Friday, November 6, 2009

Midnight Strikes On The Season----And The Wheeling And Dealing Begins....Plus A Little Weed

  • The trading started fast:

These deals must've been in place before the World Series celebratory champagne spray had a chance to settle into a stain on the carpet of the Yankees clubhouse. It's going to be a busy winter. Let's have a look at some of the moves that have already been completed.

Marlins trade OF Jeremy Hermida to the Red Sox for LHP Hunter Jones and LHP Jose Alvarez:

I like Hermida, but he doesn't profile as the type of player the Red Sox would normally pursue. He strikes out a lot; doesn't walk all that much; has extra base pop and is an okay player. He'll be 26 early next year and would have use as a bottom of the lineup bat with some production than a viable replacement for the likes of Jason Bay if he leaves via free agency.

Jones is a big (6'4: 235) lefty who got batted around in a brief big league trial last season. He's also about to turn 26. Having closed in the minors, the Marlins must see something in Jones that makes them think he could be another power arm out of their bullpen----they collect them. I've never seen him, so I can only go by his numbers and they're mediocre in the minors.

Alvarez is a little (5'11" 150) lefty whose numbers weren't particularly impressive in the minors as a starter or reliever.

Was this a mutually advantageous deal for both sides? Was it a salary dump for the Marlins? It doesn't appear that the Red Sox gave up all that much for a player of Hermida's potential even as he's arbitration eligible and is going to get a big raise from his $2.5 million salary from 2009. More than any other team, I'd be reluctant to deal with the Marlins. My paranoia would get the better of me in wondering why they wanted a certain player over another and if they were trying to trick me. They're that skilled at evaluating talent.

As for the Red Sox, it may be time to stop thinking that there's some brilliant diabolical scheme worthy of a James Bond villain lurking under the surface of everything they do and that they're right in the muck with the rest of baseball in trying different things occasionally seeing them pay off big, fail miserably or wind up somewhere in between. "Somewhere in between" is my estimation of the acquisition of Hermida is on the scale of deals.

White Sox trade INF Chris Getz and 3B Josh Fields to the Royals for OF/INF Mark Teahen:

Getz has put up solid numbers in the minors and should fill the gaping hole at second base for the Royals well enough.

To me, Fields was a player who got caught in a numbers game and got screwed by the White Sox. He did everything they asked of him in 2007 as he replaced the injured Joe Crede, hit 23 homers and played fair defense at third base, then found himself sent to the minors for most of 2008-2009 because they had nowhere to play him. To put up solid enough numbers with power and be languishing in the minors at age 26 would sent anyone into a funk. What the Royals intention for Fields is unknown. Maybe they're going to use him in the outfield.

Teahen is best known for having been part of the 2002 Billy Beane Moneyball draft and that's made him appear to be a better player than he really is because of the notoriety. Teahen's an okay player. He's versatile, can play first, second, third and the corner outfield positions and not embarrass himself; he has some extra base and home run power; one would guess that the White Sox are going to play him at either second or third depending on what other moves they make. Teahen's a player who's a backup in the event other attempted acquisitions don't come to pass.

This deal is a wash.

Angels re-sign Bobby Abreu to 2-year, $19 million contract:

Abreu's not stupid.

After the way he was shut out of any and all lucrative, long-term contracts by last winter's free agent freeze and had to settle for a 1-year, $5 million base, plus incentives (most of which he reached), he wasn't going to screw around.

There were places where Abreu might have been able to get more money. Depending on what happens with Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, Abreu could've wound up in Boston, with the Mets; or in St. Louis for an extra year and more money, but why? The Angels are always contenders; they treat their players right; they're a close-knit group in a pleasurable place in which to play. Being greedy for more would've been stupid in a personal and business sense for Abreu. It's a good deal for both sides.

Mets decline the $8 million option on J.J. Putz, but...

The most interesting thing about this decision isn't the declining of the option in and of itself----that was a no-brainer----but that Putz and his agent have expressed a willingness to return to the Mets at a lower salary and agree to be Francisco Rodriguez's set-up man without the disillusionment that Putz showed with his role in 2009 before he got hurt.

Could this be posturing to make it look like there's interest from the Mets to entice another team to ante up more cash? Could it be Putz looking to redeem himself for what he perceived to be a major letdown for the Mets? Could it be that he wants to replenish his value next year and get a job as a closer in 2011? Or a combination of all three?

Putz is a very respected, stand-up guy in the clubhouse, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that he feels the Mets deserve a bit of a break after the way things went so horribly wrong in 2009. Also, there won't be a lot of money out there for Putz in the free agent market this winter; nor might there be an irresistibly attractive job as a closer anywhere. Would he really find better circumstances in a place like Detroit than with the Mets?

If I were the Mets, I'd bring Putz back on an incentive-laden deal if he's reasonable about the numbers.

  • Speaking of the Mets...

The Mets have cheaper, in-house options to fill their holes which are more palatable than what's out there in the free agent market. They're lunatics if they really intend to go with Daniel Murphy as the full time first baseman. I'd bring back Carlos Delgado if he, like Putz, is agreeable to a short-term contract rife with incentives. Before he got hurt, Delgado didn't seem all that bothered by the vast dimensions of Citi Field and if he wants another payday as he approaches 40, he'll be motivated to have a big year.

For left field, I've said all along that I'd inquire with the Astros about the availability of Carlos Lee. If they want to dump his salary, he won't cost much of anything in terms of players----probably some middling minor leaguers. Short of that, I'd much prefer Jason Bay to Matt Holliday.

Behind the plate, I'd go for Miguel Olivo. He's good with the pitchers; he's got a shotgun for an arm; he's got power; and he's feisty. The Mets could use some feistiness.

Bolstering the bullpen with Takashi Saito and looking into another big game type pitcher who'd thrive in New York and in giant Citi Field like Bronson Arroyo is an idea. Joel Piniero also liked pitching in the cavernous ballpark.

Hypothetically, if the Mets brought in one of the above-mentioned left fielders and re-signed Delgado, their lineup could rival the Phillies in terms of devastation. In fact, with all those power/on-base guys in front of Jeff Francoeur and with Bay/Lee behind him, he'd drive in 130 runs and contend for the MVP.

If their luck isn't like that of a bad country or good blues song, the Mets could find themselves right back in contention next year. The foundation isn't as bad as it's portrayed; nor is the team itself.

  • Tim Lincecum is arrested on possession of marijuana:



Is anyone who's actually had a look at Tim Lincecum off the field surprised by this? The guy's a hippie.

In this Oct. 1, 2009, photo, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum(notes) sits in the dugout during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in San Francisco. Lincecum is facing misdemeanor marijuana charges following a traffic stop in his home state of Washington.

And more importantly, WHO CARES?!?!

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