Today is more of the same, and by that I mean I’m going to break down a handful of the players whose names are in the news as free agents looking to strike it rich.
The Braves need to move salary, and their goal is to move Derek Lowe and the 3-years, and $45 million left on his deal. As you might expect, they haven’t found any takers on the contract so they are apparently considering moving Javier Vazquez and his $11.5 million deal, potentially to the Angels. This would be a bad baseball move for the Braves. Sure Vazquez is coming off a career best season of a 2.87 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and 238 Ks, but he was their best pitcher last year and is about as consistent an arm as you could ever hope to find once you leave the ranks of the superstars. The move might make financial sense, especially since the Braves appear highly unlikely to sign him to an extension when his deal runs out at the end of the 2010 season, but on the field, not so much. As for Lowe, here is what he said when asked by the media about the Braves apparent desire to move him after his worst season since 2004 (4.67 ERA, 1.52 WHIP). “I don’t think it’s a matter of if anymore. It’s just a matter of when… “Nobody made them give me a four-year, $60 million contract. There wasn’t a ransom or anybody holding a gun to their heads… I would have never even considered going there if I knew that ultimately this was going to happen.” I don’t know if I believe that, we are taking about $60 million, but Lowe certainly has a point. If the Braves were going to bail on him if he had a rough couple of months, why did they bother signing him in the first place?
Some other rumors —
Looks like Nick Johnson will be headed to the Yankees. The latest report says that he is on the verge of signing a one year deal for about $5.5 million. As I wrote on BaseballGuys’ Twitter page today – “Yankees want a DH that can play the field, show athleticism. Of course, my first thoughts go to Nick Johnson.” It’s a bit of an odd signing and one that might signal that Johnny Damon will be in a new uni in 2010.
After apparently losing out on Johnson, the Giants are still in need of a corner infield bat. A name that continues to be linked to them, more because of need than because of the probability of a deal actually being struck, is Adrian Beltre. Though his stick failed last season (.265-8-44), Beltre can still hit .270 with 20 homers, and he plays a fine third base. Problem is he wants something like 4-years and $40 million, and though I have no inside knowledge of the Giants front office, I can’t think they would get within $10 million of that figure.
The Cardinals likely won’t be able to bring back utility man Mark DeRosa. Seems like the player, and his agent, have grown a bit weary of waiting for the Cardinals to decide what they are going to do with Matt Holliday. In an odd twist, the Cardinals appear to be tiring of the delay with Holliday who continues to dry to squeeze them for more dough. Is it possible that they could end up with neither player in 2010? Looks possible at this point. Could DeRosa end up with the Giants? Certainly could happen if they are willing to give him the $30 million I suggested as a potential figure with Beltre.
Ricky Nolasco signed a 1-year, $3.8 million deal to remain with the Marlins. This is a good singing for a guy who was really unlucky last season (.336 BABIP despite a 9.49 K/9 mark and a 4.43 K/BB rate). Now the club will turn its sights to Josh Johnson who wants something like $42 million, basically double the $23 million that the Fish have reportedly offered. That’s a pretty wide gulf to cross.
By Ray Flowers