Elias and Their Free Agents

Elias has come out with their ratings for free agents.

Boston:

Alex Cora (No Rating – NR)

David Ross (NR)

Jason Varitek (Type A)

New York:

Bobby Abreu (Type A)

Chad Moeller (NR)

Sidney Ponson (NR)

Ivan Rodriguez (Type B)

Ratings explained:  When a team signs a free agent, compensation is due the team that lost the player IF they offered the player arbitration.

Compensation due team that lost player offered arbitration:

Type A – Signing Team’s First Round Pick and a Supplemental First Round Pick

Type B – Supplemental First Round Pick (behind Type A Supplemental Picks)

Type C – 1 dozen donuts, five dollars and a flower

NR – No compensation due

Of course it is good to know what Boston and New York players are rated, but you should also know what potential and actual free agents are rated.  ESPN has a good table for such a pursuit.

Hmmm, maybe Derek Lowe is too costly to sign after all.

No Wake for Wake

The Red Sox exercised their annual option on Tim Wakefield, according to the Boston Globe.

The perpetual $4mm a year option is a great bargain for the Red Sox and obviously not chump change for Wakefield, who at 42 years old, ranks as one of the oldest players in baseball.

Wakefield has given the Red Sox 27 wins over the past 2 seasons, so while he certainly cannot be counted on for 200 innings anymore, he has proven capable of some quality innings.

Free Agency Declaration – “I’m Free” Says Varitek

The Boston Globe is reporting that Jason Varitek has filed for free agency.  No surprise of course, his contract is up after all.  Joining him on the Red Sox are Alex Cora and David Ross.

Rumor, yes the kind of rumor that Peter said to ignore 95% of the time, suggest Varitek’s agent Scott Boras is shopping his client to the Detroit Tigers in an attempt to get a multi-year deal.

The bet here is that the Red Sox want Varitek back, but but for 2 years and perhaps $6mm or $7mm a year.  There is no way Boras and Varitek can, with a straight face, say that Varitek’s skill haven’t eroded.  If they are honest with themselves, they will realize that and probably take a 2 year deal with Boston.  If not, see you later Captain.

Like Peter said, with World Series over, things will start to heat up quickly.  I love this time of year.

The Hot Stove Opens (With Trivia Answer)

Thanks to the Marlins and Royals for making a trade and kicking off the hot stove.  We should start to hear about free agency filings soon and I imagine there will be some surprises.  Don’t be shocked when Mike Mussina files for free agency, it is just to keep his options open. 

The Yankees will also start making announcements on player options soon.  Expect to see them decline the options of Pavano and Giambi, the only question is what they do with Marte.  I am not sure which way they will land on that one, but I hope it is to decline it.  One of the stranger things in baseball is the fact that teams can sign free agents before teams have to offer free agents arbitration.  The GM meetings start next week so expect some action to start soon.  And, don’t believe 95% of the rumors you read, remember newspapers need to fill column inches and sell papers.

As for the trivia, the answer is from 1979-1982 the Pirates, Phillies, Dodgers and Cardinals all won titles, the last time the NL went back-to-back.  Since then, the AL has gone back-to-back (or more) four times and the 26 years since the NL has done it represents the longest gap ever by either league.

And besides setting up the NL with a chance to break that streak in 2009, the Phillies vicotry represented something else last night.  By winning their 2nd World Series, the Phillies became the last of the original 16 franchises that made up the NL and AL to win a second crown.  

Thank You Philly!

Way to get the job done. 

Now for a trivia question. When was the last time the National League won back-to-back World Series titles and what teams were involved? (no looking it up) 

Come On Phillies!

Still not rooting for the Phillies?  Well, let’s see if this convinces you.

As Andy pointed out, free agency won’t start until the 16th day after the World Series ends.  So, if the Phillies wrap things up tonight we can see some free agent signings starting November 14th.  If not, we might have to wait up to two extra days.  Is that a big deal?  Probably not, but it is worth thinking about when you flip on the TV tonight.

Baseball Dodges A Bullet

Wondering why tonight’s game was played in a monsoon?  MLB didn’t really have a choice because if they had put the tarp on the field before the Rays tied things up and it hadn’t come off again, the Phillies would have won the World Series in a rain-shortened game.  So, looking at the forecast (very bad) and looking at the field (a joke) baseball had a brutal choice and they decided to keep playing.

You can’t blame them, nobody would want to see the World Series end because of rain, but hopefully this prods MLB to change the rules.  The playoffs are too important to operate under the same set of rules as the resular season.  MLB should add a rule that playoff games can be suspended at anytime the umpires decided due to weather conditions.  The game could then be resumed as soon as possible from the point it was suspended.  Otherwise, you might see more monsoon games next October. 

UPDATE: Bud Selig just said that he would have put the game into an indefinite rain delay if the Rays had not tied things up.  So, why didn’t he do that earlier then, before the water starting accumulating on the field?

MLB Is Rooting For Tampa

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, the stupidity of having two different schedules between the LCS and the World Series.  Now, it has bit baseball in the ass big time.  Because they use a 2-3-2 with only two days off in the World Series, MLB has to do everything they can to get games in despite the weather.  That led to Game 3 starting after 10pm on the East Coast Saturday night and nobody watched.  The game pulled in a 6.1 which is the lowest rating for a Series game ever.  Fans waiting for sports went elsewhere since Saturday night is loaded with college football. Through the first four games, the ratings are only an 8.5.  If the Phillies finish things off tonight, this will definitely be the lowest-rated World Series ever, so I would bet MLB is rooting for Tampa tonight.

 

 

 

Too Bad

La

Cross Larry Bowa off your list as third base coach next year, he is staying in LA.  At this point I think Luis Sojo might be a good candidate, he might be able to make a connection with Cano and he could definitely work with the infielders.  The Yankees could also move Rob Thomson to third and find a new bench coach which wouldnt’ be a terrible idea either.

What I wouldn’t hold my breath for is Willie Randolph coming back. Willie is looking for another managing job and bringing him back to the Yankees creates a very awkward situation with Joe Girardi.  The first losing streak would bring all sorts of questions about Joe’s job security and the Yankees need to minimize the distractions next year, not magnify them. 

Derek Lowe

The free agent pitching market is really split into two tiers.  There is the Sabathia tier and then everyone else.  You can make cases for Sheets, Burnett, Oliver Perez, etc., but when you boil it down there are questions about all of them.  Considering that those guys will probably get at minimum Carl Pavano type deals, someone like Derek Lowe might make some sense. 

Lowe has pitched in the AL East and his numbers the past few years look good.  Plus, he won’t require the same type of deal Sheets or Burnett would.  Lowe has pitched 200 innnings in each of the last four years (ok 199.3 in 2007) and is a sinkerballer which minimizes the damages when he gets hit.

But, a deeper look at the numbers and there are some red flags.  First, his ERA at Dodger Stadium was much better than his ERA on the road (Dodger Stadium is a pitcher’s park)  Plus his strikeout rates went way up in LA from his last years in Boston.  That isn’t normal and perhaps more a factor of facing NL batters than anything else.  Throw in a report that he doesn’t want to play in New York and the fact that he has an agent named Boras, and it isn’t a move I would make.  

The key for the Yankees will be avoiding making a mistake on the free agent pitching market.  Assuming you get Sabathia that puts him, Wang and Joba in the rotation.  I still bring back Andy Pettitte and I let Phil Hughes take the last spot.  Look at all the young pitchers in the World Series right now.  Except for really Hamels, it took awhile for them to establish themselves.  If the Yankees truly believe in Hughes, they owe him a shot.