10 Things That Need To Happen
Dayn Perry lays out his ten things that need to happen most in regards to this off-season.
1. Alex Rodriguez to the Angels
That is what many people saw as the ultimate destination for A-Rod and there is obviously the great need for offense that the Angels have. However, the biggest priority for the Yankees this off-season should be retaining A-Rod and it looks like that is something they have come to terms with.
2. Johan Santana to the Mets
Given Santana's peerless skills and the demand for him on the market, it'll take a lot to get him — say, a package of Fernando Martinez, Lastings Milledge and Philip Humber. Still, nabbing Santana means the Mets would be the power team in the NL. They've got the deep pockets to sign him to a long-term extension.
If that was the deal on the table, I would do that in a heartbeat. My only fear is that leaves Carlos Gomez as the only to position prospect and he has a lot more uncertainty than Lastings Milledge in my eyes.
3. Miguel Cabrera to the Yankees
The Gotham media and Yankee partisans have a long-standing habit of A) Grossly overestimating the team's mid-grade prospects and B) Assuming other teams, when it comes to making trades, will gleefully and deferentially bend over. That's not how things work (at least not since the A's were in Kansas City). You can keep Philip Hughes, Yanks, but getting a player of Cabrera's gifts is going to cost you Joba Chamberlain and Jose Tabata.
I do not think Perry could have nailed this one on the head any more. Yes, he would be a great fit and yes, the Yankees mid-level prospects are grossly overrated. Outside of their pitching duo of Hughes and Chamberlain, only Cano could be included as a centerpiece for a big time player.
4. Mariano Rivera to the Tigers
That would be something else, no? The Yankees lose A-Rod, Pettite to retirement, and Mariano to the Tigers? Dare to dream..... I guess that would mean Joba is definitely back in the bullpen for the time being until Humberto Sanchez gets healthy, which could be 2009.
5. Miguel Tejada to the Blue Jays
A package of young arms centered around Ricky Romero (plus the salary relief) should be enough for the O's.
He would be nice there, but Romero is basically a non-prospect these days. I used to love him back in his Long Beach days, but he is simply in the Jeremy Sowers arena when it comes to being a prospect. I just do not see a great fit unless the Blue Jays want to pony up Adam Lind in any deal which would probably get the Orioles attention.
6. Torii Hunter to the Dodgers
That would certainly seem like a good fit if they fail to get A-Rod because they need to add some serious pop. It could also be argued that he would be a better fit overall than A-Rod if they give Kemp, LaRoche, and Loney full time spots from day one.
7. Francisco Cordero to the Cubs
Signing Cordero not only gives the Cubs a huge upgrade at closer, but it also deprives their chief division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, of their best reliever.
I don't know much about #2 since he is not going back to the Brewers anyway and they give the Brewers their first round draft pick, but Cordero makes any team instantly better so it is hard to argue with the Cubbies really making their solid bullpen into a tremendous one.
8. Jon Garland to the Brewers
For the Brewers to trade anything away for one year of Garland would be curious. If they planned to chase him as a cheaper alternative to Ben Sheets that is one thing, but they certainly wouldn't be well advised to trade for him to make a run at the playoffs in '08. The Brewers have a good thing going and are on their way to being a contender for a while. They would be better off trading Sheets for a younger arm that could contribute down the line.
9. Geoff Jenkins to the Indians
Have we dropped off this precipitously already? The 9th most important move is for a role player?
10. Bartolo Colon to the Phillies
This is a smart deal for a team that needs pitching badly. There simply is not much out there and the Phillies need to get creative. In regards to getting creative, the Mets should definitely seek out Freddy Garcia and see if he can give anything in the rotation or the bullpen in the second half of the season.
Overall, I think Dayn Perry did a good job here in objectively evaluating talent needed in trades and definitely targeted good fits.
"We're working on it, we're working on it with the Yankees," Posada said, noting that the two sides are close to reaching an agreement. "We're going to hear from the Mets [tomorrow]."
It is called leverage. Posada makes tons of sense to the Yankees, but not to the Mets and he will ultimately end up back in the Bronx. The rumored deal is not done officially just yet, but it will be any day now.
Tulo was good, but what Braun did was extremely rare and extremely impressive. He kept pace with the universe's best player during one of his top three best seasons in the history of his eventual Hall of Fame career.
First, Neyer did a quick piece on Mark Cuban.
I got my turn, too. I asked him what's happening with the Cubs. He said, "I'm tryin'."
I asked if he really thought the owners would let somebody like him own a team. He said, "I'm tryin'." And then it was on to the next guy.
Like a lot of baseball fans -- and maybe every Cubs fan, and baseball writer -- I'd love to see Cuban own a team. I just don't think will happen
During the Q&A portion of Cuban's appearance, he said, "I'm a ready-fire-aim kind of guy."
Read that again. I thought Cuban misspoke. Wouldn't you know it, the next question from the audience was, "Mark, did you misspeak a minute ago when you said 'ready, fire, aim'?"
He smiled and said, "Let me think about that ... ready, fire, aim ... yeah. That's right." Another smile (that might be more accurately described as a #@%&-eating grin).
When was the last time the owners allowed a ready-fire-aim guy to join their little club?
I've spoken about how much I would love Cuban to own a big league team, but I do not think the Cubbies should be that team. They are already a team that spends money and has resources. However, a team like the Pirates or some other small market team would greatly benefit from the likes of a Mark Cuban who would truly do what it takes to make that team competitive.
Second, Keith Law laid out who he thought should win the AL and NL Cy Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year Awards. Law was behind David Wright as the MVP, which we know will not happen.
1. David Wright
2. Chase Utley
3. Jake Peavy
4. Albert Pujols
5. Matt Holliday
6. Chipper Jones
7. Hanley Ramirez
8. Brandon Webb
9. Jimmy Rollins
10. Prince Fielder
Likely winner: Rollins
I'm tilting at a windmill here; voters will say the Mets didn't make the playoffs and therefore Wright can't be the MVP. Of course, in those fateful 17 games when the Mets went 4-13, Wright had a hit in every game, had multiple hits in eight, had eight extra-base hits, and in total hit .397/.451/.575 over that span. Yeah, it was all his fault.
Utley probably would have won the award hands-down had he not missed three-plus weeks due to a broken hand, and he would have passed Wright in total value anyway. But with Utley out and the Phillies still winning, the voters needed someone else to fall in love with, and Rollins was sitting right there on the other side of second base -- think of him as the "rebound MVP candidate."
He obviously hit the AL and NL CY Young winners as he laid out Sabbathia and Peavy and his choice of A-Rod is going to be correct since he carried the Yankees for so long.
He also just missed on Tulo, though it was close enough to give him a pass on and hit the Pedroia on the head, though he curiously thought Jeremy Guthrie should have won it.
He also had a quick bit on Brian Bannister.
Bannister is an interesting story and deserves to be on the ballot, but among him, Guthrie and Matsuzaka, he's the one I most expect to experience a sophomore slump. He had some extraordinary luck, and in general pitchers who don't miss bats or get groundballs end up giving up a lot of hits and home runs.
If you were reading my site in 2006, you know my thoughts on Bannister and they are echoed by Law above. However, I think he might have given the Mets that extra win they needed to sneak into the playoffs and Omar's deal is a horrific one in hindsight (in fairness to Omar, a healthy Burgos might have notched that extra win as well). Going forward is another issue. I fully expect a significant regression in 2008 for Bannister and his 2007 will be a distant memory shorty.
There is always a chance he is one of those guys that just gets it done no matter what scouts say, but I just cannot see that happening. He should be a good 4th or 5th starter in the bigs, but that is really nothing to cry about losing.
Doug, Nashville, TN: What happened in 2006-7 that would make it into a new edition of BASEBALL BLUNDERS? Thanks. PS: Tell those coming for the meetings to make it to the Loveless Cafe. Best biscuits in the world.
SportsNation Rob Neyer: The Brewers didn't handle Ryan Braun particularly well, and Willie Randolph is widely held to have mismanaged his bullpen down the stretch. That said, I don't think either of those would merit a whole chapter.
It seems Willie's inabilities have circulated into baseball circles which is a good thing when it comes to getting someone a bit better than him at the helm.
Kalyan (Minneapolis, MN): I have to say Rob, Willie Randolph's mismanagement of the bullpen wasn't just down the stretch, it was all season long. If we're struggling at the All-Star Break we need to fire him.
SportsNation Rob Neyer: Really? Didn't the Mets have a fantastic relief ERA through the spring? Anyway, I think talk of firing is premature. But assuming he made some mistakes last summer, we'll see if he learned from them. Some guys never do.
The Mets have zeroed in on Torrealba, who played for the National League champion Colorado Rockies, and could offer him a multiyear deal worth as much as $5 million annually, which would be a hefty raise from the $1.075 million he was paid last season. The Rockies remain interested in retaining Torrealba — the Florida Marlins are suitors, too — but have reportedly capped their offer at $7 million for two years and would not match what the Mets would give him.
While not ideal, he is certainly more attractive than LoDuca in my estimation for the simple fact he is 29. I think there is probably more to him than was seen in 2007 and he will not cost any talent. However, a guy like Gerald Laird still might be a better choice, but he would cost some talent (however little, it would still be talent) for someone that is better defensively, but not all that much better overall.
Besides, if the Mets bring back Castro, things would be all good. The Mets appear to be set to give him more playing time and he could very well be better than anyone they are looking at on the market and via trade, but Torrealba would provide a solid alternate (though expensive) option should he not be be able to handle increased playing time.
"It was more to say hello and he wanted to tell me to be prepared to be the third baseman in 2008," Wright said Monday while visiting sick children at NYU's Medical Center. "That's what I took from it and that's how I'm going about my business."
"I wanted to let him know that in no way, shape or form does he have to go through me about anything. His job is to make the trades, sign the free agents and I told him that I want to win, first and foremost. But as far as talking about changing positions, talking about Alex Rodriguez, his name did not come up once in the conversation."
The Mets have four pitchers on the Scorpions: lefties Adam Bostick and Eddie Camacho and righties Eddie Kunz (the Mets top pick in 2007) and Carlos Muniz.
Here's the take from Deric McKamey, advisor to the St. Louis Cardinals and author of the soon-to-be-released, third annual "Minor League Baseball Analyst" (available through BaseballHQ.com or via Amazon):
"I like Bostick a little more than Camacho. I think Bostick can be a swing-man or two-inning reliever. Camacho to me is a LOOGY (lefty one-out guy). Muniz is going to have trouble getting lefties out, so he's a ROOGY; and you don't see too many of those in the majors."
"As for Kunz," McKamey continues, "I'm not as big a fan as some scouts. He throws 89-to-94 with a slider in the low-80s and a developing change. His command is an issue, a big problem for a short reliever. He struggled with his control for Oregon State even. I see him as a notch below an Aaron Heilman, more of a seventh-inning guy."
An American League East scout in attendance at a recent AFL game agrees with McKamey. "I can't believe Kunz was a first-round pick. I think his ceiling right now is Aaron Heilman and not many players reach their ceiling." Technically, Kunz was a first-round sandwich pick (42nd overall).
If true, you have to wonder what is going on with the Mets and their scouting.
The New York Yankees are getting close to re-signing third baseman Alex Rodriguez to a multi-year contract that would pay him as much as $290 million, multiple baseball sources told MLB.com as the owners gathered here Wednesday for the final quarterly meetings of the year.
As long as A-Rod gets a contract above his $250+ million and the Yankees pay less than $30 million a year, everyone saves face.