On the Baseball Transactions

Yesterday saw a flurry of activity on the baseball front and I got opinions about it.

First off, of course, the biggest news was the Yankees coming to terms with the biggest free agent available CC Sabathia. While everyone is making a big deal about the 7 year $161 million contract, the thing that is being ignored is the player opt-out option after year 3. Keith Law was the only one I saw who commented on how stupid this was for the Yankees. This opt-out clause really just makes this a 3 year deal because if he’s pitching well, there is no way that CC doesn’t opt out to add a few more years and a whole lot more dollars on top of the $100 million he’d be walking away from. Or, if CC has been struggling and is on the decline, THEN and really ONLY then would he opt to stay because the market wouldn’t be as robust for him. So, really, this is only a 3 year $t61 million contract, which, is still a great deal for both player and team, but the only way plays this whole 7 year contract out is if CC gets hurt or experiences a super drop off in talent. Regardless, for the Yankees this deal HAD to be made and Sabathia instantly upgrades their rotation which was their biggest hole. I’ll grade this one a A- only because it really is only for 3 years.

The Mets went into Vegas and will walk out having pulled off a three-way with a big Putz involved and drastically improved their team. The signing of K-Rod is fine, I think he’s going to continue to decline but with only a three year contract the deal works out for the Mets. That said, I think that they’ll see as the season goes on that JJ Putz is the better closing option. However, I also believe that Putz will be used in the more leveraged innings in the 7 or 8 and that while he won’t be picking up the saves he’ll be the more valuable reliever while K-Rod racks up meaningless save numbers. Unfortunately for Putz, the big money goes to the guy with the save numbers. Regardless, this trade helps the Mets in a myriad of ways, not least in just getting Aaron Heilman OUT of the bullpen, I can’t wait to see him fail in AL. Sean Green replaces Joe Smith with no real drop-off and now the Mets have the best 8-9 inning guys in the game, at least on paper. I think they’ll miss Endy Chavez because he ended up being useful part for them, when healthy because he could play all three outfield positions well. They should be able to replace his production relatively easy though.

I’m surprised that the return for a 14 game winner in the AL East is only Matt Joyce, but that’s what all the Rays got for Edwin Jackson from the Tigers. Matt Joyce I think can hit 20 homers in a platoon role, which is valuable, but I thought that Jackson, despite being erratic had more value. However, I like this move for the Rays who needed to move a starting pitcher no matter what in order to clear space for future ace David Price. They add a cheap platoon player to help fill their void in right field and still have money theoretically to add a solid bat for their DH slot. I still think Giambi might be a perfect fit there, or maybe Adam Dunn, although I doubt the Rays will want to go as high as needed for the salaries. Also, keep an eye on Pat Burrell maybe taking a job there on a 1-2 year deal.

The continued pursuit of Mark Texeira is certainly more interesting now that CC is off the board. I hope it means that the Yankees are out of it, but one never knows, they may make a late push like they did on Johnny Damon. Rumors are that the 4 teams who are really in on Tex, the Angels, Orioles, Red Sox and Nationals have all made contract offers to him, with the Nationals supposedly offering a 8 year $160 million deal. I’d have to believe that if the Red Sox offered the same contract that he’d take theirs over the Nats because there is no chance that, even with Texeira that the Nats are close to competing for the next 4-5 years, which would be essentially the situation he was in in Texas. Since before he was traded from the Rangers, now three teams ago, he reportedly turned down a 8 year $140 million offer, I have to believe that at least the possibility of winning is one of his criteria for a new employer. Certainly with the Angels and the Red Sox he has that. Clearly the Orioles and Nationals do not, although he is from the Baltimore area so that may trump that issue. Regardless, I think before Christmas that we will see Texeira at a press conference with Theo Epstein holding up a Red Sox jersey and signing on the dotted line for something like 8 years $180 million. As much as I don’t want to see Mike Lowell leave this year, Texeira is simply too valuable of a long-term player and someone I think the Sox could sorely use. I think Lowell will play well over the remaining 2 years on his deal but that the long term interests of the Sox point to Texeira. I just hope this doesn’t screw up the arrival of my man Lars Anderson.

I like the reported deal for Melky Cabrera for Mike Cameron, although it apparently has hit a snag and now may not happen. Since Melky is incredibly overrated this represents a good deal for the Yankees to get rid of him while getting a very strong defensive presence out in center. I do like that part of the issue that the Yankees had in sending Melky back to the minors last season was his lack of patience and his inability to get on base, with a career .268/.329  average and OBP when Cameron’s career numbers with over 10 more major league seasons are .250/.340. Basically it is a lateral move, albeit one that will feature about 15 more homers from the center field position with Cameron.

5 Responses to “On the Baseball Transactions”

  1. 1 youppi
    December 11, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    nice analysis, slanch. and thanks for being open minded about the putz deal.

    one mets hater today stated that smith/heilman/wagner was no different than green/putz/krod.


  2. 2 lucaschute
    December 11, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    you say big money goes to closers, but puts will make over 5 mil this year and almost 9 mil next so he is already pulling closer $crilla.

    K-rod is a bit of a wild card. Most saves ever last year but not the most effective closer. However, he also had an ankle injury last season, is only 26, and his k/9in ratio was over 10 last year so he’ll probably still be butters in the NL.

    The Joyce/Jackson deal was surprising, especially b/c the Tigers are allegedly shopping Marcus Thames, who was a power-machine last year. Maybe they wanted to keep him for the inevitable Sheffield injury…

  3. 3 Cary
    December 12, 2008 at 11:45 am

    youppi, i’m pretty sure wagner was the better statistical closer. k-rod’s numbers just aren’t that pretty, so don’t make it so black and white.

    and yes, i would take heilman over putz because at least you know heilman won’t break his arm while waving to say hello to the crowd.

    sean green and joe smith are pretty similar. green will wilt under the the bright lights of nyc. mark my words.

  4. 4 the roomate
    December 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    heilman over putz? has nobody been paying attention the last two years? Heilman has four outcomes, each happens a quarter of the time.

    1) he comes in with bases empty, gives up a hit or walk, runner gets into scoring position, he manages to get out of the inning with a good defensive play or a swing on a bad pitch

    2) he comes in with a runner on 2nd, gives up a walk and a hit, 1 run scored, feliciano comes in to face a lefty.

    3) he comes in with 2 men on, promptly gives up a 3-run HR

    4) he comes in up or down 4 or more runs, throws 2 perfect innings.

    thats it. he blows. at least putz can consistently get hitters out and not give up a 3-run homer every week.

  5. 5 Cary
    December 12, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    again, you’re all missing the point. my main problem with putz is health. otherwise he’s a better pitcher than heilman.

    manny threatens to retire. slanch, why aren’t you already making fun of him?

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