In order to fill the hole in the bullpen left by Francisco Rodriguez, the Angels have signed Brian Fuentes to a 2 year deal worth 17.5 million. There is also a vesting option for a third year. This looks like a nice deal for both sides.
The Angels didn’t necessarily need to address their bullpen, but signing Fuentes can’t hurt. They get him at a reasonable price, too. Nine million per year for only 2 years seems like a steal. Compare him to Francisco Cordero. Their numbers seem very close in their walk years, yet Cordero scored big with 4 years, 46 million. If the Angels can get the production that Fuentes provided last year, it will be a ginormus steal, especially when you consider how much Cordero received. Fuentes can come in a make the bullpen one of the best in the MLB, just like it was last year. It can’t get much better than Fuentes closing with Jose Arredondo and Scott Shields setting him up. Darren Oliver is one of the better lefty relievers, on top of all that. This has the makings to be a fantastic ‘pen. (obviously it was better with K-Rod last year, but it’s still great)
I also like this deal for Fuentes. It stinks that he gets stuck with 2 years, but he couldn’t have done much better elsewhere. He gets the 3 things he wanted, to play on a contending team, to play on the West Coast, and to get a closer’s job. He also gets around the annual salary he had hoped for. Fuentes could even end up with that third year if the option vests. This was a good job by Fuentes and his agent.
The Angels paid about 9 million per year to grab Fuentes. That leaves them with about 13 million to spend. Most teams looking for an outfielder also have that amount, so it is fair to say that the Angels could go out and sign a player like Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or Bobby Abreu. With the bat added, it will have been a solid offseason for Anaheim.
Teams that missed out on Fuentes will have to turn to Trevor Hoffman. You could see a bidding war happening between the Cardinals, Brewers, Dodgers, and Tigers. Things are really starting to move in the hot stove season.
I had to take the weekend off from blogging. Sorry I didn’t let you know, but let’s get back to baseball.
The Angels are out of the running for Mark Teixeira. They pulled out when team owner Arte Moreno concluded that Tex didn’t want to play for the Angels, and would rather go to the east coast. Their 160 million offer is off the table, so Teixeira’s next team will be the Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, or possibly Yankees. The latter don’t seem completely involved, but you never know about a team that has Hank Steinbrenner as the president.
With the Angels out, the Red Sox seem like the clear frontrunner to me. BoSox president John Henry said that “we’re not going to be a factor,” but I believe that was just a negotiating ploy. Several baseball writers have said that the Red Sox offer of 8 years, 180 million is still on the table. I’m guessing that Scott Boras went to the BoSox and stated that he had a better offer on the table from a different team. It looks like Henry effectively called Boras’s bluff, because if the unknown team was the Nationals, they would’ve signed him by now. It couldn’t have been the Angels, because they’re out, and the Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that they had not made an offer. The Orioles appear reluctant to raise their 7 year, 140 million dollar offer. So it looks like Boston’s offer of 8 years, 180 million is the best on the table. This is just me trying to draw conclusions, though. No one really knows who’s offering what except for Tex and Boras. This is making me crazy!
Now that Tex won’t end up an Angel, who will? They have about 22 million left to spend, and are looking to add a power hitting outfielder. A cheap starter could be under consideration, also. Brian Fuentes could make sense if his price drops down; the Angels are his first choice because they will give him a closer’s job, play on the west coast (where he is from), and are a contending team. I don’t consider the bullpen or the rotation a need, however, and would rather just get a great bat.
You can’t call Manny Ramirez a perfect fit, but he sure does make a lot of sense. He can DH most of the time, and is truly the only bat on the free agent market not named Mark Teixeira that can scare pitchers. If I see Manny hitting behind Vladimir Guerrero, I’m just as scared as if I see Tex. I know that Ramirez doesn’t have gold glove defense, and he has an attitude problem, but there is no difference between the two hitting wise. For some reason I have a feeling that the Angels will pass, but I don’t think they should.
If not Manny, then Adam Dunn makes a ton of sense. Dunn is no Manny or Tex, but he is still a 40 homer bat that will bring you an OBP in the .360 to .380 range. A lot of people get blinded by his poor defense, low batting average, and lack of emotion, but he is one of the most consistent bats in the MLB. He also brings some versatility because he can play both first base and left field. If I were the Angels, I would DH him, because like I said before, he has poor defense. Some other options that would make sense for Anehiem are Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, and Pat Burrell.
So the Angels are out on Tex, the Red Sox and Nationals look like the frontrunners for his services, and the Angels could pursue Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, or Brian Fuentes. I can’t wait to find out how all of this happens.
The Mets have reportedly chosen which path they would like to go down this offseason: the closer road. I recently gave them two free agent options to pick from, with one having them sign a top-of-the-rotation starter and the other one having them sign K-Rod or Brian Fuentes. You can view that here. I like the decision, because you can’t win if you can’t finish off games. I guess this was the right choice since the rotation is pretty solid while the bullpen is horrendous. The Mets plan on signing K-Rod, a middle reliever, and probably a Jon Garland or Oliver Perez type of starter. Or, they could make a trade for Edwin Jackson. I still think that Ryan Church and Aaron Heilman for E-Jax makes a ton of sense. The Mets would then sign an outfielder like Pat Burrell or Bobby Abreu to fill the hole left by Church. The only sticking point in the negotiations could be the Mets unwillingness to add the fourth year. They got burned when they did that with Billy Wagner, and might opt for Fuentes because of the term. I still think they’re leaning toward K-Rod, though.
Tiger’s GM Dave Dombrowski said that they will be holding the line on payroll. It had been previosly thought that the Tigers would cut payroll. So instead of having 5 million to spend, they will have about 14 million available. That much could buy them a solid starter, shortstop, or closer. You have to think they enter the market for Brian Fuentes now. Edgar Renteria would be easier to resign. If they backload the contract, you might even see them enter the Derek Lowe market. Lowe is from Detriot, so he could take a small discount to go to Mo Town. The Tigers would love to aquire him; he’d make a nice 1-2 punch atop their rotation, pairing with Justin Verlander. If that happens, and then they get a bounce-back year from Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis, or Nate Robertson, they might compete. You never know. This is still basicly the same team that many people thought would win the world series last year. We’ll see.
I have said before that the Blue Jays had a lot of money to spend. Now that I look closer, they only have about 15 million. So they can buy one big free agent, but that’s it. If they move BJ Ryan and clear 10 million from the payroll, then they would have 25 million. That could add two goo players. Maybe AJ Burnett and Orlando Cabrera. That would help a lot. I know you probably think that no team would want Ryan for that salary, but I think some team will get desperate. Brian Fuentes will probably get more years in exchange for less money. If teams value Ryan and Fuentes evenly, then they might consider Ryan an affordable option to Francisco Rodriguez or Brian Fuentes. For example: the Mets could decide that K-Rod is not worth 4 years, 60 million. Instead, they like the idea of Ryan for 2 years 20 million. This way they can use their money on starters, and the Jays free up salary. Everyone wins. I think it is very likely the Jays trade BJ Ryan this offseason.
I thought of a trade that could make sense between the A’s and the Rockies. Garret Atkins for Huston Street. The A’s have long been in need of a third baseman, and while Atkins is no gold glover, his bat makes up for it. The A’s need to get some power into the lineup, and first base is the perfect place to inject it. Huston Street is not needed with the A’s because of all of their young, power bullpen arms. Also, the A’s would still have enough money to afford Rafeal Furcal because they would only be going up a couple million in salary. This trade also makes sense for the Rockies. They will lose Brian Fuentes to free agency, and I’m not 100% convinced that Manny Corpas can become the closer he once was. If nothing else, Street could make a quality set-up man or perhaps a trade chip to get a starting pitcher. This trade is leaning a little bit in the A’s favor if you ask me, because the Rox don’t really need Street, so maybe the A’s would have to thrown in a pitcher like Dana Eveland or Greg Smith to make the deal work. Or, perhaps they get another team involved and make it a three-way trade. It could happen.
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