Everything had to fall into place for the Rays to be able to sign a big bat for their open DH spot. The player would need to come on a short term deal and would have to have a reasonable annual salary. Those things happened because of the overflowing market for outfielders, and the Rays are very lucky to have ‘Pat the Bat’ under contract at a very under-market rate.
This signing pushes their payroll up to the 55-60 million dollar range. I’m guessing that they are done. No major holes need to be filled, no money left. The Rays will most likely head into 2009 with their current team.
Injecting Burrell into this lineup should make the Rays offense very solid next year. They have so many players likely to improve on what they did last year, and now they add ‘Pat the Bat’ to solidify things. Carl Crawford and BJ Upton should see their batting averages come back to life. Evan Longoria should improve all the parts of his game with the more experience he is getting. Burrell is obviously going to be better than what the Rays had at DH last year. Matt Joyce will be an improvement offensively and defensively in right field. I guess that you could see Dioner Navarro come back to earth, but when you look at the lineup as a whole, it is much improved. A lineup of Akinori Iwamura – Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria – Carlos Pena – Pat Burrell – BJ Upton – Dioner Navarro – Matt Joyce – Jason Bartlett is going to be very deadly for opposing pitchers to face. The defense, rotation, and bullpen should all remain the way they were last year, and the 97-win Tampa Bay Rays look primed to contend for a playoff spot once again.
A lot of teams passed on the chance to pick up a very good outfielder. The Angels, Reds, Braves, Phillies (before they signed Raul Ibanez), and other teams could’ve easily matched this offer. This is another reason why this is such a great signing by the Rays.
Things are going to be very tight in the AL East division. The Red Sox, Yankees, and of course Rays all stand a good shot at a playoff berth. First, I will analyze the starting rotations of these teams.
The Rays have the best rotation in my opinion. A rotation of Scott Kazmir – James Shields – Matt Garza – Andy Sonnanstine – David Price is very good, and very durable. The Yankees’ rotation might have more talent, but they also have a lot of injury-prone pitchers. (examples: AJ Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes) The Red Sox rotation also has their share of pitchers with an injury history (Josh Beckett, Disuke Matsuzaka, & Brad Penny). The Rays have the most durable rotation in the AL East.
I prefer Yankees and Red Sox lineups over the Rays, but not by much. If players like Upton and Crawford bounce back they’ll have a great hitting team. I guess that with those two players rebounding, and with Longoria advancing his batting skills with more experience, the Rays might have the best offense. I still lean toward the Yanks and BoSox, however, because those teams have more power.
The bullpens should all be near the same. The Rays might see some of the relievers come back to earth, but it should still be a solid group. It is pretty much a toss up between all 3 teams.
I know that defense doesn’t make a big impact on a teams’ win-loss record, but the Rays have the top one. Maybe it will tack on a couple wins over a team like the Yankees, who have a terrible defense.
The AL East race is shaping out to be the most competitive division in the MLB next year. I don’t know who I will pick, but I know things will be very close throughout.
The Red Sox have made a couple of signings recently. They signed Brad Penny and Josh Bard. Penny will receive 5 million on a 1 year deal with incentives that could tack on another 3 million. Bard will make 1.6 million, but the deal is not guaranteed. I like both of these signings, but I also think that the Red Sox could’ve done better.
Penny brings depth to the BoSox rotation, and he certainly has a lot of up-side. Remember how good he was in 2007? This deal could pay great dividends to Boston, and Penny could really solidify their rotation if he can return to his ’07 form. Even if he just brings an ERA around 4.00, it will be a good buy for only 5 million.
This is a very solid deal by the Red Sox, but I think they could’ve done better. I would’ve pursued Derek Lowe. If they wanted to match the rotations of the Yankees and Rays, they would have had to bring back Lowe. With all of the money they had available, I don’t know why they went the cheap route. The BoSox are pretty much done and they still have about 30 million to spend. Will they cut that much payroll? If it were almost any other team in the league I would like the Penny signing, but since Boston has so few holes and so much to spend, I don’t like it. Lowe would’ve made a lot more sense, especially since there aren’t many teams interested. The Mets seem like the only team aggressively pursuing him. So the bottom line is: I like the Penny signing, but Lowe would’ve been a better choice.
The Bard signing makes more sense. He will be the backup catcher, probably to Jason Varitek. 1.6 million is a fair amount, and Bard has some up-side. He was very good in ’07, and was bad last year only because of injury issues. To me, he was one of, if not the best backup catcher option available after the Padres non-tendered him. Who knows, maybe Bard will break-out and take over as the starting catcher sometime during the year. I like this signing a lot for the Red Sox.
So the Red Sox made a couple nice, cheap signings. However, I still believe that they could’ve done better.
In a stunning move, the Yankees have signed Mark Teixeira to an 8 year, 180 million dollar contract with a full no-trade-clause. Wow! With this move, the Yanks now look like the frontrunners to win the World Series. They have spent over 400 million this offseason on 3 players. CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and now Mark Teixeira will be the next faces of the New York Yankees.
I can’t believe that the Yankees are raising payroll so high. They said that they wouldn’t be going above the 215 million they had committed last season, but this might change that. 140 million dollars was committed coming into the offseason. Arbitration raises will probably add on another 10 million or so. That left them with 150 million. The Nick Swisher trade tacked on about 5 million. After signing Sabathia to a contract worth 23 million per year, it left them with 178 million dollar payroll. Burnett’s 16.5 million and Teixeira’s 22.5 million bring totals to 217 million; more than last year. I don’t have any idea how they can add payroll in this kind of economy. This whole offseason, GM Brian Cashman has been saying that the team won’t raise payroll, but they just did. They don’t have any tradable pieces aside from Hideki Matsui. There’s no doubt that he will get traded to accommodate this move. Swisher will move from first base to left field, Johnny Damon will move from left field to DH, and Matsui will be dealt somewhere. The Yanks will have to eat probably about half of his contract to move him, however. His knees are all banged up, and his bat is slipping. I don’t know of anyone who would want him unless they have an open DH spot. I guess the Mariners could make an inquiry, but I don’t think that they would want to add a player like that for only one year. I could see them buying low and then possibly selling high at the trade deadline if Hideki establishes his health. If not Seattle, then maybe the Rays could pursue him. They would have to miss out on all their other free agent options, though. Plus, the Yankees probably don’t want to trade within their division. I can’t think of any great fit for him, but there’s bound to be some team willing to take him on for only around 7 million.
If they can dump Matsui it looks like they’ll just head into the season with a 110 million dollar payroll. It was possible they would do this anyway. Mike Cameron and Andy Pettitte could have been aquired for near 10 million each. Now that Tex is a Yankee, neither option seems likely. They Yanks will have to go into the season with Phil Hughes as the fifth starter and with Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera platooning in center field. Still, I would much rather have that to go along with Tex instead of Matsui, Pettitte, and Cameron. I have no idea where Pettitte will go now that the Yankee door is shut. Maybe he’ll retire if he cannot find a place he’s comfortable. The Dodgers, Brewers, and Cardinals could make some sense, at least for the team.
So, since Tex will wear pinstripes instead of Red Sox, who will where Sox? Boston will not look for a hitter anymore; they feel that Tex would be the only upgrade significant enough to trade Mike Lowell for. I agree. For the defense and leadership Lowell brings to the table, I would rather keep him instead of getting a small offensive upgrade with a player like Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell. The starting pitching looks like the position to address, now. You’d have to think that Derek Lowe is the happiest man not named Teixeira that the latter will be in New York. That will open up a spot for Lowe in Boston, or at least make them bid against the Mets. Still, I would say that Lowe is most likely to sign with the BoSox now that Tex won’t.
The Nationals will also look into backup plans. It seems as though the Nats will now turn their attention to Adam Dunn and Orlando Hudson. They will probably bid aggressively against the Angels for Dunn’s services, but I wouldn’t mind signing Hudson instead. There has been no interest at all shown for O-Dawg, so the Nats could get him at a rather cheap price. The Cardinals, Indians, and Giants just don’t make sense anymore. If Washington can sign him for, say, 3 years, 18 million, it will be a great deal. Much smarter than giving away 50 million+ to Dunn, or 180 million+ to Teixeira. I wouldn’t fault the Nats for waiting until next offseason to make their splash. In fact, that’d be the way I would go if Hudson doesn’t come cheap.
Now that the Yanks have added CC, Tex, and AJ, are they the best team in the MLB? Or even in the AL East for that matter? In my opinion, New York has a better rotation than the Rays, but not the Red Sox if the latter add Derek Lowe. New York probably has the best offense now with the addition of Mark Teixeira. There are some major question marks, though. Jorge Posada was hurt last year, and Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano are coming off of terrible years. The center field situation still isn’t sorted out, either. I could see Swish and Cano bouncing back, and the Yanks still could get some solid offense out of Posada. The defense will be bad, but you can live with that. The Red Sox have some question marks in their lineup, too. Mike Lowell was just hurt, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie weren’t great. Plus, Ortiz is coming off an injury and doesn’t have the big protection he used to. With no Manny Ramirez or no Mark Teixeira batting behind him, you might see Ortiz’s bat fall off a cliff. The catcher situation remains unresolved, and it looks like they’ll have to go back to Jason Varitek. So both teams have question marks in their lineups. It is going to be very close this year, but I give the edge to the Yankees for the division, and the edge to the Red Sox for the Wild Card. The Rays are one of my favorite teams, but I don’t like their chance of repeating.
By the way, the Yankees should take the field to Darth Vader’s theme song.
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.
I have previously stated that the Red Sox offered Mark Teixeira 8 years, 160 million. Today, I am receiving different news. The offer seems to be in the 180 million range. Mike Lynch says it’s 184 million. Buster Olney and Peter Gammons say it is for 176 million. Dan Roche says it’s for 180 million. So, the offer is 8 years and 22-23 million per year. All of the writers also say that Red Sox owner John Henry and GM Theo Epstein will meet tonight with Mark Teixeira and Scott Boras. They hope to get a deal done by Friday morning. It definately looks like Boston is the frontunner.
The question is, will the Nationals or Angels up their offer to match the BoSox one. I don’t know if either one will. If I had to make a guess, I would say that both teams would let Tex go to Boston because of some solid backup plans. The Angels could move on to sign Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or Milton Bradley. There are a ton of guys sitting around that could come on bargains. The Nationals look like they will move on to Dunn and Orlando Hudson. I could be wrong though. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arte Moreno demanded that GM Tony Reagins match the Red Sox offer. I could also see Jim Bowden matching it. Who knows?
To me, it looks like the Red Sox are the frontrunners with the Angels second in line and the Nationals breathing down Los Angeles’ neck. Tex could go to any of these destinations, but I favor Boston a bit because of this new offer.
This should be really fun to watch. Just like CC Sabathia set the market for pitching, Mark Teixeira will set the market for hitting. A lot of things are being hung up because of teams and players waiting for Tex to sign. I can’t wait to see how this ends up.
After the Angels, Nationals, and Orioles made their offers to Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox jumped in. Today, they offered at least 8 years, 160 million, maybe more. To recap, the Angels and Nationals offers were both 8 years, 160 million while the Orioles offered 7 years, 140 million. The O’s won’t be raising their offer, but it is possible that the other 3 teams do.
I’m glad the Red Sox finally made an offer. Hopefully, things will start cooking now. With 3 teams offering the same or almost the same amount, Tex will have to chose where he wants to go the most. Obviously, I’m not Teixeira, but I think that Boston would make the most sense for him. He gets to win more than the Nationals do while also staying near his Baltimore home. By the way, it looks like the Orioles are out because of their reluctance to raise their offer. I don’t think that they were all that serious anyway; they just put in a bid so that could say that they tried. There’s no way Tex is taking 140 million.
So now that this is a 3 team race, things will get interesting. Will the two teams that don’t get their offer tentatively accepted raise it or drop out? Will Teixeira get only 160 million, or will he get the 200 million he’s been asking for? Where is his preferred destination? The good thing is that all of these questions will be answered soon. I do think that Teixeira will sign before Christmas, and I still believe it will be with the Red Sox. He will tentatively accept their offer, but will report back to the Nationals and Angels first. I have no idea whether either team would raise its offer. If one or both do raise their offer, will the Red Sox also? Or will they drop out?
This is going to be a very, very fun thing to watch over the holiday season! Hopefully he’ll sign before Christmas.
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.