Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Lightning 12.13.2009

  • The decision to tender or not to tender is not for the tenderhearted:

Some interesting, smart, strange and brutal decisions were made yesterday just prior to the deadline to offer contracts to players under team control. Following is the list (culled from NBC Sports) along with some analysis.

Los Angeles Angels: RHP Jose Arredondo; INF Matt Brown; RHP Dustin Moseley

Non-tendering Arredondo was a cold-blooded move on the part of the Angels. Arredondo was considered as a replacement closer for Francisco Rodriguez a year ago before they signed Brian Fuentes, but he might need Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the entire 2010 season. The Angels don't usually do things like this; I would've expected them to keep Arredondo on the payroll.

Brown is a journeyman, minor league outfielder. Moseley had injury problems to his elbow and hip and might be back on a lesser contract.

Oakland Athletics: DH/1B/OF Jack Cust

"That's right Einstein. What tipped you off? I mean, I've been trying so hard to keep it a secret here..."

Not only is Billy Beane's Moneyball-crafted, fictional genius wearing thin, he's slowly degenerating into a moron.

Cust was a former top pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks who washed out for four different organizations before getting to Oakland and filling some semblance of his potential. He strikes out too much and is a pure DH, but the A's got something out of him. That should've been enough to take the house money and deal him, but Beane didn't.

After rehabilitating Cust's flagging career and turning him into a viable big leaguer, Beane should've included him in the 2007-2008 fire sale that cleaned house of Dan Haren and Joe Blanton among others. Now, instead of getting something for Cust when he could've, he's getting nothing.

Will this be part of the Moneyball movie or are they going to take dramatic license to protect the "genius" upon whom the Moneyball-farce was built even as the walls collapse around him?

Toronto Blue Jays: C Raul Chavez

Chavez is a soon-to-be 37-year-old journeyman catcher who was arbitration-eligible. Someone might've gotten fired if they'd gone to the arbitration table with him.

Cleveland Indians: RHP Adam Miller; RHP Jose Veras; RHP Anthony Reyes

Miller's had all sorts of injury problems all over his body. Veras is a journeyman with a good fastball, but is no great loss.

The non-tendering of Reyes is a bit of a surprise. Reyes has been horrible and was arbitration-eligible, so maybe it's not such a stunner, but it's a rapid fall for what was once a top Cardinals pitching prospect and whom the Indians got for nearly nothing (Luis Perdomo).

Seattle Mariners: OF Ryan Langerhans

Yah. No kidding. It's been a grand stumble for Langerhans who was supposed to bookend Jeff Francoeur in the Braves outfield for years to come.

Baltimore Orioles: RHP Brian Bass

Bass didn't pitch that badly for the Orioles this year.

Tampa Bay Rays: OF Gabe Gross; C Shawn Riggans

The Rays got more than anyone could ever have expected from Gross, who couldn't hit before he got to Tampa in 2008, contributed mightily to their pennant-winning run, and has now been dispatched.

Riggans is a journeyman backup catcher who's easily replaced.

Boston Red Sox: OF Brian Anderson

I'm not quite sure what it is that Anderson does that keeps him in the big leagues.

Kansas City Royals: OF Josh Anderson; C John Buck

Anderson has some use for someone and he wasn't expensive. Why the Royals chose to dump him for nothing is an example of why they're the Royals.

Buck has some pop in his bat, but he was arbitration-eligible and they signed Jason Kendall to take over.

Chicago White Sox: RHP D.J. Carrasco

Carrasco pitched well for the White Sox. It's strange that they let him go.

New York Yankees: RHP Chien-Ming Wang

The Yankees know more about Wang's physical condition than anyone so maybe they don't think he's going to return to form; but he's a minimal risk/massive reward for any team that can get the pitcher who won 38 games over two years in 2006-2007 and was on his way to another 16-18 wins in 2008 before injuring his ankle running the bases.

The Yankees are interested in keeping Wang at a reduced rate, but he should get guaranteed offers from teams like the Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels, Mariners and Giants. It depends how badly he wants to remain a Yankee.

In years past, the Yankees, who signed the likes of Jon Lieber and Octavio Dotel----knowing that they were hurt and the club would have to wait until they were healthy to get something from them----would never have non-tendered Wang.

Atlanta Braves: INF/OF Kelly Johnson; OF Ryan Church

Johnson's no great loss for the Braves, but he can hit as a part-timer.

And then there's Ryan Church.

All we heard when the Braves and Mets made the Jeff Francoeur for Church trade at mid-season that the Braves got the better end of the deal; that Church is a "better" player than Francoeur based on his numbers; that the Braves got something for nothing, blah blah blah.

I loved the deal for the Mets because I'd seen enough of Church to know what he was.

The stat zombies and I went back-and-forth about Francoeur and Church. My argument was that Church looks good on paper, but when you see him every day, you learn that he's a streaky hitter who brainlocks and makes stupid mistakes on the field. I said the Braves would rue the day they traded Francoeur for a player you can find on most Triple A rosters in Church. It took them a month to see the holes in Church's game and bench him. Now they've officially given Church (and Francoeur, about to turn 26 and with multiple-MVP ability) away for nothing.

I'm waiting for people to say I was right (again). I'm not holding my breath.

Milwaukee Brewers: RHP Mark DiFelice; RHP Seth McClung; C Mike Rivera

DiFelice had shoulder surgery after pitching well for the Brewers in 2009. McClung throws hard and has use for someone as a starter or reliever, but he was arbitration-eligible. Rivera's a veteran, journeyman catcher who'd already been replaced by Gregg Zaun and George Kottaras.

Chicago Cubs: LHP Neal Cotts

Cotts was arbitration-eligible and rotten this year.

Arizona Diamondbacks: 1B Josh Whitesell

Someone will pick up Whitesell because he's put up power/on base numbers in the minors, but he failed in brief big league trials. He's no kid either----he'll be 28 in April.

San Francisco Giants: 1B Ryan Garko

Garko was arbitration-eligible and the Giants need a major power bat at first base to take the next step. He's be a great, low-cost option for the Mets to share first with Daniel Murphy if they don't bring Carlos Delgado back and bring in a basher for left field.

Florida Marlins: OF Alfredo Amezaga

Amezaga was arbitration-eligible, hurt and can't really hit.

New York Mets: RHP Lance Broadway; RHP Tim Redding; OF Cory Sullivan; OF Jeremy Reed

The only one of this group I would've kept was Broadway. He showed me enough to keep around as a reliever.

Washington Nationals: RHP Mike MacDougal; LHP Scott Olsen

MacDougal's 100-mph fastball will keep getting him work. He's wild, but salvageable.

Olsen needs someone to keep him in line and the Nationals chaotic clubhouse was the last place he should've been. A perfect situation for Olsen would be one with a strong-handed manager like Mike Scioscia or Joe Girardi. Girardi kept Olsen in line with the Marlins and he pitched well.

San Diego Padres: RHP Jackson Quezada; RHP Mark Worrell

Quezada has good numbers in the minors, but he didn't pitch in 2009. Worrell was hurt too but he might be back with the Padres at a lower price.

Philadelphia Phillies: RHP Clay Condrey

Condrey's gotten pretty far for a guy who was drafted in the 94th round in 1996 and signed as a free agent in 1998. You read that right----the ninety-fourth round. He was the odd man out in the Phillies bullpen and was arbitration-eligible.

Pittsburgh Pirates: RHP Matt Capps; LHP Phil Dumatrait

Arbitration-eligible or not; bad year or not, only the Pirates would non-tender their closer.

Dumatrait was another disastrous first round pick in a long line of them for the Pirates.

Cincinnati Reds: OF Jonny Gomes

I don't understand this. I get that Gomes is arbitration-eligible; that the Reds are slashing payroll and have some immovable contracts, but Gomes hit 20 homers in part-time duty last year; is feisty and impressed the club with his comportment and leadership. He would've been worth keeping around.

Colorado Rockies: 3B Garrett Atkins

Atkins's numbers are pedestrian at best away from Coors Field and he was arbitration-eligible. He'd lost his starting job, so the Rockies just let him go. They should've traded him at mid-season and gotten something for him.

  • An offer designed to fail:

The Cardinals made a contract offer to free agent outfielder Matt Holliday that is said to be worth less annually than $18 million a year. No one has reported the length of the offer from what I've seen.

The only way this offer is accepted is if Holliday is left out in the cold completely and has no other choice but to take it. With Scott Boras as his agent and the hyperbole and overt crap that comes with that, Holliday wants waaaayyyyy more than $18 million a year.

The Cardinals know this and have made this offer knowing: A) that Holliday will reject it; and B) that they still have to keep some money available to extend Albert Pujols in the near future.

Pujols's contract is up after 2011 and the Cardinals have to walk the fine line of being financially sane and making it appear as if they're doing everything they can to win----something that's been in question in recent years.

I agree with the Cardinals strategy in Holliday's case. I wouldn't break the bank for him either. They rolled the dice in trading top prospect Brett Wallace to get him from the A's in the hopes that he'd enjoy St. Louis enough to sign for below market value as Jim Edmonds and Mark McGwire (among others) did. They went for it all in 2009 and it didn't work. There's no reason to compound the mistake by overpaying for Holliday to keep him. And they won't keep him with that offer.

  • Viewer Mail 12.13.2009:

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Chien-Ming Wang:

I hope Wang does get a shot with the Mets or some other team. I'd love to see him bounce back.

Wang's going to get a good deal with a good team. It sounds like he might even be back with the Yankees. I'd absolutely take a shot at him, which is exactly what I want the Mets to do.

David writes RE my podcast appearance:

Nice podcast. You got that heavy New Yowka accent haha.

In case anyone missed it, here's the link to Sal's site, SportsFan Buzz and to my appearance on the podcast----here.

It's interesting you mention the accent because I had people say they can't exactly place it as heavy New York. I say it's a combination of the city, my mother's British accent and Jew. It's a bizarre mix. I was also told that my voice is embedding itself into certain people's brains; and that I sounded remarkably calm.

Dunno if all of this makes me interesting, psychotic or both.


She-Fan said...

I thought you did well on the podcast once you got warmed up. You even said nice things about the Yankees.

Jeff said...

I don't see how Holliday is worth way more than $18 million a year. Once you get in the twenty million range we're talking about the best of the best in baseball and Holliday -- who's a good player -- isn't that good of a player, in my opinion.