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Free Agency and Trades
Busy Day in Beantown Betrays New Budget Conscious BoSox PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Sunday, 22 January 2012 10:54

Dan Shaughnessy, who long ago did his heel turn, had already blasted the club’s ownership for the penny pinching ways, when Red Sox GM compounded the complaints with a text book salary dump sending designated starting shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies for righty Clayton Mortensen.

The move perplexes Rob Neyer. And the overall tenor of the offseason has largely upset legions of Red Sox Nation. The acquisition of Andrew Bailey being the primary positive among a sea of head scratchers.

But the tactics are not designed to construct a playoff roster. They are designed to avoid the newly sterner luxury tax penalties as spelled out in MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement. The Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown touched on this topic when the new CBA was announced in November:

The Competitive Balance Tax (CBT), or as it’s commonly known as the Luxury Tax that has been part of MLB, stopped at the end of the season. It’s back in the new agreement, with some undefined tweaks. In a sign that the players are happy with where the model currently is, the soft cap for the league will see no changes in the threshold from the 2011 season -- $178 million based on end-of-year salaries

The quiet offseasons that both the Red Sox and Yankees have overseen suggest both clubs find the new provisions onerous enough to pull back from their free-spending ways. The Yankees big splash came in two pieces just over a week ago. First they dealt Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and minor leaguer Jose Campos. Then they announced an agreement with Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year contract for the budget conscious price tag of $10 million.

Still, the Red Sox and Yankees both face the prospect of exceeding the tax threshold in 2012. The Yankees certainly will. Boston is working like crazy to prevent that.

Speculation centers around Roy Oswalt. The Red Sox would not have been able to sign the veteran right handed starter, even at his reduced salary demand of one-year and $8 million unless they moved some salary. Thus exits Scutaro.

Among the agida inducing activities Cherrington continues to deal with is the club’s full slate of players facing salary arbitration. And with David Ortiz seeking $16.5 million the Red Sox were looking at an even greater cash crunch.

They settled one of their cases last night, with an announcement sent out minutes after the trade was officially announced. Right-handed reliever Daniel Bard agreed with the team on a one-year deal for the $1.6125 million. The two met int he middle between Bard’s asking price of $1.825 million and the club’s offer of $1.4 million. The contract represents a raise of 219.3% over his 2011 salary. He qualified as a Super Two player.

Bard is a candidate to start for the Red Sox in 2012 after serving as the club’s primary set up for Jonathan Papelbon since joining the team in mid-May of 2009. He and Alfredo Aceves, who is also poised to go to an arbitration hearing, are both looking to shift from the pen to a starting role. Picking up Oswalt would ensure one, if not both, would be back in the bullpen next year.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is a contributor to the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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From the 2011 Winter Meetings: Marlins Set the Table with 6/$106M Deal for Reyes PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 05 December 2011 08:21

Reyes

Last year, it was the Washington Nationals and the Jayson Werth deal. This year at the Baseball Winter Meetings, the bar was on Sunday when the Miami Marlins signed Mets free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes to a 6-year, $106 million deal, pending a physical.

The deal is significant on a number of levels. The Marlins, who are now flush with revenues before their new ballpark opens this spring, are clearly trying to make a (no pun intended) splash. With the signing, they make that move, of what could be more.

In terms of the structure, we don’t know how much Reyes will be paid annually, but based on the numbers, the annual average value (AAV) of the deal  is $17,666,667, ranking him as the second highest paid shortstop in MLB by AAV behind only Derek Jeter’s 3-year contract with options reached last year (AAV of $18.9 million). According to Jeff Euston of Cot’s Contracts, he will become the 27th highest-paid player in-between Ken Griffey Jr. $116.5 million 2000-08 deal and Kevin Brown’s $105 million 1999-2005 contract. It does not have a no-trade clause. The deal is technically $102 million over six years with a $4 million buyout.

But, whether it is now the trend, or the only way the Marlins could make the deal work, the risk in the deal is its length. As Joel Sherman notes, 6 years is 972 games. Here is the Reyes’ DL stints, courtesy of the Daily News and other sources:

2003: Placed on the 15-day DL on Sept. 5 with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain that ends his season.

2004: Placed on the 15-day DL on March 15 with a strained right hamstring, which keeps him sidelined until June 19.

2009: Playing with a right calf strain, Reyes leaves game on May 21 after aggravating injury. Placed on the 15-day DL, does not return that season. Leaves a minor-league rehab assignment game on June 3 with what is called "discomfort in his right calf."

--The next day, the Mets announce that Reyes has a tear in his right hamstring tendon.
-- The Mets announce on Oct. 5 that Reyes will have offseason surgery to clean up scar tissue around the hamstring tendon.

2010: Placed on 15-day DL with hyperactive thyroid, reinstated April 10.

--On June 30, suffers a injury to right side in batting practice, misses six games.

-- On July 10, he re-aggravates injury, does not return until July 20.

--Removed from a game on Aug. 26 after aggravating oblique injury. Does not return until Sept. 10.

2011: Placed on 15-day DL for hamstring injury on July 7 misses 12 games.

-- Aug 8, placed on 15-day DL for left hamstring, comes back on Aug 28.

Finally, watch how the deal is finally structured. As of now, we only know total years and dollars. It is possible that the contract will be frontloaded – larger salary early in the contract as the Marlins have more money to play with, than in later years. That could be good or bad. It’s good in that if Reyes does hit the injured list often, the Marlins will be in a position to move him easier. It’s bad in that if attendance doesn’t hold, or if the Marlins continues to spend aggressively in free agency this off-season on high-cost talent, the club could be constrained.

Bottom line, the deal is a gamble in terms of length. Reyes showed that he’s the premiere plum of the shortstop crop this off-season.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Every National League Transaction Oct 29-Dec 2, 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 02 December 2011 22:27

National League

One of the great thing about the Winter Meetings in MLB isn’t the Winter Meetings, but the data you get with at the end of the season.

Case in point, the annual “Roster Book” lists every approved transaction to the date that the document is mailed to media members attending the off-season jewel event.

Earlier, we posted all the American League transactions from the beginning of free agency to today, now we present the National League

Approved Major League Transactions Oct 29-Dec 2, 2011 (National League)

ATLANTA BRAVES

CF 11/01/2011 Major/Minor Outright from ATL to Gwinnett Braves

Sherrill, George F LHR 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Wilson, Jack E SS 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB


CHICAGO CUBS

Beliveau, Jeffrey R LHR 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from TENNESSEE to CHI

Caridad, Esmailin M RHS 11/18/2011 Major/Minor Outright from CHI to IOWA

Grabow, John W LHR 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Johnson, Reed C OF 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Lake, Junior O SS 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from TENNESSEE to CHI

Lopez, Rodrigo RHS 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Montanez, Luis A OF 11/18/2011 Major/Minor Outright from CHI to IOWA

11/18/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXD

Ortiz, Ramon R RHR 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Pena, Carlos F 1B 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Ramirez, Aramis 3B 10/31/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Smit, Kyle RHS 11/18/2011 Major/Minor Outright from CHI to IOWA

Szczur, Matthew OF 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from DAYTONA to CHI

Vitters, Joshua W 3B 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from TENNESSEE to CHI

Wood, Kerry L RHR 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

 

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE REST OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE TRANSACTIONS FROM 10/29 to 12/2/2011

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Every American League Transaction Oct 29-Dec 2, 2011 PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 02 December 2011 22:04

 

American League

One of the great thing about the Winter Meetings in MLB isn’t the Winter Meetings, but the data you get with at the end of the season.

Case in point, the annual “Roster Book” lists every approved transaction to the date that the document is mailed to media members attending the off-season jewel event.

The following are all 218 American League transactions from the beginning of free agency to today (a separate post for the National League to follow)

Approved Major League Transaction Oct 29-Dec 2, 2011 (American League)

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Antonelli, Matt A 2B 11/28/2011 Signed as a Major League Free Agent

Arrieta, Jacob J RHS 11/02/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

Drake, Oliver G RHS 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from BOWIE to BAL

Fox, Jacob C 10/31/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXD

Guerrero, Vladimir OF 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Henry, Randy D RHR 12/01/2011 Outright (Trade) from BAL DELMARVA to TEX MYRTLE BEACH

Izturis, Cesar D SS 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

O'Day, Darren RHR 11/02/2011 Waiver Claim Assignment from TEX to BAL

Roberts, Brian 2B 11/02/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

Scott, Luke B OF 11/02/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

Teagarden, Taylor H C 12/01/2011 Outright (Trade) from TEX to BAL

Viola, Pedro LHS 12/01/2011 Designate for Release or Assignment

BOSTON RED SOX

Bedard, Erik J LHS 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Britton, John D LHS 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from PAWTUCKET to BOS

Drew, J D J RF 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Hill, Richard J LHS 10/31/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

Jackson, Conor S 1B 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Jenks, Robert S RHR 10/31/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

Kalish, Ryan M CF 10/31/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

Lin, Che-Hsuan CF 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from PAWTUCKET to BOS

Matsuzaka, Daisuke RHS 10/31/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

Middlebrooks, William S 3B 11/18/2011 Selection to ML Roster from PAWTUCKET to BOS

Miller, Trever D LHR 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Ortiz, David A DH 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Papelbon, Jonathan R RHR 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Varitek, Jason A C 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Wakefield, Tim S RHS 10/30/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Wheeler, Dan M RHS 10/31/2011 Elect Free Agency under Article XXB

Youkilis, Kevin E 1B 10/31/2011 Reinstate From 60-day DL

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE REST OF THE AMERICAN LEAGUE TRANSACTIONS FROM 10/29 to 12/2/2011

Read more...
 
2010 MLB Off-Season Transaction, Broken Down By Team PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 26 May 2011 20:36

Information…. Follow sports, and you crave it. Desire it. Lust after it.

If you play fantasy sports, wish to valuate the quality of your GM, track whether your favorite team is rebuilding or making a chase for the playoffs, then player transactions are paramount.

Tracking them all in one place isn’t easy. It also can be fraught with mistake. After all, thousands of them can happen.

So, while we’re coming up on 2 months into the 2011 MLB season, we figured, better late than never.

So, select Read More, and open the PDF attached. It lists every transaction – 27 pages worth – courtesy of Major League Baseball.

Read more...
 
Red Sox Sign Adrian Gonzalez to 7-Year, $154 Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 15 April 2011 15:20

This article sponsored by BetUS... Bet on MLB Picks at BetUS


The Boston Red Sox today signed first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a seven-year, $154 million contract extension through the 2018 season. According to Buster Olney, the deal includes a $6 million signing bonus, $21 million per year from 2012-16 and $21.5 million per year in 2017 and 2018.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

In a maneuver that mirrored last year’s four-year, $68 million extension with starter Josh Beckett. In signing Gonzalez after the start of the season, his contract dollars for this season will not count against the Luxury Tax ceiling.

Gonzalez, 28, was acquired by the Red Sox from the San Diego Padres on December 6, 2010.  He has started at first base in all 11 of Boston’s games this season and has gone 11-for-41 (.268) at the plate with two doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI, five runs, five walks and a stolen base.  He is tied for the team lead with four multi-hit contests.

A three-time National League All-Star (2008-10), Gonzalez hit .298 (176-for-591) with 33 doubles, 31 home runs, 101 RBI, 87 runs scored and 93 walks in 160 games for the Padres in 2010.  He ranked among NL leaders in games played (T-5th), hits (7th), home runs (T-8th), RBI (12th), total bases (T-6th, 302), walks (3rd), intentional walks (2nd, 35), on-base percentage (5th, .393), slugging (9th, .511) and OPS (7th, .904).  A left-handed hitter, Gonzalez paced the Majors with a .407 average (48-for-118) with runners in scoring position and placed fifth in the National League with a .315 clip (97-for-308) on the road and eighth in the circuit with a .337 mark (67-for-199) against left-handed pitching.  He also finished second among NL first basemen with 1,459 total chances and 1,324 putouts, third with 127 assists, 125 double plays and 159 games, and fifth with a .995 fielding percentage (eight errors) en route to being named the Padres Most Valuable Player for the third straight year and fourth time overall (2006, 2008-10).

Selected by the Florida Marlins with the first overall pick in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, Gonzalez has a .284 career average (911-for-3,208) with 188 doubles, nine triples, 169 home runs, 532 RBI, 493 runs scored and 420 walks with a .368 on-base percentage, .506 slugging and .874 OPS in 869 Major League games over parts of eight seasons with the Texas Rangers (2004-05), Padres (2006-10) and Red Sox (2011).  He knocked at least 30 home runs in each of four seasons from 2007-10, one of nine Major Leaguers to reach the mark every year in that time, and collected 100 RBI three times during that span.  Gonzalez was honored with the Rawlings Gold Glove Award at first base in consecutive seasons in 2008-09 and has recorded a .995 career fielding percentage in 824 games at the position (41 E/7,548 TC).  He leads all Major League first baseman since 2006 in games played (803), games started (tied, 790) and innings played (7,068.0) and is second in total chances (7,354), putouts (6,658) and assists (658).  Additionally, he hit .357 (5-for-14) with two runs and three walks in four Division Series games with the Padres in 2006.

Along with his wife, he established The Adrian and Betsy Gonzalez Foundation in 2008, focused on empowering underprivileged youth in areas of athletics, education and health.  A native of San Diego, CA, Gonzalez received the Padres Chairman’s Award in 2007 for contributions to the community.


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Orioles Make Signing of Vladimir Guerrero Official PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 18 February 2011 07:53

Vladimer GuerreroThe Baltimore Orioles today announced that they have signed free agent DH Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year contract for the upcoming 2011 season worth a reported $8 million. The Orioles have called a 2pm press conference where President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail and Manager Buck Showalter will discuss the signing,

A nine-time All-Star and eight-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Guerrero batted .300 with 29 home runs, 115 RBI and an .841 OPS in 152 games for the AL champion Texas Rangers last season, the sixth time in the last seven seasons he played in 140 games or more.

With a .320 lifetime average (5th highest among active players), 447 doubles (13th) and 436 home runs (6th), Guerrero is one of only 14 players in the history of baseball to hit at least .300 with 400 doubles and 400 home runs in his career. His .946 career OPS is 24th highest in the history of baseball.

In his 15-year career, Guerrero has batted .320/.383/.563 with 436 home runs and 1,433 RBI in 2,002 games. He is a career .333/.400/.611 hitter at Camden Yards, with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 32 games. His 1.011 OPS is the 5th highest in Oriole Park history among players with at least 120 plate appearances.

Guerrero won the 2004 AL MVP for Anaheim, batting .337/.391/.598 with 39 home runs, 126 RBI, 15 steals and a league-leading 124 runs scored. Among Dominican born players, he is 3rd all-time in hits (2,427; trailing only Julio Franco – 2,586 and Manny Ramirez – 2,573), home runs (436; Sammy Sosa – 609 and Ramirez – 555) and RBI (1,433; Ramirez – 1,830 and Sosa – 1,667).

Guerrero has been issued 247 intentional walks in his career, most among active players and 4th most all-time.

To make room for Guerrero on the 40-man roster, the Orioles have placed RHP Alfredo Simon on the Restricted List.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Cowboy Up Redux: Damon and Ramirez to Reunite with the Rays PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 22 January 2011 08:28
Manny and Damon
Reunited, and it feels so good? Damon and
Ramirez will be back together, this time with
the Rays, pending physicals

With the weight of maturing contracts and low attendance hanging over their heads, the Tampa Bay Rays have seen key talent that have made them low-revenue contenders leave their roster this off-season. But, pending a physical, some star players nearing the end of their careers are coming to town.

According to multiple sources, both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez are just a physical away from becoming Rays. SI.com’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter) reports that Damon’s deal is worth $5.25 million with $750,000 in attendance bonuses, while Ramirez’ contract is for $2 million. Both contracts are of the 1-year variety for the 2011 season.

Damon will be used to fill leftfield after the Rays lost Carl Crawford to the Red Sox through free agency. Ramirez, a defensive liability, will be used as a DH.

Damon, 36, saw a sharp decline in performance last year with the Tigers after leaving the Yankees. He drove in 81 runs after having 107 in 2009 with the Yankees. His slash line all saw declines from 2009 as well, going .271/.355/.401 with a WAR of 1.6.

For Ramirez, 38, who split time between the Dodgers and White Sox last season, it’s a matter of age decline, as well. After having an OPS of 1.232 in 2008 after arriving with the Dodgers, his power numbers have slipped. Over 24 games with the White Sox he had an OPS of just .739 over 24 games.

Still, the deals brokered by the Rays for fractions of what both players earned last year (for Damon it was $8,000,000 while Manny pulled in $18,695,006). Both players are represented by Scott Boras.

Much like Tampa Bay bringing in Wade Boggs in 1998, there will certainly be marquee value in the aging veterans. Both have had broad fan appeal, most notably when paired with the Red Sox as “Idiots” when the Sox won the World Series in 2004, and Ramirez and his Mannywood star draw with the Dodgers. With the Yankees seemingly missing out on several free agents this off-season, it’s possible that while the losses of the likes of Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, and Rafael Soriano this off-season, the Rays may still have a chance at being competitive in 2011 with the additions while staying within a slendered down budget.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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REPORT: Angels Acquire Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Friday, 21 January 2011 18:57

They say (whoever they are) that some contracts are untradeable. They maintain that the terms of the deal are so incendiary to the system of barter that they function as a de facto no-trade clause.They are sadly, painfully, undeniably wrong.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi are reporting that sources tell them the Angels have acquired Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. Sportsnet Radio 590 has confirmed the deal is for the players involved. Wells is still owed $86 million over the next four seasons, an average annual value of $21.5 million. Rivera is owed $5.25 million this season, after which he will become a free agent. Napoli is in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He did not come to terms with the Angels prior to Tuesday's deadline for teams and players to exchange figures and remains unsigned. It will be up to Toronto to negotiate a contract that covers this year, and any subsequent seasons.

The deal is a shocker on several levels. Biz of Baseball President Maury Brown tweeted a key reason why Angels fans should be concerned: "Wells (11 - $23M) (12-14 - $21M ea). Can opt out after '11. Full no-trade clause." Wells immediately becomes the highest paid player on the Angels roster. The Angels had courted both Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre in the offseason, and refused to guarantee them the average annual value that they could owe Wells. Rosenthal reported that the Blue Jays will send cash to the Angels, but no confirmation of the exact amount being sent has been reported, and Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press insists that no money is involved. For the Jays, Napoli is a surprising target, because one of the Blue Jays top prospects is a catcher. J.P. Arencibia broke in last year with Toronto at age 24 after hitting 83 career minor league home runs in four seasons.

Equally shocking is the suddenness with which the transaction was initially reported. A rumor that Napoli was possibly headed to the Rays caused a ripple of tweets, but no one mentioned the Jays until Rosenthal tweeted that sources told him that Napoli was on his way to them. The biggest beneficiary of the news is likely Jose Bautista, who belted 54 home runs last season and is in his final year of salary arbitration eligibility. Bautista requested $10.5 million, but Toronto has offered $7.6 million. THe club has been trying to free money to sign him to a long term contract.

Wells has followed good seasons with bad ones since 2006. Last year was an up year. He cracked the 30 home run mark and exceeded a .500 slugging percentage for the first time since 2006, when he was 27. Rosenthal and Morosi speculate he'll play center for the Angels, but with the impressive debut of Peter Bourjos and the steady decline of Wells' defensive ability since 2007, the Angels would be better served with Wells in left, Bourjos in center and Torii Hunter in right. The club desperately needs Wells to duplicate his .273/.331/.515 batting line from last season.

Napoli was never considered a primary catching option by Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Despite having one of the better bats on the Angels, Napoli would split time with Jeff Mathis, a better defensive receiver who was a anemic hitter. Napoli was the recipient of more playing time in 2010 because he was able to cover first base when Kendry Morales broke his leg in June. He had a career high 510 at bats, and in them he posted a .238/.316/.468 line with a career best 26 home runs. In arbitration he sought $6.1 million, while the Angels countered with $5.3 million.

Rivera signed a three year deal with the Angels after the 2008 season. The deal calls for him to receive $5.25 million in 2011. Last season Rivera .252/.312/.409 in 455 plate appearances. Rivera has been with the Angels for six years, playing mostly in left. He's expected to take over left for Toronto with newly acquired Rajai Davis taking over center for Wells.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Cubs, Rays Strike a Deal Sending Matt Garza to Chicago PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Friday, 07 January 2011 14:54

Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that the rumored deal between the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs has been completed and will send Matt Garza and Fernando Perez as well as a minor league pitcher to the Cubs in exchange for top Cubs prospects Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, Hak-Ju Lee and Sam Fuld.

The Rays have been actively shopping Garza to make room for Jeremy Hellickson in the rotation. Garza, with three remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility would become perilously expensive in the near term for a team vowing to trim in the immediate future. In addition to Hellickson, the Rays have David Price, James Shields, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann in their rotation, making Garza somewhat superfluous.

Especially when they could retain Shields for 2011 at likely a lower price tag ($4.25 million) than Garza would have commanded in arbitration. Shields' subsequent contract options from 2012-14 made him a less expensive option for the club.  Garza made $3.35 million in 2011, and could easily expect between $5 and 6 million in arbitration this offseason.

Last season, Garza made 32 starts and posted a 15-10 record. His ERA was 3.91, but showed decline in almost every peripheral measure of pitching performance, except walks per nine innings.  Garza's control improved at the cost of more hits and fewer strikeouts. Wrigley may also make him more susceptible to the long ball, which has been a weak spot.

The Cubs also add the Rays loquacious outfielder. Perez spent all of 2010 at AAA Durham.  He batted an anemic .223/.280/.299 in 426 plate appearances in his age 27 season.

In exchange, the Rays get three of the Cubs top ten prospects (per Baseball America) including Archer, who was deemed the top prospect in the organization. Archer spent in Daytona in the Florida State League and Tennessee of the Southern League putting up a 15-3 record with a 2.34 ERA and excellent peripherals.

Lee was the Cubs fourth best prospect according to BA. Lee has only advanced up to Peoria of the Midwest League, but shows excellent tools and defensive ability at shortstop. With Starlin Castro entrenched and only seven and a half months older than Lee, he was effectively blocked in Chicago.

Guyer was ranked number 10 and considered the best defensive outfielder in the Cubs system. His offensive numbers in Tennessee were quite good. He batted .344/.398/.544 in 410 AA plate appearances in 2010.

Chirinos has spent 10 seasons in the Cubs system. As he has gotten old for the leagues he has played in, his hitting has improved, but despite steadily increasing OPS numbers, he still owns a career batting line of .260/.350/.422 in 3396 plate appearances. Fuld is also long term organizational fodder in the Cubs system. His solid OBP numbers are similar to the skillset Chirinos possesses, but his upside is equally minimal. He has split time between Chicago and AAA Iowa in three of the last four seasons, but has yet to stick at the big-league level.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?