Category: 2012 Offseason

Arbitration Years Bought Out, Sergio Romo Signs Two-Year Deal with #SFGiants

Before today, Sergio Romo had two more arbitration years left, and though being separated by nearly $2MM when each side filed their numbers for salary arbitration, the Giants and Romo were able to knock out those last two arbitration years. The deal is reportedly for $9MM — $3.5MM in 2013, and $5.5MM in 2014. Romo made $1.575MM in 2012. I have the Giants 2013 salary commitments at $137,574,999.66 as of this moment.

Giants fans have been wary of Romo — not because of anything that’s happened in Vegas — with his knees and elbow possibly becoming an issue to his performance, and while the peripherals suggest his 2011 bested his 2012, those body parts didn’t do much to stop him from dominating this year, and in both sets of playoff runs he’s been a part of. Romo has posted four consecutive seasons of double-digit K/9, two straight sub 2 BB/9 marks, although in 2012 he saw his highest home run per fly ball percentage at 12.2, although the 5 he allowed in 2012 is not the most HR he’s allowed in a season (6, 2010).

I know the video said Romo looks to be the closer for the start of 2013, but I do wonder how that will be handled by the coaching staff and front office, who haven’t released reports of the removal of Romo’s “handle with care” sticker, although I do agree he is their best pitcher for the highest leverage situations. We’ll see what happens, as Sergio Romo has only pitched over 55.1 IP in a regular season once.

$280MM/Year for Dodgers, and Why I Can’t Sneak Away

The big (but somewhat expected) news that came before anybody on the West Coast was awake was that a new Regional Sports Network is to be had, and it will have shades of Dodger Blue in it. This deal between Time Warner and the Dodgers will be huge at $7B or $280MM/year for twenty-five years beginning in 2014. As the article notes, the 2013 season will stay on Prime Ticket where you can continue to listen to the superb analysis of guys like MLB The Show 13 voice contributor Steve Lyons (seriously there was nobody else?). Getting back to money, the Dodgers have $220MM committed to this year alone, and $172MM in 2014, per Baseball Prospectus and Cots. Unless they have big plans to build another Dodger Stadium somewhere else, this TV money is going to bring in plenty more stars to LA.

Baseball Prospectus also released their Top 10 Dodgers prospects today, so there’s that to look at as well.

Lastly, if you’re new to the blog, I’m living down in Dodger/Angels territory so I don’t get to sneak away to AT&T, or a minor league ballpark all that much. This year, I was hoping I might be able to get some access to some Major League pressbox to get some more professional writing experience on days that might be a little more poorly attended by fans and writers alike. Those days, I figured, would be those get-away weekday afternoon games. They could also be games against cellar-dweller teams, but my wife really really likes spending time together at home, so if I go to 12:45PM game, I’m still home well in time to enjoy her company. The bad news of the matter is that between the Dodgers and Angels, there are only three such games (Dodgers 1, Angels 2). Maybe that’s just the market, so I checked out other schedules to see if that was the case — Yankees 5, Padres 5, DBacks 6, Giants 11, Tigers 12, Cubs 19 (although the Cubbies games are at 1:20PM). This may be something that is not unusual for the LA markets, and very much could be me just catching on to the trend of the teams deciding they would rather have their games at night so the people of the region can come home to a game. Still, three games seems a little too few for me, so maybe I’ll have to sneak out to play on other nights.

The Long Nightmare is Finally Over: Justin Upton Traded to Atlanta

Wednesday afternoon reports surfaced that GM Frank Wren of the Braves had sent an offer to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 25-year old OF Justin Upton. Thursday morning, reports have come out that GM Kevin Towers has accepted that offer. Finally, after months of speculation that Justin Upton be traded, he does. There was some speculation that the DBacks would try to trade Jason Kubel to the Baltimore Orioles but now that Justin has been traded, that possibility seems pretty much done.

The Braves get:

OF Justin Upton (Already 108 HR, but a change of scenery could do wonders)

3B Chris Johnson (traded from Houston to AZ last season, 15 HR, defense not his calling card)

The Diamondbacks get:

UT Martin Prado (plays all over the place, in my opinion a little underrated, fans should like him but doesn’t have Upton power)

SP Randall Delgado (92.2 IP in MLB in ’12, will enter age 23 season)

SP Zeke Spruill (Double-A in ’12)

SS Nick Ahmed (High-A in ’12)

CI Brandon Drury (Single-A in ’12)

There was speculation yesterday that Braves top prospect Julio Teheran would be in the deal, but apparently he was swapped out and Prado and Delgado were brought in. Looking at the deal, I can’t say I hate it too much for either side, and I assumed the Braves would “win” this deal on paper. There are some people like me that didn’t feel trading Upton was appropriate, but getting Prado and Delgado back isn’t bad of a return at all. Atlanta now has a platoon partner for Juan Francisco, a pair of Uptons in the outfield to join another young star in Jason Heyward, it’s hard not to love this trade for the Braves. The Diamondbacks get a great player in Prado, another guy that they could ease into the rotation in Delgado who can be around until the latter part of the decade, and they get three guys that were all Baseball America Top 30 prospects (Spruill being the only Top 10 at #9; Ahmed #11, Drury #27, per JJ Cooper), this isn’t the worst thing in the world done by Kevin Towers. Really! I mean, the Trevor Bauer trade was easily much worse than this trade if you’re looking for an axe to grind.

If you clicked on the links to MLBDepthCharts on the team names, you’ll notice at how the rosters might take shape. Funny how the Diamondbacks used to have guys like Chris Young (now with the A’s), Justin Upton (traded today), Trevor Bauer (now with the Indians), and could’ve stayed content with Jarrod Parker (also now with the A’s). Their replacements are Cody Ross, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton (all this combined is a downgrade because Upton is a pretty good player), and Trevor Cahill, Randall Delgado (could we call this a “push” for the pitching in the short-term?).

Both teams after this trade are left in pretty good shape, sending a message to their fans that they want to compete in 2013, but after the offseason the Diamondbacks have had, I’m not sure if I can say they are in better shape than what they ended 2012 with.

Eli Whiteside Carousel Still Working

Old hippity-hoppity buddy Eli Whiteside has been Designated for Assignment (DFA) by the Texas Rangers today. “Whitey” has had an interesting off-season, and will probably get another team to pick him up in the midst of his crazy offseason:

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Would be kind of funny if the Dodgers picked him up. And signed him to a 2-year deal. Plenty of teams could use a fringe backup catcher, but Eli may be more suited for a AAA roster depth role as he enters his age 33 season.

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No worries, friend! Eli and (Toronto GM) AA had their fling. I think that’s one relationship they’ll just look back on, give a light smile and shake their heads about.

A Yesterday/Today Post: Two Major Blocks Off the FA Market

I had this article sitting on ice yesterday. Was just waiting for a certain pitcher to get off the market, but didn’t happen until this morning.

Announced around noon PST yesterday, news out of Anaheim (not Los Angeles) shocked just about everyone when they signed Josh Hamilton to a 5/$125MM deal and right now you can see him slotted in between Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales here. We’ve heard Torii Hunter may be a little unhappy with that organization, and while the Angels may have gone two more years further than anyone else for Josh, there’s no doubt that in 2013 at least their lineup is pretty formidable. Now they just need to strengthen that starting rotation. My feelings about the contract are that this could be good for about two to three years, and then a whole lotta blah. Good for the Angels for going for it, though. This is also great for non-LA/OC area fans because now everyone will be rooting against any team with the name “Los Angeles” in them, and that’s never a bad thing, although this probably makes both LA/OC teams their respective division favorites on paper. Word has also been spreading that the Angels will face the Reds and Rangers first, two of Hamilton’s former teams.

Underrated Free Agent Anibal Sanchez is finally off the market, after the Detroit Tigers matched the Cubs’ offer in years and then added a few more dollars to give him a 5/$80MM contract. Sanchez and his agent gave the Tigers one last shot to match the 5-year deal from the Cubs, as Bob Nightengale reportes that Detroit initially offered him a team friendly 4/$48MM deal, and then raised it to an about market value deal that was reached by both sides. In the end, it appears Anibal Sanchez really wanted to be with an organization that had the image of being in the contenders role for more of the five years in his deal, and I know a lot of people see a lot of logic in that, myself included. Writing yesterday about the 5/$77MM the Cubs offered, I said that the Cubs should get most of the value of Anibal from that deal, and so the same goes with a 5/$80 with the Tigers. In the playoffs, Anibal Sanchez was the #3 pitcher behind Doug Fister and Max Scherzer.

As for major free agents still left? We’re still waiting on Michael Bourn to find a home, and teams that could employ him are looking for cheaper options, like that of Peter Bourjos and Dexter Fowler.

And So It Begins: Dodgers Favorites to Win the NL West

I’ve only seen one person say this, but to me it’s pretty clear as well: on paper, the Dodgers are very much the team to beat in the NL West, and maybe even the National League itself. While you may be inclined to question Carl Crawford‘s return, Andre Ethier‘s production against LHP, Matt Kemp‘s hamstrings, Hanley Ramirez‘s dedication, Luis Cruz‘s stability at the MLB level, Chad Billingsley‘s elbow, what new acquisition Ryu Hyun-Jin actually is (a starter or a reliever), Kenley Jansen‘s heart condition, and Nick Punto, no team in the majors is perfect or free from their own questions. They have a rotation that has a one-two punch that can go up against any rotation in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Their bullpen may not be fantastic, but it’s good enough. Their manager may continue to bat A.J. Ellis eighth because I guess he’s a catcher, but this team is built to win better than even the beloved San Francisco Giants. Arizona Diamondbacks, I’ll start talking about you when you get your act together. Padres, I see you coming up and moving your fences in. Rockies, you may just want to lay there for a while.

Oh, did I tell you the funny story of remembering how before Ryu Hyun-Jin signed with the Dodgers that there were whispers from the team residing in Chavez Ravine saying they might still target another free agent even if they had said Korean pitcher signed to a contract? They’re not done yet! Ha! They are playing with video game money that you only get by typing in cheat codes, it’s crazy. For the people that have a big problem with the Dodgers spending all this money in a way that’s done fair and square, I don’t know what to tell you besides you’re going to have a big ol’ bag of get over it. The Dodgers already have a record-breaking payroll and by the time they hit Spring Training, they’re going to have broken that record a bunch more times.

If you are in the mood to torture yourself and count your blessings at the same time, remember how this could have been an off-season where Jared Weaver, Cole Hamels, and Matt Cain had all become free agents. This is not to say they would’ve all become Dodgers though, because there is some consideration to be had to them signing a long-term deal with their current clubs while the pre-off-season was going on. Would have made the off-season more crazy, but aren’t you happy the Dodgers didn’t have the chance to drive up the price for these guys elsewhere (especially for Jared Weaver and his hometown discount of a contract).

So if you’re an NL West fan, fret if you must because your team has a bottom to its pockets, but by no means does a roster on paper before the season even start determine what will actually happen come October. The regular season is a marathon full of a whole bunch of crazyness, and the Postseason is a crapshoot. Did that make you feel better? Yea, I didn’t think so.

Outside Perspective to the Sunday Night MegaDeal

For people that didn’t have much to do last night, General Managers Andrew Friedman and Dayton Moore gave the baseball folk something to talk/fight/cry about, reactions of course depending on what fanbase your heart was closest to. Should you be unfamiliar with the deals, it worked out to this:

The Kansas City Royals get:

The Tampa Bay Rays get:

If you want trade analysis from journalists and scouts, may I suggest three four: Dan Knobler’s, Keith Law’s, JJ Cooper from Baseball America’s, and Baseball Prospectus’, all good looks. As you’ll read, you’ll find the internet consensus is that the Rays won the trade with the snatching of Myers and Odorizzi. I tend to lean that way as well, but it’s not like the Royals 1) have no farm system left and 2) did not address a glaring need of their team to get better. As a Giants fan, if you were to build a team, based on two of the last three years, you’re probably leaning towards pitching first (or an MVP catcher, I guess), so getting what most people are calling a No. 2 starting pitcher in Shields to hopefully what is a beginning to bolster their rotation, is a big get for the Royals. Wade Davis will get another shot in the rotation, but they don’t have to leave Spring Training with him in it. Then again, their options outside of Davis aren’t much to write home about.

This can’t be the only move that Dayton Moore and his people do to get better, and it seems pretty clear that with their contracts soon to end, that they are very much on the hot seat in KC. The GM and his people will probably have to give up more from their farm to get some significant pieces, and make more significant progress to make up ground between them and whoever feels like leading the AL Central (Tigers? White Sox? Twins?)

The Rays should be fine, but replacing a James Shields isn’t the easiest thing to do. Matt Moore can make the transition easy if he takes another step forward, as could Chris Archer to help support Jeremy Hellickson‘s cause at the top of the rotation after David Price. Like a lot of other people, I’m waiting to see if Wil Myers gets one of those team-friendly six-year deals that will save the Rays some money (maybe an Extra 2% or something) so that they can continue to operate in a market that I really think isn’t fit for baseball.