Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brad Hawpe

The Colorado Rockies have decided to take RF Brad Hawpe off the market in their pursuit of starting pitching and middle relief. Whether it is just a negotiating tactic is yet to be seen.

I like the strides Hawpe made last year, in particular his plate discipline. He walked 74 times while hitting .293 for a very nice OBP of .383. He struck out 123 times, though, but that no longer seems a negative nowadays.

The Rox still have RF Jeff Baker, and this decision by the team appears to be one that will hurt the fantasy value of both Hawpe and Baker as one would expect each to take ABs from the other.

On the brighter side, whomever ends up with the player who is the benficiary of the unforseen injury will have a $20 player on their hands.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Danys Baez

Oh, well. Despite his insistency on closing, Danys Baez took the money and will set-up for the Orioles' and Chris Ray.

With a three-year deal in the $15-$18MM range, He demonstrates that what one wants and what one accepts in terms of employment is more dependent on the money you get paid rather than on the ideals you'd prefer in a position.

Baez becomes a $5-$10 draftee based on the obviousness of his back-up closer role, but Ray is amongst the most effective late-inning specialists so he could go for less.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

AZ/MLW trade

Milwaukee acquired catcher Johnny Estrada and pitchers Claudio Vargas and Greg Aquino from Arizona for pitchers Doug Davis, Dana Eveland and outfielder David Krynzel.

It seems like an even trade. Doug Davis is the marquee player. And "expensive" one.

The Brewers needed some youth at catcher, and Estrada, even at 30, qualifies when the starter is 37-year-old Damian Miller.

Maybe Mike Maddux can help Caludio Vargas and Greg Aquino acquire consistency to match their flashes of potential.

Eveland is a lefty waiting for his first 162-game major league season. By 2010, he may be the only one amongst the dealt players still on their respective teams.

Poor Dave Krynzel.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Matthews is the centerpiece - Los Angeles Times: "Matthews, a 32-year-old switch-hitter, was a career .249 hitter with a .324 on-base percentage and .397 slugging percentage for the first six years of an undistinguished big league career in which he played for seven organizations, was claimed on waivers three times, traded three times and released once."

I want to believe this information isn't indicative of future performance, but I can't.

I received an offer yesterday in my AL-only:

I give Adam Lind, Elijah Dukes and #8 for $3 Mathews and $35 Jim Thome,

It is a 12-team, AL-only 4x4 keeper league with a two-round minor league draft. I love prospects, but think this may be too good to pass-up. Both Lind and Dukes can be protected on the farm. Thoughts?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gary Mathews Jr

With a 5YR/$50MM contract for Gary Mathews, Jr., the Angels have effectively closed off the rumors of a trade between themselves and the Boston Red Sox for Manny Ramirez.

The Angels will have Mathews in CF with Garret Anderson and Juan Rivera sharing time in LF and DH and Vladomir playing RF.

Ironically, Mathews' contract makes Manny's look like an absolute bargain and that should fire-up the Manny rumors.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Jason LaRue

Word is the Reds are about to deal C Jason LaRue to the Royals for a PTBNL. This has two fantasy implications.

The first is 21 HR catcher Dave Ross is considered legit by the Reds organization. I tend to agree despite getting burned by him in 2004 following his 10 HR/124AB 2003 season.

Even at $9 or $10, Ross carries little risk.

The more interesting implication is the plunge in draft value that will happen to 26-year-old John Buck. He's a $5 catcher anyhow, but with LaRue, he'll be a $1 at the end of the draft.

And for $1, I love him.

Reds Moves

Gm Wayne Krivsky continues to morph the free-swinging/walks-taking Reds into a more defense-minded team. He inked former Marlin and Red Sock Alex Gonzalez to a three-year $15MM contract.

I've heard nothing but plaudits for AGonz's defense. On that front, I would expect a slight plus for the Reds pitching staff. How much I can't determine.

What I can determine is AGonz will be predicted to match his 23 HR output from a couple years ago. Playing in Cincy's home park guarantees the prediction.

What concerns me is he has failed to hit double figures in either of the past two years. FWIW, he hit just 24 2Bs in Fenway, his lowest this decade minus an abreviated 2002. That combined with AGonz's inability to work a walk (career-high 33 in 8 major league seasons) will make me shy away for anything more than a couple dolalrs in NL-only leagues.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Free ESPN Insider Weekend

Smartly, the suits at ESPN have decided to allow access to their Insider package. Great stuff has become available from Peter Gammons to Keith Law to this tidbit from Buster Olney: - INSIDER - Buster Olney Blog#20061118: "Hearing a lot of chatter about a possible Atlanta-Baltimore trade built around right-hander Tim Hudson, a free agent coveted by the Orioles a couple of years ago. You would have to assume that either Adam Loewen or Hayden Penn, two of the Orioles' better young pitchers, would be involved in the discussions."

I could not imagine the tired ten-figure-salaried Tim Hudson landing a player like Loewen, but Penn still has enough shine to overcome his generally unsuccesful stints as a major leaguer.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Danys Baez Closer Watch

From today's Plain Dealer in Cleveland:

"Baez is reportedly looking for a three-year deal as a closer. "

I don't doubt he is going to get a nice contract, but he'd better hurry if he wants one to be a closer. By my count, the following teams have openings: Boston, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Kansas City, Marlins, Cardinals, and the Reds with the Diamondbacks and Giants on shaky closing grounds.

The DRays, Royals and Cards still have the relievers who finished-up 2006 in the role, so they are apt to shun the pricey free agent market. Also, The Drays and indians have had Baez and have dealt him. They may be less inclined to bring him back as the closer at closer money.

The music is playing.....

Nomar Garciaparra

Dodgers close to keeping Nomar - Los Angeles Times

So the Ned Colletti and the Dodgers are willing to give Nomar a multi-year deal to play 1B despite the $380K option of James Loney?

How will this situation play out according to the Dodgers?

"...Garciaparra has a better chance of staying healthy by remaining at first and would be reluctant to have him change positions. Loney would play first when Garciaparra rests and also compete for playing time in the outfield."

Consider me unsold on the viability of playing James Loney in RF or LF. He did make two appearances out there in 2006, but I wonder how well he can play the position and how well his power plays out.

A 10-HR hitter at a corner OF position is not your typical production.

As such, I do consider him a great end-of-draft $1 player. A Nomar injury, an unexpected smooth transition to the OF and Loney could get 350+ ABs. Without that, he'd likely not accumulate enough ABs to get significant counting stats.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wes Helms

I kicked off 2006 with a post about former Florida Marlin 3B Wes Helms. Now that he signed a two-year $5.5 MM contract with the Phillies, i thought I'd provide a closing post on Helms.

The guys at NBC Sports/Rotoworld are fairly hard on the Phillies for signing him:
"Did they learn nothing from signing Abraham Nunez a year ago? Taking a bench player and giving him a multiyear deal and a starting job based on little more than one quality season is about the worst thing a GM can do that doesn't involve Chan Ho Park. Helms isn't even that good of a defender at third. He'd likely continue to have value as a bench player, but as a regular, he could make Phillies fans yearn for David Bell."

I think that harshness could set the tone for Helms' value going into the draft. If so, then expect Helms to be a good late round pick for $7-$11. Really? Who could lose their job to Abraham nunez/

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Frank Thomas - MLB - Sources: Blue Jays closing in on deal with Thomas

39 HR and 114 RBI is too hard to ignore.

137 games played as a DH easy to ignore.

I think JP is making a mistake. The turf in Toronto may not be as forgiving on Thomas' feet.

I wonder if Billy Beane laughs at his coattail rider.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Danys baez

Chatter: "Tribe manager Eric Wedge on free-agent Danys Baez: “We’ve talked to Danys and he wants to close.” "

That always warms my heart. Stick to your guns Danys. You can close again!

(If he'd remain in the NL, I'd be even more happy!)

JD Drew

Hoffman has Cy Young shot The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Boras said clubs are offering five years for Drew. "

While I would have expected J.D. Drew to get a contract along the lines of Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui (4YR/$52MM) with competition likely adding a 5th year, the fact Boras said he has clubs offering five year deals makes me pause.

I interpret everything he says as an exxageration, and, if he states more than one club has offered a five year deal, then I conclude there are none.

Remember Kevin Millwood a few years ago?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Daisuke Matzusaka

MLB's Oreste Destrade broke the story today that the Boston Red Sox won the right to sign Matzusaka with a $50MM posting fee.

I had been thinking the flush-with-money theory was an exxageration following the Ramirez and Wood signings, but that posting fee is going to make Daisuke close to a $100MM pitcher after he signs his contract.

Barry Zito is in line for Kevin brown money if that proves true.

Hunter Pence

I play in a very deep NL-only 4X4 league that allows up to 5 minor league protects each year.

As such, the pool from which we select our minor league draftees is typically is empty of all the top 2006 prospects.

Fortunately, Hunter Pence was not selected last year, and enters this one as one of the top candidates to be selected #1 overall. - MLB - Inside Dish: Diamonds in the rough will be harder to find: "Astros OF Hunter Pence is drawing raves for his play in Arizona as well. 'He's kind of an old country ballplayer,' an American League scout says. 'Naturally strong, hunched back, but he really seems to have a good feel at the plate. He's probably the surest thing out here among position players.' "

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jaret Wright trade

O's agree to trade for Wright -

The Orioles are sending rookie reliever Chris Britton to the Yankees for one-year-remining starter Jaret Wright.

So much for other teams being unwilling to trade with the Yankees.

For a player the Yankees did not want they are getting a middle releiver that would likely command $10 million dollars on the free agent market. That is a figure the Yankees won't pay him in the next three years combined!

(Maybe not at the league minimu is $380K, but you get the picture.)

I do like Wright in real-life, but, in fantasy baseball, I'd never deal a middle reliever for Jaret Wright. Those innings-weighted ratios are killers!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dave Roberts

I surmised Roberts will get 3YR/$24MM and not fit the Rockies budget. Then I read this Journal-Sentinel article.

GM DougMelvin said Roberts' agent told him there were 12 teams interested, and he didn't believe a two-year contract would get it done.


Rockies CF

The Denver Post reports the Rockies are expected to have a $52MM salary in 2006. With $34MM committed to 5 players including LF Matt Holliday, there isn't much room for "marquee" free agent centerfielders.

With the major league minimum salary for 2007 being $380K, the Rockies have committed a minimum of $41.6 MM to its 25-man roster ($34MM for five players and 20@$380K.)

With $8MM per being the bandied about number for centerfielders, I do not see the Rockies addressing there CF via free agency.

Dave Roberts is the player most talked about, but I'd be shocked to see him get less than three years and $24MM. He does have the OBP that Juan Pierre lacks. (51 BBs in 499 ABs vs 32BB in 699 ABs) (Nevermind that Roberts in 35 and Pierre 30!)

I think the Rox could fit Roberts at $8MM in 2006, the team should be aware that Holliday and Atkins will be in the midst of their arbitration years and will take up more and more of the Rox' salary.

Do not be surprised to see the Rockies end-up with Jeff Salazar getting a chance to bring his AAA OBP of .357 to Coors. (And he had a .403 in 53 September ABs.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sheffield to Detroit

This morning's Newsday reports the Yankees and Tigers have made progress towards a deal that would send RF Gary Sheffield to the Tigers for...something.

However, the opting-out by JD Drew has made Los Angeles the best place to send Sheffield.

He can step into the vacated RF job and get an two-year extension for $20MM that the Dodgers were going to pay Drew in 2008 & 2009.

The question is what the Yanks will accept in a league-changing trade.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gary Sheffield to Oakland?

SHEFF IS STEWING By MICHAEL MORRISSEY - New York Post Online Edition: Seven: "Two different major-league officials believed Sheffield will end up with the Cubs or Athletics."

I'd love to see what a deal with the A's would look like.

The Yankees need a first baseman. Would Dan Johnson for Sheff be feasible? With Daric Barton at AAA, the A's could remove one obstacle to major league ABs.

The Yankees could always use a starter/swing starter. Would Brad Halsey be available? Would the Yankees even consider that?

(Personally, the Yanks should pick-up Jaret Wright's $7MM option and use him in that swing role. If the Yanks do not, they pay Wright $4MM anyhow.)

Would Johnson and Halsey be enough?

Or would Daric Barton be a better match?

Without knowing what bargaining position the Yanks are in, I find it hard to speculate what the Yanks would be willing to accept.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Eric Patterson

Rototimes' Nate Ravitz has a glowing report on Cubs' AAA 2B Eric Patterson.

His eyes confirmed what his 46 SBs in 2006 tell you. Patterson is legitmately fast and looks to have developed the skills - OBP and defense - to make him a minor league draft pick in 2007.

With a currently unsettled 2B situation and some AAA success, Patterson could surprise this spring.

Barfield Trade

Here's my assessment of the deal from Fake Teams.

I have little doubt that Barfield will be a cheaper option than Robinson Cano next draft and will provide more SBs.

When Cano hits the high $20s, don't fear taking Barfield to the low $20s.

Red Sox Closer

This morning's Boston Globe reports Red Sox GM Theo Epstein stating the Sawx will obtain a closer via free agency or trade.

If the route is free agency, all Craig Hansen owners can feel free to cut bait as the free agent's contract will likley run for more than a year and effectively block Hansen from rising to the role he was drafted for.

While Eric Gagne would be a sexy choice, I believe his bevy of injuries is too much to gamble on.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

More Teahen

Today's Kansas City Star reports the Royals are seriously considering moving 3B Mark Teahen to left field to make room for uber-prospect Alex Gordon at the hot corner.

More interesting is the fact this was decided in early September, and it is the reason the Royals surprisingly cut short Teahen's breakout season.

I would be surprised if Teahen started Opening Day in left field because I believe Royals GM Dayton Moore when he says he wants Royals prospects to hit each level of the minors.

That means Teahen should play enough games at 3B to qualify there in 2008.

A signal that Teahen would open in LF would be a trade of either Reggie Sanders or Emil Brown. That would open a spot in the OF assuming Joey Gaithwright isn't a starter.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mark Teahen

In the "Comments" section of this post, a reader asked what I thought about the 2007 prospects for Royals 3B Mark Teahen. (Really, he asked, "I'm curious to know your thoughts on Mark Teahen. He seems to be the one with offensive projections all over the map.") My re-phrasing remains faithful to the intent, right?)

I believe he learned something after his demotion to AAA following his horrible start to the 2006 season (.194 AVG). When he returned he hit .313 through the first week of September when he was precautionarily shut down with a shoulder issue.

Assuming the shoulder is healthy, I expect Teahen to maintain a 2007 performance closer to his post-demotion numbers than his pre-demotion ones. I can't say I can comfortably pro-rate his half-season production (June/July/August 16 HRs) into 30+ HRs, although I have little doubt he will get priced into the $20s on draft days 2007.

That said, I'd be comfortable expecting 15-20 HRs and 10 SBs from him next season. That would place him in the $17 range on draftday.

Bonderman/Texeiera Rumors

The rumors of a Jeremy Bonderman/Mark Texeiera trade have a life of their own right now.

Both players are free agents after the 2008 season, and I'm not convinced a move to Arlington will continue Bonderman's steady statistical progress.

If that occurs, then he will be a very pricey starting pitcher whilst Texeiera mashes away in Detroit.

Bonderman could bring bat Tigers need - 11/06/06 - The Detroit News Online: "Q . Whom will the Tigers trade for?
A . I like their chances to make a deal for Mark Teixeira of Texas. A young catcher in the Braves' system, Jarrad Saltalamacchia, is the kind of future starter they could be expected to grab in a separate trade for a pitcher, say, for someone like Jordan Tata."

Jarrod Saltalamacchia should be available in trade talks, but I wonder whether the Tigers would deal a pitching prospect for a catching one.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Adam Dunn

So the Reds new hitting coach, Brook Jacoby, is going to work on Adam Dunn's strikeouts:

"If he were to put the ball in play a little more, I'm sure it would mean some more RBIs and possibly some more hits. It might be an approach thing with him with two strikes; it might be a mechanical thing. I'll have to sit down and talk to him and we'll figure it out. I'd like to think something could be improved there."

That quote will be the impetus for fantasy baseball pros everywhere to covert some number of his 194 Ks into hits and then into improved AVG.

Of those hits, some will be HRs, so the projections for a big Adam Dunn HR year will be made. (Roughly one quarter of his 2006 hits were HRs.)

This will also be buttressed by the fact Dunn is going into his Age 27 year.

Then someone will note his 7 SBs last year and notice the 19 he had a few seasons ago and reasonably conclude his could get 10. Then recall that he had said he wanted to run more just two seasons ago and confidently predict that double-digit steal season for 2007.

And wham! Adam Dunn is hyped enough to climb into the 2nd round in AVG leagues and the late first in OBP leagues.

I'll just recall the hype surrounding the 2005 season when he was going to run more and ended-up with four SB - his career-low!

I'm not buying the hype, but will happily deal a $38 Dunn from my NL-only team if that team believes the hype. (Yes, he went for $38 in that 2005 draft based upon the SB hype, and, yes, I protected him at $38 in 2006. But only for the "guaranteed" 40 HRs.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Francisco Liriano

Finally, the news fantasy baseball players have waited on has arrived.

Francisco Liriano will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the 2007 season

Recall I was already thinking about what to spend during the 2007 draft back in September.

I have settled on $15 give or take a few depending on the draft i.e lots of money chasing fewer good options.

Randy Johnson

How the mighty have fallen!

From Tyler Kepner's piece in this morning's New York Times:

"The Yankees would like to re-sign Mussina for two years, and they seem to understand it would take more than $10 million a year to sign him. Mussina, who had no arm problems last season, would be the second solid member of the rotation, joining Chien-Ming Wang."

I wish I could forget the $26 million the Yanks are going to give Randy johnson and Carl Pavano.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

2007 Fantasy Baseball Guide

Another tidbit:

"As a general rule, I sort Rotisserie baseball players into five categories:

1. Starting Pitchers
2. Closers and Possible Closers
3. Reliable Hitters
4. Questionable Ups
5. Questionable Downs.

I take a first-impression attack towards sorting players. By rapidly sorting various players, I am provided a frame work from which I can evaluate additional information. What is important is a willingness to move players from one group to another or out of a group entirely.

The first two categories are self-explanatory with the exception...."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The $25MM Man

The NY Daily News reports the Mets and 2006 ace, Tom Glavine, are close to a two-year/$25MM contract.

At 41, why can't I stop thinking of the previous two-year extension granted to a NY pitcher? The Yankees $32MM extension for Randy Johnson.

Maybe this will work better for the Mets, but one thing is crystal clear.

There is a lot of money in MLB.

So much that the players will soon be in possession of the ridiculous contracts the NBA can bestow upon their mediocrities i.e. 5YR/$30MM for Jerome James. (Actually, one need only randomly select any Knick as an example.)

In baseball, the $6MM bum is non-existent. There are baseball bums paid $6MM, but they have typically performed well prior to signing.

Alphonso Soriano Rumors

Philadelphia Inquirer 11/01/2006 Phillies will offer big money to Soriano

If the Cardinals can win the World Series with Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and some no-names, the Phillies would be unstoppable with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Alphonso Soriano, and Jimmy Rollins.

As someone who does not have Soriano in my NL-only league and plays in an AL-only, I am saddend that Soriano wouldn't switch leagues. I really wanted to go $45+ for him at next year's draft.