space as they can. Here are the worst deals left with less than five years remaining.

LackeyJohn Lackey, Red Sox
Contract
: 5 years, $82.5 million, $16.5 million average annual value (AAV). Remaining: 3 years, $47.85 million

Even though he has yet to reach the halfway mark of his deal, this contract already ranks as one of the worst in baseball history. The Red Sox thought they were getting a fiery, innings-eating No. 2 starter. Instead, what they've received is one of the worst pitchers in the game who shows up his teammates on the field. And now he'll be missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery. That means, through three years of the deal, Lackey will have given Boston a 5.26 ERA in 61 starts. The only saving value to this deal is the surgery will kick in an additional year at the league minimum Lackey must play at, which will drag down his AAV and give Boston a couple extra million below the luxury tax to play with.

SorianoAlfonso Soriano, Cubs
Contract: 8 years, $136 million, $17 million AAV. Remaining: 3 years, $57 million

Soriano has kept up his home-run production since moving to Chicago, but his bat has slowed to the point where he's lucky if he cracks the .250 barrier in batting average. That wouldn't be such a big deal if the man knew how to take a walk once in a while, but he doesn't, as evidenced by his .289 OBP. New Cubs president Theo Epstein is going to be taking a lot of heart medicine these next three seasons as he watches Soriano clank balls in left field and stifle rallies with his inability to draw a walk. The Cubs appear as if they're going to enter a retooling period, so at least Soriano isn't holding them back from contending. But then again, that's exactly what he's done to Chicago the last couple years.
 
WellsVernon Wells, Angels
Contract: 7 years, $126 million, $18 million AAV. Remaining: 3 years, $72.96 million

Patience, Jerry Dipoto. Just keep telling yourself it's just three years. Dipoto, the new Angels GM, will have a challenge to build a winning club that includes Wells and his yoke of a contract that doesn't even tell the full story. For crying out loud, Wells is slated to receive $24.6 million each of the next three seasons. For comparison, only Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard will earn more on a AAV basis than Wells will receive through the end of his contract. Back when the deal was signed, Wells was poised to be one of the best players in the game moving forward. Now? He's essentially Alfonso Soriano, but with a much worse deal. How someone can have an OBP under .250 and still collect over 500 plate appearances is baffling. It will be a shock if Wells can finish out the deal without being released.

GUTS EVERYWHERE

Walking Dead scene
"Good thing we didn't do anything stupid like shoot it." -- T-Dog being sarcastic (season 2, episode 4)


These contracts are the worst of the worst. It's almost like being a zombie stuck in a water well for weeks, then finally getting dragged out of the well only to split in half and spew its guts everywhere. In other words, fans of these teams have nothing but good things to look forward to.

HowardRyan Howard, Phillies
Contract: 5 years, $125 million, $25 million AAV. Remaining: This deal kicks in for 2012.

Howard was once a very, very good player that had his career held back due to the presence of Jim Thome in town. When he finally earned the right to play every day, he started mashing and just wouldn't stop. So what did GM Ruben Amaro do? Simple. He gave Ryan Howard one of the richest deals in baseball history... two full seasons before it was set to kick in. And what's happened in those two full years? Well, Howard's essentially become a platoon player who can't field and whose bat has slowed to the point where he can't be considered an elite first baseman anymore. And this is someone who will miss the beginning of 2012 thanks to an Achilles tear that could torpedo his career. His lucrative contract, which will leave him behind just Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez for the highest AAV in baseball history, is just beginning. By the way, he has a 2017 team option for $23 million that will hand him a whopping $10 million in a buyout.

RodriguezAlex Rodriguez, Yankees
Contract: 10 years, $275 million $27.5 million AAV. $30 million due if he hits home-run milestones. Remaining: 6 years, $143 million (plus milestones)

There's no question Rodriguez has been a fantastic player, steroids or not, and he'll retire as one of the best players in the game of baseball. But his 10-year deal with the Yankees was silly when it was signed and it's even sillier now. Coming off what A-Rod called the worst season of his career, the Yankees are suddenly staring at $143 million over the next six years being given to a DH who is lucky if he can reach 30 home runs and 100 RBI. Rodriguez is simply not the same player he once was, and instead of being in his own class these days, he's now merely "very good." And you don't want "very good" from a player earning millions through age 42.

WerthJayson Werth, Nationals
Contract: 7 years, $126 million, $18 million AAV. Remaining: 6 years, $115.4 million

Here's one number to avoid in baseball: 126. That's exactly how much money (in millions, of course) Zito and Wells are receiving to be money drains for the club. And now Werth gets to be a money drain, and he still has so much more due to him after playing 2011 at $10.6 million. You can't blame Werth, who also (of course) has a no-trade clause, for accepting such a deal. It was obviously a gross overpayment that no one was going to match, but it's hard to envision what the Nats were thinking. Yes, they wanted to make a statement. But was someone set to play 2011 at age 32  with notable platoon splits really the man to make a splash with? The right fielder will likely bounce back from his .232/.330/.389 line set in his first year with Washington, but he will never justify this contract.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
The Walking Dead photo courtesy the show's download page available to public.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 3:21 pm
 

Players in Venezuela cautiously moving forward

Wilson Ramos

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Despite the recent kidnapping of Wilson Ramos, the Giants are not asking star third baseman Pablo Sandoval to cancel his trip to his native Venezuela next month, Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Sandoval is expected to go to Venezuela on Dec. 10 and play 10 games for Navegantes de Magallanes near his hometown of Puerto Cabello.

"We are aware of the situation (with Ramos)," Giants vice president Bobby Evans told Baggarly. "Everyone is cautious about the safety of their players."

Sandoval tweeted late Friday, celebrating Ramos' safe return home:
 
A rough translation is: "Thank God for the appearance of my colleague and compatriot Wilson Ramos -- now it's time to put a stop to this kidnapping situation."

Kidnapping has been an epidemic in Venezuela, even though Ramos said he believed his kidnappers to be Columbian.

Former big league pitcher Scot Drucker is playing for the same team in Venezuela as Ramos, the Tigres de Aragua. He's currently blogging about his winter league experience in Venezuela. Friday, before Ramos was found, Drucker blogged about the situation.

Many friends and family members asked me about the team and my safety. The team and front office staff goes over and beyond with team security. We have about 8-12 armed guards who travel with us on the planes and buses. We also have police escorts to and from the fields. I know the import players feel safe.

Drucker also tweeted about his experiences after the news broke that Ramos had been rescued:

Scot Drucker

I also spoke to Joe Speed, the agent for Nationals right-handed prospect Ryan Tatusko, who is also playing in Venezuela. Speed said Tatusko decided to stay in Venezuela, but feels safe because of the team's security. Tatusko is playing for the Bravos de Maragarita.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Kuroda, Igawa garnering interest from Japan

Hiroki Kuroda

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Hiroki Kuroda ranked fourth on the CBSSports.com ranking of free agent starting pitchers -- and that was before CC Sabathia signed his extension. So needless to say, the former Dodgers right-hander is among the most sought-after free agents on the market.

While the Dodgers were thought to be a shoe-in to re-sign Kuroda, there have been reports that more teams, including the Yankees, could tempt him. Add another team to the mix -- the Hiroshima Carp. Kuroda, 36, pitched 11 years for the Carp before signing with the Dodgers as a free agent on Dec. 16, 2007. 

According to Nikkan Sports in Japan (via NPB tracker), the Carp have made an official offer to Kuroda, 37.

"I'm happy that they would evaluate my contributions like that," Kuroda said, according to NPB Tracker. "Naturally, I'm happy. A feeling that they really want to win across. (Hiroshima's competitiveness this season) has come to a frustrating place, to a place where they are one step away. … I'm very happy I got an offer from the Carp."

Kuroda is 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers, including a 13-16 record with a 3.07 ERA in 2011. He was 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA in Japan, winning the Central League with a 1.85 ERA in 2006.

The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck writes that he expects Kuroda's decision to come down the Dodgers and Carp -- and for the Dodgers, that decision needs to be made relatively soon.

Kuroda isn't the only Japanese player from the major leagues that is gaining attention in his home country. NPB Tracker also notes Kei Igawa is garnering interest from Rakuten and Orix.

Meanwhile, Seibu shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima and Yakult center fielder Norichika Aoki have asked to be posted. Nikkan Sports reports the Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Orioles may be interested in Nakajima.

Meanwhile, Chunichi left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is unsure whether he wants to move to the United States, according to the Chunichi Shimbun (also via NPB Tracker). Chen, 26, would be a free agent and not subject to the posting system. A native of Taiwan, Chen went 8-10 with a 2.68 ERA for the Dragons this season. He led the Central League with a 1.54 ERA  and 0.93 WHIP in 2009.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Report: Giants likely out, Red Sox in on Beltran

By Matt Snyder

Carlos Beltran provided a boost to the Giants' anemic offense after being traded in a late July deal this past season and the Giants surely would like to keep him. But in light of their money woes -- outlined by Scott Miller recently on CBSSports.com -- they may not be able to afford him. Enter Boston.

The Red Sox are interested in Beltran, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com -- who adds that a "competing" executive believes the Red Sox will end up signing Beltran to a two-year contract. Beltran would be a great fit with the Red Sox, who could slide him into right field and make their already-solid lineup even stronger.

Meanwhile, the Giants would be losing one of their biggest bats from the final two months of the 2011 season. Beltran hit .323/.369/.551 with nine doubles, four triples and seven home runs in 44 games for the Giants. All told, he hit .300 with 22 homers, 84 RBI, 39 doubles and a .910 OPS while making his sixth All-Star team in 2011.

Beltran turns 35 in the first month of the 2012 season, but his move from center to right field seems to have helped extend his career a bit.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Monday trade sets stage for busy Hot Stove season



By Matt Snyder


Sure, Derek Lowe was dealt to the Indians in a salary dump and we've seen a few signings, but things have been pretty slow of late in Major League Baseball news. When the biggest name to sign a contract with a new team thus far is a backup first baseman/pinch-hitter (Jim Thome), it says everything you need to know about this past week in actual transactions. So forgive us for loving Melky Cabrera and Jonathan Sanchez swapping addresses. It's something, and it serves as a nice little unofficial start to the Hot Stove season.

With just one week to the general manager meetings in Milwaukee, it's time to focus on other potential trade candidates. Obviously rumors don't always come to fruition and we're shocked with non-rumored trades going down on occasion, but here are some names that either make sense or have been rumored to be on the move in the recent past.

• The White Sox's farm system is in absolute shambles and the major-league club doesn't appear ready to compete with the Tigers any time soon, so it's possible general manager Kenny Williams decides to rebuild. Since Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have no trade value, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin would be the parts most likely to move.

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is a free agent after the 2012 season and he could be a helpful four or five starter for a contender. He's thrown at least 190 innings in each of the past four seasons.

Hot Stove Season
• Do new Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to cut the sunk costs of Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano? They'd have to eat a significant portion of the remaining salaries (and for Soriano it's $54 million left on the deal), but the duo isn't helping the Cubs win in 2012. Also, Marlon Byrd only has one year left on his contract and prospect Brett Jackson will likely be ready to take over in center soon. The guess is Byrd has more value by the trade deadline in '12, though.

Rays center fielder B.J. Upton has long been rumored to be a trade candidate, and this winter it might finally happen with Desmond Jennings clearly ready to take over in center. Also, if the Rays are ready to deal a starting pitcher, Jeff Niemann is most likely.

Denard Span was rumored to be a trade candidate back in July, and the Twins could part with their center fielder to shore up the pitching staff.

We've already heard the rumors about Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado from Atlanta, but it's possible since talks fizzled with the Royals that the Braves just hold both.

• Do the Angels try to shed Alberto Callaspo and/or Maicer Izturis and then land free agent Aramis Ramirez at third? They probably would need to shed more payroll in order to do so.

• Starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers could easily be on the move from Houston, but the guess is the ownership situation would need to be resolved first.

• After a disappointing 2011 season, the Rockies have plenty of trade candidates. Chris Iannetta probably stays put, but Huston Street, Ian Stewart, Seth Smith and Ty Wigginton all make sense in potential deals.

Dodgers first baseman James Loney finished 2011 with a bang, which might mean it's the Dodgers last chance to get something of value in return for him. There are a few small-market matches, too, including the Indians.

• Finally, as we've already noted, the A's have put basically the entire team on the block.

So fasten your seatbelts, the action has only just begun.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Trade will help Giants, Royals in free agency

Reyes

By Evan Brunell


Both the Giants and Royals addressed areas of need in a swap that sent Melky Cabrera to San Francisco in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez. And, on the surface, the deal will also allow both sides to strengthen their ability to sign high-ticket free agents. Though inside sources say the Giants may not have as much financial clout as it appears.

Now that San Francisco has brought in Cabrera, the club has crossed off one item on their to-do list and cleared up a logjam in the rotation. While the Giants may still yet pursue additional outfield help, it has more money to work with to address the club's most glaring need: shortstop. The position was a black hole last season, and with no semblance of help arriving soon from the minors, the club has to play in free agency for a shortstop. It's uncertain, though, as to whether they could pick up the price tag of a Jose Reyes (pictured), Jimmy Rollins or even a Rafael Furcal.

It's simple economics. The Giants' three top priorities this offseason was to find two outfielders and a shortstop. Now they've found one outfielder without bumping their payroll up. Instead of having a certain amount of dollars to spread among three areas of need, now it's between two areas of need. And, on the bright side, the Giants will be freed from the expiring contracts of Aubrey Huff (free agent after 2012), Aaron Rowand (who has already been released, but is still due $13.6 million in 2012) and Barry Zito (done after 2013 with a $7 million buyout in 2014).


Hot Stove Season
The Royals also benefit from this deal, but in a different way. If Kansas City wants to be taken seriously by free agents, it has to show a commitment to improving the club. While the club did delete Cabrera from the team, they opened up center field for prospect Lorenzo Cain, who was part of the Zack Greinke trade prior to the 2011 season. Where the major improvement comes is in the rotation, which had the fourth-worst rotation in baseball last season with zero upside. When Luke Hochevar starts on Opening Day, there's a problem.

Sanchez's arrival will deepen the rotation, which you can bet free agents will notice. C.J. Wilson may be one such person, who will attract attention from many teams as one of the top starters on the market. Kansas City is expected to be involved, and the acquisition of Sanchez should help Wilson be more confident in the direction the Royals are taking. Wilson can look ahead at the incoming crop of elite pitching prospects and see the potential for a deep, devastating rotation. The Royals can also entice Wilson or another pitcher to town by contending that the acquisitions of two starters will allow the team to trade some of its minor-league pitching talent to further bolster the club, which GM Dayton Moore has alluded to be working toward.

Incidentially, my free-agency predictions had Reyes to the Giants and Wilson to the Royals. After this trade, these predictions are looking more and more realistic.

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