Winter Meetings Rapidly Approaching!!

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In only 4 short days, the best time of the baseball offseason begins.  Yes, that’s right, the Winter Meetings.  On Monday, December 3rd, the meetings will kick-off in Nashville, Tenn.

There are so many huge names being thrown around in the trade market, and this will surely dominate the talks among GM’s.  Some of the bigger stories to follow:

  • #1 will be the availability of Twins ace Johan Santana – Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Dodgers will be the most likely destinations.
  • The possible trade of Miguel Cabrera to the Angels or Dodgers – the team that gets him or Johan will likely be out of the other race
  • Mets will be looking for an ace pitcher – Bedard, Haren and Blanton remain the most likely prospects; Pelfry/Humber/Gomez are bargaining chips
  • D-Backs will also be in the market for another ace to slot behind Brandon Webb – they appear to be in on the Haren/Blanton sweepstakes as well; Carlos Quentin and Carlos Gonzalez look like the trade bait here
  • The possible trade of Miguel Tejada – we probably won’t see this until after (if) Cabrera gets traded
  • Phils are also looking for pitching depth – Hiroki Kuroda looks like their main target
  • Cubs are looking to upgrade their offense – main target will be Japanese OF Fukudome, who would improve their much-needed OBP; they will also likely fleece themselves on Kaz Matsui
  • Detroit will look to upgrade their bullpen – Dotel? 

Man, I absolutely live for this time of year!  I hope you all are as excited as I am?!  We will keep you abreast of all the rumors, trades and signings. 

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CBS Rumors and News: Rowand, Headley, Hunter, Wood

We mentioned the Peavy rumor, but CBS Sportstline also had some other good rumblings today:

  • Sportsline expects the Phillies to be “aggressive” in trying to keep Aaron Rowand.  If true, this would be another lie by the Philly brass, who claimed to only be in on free agent pitchers this offseason, but was then exposed as offering Mike Lowell a 4 year, $50M deal. 
  • The Pirates are making a serious run at Padres third base prospect Chase Headley (.330, 20, 78 for Double-A San Antonio), by offering outfielders Xavier Nady and Nate McClouth.  In my eyes, this would be a fleece for Pittsburgh.  I like McClouth, but San Diego should definitely be able to get a better package for Headley.
  • Texas (6 years, $70M) and Kansas City (5 years, $75M) made serious runs at Torii Hunter before the centerfielder fleeced the Angels.   Hunter, however, wanted to play for a contender.  Allllllllriiiiiiiiight, Torii.  Just admit it….you took the highest bid.
  • Kerry Wood had a two year offer from Milwaukee before he showed his loyalty and returned to the Cubs for a one year deal.

Cubs Willing to trade Prior

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According to Espn.com’s Buster Olney, rival executives of the Chicago Cubs have stated that the team is open to trading their oft-injured star pitcher.  It appears the Cubs would like to sign him to a 1-year deal with a vesting option for a second season rather than go through arbitration with him this winter, but it seems Prior is looking for a deal more long-term. 

Pretty ballsy of Prior if you ask me, considering he didn’t even pitch in the 2007 season, and is just 18-17 in his last 35 decisions.  But I guess he knows that the combination of his name (cause he went 18-6 in 2003) and the amount of money pitchers with half his talent are getting over many years, makes him marketable for a comparable deal.  The Cubs already have 3 pitchers notched to long-term deals however (Zambrano, Lilly and Marquis), and seem hesitent to add Prior as the fourth. 

Mark Prior could certainly be a great addition to a contending team’s staff (Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, Phils) , if the price isn’t exorbitant (multiple top prospects).  You have team’s out there willing to give up 3-4 blue-chip guys for the likes of Santana and Haren… but maybe you take a shot on a Prior for one high-level prospect, and hope he can contribute to the club at least in the second-half of 2008, and beyond. 

Wolf to the Rescue?

Todd Zolecki of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that the Phillies and Randy Wolf are now engaged in serious talks to join the rotation.

The Phillies remain puzzling to me….why?

  • Is Brett Myers in the rotation? Is he still closing? Nobody seems to know for sure.
  • Randy Wolf? I mean, he is allllriiiight. But he sports a mid 4 ERA in Citizens Bank Park and is an injury waiting to happen…
  • Hamels is really the only SP right now on that team that can be relied upon (pending Myers’ role, of course).

Pat Gillick seems intent to upgrade the team’s pitching this offseason, yet all of his moves (Lidge/Myers) and rumored moves (Kuroda and Wolf) seem to be huge gambles instead of upgrades.

WereWolf of Philly?

 

According to the Philadelphia Enquirer, the Phillies are looking to bring in Hiroki Kuroda or Randy Wolf.

Kuroda has been mentioned in the offseason plans of just about every team, while Wolf, who pitched for the Dodgers last season, has a history of success in Philly and was a fan favorite there. He is coming off a shoulder injury though, which would be a red flag to me, but Pat Gillick might not be too worried.

Wolf always struck me as a flyball pitcher, which would be bad news in Citizen Bank Launching Pad. In 149 IP in Citizens Bank, Wolf has a 4.47 ERA, and has allowed 22 HR.

Be careful Gillick, or a bright red fleece might be in your future…

Melvin Mora to the Phillies?

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Courtesy of Ken Rosenthal, we find out that Melvin Mora would be willing to waive the no-trade clause in his current deal with the Orioles in order to go to another team on the East coast, and presumably to a contender.  The article specially mentions Philadelphia as a possible destination in Mora’s thinking, and also notes that he would be willing to switch positions to LF. 

Mora appears to be a possible ‘Plan B’ for the Phils, after their 4-year, $50 million offer was turned down by Mike Lowell, who returned to the Red Sox for less money and years.  I kinda like this move for Philadelphia.  Mora is certainly on the decline of his career, however, he is a much better option than what remains on the 3B market and would be feasbile for the Phils (they don’t have the bullets to trade for Cabrera or Tejada).  I’m not positive what the O’s would ask in return for Mora though?  I would think it couldn’t be too much, as it would be more of a salary dump.  Mora will make roughly $8.5 million in 2008, and is signed through 2009, with an option for 2010. 

Rocky Mountain Fleece?

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It’s official, Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies SS, has won the 2007 NL Most Valuable Player award.  Rollins edged Colorado Rockies OF Matt Holliday by 17 points, to take home his second piece of hardware this offseason, after winning the NL Gold Glove just days earlier.

Did Holliday get a raw deal here?  The argument can certainly be made that Rollins wasn’t even the best player on his own team, with Chase Utley possibly having that honor.  But Utley did miss a month of the season due to injury, while Rollins played in all 162 games.  Rollins was 1st in the NL in runs scored (139), 2nd in hits (212), and 1st in triples (20)… but he also lead the league in AB’s.  Holliday on the other hand, was 1st in hits (216), 1st in batting average (.340), 1st in RBI (139), 1st in total bases (216) and 1st in doubles (50)… despite having 80 fewer AB’s than Rollins.  J-Roll did have 30 HR’s, 94 RBI and 41 steals to add to his resume however, as well as the aforementioned Gold Glove, while Holliday added 36 homers to his slate. 

And then there is the fact that both these players lead their respective teams to the playoffs.  Rollins and the Phillies overcame a 7-game September deficit against the Mets to make the postseason for the first time in the last 14 years, even though the Mets collapse down the stretch was largely a factor.  However, the Rockies run to the postseason was even more improbable.  This team won an unthinkable 15-of-16 games to close out the season, and won the wild card in a playoff game against the San Diego Padres.  And guess who was a key component of that victory?  You guess it, Matt Holliday. 

I guess that maybe voters couldn’t go wrong with either player, but the debate remains… was a FLEECE delivered to Colorado and its star player today?  I leave that to you to debate…