Domino effect (cont.)
Posted: Monday March 24, 2008 4:24PM; Updated: Tuesday March 25, 2008 3:19PM
The way things are going, it appears like there's a $20-million target figure being set on superstar position player contracts for anyone who isn't Alex Rodriguez. (And in reality, none of these fine players is A-Rod, who got $27.5 million guaranteed per year.) Yet, it shouldn't shock anyone if Boras were to ask -- and perhaps even receive -- closer to $25 million for superstars such as these on the free-agent market.
If one team has a better chance than the other to retain its star, it may be the Rockies, who have a longstanding relationship with Holliday and recently gave long-term deals to Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Hawpe and others. The Rockies have done a lot of things right lately, but historically do not have much success with $100-million contracts (Mike Hampton was a total bust, and by now even Todd Helton looks overpaid).
The Braves surrendered a haul to acquire Teixeira when they sent Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison and Elvis Andrus to Texas for him, so there's some additional pressure to get a contract done. But while Teixeira is said to like Atlanta more than he liked Texas, one baseball official who knows him well predicted that there's "no chance" Teixeira would sign before becoming a free agent at season's end. That official also said of Teixeira, "He's waited his whole life for this chance (to become a free agent), and he's not going to give it up."
Holliday has grown up in the Rockies organization, but he's going to have to decide whether to give up years and dollars to stay where he is. The Rockies have made Holliday their priority, and GM Dan O'Dowd recently told SI, "If we can hold on to Holliday, we have a chance to be good for a long while."
However, the Cabrera signing did nothing to raise the hopes in Colorado's front office. While Cabrera may be viewed in some circles as marginally more talented and is four years younger than Holliday (24 compared to 28), Holliday is in excellent shape, and is a leader, as well as the team's cornerstone player. As a four-year player (same as Cabrera), a case could be made that they are comparable.
But if Colorado is hoping to extend Holliday for about $90 million over five years on top of the $23.5 million they're already contracted to pay him through 2009, that would still total almost $40 million short of what Detroit agreed to pay Cabrera. And that could make things difficult.
Leyland, Torre looking for help
Tigers manager Jim Leyland seems more willing to trade for a pitcher than does GM Dave Dombrowski. While Dombrowski told Leyland and the media that no trade is imminent, Leyland told the media that he had a "gut feeling'' the Tigers would, indeed, trade for a pitcher.
With Fernando Rodney joining Joel Zumaya on the sidelines with shoulder trouble and closer Todd Jones struggling, the team does appear vulnerable in the bullpen. However, the relief market is extremely weak.
There also seems to be a friendly difference of opinion atop the Dodgers' baseball hierarchy. Manager Joe Torre, who once stumped for Brandon Inge to play third base, has recommended Joe Crede, as well, according to sources.
However, the front office is said to favor one of the team's youngsters while waiting for Nomar Garciaparra to return from his hand injury. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is said to have rebuffed "polite'' suggestions by Torre, who is a veterans' manager. As things stand, former No. 1 pick Blake DeWitt could get the call at third, at least initially.
White Sox: Alexei to center, Quentin down?
Cuban import Alexei Ramirez has shown enough hitting ability (.347 this spring) and athleticism that the club is leaning toward making him part of a center field platoon with speedster Jerry Owens. The Sox have been criticized for being one-dimensional. Enter Ramirez, who would give them another player who can run. Plus, Owens is unproven in hitting lefthanders, so this could be a pretty good solution.
Meanwhile, Juan Uribe, who went unclaimed on waivers, as expected, will probably still share second-base duties with Pablo Ozuna if there are no takers for Uribe. Danny Richar lost his chance to be in the mix when he suffered a back injury after reporting late due to visa problems. Ramirez was also seen as being in the second base mix, but manager Ozzie Guillen described him as being a little rough defensively at the position. The White Sox would still prefer to trade Uribe.
Carlos Quentin, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks, appears likely to be sent down. Quentin, previously a big-time prospect, has seen his career take a downward turn.