Yankees Will Include Hughes

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Yankees plan to include Phil Hughes in the deal that would bring Johan to Santana to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and Jose Tabata, according to the New York Daily News. Personally, I think the Twins would have been smart to try and get two of their better pitchers, like Ian Kennedy and Jeffery Marquez, along with Cabrera and Tabata. You then acquire four potential studs to lead the Twins in a new direction. Whichever trade goes down, whether it is with the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers, the Twins are definitely the winners. Not only do they acquire a boatload of potential All-Stars, but they are avoiding a big contract on their payroll for the next several years. I'm sure this trade will get done during the Winter Meetings because it looks like the Twins would like to prepare for the 2008 season as soon as possible.


Capuano to Cardinals?

As the Cardinals Front Office heads to Nashville for the Winter Meetings, they remain very interested in Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano. Capuano struggled with the Brewers this past season going 5-12 with a 5.10 ERA and 132 K, but has the ability to put up big numbers, as he did in 2005. I'm not sure what the Cardinals could offer, but you cannot rule out a package surround around Scott Rolen and Capuano. If the Cardinals would absorb some of his contract, it is very realistic. They could offer Anthony Reyes for Capuano and cash. I think the Brewers would be open to something like that, but I'm not sure if the Cardinals are ready to give him up. For now, I consider the Cardinals a sleeper for a lot of big name free agents available, including Kyle Lohse and Carlos Silva. I'll look into this next week while at the Winter Meetings.


Cardinals Sign Izturis

The Cardinals signed Cesar Izturis to a one year contract, replacing David Eckstein. The deal is worth 2.85 million dollars, so it isn't exactly bad, but Izturis is not a starter. He is above average defensively, but did not play very well in the NL Central over the past two seasons. By not signing Eckstein, it seems that they will focus on pitching coming into next weeks Winter Meetings.


Nationals Acquire Milledge

The Mets traded Lastings Milledge to the Nationals for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church. I think this is a good deal for both teams. For the Mets, it gives them a solid outfielder who will get the job done. Church batted .272 with 15 HR and 70 RBI, but has batted .340 with 3 HR and 12 RBI in 19 games at Shea Stadium. Schneider gives them more depth behind the plate and makes it seem morel likely that Estrada will be let go. Not only does Schneider have experience behind the plate, but he is familiar with the pitchers on the Mets, and the batters in that division. As for the Nationals, they acquire a solid outfielder who should only get better, especially in a low media environment. Milledge will play center field for the Nationals which probably means they will no longer go after Elijah Dukes or Andruw Jones.


Astros Sign Matsui

The Astros and Kaz Matsui have agreed to a three year deal, worth 15 million dollars. This is a good move for the Astros, who greatly needed an upgrade in their infield. They beat out the Rockies and Cubs. The Rockies will probably look in house as the Cubs may go through trade as they look for a lefty infielder.

More details soon...


Kei Igawa To Padres?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It appears that Andy Pettitte will retire opening a spot for Ian Kennedy in the rotation. Although it is not official, I am hearing that is what he is leaning towards. Kei Igawa is the sixth man in the rotation as of right now and will probably move to the bullpen. However, many teams are inquiring about Igawa which makes me think they will trade him. Igawa is making four million a year and will not be a free agent until 2011, so he is worth taking a chance on. The Padres inquired about him in August, but could not work anything out. A couple teams I expect to be interested include the Diamondbacks and Twins, who are both in need of pitching, and the Mariners and Marlins. Igawa was not impressive this season going 2-3 with a 6.25 ERA and 53 K in 14 games, but he is capable of being successful. It would only cost them two low-level prospects and force them to pay for some of his contract.


Pierre Drawing Interest

The Dodgers are apparently shopping Juan Pierre in hopes of finding a team willing to take on his contract. Pierre signed a five year deal worth 44 million dollars and after batting .293 with 0 HR, 41 RBI, and 64 SB, they will look for someone with more power. I would not be surprised if teams were interested in Pierre, but only if the Dodgers took on much of the contract. From what I am hearing, the Dodgers are calling around to half a dozen teams hoping that they will discuss it more at next week's Winter Meetings, which I will be attending. It would not surprise me to hear the Padres, Reds, Orioles, and Brewers on the list of teams interested. The Padres are looking for an outfielder and could trade for Pierre to roam center field. The Reds, who are managed by Dusty Baker, a favorite of Pierre's, could offer up Josh Hamilton and another prospect or two and land Pierre. The Orioles and Brewers are both looking for center fielders and do have the young pitching that would entice the Dodgers. I do not think Pierre will be traded, bu we will find out more at the Winter Meetings.


Sources: Yankees Interested In Hawkins

The Yankees plan to make another run at LaTroy Hawkins. After the 2003 season, the Yankees and Cubs were both trying very hard to land Hawkins. He ultimately signed with the Cubs and after one good year, he was traded to the Giants. However, now that he was a key player in the bullpen for the Rockies this season, his value has risen back up. Hawkins is 35, and would probably only get a two year deal, tops. The Yankees are also looking into Ron Mahay, but no word yet on if negotiations are proceeding. Other than the Yankees, the Rockies, Tigers, and Brewers are pursuing him.


Brewers Looking For Center fielders?

The Brewers put in a call to Scott Boras seeing what Andruw Jones would cost for 2008. Unfortunately for Brewers fans, they will not pursue him: "I didn't get the sense we could get something done," said Melvin. But now that we know they are looking for an outfielder who can produce, and here is a list of players they might go after:

Corey Patterson, Orioles

Stats: .269 AVG, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 37 SB
- Although he did not put up the best numbers, he has speed and experience in the National League Central. Now that he is a more experienced as a ball player, he would probably put up pretty decent numbers at Miller Park. Bringing in him would allow them to move Bill Hall to left field, and would also give them an option at lead off, or lower in the lineup. For Patterson, you are probably looking at a three to four year deal worth 6-8 million annually.

Mike Cameron, Padres
Stats: .242 AVG, 21 HR, 78 RBI, 18 SB
- Mike Cameron is 35, and put up decent power numbers but did not have the best average. He is not expected to return to the Padres so he will be looking for work. The Rangers have shown interest but maybe the Brewers would too. He would also be a good option in center field. His experience and success at Miller Park should turn into good numbers in the NL Central. In eleven games, he has batted .343 with 4 HR. I see him looking at a two to three year deal worth 7-10 million dollars annually.

Other options include Alexei Ramirez, Milton Bradley, and Brad Wilkerson. However, they do have Kevin Mench and Tony Gwynn, and both would make for a nice platoon in the outfield if all else fails.


Mora to Phillies?

The Although the Orioles have not indicated if they will trade Melvin Mora or not, it seems the Phillies would be interested in trading for him if he is available. I think it would be a good fit for both teams. Phillies have solid prospects and could easily trade one or two of them. I could see them trading Jayson Werth, and a low-level pitching prospect for him. Werth would fit nicely in the in the Orioles outfield. Jay Payton struggled in the outfield for the Orioles and bringing in Werth, who is just 29, would give them a solid left fielder for the next several years. And trading Mora would move Huff to third base until top prospect Bill Rowell is ready. However, if Scott Moore proves he can play third base successfully he might get a shot, but he has yet to prove so. They have Luis Hernandez, who can play several positions on the field, who should get a shot to play everyday. I expect the Orioles to resign Corey Patterson to play center field, but from there, maybe they will trade Miguel Tejada.


Report: Brewers Close to Signing Riske

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Brewers GM Doug Melvin is awaiting word from one free agent pitcher on whether or not he will accept their offer. Several sources that I talked to tonight believe that it is David Riske who they are awaiting word from. Riske was dominant for the Royals last season going 1-4 with a 2.45 ERA in 52 K in 65 games, and after losing both Linebrink and Cordero, they need some upgrades. The deal is believed to be a three year deal, worth 18 to 20 million, with an option for a fourth year. That seems a little high, but they are desperate for pitching, and might overpay to make sure they sign him. I suspect this will be announced sometime tomorrow with a physical in the days following.


White Sox True 1-B: Coco Crisp

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Aaron Rowand is not interested in joining the White Sox. They exchanged figures briefly before the White Sox saw that he was out of their price range. I guess that is why Torii Hunter is now with the Angels. The White Sox have talked briefly with the Red Sox about a trade, but I think it will pick up at the Winter Meetings. Kenny Williams is very familiar with Coco Crisp because he has done very well against the White Sox, and at U.S. Cellular Field. In 31 games. Crisp has batted .286 with 6 HR and 17 RBI and is just 29. Crisp is in need of a change of scenery after the Red Sox basically handed his spot to Jacoby Ellsbury in the playoffs. He has speed, a solid glove, and the potential to hit about .290. Not only that, but he played four seasons in the AL Central with the Indians, so he is very familiar with the pitchers in that division.


Report: Padres Make Offer To Jenkins

A source close to Geoff Jenkins has told me that the Padres have extended him a two year deal, worth 16-20 million dollars. The deal supposedly has an option for a third year, but I have not been able to confirm that. This does make sense though because the Padres met with Jenkins yesterday for several hours, which would suggest they hope to get a deal done by the Winter Meetings. Jenkins batted .255 with 21 HR and 64 RBI and is not a liability in the outfield yet. He has struggled at PETCO Park batting .234 with 2 HR in 12 games, but has seen success at other parks in the NL West. Personally, I think the Padres should go after Andruw Jones. They have the money to spend, he has the potential to hit 30 HR, and is very reliable in the field. The Padres plan to look in house for second base while will probably look to add a pitcher, and another outfielder.


Twins Set To Acquire Young

The Tampa Bay Rays are very close to trading Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie to the Twins for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Juan Rincon. Obviously, this deal is focused around Young and Garza but I think it will help both teams. Young will slot in left field and give some protection to Justin Morneau while Brendan Harris will play second base until Alexei Castilla is ready. For the Rays, Bartlett can play shortstop while Garza will be great in the rotation and Rincon in the bullpen. For now, I think this trade helps the Twins. Young has proven at age 22 that he can hit for power at the major league level while a change of scenery might help his attitude problem. Although Garza is making the strides to get better, he has not shown that he can be successful at this level.

UPDATE: It's Official. The Twins traded Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, Eduardo Morlan to the Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie.

Rays Close to Signing Percival:
The Rays are also close to signing reliever Troy Percival. More details on this as it develops.


Yankees, Twins Slow Talks Down

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Yankees and Twins have begun negotiations involving Johan Santana. "It's preliminary right now." Hank Steinbrenner told the AP. Santana, who has a full no trade clause, will be 29 in March and has told the Twins to start taking offers for him. Obviously, the Yankees see Santana's value. He is a lefty whose numbers would only improve playing for a team like the Yankees, and the Yankees have the money to lock him up for the next five years. The Twins could probably acquire three or four legitimate prospects in return, while also shedding some cash. The Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Red Sox are the four teams that are most interested, but it will probably come down to the Yankees and Red Sox. Both teams have prospects to offer, and could afford to not only lose prospects, but to add Santana's salary to their payroll. They are still far apart, because the Twins are looking to land Robinson Cano in the deal, but may have to settle for a package including Joba Chamberlain, Melky Cabrera, and another prospect. Not a bad deal, but we will see what happens. Personally, I think the Red Sox have a better offer ready, but I do not think they are as willing to trade their prospects. We will see what happens next week at the Winter Meetings.


Astros Sign Brocail

The Astros have signed Doug Brocail to a one year deal worth 2.5 million dollars with an option for 2009. Brocail was 5-1 with a 3.05 ERA while holding hitters to a .228 average. He played with the Astros back in 1995 and 1996, and although he was not as effective as he was this year, he should be a valuable piece to their bullpen: "Doug is a battle-tested, veteran reliever who will make our bullpen stronger,'' new Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "He's a great competitor and has shown the ability to pitch a lot while performing equally well against both left-handed and right-handed hitters.'' From what I have heard, the Astros are not done searching for pitchers, so expect them to add at least one more reliever.


Mailbag: Under the Radar Players

Monday, November 26, 2007

Q: As an Angels fan, I see a bright future in Reggie Willits. Maybe it is just bias, but I really think he will be a great outfielder. Do you see him having a chance to shine in the Angels outfield, or in a trade for Miguel Cabrera?

Sean N, California

ELI: Willits played very well this year batting .296 with 0 HR, 34 RBI, and 27 SB. He had a pretty solid OBP in 136 games, so yes, I do think he has a bright future. The only way I see Willits staying in the Angels outfield is if they unload Gary Matthews and move Garrett Anderson to DH, or unload Garrett Anderson and move Willits to DH. I think the Angels are serious about Miguel Cabrera and I'm sure he will be in that trade. If he is not, it wouldn't surprise me if teams begin offer one or two low-level prospects for him, assuming he continues to have success.

Q: I am looking ahead a little bit and was wondering which players you think are on the verge of breaking out?

Tyler, Missouri

ELI: Good question. Well, Reggie Willits is definitely one of those guys. As for three hitters, I would say look out for Howie Kendrick of the Angels, Daric Barton of the Athletics, and Billy Butler of the Royals. A couple other names that come to mind are Geovanny Soto of the Cubs and JR Towles of the Astros. As for pitchers, Jair Jurrjens of the Braves, Kyle Kendrick of the Phillies, and Kason Gabbard of the Rangers. A couple other names that come to mind are Ian Kennedy of the Yankees and Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies.

Q: Do you think Elijah Dukes has a chance to come back and have a successful career?

Alex, New York

ELI: Yes, but only if he is traded.

If you have any questions, email me at mlbrumors@gmail.com


News and Notes: Rays Eye Izturis

The Tampa Bay Ray are looking to upgrade defensively, and are looking towards former Gold Glove winner Cesar Izturis. Izturis batted .258 with 0 HR and 16 RBI in 110 games with the Cubs and Pirates, and is not drawing much interest from around the league besides the Rays. I think he would be a good fit for Tampa Bay. It would give them a veteran shortstop with the potential to hit for a solid average, who has a solid glove. It will probably be a one year deal worth between 4-6 million dollars.

Jason Bay to Indians makes sense: The Indians are trying very hard to land outfielder Jason Bay and it seems like a deal with get done because of Mark Shapiro's and Neal Huntington's solid relationship. I'm sure Huntington wants prospects, and because of his familiarity with the Indians farm system, he probably knows the best players the Indians are willing to give up.

Bobby Kielty playing it out: Red Sox backup outfielder Bobby Kielty has become a fan favorite in Boston after his homerun in Game 4 of the World Series, but will let Coco Crisp determine his future with the Red Sox: "With Coco not there, it is a very good situation for me in terms of playing time. ... But with Coco there, it's not an ideal situation for me." Other than the Red Sox, the Braves and Marlins are interested in the outfielder.

Astros Now On Plan B: The Astros have contacted more relievers looking to fill their bullpen. They seem most interested in Troy Percival, but have also talked with Jeremy Affeldt, Doug Brocail, and David Riske.

Mike Hampton struggling to get back: The Braves revealed today that Mike Hampton injured his hamstring in his debut in the Winter League. Hampton has not pitched since 2005, and I'm sure the Braves hope he can return healthy to be in the rotation. If I were the Braves, I would look at it like Hampton will not be back and go out and get a starter. You have Jurrjens, and I think a solid pickup would be someone like Eric Milton or Jon Lieber. The Braves love looking in-house before testing the market so expect GM Frank Wren to talk with his advisor's before making an offer.


Will The Padres Trade Peavy?

Padres ace Jake Peavy has been very dominant over the past six seasons with the Padres. But, next year he will be making 6.5 million with an 11 million dollar option for 2009. If he continues to pitch like he has, he will have a big contract coming towards him. While starting pitching is at a minimum, will the Padres shop Peavy to see what they can get? If I were them, I would not. Although you could get several major league ready players and top prospects, Peavy is the kind of pitcher you build a team around. You have Kouzmanoff, Gonzalez, Greene, catching prospect Colt Morton, outfield prospect Cedric Hunter, and pitchers Chris Young, Jack Cassell, and Cesar Carrillo. Although trading Peavy could probably bring in Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Michael Bowden, and another prospect, Peavy is 26, and can pitch successfully for another 15 years. Padres GM Kevin Towers told me "Nobody is untouchable if the right deal presents itself," so you cannot rule out a trade, but I expect the Padres to hold on to Peavy until he says he will test the market, or his numbers drop significantly.

Let me know, should the Padres trade Jake Peavy?


Piazza Likely Heading To Japan

Mike Piazza is looking for a job back east but has yet to find a team interested. I am sure he will talk to teams looking for a DH, but it does not seem any are interested. Piazza can no longer draw fans like he used to, so there is little revenue coming in by signing him. Also, his power numbers have dropped dramatically and he can no longer play catcher or first base. This season, he batted .275 with 8 HR and 44 RBI in 83 games. Sources close to Piazza are reporting that if Piazza cannot find a job here, he hopes to pursue a career in Japan. He would be a huge draw in Japan because he was Hideo Nomo's first catcher and is considered the greatest hitting catcher of all time. Not only that, but it is possible we could see Piazza do well in Japan because they are not sure of his weaknesses, and also because they are not as effective as pitcher in the States. Would Piazza actually go to Japan though? I haven't heard much about Piazza and if he feels disrespected by having to turn to Japan, but I think he would enjoy success there at least for a year. I think it would also lead to better connections with Japanese baseball by having a potential Hall of Famer playing there.


Mariners Losing Ground In Kuroda Hunt?

According to the Japan Times, the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Mariners are the leading candidates to sign pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. The Mariners have been very aggressive in attempting to sign him but are far from being a contender in the AL West. The Diamondbacks, who are young and getting better, seem to be a solid fit. However, the Dodgers are starting to look a lot better and Takashi Saito, a close friend of his, might be able to lure him there. You cannot rule out any team yet, so I expect it to come down to money.

Kerry Wood Signs With Cubs: The Cubs and Kerry Wood signed a one year4.2 million dollar contract to return with the Cubs. After nearly two weeks, it seemed unlikely that he would return.


Matsui Decision Coming This Week

Sunday, November 25, 2007

According to sources close to Kaz Matsui, Matsui plans on making a decision this week on who he will sign with. There are three teams that have reportedly made offers and they are the Cubs, Rockies, and Astros. However, the Astros and Cubs reportedly have offered more money than the Rockies so it looks like he is on his way out. Matsui batted .288 with 4 HR, 37 RBI, and 32 SB this season with the Rockies, and is just 32. The best second baseman, Luis Castillo, was resigned by his Mets so the top free agent second baseman is probably Matsui. The Cubs have shown interest in him because not only are they looking for a speedy infielder, but they would like Matsui to try and lure Kosuke Fukudome to the Cubs over any other team. Another reason Matsui is attractive is because he is a switch hitter, with playoff experience. The Astros middle infield is one of the weakest in the league so they will definitely be looking to upgrade. A solid pickup right now would be Jeff Keppinger. Keppinger is a utility infielder with the Reds who showed decent power in the second half of the season. He would be inexpensive, and would definitely help. On the market, they could look at Tadhito Iguchi, but they have already shot that down. I don't consider any team to be a front-runner at the moment, so expect to hear something in the next day or so about a possible agreement.


Pitchers Wanted

P Matt Clement
Teams Interested: Blue Jays, Padres, Indians, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Pirates.
- The Pirates are the latest team to have contacted Clement about pitching next season, but they do not seem to have much of a chance. The NL Central is becoming a strong division again, and Clement would probably only pitch for the Reds, who are managed by Dusty Baker, or the Cubs, his former team. The Padres probably have a good chance because they were his first team, and it is where he lives. Since he didn't pitch this year and missed part of last year, he will probably take a one year deal loaded with incentives.

P Octavio Dotel
Teams Interested: Tigers, Royals, Mets, Braves, Cardinals, and Brewers.
- Dotel is starting to draw more interest now that Francisco Cordero is off the market. The Tigers, who are looking to build up their bullpen, have shown the most interest, but do not rule out a desperate team like the Brewers from coming in. The Royals seem more interested in finding a bat before a reliever, and have already signed Japanese reliever Yabuta. If the Tigers can come in with a three year deal, worth 12-14 million dollars, I bet they would sign him.

P Randy Wolf
Teams Interested: Phillies, Rangers, Rockies, Astros, and White Sox.
- Since the Dodgers are no longer interested in bringing him back, it seems his former team, the Phillies have the best shot. Wolf is probably looking at a similar one to two year deal after he put up 9 wins in the first half of the season. The Astros are interested too, but might aim for something bigger after missing out on Torii Hunter and Scott Linebrink. For now, I think the Phillies are the front-runner but we will see what happens.

P Freddy Garcia
Teams Interested: Mets, Pirates, Marlins, and Astros.
- The Mets were very close to landing Freddy Garcia before the Phillies did, and it is probably better for them now. Not only will they not have to give up anything for him, but he will sign for a reduced price because he struggled and was injured part of this season. The Marlins would also be a good fit because they are looking for veteran pitchers, but his price may jump out of their range.


Dodgers Shopping Relievers?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Over the past twenty-four hours, the Brewers have been in talks with several teams, according to major league sources. He told me that Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has talked with Doug Melvin of the Brewers about a possible swap, but nothing has gotten serious as of yet. I expect the Brewers to be looking at either Joe Biemel or Jonathon Broxton, so it will cost them. The Dodgers are looking for an outfielder and could ask for Bill Hall in a trade. That would open it up for Tony Gwynn or another replacement. Also, the Brewers are loaded with pitching, so the Dodgers could try to acquire Manny Parra or Carlos Villanueva. I think a trade like this would work for both sides. The Dodgers have some questions marks in their rotation and would benefit from a young arm. The Brewers need to improve their bullpen because if they don't, they will have trouble contending in the NL Central. Other than the Dodgers, the Brewers have reportedly talked with the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Nationals, and a fourth unknown team.


Brewers Now Desperate For Pitching

A source tells me that now the Brewers have lost both Francisco Cordero and Scott Linebrink, they are desperate to replace them. The have Derrick Turnbow, but he proved that he could not close this past season so they probably will not try again. I could see them go after former closer Keith Foulke. He said he was planning a comeback and for the Brewers to dish him a one year, incentive laden contract might turn out to be a plus. As for other relievers on the market, David Riske, Ron Mahay, Kerry Wood, and LaTroy Hawkins are all solid additions to the the bullpen. Although they may be expensive, they must find ways to upgrade. They are loaded with starting pitching and that could lead to a trade for a bullpen arm. He did that with Dan Kolb and lost pitching prospect Jose Capellan, who is now fighting for a job with the Tigers. I see the Brewers looking to the Blue Jays for help. They had a solid bullpen and may be willing to give up pitchers like Jeremy Accardo or Scott Downs for a solid pitcher and minor leaguer. Accardo was 4-4 with a 2.14 ERA, 30 SV, and 57 K while Downs was 4-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 57 K. One would be a huge upgrade in the pen and not a big loss for the Blue Jays as they would like to add another starting pitcher.


Offseason Grades

Friday, November 23, 2007

Now just a couple weeks in and here how a couple teams are doing so far:

New York Yankees ---- Grade: B -

- The Yankees got off to a rocky start after loosing Joe Torre and Alex Rodriguez. They were publically ridiculed and many were pulling for a collapse. However, they pulled themselves together and resigned Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Alex Rodriguez. They may have lost Joe Torre, but signed Joe Girardi, and have the prospects ready to make a run at the playoffs again. They are looking to improve their bullpen, and might pull off a trade for maybe Johan Santana.

Grade Reasoning: The Yankees looked bad early on for low balling Torre and I think that really sticks out. They threw a ton of cash at these aging players to keep them from leaving and it will probably hurt them in the end.

Detroit Tigers ---- A -

- The Tigers filled two needs very early in the off season giving them time to improve on other things. They acquire Edgar Renteria and Jacque Jones, and brought back Todd Jones to be closer. They are working hard to sign Livan Hernandez and are close to bringing back Kenny Rogers. If they continue to improve, I wouldn't be surprised if they pass on the Indians and take the division.

Grade Reasoning: Their two biggest needs were filled before most teams got in offseason mode. They acquired an All-Star shortstop with playoff experience and then got that left handed bat for the outfield for one year for next to nothing. They have money to spend on pitching, and plan to be aggressive for the rest of the off season.

Anaheim Angels ----- B +

- The Angels traded Orlando Cabrera for pitcher Jon Garland which helps their infield, but hurts their infield because Brandon Wood is not quite ready. They are looking to sign David Eckstein, but might trade for Miguel Cabrera, which would shift the whole infield around. When they signed Torii Hunter, they shocked the baseball world. It was a great move on their part, but hopefully they are not done yet. Their catching is weak, and they will probably lose Jeff Mathis in any trade. Michael Barrett would be a great option because he is young and has the potential to hit for power with an average above .300.

Grade Reasoning: All they did by trading for Garland was create another hole. They signed Hunter making their outfield even more crowded but it was a great signing. They can now shift Anderson to play DH and put Matthews in left field. They still other needs in the infield and pitching, so they are not done yet. They still have the edge in the AL West, so any upgrade will be good.

More coming soon...


BREAKING NEWS: Reds Sign Cordero

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Reds are in serious talks with closer Francisco Cordero. Cordero is believed to be talking to three clubs, the Brewers, Reds, and an anonymous team, but the Reds are the front-runners. The Reds relievers struggled last season and signing Cordero would definitely make them better. Cordero is seeking a four year deal, worth about 45-50 million dollars, and after the season he had, he deserves it. Cordero was 44-for-51 for the Brewers while going 0-4 with a 2.98 ERA and striking out 86. Something could get done as early as today, but will probably get done sometime next week, unless a surprise team jumps in like the Angels did with Hunter.



Twins Next CF - Coco Crisp

Now that Torii Hunter has left and the Twins are basically in ruins, they will probably trade Johan Santana. The Red Sox, who not only have the money to spend but seem willing to give up prospects seem to be the most likely. The Twins probably want lefty Jon Lester, so with him, they could send Coco Crisp, Kyle Jackson and a couple other top prospects. I see them doing whatever they can to hold onto Jacoby Ellsbury, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is in the deal. The Red Sox traded top prospect Hanley Ramirez who is now an All-Star in Florida. However, no one seems to miss him, probably because they got Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell in return. The Twins think high of Crisp, and from what I am hearing, are asking for Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Michael Bowden, and Lars Anderson in a trade for Johan. Anderson is a first baseman who draws comparisons to Adam LaRoche. He batted .288 with 10 HR and 69 RBI in Singe-A and is just twenty. Bowden, 21, is probably a year away but will be very effective. I fully expect Crisp to be traded, and see the Twins as their best suitor. Other than them, the Cardinals, Cubs, Padres, and Rockies to be other options. Something will probably get done soon after the Winter Meetings. It will allow the Twins to find out who is interested, and then talk with those teams in the weeks following.

UPDATE: The Twins are entertaining the idea of signing either Kenny Lofton or Corey Patterson to play center. I think Patterson would be a great option. Not only does he have speed, but he is a pretty decent fielder with the potential to have a good bat.


Royals Move To Plan B

The Royals missing out on Hunter is not necessarily a bad thing right now. They can spend about seventy million, and plan to go hard for power hitting outfielder Jose Guillen. Guillen batted .290 this season with 23 HR and 99 RBI in 153 games. He is just thirty-one, and will probably command a three year deal, worth 30-40 million dollars. In 22 games at Kauffman Stadium, Guillen has batted .367 with 2 HR and 18 RBI. Those numbers would look pretty good after 81 games. His price is expected to go up though because he is also getting pursued by the Giants, Cubs, Rangers, and Mets. If they can sign him for a under 40 million, it gives them the option to also go after a pitcher, maybe Carlos Silva. They are looking into Hiroki Kuroda, but he prefers to stay on the West Coast. Silva has pitched in the AL Central his whole career, so switching to the Twins might be something he is interested in, but only if they get a power hitter as well. They have a chance to be a solid team in that division, and will probably influence who makes it to the playoffs next season. Silva is 3-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 6 games at Kauffman Stadium giving up five homeruns. Personally, I think Silva is better off going to the NL, but he will probably go to the highest bidder. The Braves, Mets, Mariners, Phillies, and Cardinals are all interested in Silva and willing to overpay to land the best pitcher left on the market.


White Sox Make Push For Jones?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

According to MLB Rumors Correspondent Shane Shapiro, the White Sox are making a big push for Andruw Jones. Although they have interest in Aaron Rowand, they prefer Jones because he is an excellent fielder and is slightly less reckless than Rowand. The White Sox had an offer ready for Torii Hunter, but since he signed with the Angels, I believe they will offer that same deal to Jones. Also, he has heard the Dodgers, Giants, Padres, and Athletics are also interested in Jones, who is seeking a multi-year deal. Jones batted .222 with 26 HR and 94 RBI, but did win a Gold Glove and put up similar power numbers to Rowand and Hunter. He is represented by Boras, so you can expect lengthy discussions and a deal probably reaching 100 million. Personally, I see the Dodgers leading the race because not only are they looking for an outfielder, but they have money to land him. Also, Jones is very good friends with former teammate and Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Park Returns to Korea:
Shane Shapiro is also reporting that Chan Ho Park will void his contract that he recently signed with the Dodgers and return


Rockies Closing In On Two Deals

The Rockies are very close to resigning free agent reliever Matt Herges and catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Herges, arguably the most important reliever for the Rockies in September, went 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 35 games. "We are close, that is fair to say," said Herges' agent Danny Horwits. "But we aren't done yet. There are still other teams involved." Torrealba earns a three year deal after his performance this season. All his offensive numbers were not great, his ability to call games did not go unnoticed. It seems Kaz Matsui is on his way, probably to the Astros or Cubs. Both have offered more money and have talked with Matsui more than the Rockies. These three contracts should be finalized next week.

Johan Santana to be traded?: After the Twins made a five year, 93 million dollar offer to Johan Santana, he countered for 126 million dollars. I'm sure this means that the Twins will trade him, probably during the Winter Meetings. Where he is going, who knows? I'm sure half the league is interested. The Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals, Mets, Dodgers, and maybe even Angels seem to be most interested, among other teams.


White Sox Improve Bullpen

The White Sox are closing in on a four year deal, worth 19 million dollars with relief pitcher Scott Linebrink. Linebrink was lights out this season for the Padres and Brewers and plans to be a key part of their bullpen plans for 2008 and beyond. Linebink, who was 5-6 with a 3.71 ERA with 50 K, is set to take a physical next week. At first, I thought this deal was a little much. But he is only making 4.5 annually, not much more than Bob Howry, who signed this kind of deal two years ago. Also, he has been very consistent over the past five years which is why the Williams signed him. The White Sox had one of the worst bullpens in baseball last year, and by adding Linebrink, they have made it a lot better.


BREAKING NEWS: Angels Sign Hunter

I did not see this coming. Late Wednesday night, the Angels agreed to a five year deal, worth about 90 million dollars. "We shocked the world. Now I'm an Angel. I'm going to hopefully finish my career as a Halo, and hopefully get about three [World Series] rings out of this thing." This signing definitely puts the Angels ahead of the pack in the AL West, and it seems they will only get better. By signing Hunter, it makes sense that that they might give Brandon Wood a shot. They got the big bat they need, and have the option to go and get Miguel Cabrera still. Hunter, 32, won his seventh consecutive Gold Glove Award, batting .287 with 28 homers and 107 RBIs in 160 games. With this signing, they will probably move Garrett Anderson to DH, if not trade him. Corner outfielders are hard to find this offseason and Anderson would make for a good one year stopgap. He batted .297 with 16 HR and 80 RBI while making only two errors. While a deal is pending a physical, the White Sox, Royals, and Rangers were the most interested in signing Torii Hunter.

Whats Next for the Angels?: Well, new GM Tony Reagins has made the big splash that the Angels have been trying to make for years. Now, I expect them to go hard for Miguel Cabrera. Hunter gives them some protection so they can trade some prospects, and I see them looking at a deal like this. The Angels would trade Ervin Santana, Howie Kendrick, Chris Bootcheck, Sean O'Sullivan, and Jeff Mathis for Miguel Cabrera. You can then move Figgins to second, Cabrera at third and have arguably the best offense in the American League. That is a high price to pay for the Angels, but I think that would make them better than the 2002 team, when they won the World Series.

UPDATE: It is possible we could see Matthews added in the trade so they would not lose too many prospects, according to FOXSports.com.


Phillies Nearing Deal With Wolf

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

According to MLB Rumors Correspondent Tim Wallace, the Phillies are closing in on a one year deal with pitcher Randy Wolf. Wolf is arguably the most valuable free agent on the market. He leads all free agent starters with 8.24 strikeouts per nine innings and held pitchers to a .273 batting average. However, he has been injured a lot recently but is still capable of putting up wins. Wolf was 9-6 with a 4.73 ERA and 94 K in 18 games, and will probably get a one year deal worth about 6-8 million dollars. More details on this deal as it comes out.

Cubs prospect a bust?: It is probably too early to say the Cubs prospect Felix Pie is a bust, but he is batting .210 with 14 K's in 18 games in Winter Ball. Not impressive, especially after he worked for weeks with Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry to cut his swing back. He did struggle with the major league team after dominating down in Triple-A which makes me think he is too good for Triple-A, but just not there yet for the MLB. I doubt the Cubs will give up on him yet, but I am sure they will give Ryan Theriot, Eric Patterson, and maybe give a veteran outfield a shot to ease Pie into the full time role. As for right field, I am all for Matt Murton, but only if they brought in a proven center fielder. They are really hoping they can bring in Kosuke Fukudome, maybe Milton Bradley, but no word on negotiations yet.


Royals Serious About Hunter

The Royals have put Torii Hunter at the top of their list this off season and are willing to wait for a decision. However, the White Sox and Rangers are pressing for one so he might be pressured to pick one sooner than he wants. It is probably hard to lure a big time free agent like Hunter to Kansas City, but they still have hope. “I can’t comment on any specific situation,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said, “but we’re willing to look into any situation that makes our club better.” Hunter is likely to get a five year deal, worth about 85-90 million dollars, and I think he would commit to a team that offered six, which no team has yet to do. Hunter batted .287 with 28 HR, 107 RBI, and 18 SB, and is expected to make a decision sometime next week.


Mariners Front Runners For Kuroda

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

According to MLB Rumors Correspondent Shane Shapiro, the Mariners are the front-runners in the race to land Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, who is 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA in eleven seasons in Japan, is also being pursued by the Cubs, Rangers, and Red Sox, among others. However, Shapiro has learned that negotiations are starting to get serious, and that the Mariners are preparing to go to Tokyo to meet with Kuroda himself. The Mariners are desperate for pitching after flopping with Jeff Weaver. I have learned that they are in the running for Carlos Silva, and are looking into a trade that would bring Vicente Padilla to the Mariners. Kuroda would be great in the three or four spot. He would have catcher Kenji Johjima to work with, which would help while crossing the language barrier, along with veteran All Star Ichiro. I don't expect anything to get done until the Winter Meetings, only because of the holiday and because I am sure they will guage other teams interest. But for now, the Mariners are definitely leading the pact.


Report: Red Sox Make Offer To Timlin

According to MLB Rumors Correspondent Steve Wilson, the Red Sox have offered Mike Timlin a one year deal to pitch in the bullpen again. He will probably get a one year deal around 3-4 million dollars, he deserves it. He has been nothing but consistent for the Red Sox and his whole career and was solid in the bullpen for the Red Sox in the playoffs. This past season, he was 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 31 K and was drawing interest from the Phillies, Giants, Reds, and Astros. More on this deal as it comes out.


Mets Acquire Estrada

The Mets acquired Johnny Estrada in exchange for Guillermo Mota, which would suggest that the Brewers are close to signing Jason Kendall. The Mets definitely win in this trade. "Johnny adds depth to our catching situation," said Mets General Manager Omar Minaya. "He's a former All-Star who switch-hits and has hit over .300 three times in his career." Estrada and Castro will combine for solid duo behind the plate, especially if Estrada can continue to put up good numbers. I suspect now that Paul Lo Duca will head to the Marlins while the Blue Jays, Giants, and Rockies will look into signing Michael Barrett or Yorvit Torrealba.

If you check my article from yesterday, it says that the Mets are probably the front runner if Estrada is available. Well obviously people with Mets agreed and this trade should go a long way for the Mets.


Podsednik To Padres, Cubs?

Scott Podsednik was designated for assignment today and because he has enough major league time, he can declare for free agency if claimed. He will probably be non-tendered next month anyways but expect the Padres and Cubs to be interested. The Cubs were interested in him last season but couldn't work something out. It does not seem that Mike Cameron is going back to the Padres and they could look to bring Podsednik in and platoon him with someone else. The Cubs have shown interest in Cameron so they might go after him if the price is right. Podsednik struggled with the White Sox this season batting .243 with 2 HR, 11 RBI, and 12 SB, but has had some success in the past. Other than the Padres and Cubs, I expect the Rockies, Pirates, Orioles, and Nationals.


Angels Concede Cabrera, After Tejada

It appears the Angels have given up on acquiring Miguel Cabrera and are now focused on Miguel Tejada. Sources are saying talks have not gotten to specifics, but it makes sense that they would turn to Tejada. But where does Brandon Wood fit in? Or Chone Figgins? It is possible they would play Wood at short, Figgins at third, and play Tejada at DH. That would keep the team together and give Wood a spot to shine. The Angels nearly acquired Tejada from the Orioles back in 2006 for Ervin Santana and Erik Aybar, but that deal fell through. The Orioles hope they can trade Tejada before the end of the off season and this seems like a perfect fit. The Orioles could get Ervin Santana, Howie Kendrick, Chris Bootcheck, and maybe Sean O'Sullivan and shed some cash to spend elsewhere while the Angels get the big bat they need. "We're dealing from a position of strength, and we're confident that we'll be able to get the bat that we're looking for," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said from his California home last night. I expect something to get done around the Winter Meetings in two weeks.

UPDATE: According to MLB Rumors Corresponent Tim Wallace, the Orioles have opened talks with shortstop Cesar Izturis suggesting that they are in talks with the Angels.


Dodgers Close To Landing Cabrera

The Dodgers are very close to landing Miguel Cabrera, according to major league sources. It is believed that the deal includes Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, and pitcher Clayton Kershaw. However, the two sides are apart on one part of the deal, and I think it is over money. It is possible the Dodgers want cash if they are parting with three top prospects, and that seems reasonable. The Angels are also in negotiations with the Marlins, but no players have been named. If the Dodgers trade Kemp, they will probably look to sign Hunter or Rowand. They are also showing interest in Tadahito Iguchi, but only if Jeff Kent does not come back. More details on this scenario as more unfolds.


Tribe Close In On Kobayashi

The Indians are closing in on a deal with relief pitcher Masahide Kobayashi. He has taken his physical, and an announcement is expected tomorrow. Yabuta, the other Japanese reliever signed, is one his way to the Royals while another pitcher, Kazuo Fukumori, is also drawing interest.


White Sox Close In On Hunter

Monday, November 19, 2007

The White Sox and Torii Hunter are closing in on a deal that could be finished by the end of the week. Hunter has met with the White Sox at least twice in the last two weeks, and it is believed the second time was to go over financial details of a possible detail. One source said that "the climate" was that a deal could get done very soon. According to MLB Rumors Correspondent Brady Yu, Torii Hunter is eager to get a deal done before Thanksgiving and plans to get something done today or tomorrow. By adding Cabrera and Hunter, they will have improved their offense and defense, and will give the White Sox the rest of the time to improve pitching. There has been no indication how much Hunter is set to make, but I would assume that it is at least a five year deal making 13-16 million dollars annually.

Brewers, Kendall Close: The Brewers are working on a deal with Jason Kendall, according to sources. The plan is to get a deal done by the end of the week in order to start shopping Johnny Estrada, maybe to the Mets or Pirates. It is possible to see Ronny Paulino brought in to platoon with Kendall, but a deal with the Mets seems more likely.


Mets Looking For Right Fielder

According to Steve Popper of The Record, Omar Minaya is in the market for a right fielder. I do not think he is looking to make a big splash but it would not surprise me if they inquire about Kosuke Fukudome. They will probably settle for Jose Guillen, or maybe Geoff Jenkins. I could also seem them look at Rondell White, but only if all else fails. However, Minaya knows the value of prospects these days and may shop them around for a proven outfielder or pitcher. It is likely that we will see Lastings Milledge go to Oakland for Joe Blanton while they will shop Phil Humber for an outfielder, maybe Alex Rios or Jason Bay. Personally, I think they should address the pitching situation first, but Minaya is desperate to make a winning team any way he can.

According to MLB Rumors Correspondent Brady Yu, the Pirates are now out of the running for reliever Yashiko Yabuta, leaving the White Sox, Royals, Indians, and Devil Rays in contention. However, now that the White Sox and Torii Hunter are moving closer to striking a deal, my money is on the Royals landing him. Trey Hillman is familiar with his stuff and I think he feels that he will prosper most there because Hillman will know where to use him.


Kaz Matsui To Astros?

Now that Luis Castillo is off the market and the Cubs are being blocked to make moves by the sale of the team, it appears that Kaz Matsui is heading to the Astros. According to Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News, the Astros are in negotiations with Matsui's representatives and you can expect something to get done next week. Meanwhile, the Rockies are happy with the way Jayson Nix has been performing and plan to give him a shot at second base. However, if the Astros bring in Matsui, we could see the Astros look to trade Chris Burke, who the Rockies were interested in last year. He is a good utility player who can play some infield and outfield. But if they cannot work a trade for Burke, they might look to sign Tadahito Iguchi. They have had success with Japanese players and Iguchi would probably have success in Colorado, where the air is thinner. In other news, the Rockies are far apart in talks with Torrealba, and it is still possible that he will go to the Marlins, Brewers, or Blue Jays. The Rockies are interested in Michael Barrett, who is looking for about five million dollars annually. I expect talks to really heat up after the holiday so stay tuned.


Report: Yankees Near Deal With Mahay

The Yankees and relief pitcher Ron Mahay are closing in on a two year deal worth about five to seven million dollars, according to one AL executive. Mahay, 36, dominated lefties and holding them to a .189 average. He will give the Yankees a lefty specialist in the bullpen who can set up for closer Mariano Rivera. He also gives them an option if Rivera starts to struggle. Mahay was 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 55 K and has been pretty consistent in keeping his ERA down throughout his ten year career. Despite struggling with the Cubs in 2002, he is 19-10 with a 3.87 ERA in 359 games. He has experience in the American League playing his first two seasons with the Red Sox. Although he is getting older, it only makes their pitching better by adding a lefty specialist, who is even more confident than he was after putting up solid numbers. If a deal is not reached in the next two days, expect it to be shelved until next week because of the holiday's.


Nationals After Dukes, Again

The Washington Nationals are actively pursuing troubled Devil Rays prospect Elijah Dukes. Dukes has been the topic of many trades because he would bring back something in return, and his off the field scuffles are upsetting the team and the Front Office. Dukes would fit nice in Washington. He would be able to step into a leading role with the team and benefit from Manny Acta's style of play. Not only that, but he is playing in the Dominican Republic with Nats third base coach Tim Tolman, and is being scouted by Nats manager Manny Acta. Furthermore, Jim Bowden is known for giving troubled stars another shot. He signed Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard, both who had trouble in the off season or the season before. Dmitri Young was released by the Tigers because he was struggling and had some attitude problems while Belliard had some off the field problems. Bringing in Dukes would help the team and could revitalized his troubled start in the MLB. It would also clear his off the field image and a change of scenery, although it is not to a contender, would allow him to start fresh and grow into the ball player he is capable of becoming in a low media environment.

Republished from June 10th, 2007


Red Sox Sign Lowell, Yankees Sign Rivera

The Red Sox and Mike Lowell have agreed to a three year deal, worth 37.5 million dollars. According to Peter Gammons, both the Phillies and Dodgers had offers ready at four years, but Lowell decided to return to Boston. Lowell, who was the World Series MVP, quickly became a favorite among players and fans. "Forget about A-Rod. We've got Mike Lowell in the house," Ramirez yelled out during the team's victory parade through Boston. As for the Yankees, they have agreed on their three year, 45 million dollars deal that makes Rivera the highest paid reliever in history.


Angels Acquire Garland

The Angels traded shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox for pitcher Jon Garland. Garland, who has been shopped around for nearly three seasons, will be a solid pitcher in the two spot while Cabrera will be an upgrade in the middle infield and probably end Danny Richar's time at second base. Cabrera is in the final year of his contract making 9 million while Garland is making 12 million dollars. This means you can expect to see John Danks and Gavin Floyd in the rotation for the White Sox in 2008. I think this is a great move for the Angels who now have room for Brandon Wood and add Garland, who should benefit from the dimensions on Angel Stadium.


Torii and Torre In Dodger Blue?

Now that Joe Torre is with the Dodgers, more players are interested in playing for him. Free agent outfielder Torii Hunter, who is drawing some interest from most of the league, said he is interested in playing for the Dodgers because of Joe Torre: "The Dodgers are definitely near the top," Hunter told Yahoo! Sports. "With Joe Torre there, things have got to change. He's bringing his history with them. I'm telling you, they're going to start winning." Hunter hit .287 with 28 HR and 107 RBI and could take over in center and have Juan Pierre move to left field. Hunter will probably take a five year deal, worth about 16-18 million dollars annually.


Athletics Trade Scutaro

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Athletics traded Marco Scutaro to the Blue Jays for Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell. The Athletics are shedding some cash with this trade and are acquiring a pair of relievers as they try to rebuild their bullpen. Godfrey was 6-7 with a 3.98 ERA and 74 K, and is just 23 while Bell was 3-7 with a 5.33 ERA and 46 K in High-A. He is also just 23 but does not show as much promise as Godfrey. Scutaro is very versatile and will definitely help the Blue Jays while GM Billy Beane hopes these relievers, who were probably hand picked by him, can help improve the bullpen.


Twins Make Offer To Santana

The Twins have reportedly made an offer to Johan Santana for five years, worth 93 million dollars. That is 18.6 million dollars annually, more than Barry Zito and Carlos Zambrano, but he is 29, and probably deserves slightly bit more. Although he was 15-13 with a 3.33 ERA, he is 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA in eight years with the Twins, with two Cy Young's. He would probably get 20 million on the market for six or seven years, and is probably interested in going to a winning team, like the Red Sox. I think the Twins will trade him if he does not accept this offer because they are known for not countering in negotiations. The Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees seem to be the most intriguing, because they have so many prospects. But I would not rule out the Cardinals, who could offer Rick Ankiel, Adam Ottavino, Colby Rasmus, and maybe another prospect. I don't think the Cardinals plan on giving up Rasmus for a one year rental, especially because someone like Jon Garland is available. Another possibility is if they do not trade him now, and do not trade him at the deadline, they could just offer him arbitration and then wait to receive draft picks from whoever signs him. Bill Smith is new to being a General Manager, but has experience in the front office so I think he has a plan with Santana.


Red Sox Interested In Wood

The Red Sox have expressed interested in free agent reliever Kerry Wood, according to Boston.com. The Cubs and Kerry Wood have not shown any signs of moving forward in negotiations and it could signal the end in Chicago for him. However, Wood has always been loyal to the Cubs and will probably let the Cubs make an offer, and counter if Wood does not like it. Wood has been injured on and off over the past couple of years but might have found a safe spot in the bullpen. Wood was 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA and 24 K, and is drawing interest from the Rangers, Reds, and Yankees. If the Red Sox do sign him, they would put him in the spot that was envisioned for Eric Gagne. The Reds might come up if the Cubs can't sign him because of his close relationship with Dusty Baker and now pitching coach Dick Pole. Personally, I think the Cubs and him will work something out.


Third Base Options For Dodgers

The Dodgers are exploring the market for a third baseman, but are having some problems. Here is a list of five players they should consider:

1. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
The Marlins are very interested in trading with the Dodgers because they have so many prospects, but the Dodgers do not feel it is worth it. Maybe if the Marlins take a step back in their asking price, they would continue, but it seems he might end up staying in Miami.

2. Mike Lowell, Red Sox
They have joined the race for Mike Lowell but seem to be a long shot. Lowell has played his whole career on the East Coast and does not plan to move. He has won two World Series, and is smart enough to know that a move to the West Coast, where pitching is better and stadiums tend to favor pitchers, would only hurt his numbers.

3. Hank Blalock, Rangers
Blalock only played in 59 games but showed good power. He would be a good option in LA because he would not cost as much, maybe a prospect or two. He will be 27 on the 21st, and is pretty versatile around the infield. He was born in San Diego, and returning to the West Coast might be something he prefers.

4. Chone Figgins, Angels
If the Angels are serious about Miguel Cabrera, it makes Chone Figgins expendable, unless they want to play him at second. However, they have been looking to trade Figgins for awhile now and might be able to land some solid prospects now that he is coming off a good year. But, if they trade Kendrick I think they will stick with Figgins at second.

5. Edwin Encarnacion, Reds
Encarnacion had a slight attitude problem back in April, but turned it around and put out a pretty good year. It would cost them prospects because the Reds are known for having a pretty steep asking price, but if they really want someone ready, that is what it takes.

Honorable Mention: Joe Crede and Melvin Mora.

What all makes sense: With Joe Torre as manager, he should try and give the job to Andy LaRoche and platoon him Nomar Garciaparra, or another veteran third baseman. LaRoche has been tearing up the ball in Fall Ball, and only got his feet wet last year.


Cubs Looking For Lefties, Speed

The Cubs have joined the race for second baseman Luis Castillo. Castillo, who hit .301 with 1 HR, 38 RBI, and 19 SB, played for the Marlins back in 2003, the year they beat the Cubs in seven games. Nevertheless, Castillo would give them a solid lead off man who is a good fielder with great speed. The question always comes up though, is there room? You could say yes, but the Cubs would be putting Lou Piniella in a situation with too many starters. It would force him to start DeRosa in right field more often, cut back on Ryan Theriot's playing time some, and maybe even take some at bats away from Derek Lee. Yet, Lou Piniella went with over 90 different lineups last season, so I think it can be done. The Astros are also looking at Castillo along with the Mets, but only if Davd Eckstein does not want to play second base. With Matsui, I think the Cubs were looking to bring him in to try and lure Fukudome, but his price may have gotten too steep. They still plan to go after Fukudome, but hope to lure him in by exposing their solid offense, beautiful stadium, and city to him. Adding Fukudome would give them an experienced bat at the bottom part of their order, who probably won't have as much power as he has in Japan. The Rangers, Mets, Yankees, Padres are considering a run at him, along with many other teams. According to sources inside the Cubs, there has been some interest in Milton Bradley, but only if Fukudome is not with the Cubs.

UPDATE: The Mets are on the verge of signing Luis Castillo to a four year deal worth 25 million dollars. Although he can help the top of your order, his leg problems have become a problem will be more significant as he gets older.


Broussard Likely Heading To Texas

The Rangers and Mariners talked about a trade that would send Ben Broussard to the Rangers. However, there was growing speculation among members of the Rangers that the Mariners will non-tender Broussard, making him a free agent. If this happens, you can expect the Rangers to jump in on negotiations. The Rangers are in need of a first baseman and could platoon Broussard at first with Catalanotto if he struggles. He did hit .275 with 7 HR in 99 games last season, but has shown decent power when able to play everyday. Another option would be Richie Sexson, but only if the Mariners would take Vicente Padilla. It would simply be bad contract for bad contract hoping the players could turn out to have good years. Then that would put Sexson at first and Saltalamacchia back at catcher. We will know more in December when the Mariners determine the future of Broussard.