I decided to take the holidays off. Sorry I didn’t let you know before hand.
In an attempt to clear salary, the Cubs have traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians for minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub. Another trade is in place that would send Jason Marquis to the Rockies for pitcher Luis Vizcaino.
I really like the Marquis trade for both teams. The Cubs will throw in 1 million and take on the entire 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino. So, it is a net dump of about 5 million. Dropping that 5 million will bring the Cubs’ payroll down to about 132 million. The final payroll will be in the 140-145 million dollar range. That leaves 8 to 13 million to spend; enough to sign a big bat for right field. Guys like Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, and Bobby Abreu can be squeezed into the payroll now. Vizcaino provides depth. If he bounces back to form, it will give the Cubs another solid arm for the late innings. If not, then the Cubs can just release him. This is a solid trade for them.
The Rockies got a good deal, too. They receive a quality starting pitcher to slot into their rotation. He comes cheaply, too; only 5 million in net gain. They could’ve signed a guy like Tim Redding instead and gotten similar production, but Redding will probably require a 2 year deal at around the 5 million Marquis gets. So they get similar production and cut off a year. Good job by the Rox.
I’ll be honest by saying that I completely hate the DeRosa trade for the Cubs. This is a fantastic move by the Indians. The 3 prospects the Cubs have coming their way aren’t much at all. Jeff Stevens has some nice potential as a relief pitcher, but he isn’t any better than Jose Ceda, the player they sent to the Marlins in the Kevin Gregg trade. Yes, Gregg will be an important piece to the team by setting up for Carlos Marmol, but he is no where near as valuable as Mark DeRosa. Still, Stevens is a solid piece that could develop and give the Cubs some help in the pen. He has fantastic stuff. John Gaub also has good stuff; he struck out 100 batters in only 64 innings. He is a relief prospect at best, though. Good middle relievers are necessary to any team hoping to compete; Stevens and Gaub at least have the stuff to become very good ones. Plus, they are under control for 6 years as opposed to DeRosa’s 1 year under contract. The other prospect, Chris Archer, is more of a throw-in than a solid piece.
To help offset the move, the Cubs signed Aaron Miles for 2 years, 4.9 million. He is a solid middle infielder, and should keep the second base position respectable. He and Mike Fontenot could form a nice platoon at the bottom of the Cubs lineup.
I guess that this return isn’t terrible, but I expected more if the team were to trade DeRo. The trade may work out in the long run, but I don’t understand why the Cubs are going to hurt their team this year. It doesn’t make any sense at all unless…
Jake Peavy is the next move. Dumping the 5.5 million owed to DeRosa and the 9.9 million owed to Marquis opens up a lot of money. However, the Cubs will pay 1 million of Marquis’ contract and they take on the 3.5 million owed to Vizcaino as well as signing Miles for 2.2 million in the first year. So, these two trades dump a net total of about 9 million. Payroll is reduced all the way down to 128 million. This leaves the Cubs with 12 to 17 million to spend. I know that it’s unlikely that they can fit both a right fielder like Milton Bradley and Jake Peavy into the payroll, but it sure is possible. Hopefully, the Tribune company would be willing to extend payroll to about 150 million to accommodate these moves, if it allows Peavy to come to town. All they have to do is sign Bradley for 2 years, 20 million. Then, take on Jake Peavy’s contract of 11 million per year. It could fit. If not, then just backload Bradley’s contract. They’ll have to let Rich Harden leave after ’09, but that’s OK if Peavy is brought in. Of course, even if all of these finances are possible, the Cubs need to work out a trade. I think that they have the pieces after the DeRosa move. It could be a 3 team trade that looks like this…
- Padres get: Josh Vitters, Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Garret Olson, Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, and John Gaub.
- Cubs get: Jake Peavy
- Orioles get: Felix Pie
A trade similar to this one was accepted by Kevin Towers, but Jim Hendry declined because he couldn’t get ownership approval. Who knows, maybe now that Marquis and DeRosa are gone the trade could come back to life. It’s doubtful, but that is the only reason I can see for trading Mark DeRosa. Maybe they just needed to clear all of his salary. I don’t know.
By the way, DeRosa deleted everything he wrote on his MLBlog, The Pulse. It will now focus solely on the Indians.
Last offseason, Milton Bradley signed a 1 year deal with the Rangers. He was just supposed to be a stopgap DH for them, but Milton ended up having a career year, and even started at DH for the AL All Star team. He has always had the talent, it’s just that Bradley has never managed to stay healthy. Does one good year get him the four he’s asking for? Does it even get him three? And will the Rangers resign him? Well, the Rangers did have the best lineup in the MLB last year, so they can afford to let him leave, but he could definatly have a major impact by protecting Josh Hamilton in the lineup. I know that people will think it’s smarter to sign a starting pitcher instead, but hitters will take discounts to go to Arlington, while you’d have to overpay a pitcher. So just stack up your team on hitters. It doesn’t matter if you win games with offense like a 12 to 10 win, or with pitching like a 3 to 2 win. You just want to win. They do have tons of offensive talent in the minors, but thoses players could be used as trade bait to fetch some pitching. Just like the Rangers will probably deal a catcher for a starter. If the Rangers do decide that they don’t want Bradley back, then possible suitors would be the Blue Jays, Rays, and Angels. But the Jays might opt for Giambi instead since he’ll come with less years and less injury risk. The Rays don’t have much to spend, and if the Angels sign Mark Teixera or CC Sabathia, then they’ll only have 10 million left. It would be smart for them to use the 10 million to add depth to the bullpen, outfield, and rotation rather than bringing in one bat. So none of these teams are perfect fits. I still think in the end he will remain in Texas with the Rangers.
I though of a potentially good trade between the Rangers and Reds. As you can see from the Reds Offseason Needs, they need both a catcher and a shortstop. The Rangers need some pitching. Could the Reds trade Homer Baily to the Rangers for Gerald Laird and Elivis Andrus. They would love to add a great pitching prospect like Baily, especially one with his upside. I don’t think the Reds would do Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Baily, and the Rangers wouldn’t do Salty and Andrus both for Homer. So, they compromise with Laird replacing Saltalamacchia. The Rangers still keep all of their young catchers, but still move part of that surplus. They sacrifice Andrus, but he isn’t that neccessary for the team because they have Michael Young. The Reds lose a pitching prospect that still has a lot of upside, but they fill two key positions in the process. Two scarce positions, as well. It would also allow both teams to spend their money to fill different holes because they would be filling holes without spending money. The Rangers could spend it on Milton Bradley, the Reds on an outfielder. Remember, these two teams hooked up on the Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez trade last winter, so obviously they aren’t afraid to trade high-upside players such as Andrus and Baily.
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.
It has been said that the Rangers would consider trading Matt Cain for the right package. I think they match up well with the Texas Rangers on a possible deal. How about Cain for Elvis Andrus, Engel Beltre, and Michael Main. I know the price is steep, but that’s what it’s going to take to get a cheaply signed fringe ace, great #2. This also doesn’t break the bank so they can afford to resign Milton Bradley. They also still can trade one of their catcher for another starter to replace Main in the minors. They have Michael Young at shortstop, so Andrus is available, and Engel Beltre won’t be needed with Mlton Bradley resigned. Imagine a Ranger rotation of Cain, Naftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Eric Hurley, and Michael Bowden (the latter could be aquired in a Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade). That would be sick just like their offense. This team is primed to contend in 2010, especially if the Angels can’t lock up all of their young stars. The Giants get to fill their shortstop and right field holes, and get a good pitching prospect that could eventually replace Cain. Another possibility is to get Justin Smoak in the deal. He was the Giants backup plan to Buster Posey, but ended up falling all the way down to the Rangers. Maybe they substitute Smoak and another prospect like Blake Beaven and take out Main and Beltre. Both could work. Another possibility is for a three-way-trade where the Rangers trade a catcher somewhere and that team sends the prospect to the Giants. So a three team trade between the Giants, Rangers, and Red Sox.
Red Sox get: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Rangers get: Matt Cain,
Giants get: Elvis Andrus, Jed Lowrie, and Engel Beltre
So the Red Sox trade Lowrie for Salty, the Rangers trade Andrus, Salty, and Beltre for Cain, and the Giants trade Cain for Andrus, Lowrie, adn Beltre. I like this deal for all teams. I think both could work. There are going to be many suitors for Cain, but I think the Rangers would be the most aggresive team if he is made available.
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The terrible, then great, then terrible Texas Rangers will be looking for more consistancy in 2009. One thing they had, though, was consistancy bad starting pitching. This team has no starting rotation at all, yet have an outstanding offense. They are the classic Texas Rangers. This team need to resign Milton Bradley, their only key free agent. If they want to compete, they need to protect Josh Hamilton, and Bradley is a perfect cleanup hitter. The other thing they need to do is get pitching. This team does have many trade chips as well as three great power arms in the minors in Naftali Feliz, Derek Holland, and Michael Main. They have a huge catcher surplus. The Rangers have four starting catchers, all big league ready. They need to decide which one or two of Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez they should keep, and which ones they should move. Many people think Laird and another will be traded, probably Salty. I have said before that Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Michael Bowden would make sense. I still believe that. Gerald Laird to the Reds for Bronson Arroyo and cash makes a lot of sense as well if the Reds don’t sign Jason Varitek. Elvis Andrus and Engel Beltre could also be moved in the right deal. It is possible that the Blue Jays would make Roy Halladay avalable, or the Padres with Jake Peavy. If they are, I’m sure the Rangers would be at the top of the list. With all the young talent they have to trade and the need for an ace, it just makes a lot of sense. Also, I think they are an interesting dark horse for CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. It is very likely that the Rangers trade at least one catcher and aquire at least one pitcher in the offseason. This is a team that could be competing by ’09. If not, then by ’10. They have a very bright future.