Tagged: Astros

Middle Reliever Signings

Three middle relief signings have happend recently; hopefully this will get the other markets going. 

  • The Astros resigned Doug Brocail for 1 year, 2.5 million.  This is a nice little move for Houston. I know that they don’t have the money to help out the rotation or the offense, but at least they were able to keep their bullpen mildly intact. I still don’t think they will compete, but you never know.


  • The Cardinals signed Trevor Miller for 1 year, 2 million.  Miller failed his physical, otherwise it would have been a 2 year deal. The 2 million on this contract isn’t even completely gaurenteed; he has to earn the money based on appearances. This makes the contract look very nice for St. Louis, though. He comes for not much money at all, but if he is healthy he is a solid lefty reliever. The Cards will continue looking for lefties even after this signing.


  • The Giants signed Bob Howry for 1 year, 2.75 million.  Another cheap, good signing. Howry was awful last year with the Cubs, but he was a work horse the previous two seasons. If he can return to form in San Francisco, the place his career began, this will be looking like a heck of a signing by the Giants.


Those are the three deals that happend between yesterday and today. Hopefully more will continue, because everything is just talk so far. There haven’t been many major moves.

Astros Sign Mike Hampton for 1 Year, 2 Million

Mike Hampton’s contract is no where near as good as his last, but he does get some money from the Astros. This seems like a nice little move by the ‘Stros; Hampton can be a beast when healthy and he was solid to end the year while in the Braves rotation. If he can replicate what he did last year this year, he will have been a nice pick up for only 2 million. There is also 2 extra million is incentives depending on how many starts he makes. Hampton reportedly got a larger offer from the Braves, but chose to go closer to his Arizona home so he could spend more time with his children. You can’t blame a guy for that, especially since he’s already made over 150 million dollars in his career. I like this signing for both sides.

Arbitration Offers and Non-Offers

The deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents was 12:00 P.M. Eastern Time yesterday. You can read all about free agent compensation here, see how the Elias ranking work here, and see those rankings here. Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors for all of these links. Below are players offered and not offered arbitration that I deemed questionable. Ignore the bolded posts; I can’t find a way to get rid of the.

  • D’Backs don’t offer arb. to Adam Dunn. This was the dumbest decision of them all. Not to offer Dunn arbitration for fear he would accept is just plain sily. There would have been a 98% chance that he declines to sign for multiple years elsewhere, netting the D’Backs two picks. Even if for some reason he did accept the offer of arbitration, he would be a great trade chip. Dunn on a 1 year, 15 million dollar deal would bring back a lot in return. This makes zero sense to me and proves how cheap the D’Backs are.
  • Phillies don’t offer arb. to Pat Burrell. It’s like the same thing as with Dunn. These guys are great players; they deserve an offer of arbitration. I know that the Phils don’t have much money to spend, but Burrell on a cheap 1 year deal would be a great piece to their team. They could either let Jamie Moyer go and keep Burrell, or even if they really wanted to not be stuck with Burrell, they could have just traded him. Like Dunn, he would make a lot of sense for a lot of teams for a year. This one does’t make much sense either.
  • Yankees don’t offer arb. to Bobby Abreu.  I find this surprising, because I know for a fact that Abreu would’ve declined and signed elsewhere on a multi-year contract. There was no way he was coming back to New York, and even if he did, he would be solid trade chip. I’m not understanding their logic on this one.
  • Cubs don’t offer arb. to Kerry Wood. This was just flat out dumb. First of all, what were the chance that Wood would actually accept an offer of arbitration? I’d say around 20%. We all know that he deeply wants to stay with the Cubs, but I doubt he would sacrifice a possible 15-20 million to stick in Chicago. If Woody did accept, they could always just trade him. His salary would be moveable, and they could even get a decent prospect back. To me, this was just utter stupidness.
  • Phillies don’t offer arb. to Jamie Moyer. I have no idea why Moyer didn’t get an offer. Wouldn’t the Phils like Jamie back on a 1 year deal at market price? Isn’t that what they are trying to get done this offseason; resign Moyer. I know that he stood a good chance of accepting, but I don’t think that would be a bad thing. At least you know you can get a pick if he does leave for whatever reason. Ruben Amaro has not had a very good start to his general managing career if you ask me.
  • Astros don’t offer arb. to Randy Wolf. Remember when the Astros were supposedly the frontrunners for Ben Sheets? Now they can’t even afford Randy Wolf on a 1 year deal. I didn’t know that their payroll was this tight. Like a lot of other players on this list, he would have been very easy to trade had he accepted. Also, wasn’t this the reason for trading for Wolf, so that they could get a sandwich pick for some AAAA reliever? I think that trade is looking even worse now because the ‘Stros had to know at the time of the trade that they couldn’t afford to offer arb. to Wolf or to resign him. The Astros are one of the worst run franchises in all of baseball.
  • Dodgers don’t offer arb. to Joe Beimel. This guy made only 2 million last year, and stands a great chance at nabbing at least a two year deal on the open market. I don’t see why the Dodgers wouldn’t offer to him. Beilmel would be a bargain on a 1 year deal, so he is a tradeable asset if the Dodgers truly didn’t want him.
  • Cardinals don’t offer arb. to Braden Looper. He would be a great bargain on a one year deal, and is said to be looking for 3 years, making it likely he declines. Looper would’ve provided great depth to their rotation if they wanted him. Even if the Cards didn’t want him, he would be very easy to trade. This was a dumb decision and it will cost the Cards a sandwich pick.
  • Cardinals don’t offer arb. to Russ Springer. I though they wanted him back. A 1 year deal at market value would be a good signing for them. I know that they knew he would accept, but that’s a good thing. Well, at least I think so.
  • Mets don’t offer arb. to Luis Ayala. I know he was completely terrible last year, but he was solid in his stint with the Mets and has had a great track record his entire career. (except for last year, of course) He made only 1.7 million last year, and would be a solid signing for a year at about 2.5 million. If he declined, they would have gotten a draft pick for him.   

As you can see there were a lot of teams that I felt made a mistake by not offering a key player arbitration. It looks like the economy is hurting everyone.

Team’s Payroll

I will put the amount of money teams will have to spend this offseason along with their payroll from the previous year, arbitration eligible players, and the salary they have committed. This will make things easier when trying to guess who could afford the top-notch free agents. I was informed greatly from MLB Trade Rumors. This will be a side-bar link.



 Last year’s payroll

 Salary Committed

 Arbitration Eligible

 Estimated money to spend


102 million 

48 million 

Casey Kothman, Omar Infante, Kelly Johnson, Matt Diaz, Jeff Francoeur, Mike Gonzalez 

 45 million


 138 million

104 million 

 Ryan Church, John Maine, Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez

28 million 


103 million

100 million 

Cole Hamels, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Howard  

15 million 


 21 million

 20 million

Scott Olsen, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Mike Jacobs, Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, Matt Treanor, Alfredo Amezaga, Joe Nelson, Kevin Gregg, Logan Kensing, Eulogio de la Cruz, Doug, Waechter 

0 million


55 million 

40 million 

Ryan Zimmerman, Tim Redding, Jesus Colome, Ryan Wagner, Willy Harris

10 million 


118 million

122 million 

Reed Johnson, Ronny Cedeno, Michael Wuertz, Neal Cotts, Chad Gaudin 

20 million 


80 million 

60 million 

Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy, Corey Hart, Dave Bush, Seth McClung, Todd Coffey, Chris Capuano 

20 million 


100 million 

78 million 

Aaron Miles, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, Todd Wellemyer, Brad Thompson 

20 million 


74 million 

54.5 million 

Bill Bray, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Lincoln 

15 million


 86 million

88 million 

Humberto Quintero, Ty Wigginton, David Newhan, Brian Backe, Wandy Rodriguez, Jose Valverde, Geoff Geary, Tim Byrdak 

15 million 


 49 million

31 million 

Ryan Doumit, Adam LaRoche, Nate McLouth, Paul Maholm, Zack Duke, John Grabow, Tyler Yates, Denny Bautista 

8 million 


59 million 

118  million 

Russell Martin, Andre Eithier, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Scott Proctor, Yhency Brazoban

50 million 

Diamond Backs 

 66 million

55 million 

Chris Snyder, Augie Ojeda, Conor Jackson, Chris Burke, Edgar Gonzalez, Chad Qualls

10 million 


68 million 

77.5 million 

Garret Atkins, Willy Tavaras, Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Grilli 

3 million 


73 million 

44 million 

Jody Gerut, Scott Hairston, Heath Bell, Clay Hensley 

4 million 


76 million 

64 million 

Fred Lewis 

10 million 


124 million 

87 million 

Macier Izturis, Rob Quinlan, Chone Figgins, Ervin Santana 

30 million 


48 million 

29 million 

Huston Street, Justin Duchscherer Rob Bowen 

10 million + 


67 million 

63 million 

Gerald Laird, Marlon Byrd, Brandon McCarthy, Frank Francisco, CJ Wilson, Kameron Loe 

10 million 


117 million 

88 million 

Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Jeremy Reed 

20 million – 

White Sox 

121 million 

108 million 

Bobby Jenks, DJ Carasco, DeWayne Wise

10 million 


57 million 

54 million 

Jason Kubel, Matt Guerrier 

15 million 


79 million 

64 million 

Kelly Shoppach 

15 million 


137 million 

115 million 

Marcus Thames, Ramon Santiago, Fernando Rodney, Justin Verlander, Gary Glover, Joel Zumaya, Bobby Seay 

5 million 

14 million

14 millionRoyals 

58 million 

52 million 

John Buck, Esteban German, Mark Teahen, Joey Gathright, Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies, Jimmy Gobble, Joel Peralta 

7 million 

Red Sox 

133 million 

92 million 

Kevin Youkilis, Kevin Cash, Javier Lopez, Jonathan Papelban 

33 million 


43 million 

49 million 

Edwin Jackson, Dioner Navarro, Jason Bartlett, Gabe Gross, Jonny Gomes, Grant Balfour

5 million 


209 million 

140 million 

Xavier Nady, Wilson Betemit, Chien-Ming Wang, Brian Bruney 

50 million 

Blue Jays 

98 million 

80 million 

Jose Bautista, Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, Brandon League

15 million 


67 million 

63 million 

Freddie Bynum, Luke Scott, Nick Markakis, Jeremy Guthrie, Daniel Cabrera, George Sherrill, Chris Ray, Fernando Cabrera 

15 million 


Player Market: Oliver Perez

We all know that Scott Boras will ask for the moon for Oliver Perez because of his upside and age. Lets look at some teams that might pay-up.

Mets (frontrunner)  The Mets will definatley want him back. They love his potential and he still puts up solid numbers even though he isn’t as great as he could be. Plus, they probably want young pitchers that aren’t injury prone since they have had so many injuries this year. This one makes a lot of sense if the Mets don’t sign a better pitcher.

Dodgers (frontrunner)  They will be looking for pitching this offseason, and if they miss out on other targets then I could see them overpaying for whatever Oliver Perez wants. This might be the place he ends up.

Rangers (frontrunner)  Perez lives in Mexico, and Texas is very close. The Rangers have a lot of money available and probably will look to sign Perez because he is young and will be getting into his prime right when the rest of the Rangers’ players are. This could be a very good fit if they don’t spend their money on Milton Bradley instead.

Astros (frontrunner)  Again, Perez lives in Mexico and Houston is close by. They also will be interested because they will be going after nearly every pitcher. They work well with Scott Boras, so there will be no trouble there, and it’s likely Draton McLane goes all in for 2009, adding a staring pitcher.

Cardinals (possible)  They Like the Astros, the Cardinals will probably be going after every free agent starter available. Perez is probably a little bit out of their price range, but they do have a lot of money to spend. Even though the fans will hate it, the Cards will probably just sign another one of those bargain-basement type pitchers.

Royals (dark horse)  You could see the Royals go after him because he is a lot like Gil Meche was, and that signing has worked out great so far. They get a young, high upside pitcher. The Royals might decide to spend their money on something else, such as an outfielder or a shortstop, but if they miss out on those targets they could go all in for Perez.

Player Market: Derek Lowe

Next up in our Player Market series is Derek Lowe. Lets look at some interested parties.

Red Sox (frontrunner)  The Red Sox are a frontrunner to sign former Red Sox player Derek Lowe. He has said he would like to move back to the east coast, and with the Red Sox trying to add a starter, they could look to sign him. I’m sure he’d like to return, as well.

Mets (frontrunner)  They’ll be focusing on starting pithing this offseason, and you would have to think that they would love to slot Derek Lowe in there right behind Johan Santana. They are an east coast team, and Lowe would probably go there if offered the right amount of money. This team makes a lot of sense.

Dodgers (possible)  Even though it looks like they aren’t terribly interested, they still have to at least consider bringing him back. He has been so good for them during his contract, and it only makes sense for them to go after him.

Blue Jays (possible)  After losing Shaun Marcum for 2009, they’ll be looking at the starting pitching market. Derek Lowe would like to return to the east coast and the Blue Jays make a lot of sense. They also have a lot of money to spend so they can afford him. This one makes a lot of sense. 

Braves (possible)  It is very likely that the Braves go hard after starting pitching this offseason. Derek Lowe would be at the top of their list. A durable, consistent, ground ball pitcher. I’m sure they would love to add Lowe, but not sure if they would pony up enough cash for Derek.

Astros (possible)  Since they play in Minute Maid Park, they probably would prefer a ground-ball-pitcher. They also work well with his agent, Scott Boras. This team makes a lot of sense if they miss out on other targets.

Rangers (possible)  Derek Lowe would be very effective as a ground-ball pitcher in the hitter-friendly ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers would be very interested because he’s keeps the ball in the park, and they could use as much pitching as they can get.

Cardinals (possible)  They will be looking for starting pitching for sure this offseason. At least one, probably two. Derek Lowe would be a huge addition to this team. If they are willing to spend the dough, I could definatly see Lowe signing here.

Rockies (dark horse)  Many teams that play in hitters ballparks would like to add Lowe because he is a sinker-baller. The Rox can use as many of those as they can get because they play at Coors Field. If they decide to go for it in ’09, I could see them signing Lowe. 

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Player Market: Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster will have an enourmas amount of suitors. Lets dig into ’em.

Cubs (frontrunner) Demp’ loves Chicago, has a great relationship with managment, and donates a lot to the Cubs charities. There is no question he would like to return, and there is no question the Cubs want him back. I’m not even going to explain why because he has just been so good this year. If the Cubs offer a fair amount, he most likely will be back.

Astros (possible) If Dempster doesn’t return to the Cubs for whatever reason, look for him to have the Astros as a big suitor if they don’t sign Ben Sheets. This team needs pitching and will probably get it. It just depends which pitcher they sign.

Braves (possible) The Braves are looking for a veteran starting pitcher and Ryan Dempster is a very good one. He would be a great fit on the Braves, he is a good person, and a solid leader. The Braves like those types and should have serious interest in Ryan.

Mets (possible) If the Mets strike out on different targets, they could look to sign Ryan Dempster. He is the solid #2 the Mets need. Look for them to be big players on Demp’, they need him.

Rangers (dark horse) The Rangers could use a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. Dempster would make this a much better team.

Player Market: Ben Sheets

Ben Sheets is going to get a lot of money somewhere despite being injury prone. The only question is where. Some teams interested could be the…


Yankees (frontrunner)  The Yankees have a very good chance of signing CC Sabathia, but if they somehow miss out on him, look for them to turn to Ben Sheets. I think it’s almost 100% that they sign either CC or Sheets. 

Astros (frontrunner)  The Astros need to get some pitching and are only a Ben Sheets type of starter away from competing. They probably won’t have enough money to afford CC Sabathia, so why not get the next best starter on the market, Ben Sheets. They have a lot of money to spend Sheets lives in Texas. This team is definatly one of the frontrunners for him.

Red Sox (frontrunner)  The Red Sox don’t really need Sheets, but they think he gives them the best rotation in the MLB, which is a true statment if they get him. They have a lot of money to burn this offseason and could just overpay for him even though they don’t have a need. This team is likely to be very agressive to grab one of the two aces before the Yankees do.

Mets (front runner)  Look for the Mets to be very active in the Ben Sheets sweepstakes. They have said that their primary need to starting pitching, and assuming they can’t afford Sabathia, Sheets would be next in line. They have the money to get him and the need. I could see them really overpaying to grab him.

Brewers (possible)  It is very possible the Brewers retain their ace. It seems like Sheets likes Milwaukee, and he would be crucial for the team if they want to stay competetive. They might be willing to pay a little bit extra to keep him away from the Astros. I don’t think it is very likely he stays, however, because Sheets is going to want a lot of money.

Rangers (dark horse)  The Rangers are an interesting dark horse candidate. Ben Sheets lives in Dallas, and would probably like to move back home. The Rangers need starting pitching and could make a big offer to Sheets. If they want him badly enough, they could afford him.


Player Market: CC Sabathia

I am starting a new series here called “Player Market.” It will be a sidebar link. I will put down players available via trade and free agency and name teams that could be interested. I will lable some as “frontrunners,” which means I think those will be the team(s) most likely to get the player. Then there will be “possible,” which means it is possible they will get the player, but they aren’t likely to be amoung the top contenders. Then there’s “slim chance,” this means the team will go after the player but don’t have a great chance at getting him. I will also call one team a “dark hourse.”  Today, I will start off with CC Sabathia.

CC Sabathia is likely to be the most coveted player on the free agent market. Here are the teams interested and the chances of them getting him.

Yankees (frontrunner)  The Yankees are going to be in heavy pursuit of CC. They have a lot of money coming off the books in contracts and have are huge starting pitching void. It looks like they are going to offer him whatever he wants. This team has a good chance at landing Sabathia.

Dodgers (frontrunner)  I would not be surprised at all to see him go to the Dodgers. They also have a need at pitching because of Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and possibly Brad Penny becoming free agents. They will be looking for two in the offseason, and would love to add CC. He comes from LA as well, and may take a small discount to sign with the Dodgers over the Yankees.

Red Sox (possible)  The Red Sox are a possible destination because they have a lot of money coming off the books, they think they are a starter away from being world champions once again, and the Yankees are going to go after him hard. The latter might be the most the strongest reason. If the Red Sox add CC they are hands down the best team in the MLB, and have the division locked up. I don’t think the Red Sox will get him, but look for them to go hard after him if for nothing else to drive up the price for the Yankees. 

Mets (possible)  The Mets also are possible. I doubt they would want to give out another 130 million+ to a pitcher, but they are the Mets. And their primary need is starting pitching. I expect them to poke their head in, but once they see his asking price they will pursue a cheaper free agent like AJ Burnett.

Rangers (slim chance)  The Texas Rangers are going to look to add pitching in the offseason. They think they are a CC Sabathia type player away from contention. It has been said before they were a team that could go after him agressivley. I don’t think it’s very likely, though, because they probably won’t be able to pay as much as the Yankees can. 

Astros (slim chance)  The Houston Astros aren’t very likely at all, but I threw them in because they have a lot of money to spend and you never no what Drayton McLane will order Ed Wade to do. If they ae serious about contending, I could see them throwing money at CC. Even if they do, they probably won’t offer as much as the Yankees.

Angels (dark horse)  The Angels are my dark horse because if they lose out on Mark Teixera, they might be able to afford Sabathia. They don’t have a need with 4 healthy starters and one returning from injury. They could look to trade Jered Weaver for a bat, however, and then sign Sabathia to take his place and give them an even deadlier rotation. I don’t think this scenerio is likely, but it is possible.