Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Meetings

Just a few odds and ends:

"The Mets would like to unload Luis Castillo in an effort to lure Orlando Hudson to New York, and they're very interested in Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham to fill their need for a slugging left fielder. Shpigel says that the Nats currently have a steep asking price though, as Willingham is in high demand"

Rizzo's first test. Remember the old poker advice: If you can't figure out who at the table is the fish, then its you. Omar IS the fish. Strip him naked and leave him bleeding by the side of the road.

Nationals interested in Jon Garland according to Peter Gammons. Insider subscription required.

I would prefer not to beat this dead horse again. So, please for the love of God, don't even talk to Jon Garland. Don't think about him. Pretend we live in a world where Jon Garland doesn't exist. It's a good world where sub mediocre pitchers DON'T receive millions to help their teams lose.

Gammons also says the Nats are interested in John Lackey. I like Lackey, I'd love to have him on the team. But this smells like an agent trying to get another bidder. If you could get him for A.J. Burnett money (5/82 I think), that's a go. Over $100m? Pass

The Royals sign Noel Arguelles according to Yahoo! sports.

$7m over 5 years. $2m in incentives.

I repeat the F*&%(&*% tiny market, low budget tin pot Royals signed a major international free agent. For $7M!!!!!! Over FIVE YEARS. That's $1.4m a year. For a hard throwing young pitcher who would cost you nothing but $$$$$. Are you freaking kidding me!!!! Being outbid by the Red Sox or the Yankees I can understand. But the Royals?? Really. You are telling me that the Royals, in their minuscule media market, having a longer record of pathetic futility, can find the $$$$$$ to add a great young prospect but the big market, cheap bastards in Washington can't find the money. F U

Shinen's list:

"Among the possible targets are pitchers whose contracts their teams are looking to shed, such as Atlanta's Javier Vázquez (one year remaining at $11.5 million), or arbitration-eligible pitchers whose teams need payroll savings, such as Florida's Ricky Nolasco or Detroit's Edwin Jackson."

Yes, yes and hmmmm. Not sold on Jackson. Nolasco? Oh yeah. Highly unlikely though. The arb-eligible guys are still affordable for teams with payroll flexibility. That will drive up the prospect cost. Vazquez is basically like an arb-eligible since he only has one year left.

This list would cost nothing useful (and by nothing useful I mean it would cost only the pennies the Lerners are currently torturing at their palacial estates)

Bronson Arroyo
Aaron Harang
Gil Meche
Jeremy Bonderman
Derek Lowe
Carlos Zambrano

There is no doubt that the first five on this list could be had tomorrow for nothing more than salary relief. Look, I just solved your top of the rotation problem. Not that these guys are true #1s mind you but they would serve the Livan! role with only minor suckitude. Worst case scenario (barring injury) you have your 200IP veteran.

Harang and Arroyo have club options for 2011 with a $2m buyout. (Let me save some time and fill out that buyout check now) Bonderman has one year left and no buyout. Meche has two years left, Lowe has three as does Zambrano.

Obviously Lowe and Zambrano would be tough to swallow, neither projects to be worth even close to their salaries. But that's why you get them for nothing. Beggars (and back to back 100 loss teams) can't be choosers. I'd posit that either could be moved to the bullpen, Lowe was an effective closer earlier in his career where they could make for interesting trade chips in 2012.

The others represent no real long term commitment. You could even flip them at the trade deadline if they pitch well enough. (they would have to be traded, there is ZERO chance you offer them arbitration. They would accept in a heartbeat so Soriano-style brinksmanship won't work here.)

Do they make the National's better long term? No. Unless they fetch something useful later. But they make next season better without sacrificing any long term asset. You need to sell tickets.

You could make a similar list (probably a much longer one) of bullpen guys with horrible contracts that could be had for a ham sandwich. But even I wouldn't spend the Lerner's cash on that.

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