Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yankees Acquire Javy Vazquez

The Yankees are the rich getting richer, and re-acquired solid #2 starter Javy Vazquez from the Braves for Melky Cabrera. New York also got left-hander Boone Logan as part of the trade, and the Braves obtained a pair of pitching prospects, left-hander Mike Dunn and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, along with about $500,000.

The Yankees' payroll for next year now tops $200 million, which is more than the #2 Los Angeles Angels were purchased for a few years ago.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Putz signs with Chicago White Sox

The right-hander JJ Putz agreed to terms with the White Sox on a one-year, $3-million contract, with up to $3 million in incentives for games finished. Putz, who turns 33 in February, is 23-19 with a 3.24 ERA, 103 saves and 356 strikeouts covering 337 career relief appearances and 352 1/3 innings pitched over seven Major League seasons.

Pedro Feliz signs with Houston Astros

Former Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz agreed yesterday to a $4.5 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros on the final day of baseball's winter meetings.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Polanco Signs with Phillies

Placido Polanco, 34, will make roughly $18 million over three years going back to Philadelphia. It is structured as $5 million, plus a $500,000 signing bonus, in 2010. He will make $5.25 million in '11 and $6.25 million in '12. The mutual option in '13 is $5.5 million with a $1 million buyout.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Phillies, Blue Jays Looking at Plan B re Halladay

Both the Phillies and the Blue Jays are looking at their other options vis a vis Roy Halladay, according to many reports. Although it woul benefit both teamms to do a deal, apparently the Phillies have determined that the asking price is too much. In response, the Phillies are eyeing a deal for Cliff Lee of the Indians, and the Blue Jays may be in talks with the Yankees...stay tuned...Friday is the trading deadline...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Red Sox Cut SS Julio Lugo

Because of Nick Green's emergence from non-roster invitee to key contributor, and Jed Lowrie's imminent return, the Red Sox essentially didn't have a spot for SS Julio Lugo.

The Red Sox now have 10 days to either trade Lugo, release him or re-assign him.

The Red Sox have sought a potential trade partner for Lugo, though they'd likely be on the hook for the most -- if not all -- of the $13.5 million the shortstop is owed through the end of 2010.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Phillies sign Pedro Martinez to One Year Deal

The Phillies, somewhat desperate for starting pitching in their run for the defense of their world title, signed three time Cy Young Award pitcher Pedro Martinez to a one year deal worth $1 million guaranteed, plus $1.5 million in incentives.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Detroit Tigers Release Gary Sheffield

When the Tigers traded for Josh Hamilton, everyone did a complete "whaaa?". But today, with Gary Sheffield being released, it is making a little more sense. Sheffield has no doubt struggled in Spring Training, but it is still a bit of a shocker the news today that he was released with the Tigers still owing him $14 million this year. I have no doubt someone will now sign Sheffield as a low cost, high potential OF, but it is possible he goes by the way of Barry Bonds...forced into a retirement. Will be interesting to find out the reasons for the Tiger release in the coming days.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pudge Signs with Astros

Ivan Rodriguez signed a one year, $1.5 million guaranteed contract, with another $1.5 million in incentives. I'm pretty sure the Astros didn't think they would get Pudge so cheap, so they barely even mentioned it as a possibility. Nice signing, considering the fact the Astros catchers were offensively offensive in Spring Training.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's Official: Manny Ramirez Signs Two Year Deal with Dodgers

Well, it's finally official. After all the hullaballooooo...Manny Ramirez signed the deal that the Dodgers wanted him to sign last year. But wasn't it fun?

The contract is apparently signed for a two year deal with the Dodgers worth $45 million guaranteed. The Dodgers will need to do a roster move to get Manny in camp, which will probably happen today.

One wonders if Manny is loving Scott Boras about now.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors Continue

The new rumor is that Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers have agreed on a three year deal, with two years guaranteed at $45 million, with a third year vesting player option of $15 million. No confirmation yet on this...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hot Stove League Awards

Well, time again for the Hot Stove League Awards, 2009 edition. Email me at marc@hotstovereport.com for your thoughts on the 2009 Season. The Categories are...

1. 2009 Best Hot Stove League Season -- Sort of the MVP Team of the offseason.
2. 2009 Best Hot Stove League Player Signing (Team and Player)
3. 2009 Best Hot Stove League Trade (Team and Players)
4. 2009 Best Hot Stove League Player Agent
5. 2009 Best Hot Stove League GM
6. 2009 Most Intriguing Free Agent Signing
7. 2009 Biggest Surprise of the HSL
8. 2009 Worst HSL Season
9. 2009 Worst HSL Player Signing
10. 2009 Worst HSL Agent
11. 2009 Worst HSL GM
12. 2009 HSL Best Owner
13. 2009 HSL Worst Owner

This is for the offseason leading up to the 2009 MLB season. We'll be releasing the nominees on March 15, 2009, and, after you all email us your thoughts, the winners on Opening Day 2009. You may also use this thread...Let us know what you think!

Boras Rejects Latest Manny Offer, Talks to Resume Today

The Los Angeles Dodgers' most recent offer of two years, $45 million to Manny Ramirez apparently was rejected late last night by Scott Boras, but both sides are saying that the talks will continue. It appears that the Dodgers' deal was predicated on deferment of Manny's salary, so although the team would owe him $45 million in the deal, the payments for 2009 would be more like $15 million with the remaining deferred. According to the reports, the rejection was due to the deferment, but Boras and ManRam are ok with $45 million as a concept. This tells me that sometime today they will reach a deal. We'll see.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Manny Ramirez Rumored to be Close to Signing

Undisclosed internal office workers with the LA Dodgers apparently have indicated that Manny Ramirez is very close to signing with them. The last offer made by the Dodgers according to some reports was one year, $25 million, with a player option for the second year at $20 million. One report says that Manny Ramirez will have to respond to the offer by this Friday the 27th of February. The Dodgers have opened camp without him, but apparently the Dodgers organization is anxious to sign the talented outfielder to a deal. The Giants have apparently indicated to Manny Ramirez's agent Scott Boras that they are no longer bidding for his services.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tom Glavine Re-Signs with Atlanta Braves

Smoltz is gone, but the Atlanta Braves have one of their glory days pitchers returning to the bump. Tom Glavine signed a one year, $1 million contract with the Braves plus incentives. The Braves hope he and the umpires will rediscover the eight foot wide strike zone that brought him prominence throughout the 90s.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ken Griffey Jr. Selects Legacy over Convenience

In one of the uplifting news items coming from the Hot Stove League this year, Ken Griffey Jr. is going back to the Seattle Mariners. Griffey is signing a one year, $2 million plus incentives deal with the Mariners to be an OF/DH for the team. Griffey had debated about going to the Atlanta Braves, since the Braves' home is so convenient for Griffey to fly back to his family in Orlando, but ultimately (apparently after a call from Willie Mays), Griffey chose to create a legacy bookend to his career instead. When Griffey goes to the Hall, with one of the best swings in baseball, he will easily wear a Mariners cap.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ken Griffey, Jr. | A Mariner or a Brave?

Ken Griffey Jr., formerly with the Chicago White Sox after a trading deadline deal with the Cincinnati Reds, is reportedly deciding between the Atlanta Braves as his new team, or a return to the glory days in Seattle with the Mariners. There were rumors that Griffey had decided on Atlanta due to its proximity to his family in Orlando, but Griffey specifically went out on the airwaves to dispel that rumor. It seems as though Atlanta would be a great fit for Junior, as they need the OF help, but with Seattle Jr. could play a little DH and get the hero's return. Griffey, in either case, is not the sought after player he once was due to age and injury, but he still could be a productive bat in the lineup in a supporting role. Griffey is a lifetime .288 batter with 611 HR, and last season hit a combined .249 and 18 HR in almost 500 AB.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Milwaukee Brewers Sign Braden Looper

Braden Looper, the former St. Louis Cardinal RHP, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers with a one year, $4.75 million guaranteed, plus $1 million in incentives for 2009, plus a club option for 2010 for $6 million or $6.5 million (depending on incentives) plus a $750,000 buyout (or $1 million, depending on incentives). The Brewers were in dire need of starting pitching after CC Sabathia bolted for NY and Ben Sheets rejected arbitration. Looper was 12-14 with the Cardinals in 2008, pitching nearly 200 innings with a 4.16 ERA.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Adam Dunn to Sign with Nationals

Adam Dunn, former OF for the Cincinnati Reds, has agreed to a reported two year, $20 million contract to play for the Washington Nationals.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bobby Abreu To Sign with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Bobby Abreu, the former New York Yankees' right fielder that was not offered arbitration, is going to sign a deal with the Los Angeles Angels for a reported $5 million plus incentives for one year. This appears to be a pretty good move for the Angels, who lost Mark Teixeira to free agency this year and needs to replace that production in the lineup. Abreu batted .296 with over 100 RBI last year and is a left handed bat in a very right handed Angels clubhouse. The deal was reported on SI.com and MLB.com.

But Abreu signing for $5 million has to lower the targets of other free agents on the market, the ones that still do not have a team with pitchers and catchers reporting just around the corner.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Astros May Need a SS Soon

Miguel Tejada, who had testified to Congress that he did not know about any performance enhancing drugs in baseball clubhouses, is expected to plead guilty to lying to Congress as part of the Congressional investigation into steroids in baseball. Tejada has reportedly reached a plea bargain with prosecutors. The crime carries with it a maximum one year jail sentence, but federal sentencing guidelines make probation up to six months in prison more likely.

It is hard to look at the Astros' roster and see another everyday shortstop, but one wonders if Drayton McLane and the Astros use this plea bargain to terminate his contract as a cost saving move. The Astros had made little secret about their attempts to move Tejada's contract elsewhere, and one wonders if this is all the evidence McLane will need to do additional cost saving moves (or improve the ballclub with the cost savings while picking up a defensive shortstop).

Tejada is smart to plea while the A-Roid scandal continues to make headlines and talk show fodder.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Alex Rodriguez Admits A-Rod is A-Fraud

In an interview with ESPN, it is being reported that Alex Rodriguez admitted that while he was with the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003 he did steroids, including the season where he won the MVP and including the time right after he got his super large contract.

An article on the admission is here.

Seems to me that the only person in baseball we can trust about steroids is Jose Canseco.

Ryan Howard, Phils Avoid Arbitration

Ryan Howard, who led the majors in HR and RBI last year, signed for three years with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies worth a reported $54 million. The $54 million averages out to $18 million per year for the rest of Ryan Howard's arbitration eligible years. Howard had requested $18 million, the Phillies had originally countered with $14 million, which had them both headed for an ugly arbitration. This signing avoids that, and puts the 29 year old in the fold for three more years. Howard was the 2005 Rookie of the Year and the 2006 MVP.

Andruw Jones Signs Minor League Deal With Texas Rangers

Andruw Jones, who is still being paid millions by the Dodgers, agree to a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers for $500,000 with an invitation to Spring Training. If Jones, who hit .158 with 3 HR, but made $14.7 million in 2008, makes the Rangers' roster, he will make $1 million (and half of that will be refunded to the Dodgers.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Randy Wolf Signs With Dodgers

Randy Wolf, who last year carried the Astros in the second half of the season, signed, as expected, with the Los Angeles Dodgers for one year, $5 million guaranteed with $3 million in incentives. Wolf had originally been offered bthree years, $28.5 million from the Astros before they pulled the offer off the table during the economic collapse. It was reported that Wolf wanted three years, $30 million guaranteed but had to readjust after the collapse. Wolf, who was 12-12 last year with the Padres and Astros, pitched for the Dodgers in 2007, and the Dodgers sought his return this offseason after losing Brad Penny to the Red Sox, Derek Lowe to the Braves ang Greg Maddux to retirement.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Cliff Floyd Signs with San Diego Padres

Cliff Floyd, the oft-injured, but effective veteran presence last year on the Tampa Bay Rays, reportedly has reached an agreement with the San Diego Padres. The Padres were in need of a left handed bat, but it is a little surprising Floyd, a decent DH candidate, went to a national league team. The club, who was also interested in Luis Gonzales, apparently decided Floyd had enough left in the tank to still play a little outfield. Floyd hit .268 with 11 HR in 80 games last year with the Rays.

Mets, Oliver Perez Agree to 3-Year Deal

The New York Mets, who have definitely been working diligently to try to re-sign Oliver Perez, and they announced they have done so. The lefty Perez, who was 10-7 and pitched 194 innings last year, agreed to a 3 year, $36 million contract to remain a starter with the organization. This, along with the signing of Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia, probably forecloses the idea that Randy Wolf or Pedro Martinez will be in a Mets uniform next season.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ty Wiggington Signs With Baltimore Orioles

Ty Wiggington, the Houston Astros' former third baseman that carried the team in the last third of the season, signed with the Baltimore Orioles with a two year, $6 million deal. Prior to the economic collapse it would have not been a surprise to see the Astros pay Wiggington $6 million for one year to avoid arbitration.

As an Astros fan, it is hard for me to understand why the Astros didn't do this deal with Wiggington themselves, but I suppose the Astros needed to use the 3B position for cost savings. I think the Orioles got a steal.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Manny Ramirez Turns Down $25 Million

With Boras now looking to be backed in a corner, Manny Ramirez has reportedly rejected a one year, $25 million offer from his previous team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Speculation is that the Guiants and the Mets have interest, but it is looking doubtful that ManRam will get more than the two year guarantee originally contracted by the Red Sox...stay tuned...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jason Varitek signs with Red Sox, Standoff Ends

The Red Sox and free-agent catcher Jason Varitek agreed on a contract according to a report out of MLB.com. The deal is for one year at $5 million with an option for 2010 that Boston could activate at $5 million (or Varitek could at $3 million).

Varitek could make another $2 million in 2010 via incentive clauses, as reported by the Boston Globe, meaning the total value of the contract will be as low as $8 million or as high as $12 million.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Twins, Jason Kubel Avoid Arbitration

The Twins avoided arbitration with DH/OF Jason Kubel yesterday, signing him to a two-year contract that media sources claim is for about $7 million and contains a team option for 2011 that is worth $5 million. Kubel batted .272 with 20 HR in 141 games last year.

Diamondbacks and Jon Garland Agree to Terms

The Diamondbacks and free agent right-hander Jon Garland have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with an option for 2010, according to major league sources, worth between $6-8 million.

It appears the contract is similar to one of the proposals the sides discussed a few weeks ago, in which the deal would include an option that could be exercised by either the player or team. The value of the buyout would vary depending on which side declines the option.

This will probably lead to other free agent signings of starters on the free agent market.

Andy Pettitte Takes Yankees Deal

The Yankees and Andy Pettitte agreed on an incentive laced deal that is worth roughly $5.5 million guaranteed, much lower than the $16 million earned last year by the left handed starter. The incentives are reportedly enough for Pettitte to reach $12 million. It is unknown where Pettitte will be in the rotation, but it is speculated he will start the season as the #5 so as to make the first start in the new Yankees stadium.

David Weathers, Reds Avoid Arbitration

The Reds signed reliever David Weathers to a one-year contract on Wednesday with a club option for 2010. Weathers will earn $3.5 million this season and can make an additional $700,000 in incentives. The option is worth $3.7 million and carries a $400,000 buyout clause.

Astros Sign Geoff Geary and Wandy Rodriguez

On Monday the Astros inked their final two arbitration-eligible players to one-year deals, signing right-hander Geoff Geary for $1.7 million plus incentives and left-hander Wandy Rodriguez for $2.6 million plus incentives.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cubs Avoid Arbitration and Ink Kevin Gregg

The Chicago Cubs avoided arbitration, but maybe not controversy, by signing reliever/closer Kevin Gregg in a one year, $4.2 million deal. Gregg, who was acquired from the Marlins, had 29 saves last year with a 3.41 ERA. Gregg is expected to compete with nasty slider throwing Carlos Marmol for the closing job (Marmol had a 2.68 ERA with 114 strikeouts in 87 innings pitched).

Phillies Avoid Arbitration and Lock Up Ryan Madson

The Phillies avoided arbitration and were able to extend the contract with reliever Ryan Madson with a three year, $12 million contract. Madson was 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in the post season during the Phillies track to the World Series title.

Felix Hernandez signs one year deal with Mariners

The Seattle Mariners re-signed 22 year old RHP Felix Hernandez to a one year, $3.8 million contract to avoid arbitration. Hernandez showed ace-like signs last year, finishing with a 3.45 ERA with 175 strikeouts in 200 2/3 innings. In his 11 no decisions for the lowly Mariners he had a 2.72 ERA.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Phillies Lock Up Cole Hamels

Avoiding arbitration, the Phillies signed LHP Cole Hamels to a three year, $20.5 million deal. The Phillies starting pitcher, who at 25 years of age went 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA (and 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the post season) last year, will make $4.35 million in 2009, $6.65 million in 2010 and $9.5 million in 2011.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rumor that Red Sox, Jason Varitek Showdown Tonight

Looks like Jason Varitek and the Boston Red Sox will be sitting down to discuss potential contract terms in a meeting. Varitek had rejected the reported one year deal, seeking a multiyear deal worth Jorge Posada type money. One wonders, after testing the market under these trying conditions, if perhaps Varitek will come off those demands. Time will tell.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

San Diego Padres sign David Eckstein

Seeking help in the middle infield after trading Khalil Greene, the San Diego Padres signed SS / 2B and former Cardinal David Eckstein to a one year deal, terms undisclosed. Eckstein hit a combined .265 with Arizona and Toronto last year.

Red Sox Sign Kevin Youkilis to Four Year Deal

The Boston Red Sox avoided arbitration with 1B Kevin Youkilis with a four year, $40 million contract with a club option for 2013. Youkilis, a Gold Glover, was third in the balloting last year for Most Valuable Player and hit .312 with 29 HR's and 115 RBI's.

Tigers ink Fernando Rodney and Marcus Thames to Avoid Arbitration

The Tigers, looking at free agent closers but have not yet signed one, have avoided arbitration with their existing closer Fernando Rodney as the club agreed to terms Wednesday on a one-year contract worth $2.7 million. Rodney, who will turn 32 years old in March, saved 13 games this year to go with an 0-6 record and a 4.91 ERA. He became Detroit's closer near the end of July while Todd Jones battled shoulder problems. In addition to Fernando Rodney, the Tigers avoided arbitration with outfielder Marcus Thames by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, terms not immediately disclosed. Thames is projected to return as Detroit's reserve outfielder and in 2008 batted .245 with 25 home runs and 56 RBIs over just 316 at-bats.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mets to Sign Infielder Alex Cora

According to a report on WEEI.com, the New York Mets have reached a deal with 2B/ SS Alex Cora on a one year, $2 million contract to be the Mets' utility middle infielder. Cora played last year with the Boston Red Sox and hit .270 in 75 games.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Uehara Signs with Baltimore Orioles

Right-hander Koji Uehara finalized a $10 million, two-year contract with Baltimore, making him the first Japanese-born player in franchise history. The 33-year-old Uehara, who agreed to terms last week, gets $5 million a year and could make more in incentives. Reportedly if Uehara makes 34 starts and pitches 200 innings in each season, he would earn $16 million.

Astros Agree to Minor League Deal with Russ Ortiz

Russ Ortiz, who has struggled with injuries over the past couple of years, agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training to compete for a roster spot with th Houston Astros. Ortiz, 34, missed all of 2008 with Tommy John surgery, but was last with the San Francisco Giants.

Guillermo Mota and Los Angeles Dodgers Agree to One Year Deal

The Mota Reunion is official...The Los Angeles Dodgers, who traded Guillermo Mota to the Florida Marlins in the Brad Penny trade a few years ago, agreed to terms with Mota for a return to the Dodgers' bullpen. Last season for the Millwaukee Brewers Mota posted a 5-6 record with a 4.11 ERA in 58 games.

Gabe Kapler signs with Tampa Bay Rays

OF Gabe Kapler signed a one-year, $1-million contract with the Rays Monday, which came as a little bit of a surprise after a weekend in which he was rumored to be headed to Philadelphia. Kapler hit .301 with Milwaukee last year.

San Diego Padres sign 2b Chris Burke

Chris Burke, former Houston Astros 2b of the future, signed with the San Diego Padres for a minor league deal. Burke hit .195 with 2 HR last year for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Burke was part of the Astros deal to acquire Jose Valverde last year.

Mark Prior signs with San Diego Padres

Mark Prior, the former Cubs ace that has had massive injury problems (and missed all last year due to an additional arm surgery), has signed with the San Diego Padres with a minor league deal. Prior will be paid $1 million if he makes the Padres roster.

Atlanta Braves and Derek Lowe Talks Getting Serious

There are many reports that the Atlanta Braves, after feeling much fan blowback after letting John Smoltz sign with the Red Sox, are showing some real Benjamins to try to land Derek Lowe. Reportedly the Braves have offered Lowe 4 years, $60 million in an attempt to bring the former Red Sox and Dodger pitcher into the fold. The 35 year old right handed Lowe was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA last year with the Dodgers.

UPDATE: Many reports that Lowe has agreed to the four year deal, pending physical.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Brewers Avoid Abitration with JJ Hardy

The Brewers signed shortstop J.J. Hardy to a one-year, $4.65 million contract on Monday and avoided arbitration, a raise from Hardy's $2.65 million contract from 2008. Hardy, 26, batted .283 with 24 home runs and 74 RBIs in 146 games last season.

Astros Avoid Arbitration with Jose Valverde

The Houston Astros avoided arbitration with closer Jose Valverde by inking him to a one year, $8 million contract. The hard throwing right handed Valverde had a very slow start to the 2008 season, but really settled down to return to his premiere closing position by the end of the season. Valverde, who lost his arbitration claim prior to the 2008 season, was also probably happy to avoid the arbitration process and chose one year certainty over a repeat of 2008. Valverde made $4.7 million in 2008, so the $8 million is quite a raise for the organization. The Astros now are able to move toward signing their other arbitration eligble players knowing what their most expensive player in that process is going to make.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Red Sox Keep the Signings Coming With Takashi Saito

The Boston Red Sox remained busy with the signing of Takashi Saito, the right handed reliever who spent the last three years with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Saito's deal is reported to be guaranteed $1.5 million for the first year, but with incentives that could make it worth $7 million. It is a one year deal with the Red Sox, with a club option for 2010.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Braves Nearing Deal with Kenshin Kamakawi

The Atlanta Braves, clearing becoming a little more active after John Smoltz took the deal with the Boston Red Sox, are reportedly nearing a deal with 33 year old Kenshin Kamakawi from Japan to be a starter in their rotation. No rumors yet on the size of the deal (although original reports that the demand was in the 3 year, $30 million plus range). Previously the Mets, Orioles, Angels, Cardinals and Twins had been rumored to have been previously interested in Kamakawi's services. Kamakawi's fastball is supposed to be clocked around 92 with a nasty splitter, 2 seam fastball and curve that keeps batters off guard. He also, apparently, can handle a bat, which is definitely helpful in the National League.

Mets sign Tim Redding to One Year Deal

Home-state boy Tim Redding, a former top prospect in the Astros organization who spent all of 2006 in the minors, only to seem to find his way last year, signed a one year, $2.25 million contract with the New York Mets to be a starter with that organization. Redding, 30, was 10-11 with a 4.95 ERA with the Washington Nationals last year but was non-tendered by that team. Redding likely will battle rookies Jonathon Niese and Bobby Parnell for the fourth or fifth spot in the Mets' rotation. The Colorado Rockies had been showing interest in Redding over the last few weeks before the Mets got it done.

Royals Find Their Utility Man in Willie Bloomquist

Willie Bloomquist, the utility man who played seven years for the Seattle Mariners, is reported to be signing with the Kansas City Royals in a two year deal worth $3 million total. Bloomquist, who nearly played every position for the Mariners, is more speed than power, and hit .279 last year in 71 games without a home run, but had 14 stolen bases in those 71 games.

Red Sox, Mark Kotsay Agree to One Year Deal

Continuing the news out of Boston, the Red Sox have agree to a one year, $1.5 million deal with OF/1B Mark Kotsay. It was thought that Kotsay would not be re-signed due to the recent signing of Rocco Baldelli, but the deal did indeed get done. Kotsay, 33, was acquired by the Sox from the Atlanta Braves last year and hit .226 in the 33 games he played in the AL, but was hitting .289 with the Braves when he was acquired. He is expecte to be a left handed bat off the bench and reserve OF.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Brewers and Trevor Hoffman Reach One Year Deal

The Milwaukee Brewers seem to have found their closer, opting for likely future Hall of Fame closer and all time saves leader Trever Hoffman on a one year, $6 million contract. Hoffman, who is 41 years old, had been the closer for years in San Diego, but recent ownership problems and financial issues with the Padres, along with other issues, made Hoffman expendable. After a rough start, he finished last season with a respectable 30 saves and a 3.77 ERA. The Brewers, pardon the beer pun, hope he still has something in the tank.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

John Smoltz to sign with Boston Red Sox

Reports abound that John Smoltz's days with the Atlanta Braves may be over, as the 41 year old right handed pitcher will sign with the Boston Red Sox. Smoltz, formerly a starter, had been moved to the pen in Atlanta (a team he has been with since he broke into the majors), and is coming off shoulder surgery. The deal is reportedly worth a guaranteed $5.5 million with incentives that could reach $10 million, and they are projecting him to be in the rotation when his rehab is complete.

Red Sox and Rocco Baldelli Reportedly Close to Deal

Rocco Baldelli, recent recipient of the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity (he had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder which causes chronic fatigue), is reportedly close to signing with the Boston Red Sox to be their fourth outfielder. Baldelli was limited in action last year due to the disease, but reportedly Baldelli was recently diagnosed with a different disorder that is more treatable, channelopathy. Baldelli had also battled injuries in other years since his impressive debut in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Rays, but is a lifetime .280 ish hitter with decent speed.

Chad Cordero to Have Throwing Session for Interested Teams

Chad Cordero, the 26 year old former Washington Nationals closer who is recovering and rehabbing from shoulder injury, is planning to have throwing sessions with teams that might be interested in his services. Current teams reportedly in the hunt are the Nats, Diamondbacks, Brewers and Tigers.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Jason Giambi to Sign with Oakland Athletics

The A's reunion with Jason Giambi is merely a physical away from completion, according to MLB.com. The deal for the (ahem) 1B and more likely DH is reportedly a guaranteed one year deal worth $3.5 million with a club option for 2010 for $5 million with a $1 million buyout. This is probably a win win...the A's basically get a decent bat in the lineup for relatively cheap $3.5 million, and Giambi goes back to a team before that whole steroids thing made Giambi a bad name. Giambi, of course, was not offered arbitration by the New York Yankees (which freed up some necessary payroll), and hit .247 with 32 HR's last year after an injury plagued 2007. This offer from the A's is just a little less than the $23 million he made last year.

Carl Pavano to sign with the Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a one year, incentive laden contract with the much injured former New York Yankee Carl Pavano. If anyone thinks that the New York Yankees are guaranteed to win the Series, one need only look at how much the Yankees paid for Pavano. Pavano was paid $40 million over four years with the Yanks and made a total of 26 starts in those four years, 7 last year, or almost $1 million a strikeout. The Indians deal is reported to be $1.5 million guaranteed with incentives that could bring the deal to $6.8 million.

Jerry Hairston to Remain on Reds Roster

Jerry Hairston, Jr., a utility player largely used as a SS/2B, has agreed to a one year, $2 million deal to remain with the Reds. It is apparently an incentive laden deal worth as much as $4 million. Hairston had been approached by a couple of other teams after hitting .326 with 15 steals in 80 games last season, but Cincinnati reeled him back in to the fold.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Andy Pettitte Rejects New York Yankees' Offer

The New York Times is reporting that Andy Pettitte rejected the one year, $10 million offer to pitch in pinstripes again next year in the new Yankee Stadium. Pettitte made $16 million last year, so the pay cut would be substantial, and apparently too substantial for Pettitte and his agents. Pettitte had originally indicated that he would pitch for the Yankees or retire, but he wanted to return. The Yankees are in a position where they'd like to have him, but now after their free agent signings, don't really need him. I'm betting this deal gets done eventually.

Report: Milton Bradley to sign with Chicago Cubs

According to a report on MLB.com, Milton Bradley is traveling to Chicago for a physical after the team agreed to a three year, $30 million contract for the AL's on base percentage leader. Bradley, playing for the Texas Rangers, hit .321 with 22 HR's as a switch hitter. The Cubs sought a left handed bat for their lineup, due to the wealth of starting righties of Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto, and Bradley is a capable switch hitter with some pop.

Jason Marquis to Rockies?

It appears as if Jason Marquis, long rumored to be in need of a new home to save Chicago Cubs payroll, is going to be headed to Colorado in exchange for middle reliever Luis Vizcaino (although reportedly details are still being worked out). Although many may surmise this means the Cubs are back in the Jake Peavy hunt, likely the Cubs ownership situation (and all of the political hub-bub surrounding criminal investigations related thereto with the Illinois Governor) will need to be resolved before committing to Peavy's $60 million left on his multi-year deal. The longer that goes on, the less likely that Peavy will swap teams prior to pitchers and catchers reporting.

Now if this had been done by the Winter Meetings, it would have been a completely different story. How quickly things can change.

Pat Burrell Takes Pay Cut, Signs with Tampa Bay Rays

Pat Burrell, who made nearly $14 million last year (but was not offered arbitration by the Philadelphia Phillies), took a pretty massive pay cut by signing a two year, $16 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. It had been expected that Burrell's locations were limited, as he was looking like a DH candidate, but he did receive more than a one year deal. This is probably a win, win...The Rays, in a division with the Red Sox and Yankees, needed an extra right handed power bat, and Burrell gets a two year deal to be a DH for a contender.

This is showing, however, the difference that free agents on the market are facing this off season. With the car makers struggling (one of the most dedicated advertisers and promotions industry for middle and smaller market teams), teams are projecting significantly less revenue and are therefore holding down the number of years and keeping their offers significantly lower as a rule. Ultimately Burrell signing for $8 million may make the Ty Wiggington's of the world think twice about asking for too much in their negotiations. Burrell is a pretty consistent bat that is well proven (and has playoff and World Series experience), and if he's taking $8 million, some of the less proven players are likely trying to get the coal out of their Christmas stockings.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Andruw Jones and Dodgers Part Ways...

In a move largely seen as a way to free up payroll for the offer to Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to defer portions of Jones' remaining contract amounts and Jones agreed to waive his no trade clause. The Players Association agreed to the deal because Jones would still be paid his entire contract amount, it will just be spread out over several years. It is likely no coincidence that Jones and Ramirez have the same agent, Scott Boras.