Posts Tagged 'Hot Stove'

Quick thoughts on the Johan trade

I have been planning a more in-depth Hot stove post, but I had to at least post a quick thought on the trade of Johan Santana to the Mets. It’s been said already (by Keith Law) but it looks like the Twins dropped the ball here. They didn’t get the Mets top prospect or anyone with significant Major League experience.

It’s been noted that the Yankees and Red Sox offered better packages so there must be something we are missing. The only theory I have is that they wanted to keep him out of the American League. The Twins are serious about contending in the next few years and with all the talent they are stockpiling they could pull a Clevenland-esqu run off in a couple of years. You don’t want to have to face Johan twice before the playoffs.

As a [White] Sox fan, this works for me. According to Baseball Reference, Santana was 13-6 with a 3.24 ERA against the Sox in his career. I thought he was a lot more dominate but that is actually higher than his career ERA. Still, it’s a good thing not facing him 2-4 times a year.

Edit: When I said Sox in the last paragraph, I meant White Sox. Sorry for the confusion.

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What is on my mind

In the 5 days since I last posted I have been tracking two stories personally…the Michigan coaching search and the (lack of) hot stove action by the Chicago White Sox.

First, the Michigan coaching search seems to take a new turn each day. First Kirk Ferentz was in, then he was out. Then Les Miles was is, then he was out. Then Ferentz was back in. Greg Schiano was in, now he is out. Les Miles re-opened the door today, but Paul Johnson and Jim Grobe have been eliminated. Every day I think that my interest will drop and then something crazy happens to get it going again.

I don’t want to talk about the Les Miles/Bill Martin thing because that has been beaten to death. At the moment I am more concerned that Greg Schiano turned the job down. I know that he has a precedent with this because he turned down Miami job last year, and that was a place that he had coached before. But this is a headscratcher. Is Schiano just that happy at the dead-end Rutgers job or is he waiting for something bigger? I don’t know what could be bigger than Miami (where he was the DC for a couple of years) or the winningest program in history. Even if his goal is the NFL, wouldn’t that be easier from those two places? Rutgers is a tough place to recruit and Brian (from mgoblog) discussed this when he analyzed him. He is probably mistaken if he thinks that he will ever seriously contend for the MNC, especially consistently. All in all something smells with this situation. I am terrified that it’s a sign Michigan is really going to screw this up. At this point I am ready to rule out all the big names being thrown around. They are going to end up with Brady Hoke (from Ball St.) or one of their current assistants.

Meanwhile the White Sox pretty much twiddled their thumbs this week at the Winter Meetings while their division rivals added the best young hitter in baseball. The Sox are in serious trouble. Cleveland has the horses to dominate for at least the next 2-3 years. Detroit added some hitters and with their pitching they have another 2-3 years of battling it out with Cleveland. Minnesota already has a good young team and they are going to add some good young players whenever they trade Johan. What does this mean? In 2-3 years they will be back in the mix. Now the Sox look terribly foolish for signing all these contract extensions. The Sox have Paul Konerko, Javier Vaszquez, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jermaine Dye, AJ Pierzynski, Mike McDougal, Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton all signed through at least 2009. That means the Sox either have to overpay like crazy and try to compete, which I personally think isn’t even feasible, or blow it up and try to start over.

The problem is that this is easier said than done. Teams are crazy about holding on to their prospects now-a-days and the Sox farm system sucks at the moment. A bigger problem is that they don’t have a lot of tradeable assets. None of their current contracts are horrible but none of them are great either. Paul Konerko is only making $12 mil/yr and by next season that might seem cheap. Javier Vazquez is $11.5 mil/year for his contract so again it’s not bad. If both these guys have big seasons they could be very tradeable next offseason. Of course there is no way that happens. Instead they will make Aaron Rowand the highest paid position player on the team despite his career average is .286, he has never hit 30 HRs in a season, and he is a vastly overrated fielder. My faith in Kenny Williams is fading…

Hot Stove League Update

It’s still early on and we are approaching the lull that will take place before the Winter Meetings but stuff is still happening…

  • Curt Schilling did his little song and dance about saying goodbye to Boston and then less than a week later is back with the Red Sox with an incentive-laden contract. At $8 million base salary it’s an good move for the BoSox. Schilling slots as the #2 or #3 starter, behind Beckett and possibly Dice K if he can turn the corner. With Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz waiting in the wings this is definitely it for Schilling in Boston. Injury notwithstanding, Schillling was solid last year.
  • The Chicago White Sox declined Juan Uribe’s option before signing him for $1 million less. Uribe is bad. I look at The Hardball Times and Win Shares and he is a lot worse than I thought. He is a surprisingly solid fielder, earning 9.3 win shares as a fielder. Only Troy Tulowitski earned more in the field. Unfortunately he only earned 3.9 as a hitter. To put it into perspective, Hanley Ramirez led all shortstops with 25 as a hitter. 3.9 win shares means that as a hitter, Juan Uribe is worth less than 2 wins. At $4 million it’s not a horrible move. Uribe seems to be declining in a hurry though.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies went out and traded for Brad Lidge. Supposedly so they could move Brett Myers back to the rotation. I think the playoffs were a big wakeup call. Other than Hamels they have no starting pitching and what good is a closer if you can’t hold a lead? Lidge’s reputation has been tarnished after Albert Pujols took him deep in the 2005 playoffs. Lidge has only been in the league 5 full seasons. He went from setup man in 2003 to lights out closer in 2004. He will was awesome again in 2005 before the playoffs. Despite a horrible 2006, he actually had a pretty solid 2007 even though he lost his closer’s job. I never understand the shock of Lidge’s decline. He wasn’t that established and it’s not like he’s been in the league 10 years. Take a look at the guy he replaced, Octavio Dotel. He had a similar path of setup man, to closer, to getting injured/burning out (somewhat).

The Hot Stove is lit

Editorial Note: I vow to make this blog as A-Rod Free as possible until he gets some serious offers.

It didn’t even take 24 hours for the Hot Stove action to get going and it almost seems like it’s full steam ahead already. Of course we all know there is the knee-jerk post-World Series activity (managers fired/hired, quick trades, players filing for free agency) but we probably have another week at least before things heat up.

The Yankees fired Joe Torre and have already replaced him with Joe Girardi. This wasn’t much of a shock to anyone. Girardi has been the likely replacement since before he took the Marlins job last year. In fact, I am convinced he just said “screw it” in Florida and did whatever he wanted because he knew the Yankee job was his when he wanted it. He’s a Northwestern guy, so I can’t hate. I think he will be a good manager but he has one of the toughest acts ever to follow.

Meanwhile it looks like Torre wants to manage again. The Dodgers seem interested and I could see it being a job he would take. If not, he takes some time off and waits for the right job. ESPN is reporting that Grady Little has resigned paving the way for Torre. It should be interesting.

Elsewhere:

  • Unsurprisingly Torii Hunter and Curt Schilling filed for free agency. It’s my belief that Schilling will be back with his former team and Hunter won’t. I am really crossing my fingers that my White Sox don’t make a play for Hunter. While I acknowledge he is a solid fielder, he is vastly overrated as a hitter. His career OBP is .324 and he will get your 100 strikeouts. The fact that he is 32 is a sign that he isn’t on the rise and if he gets a 5-year deal he will be 37 when it’s over. You don’t think we can find an above average fielder who can give us an OBP of .324? I think we can for much cheaper.
  • The Brewers declined the option on Geoff Jenkins. At $9 million it was a reasonable option, but it seems like time to cut ties with Jenkins. After his first two full seasons Jenkins looked like a star on the rise. But his career average is .277, he hasn’t eclipsed 30 home runs since 2000. Surprisingly his career OPS+ is 116 and he has been over 100 every season since his rookie year. I suppose that means Jenkins is slightly above average. His most comparable player is Torii Hunter (of course that doesn’t include defense) who is about to get a huge payday. Jenkins is significantly better against right handers and I think he will be a good righty only LFer for another team in the NL.
  • Lastly the Detroit Tigers acquired Edgar Renteria from the Braves. MLBTradeRumors seem to like the deal for the Braves. This move will allow the Tigers to move Carlos Guillen to 1B. I have to be honest though, this is a curious move. The Tigers only had one regular position player under 30 last year (Curtis Granderson). This team has an incredibly young pitching staff so maybe they feel like they can get by with an older offense. Renteria is coming off a great season but he isn’t getting any younger. This is definitely a win now move. I don’t think it’s a bad one though.