Griffey to Braves?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

There is no question that the Braves will be looking for an outfielder this offseason. Their younger players are not ready to take over an everyday role and bringing in a superstar for the outfield just does not make sense when other upgrades need to be made. The Cincinnati Reds have a pretty crowded outfield and by trading Griffey would open a space for top prospect Jay Bruce. In return, the Braves could send Scott Thorman, a couple prospects and then they would have a legitimate center fielder who will hold the spot until their younger players are ready to take over. Griffey did grow up around Braves baseball because his Dad was on the team, so he is familiar with Atlanta. New GM Frank Wren has said he does not plan to throw a big contract at anyone, further backing up the scenario that Griffey could be on his way to Atlanta. “I would say that going strong in the free-agent market would be our least likely alternative,” Wren said. “I say that just because, with the young players we have coming [in the farm system], it just wouldn’t make sense to go sign somebody for four, five, six years when we have what we think are better players on the horizon. With that being said, the free-agent market probably doesn’t make as much sense as a trade. The trade market is probably the most likely way we’ll fill center field.” Now that Mike Cameron has tested positive for stimulants and will be out for the first 25 games, I do not expect the Braves to have much interest. The Braves would not only get half the contract paid for by the Reds, but would get an outfielder nearing the Hall of Fame who will fill seats for the next several seasons. Other possible destinations for Griffey include the Tigers, Cubs, and Mariners.

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Interview with Nick Swisher

Last week, White Sox outfielder Nick Swisher called me up but I was unable to talk because I had to run. When I thought I would never get my interview with Nick, who has been set up since July, he called me back up yesterday to talk with me. Swisher is currently the outfielder and first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, and will be for at least the next five seasons. He has a foundation called Swish's Wishes, and I suggest you all take a look at as the holiday's roll on in. I want to thank Joe Bick at Pro Star Management for setting this interview up for me, I really appreciate it.

ELI: You grew up around baseball because your Dad played, do you think your success can be credited to being surrounded by baseball as a kid?

NICK: Definitely. Growing up around baseball taught me about what to do and things to know. It was almost like I learned the unwritten rules of the game. Instead of little league, where most kids were playing baseball, I was with my dad in the big leagues , and it definitely taught me a lot.

ELI: You are a switch hitter, when did you learned to become one and what did you do?


NICK: The only reason was because I was solely right handed. Me and my friends were goofing around with it and at one point a Cross-checker with the Rangers said I would hit more homeruns if I switch hit. But it definitely elevated my game being able to play everyday, whether it was against a right or left handed pitcher. I'm still learning about it, but it gives me an extra dimension which a lot of people do not have.

ELI: Billy Beane is known for finding the best players under the radar, what did it do for your confidence when Beane said how much he wanted you with the A's?


NICK: Well I only care about Oakland, but when I think about them, all I can think about are the Glory Days. You know, like the Bash Brothers, Dennis Eckersley, and Ricky Henderson. They have such a reputation for having fun and bring in young guys. I'm in a great situation, with a great organization.

ELI: Have you read the book Moneyball?


NICK: Bits and pieces of it.

ELI: You're rookie season was the last year of the big three, what were Zito, Mulder, and Hudson like in the clubhouse?

NICK: They were good guys. But being a rookie, I was treated like just another rookie. I stay in touch with Zito, but those guys were good because they put Oakland back on the map. And then there our guys like Giambi who put them on the map to begin with. At the time though, they were three young studs.

ELI: What was the draft experience like for you? What were your thoughts coming into the draft?

NICK: The biggest thing with the draft was that so many people said so many things. I was projected to go between the 2nd and 4th round. To be drafted in the first round, like my dad, was absolutely amazing. I feel like people work their whole life to get to a certain point, and that point for me was right there. I got a call in the morning and I was jumping around. My dad came running down stairs in his robe and we exchanged a big chest bump. I think it is impressive that both my dad and I were taken in the first round. It is and experience I can share with my dad, and no one can ever take it away from us.

ELI: Can you tell me about your foundation?

NICK: It is called Swish's Wishes. I started it after I signed my five year extension with the A's. I didn't really know what to do, but Kathy Jacobson was great and helped me a lot. I did not really want to focus in on one charity because I would like to help everyone, so I work with a lot of charities. We have raised 75-80,000 dollars, donating 20,000 of it to the Oakland A's Fund. It is a non-profit organization that helps under privileged children.

ELI: Bob Geren was a new manager this year for the A's, what was he like?

NICK: He was very laid back and likes to have fun. He dealt with over fifty players this year, and that is a lot, especially for a rookie manager. I think he did a great job.

ELI: You play a couple positions, what would you say is your natural position?

NICK: First base. I'm playing outfield a little bit but I am still figuring it out. Daric Barton is on the rise at first base and I am more than happy to make the move to make room. Again, it gives me an extra dimension to play multiple positions.

ELI: I hear you play some video games, what is in the system right now?

NICK: Well, me and a friend beat Halo-3 last night. And I'll probably play some games with my brother this week.

ELI: You know, I do not think there has been a good baseball game in awhile.


NICK: Yeah, I have one right now, but I have not played it enough to give you a full analysis [Laughs]. For me, it is cool that I can go on and play and not have to create myself, I can just play. But I know some guys at EA Sports and I am sure they will come up with something good for next season.

ELI: If there is one player on the A's who would be sleeping in the dugout during the game, who would it be?

NICK: Oh man, who would it be? I'd have to say Joe Blanton [Laughs]. I can just see him right now with his sun glasses on asleep on in the dugout [Laughs]. I can definitely see him doing that.

ELI: If you could face one pitcher in the past, who would it be?


NICK: Probably Bob Gibson. His stuff was so nasty and overpowering that it would be fun. Scary but fun.

ELI: You worked out really hard following the 2005 season and it showed in 2006, did your output motivate you to work even harder coming into this season?


NICK: The biggest thing as a player is you always want to get better. And to be honest, it is harder every time. When pitchers figure you out and begin to pound your weaknesses, you have to adjust or there is nothing you can do. I have so much respect for the guys that can go and do it every year. Pujols, Ortiz, Ramirez-all those guys are where I would like to be at where I can go out and hit consistently.

ELI: Do you follow baseball during the offseason?

NICK: Yeah, but it is on and off. Everyone needs a break and the offseason is my break from it.

ELI: Where do you see the A's upgrading this off season?


NICK: Getting some guys in the bullpen probably. But we have the best GM in the world, and I am behind him, and the whole front office 110%.

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If Rowand Walks, Don't Expect Much

If Rowand walks, don't expect them to bring in Torii Hunter or anything. According to a source at Philly.com, he expects the Phillies to move Shane Victorino to center, and platoon Werth and Dobbs in right field. Werth and Dobbs put up good numbers and both are still young. I think Victorino could hold his own in center fielder, but he is no Aaron Rowand. The Phillies would love to keep Rowand, but I see them looking to upgrade pitching and at third base. The Rockies are the most obvious choice because both Brian Fuentes and Garrett Atkins are available. I see the Philles as one of the more proactive teams this offseason, but will probably go through trades more than looking at free agents.

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Reagins Wants A-Rod

Now that the Bill Stoneman era is over, the Angels are gearing up for a big run at Alex Rodriguez. Tony Reagins has said he has talked with Scott Boras concerning Rodriguez, and plans to talk with him again. The Angels do have money, and will get even more money from the MLB because of their success. According to Buster Olney, the Angels and every other team in the league will receive up to thirty million dollars from the MLB. Other than the Angels, I expect the Giants, Dodgers, and Mets to be interested. If the Angels confirm that they will go after A-Rod, that definitely makes them the front-runner because not only are they in the AL, where he has played his whole career, but they are a solid team who is missing that little piece that puts them above the top. Obviously, Boras will try and sell whatever he can to get more teams interested, and that's why I think this is far from over.

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Todd Jones to Atlanta?

The Tigers have expressed interest in Todd Jones, but do not seem to have any problems letting him walk. "Unless the Braves have interest, the next (likely) spot to come to is here,"Dombrowski said. "Unless it's an offer he can't refuse, we would like to talk." Jones, 39, lives in Alabama and could take over the closer spot next season for the Braves. It seems the Tigers are ready to give their spot to Joel Zumaya, so Jones is probably gone. Jones was 1-4 with a 4.26 ERA and 38 SV this season, and could put up similar if not better numbers with a NL team like the Braves. The Tigers plan to give Jones a one year contract, but if it is similar to what Atlanta or another team may offer, he may walk to be guaranteed a closer spot.

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Halloween Grumblings

Mets Evaluate Rodriguez: I do not think this is a good move on Minaya's part. The team held the division the whole season but it fell into a slump at the worst time. A-Rod I'm sure would be great, but would they then move Wright to second? What they should be doing is signing or trading for legitimate pitchers to back that rotation. If they do sign A-Rod, they should trade Carlos Delgado and move Wright across the diamond. Yes, Delgado is making a lot of money, but absorbing some of his contract and trading for some prospects would be beneficial.

Chacon To Test Market: Shawn Chacon filed for free agency yesterday, probably ending his time with the Pirates. He was used mostly in relief last season going 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA and 79 K. He has been used as a starter for parts of his career but has been more effective as a long reliever. I think the Pirates would like him back in that role, maybe as a spot starter. If the Pirates are not interested, look to see the Royals, Blue Jays, and maybe the Diamondbacks make a run for him.

LaTroy Hawkins Wants to be Back:
Reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who was thought to have been out of baseball, reemerged and established himself as a big league reliever. Although his option was declined, he had a great year for the Rockies and performed in the playoffs. He is eager to be back with the Rockies, and I expect them to resign him. If he isn't resigned, I expect the Mariners to be interested.

Quirk, Farrell Lead Pack of Candidates: The Pirates can now begin interviewing for managers and it starts with the favorite, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell. However, if the Red Sox do not give permission to interview or he is not interested, Jamie Quirk, the Rockies bench coach, could take over. Dave Holliday is expected to take over the Farm Director position with the Pirates, making it likely that Quirk might be selected. However, how could you not go with Farrell, who developed such pitchers mechanics as Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Hideki Okajima and won a World Series?

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Torre Signs With Dodgers

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Now it is official. The Dodgers and Joe Torre have agreed to a three year deal worth 14.5 million dollars. Torre rejected a one year deal, worth 5 million dollars with incentives from the Yankees and intially, it looked like he would take the year off and take the Braves job in 2009. But with the resignation of Grady Little for "personal reasons," he is back in the dugout. According to MLB Rumors correspondent Thomas Reiss, Torre is expected to bring Don Mattingly and Kevin Long over for his staff. Mattingly will be bench coach and Long with be the hitting coach. Mattingly is almost a guarantee to join the team because his son is just a couple years away from the Dodgers. Torre won four World Series with the Yankees and hopes to bring his past success over with him.

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Riske To Test Market

Royals pitcher David Riske filed for free agency today, and he is set to cash in elsewhere. Riske had a great year for the Royals this season going 1-4 with a 2.45 ERA and 52 K. Not only has Riske not had an ERA over four since 2002, but in 2001 his ERA was 1.98. He is a very consistent pitcher who will probably get a similar deal to what Scott Eyre got. Riske is just 31, and will probably get a three year deal, worth 12 million dollars. I expect the Phillies and Devil Rays to be interested, but see the Phillies coming on top because it seems that after pitching for the Royals, he would love to go to a contender. However, if the Red Sox miss out on some relievers they try to sign initially, Riske would be a great option because of how effective he is, and his experience in the AL makes him attractive to the Red Sox.

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Astros Looking At Hunter, Rowand

The Astros have put in calls to free agents Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand expressing their interest, hoping to talk with them when the exclusive negotiating rights ends. "[Assistant GM] David [Gottfried] talked to their agents this afternoon," Wade said. "Just general calls that we may have interest. We'll get back and talk at the appropriate time." The Astros are expected to be very active this offseason, and it wouldn't surprise me if they talk with the Orioles about Miguel Tejada. Hunter, who has a home in Texas, has said the Rangers are on his list, and it would make sense that the Astros would interest him as well. However, I think they need to go very hard for Hunter if they plan to sign him because a team like the Nationals or Braves could sneak in and sign him right away. You would think they would prefer Rowand in this situation. Rowand's swing is also tailored for Minute Maid Park and he would definitely benefit from the dimensions of the park. Right now, it is still too early and these players have not even begun talking with their former teams. From previous reports, it does not seem the Astros are the front runner for either player, but two weeks from now it could be a lot different.

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Top 50 Free Agents: 21-30

21. Greg Maddux, Padres

He will keep pitching until he can’t, and he still can. The Padres love his veteran presence and his performance on the mound and will probably give him another one year deal, worth 8-10 million dollars.

Prediction: Padres

22. David Eckstein, Cardinals

The Cardinals would love to have him back but there has been no indication that he is leaning towards it. He has said he would love to be there, but if they do not overwhelm him with a contract he will leave. I think teams like the White Sox or Tigers might offer big for someone like Eckstein, and he may walk. But now that the Tigers have acquire Renteria, it leaves the White Sox as the front-runner.

Prediction: White Sox

23. Michael Barrett, Padres

Michael Barrett had an off year this year but is definitely a prospect to break out. I expect the Mets, Marlins, and Rockies to be most interested, but we’ll see what happens. There has been no indication that the Padres would like to keep Barrett, so it looks like they will take their chances.

Prediction: Marlins [Updated on 11/02]

24. Luis Castillo, Mets

Castillo did very well for the Mets and I am sure they will try to bring him back, but I think it depends how the Mets view their future. He has said he does not want to test the market, but instead sign with the Mets long term.

Prediction: Mets

25. Tomohiro Nioka, Japan

The Pirates may look to trade Jack Wilson this off season for pitching, and I think it makes sense that they sign this veteran shortstop out of Japan. He knows how to play and I think he would put up numbers considerable to Akinori Iwamura’s. It wouldn’t take much to sign him, and worst comes to worst they end up splitting time with one of their utility infielders.

Prediction: Pirates

26. Joe Borowski, Indians

Borowski was great for the Indians and they will probably give him one more year before they look elsewhere.

Prediction: Indians

27. Barry Bonds, Giants

There are few teams that are interested in bringing in Barry Bonds. They include the Tigers, Twins, and Angels. If I were the Twins, I would bring him in to play DH, but at a much reduced price loaded with incentives. I do not see Bonds accepting anything too low, so he might retire. However, he wants the 3000 hit mark-and will play just one more year to get it.

Prediction: Twins

28. Scott Hatteberg, Reds

Probably in his last year, but will be kept to platoon with Votto to ease him in. Hatteberg still has a good bat, and will definitely contribute for the Reds.

Prediction: Reds

29. Hiroki Kuroda, Japan

Kuroda is starting to draw a lot of interest from the Red Sox and Cubs. The Mariners are remaining quiet, but I expect them to go hard for him as soon as it is allowed. I think he might want to go to the Red Sox, but the Cubs tried to sign him last year and I think they will try again.

Prediction: Cubs

30. Kenny Lofton, Indians

Kenny Lofton has not lost a step, and will enter the market looking for a team who needs a one year guy. The Orioles are an option because they have holes, while the Mariners, Brewers, and Athletics remain options as well. I think the Orioles will be able to keep Patterson, but Payton and Gibbons were not impressive and Lofton would provide a one year guy to hold that spot and allow the Orioles to look around for a long term player.

Prediction: Orioles

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Red Sox Timlin Might Be Gone

Probably one of the most consistent relievers sine 1990, Mike Timlin probably pitched his final game with the Red Sox in game four. Timlin is still a great reliever going 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 31 K, and pitch in the most stressful situations. But it seems the Red Sox are ready to part ways with him, who has been with the Red Sox for the past five seasons, and look to a younger bullpen. “The whole thing was we thought it was impossible to win because everybody around us thought it was impossible,” Timlin said. “There was a negative energy that we had to fight through but once we did, this organization has been storied. I’m blessed to have been part of this organization with the history it’s had and the history we’ve made.” I expect some teams to be interested, but only at a one year deal. The teams that come to mind include The Phillies, Cubs, Blue Jays, and maybe the Astros, among others. The Blue Jays might have the inside track because he started his career there, and it is the same division. But Timlin resides in Dallas, and may be more inclined to join the Astros or Rangers.

Will Manny be Manny?: Will Manny be Manny this off season and ask to be traded again? Probably not, but it is possible the Red Sox would trade him to clear up some cash and upgrade defensively. It is safe to assume that Coco Crisp will be traded and I'm sure teams will be interested in Manny if he hits the market. The Angels, Rangers, and maybe the Tigers would be interested, but I expect the Angels would go for him. The Tigers already gave up enough prospects for Renteria, and the Rangers, although they could absorb some of his contract, may not want that distraction in the clubhouse as they try to rebuild.

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Blue Jays Have Short To-Do List

The Blue Jays do not have much to do this off season, but do have several players that need to be resigned. The Blue Jays have begun talks with Matt Stairs about a one year deal, in the range of 2-3 million dollars. Stairs, 40, has earned the opportunity to compete for the starting spot in the outfield next season after he hit .289 with 21 HR and 64 RBI. He is very important for the Blue Jays, who can also play him at first base, and to have the veteran in the clubhouse. Other than Stairs, the Blue Jays will look to bring Joe Kennedy back, but I am not sure why. Kennedy was 4-9 with a 4.80 ERA and 51 K. He made 2.8 million dollars and that will probably go down, but you'd think Ricciardi would put that money towards another pitcher. I suspect the Blue Jays will look for another Ted Lilly type pitcher-maybe Kyle Lohse. They do have money to spend and definitely need some help in their rotation and infield. Other than that, it is possible to see them trade Troy Glaus around the time of the Winter Meetings to a team who missed out on Alex Rodriguez. But since steroid allegations are surrounding Glaus, it might be hard to unload him.

Astros re-sign Ausmus:
The Astros have resigned Brad Ausmus and have given him a one year deal. Although he will not be starting because J.R. Towles has been given the nod, he should help the Astros pitchers nonetheless.

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Rockies Looking To Japan?

It appears that the Rockies are still content on trading Garrett Atkins for some solid pitching, and if they do, they will have a big whole at the position. However, the Rockies and Kazuo Matsui are working towards a new deal and if they can get it done soon, Matsui could be used to recruit some of the newest Japanese imports, especially Tomohiro Nioka. I do not think Stewart should get the Opening Day nod at third base. Yes, he is very capable and will be a great ball player, but you have to look at examples from this season and work from there. You bring in someone like Nioka and platoon him around the infield and let Stewart get his swing down at Triple-A. Then when the Rockies feel he is ready, ease him into the starting role. Ryan Braun is a perfect example of what I am suggesting. Braun spent a month down at Triple-A and was called up at the end of May. After his call up, he dominated the league and is up for the Rookie of the Year. Now look at Royals third baseman Alex Gordon. Gordon got the Opening Day nod and struggled finishing the year batting .247 with 15 HR and 60 RBI. Hopefully, it does not effect his career but I think the Rockies should take this into consideration. Nioka is a veteran in Japan and batted .295 with 20 HR and 83 RBI. I expect him to be like Akinori Iwamura if he comes over, and he would not cost too much. Other than the Rockies, I expect the White Sox and Pirates to be most interested.

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Jason Bay To Brewers?

The Brewers are very disappointed with top pitching prospect Jeremy Jeffress after he failed another drug test and may look to trade him. They declined Geoff Jenkins option for next year opening a spot in the outfield. The Pirates are looking to trade Bay after a poor offensive year and the Brewers would be smart to get him while his asking price is still low. I suspect that if they traded Jeffress and a minor leaguer or two could land him, it might not even take that though. At Lo-A this season, Jeffress, 19, was 9-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 86.1 IP. He has got a great slider that compliments his fastball, and I think Huntington would love to stock the Pirates with young, capable pitching. Bay if familiar with the NL Central and an adjustment would not be hard at all. If Bay is officially put on the market, expect the Brewers to be all over him.

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Interview with Brad Tippett

Last week, I was put into contact with Brad Tippet via email. Tippett is a prospect in the Twins organization from Australia. He is just 19, and dominated this year at Single-A. There is no doubt in my mind that this righty will be with the Twins soon, and I want to thank him for donating his time to the site. I also want to thank Trevor Jarrett at BJS Sports Management for setting this interview up for me.

ELI: Is baseball very popular in Australia?

BRAD: Its not as popular as say, cricket or football, but a fair few people play.

ELI: How did you get into baseball?

BRAD: As I was growing up as a kid, I would always go to dads games. So just being around the game is what got me so involved.

ELI: You were signed last year right? What was that like to finally be able to come to America and play?

BRAD: It was a life long goal and dream of mine. And to achieve that was such a small step into the world of baseball.

ELI: Was it hard to adjust when you came here?

BRAD: I've traveled a few places to play, mostly everyone, no matter the country all have the same views on baseball. It makes it really easy to settle in.

ELI: Left handers struggled against you this year; did you notice anything you did differently to get them out?

BRAD: No not at all. I just tried to do what I could and it all seemed to work out for me.

ELI: What would you say is your best pitch?

BRAD: I don’t know. I like my fastball, just because I have good control of it, but others say my curve. Depends.

ELI: You have been used mostly as a reliever, would you prefer to start?

BRAD: My whole life before a became professional, I was a starter, so my first year or pro ball I had to makes several adjustments in my routine and everyday training to be comfortable.. I’m thinking I will eventually become a starter, we'll see over the next season.

ELI: Did you have a favorite player growing up?

BRAD: No, I can’t say I did.

ELI: What is one thing you would like to work on this off season?

BRAD: Maintaining my arm strength and durability.

ELI: Do you have a favorite sports movie?

BRAD: Remember the Titans.

ELI: You were named Baseball America Rookie All Star, what does that mean to you?

BRAD: To tell you the truth, I didn’t really know until Trevor told me a few weeks ago. I was pretty stoked to be named though. I think its pretty sweet

ELI: Do you keep in touch with most of the Australian Players in the league?

BRAD: Not with everyone. But you form a pretty good bond with most of your Aussie mates in your team or your opposition.

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BREAKING NEWS: Dodgers to Hire Joe Torre

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Dodgers plan to fire Grady Little and make Joe Torre their manager. Don Mattingly will be his bench coach. As of right now, Torre has agreed to manage the Dodgers they just have to work on a contract. Torre plans to bring over Kevin Long as well, the Yankees hitting coach. To read more about this, click here.

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Padres To Go After Kendall

The Padres catching situation is in limbo with Michael Barrett on his way out, and Colt Morton not quite ready to take over. Padres GM Kevin Towers told me he would keep his options open whether it is Barrett, Kendall, Lo Duca, or Morton, but it is widely agreed that he is enamored by Kendall and has been interested in bringing him in for years. In 57 games with the Cubs, he batted .270 with 1 HR and 19 RBI. I think he is so interested in Kendall is not because of his success in the NL this season compared to previous years, but because he is a defensive specialist who is now familiar with more teams and pitchers in the National League. He would not cost much, and he would be able to help Morton develop into a good catcher to eventually take over that spot. He has not filed for free agency yet, and is still interested in staying with the Cubs, but Geovany Soto and Henry Blanco seem like the guys behind the plate in 2008.

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Crosstown Battle For Crawford

The Chicago White Sox are very interested in trading for outfielder Carl Crawford, and have no problem in offering Jon Garland. They have Jack Egbert that is ready to take over in the rotation and could use an outfielder like Crawford to spark them. However, the Cubs are looking for ways to upgrade their team without spending too much money because of the sale of the club, and trading for Crawford definitely is intriguing. Piniella managed Crawford when he was younger, and Crawford would provide the Cubs with a young, and very capable everyday player. Yes, the Cubs would have to give up something worth while for the Devil Rays, including Felix Pie and probably Sean Gallagher, but it would make them better nonetheless. However, if you follow the Cubs, you know that they do not make too many trades where they throw prospects at teams. According to sources, they are interested in Torii Hunter, but would rather take the trade route this off season. Aside from the outfield situation, the Cubs are also looking for upgrades in their pitching staff. It seems that Plan A is sign Hiroki Kuroda, and have Jason Marquis and Kevin Hart duke it out for the fifth spot. However, Plan B is probably what they will go with, which will be to try Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster in the rotation, while having Marquis and Hart fight it out for the fifth spot. For Plan B, they would move Howry or Marmol to the closer spot.

For the White Sox, aside from their pitching rotation which seems they will look to in house options, I see them looking for upgrades at shortstop, and of course in the outfield. Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand are both options in the outfield, while I see them going hard for David Eckstein if he hits the open market. If they cannot land Eckstein, expect them to go for Japanese shortstop Tomohiro Nioka.

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Offseason Day 1

Day 1 Recap:
- The Braves traded Edgar Renteria to the Tigers for Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez.
Who Wins?: The Braves take it on this one. They acquire a young, capable pitcher who is ready to take a spot in the rotation while acquiring a young outfielder with a lot of potential. They do not lose much with Renteria because Yunel Escobar is ready to play everyday at shortstop.
- Yankees offer managerial position to Joe Girardi.
Great Choice?: Yes. He has managerial experience and knows the Yankee organization very well. He is not afraid to stand up to the Front Office and is passionate about the Yankees, who he won a World Series with. The one thing he must do is bring in a veteran bench coach so some of the veteran players like Posada who played along side him do not feel upstaged. A possiblity, I think, is Frank Robinson.
- 57 Players file for free agency.
Notable players: Torii Hunter, Barry Bonds, Livan Hernandez, Kerry Wood, Francisco Cordero, Carlos Silva, Paul Lo Duca, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Aaron Rowand.

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Top 50 Free Agents: 11-20

11. Adam Dunn, Reds

Although Dunn won’t be with the Reds till the end of Spring Training, they will still exercise his contract and give him one more year with the team. He does strikeout a lot, but his bat in the middle of that lineup makes them a lot better. He will be with the Reds at least for 2008, probably beyond that.

Prediction: Reds

12. Corey Patterson, Orioles

Corey Patterson does not seem like an All Star but is definitely contributing. He has done great in a low market town and both the Orioles and he would like to see that continue. However, teams would love to have his speed in their lineup, and I think he is curious to test the market. It would probably take a four year deal, worth 35-45 million dollars to sign him, 50 at the most if the market continues to soar.

Prediction: Orioles

13. Andy Pettitte, Yankees

A lot depends on what his other teammates do, but I think Pettitte will exercise his 16 million dollar option. He had a great year for the Yankees and could do it again without question. Also, he would be smart to wait for a year with better pitching available, like next season where he could make more money.

Prediction: Yankees

14. Mike Cameron, Padres

Cameron struggled some with the Padres but I am sure there will be interest. His hometown team, the Braves, are looking for an outfielder and they could take him for two or three years. That would give time for younger prospects to develop while giving them a good power bat in the middle of their order.

Prediction: Braves

15. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

Mariano Rivera is hurt by Joe Torre’s departure. He understands baseball, which makes me think he might stay, but Rivera looked to Torre as a father figure and he may decide to leave the Yankees behind and walk. He knows he would do better in the NL, would keep a closer spot, and have a couple extra years. I do not think the Steinbrenner’s would hesitate pulling him if he struggled, and I think Rivera needs some security.

Prediction: Yankees [updated 10/30-changed from Phillies]

16. Kosuke Fukudome, Japan

Fukudome will cause craze like Matsuzaka did, but since he is coming off surgery, his expectations might not be as high. I do expect a lot of teams to be interested, and since he does not have a posting fee, he could be signed without any warning. Kevin Towers will be looking for an outfielder and has his eyes on Fukudome, who he eyed back in high school (see interview). However, the Yankees may trade Melky Cabrera and prospects for Miguel Cabrera to fill the need at third base, and sign Fukudome to play outfield. Kei Igawa, who is from Japan, is with the team, along with Taiwanese Chien-Ming Wang, who he may find connections with.

Prediction: Yankees

17. Eric Gagne, Red Sox

I said earlier in the year that Gagne should be let go by the Red Sox and I believe that they will let him walk. He struggled with the Sox and I think it was because he was in a town like Boston, where baseball is the main sport. The Reds struggled in relief and might look to add him. The Giants who watched him pitch for the Dodgers might also look to sign him. I think there will be interest for him, but it will be a reduced price.

Prediction: Giants

18. Carlos Silva, Twins

Silva had a great year for the Twins and is probably going to go out and cash in. The Phillies, Cubs, Braves, Dodgers, Padres, and Mets are interested, but might drop out depending on how much he is looking for. The Cubs are looking to add another pitcher and if they can put together something between Lilly and Marquis, it is possible. The Braves seem the most likely, but if the Cubs can settle the ownership thing, they are my front runner.

Prediction: Phillies

19. Jose Guillen, Mariners

The Mariners would have to do a lot fast if they want to keep Guillen, who has a mutual option. They want to play Adam Jones but must make room for him. If they can trade Richie Sexson and move Ibanez to first base, they could keep Guillen and Jones, but that seems unlikely because Sexson has lost something in his swing. He wants a multi-year deal and could get one with Adam Katz as his agent.

Prediction: Mets

20. Milton Bradley, Padres

Milton Bradley ended the year in dramatic fashion but I think the Padres would like him back. He showed good power and had respect from his coaches and teammates, which many in the Front Office like. He did a good job in left field too, and adding a center fielder like Fukudome would make their lineup pretty good.

Prediction: Padres

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Torre, Mattingly to Dodgers?

Would the Dodgers fire Grady Little and his staff and bring in Joe Torre and Don Mattingly? If he does, Mattingly would probably bolt after one year for another managerial job, but it would be great to bring in that winning mentality for the team. There are a few players on the Dodgers that have either played for Torre, or played around in him, like in the same league. There is a lot of youth on the Dodgers and Torre could really be a father figure for them as they work their way into the league. He did this with Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and especially Alfonso Soriano, and I think Frank McCourt, a good friend of Torre's, sees the effect he could have on his players. Also, by bringing in both coaches, it is possible that Alex Rodriguez would want to play in LA, and would take a reduced price. Little is no longer suited to handle the Dodgers, and his departure this off season seems inevitable. I expect something will be accomplished in early November so he can prep and recruit players by the Winter Meetings.

Hunter to file for free agency soon?: Twins outfielder Torii Hunter is leaning towards filing for free agency, MLB Rumors correspondent Steve Wilson has learned. It would makes sense. It seems the Twins are not willing to pay him what he thinks he is worth and will test the market. An announcement is expected tomorrow or Wednesday, but it seems it will happen soon.

CONFIRMED BY ESPNEWS

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Tigers Acquire Renteria

The Braves had traded shortstop Edgar Renteria to the Tigers for pitcher Jair Jurrjens and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez. The Tigers plan to move Carlos Guillen to first base and with that opening, fill that whole with an All-Star. "We are excited to add an all-star caliber shortstop in Edgar Renteria to the Tigers organization," Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said. "Edgar is a quality player, proven winner and tremendous leader that solidifies our infield." Renteria had a great year for the Braves batting .332 with 12 HR and 57 RBI. With the trade, it opens the spot for Yunel Escobar to take over everyday, and it gives them a good, young starter to take a spot in the bottom part of the lineup. I am a little surprised that they traded Jurrjens, who was considered their fourth best prospect, and I think he will go on to put up pretty good numbers in the NL. Also, Renteria did struggle with the Red Sox in 2005 hitting and fielding, so hopefully he can handle the move better. When it is all said an done however, the Tigers got what they wanted and the Braves got what they wanted.

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Top 50 Free Agents: 1-10

1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Rodriguez is looking for a lot of money, but I think most teams will see that the price is not worth it. As of right now, several teams are still interested but that could change because Boras is a very demanding agent. I expect a team like the Giants, who are desperate for an offensive surge, go after him at all cost. Not only that, but Pedro Feliz is a free agent and he occupied the position so it is now open. But the fact that he has been in the American League is whole career makes me think he might stay.

Prediction: Giants

2. Torii Hunter, Twins

Hunter is the most valuable outfielder on the market. He is a great in the field, and puts up good numbers that would boost any lineup. I see him testing the market because he has complained about the direction of the Twins. He also knows they do not have room for Johan Santana which makes me think he will go somewhere with some potential to be a contender. Like the Rangers, where he grew up, could be a contender in the AL West as players on the better teams begin to decline.

Prediction: Rangers

3. Aaron Rowand, Phillies

Rowand is also a great outfielder but injury problems are definitely a risk. He is great with the bat, but is reckless in the field leading to many injuries. Many teams would still be interested in him however, and he could command a pretty solid deal. I expect him to get around a five year, 80 million dollar deal. I know you may think that is a lot, but look what Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, and several others got last season. The White Sox would love to have him back, but so would the Phillies. I think his heart may still be in Chicago, but if the Phillies can cough up the right price I think they will be able to hold on to him because of the late surge they had in September.

Predicition: White Sox

4. Andruw Jones, Braves

The Braves understand what he has done for the franchise, but he wants so much money that the Braves don’t think it is worth it. Many other teams will be interested and there are other free agents interested in playing in Atlanta. There are other center fielders that will do the job at a lesser price and Jones seems the most likely to fade away before the other free agents.

Prediction: Padres

5. Livan Hernandez, Diamondbacks

Livan Hernandez is the best pitcher on the market and his performance in the playoffs in only helping his cause. He is not only a veteran, but does the job every day with little to no complaints. He is a horse having started 33 games this season including playoffs as well. He is very close to his half brother Orlando Hernandez, who the Mets are very high on, and may try to bring in Livan to make them happy and improve their rotation. The Diamondbacks have little room to sign him so you will probably see him walk.

Prediction: Mets

6. Mike Lowell, Red Sox

Mike Lowell had a great season under the radar with the Red Sox. He thrived on having been blocked by Alex Rodriguez in the AL East, and it showed in his numbers this season and postseason. He is great player, and above average fielder who would help a lot of teams, but his love for Boston and playoff experience works for both sides. However, the Red Sox do not seem interested in long term, like some teams in need of his presence, like the Phillies.

Prediction: Red Sox

7. Jorge Posada, Yankees

It is hard not to see Jorge Posada in a Yankee uniform. And although Joe Torre is out, the Yankees will make an overwhelming offer to Posada before he has a chance to test the market.

Prediction: Yankees

8. Bobby Abreu

It might cost them more than 16 million dollars to find another outfielder, even if he can put up better numbers. Abreu was good for them this year but isn’t the best in the field. He will be good for one more year but I do not see him with the Yankees beyond 2008.

Prediction: Yankees

9. Francisco Cordero, Brewers

Cordero is coming off an excellent year for the Brewers, but the team’s struggles in the second half may lead him to leaving. He is the best closer on the market, and the Brewers aren’t helping by buttering him up so much. They plan to make an aggressive offer to him, and although he may be pressured to test the market, I think he will stay in Milwaukee.

Prediction: Brewers

10. Curt Schilling, Red Sox

Schilling had a decent year for the Red Sox going 9-8 with a 3.87 ERA and 101 K. He is getting older, but could put up good numbers on a National League team. Many are speculating that he will leave Boston after the season and return to Philadelphia. The Phillies are interested, and his family is looking into a house in South New Jersey, which would suggest that their house outside of Boston is sold and they are ready to move on. However, his performance in the post season may drive him to stick it out for one more year.

Prediction: Red Sox

HM. Tom Glavine, Mets

Glavine opted out of his contract and has said that because of his poor finish, he would like to end his career on a better note. Although the Braves are the front runner, do not rule out the Nationals yet. However, having started his career there and because he still lives there makes me think he will return.

Prediction: Braves

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Red Sox Win World Series!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Red Sox have won the World Series in four games sweeping the Rockies and taking the fourth game by a score of 4-3. This is their second World Series in four years, and many will assume it won't be their last. What a great finish to an incredible season with several teams taking playoff spots in the final week of the season. Not only that, but several players cracked milestones, broke records, and established themselves as true big leaguers. The World Series MVP is Mike Lowell.

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BREAKING NEWS: A-Rod Will Opt Out

Alex Rodriguez tells the Yankees he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent. That means that the three years, 81 million dollars will be deferred and he can explore other options. If the Yankees are true to their word, they will not negotiate with him any further. Personally, I think the Yankees will still negotiate with him, but Rodriguez will probably sign elsewhere. So where will he sign? Rodriguez is coming off a career year and is in line to make thirty million dollars annually. The Angels have denied interest in him so I suspect the Giants, Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, and Phillies to be interested. Rodriguez was only hurting the club by waiting so long because they still have to work on signing Posada, Rivera, the coaching staff, and working to retain Andy Pettitte. I think Rodriguez is smart to leave New York. With the pressure on him to perform, making thirty million dollars would definitely get to him, and it seems obvious that he does not have the thickest skin. He is smart to go to a low market town, where the media is not as bad. I'm not saying he is done in New York, but I think he is opting out so Boras can have leverage in negotiations with them later.

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Are the Red Sox the New Yankees?

If the Red Sox pull off the sweep tonight and win their second World Series since 2004, can we consider them the new Yankees? They have spent tons of money, finding upgrades in Daisuke Matsuzaka for over 100 million dollars, J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, and others. But, are they turning into the team not to root for? Personally, I do not have a problem with the Red Sox, and most people still like to see the collapse of the Yankees. Maybe because Steinbrenner makes such a big thing of it publically. Maybe it is how they go about their business. The players they pluck away from their teams after they get good that struggle is maybe what we all like to see. Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, and Kevin Brown are just a few examples of players that have not worked out with the Yankees. Personally, I think the Yankees have been hyped up so much because of the amount of money they spend that people naturally root for the underdog, which is and has been the Red Sox. I mean, Terry Francona is the most underrated manager in sports; yet, he leads his team into the postseason every year. While the Yankees go out and find the best players, it seems the Red Sox find the right ones, and people naturally want to root for someone to do better. That's my take on it, whats yours?

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Report: Joe Is The Guy

Girardi, that is. According to the Daily News and confirmed by one of my correspondents, the Yankees are preparing a contract for Joe Girardi and hope to make an announcement later this afternoon or tomorrow. I would assume it is tomorrow because Bud Selig has a rule about holding announcement's till after the World Series, but I suspect it will be a three to four year deal. This is definitely the best move for the Yankees, who add someone who is familiar with the team, media, and managing. Tony Pena is definitely a close second if I was choosing, but I am sure he will remain on the staff. I think Mattingly will find a job, just not with the Yankees. Mattingly needs to realize that managing is tough, especially in New York. Mattingly will find an opening in 2008, with potential spots in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York (Mets), and maybe Milwaukee.

Now, the Yankees can turn their attention to Alex Rodriguez, and it looks like they plan to offer him a five year deal, worth 150-160 million dollars. This does not surprise me at all because the interest for him would not exceed over 120-130 million dollars elsewhere. I do not expect them to make much of a run at Mariano Rivera, but I do think the Yankees will go ahead with there three year deal, worth 40 million dollars for Jorge Posada.

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The New Okajima: Hitoki Iwase

After seeing the success teams has had with Japanese relievers, other teams will dig in to Japanese bullpens to find their "Okajima." The most obvious choice is Koji Uehara, who is a closer with a fastball, slider, split-finger in his repertoire. He has stated his interest to come to the States and is already drawing interest from the Mariners, Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets. According to the MLB Rumors West Coast Correspondent Thomas Reiss, the Angels are most interested and have been since he rejected their three million dollar contract. However, Hitoki Iwase is a lefty closer who would see much success as a late inning reliever in the States. He put up forty-three saves this year and 129 over the past three seasons. He has a great slider, but his fastball tops out at 88 mph, so there are some concerns. But he is considered the best lefty pitcher in Japanese history-and the same concerns about him were brought up when Okajima was signed, so I would not be too worried about him. I see the Red Sox, Giants, Twins, Dodgers, and Mets to be most interested, but we will know more when he officially declares that he will come here.

Here's my take on it all: Japanese pitchers are a different breed. They work harder, work on their pitches so much that they can throw them in any count. Okajima will throw that nasty breaking ball on a 3-0 count with the bases loaded. Furthermore, aside from personal skill, their tendencies are different than most American pitchers, and cannot always be read as easily. Okajima had so much success early on because no one could pick up his tendencies. I expect those kinds of things to happen with some of the new Japanese players along the way. I expect Kei Igawa to have more success in the bullpen than in the rotation next season. A middle relief pitcher that will set it up for the late inning ones, I believe that is where his success is. His stuff is not overpowering, but it can get the job done for an inning.

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Orioles Shopping, Tejada, Bedard?

The Orioles will come in to the off season looking to trade Miguel Tejada, and possibly Erik Bedard. Both of them, would draw considerable interest and would probably be traded early rather than late. For Tejada, I see interest coming from the Cubs, Angels, Astros, and Dodgers. Now would be a great time for the Angels to make a trade. They know where they have depth, and this would be a great start to the off season after two previous unsuccessful ones. They could trade Ervin Santana, Reggie Willits, and a third player for him. They may look to part with Chone Figgins and could offer him, but I think they will look to teams with more proven pitching for him. Personally, I think the Dodgers have the best chance to land him. They have young talent to offer and it would not hurt them too much to offer it. Chin-Lung Hu, Andre Ethier, and Tony Abreu, but a lot of pressure is on Ned Colletti to find a solid upgrade, and he would definitely be taking a chance on Tejada. Maybe they would offer Rafael Furcal? A sleeper in this race is definitely the Astros, who are looking for an upgrade in the infield. Yes, Everett is great defensively, but is power is next to nothing. Not only that, but Tejada's swing is tailored to Minute Maid Park, and he would benefit in two seasons there.

For Bedard, the Orioles feel they have enough starting pitching and can unload him for major league ready players. I hope they are not counting Radhames Liz in that list. Liz has some of the worst mechanics I have ever seen, and will probably lead to arm problems eventually. Bedard could probably bring in a capable outfielder, and couple prospects. I expect interest in Bedard to be everywhere in this weak market for pitching. The Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Cardinals, Nationals, Mariners, Twins, and maybe the Blue Jays to be interested. This would be a smart move to make on the Orioles part. They could land several young players that could take over spots in the field and they would potentially put them on the same path as the Rockies are right now. However, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves-Orioles President Andy McPhail is known for taking his time with trades and it might hurt their chances of landing the best players. Only time will tell.

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Nationals Looking At Wright?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Nationals are looking for pitching and may take a chance on veteran pitcher Jaret Wright. Wright wasn't much of anything until 2004, when he went 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 159 K for the Braves. When the Yankees saw those numbers from a twenty-nine year old, they were all over it and signed him to a big three year deal, worth 21 million dollars. He went 16-12 with a 5.29 ERA in two years for the Yankees, and after battling injuries, he was traded to the Orioles. The Orioles were not impressed after he failed to make more than three starts, and released him. The Nationals appear to be the front-runners to land him, even though the list probably does not stretch very far. The Nationals tried very hard to land him back in 2004, and will certainly try again, but at a reduced price. If they sign him, it would be a win-win for the Nationals who would pay next to nothing for his services. Along with Wright, the Nationals will also look to go after Tom Glavine, along with Mark Prior and Joe Kennedy. They also plan to take the trade route and will try to acquire now benched center fielder Coco Crisp.

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Colletti Thinking Future

The next Yankees manager will definitely determine the status of Grady Little with the Dodgers. Little, who will be entering his third year as manager, will be under a lot of scrutiny if they do not see much improvement. They finished with a record of 82-80 this season, in fourth place, and many began to speculate that he had lost control of the clubhouse in September. Colletti has known Girardi since 1989, and has held talks with Girardi about becoming the bench coach if he isn't picked for the Yankees job. However, Grady Little is not involved in these discussions so it does set up an uncomfortable situation next season. Nonetheless, I think it is a good move on the Dodgers part. You bring in a young, experienced, coach, who has served time as the Yankees bench coach, and manager of the Florida Marlins, to familiarize himself with the team assuming he would be the manager when Little is let go. For now, all of this is speculation. The Yankees are not close to naming a manager yet, but will be soon. George Steinbrenner still favors Don Mattingly as manager, but several Front Office executives prefer Joe Girardi. If Girardi does not get the Yankees job, I suspect that Girardi would either talk with Little before making the switch, or take a Front Office role so he is not stepping on the toes of Little next season.

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Astros To Let Jennings Walk

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Astros sacrificed Willy Taveras for Jason Jennings last off season, and after he struggled going 2-9, they will let him go. However, it isn't a complete failure because they got a good look at Hunter Pence, who is now the everyday center fielder. The Astros were very disappointed with his numbers, especially because he left a hitters friendly park. Although the Astros are short on pitching, they will let him walk. Jennings will probably get a two to three year deal, worth 7-10 million dollars total. I expect the Rangers, who were interested in him last year take a shot at him, maybe even the Cubs, but they have Jason Marquis, and cannot afford another inconsistent pitcher. The Twins were very close to acquiring him last off season but talks fell through. I expect that Bill Smith will make another run at him for their pitching rotation, especially if they lose Silva. Jennings is twenty-nine, and is probably better off taking a one year deal with an option to get his numbers back up for 2009.

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Cardinals Interested In Kobayashi

Although Masahide Kobayashi is a closer, a source tells me that the Cardinals are very interested in him as a reliever. Kobayashi hasn't said he was leaving, but was lights out in the playoffs. The Cardinals could probably sign him to a minor league deal, but I do not expect him to be all that successful in the MLB. In 2006, he was 6-2 with a 2.68 ERA and 34 SV. In 2007, now 33, went 2-7 with a 3.61 ERA and 27 SV. He could be like Hideki Okajima, which would be great, but I expect him to be in between Kei Igawa and former Mariner Shigetoshi Haswgawa, on a good day. Calls were not immediately returned from John Mozeliak, but I will keep you informed. The Cardinals are expected to look for upgrades in their rotation and outfield.

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Braves Could Trade For Benched Crisp

The Red Sox have given up on Coco Crisp because of rookie outfielder Jacoby Ellisbury, and will look to trade him. There has been speculation that he will go to the Nationals, but it seems the Braves and Phillies are also interested. The Braves plan on letting Jones walk and will pursue Crisp for prospects. Crisp is under contract til 2009 making 10.5 million dollars with an 8 million dollar option for 2010. This will be the only thing holding a trade back, but I think they will get something done. Crisp batted .268 with 6 HR and 60 RBI, but is a switch hitter with some lead off experience. He would be a huge downgrade from Jones, but would only be a stopgap for prospect Jordon Schafer, who is in Single-A. The Braves will not give up much for Crisp, but I think they are the front-runner to land him.

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Reds Interested In Hawkins?

New Reds manager Dusty Baker is looking for familiar faces in the clubhouse including Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, and now LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins stood behind his manager back in 2004 when the team was struggling, and Dusty really respected him for that. He has traveled around since leaving the Cubs, and although he will be turning 35 in December, he plans to keep playing. The Reds could use his experience in their bullpen, and could probably sign him at a reduced price. Along with Hawkins, the Reds are interested in Kerry Wood and Mark Prior; however, the Cubs are expected to hold on to both. I suspect that if Prior is not healthy in 2008, that they will look to trade him, but Wood has deserved another shot on the Cubs roster. The Reds are looking to retool their pitching staff and that will start by bringing in some proven veterans along with young, developing players. They could make another run at Kyle Lohse, but only if he is interested in returning.

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Romero To Hit Market

Left handed pitcher J.C. Romero played a big part in getting the Phillies to the postseason, but it seems that he and the Phillies are far apart in contract negotiations. Maybe they will pick up after the playoffs, but the Phillies would rather retain Aaron Rowand before Romero. Romero was 2-2 with a 1.92 ERA in 74 games. He has never had such a year which makes me think he won't be able to pull for too much money, but there will definitely be interest. The Phillies bullpen was a weak point this season and signing Romero and making other upgrades in the bullpen they will be even better in that division. Other teams will be all over Romero after the two week filing period including the White Sox, Braves, Dodgers, Rockies, Reds, and Cubs, among others, to be interested in him.

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Cubs Interested In Affeldt

Thursday, October 25, 2007

According to sources inside the Cubs, Assistant General Manager Randy Bush thinks very highly of reliever Jeremy Affeldt, especially after his performance in the playoffs. His experience would be great for the Cubs, especially because they need a proven lefty specialist. Affeldt is twenty-nine, and could sign a three to four year deal, worth eight to ten million dollars. I would suspect his numbers to improve leaving a hitter friendly stadium, but the Cubs defense is not as good as the Rockies. Other teams that have shown interest in Affeldt include the Phillies, Angels, Twins, Padres, Rangers, Red Sox, and White Sox.

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Interview with Matt Sosnick

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to interview Sports Agent Matt Sosnick. Sosnick is the founder of Sosnick Cobbe Sports, an agency that represents over twenty players. They are most known for Dontrelle Willis, but also represent Freddy Sanchez, Josh Hamilton, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and more. I really appreciate Matt Sosnick for agreeing to do this interview while he plans for the off season ahead.

ELI: How did you start get your start in baseball?

MATT: I found one player, who was actually a family friend, let me represent him. He never actually made it, but he gave me my start and I was able to move on from there.

ELI: Did you play any sports growing up?

MATT: Not so much baseball, I was more a basketball player?

ELI: What are your day to day duties as an agent?

MATT: It depends. I usually make a list for myself each night, but stuff definitely comes up during the day.

ELI: How much contact do you have with each of your clients?


MATT: I have a lot of contact with my players. I was just at Dontrelle Willis' Charity Event and some my other clients were there as well.

ELI: Coming into the off season with several clients unsigned, how do you prioritize which players come first?

MATT: Well, we have different people in the off season doing different things. We have an arbitration guy, contract guy, other things like that. We take our guys on a week long trip each year-this year we are going to Cabo with our guys.

ELI: Do you go to a lot of your clients games?


MATT: Yeah, and I have a lot of guys on the same team. I've got three on the Pirates, six on the Marlins, three on the Rangers, so I can visit them in groups.

ELI: Was becoming an agent something you had always wanted to do?


MATT: Actually no, it is something I just decided to do one day and went with it.

ELI: Out of baseball, do you have a favorite team?

MATT: The 49ers.

ELI: How about a favorite movie?

MATT: Bull Durham.

ELI: What is the one thing you would say an everyday fan does not know about sports agents?

MATT: I think that fans do not know how important our relationships with our players are. With all the things out side baseball, having us can really influence a career. Wives, girlfriends, breakups, parents pass away, all that can effect a player. Having us to turn to really helps players and I think that is the one thing people do not understand.

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Dodgers To Fire Little?

The Dodgers are intrigued by the possibility of having Joe Torre as their next manager. Grady Little had little control over his clubhouse towards the end of the season and it seemed likely that he would be let go. Owner Frank McCourt knows Torre will not be on the market for long and would be smart to pick him up early. However, if Torre is not interested, it is possible to see Little still fired and go after Girardi or Mattingly, if either is passed up for the Yankees job. I see them going after Girardi before Mattingly because Girardi has experience managing younger players. The Dodgers finished with an 82-80 record, never really had to deal with. Nonetheless, if Torre is interested in the job, they would sign him in a heart beat.

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Cardinals Release Maroth

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Cardinals mid season experiment with Mike Maroth failed, and they have decided to release him. It doesn't come as a surprise to many after he was 0-5 with a 10.66 ERA in 14 games for the Cardinals. He was 5-2 with the Tigers before being traded, and is just thirty, so I am sure there will be interest in him. The Twins may be looking for a pitcher, especially a lefty, and could sign him. He is from Florida, and could pitch for the Marlins if they are interested in a veteran pitcher. So many teams are looking to round out the bottom of their rotation so I expect Maroth to be signed early rather than late. He can put up 8-10 wins, while hovering around a 4.50 ERA, not bad a for a fifth starter if he can stay healthy. Teams that have been interested in Maroth in the past include the White Sox, Rangers, Marlins, and others. He will probably make two to four million where ever he ends up going. I suspect a one year deal, worth about three million dollars with a club option so the team can have control over his fate if he struggles.

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Interview with Jamie Moyer

Last July, I put in a call to the Moyer Foundation about a possible interview with Jamie Moyer. The women I talked to, Sandy Murray, told me he would really like to focus on baseball and would get back to me at the end of the season. Come the end of the season, I put in another call and I had my questions sent over to have answered. Moyer is currently pitching on the Phillies, but has been in baseball since 1986. Many think, including me, that he will keep pitching until there is no long a jersey available. I want to thank Jamie Moyer, and especially Sandy Murray for staying to her word, I really appreciate it.

ELI: What was it like being drafted by the Cubs? Did you see it coming?

JAMIE: It was exciting. It was a dream come true to be drafted by a pro team and have the opportunity to play.

ELI: After pitching in the majors for several years, you were sent back to the minors in 1992? What did you work on while you were down there to get back?


JAMIE: Getting my confidence back.

ELI: What was it like getting traded from the Red Sox to the Mariners? How did you find out?

JAMIE: It was an exciting opportunity to be a starting pitcher on a regular basis, doing what I wanted to do, going to an organization where I knew there was a consistent chance to go far, as long as I did well. I found out right before a game- I took off my uniform and just got on a plane.

ELI: Many would say that 1997 was your breakout year with the Mariners. Do you remember working on anything in the off season before that to get better?

JAMIE: Nothing in particular, the same program every season. Consistent work outs and getting rest while trying to get mentally prepared is all.

ELI: What was it like going to Japan in 1998? Were any of the players playing on the Japan team playing in the majors now?

JAMIE: Ichiro and [Hideki] Matsui were there. The opportunity to play on an All Star team was really exciting. Often times I thought about how I wanted to play on a regular season team full of All-Stars.

ELI: The 2001 season was a crazy year for the Mariners. What do you remember most from that year?

JAMIE: Everybody came in with a great work ethic and expected win, and we did. We tied the MLB record with 116 wins.

ELI: The final game in 2007 was a big one, were you feeling any different about that start than other ones?


JAMIE: I knew the significance of what was going on, which made it exciting, starting knowing the Mets were losing. But I tried to focus on pitching well, and fortunately we were able to win, and it gave us a division championship.

ELI: Can you tell me some about the Moyer Foundation? Camp Erin?


JAMIE: The Foundation is an extended home for me with the support of great employees, great volunteers, and the generous support of the community believing in what we do at the Foundation. With all that support, it has been a great way to give back to the community. Camp Erin is our bereavement camps for children- it is a special place for us. I feel privileged and honored to establish more Camp Erin's in the Northwest and beyond. To see many children, who are going through such a difficult time, benefit from Camp Erin is fulfilling. We are so grateful to those who have supported our mission through Camp Erin and we look forward to continuing to help kids for many years to come.

ELI: What would you say is your best pitch?


JAMIE: Any pitch that I can get someone out early on!

ELI: Could you name one hitter you have had constant success against?

JAMIE: It varies. Nobody really stands out. Maybe Scott Brosius.

ELI: Who is the funniest guy in the clubhouse?

JAMIE: Shane Victorino.

ELI: Who on the Phillies is most likely to be found sleeping in the dugout during the game?

JAMIE: Nobody, because I wouldn't let them.

ELI: What is your favorite baseball movie?

JAMIE: Field of Dreams.

ELI: Can you think of a funny mound visit you had with a coach or catcher?

JAMIE: Danny Wilson, during a Yankees game. I had left him a message earlier in the day asking him to be a God father to my son. The message got mixed up at the hotel, and he didn't get back to me immediately. At the game that night, after the first pitch, he walked up to me, handed me the ball, and said, 'Oh, and by the way, yes!'

ELI: If you could pitch to one pitcher in the past, who would it be?

JAMIE: Babe Ruth.

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