Wood Stays in Chicago

 

According to ESPN Radio 1000, the Cubs have signed Kerry Wood to a one-year contract worth $4 million, Rotoworld has reported.

If true, initial sentiment is that Wood got fleeced. I think if he waited, he might have been able to get a multi-year deal out there somewhere. Perhaps the Cubs assured him the closer’s role? Interesting move…

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Cafardo Rumors: Cabrera, Lincecum, Andruw, etc.

  • The most significant rumor from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo this Sunday:   “It appears (Giants GM) Sabean is after Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera and is willing to offer a package that could include prized right hander Tim Lincecum.”   Could that deal be straight up?  Not sure who would wear the fleece in that one.  That would be a nice bounty for Florida although Lincecum’s size and delivery worry me.  I think they’d want at least one more top prospect.  But if Lincecum is available, the Giants have to be considered the new Cabrera front runners, especially since…..
  • If you listen to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, it seems like LA will not be making any major moves this offseason but instead moving forward with their young crop of prospects (Matt Kemp, Andy Laroche, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw) and hoping 2007 acquisitions like Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre can step up in 2008.  Says McCourt: “I think we’re in a good position right now.  We don’t have to make a deal. We made the biggest move we needed to make in signing Joe (Torre).  I don’t anticipate any nonsense in that clubhouse. He gives us instant credibility and we’re thrilled to have him.”
  • Andruw Jones will not accept a one year deal, according to Scott Boras.  The Nationals seem to be the most interested in Jones.
  • Bump the Chicago White Sox up the list on prospective teams that may acquire Coco Crisp from Boston.   According to Cafardo, the ChiSox might be interested after being spurned by Torii Hunter.  An obvious match for Chicago and Boston doesn’t jump out at me, however.
  • Cafardo speculates that the A’s trade of Marco Scutaro could be a signal that the team will take the rebuilding route this year, meaning Danny Haren, Joe Blanton and Huston Street could be traded next month in three separate fleeces for Oakland.
  • Cafardo ruins the Mets acquisition of Johnny Estrada, pointing out that Estrada threw out only 6 of 79 baserunners last year and had clubhouse issues.  Apparently he “had conflicts with Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux, and got into a shouting match in the dugout with teammate Tony Graffanino late in the season.”

Back to the Windy City?

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that after losing out on Torii Hunter, the White Sox might be moving along to “Plan 1B” for CF, which would likely be Aaron Rowand. Rowand made his name in Chicago and was sent to Philly in the Jim Thome deal 2 years ago.

It seemed like the White Sox were rumored to getting him back ever since they dealt him. Throughout the years, they have remained very interested in the gritty CF and may now make a play for him on the FA market.

Still shocking to me that teams are completely dismissing Andruw Jones this offseason, it seems. If the money for Rowand is not astronomical, I think this is a good deal for the White Sox, but if Rowand gets a Hunter-like contract, Kenny Williams will be quite comfy in the wind with his brand new fleece.

White Sox Sign RP Scott Linebrink

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Kenny Williams is closing in on signing free agent RP Scott Linebrink to a 4 year deal worth an estimated $19 million, as reported by Mlb.com. Linebrink has drawn a lot of interest, but speculation was that he was going to be getting a 3 year deal. In order to secure Linebrink, 31, the White Sox added a 4th year to the deal.

Linebrink has logged big innings over the last few years, pitching in over 70 games each of the last four seasons. His ERA has risen (3.71 in 2007) the last few seasons, and his strikeout ratio has declined. His number of innings combined with a move to the American League could spell trouble for the White Sox, who will now be tied-in for quite some time. Giving a 4 year deal to a RP is always dangerous, and even moreso here with a guy who has so much mileage on that right arm. The White Sox needed to improve their horrible bullpen. The money is not terrible (about $5 million per season), but given the length of the pact, Kenny Williams could be sporting a nice fleece for this one.

Hunter Agrees with Angels

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Torii Hunter has agreed to sign a 5-year deal worth $90 million with the Los Angeles Angels.  We had been hearing all about Texas and Chicago as the front-runners, but the Angels swooped in and gave Hunter the length and money he was seeking.

Last off-season, the Angels gave a big contract to CF Gary Matthews, Jr.  Reggie Willits also provided speed from CF last year in Matthews’ absence.  CF did not appear to be a major position of need for the Angels.  Willits appears to have become expendable at this point.

According to Rotoworld.com, Matthews figures to move to a corner outfield position.  Hunter will provide some thump to a lineup that had been all about Vladimir Guerrero.   The range in the outfield will be excellent with Hunter and Matthews, whom are both Gold Glove caliber defenders.  The Twins will now receive the Angels 27th pick in the upcoming amateur draft. 

If the Angels are still able to land Miguel Cabrera or Miguel Tejada via trade, the middle of their batting order becomes very dangerous.

Fleece? Torii Hunter has had only 2 seasons in his career with over 100 RBI. While his glove is superb, he is indeed 32 years old, and will be earning $18 million per season until he is 36. He has never batted over .289 in his career. A comparable contract would be the one Carlos Beltran earned from the New York Mets (7 years, $119 million) in 2005. Beltran, however, was younger when he signed his deal (27). He also has more speed and more power. The NY Mets were thought to have overpaid on this deal. What does this mean for the Hunter deal? They paid way too much money here.

Five offers for Torii Hunter

 

 According to the Chicago Sun Times, Torii Hunter has received offers from at least 5 teams with a possible 6th (Yankees) sitting on the fringe depending on what happens with Melky Cabrera.

Of the 5 offers, it is believed that all are for 5 years, except for Texas’ offer of 6 years. What a surprise…Tom Hicks is trying to make the market. The Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers are expected to be the front-runners, while the Los Angeles Dodgers offer could be sweetened if Miguel Cabrera goes elsewhere (LAA).

Hunter, 32, should get the grand prize this offseason (aside from A-Rod). In the end, you’d have to expect he gets a 5 year deal worth $75-80 million, unless he chooses Texas, where that number will likely be higher.

The other 2 “offers” are from Kansas City, who has been rumored to have a good amount of cash to spend, but lately have been linked to Andruw Jones more than Hunter. The last offer is likely from Washington. If Washington could land Hunter, it would be a huge boost to their franchise and could possibly be the start of more FA’s going to the capital city.

All in all, Hunter fits in well with all of these teams, and if the deal is around 5 years, I don’t think it is a bad move for any of these teams. I think he ends up in Chicago.

Scott Podsednik Designated for Assignment

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The Chicago White Sox have designated Scott Podsednik for assignment. According to Rotoworld.com, the feeling was that Podsednik would be non-tendered next month, but the Sox wanted to clear the roster spot sooner rather than later. He can still be dealt within the next 10 days, but if that does not happen, he will be able to declare himself a free agent.

Podsednik, noted for his extraordinary speed, suffered through an injury plagued 2007 season where he stole just 12 bases. From 2002-2006, Podsednik swiped 212 bases, and was a key component to Chicago’s World Series Championship in 2005.

If Podsednik becomes a free agent, it will be interesting to see what kind of market develops for him. While not a typical “top of the order” presence due to his historically mediocre OBP, he could provide spark and speed either as starting outfielder for a low-market club, or a 4th outfielder for a contender.