Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Trade of the Day: 1/1/13

As I promised yesterday, I have another Red Sox trade to propose as we turn the calendar into 2013.

BOS receives 1B/OF Mike Carp, P Anthony Fernandez, P Charlie Furbush, and OF Eric Thames
SEA receives C Dan Butler, C Ryan Lavarnway, and P Franklin Morales

Once again, I'll review this deal from Boston's side first. Unless this crazy Bobby Abreu rumor transpires, then Carp would serve as a left-handed complement to both Mike Napoli at first and Jonny Gomes in left field. He's still pre-arbitration and has power. Fernandez is similar to Stolmy Pimentel as a pitching prospect, but in this case he has all his options left, rather than just one. Furbush replaces the quasi-traded Andrew Miller and Morales alongside Craig Breslow as lefthanders in the bullpen, and he too is pre-arbitration for one more year. Thames gives the team more outfield depth and an intriguing potential bench bat. They do give up assets, though, yet ones that are rumored to be on the market.
Seattle has made it known they're in the market for a defensive catcher, and though Lavarnway doesn't fit that bill, Butler does. Lavarnway is a Jesus Montero-like bat that probably can't stay behind the plate his whole career. But this year he can, and would be a great complement to John Jaso. Morales replaces Furbush in Seattle's pen, with Oliver Perez and Lucas Luetge (who is now "optionable"...if that's a word). Morales could also be a starting option for the rotation.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Trade of the Day: 12/31/12

It's baaaack. With about twelve hours left in 2012, I figured it's a ripe time to post once again and finish this year right. Anytime is a ripe time when the biggest news of the day is K.C. signing Endy Chavez. Woof. So one could also call this a head start on a New Year's resolution.
I've also decided to go out of the year with a bang: this won't be some mamsy-pamsy John Lannan scenario. This is a Beantown mind-blower, a wicked good Bahstan barn-burner. Ok not so much, since it involves a player many have suggested be dealt, even Sir Jacoby McCabe Ellsbury, Esquire. Here it is:

BOS receives P Chris Capuano, OF Andre Ethier, and P Aaron Harang
LAD receives P Alfredo Aceves, P Drake Britton, OF Jacoby Ellsbury, OF Alex Hassan, and P Andrew Miller

Here's the breakdown from the viewpoint of the Red Sox. They have a chock full 40-man, as evidenced by the Joel Hanrahan trade and the pieces included. Brock Holt has all his options left, while Mark Melancon is out of options and Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel have gone through multiple ones of their own. This trade frees up two more spots, hopefully to be used for the Mike Napoli signing and a trade I'll hopefully propose tomorrow. Capuano (an arm the team contemplated acquiring just days before the 2011 season concluded) and Harang are exactly the type of starting pitching depth GM Ben Cherington has claimed he seeks, and would accomplish that nicely alongside Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, and the recovering John Lackey. The linchpin of this deal, though, is Ethier. Having missed out on Cody Ross, he becomes the big bat in right field for the foreseeable future next to Shane Victorino in center. His contract isn't too exorbitant and he can offer protection for a now much more formidable lineup. Aceves's exit is necessary, and his departure as well as possibly Miller's was recently speculated by a Boston writer.
On the flippity-flop we have the Dodgers and their reasons for such a move. Matt Kemp posted for a third straight year a negative UZR rating and obviously belongs in a corner spot, in this case right field, especially if he's making twenty million annually. Ellsbury can become the center fielder of the future for a team for whom money is no object, so signing him long-term should not be the quandry it currently is for Boston. L.A.'s roster stands at 39, though that could go to 40 if the team pursues Kyle Lohse, as has been speculated if dealing Capuano, Ethier, and/or Harang happens. Potential players to be DFA'ed include infielders Juan Uribe and Justin Sellers. Two victims would make room for the incoming Sox. Aceves's attitude would shine less brightly in his new team's star-studded dugout, and Miller would complement Scott Elbert excellently as a second lefty out of the bullpen. Ridding Ethier's money from an already bloated payroll could also be seen as victory.
In conclusion, there are positives for both teams in making this trade. Boston further remakes its squad, and Los Angeles adds a new All-Star to the outfield.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Extension Inventions

Below is the list of Extension Inventions for clubs and their players. To see a full post with details of the proposed extension (like the one pictured above), click on a name below.

Chicago Cubs
Jeff Samardzija (4 yr/$16m*)
Anthony Rizzo (7 yr/$35m*)
Starlin Castro (5 yr/$30m*)

Chicago White Sox
Addison Reed (6 yr/$12m*)
Chris Sale (5 yr/$15m*)
Philip Humber (4 yr/$10.5m*)

* denotes contract with option

Extension Invention: Addison Reed

Chicago GM Kenny Williams has rarely been compared to Dayton Moore or Andrew Friedman. Both these two executives work for small market teams (and Chicago is not that) and have a recent history of extending core players still considered prospects to long-term, team-friendly deals. These deals provide players and clubs financial security in fact. Now could be a good time for Williams to impersonate these two when it comes to Addison Reed, a closer candidate for the White Sox going into 2012. The young right-handed reliever is a top 100 prospect this year but only has 7 1/3 innings under his belt (along with 12 strikeouts) after a short September stint last year. Below is a extension proposal that could control Reed through at least 2016 for an average of $2m per season. During his three arbitration seasons, that could certainly mean savings on a potential closer. If he does his part, Reed could ultimately receive $28m over the life of the deal. Both sides could definitely be benefited from seriously talking about such deal.

Addison Reed
Amount ($ in millions)
2012 (Pre-Arb 1)
2013 (Pre-Arb 2)
2014 (Pre-Arb 3)
2015 (Arb 1)
2016 (Arb 2)
2017 (Arb 3)
2018 (FA 1) v. opt.
8 (v.) or .375 (no v.)
2019 (FA 2) cl. opt.
8.375 (ex.) or 2 (decl.)
8 yrs for $28m (ex.) — $3.5m AAV
7 yrs for $21m (decl.) — $3m AAV
6 yrs for $12m (no v.) — $2m AAV

Extension Invention: Chris Sale

Chris Sale is another member of Chicago's rotation that could be locked up to pitch alongside John Danks and Philip Humber well into the future. While he's still two seasons away from even being arbitration-eligible, a long-term contract now could save the White Sox millions down the road. As a reliever, Sale posted the 12th-highest WAR among AL relievers (1.4 for a $6.5m value); imagine what he could provide as the full-time starter he's stretching out to be this spring. Below is the proposed extension, which, like Humber's proposed contract, contains a vesting clause. Based on Sale reaching certain milestones on the back end of his contract, he would have his 2017 salary vest, bringing the total value of the extension to $22.5m, spread over 5 years. While the security would be nice for Sale, Chicago paying him an average of $3.75m per year wouldn't be anything to complain about either.

Chris Sale
Amount ($ in millions)
2012 (Pre-Arb)
2013 (Pre-Arb)
2014 (Arb 1)
2015 (Arb 2)
2016 (Arb 3)
2017 (FA 1) v. opt.
7.5 (v.) or 0 (no v.)
6 yrs for $22.5m (v.) — $3.75m AAV
5 yrs for $15m (no v.) — $3m AAV

Extension Invention: Philip Humber

Philip Humber rose from obscurity and failed potential to post a 3.5 WAR-season in 2011, putting him in the top 20 for that among AL pitchers (ahead of the likes of Ricky Romero, Max Scherzer, and Michael Pineda). A former first-round pick (#3 overall) once traded for Johan Santana, Humber may have showed the White Sox last season he's turned a corner and is on his way to becoming a valuable starting pitcher. For that reason, it may be a good time for Kenny Williams to lock up another pitcher for his future rotation. Below is a proposed extension for Humber. He would receive a slight raise on his 2012 salary, and then for the next three seasons see an annual $1.125m increase of his salary. If, during the life of that contract, he achieved certain stats, a fifth year would vest for another $1.125m increased salary. The max value of the contract would be $15.625m, which, not coincidentally, was Humber's 2011 WAR value. This proposal provides security for the pitcher and a low cost/risk for the White Sox.

Phil Humber
Amount ($ in millions)
2012 (Pre-Arb)
2013 (Arb 1)
2014 (Arb 2)
2015 (Arb 3)
2016 (FA 1) cl. opt.
5.375 (ex.) or
.25 (decl.)
5 yrs for $15.625m (ex.) — $3.125m AAV
4 yrs for $10.5m (decl.) — $2.625m AAV

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Options For Players Deserving Qualifying Offers (C & IF)

Tim Dierkes at MLBTR recently reviewed 2013's potenial free agents who could justify receiving a qualifying offer from their team, to either retain their services or receive draft pick compensation for their departures. He immediately crossed Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, and Zack Greinke off the list as locks to receive these offers (currently estimated at $12.5m). So I've decided to run through his list of others who may qualify to receive such an offer and hazard a guess as to which of the following options their current team (and the player) will choose: to extend a qualifying offer (Q.O.), to not extend a qualifying offer, or to negotiate an extension prior to free agency filing. Today we'll cover catchers and infielders.

  • Yadier Molina - Molina's imposed a deadline for extension talks, so if an extension isn't signed sooner rather than later, I would expect St. Louis to recoup some draft picks, thus offering a Q.O. since he seems bent on receiving a lucrative long-term deal. And he will get one, but as rumors suggest, I think it will be with his current team. Prediction: Extension for 4 yrs/$45m with fifth-year option.
  • Miguel Montero - Montero is a year younger than Molina with a more potent bat, so he also seems like a lock to find a long-term deal. GM Kevin Towers has yet to complete an in-season extension with a D-back, and extension talks with Montero have so far seemed to made little headway. Expect a resolution with him to come after the season, and I suspect it'll be a Q.O. that is not accepted. I don't think draft picks will be netted in the end, though, as I predict Montero to be re-signed.
  • Mike Napoli - Since extensions rarely occur while the 162-game schedule is being played, it's doubtful Napoli is extended before becoming a free agent, especially since there's been little chatter of any extension talks. Texas, like Arizona, will put out a Q.O. that is not accepted, but will find the means to re-sign their offensively gifted catcher.
First Basemen
  • Lance Berkman - I expect this situation to be decided by on-field results. If Berkman replicates or something close to it, he's easily worth $12.5m in 2013. And I do expect him to be healthy and produce, meaning a Q.O. that is accepted is likely. It makes sense for a team built to win in these next two years (only Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are signed beyond that) and it makes sense for a productive player nearing the twilight of his career.
Second Basemen
  • Brandon Phillips - This is also another team built to go "all in" these next two years. If extending Joey Votto beyond 2013 appears undoable, then maybe re-signing Phillips wouldn't be Cincinnati's best option; some sort of rebuild may appear necessary at that point. Regardless, the second baseman has made it clear he will get a long-term deal without a hometown discount, and I think the Reds will do it, and do it soon. Extension for 4 yrs/$50m.
  • Erick Aybar - As Spring Training goes on, the likelihood of an Aybar extension diminish. It seems the club may prefer Jean Segura over the incumbent, but the question remains if Segura will be quite ready for a full-time role in 2013. If not, which is my opinion, the Angels may flirt with offering Aybar the Q.O. $12.5m would be a tough pill for them to swallow, but it could insure them the Gold Glove shortstop's services for another season or draft picks if the youngster declines and seeks long-term security. If such a scenario comes to fruition, I think it will be a Q.O. that is accepted.
  • Stephen Drew - Drew is in a similar boat to Aybar's, though his contract has a 2013 mutual option that comes into play as well. I expect that to be nullified, meaning Arizona can choose whether to extend a Q.O. for either another year with Drew or draft picks. If his injuries continue through this year and/or Scott Boras fears he may find him another Edwin Jackson-type market, Drew could accept a Q.O. If it's a strong year, forget about it; Boras should make him a rich(er) man in 2013, most likely with another club. For that reason I foresee a Q.O. that is not accepted.
Third Basemen
  • David Wright - This may be the most interesting case out there with several possibilities. If the Mets decide they want Wright around for the long run, then picking up his 2013 option and a subsequent extension seem like the route to go. If they want to get a good haul of prospects for him in a trade, then they'd most likely wait the season out, pick up the option, and then deal the third baseman. If GM Sandy Alderson would prefer draft pick compensation instead, then declining the option and extending the Q.O. would be the road to take. The latter choice would most likely offend Wright and fans alike, so seems the least likely. With this franchise hurting as much as it currently is, I can't help but seeing the middle option happening. That's why no Q.O. is extended, but the option will be picked up and Wright will be dealt.

    Options For Players Deserving Qualifying Offers (OF & DH)

    Continuing on from where we left off last week, let's look at some outfielders and a designated hitter who may deserve qualifying offers (Q.O.) from their respective teams once this season ends. A reminder that a Q.O. is predicted in the $12.5m range for this upcoming offseason. Next week we'll take a look at pitchers about to hit free agency.

    • Michael Bourn - Bourn is a Boras client. Enough said. He's going to get a big deal on the open market, and he's going to get from the Braves a Q.O. that is not accepted. However, I predict both sides realize during next offseason they need each other, and he'll re-sign there for something like 6 yrs/$53m.
    • Andre Ethier - Something tells me that this is the last season we see Ethier in Dodger blue. The team's had a lot of time to lock him up to an extension and has failed to do so. If the team finds itself underproducing this season then I could even envisioning them dealing him at the deadline. We'll take a positive approach though and predict he finishes the season with them. In that case I see a Q.O. that is not accepted, and also see Ethier signing with another team (Yankees?) by the end of the year.
    • Josh Hamilton - From off-the-field incidents to spring training quotes that strike fear into the hearts of Rangers fans, I am beginning to wonder if an extension happens between these two sides. Texas has invested a lot in Hamilton, so I don't see them letting him go for nothing. And I doubt Hamilton's agents will aim for any contract short of nine figures. That's why I see this season as Hamilton's last in Arlington, and a Q.O. that is not accepted coming at the end of it.
    • Carlos Quentin - The Padres outfielder is currently making $7m this year, and if the team's lucky, he'll earn it. A raise to a salary over $12m, however, would most likely seem unpalatable to the mid-market team, no matter Quentin's 2012 performance. That's why, in my opinion, no Q.O. is extended in the offseason. If GM Josh Byrnes is able to re-sign his former D-back, then great, but it'll be hard to predict anything until this season's over.
    • Nick Swisher - This is an interesting situation. If Swisher can reproduce something close to his 2011 season, he'll have the benefit of age and consistency on his side as he enters the market looking for a new deal. It's already been rumored he'll be Atlanta's top target when that time comes, but it remains to be seem if he'll be a top target for the Yankees as well. In their "payroll-slashing" new ways, they may look for a new, less expensive solution in RF. (Or a different, expensive one like Andre Ethier.) Trying to retain Swisher for an extra year via a Q.O. may be the a positive route, since after an additional season with his services would give time for Mason Williams or perhaps Jorge Soler to be ready to take over in 2014. Though that sounds ideal, I doubt Swisher would accept it, which is why I presume we'll see a Q.O. that is not accepted when this season ends, and Swisher out of pinstripes when the 2013 season begins.
    • B.J. Upton - At last we find a club that I'm quite confident will not extend a Q.O. to a free agent! The Rays just aren't run that way. Since the Rays will most likely contend at least through July this year, I hesitate predicting that they'll trade Upton, though I wouldn't rule that out. It's at least 50/50 they keep him through the end of the year, but I just can't imagine them risking a $12m+ salary on their books in 2013 by offering a Q.O. to him. That's why I figure no Q.O. is extended after this season.
    • Shane Victorino - The Phillies have the payroll ability to stomach Victorino making $12m+ next season via an accepted Q.O. next season. I don't think that decision will ever arise, since their a team who's shown the willingness and ability to lock up their assets prior to free agency. It's likely we'll see a Victorino extension for 5 yrs/$50m.
    Designated Hitter
    • David Ortiz - Ortiz made $12.5m in 2011 and will get a raise to over $14.5m this year. If he replicates this past season, I can see he and his club continuing their relationship with another one year deal. I think Boston would like to avoid another arbitration hearing and possible raise next time around, so the Q.O. might be more palatable for them. It also seems like the best deal Ortiz could find on the market, no matter the numbers he puts up in 2012, so I bet it's a good chance we'll see a Q.O. that is accepted.
    See More: Options for Catchers and Infielders

        Tuesday, March 6, 2012

        Trade of the Day: 3/6/12

        John Lannan? Again? I know, I apologize, this is the third post involving the lefthander in just over month. My only defense is that this is Spring Training, during which we face a famine of trade rumors (hence why even MLB Rumors hypothesized on this this morning). The author there dismissed the Pirates as a fit for Lannan, despite the early derailment of A.J. Burnett's season. I however object, especially if the team can get the Nationals to cover a bit of Lannan's salary. The departure of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder from the NL Central may open up competition a little more, and though that doesn't greatly improve Pittsburgh's chances of a division crown, it does improve their chances of finishing with a winning season, a goal we know GM Neal Huntington is gunning for. That's why another rotation addition does make senseLannan, rather than wild cards such as Brad Lincoln or Jeff Locke, could fill a rotation spot alongside Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens, James McDonald, and Kevin Correia while Burnett and Charlie Morton fully heal from injuries. Here's a proposed deal:

        PIT receives P Lannan and $1.25m cash
        WAS receives P Duke Welker, P Phil Irwin, and 1B Matt Curry

        Welker's inclusion means neither team faces any 40-man roster issues, as he's currently on Pittsburgh's. He's a sinkerballer and Irwin a control artist, who, according to John Sickels, are sleeper prospects to watch. Curry is a young first baseman who could provide emergency insurance at first the Nats currently lack.
        The Nats would send $1.25m to the Pirates, which, with the subtraction of Welker's approximated $480k salary, would keep the year's payroll right at $48.6m, thereby keeping it from being their highest payroll in eight years. In other words, they wouldn't be breaking the bank in any means by making this deal.

        Friday, March 2, 2012

        Extension Invention: Starlin Castro

        Nearly eleven months, Mike Axisa previewed a possible extension for Starlin Castro (and this was before Castro's 207-hit 2011 campaign). He rightly compared the shortstop to three others: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Troy Tulowitzki. Each signed lucrative (but still team-friendly) deals before their arbitration years. Castro will still be 26 when his final year under team control ends, meaning that if he builds on his current performances, he should find a nine-figure deal of up to possibly ten years' length on the open market. He and his agent may be already salivating as they imagine the future payday. Until then, his current club, the Cubs, most certainly hope to lock him up to a deal that pays him fairly but also gives them some savings from his arbitration years, which are sure to get expensive. Below I have proposed an extension. For 2012, Castro would receive the same salary ($1m) that Tulowitzki received for his last pre-arbitration year. In his first of four arbitration years, he would receive $4m, the mean of his three comparables' salaries in their first arbitration years. This process (of finding the mean) is used for Castro's 2014, 2015, and 2016 salaries as well. In return for giving the Cubs this contractual control, 2017 would become a mutual option for Castro, meaning he could decide whether to enter free agency that year by declining it, or receive a salary of $14.25m by accepting it. This deal makes sense for both sides, even in its shortest form as a five-year, $30 million-dollar commitment.

        Starlin Castro
        Amount ($ in millions)
        2012 (Pre-Arb)
        2013 (Super 2)
        2014 (Arb 2)
        2015 (Arb 3)
        2016 (Arb 4)
        2017 (FA 1) m. opt.
        14.25 (ex.) or .75 (decl.)
        6 yrs for $43.5m (ex.) — $7.25m AAV
        5 yrs for $30m (decl.) — $6m AAV

        Thursday, March 1, 2012

        Extension Invention: Anthony Rizzo

        Anthony Rizzo only has 68 days spent in the major leagues and has one home run and a .141/.281/.242 line to show for it. It wasn't great, but it was enough to convince the Cubs to acquire and name him the heir apparent at first base. (Maybe the 26 homers and .331/.404/.652 line in AAA as a 21-year-old helped convince them, too.) While the Cubs are far from being the penny-pinching type of club the Tampa Bay Rays are, is it a good time for them to follow the Rays' footsteps and sign Rizzo to a Evan Longoria-type contract? (In case you've forgot, Longoria signed his 6-year deal after his first month or so in the majors.)
        What could such an extension for Rizzo look like? Below is my best guess. Beginning with the end of 2012, he would receive a 225% raise, 200% raise, 175% raise, 150% raise, and then a 125% raise his fourth and final year of arbitration (figuring he'll reach Super Two status). For his first year of free agency he'd receive a 175% raise and then he'd hold an option on the year after that. A player option (for about the same salary) in this case made most sense to me because Rizzo, while receiving upfront security, would be potentially sacrificing big dollars during arbitration. The player option would be the trade-off for this, giving him the chance to decide when he would enter free agency. While it's too early to see how much faith the Cubs actually have in Rizzo, I believe they see him as the real deal and should lock him up if that's the case. With this 7 year, $35 m extension, they could be saving big dollars down the road while not committing to a contract that would severely cripple them if everything went wrong.

        Anthony Rizzo
        Amount ($ in millions)
        2012 (Pre-Arb 1)
        2013 (Pre-Arb 2)
        2014 (Super 2)
        2015 (Arb 2)
        2016 (Arb 3)
        2017 (Arb 4)
        2018 (FA 1)
        2019 (FA 2) pl. opt.
        13.5 (ex.) or .5 (decl.)
        8 yrs for $48m (ex.) — $6m AAV
        7 yrs for $35m (decl.) — $5m AAV

        Extension Invention: Jeff Samardzija

        Jeff Samardzija is currently turning heads in Arizona as he makes another bid to be a Cub starting pitcher once Spring Training breaks. His first stint in the big leagues was in 2008, when he pitched 26 games in relief to a 2.28 ERA, striking over 8 batters per nine innings, but also nearly walking 5 per nine as well. 2009 and 2010 were relatively lost seasons, as he posted middling stats in Iowa and poor stats in the bigs (7.83 ERA with more walks than strikeouts). 2011 was the year things finally clicked though, and Samardzija became the a late-inning bullpen arm Chicago could rely on, pitching in 75 games with an ERA under 3 and striking out a batter per inning. He also quartered his home runs allowed per 9 from the past two seasons. While Samardzija still hopes to be a starter, the Cubs need him more as a reliever at this point. This could also be a good point to sign him to an extension, giving him security and the Cubs potential cost savings.
        First of all, this deal reflects the club seeing Samardzija as a reliever, because they'd be paying him like one. He signed a five-year, $10m major league deal upon being drafted with two club options attached. The team declined the options this winter and now control him as a pre-arbitration player for one more season. This means they can pay him no less than 80% of his previous year's salary (he earned $2.8m in 2011). This brings us to $2.25m for 2012, then giving Samardzija a million dollar-per-year raise for the next three seasons. In exchange for providing the pitcher finanacial security, the Cubs would receive a club option for his first year of free agency. Below is the suggested deal. In summary, a 4 year, $16m extension would benefit both sides, as long as Chicago sees Samardzija building on last year to become a dependable set-up man.

        Jeff Samardzija
        Amt. ($ in millions)
        2012 (Pre-Arb)
        2013 (Arb 1)
        2014 (Arb 2)
        2015 (Arb 3)
        2016 (FA) cl. opt.
        7.5 (ex.) or 1 (decl.)
        5 yrs for $22.5m (ex.) — $4.5m AAV
        4 yrs for $16m (decl.) — $4m AAV