I know that this is old news, but I wanted tLo write about it anyway. The Giants signed Randy Johnson the day after Christmas for 1 year, 8 million. There are incentives that could bring the final total of the deal to 13 million. This is a fantastic signing by the Giants.
The Big Unit came at a very cheap price. Only 8 million per year is a huge steal in my opinion, and I think that a number of teams should’ve matched this offer. I thought that the Dodgers were the best fit for Johnson because they had a lot of money to spend and could get him on a 1 year deal. LA has 34 million left to spend with only 2 holes – the rotation and the outfield. Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn or whomever could come in for at the most 22 million per year. That would leave at least 12 million to spend. That is the offer I would’ve made if I was Ned Colletti, the GM of the Dodgers. He got beat by Brian Sebean on this one, and it could cost them big time.
Randy enters an already good rotation to solidify it. The Giants can now boast a rotation of Tim Lincecum – Matt Cain – Randy Johnson – Jonathan Sanchez – Barry Zito. In my opinion, that is the best starting rotation in the NL West. This team could be in some major competition for the division. I think they have already pasted up the Diamond Backs in terms of talent. San Francisco has much more depth in the rotation, and one could make a case that they have a better offense as well. Right now, they are still a step behind the Dodgers. If because of nothing else, the Dodgers still have the much better offense and bullpen. There is only one thing that could make the Giants favorites to win the NL West…
Manny Ramirez. They are said to be aggressively pursuing him, but I don’t know how true that is. There has been zero competition with the Dodgers for his services. Because of this, he should come pretty cheap. Of course, Manny will still probably get at least 2 years, 40 million. I don’t know if the Giants could fit that into their payroll. They have about 88 million committed for ’09. Their highest payroll since 2000 has been 90 million. I don’t know if they will be able to go any higher, but if they have permission to go all the way up to 100 million, a signing could occur.
First, they would have to trade Randy Winn, both to clear salary and to open up a spot for Manny to play. One suitor that I think makes a lot of sense is the White Sox. They need a center fielder, and Winn would be the best available via trade or free agency. The ChiSox would probably be willing to take on the entire 8.25 million he has coming. So, if a trade like this does go through to dump Winn’s contract, the Giants would have 80 million committed. Give Manny 20 million in his first year and call it an offseason. They can then head into the season with a lineup of Fred Lewis – Edgar Renteria – Aaron Rowand – Manny Ramirez – Bengie Molina – Pablo Sandoval – Greg Bowker – Kevin Frandsen / Emmanuel Burris. Very good. If they make this move, they are the favorites to win the NL West in my opinion.
All of it is possible if they get approval to raise payroll all the way up to 100 million. If not, they’ll be in a dog fight for second place with the D’Backs.
Where in the world will Manny Ramirez go? The Yankees are obviously out after signing Mark Teixeira, and neither the Angels nor Mets are interested. I think it’s safe to say that the Red Sox won’t be signing him, so that leaves only the Dodgers. Of the other large market teams, the Cubs and White Sox don’t make any sense.
I guess that there could be some strange wild card teams, but most of the clubs people are throwing out there don’t make much sense for the team. For example, why would the Nationals want Manny? I understand that he would bring in a lot of fans to the game, but he would not make them a winning team. The reason that they pursued Teixeira was so that he would be there when they were a contending team. Signing Manny for a 2 or 3 year deal wouldn’t make sense, basically because they won’t be contending in 2 or 3 years. Not to mention all of the trouble he would bring to DC. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit the trade block the summer that he got there, if he does indeed sign with Washington. I doubt it, unless he comes for only 1 year.
The Braves have the money and the need, but I doubt that Bobby Cox would even entertain bringing in a player with Manny’s attitude. Like the Nationals, I guess they could make an inquiry if Ramirez would come on a 1 year deal. That way Cox could always just deal him at the trade deadline if the team is not in contention or if Manny is Manny. Still, I would call it a stretch.
The Reds might consider Ramirez if the price drops drastically and they think they can compete. However, why wouldn’t they have just resigned Adam Dunn instead of signing Manny? Not the perfect fit, is it.
Since there is no great fit for Manny other than the Dodgers, I think he returns to L.A., but at a very under-market rate. Earlier in the year he was offered 2 years, 45 million from the Dodgers, but he declined. That was back when Man-Ram thought he could get a 6 year deal. The offer was pulled at the start of free agency, and no one has made an offer since. I still think that the Dodgers are interested, but not at the price they offered earlier in the year. My prediction is that Manny will go crawling back to the Dodgers while whining for the 2 year, 45 million dollar offer that he didn’t even consider. The Dodgers will respond by offering him 1 year, 20 million. Manny will go shop himself to other teams, but when he finds out that no one wants him, he will sadly accept the Dodgers offer.
It serves Manny Ramirez right that no one is interested. He was a lazy jerk to the Red Sox, and now he’s going to pay for it. Ha Ha!
The Dodgers have signed Rafael Furcal to a 3 year, 30 million dollar contract. This is such a huge surprise to me, and a great move on the Dodgers part.
I can’t believe that they sign Furcal for only 3 years, and for only 10 million per. I thought that he would get 4 years, 52 million. I don’t know why the market collapsed the way it did. If the Giants added a year and an extra 3 million to the Edgar Renteria signing they could have matched Los Angeles’ offer to Furcal. There’s no question that Rafael is a much better shortstop than Renteria. He also made a lot of sense for the A’s. They offered the most years — 4 years, 36 million — but weren’t able to sign him. Why didn’t they just up their offer to 4 years, 40 million. That could have lured Furcal to Oakland. I would have also liked to see the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Reds make a better offer. A lot of teams just past up on the chance to get a very good leadoff man at shortstop.
The Dodgers did a fantastic job. They lock up the left side of their infield for only 16 million per year. 34 million is still available to sign a big bat for the outfield and a starting pitcher. With Takashi Saito being non-tendered, the Dodgers could look for some bullpen help as well. I’d like the Dodgers to sign Manny for 20-25 million per year, and then Randy Johnson for 1 year, 8 million. The remaining money could be used on a reliever. This team would be very solid, and almost as good as last year’s squad. (it hurts to lose Derek Lowe) This has been a very productive offseason for the Dodgers thus far.
By the way, the mystery team in all of this was the Braves. They were apparently very close to signing the leadoff man, and offered him the same amount of money that the Dodgers did. The Braves would’ve played Furcal at second base and moved Kelly Johnson to left field or to another team. Yunel Escobar could have been traded as well. Reports say that Furcal had a gentlemen’s agreement to sign with the Braves, but then he ditched them for the Dodgers. Atlanta won’t be working with Furcal’s agents, Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem, for quite a while because of this.
Man, players have been jumping off the board ever since the start of the Winter Meetings. Ever since then, CC Sabathia, Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Furcal, AJ Burnett, Kerry Wood, and many others have signed. I can’t wait until we find out where the other players go. It looks like Mark Teixeira will be making a decision soon. Can’t wait.
I know that it’s really early to start talking about this, but I started to wonder where Matt Holliday will sign next offseason.
Yankees (frontrunners) If my estimation is correct, the Yankees will have 158 million committed on their 2010 team unless they sign a free agent to a multiyear deal this offseason. Lets say that they’ll put their payroll in the 200 – 210 million dollar range. That would leave 42 – 52 million left to spend. The outfield corners and designated hitter look like the only holes. Holliday is the best player available in the outfield, and I’m sure that the Yanks will go all-in to try to lock up this great slugger.
Red Sox (frontrunners) They’ll pursue him partly because the Yankees are in on him, but also because they would love to add Holliday to their ball club. The BoSox inquired on him while he was with the Rockies, because they thought he would be the perfect Red Sox player. Jason Bay is a free agent, opening up a hole in left field. I’m not sure if the Red Sox would like to make record breaking contracts back-to-back years, so I don’t think the BoSox will go all-out in order to sign Holliday if they already have Mark Teixeira. If Tex goes elsewhere, look for Boston to go hard after Holliday.
Angels (frontrunners) This is pretty much the same thing as with the Red Sox. If the Angels sign Tex this offseason, they’re less likely to sign Matt Holliday next offseason. If Holliday goes somewhere else, the Angels are a big player for Matt. A lot of money should be opened up when John Lackey’s, Kelvim Escobar’s and Vladimir Guerrero contracts end. With “Vlad the Bad” not so “bad” anymore, the Halos could always look at the younger Holliday. Matt makes a lot of sense for their club if Teixeira isn’t signed first.
Dodgers (possible) If Manny Ramirez doesn’t resign in Dodger Blue, the other LA team could decide to go after Matt Holliday. I don’t know if they’ll be willing to go past the limits for Holliday the way the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels probably will. This remains a possibility, however.
Cardinals (slim chance) I named them because I think they have a chance to sign Holliday, even if it is a slim chance. They aggressively pursued him in trade talks with the Rockies, and were reportedly close to an agreement. If they did aquire Holliday, they would like to talk extension with him. So that could possibly mean that they would be willing to fork over the 200 million+ that would be necessary to sign Matt. I just don’t think that a mid-market team like the Cards would be willing to pay at least a fifth of their payroll on one player. The above mentioned teams are much more likely.
Nationals (dark horse) They’re aggressively pursuing Mark Teixeira this year, and that leads me to believe that they could do the same with Holliday if Tex signs elsewhere. Remember, they were in trade talks with the Rockies if a window for an extension would be granted. I think that means that they would be willing to offer the 200 million+ it would take to sign him. They might be outbid by the larger market clubs like the Yanks and Red Sox, but I think that they’ll throw a pretty high number in front of Holliday’s face.
I think that this is a solid move by the Dodgers. They bring back Blake, a very important part of their team, and don’t break the bank to do so. 6 million per year isn’t that much, and it leaves the Dodgers with 44 million to spend in order to fill their remaining holes.
Manny Ramirez could be resigned for 20 million per year, and the remaining money could be used to sign a starting pitcher. It looks like the Dodgers are fine with the idea of Chin-Lung Hu starting the season as their shortstop. The 14 million would be wisely used on a short term deal for a pitcher like Randy Johnson. If the Dodgers miss out on him, Oliver Perez could make some sense. Ben Sheets, also, if his price falls down and it’s a short term deal. Jon Garland and Paul Byrd are some other cheap alternatives. If a shortstop is aquired, I think it would be through a trade because they can’t afford Rafael Furcal and a pitcher. Orlando Cabrera would require a draft pick, and the starting pitcher would have to cost only about 7 million. I guess that Garland and Cabrera are possible, but I would rather get the better pitcher in Big Unit or Perez. The other shortstop options are just flat out bad. Through a trade, Jack Wilson could be a target. He plays great defense, and is available for the right price.
Whatever the Dodgers are moves are, signing Casey Blake is a good way to start it off.
The Twins’ talks for Casey Blake have reached an impasse. They didn’t want to offer 3 years, but rather 2 years with an option for a 3rd. Blake apparently thought he stood a good chance of getting that 3 year deal from a different team. It’s possible that Blake could still end up in Minnesota, but he would have to be unable to land that 3 year deal.
The point may be moot, however, because the Dodgers have made a 3 year offer to Blake. They expect to hear back on Blake today. I’m guessing he will accept the contract offer, because no other team seems willing to offer 3 years. If he does indeed sign, it will be a solid move for the Dodgers. With their remaining money, they will try to resign Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal. They would also like to squeeze a starting pitcher in, but I’m not sure how they’ll do that. It looks like they may have to chose between Furcal and a starter. Of course, this all depends on the amount of money they give Blake. I can’t imagine it will be more than 6 million per year, though. If it is 3 years, 18 million, it will have been a solid signing in my opinion.
Even if Blake doesn’t sign in L.A. today, the Dodgers are still the unquestioned frontrunners.
Andy Pettitte has been in touch with his former manager, Joe Torre. The Dodgers have some interest in adding Pettitte. He would be a pretty solid addition to the back of their rotation, but I would rather have Randy Johnson. If you look at the stats, Randy was better than Andy in every category except for innings pitched. And that was because The Big Unit was hurt at the start the season. I wouldn’t mind adding both of them if the price was fair. A rotation of Chad Billingsley-Hiroki Kuroda-Randy Johnson-Andy Pettitte-Clayton Kershaw would be solid. The only only hang-up on this idea would be the money. If Unit gets 14 million, and Pettitte gets 12 million, the Dodgers would have only 24 million left to lock up Manny Ramirez with. That might take up all of the money, leaving the Dodgers with next to nothing to fill the third base and shortstop holes with. So I find both player signing in LA not very likely. Despite the possibility of Pettitte reuniting with his former manager I think he will resign with the Yankees. The Dodgers will sign Randy Johnson as their veteran arm, and will also sign a pitcher returning from injury to compete with James McDonald for the final spot.