Things are really heating up at the Winter Meetings, and it appears that the Marlins are plenty serious about being the story to emerge from the festivities. But before I get to that, we had a couple of deals take place in the last 24 hours as pitchers are the target of seemingly every team.
Sergio Santos was an excellent bullpen arm for the White Sox last year. After every other White Sox bullpen arm was seemingly given a shot to handle 9th ining duties, Santos stepped up and solidified the role on his way to 30 saves in 36 chances. He walks too many batters, 4.12 per nine innings last year, but it’s easy to forgive that when you look over at the K/9 column and see 13.07. Santos signed a deal with the White Sox that will pay him only $8.25 million the next three years, though there are three other team options after that for $6 million, $8 million and $8.75 million (basically his team has him under control for 6-years at a cost of about $31 million). That “cheap” cost made him an excellent option to deal for the White Sox, and they did just that Tuesday sending him to the Blue Jays for minor leaguer Nestor Molina (there is no truth to the rumor that he is related to Nestor The Long Eared Christmas Donkey). White Sox fans will be furious at this deal since Molina is likely a couple of years away from being a major player, but after a year at Single and Double-A in which he posted a 12-3 record, 2.21 ERA 10.22 K/9 an a stupendous 9.25 K/BB mark, the future is bright for the 22 year old righty.
Kevin Slowey is someone I’ve long been in the corner of (check out the Player Profile I wrote back on March 28th, 2011). However, two issues have precluded him from reaching the heights that I think he can. (1) The guy just can’t stay healthy. In two of the last three seasons he’s failed to reach 100-innings. (2) He gives up way too many fly balls (48 percent of batted balls in his career), and they leave the yard at a near crippling rate (1.42 homers per nine innings). Therefore, the Rockies move to deal for him makes little sense to me. The Rockies think he can be a solid #4 or #5 starter, but given the enviornment in Colorado Slowey seems like a horrible addition given his long ball woes.
Aaron Harang had a decent season with the Padres going 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. However, the San Diego born righty, who also went to San Diego State, wasn’t able to work out a deal with the Padres. No matter, He’ll end up merely needing to rent a U-Haul truck to move his stuff to Los Angeles after he agreed to a 2-year deal with the Dodgers ($12 million).
Albert Pujols is the best hitter in baseball, and the Marlins and the Cardinals are the two teams bidding most heavily for his services. Reports are circulating, including one by Bob Nightingale, that the Marlins have extended an offer to Pujols worth more than $200 million. The Cardinals are still in the mix, but it’s growing more likely by the minute that Pujols’ decision won’t have to be about one team outspending the other, it will be about where he wants to play for the next decade.
Andrew Bailey is on the market, though the Athletics asking price is apparently so high that Bailey may as well not be available. So far it seems like one of those situation where the A’s are saying ‘if you overpay we’ll give him to you’ but few teams seems willing to meet the exorbinant price the A’s are asking for in return for their often dominating closer who is under their control through 2014.
Jimmy Rollins was thought to be almost as good as gone from the Phillies 36 hours ago. There is now some growing optimism that he could return, though it still seems like the club is unwilling to go 5-years on a deal like Rollins wants. If the Phils are unable to come to an agreement they will look to add Aramis Ramirez while at the same time moving Placido Polanco to free up some cash. If Rollins returns, look for the Phils to go with Polanco as their third baseman and pass on Ramirez.
By Ray Flowers