Winter meetings (Cont.)
Around the majors
Bay's most interested suitors appear to be the Mariners, Angels and Red Sox. Boston isn't believed willing to go all that much higher than the $60 million for four years that they originally offered. But Bay loved his time there, so perhaps he would give them a slight discount. The Angels and Mariners are battling on a number of fronts. But the Angels' interest is apparent, especially with them shopping two other outfielders (Gary Matthews Jr. and Juan Rivera).
The Cardinals' one-year deal with Brad Penny for $7.5 million plus $1.5 million in innings-based bonuses startled some folks, who pointed out that Penny was basically released last summer before stepping up his game for the Giants. MLB was not thrilled with this deal at all, while player agents seemed to love it. It's hard to question the Cardinals, though, as they are one of baseball's better organizations. And if pitching guru Dave Duncan sees something there, maybe there is more there than meets the eye.
Carl Pavano, one of three free agents to accept arbitration, along with Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Soriano, had to like Penny's deal. He had a better year than Penny and should now have a chance to top $7.5 million in arbitration.
Soriano surprised the Braves by accepting arbitration, and Atlanta immediately began telling folks that it may look to trade him now. The Braves can't make a trade without Soriano's approval, but perhaps they can find the right spot for him. In any case, with a $6.3 million salary in 2009, he is due to make at least $7 million in arbitration.
Astros closer Jose Valverde also surprised some people by turning down arbitration. He did have a big year in 2009, and the market should be better than it currently looks for him.
Milwaukee is believed to be the leader for Randy Wolf, and there are reports of a three-year offer, but the Mets are still after the veteran left-hander.
The Mets were startled by Wolf's three-year offer and Joel Pineiro's four-year request. Could this actually cause them to consider an even better pitcher, such as John Lackey? They still seem like a long shot for Lackey, who's drawing interest from the Mariners, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Nationals, Rangers and others. But it isn't completely out of the question.
The Tigers appear intent on trading Edwin Jackson to free money for other needs. They seek young pitchers in return for Jackson. The Diamondbacks are trying hard.
Ivan Rodriguez probably surprised some folks by getting a two-year deal for $6 million from the Nationals. Pudge went to the Tigers when they were down and was there for their resurgence, and he's hoping history repeats itself.
The Mets were expected to start talks with Bengie Molina at about $6 million for one year and an option. But the I-Rod contract would seem to suggest that Molina should get a two-year deal. The one issue he has is that the other teams seeking a catcher are either looking for a backup or are small-market teams unlikely to outbid the Mets.
Execs believe the Mets will trade Angel Pagan. The Royals are a possibility.
No surprise that Jason Marquis didn't take the arbitration offer from the Rockies, as the sides had a falling out after Marquis wasn't given a playoff start and both parties understood that it was time to move on. Marquis, a solid innings-eater, is famous for a big first half followed by a weaker second half. He is begging the Mets to take him. They are resistant so far.
The consensus is that the Mariners got a bargain with Chone Figgins at $36 million for four years. Consider that Johnny Damon, a comparably excellent leadoff type, got $52 million for four years when he was a couple months older than Figgins four years ago (Figgins turns 32 next month). Figgins' reps appear to have used Brian Roberts' $40 million, four-year deal as a template. But Roberts wasn't a free agent when he signed that deal.
The Astros and Rangers might be possibilities for Brett Myers, who is definitely gone from the Phillies.
Kevin Millwood is definitely on the market, as the Rangers have some rare starting pitching depth.
The Yankees' first offer to Andy Pettitte is believed to be a logical $10.5 million. While that is what he earned last year, he had to reach $5 million in incentives to get there. They couldn't very well offer him a cut. But in this market, that is a pretty reasonable offer.
The Yankees spent Monday trying to trade for Curtis Granderson. If they acquire Granderson, they may win some leverage in talks with Johnny Damon, who is thought to want to return. The Yankees have yet to make an offer for Damon, and instead asked Damon to make the first offer. Damon declined to go first.
If Randy Johnson retires (and many think he will), it's been one incredible career. What an era of pitching that's just coming to a close, with him, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Roger Clemens and John Smoltz.
MLB Truth & Rumors