Posted on: December 9, 2008 6:54 pm
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Posted on: December 8, 2008 10:20 pm
LAS VEGAS -- As they promised last month, the Dodgers have so far ignored the big-name free agents and focused instead on their multiple other needs.
As Scott Miller wrote earlier today, it appears that they'll re-sign third baseman Casey Blake. That means that Blake DeWitt can play second base, but it still leaves the Dodgers without a shortstop. Also, the Dodgers remain in the market for a setup man.
And where does that leave Manny Ramirez?
Nowhere yet, and people familiar with the Dodgers say they don't expect general manager Ned Colletti to focus on Ramirez anytime soon. Colletti may not focus on Ramirez at all, because it's believed that any Ramirez negotiations will be handled directly by owner Frank McCourt. McCourt was also heavily involved in the deal with the Red Sox that made Manny a Dodger in the first place.
As for CC Sabathia, the Dodgers seem to know that they'd have a real chance for him if they would only seriously enter the bidding. But it still seems very unlikely that they'll do that.
Posted on: November 26, 2008 3:41 pm
Angels general manager Tony Reagins said today that his team has no issue with Mark Teixeira's left knee, and also insisted that the Angels haven't ruled out trying to re-sign their free-agent first baseman.
"Mark Teixeira is a priority," said Reagins, a day after both CBSSports.com and the Los Angeles Times reported that the Angels have shifted their focus from Teixeira to CC Sabathia.
A source with knowledge of the Angels plans told CBSSports.com on Tuesday that one reason for the shift was long-term concern over Teixeira's knee. Teixeira had minor surgery to clean out the knee in November 2007, and it did not give him any trouble in 2008.
"With respect to Mark Teixeira, we have zero concern about his medical status," Reagins said. "It's never been raised as an issue."
Scott Boras, who represents Teixeira, said this morning that he had specifically asked the Angels whether they had any concerns, and that he was told there were none.
Reagins wouldn't discuss Sabathia, saying only: "We have interest in looking to improve our pitching staff."
Posted on: November 25, 2008 4:58 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2008 5:32 pm
The market for both of the winter's top two free agents has shifted dramatically, with the Angels deciding to drop their pursuit of Mark Teixeira and go after CC Sabathia instead.
The Los Angeles Times reported the shift this morning, and a major-league source with knowledge of the Angels plans confirmed it to CBSSports.com. But while the Times said that Teixeira "remains the Angels' top priority," the source said that's no longer true.
"They're moving on to the next guy," the source said.
The next guy is Sabathia, who many Angels decision-makers have coveted since mid-summer. The Angels immediately become a major force in the Sabathia sweepstakes, and quite possibly the favorite to sign him. Even if they don't offer him more money than the Yankees would, the Angels can come close with the money, and also offer Sabathia the chance to pitch near his California home.
Even if they sign Sabathia, there's a chance the Angels would still try to complete a Jake Peavy trade with the Padres. As CBSSports.com reported last week, the Angels are strongly interested in Peavy, and think they have enough to offer the Padres to get a deal done. Peavy has veto power over a trade, and hasn't listed the Angels as a team he would agree to. But since he plans to keep his permanent residence in San Diego, there's a chance that pitching nearby in Anaheim could be attractive to him.
The Angels will likely move fast after Sabathia. As a major-league general manager pointed out, it was a year ago today that they made their offer to Torii Hunter, with a 48-hour deadline. Hunter signed late the night before Thanksgiving.
There were two main reasons for the Angels' decision.
First, and probably most importantly, agent Scott Boras has been seeking a 10-year deal for Teixeira. The Angels are unwlling to go more than six years, in part because their team doctors are concerned about Teixeira's knee holding up for that long.
"There's something in his knee that really bothers their doctor," the source said.
Second, the Angels don't see a quick end to the Teixeira derby, and they started to get worried that they wouldn't get either of their two top targets. They remember waiting too long for Paul Konerko in the 2005-06 winter, only to lose Konerko to the White Sox and be left without a backup plan.
The Angels front office was always split on whether to make Teixeira or Sabathia the top winter target.
One issue was that owner Arte Moreno was said to initially prefer Teixeira. Another was that the Angels didn't see another hitter they really liked on the free agent market (even though Moreno has had kind things to say about Manny Ramirez), or in a trade. While the Angels could offer Jered Weaver and perhaps Chone Figgins, they have no interest in Konerko and very little in Jermaine Dye, another hitter the White Sox are willing to move.
Concentrating on pitching doesn't bother the Angels, who have always seen themselves as a pitching and defense team. So instead of thinking about a middle of the order with Teixeira, Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter, they'll dream of a rotation with Sabathia, Peavy, John Lackey, Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana.
Could the Angels shift back at some point and still pursue Teixeira? Sure, they could, if they lose out on Sabathia, and if Boras is willing to do a six-year deal.
What seems more likely is that the Teixeira derby now shifts to the East Coast, where the Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals are all interested, and where some believe that the Yankees could still get back into the picture.
Posted on: November 21, 2008 12:12 pm
Plenty of people scoffed at the Yankees last December, when they set a deadline for the Twins to accept their trade offer for Johan Santana. But then the Yankees stuck with their deadline, and the Twins eventually accepted what some saw as a lesser offer from the Mets.
So now Hal Steinbrenner says the Yankees will put a deadline on their six-year, $140 million offer to free agent CC Sabathia.
Once again, people are scoffing at it.
"I think that's a deadline that gets pushed back day-by-day," one baseball official said this morning.
It's hard to believe that the Yankees would actually hold to a CC deadline, for several reasons.
First, Sabathia is the pitcher they've coveted (drooled over) for months now. It's hard to imagine they'd turn their back on him, and it's hard to imagine they'd ever consider the winter a success without him, even if they were to sign both A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.
Second, the Yankees went into the winter suspecting that Sabathia would prefer to go elsewhere, to the National League and/or to the West Coast. If that's true, and then they held to their deadline, wouldn't they just be making it easier for him to justify doing exactly that? Sure, a deadline could be seen as applying pressure, but it could also be seen as a perfect excuse for Sabathia to turn down the highest offer and then sign where he actually wants to go.
Posted on: November 21, 2008 11:41 am
Edited on: November 21, 2008 2:27 pm
Re-signing free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira is still the Angels' top offseason goal -- as mandated by owner Arte Moreno. The Angels have focused on Teixeira, turning CC Sabathia strictly into a backup plan for a team that was once expected to be among his main suitors.
The Angels have said they can't afford both Teixeira and Sabathia, the two biggest names on this winter's free-agent market. In recent days, though, the Angels have been telling people that they could afford both Teixeira and Jake Peavy, if they could acquire Peavy in a trade with the Padres.
While the Angels were not on Peavy's original five-team approval list, there has been some thought that he would be open to going there, because he has said that he plans to keep his permanent residence in nearby San Diego even after the Padres trade him. It could be easier for the Padres to work out a deal with the Angels than with any of the five pre-approved teams.
The Padres' talks with Atlanta, the one approved team that showed the most interest in a deal, broke off last week after San Diego pulled back from a deal the Braves thought was almost done. Braves officials were said to be angered by the pullback, enough so that they would much prefer to fill their pitching needs elsewhere, if possible.
As for the Angels, they're willing to pay big bucks for Teixeira, but don't believe in getting involved in a prolonged bidding war for him. It's expected that they'll make a large offer, but one with a deadline that would enable them to move on -- likely to Sabathia, if he's still available -- if a deal doesn't get done.
The Angels have also discussed filling some of their needs through a trade. Some in the organization would prefer to play Brandon Wood at third base, but others favor dangling pitcher Jered Weaver as trade bait, in hopes of acquiring a big-hitting outfielder. Maybe they package Weaver and Chone Figgins to the White Sox for Jermaine Dye or Paul Konerko. White Sox general manager Ken Williams has been trying to acquire Figgins for several years.
"They have plenty of contingency plans," said one official who has spoken with the Angels. "But everything depends on Teixeira."
Posted on: November 17, 2008 4:46 pm
The Cubs were in on the Jake Peavy trade talks, and last week they were reported to have interest in Randy Johnson. This week, though, it seems more likely that they'll re-sign Ryan Dempster, their own free-agent pitcher.
There has been some progress in the Dempster talks, according to sources, to the point where some believe a deal could be coming soon.
Dempster went 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA for the Cubs in 2008, and the thinking all along was that he wanted to stay in Chicago. Negotiations hit a little bit of a snag last week, leading the Cubs to explore other options, but now they once again seem focused on keeping him.
Even if they get Dempster signed, the Cubs won't be done for the winter. They still need a left-handed hitting outfielder.
While manager Lou Piniella has said he'd like to get a right fielder, and then use Kosuke Fukudome in a center-field platoon with Reed Johnson, others in the Cubs organization would rather keep Fukudome in right and acquire another left-handed hitter who could be matched up with Johnson in center field.
The Marlins have already traded four of their arbitration-eligible players, and some rival teams believe that Hermida will be the next to go. In addition to the Cubs, the Rays are a team said to have interest.
Florida nearly dealt Hermida away in July, when he was part of the three-way trade that would have sent Manny Ramirez to the Marlins. That deal fell apart, and so did Hermida, who hit .192 in August and hit just two home runs in the final two months of the season.
"Up to this point, he's an underperformer," said one scout who sees the Marlins often. "That's why they're willing to move him. It seems like he'd rather hit singles than home runs, and that's not good for a corner outfielder."
The Dodgers offered Ramirez $45 million over two years, which works out to $22.5 million a season. Now that they've withdrawn that offer, why couldn't they simply offer CC Sabathia $22.5 million a year, which would work out to $135 million over six years?
Sure, the Yankees have offered even more than that, a reported $140 million, but the Dodgers could satisfy Sabathia's preference to play close to home and stay in the National League.
One potential problem with that scenario: The Dodgers have a ton of talented young players (Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Andre Ethier, James Loney) who will be due large raises in the coming years. So the Dodgers might be hesitant to tie up so much money for so many years to come.
The Dodgers seem content to let the Ramirez and Sabathia situations play out while they take care of their other winter business, including trying to re-sign shortstop Rafael Furcal and third baseman Casey Blake. Dodgers manager Joe Torre is said to be especially fond of Blake, and he has told people that the Dodgers turnaround began not when they traded for Ramirez, but several days earlier when they acquired Blake from the Indians.
What about the Angels, who had Sabathia on their radar even before they traded for Mark Teixeira in July?
Well, according to sources, owner Arte Moreno has told his baseball people that signing Teixeira is the top priority, ahead of Sabathia.
"He told them to make sure they get Teixeira signed," said one executive who has spoken with the Angels. "He said start with him, and then move on from that."
There has been some debate on how interested the Yankees have been in Peavy, but the Padres did have two scouts watching Phil Hughes' start last Friday in the Arizona Fall League. Hughes has been impressive in Arizona, to the point where one (non-Padres) scout suggested Monday that he'll be ready to help the Yankees in 2009.
The problem for the Yankees is that a Peavy trade would require both prospects and money, because agent Barry Axelrod would require them to redo Peavy's contract as a condition of waiving his no-trade clause. The Yankees weren't willing to make a prospects-and-money deal for Johan Santana last winter (when there were fewer free-agent options available), so it's hard to imagine why they would be anxious to do one now.
Posted on: November 13, 2008 2:16 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2008 3:35 pm
The Indians had CC Sabathia, who won the 2007 American League Cy Young Award.
They have Cliff Lee, just announced as the winner of the 2008 AL Cy Young.
They almost had Tim Lincecum, who earlier this week won the 2008 National League Cy Young.
When Lincecum was a draft-eligible sophomore at the University of Washington in 2005, the Indians gambled on him with a 42nd-round pick. Lincecum didn't sign, but one Indians official said this week that the final gap in the negotiations came down to just $300,000. Lincecum went back to school, and it worked out for him. The Giants took him 10th overall, and gave him a $2.025 million bonus.
Not even a year later, Lincecum was in the big leagues. Two years later, he was a Cy Young winner.
Lee's path to the Cy Young wasn't nearly as smooth. Acquired by the Indians from Montreal in the 2002 Bartolo Colon trade, he became an 18-game winner in 2005. Lee then became a minor leaguer in 2007, after going 5-8 with a 6.38 ERA in his first 16 starts.
He had to compete for a job in spring training 2008, but by the end of April he was 5-0 with an 0.96 ERA, and he was well on the way to the Cy Young.
So now it's two straight Cy Youngs for the Indians, who before 2007 had won just one of them in their history (Gaylord Perry, 1972).
"Hopefully (Fausto) Carmona wins next year, and we can keep it in the Tribe," Lee said today.