The beard is back in Los Angeles. Reliever Brian Wilson agreed to a 1-year contract worth 10 million to remain a Dodger today. The deal includes in an 8.5 million player option for the 2015 season. Wilson posted a 2-1 record with an ERA of 0.66 in 18 appearances for the Dodgers last season. Wilson missed most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Wilson could have secured a deal to become a closer on another team, but decided to stick with the Dodgers instead. The beard will reprise his role as the Dodgers’ primary setup man to closer Kenley Jansen. Wilson can also be an insurance policy for the Dodgers. If Jansen gets injured or underperforms during the season, the Dodgers can call upon Wilson to take over the closer’ s role. The Dodgers made a great move by re-signing Wilson and should have one of the deepest bullpens in the National League next season.
Yankees sign outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7-year deal worth 153 million. Ellsbury posted stat lines of .298/9/53/.355/.426/.781 in 636 plate appearances with the World Champion Boston Red Sox last season. He spent the first 7 years of his career with the Red Sox. Ellsbury joins a very long list of players to play for both the Red Sox and Yankees during their career. The list includes: Babe Ruth, Sad Sam Jones, Bullet Joe Bush, Ripper Collins, Red Ruffing, Luis Tiant, Roger Clemens, David Cone, Wade Boggs, David Wells, Johnny Damon, Derek Lowe and Kevin Youkilis.
Ellsbury will obtain the third largest contract for an outfielder in baseball history. He trails only former player Manny Ramirez (160) and Dodgers’ Matt Kemp (160) in contracts among outfielders. Coming into the off-season it seemed like the Yankees would try to get below the luxury tax, but judging from this contract and the McCann deal that is not the case. The Yankees are once again mulling out the money to obtain the services of high profile players.
He will become the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Yankees next season. Jacoby will provide a needed element of speed to the Yankees’ lineup. Last season, the Yankees’ center fielders combined to get 28 stolen bases while Ellsbury had 52 steals by himself. He has a very patient eye at the plate and will see a lot of pitching per plate appearance. Ellsbury will also provide plus defense in center field.
Looking at the stat splits for last season it doesn’t really seem like the Yankees are getting that much of an upgrade with Ellsbury. Last season the Yankees’ center fielders posted lines of .280/13/65/.349/.442/.791 while Ellsbury posted lines of .298/9/53/.355/.426/.781. Players in the Yankees’ leadoff spot posted lines of .272/13/70/.339/.431/.770, so the Yankees are aren’t getting a lot more production from Ellsbury than they got from the players that played center field and batted leadoff last season.
Another cause for concern with signing Ellsbury to such a large contract is his history of injures. He has missed 264 games over the last 4 seasons due to various injuries. Jacoby missed part of last season with a fractured foot. He has played in 140 plus games in 3 of 7 Major League seasons.
Ellsbury should provide a spark to the Yankees’ roster next season. He will provide great defense and solid bat at the top of the lineup. Don’t think he is worth all the money that the Yankees gave him to acquire his services based on the reasons above, but his bat should help the team get back into contention next season.
This has been a very active day for baseball transactions. Players have been signed to new deals and have been dealt to new teams. Here is a list of all the different wheelings and dealings that have occurred today.
- Red Sox sign catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a 1-year deal worth 8.25 million.
- Blue Jays sign catcher Dioner Navarro to a 2-year deal worth 8 million.
- Tigers are close to a deal with reliever Joe Nathan according to FoxSports’ baseball insiders Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi.
- Dodgers are close to signing reliever Brian Wilson according to FoxSports’ baseball insiders Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi
- Phillies sign catcher Wil Nieves according to CBSSports’ baseball insider Jon Heyman
- Rays acquire Heath Bell and Ryan Hanigan, Reds acquire Minor League pitcher David Holmberg and D’backs acquire Minor League pitcher Justin Choate in a 3-team trade.
- Rays agree to a 3-year extension worth 11 million with Hanigan
- A’s have acquired outfielder Craig Gentry and pitcher Josh Lindbloom from the Rangers for outfielder Michael Choice and minor league second baseman Chris Bostick.
- A’s have acquired pitcher Luke Gregerson from the Padres for outfielder Seth Smith
- Marlins sign catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a 3-year worth 21 million.
- Astros acquire outfielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later from the Rockies for pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes.
- Yankees sign outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7-year deal worth 153 million.
The Mariners have signed utility player Willie Bloomquist to a 2-year deal worth 5 to 6 million pending a physical exam. Bloomquist had stat lines of .317/0/14/.360/.367/.727 in injury riddled 48 games with the Diamondbacks last season. Bloomquist spent the first 7 seasons of his career with the Mariners. This deal is a very cost effective one for the M’s to make.
Bloomquist will serve as the team’s utility player off the bench. In his first stint with the Mariners,he was called upon to come off the bench and steal money bags in the late innings of games. He can no longer be used in this role after coming off injuries in the last couple of years. Bloomquist is 36-years-old,so his speed has diminished due to age. He really doesn’t provide much power off the bench. He will provide leadership and be a good example to the young players of how to be prepared for a baseball game.
I was really hoping that the M’s would make a more of an impact with their first move. All off-season we have been hearing that the M’s are going to spend money to bring in top players and the Bloomquist signing doesn’t appear to follow that plan. Hopefully this is just the first of many moves that the M’s will make this off-season, but if you want to have fans be excited for the coming to games do more than just signing another speed player that provides no power to the club.
The Mariners have announced the team’s new coaching staff this afternoon. These coaches will join bench coach Trent Jewett on Lloyd McClendon’s staff. The coaches are: pitching coach Rick Waits, hitting coach Howard Johnson, first base coach Andy Van Slyke, third base coach John Stearns, bullpen coach Mike Rojas and infield coach Chris Woodward. All of these coaches have either experience in the Mariners’ organization or have a bond with Lloyd McClendon.
Rick Waits is a former MLB pitcher. He had a career record of 72-92 over 12 seasons with the Indians, Brewers and Rangers from 1973-85. Waits previously coached in the Mets’ system for 15 seasons before joining the Mariners’ organization in 2010. Since joining the organization, Waits has worked with the young pitchers in the minor league system. He will have a familiarity to with the young pitchers currently on the big league roster and will know the pitchers coming up in the system.
Howard Johnson is a former MLB third baseman. He is a former 2-time All-Star (1989 and 1991) and a 2-time Sliver Slugger award winner (1989 and 1991) in 14 seasons with the Tigers, Mets and Rockies from 1982-95. He previously coached in the Mets’ system for 11 seasons. Johnson served as the hitting coach for the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate Tacoma Rainers last season. Under the tutelage of Johnson, the Rainers finished in the top 5 in: runs, home runs, runs batted in, total bases and slugging in the Pacific Coast League last season. Johnson has a familiarity with the young hitters on the team and helped former #1 draft pick Dustin Ackley rediscover his swing in Tacoma last year.
Andy Van Slyke is a former MLB outfielder. He is a former 3-time All-Star (1988,1992-93), 5-time Gold Glove award winner (1988-92) and a 2-time Sliver Slugger award winner (1988 and 1992) over 13 seasons with the Cardinals, Pirates, Phillies and Orioles from 1983-95. Van Slyke previously served as the first base coach for the Tigers from 2006-09.
John Stearns is a former MLB catcher. He is a former 4-time All-Star over 11 seasons with the Phillies and Mets from 1974-84. Stearns has spent the last 39 years in the baseball world. He joined the Mariners’ organization in 2012 as the Minor League catching coordinator. Last season, he became the manager of the Tacoma Rainers when manager Darren Brown took over as the third base coach for the big league club.
Mike Rojas never made it to the big leagues as a player. He spent two years in the minor leagues as a catcher. Rojas has had Minor League managing experience in the White Sox’, Astros’, Reds’ and Tigers’ systems. He has served as the bullpen coach for the Tigers over the last couple of seasons.
Chris Woodward is a former MLB infielder. He has played for the Blue Jays, Mets, Braves, Mariners and Red Sox in 12 seasons from 1999-2011. Woodward served as the Mariners’ roving Minor League infield coordinator.
The New York Yankees have signed catcher Brian McCann to a 5-year deal worth 85 million. The deal has a 6th year vesting option that would make the contract worth 100 million. McCann will also receive a no-trade clause as part of the contract. He posted stat lines of .256/20/57/.336/.461/.796 in 402 plate appearances with the Braves last season.
The Yankees received no production from the catcher’s position last season. New York catchers combined to post stat lines .213/8/43/.289/.298/.587 in 566 plate appearances. The Yankees catchers had an ML-low 8 home runs last season.
McCann can fix the offensive woes that plagued the Yankees last season at the catcher’s position. He has averaged stat lines of .277/26/97/.350/.473/.823 a season over his 9-year career. McCann has the potential to have career-high numbers in Yankee Stadium. Being a left-handed hitter, McCann can take advantage of the short porch in right field. He could reach 40 home run plateau in the 2014 campaign.
New York seems to have overpaid to acquire the services of McCann. McCann will be 34 at the end of the contract. He has had a history of injury problems in his career. McCann hasn’t played in 130 games since the 2010 season due to various injuries and missed a good portion of last season due to an injury.
The Yankees needed to improve their offense at a catcher during the off-season. Signing McCann accomplishes this objective. They may have overpaid a little for him, but he will make up for it with solid production in the coming seasons.
The Detriot Tigers have agreed to trade first baseman Prince Fielder and 30 million to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Fielder posted stat lines of .279/25/106/.362/.457/.819 in 712 plate appearances for the Tigers last season. Kinsler posted stat lines of .277/13/72/.344/.413/.757 in 614 plate appearances with the Rangers last season. Fielder just finished his 2nd year of a 9-year/214 million deal he signed with the Tigers before the 2012 season. He is still guaranteed 168 million dollars. Kinsler is still owed 62 million of a 10-year contract extension that was agreed upon in 2008.
The Rangers came into the off-season in desperate need of a power bat. Last season, Rangers’ first baseman combined to post stat lines .223/25/65/.295/.405/.700 in 637 plate appearances. Fielder has averaged stat lines of .286/35/107/.389/.527/.916 a season in his 9-year career. Fielder will add a power boost to both the team’s total power numbers and power numbers for the first base position. He has the potential to hit 50 plus home runs having a chance to play half his games in the hitter friendly Ballpark in Arlington. Fielder, who is a left-handed hitter will use the jet stream in right field to put up monster offensive numbers for the years to come with the Rangers.
The Tigers came into the off-season looking for an upgrade at second base and to add some speed into a slow lineup. Kinsler can provide a boost in both categories for the Tigers. Ian has averaged stat lines of .273/24/82/.349/.454/.804 a season in his 8-year career while Tigers’ incumbent second baseman Omar Infante has averaged .279/10/56/.319//402/.721 a season in his 12-year career. Kinsler has better career averages than Infante. Last season, Kinsler put up better stats than Infante did as well. He also averaged 24 steals a season and swiped 13 bags last season. Kinsler will bring a steady bat and speed to the top of the Tigers’order and get on-base for the big bats in the middle of the lineup to drive him in.
The trade also opens up positions for other players on each team. The Rangers will have a chance to give 2nd year pro Jurickson Profar a chance to get consistent playing time and at-bats at second base. Texas can now focus all it’s efforts in bringing another big bat to the team via free agency. The Tigers can use 2-time MVP Miguel Cabrera at first base after trading away Fielder. First base will be a less demanding position for Cabrera and will better protect him from injuries during the season. Detroit will obtain more financial flexibility to sign Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera to long term deals after this trade.
Both teams have benefited from this blockbuster trade. The Rangers have found a big left-handed bat to place in the middle of the order and the Tigers have found an offensive and speed upgrade at second base. These two teams have made a move that will help both teams return to the playoff hunt for the 2014 season.
- Pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith has signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training. He has a 12-17 record with an ERA of 4.62 in 115 appearances in four big league seasons with the Mariners. Rowland-Smith hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2010 season with the M’s. Rowland-Smith will pitching depth in the minor league system for the Diamonbacks
- Phillies re-sign catcher Carlos Ruiz to a three-year deal worth 26 million dollars. Ruiz posted stat lines of .268/5/37/.320/.368/.688 in 92 games with the Phillies last season. He posted career high totals in every offensive category and made an appearance in the All-Star game in the 2012 campaign.Ruiz was suspended for 25 games last season for a positive drug test. He will once again be called upon as the starting catcher for the Phillies after signing this deal.
- Yankees re-sign shortstop Brendan Ryan to a one-year deal worth 2 million dollars. Ryan posted stat lines of .192/3/21/.254/.265/.520 in 87 games with the Mariners and posted lines of .220/1/1/.258/.305/.563 in 17 games with the Yankees. He was acquired to be a defensive specialist and spot starter to spell Eduardo Nunez towards the end of the season. Ryan will be a defensive replacement and spot starter at shortstop for the Yankees as Derek Jeter will be healthy to start the season.
- Reds have signed utility player Skip Schumaker to a two-year deal pending a team physical. Schumaker posted stat lines of .263/2/30/.332/.332/.665 in 125 games with the Dodgers last season. Schumaker will provide depth on the Reds’ bench as he can spell people in both the infield and outfield positions.
- Giants are on the verge of signing pitcher Tim Hudson to a two-year deal worth 23 million according to several baseball insiders on Twitter. Hudson had a record of 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts before suffering a broken ankle against the Mets covering the first base bag. He will help fill out a Giants’ rotation that will look very formidable if he is fully recovered from ankle surgery by the start of the season. Hudson will join a rotation that includes: two-time CY Young award winner Tim Lincecum, three-time All-Star Matt Cain, 2013 All-Star Madison Bumgarner and journeyman Yusmiero Petit.
- Dodgers sign infielder Brendan Harris to a minor league deal. The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training. Harris posted stat lines of .206/4/9/.252/.355/.607 in 44 games with the Angels last season. He will be called upon to provide infield depth in the minor league systems and will be insurance for Dodgers if one of their infielders goes down with an injury during the season based on his 8 year experience as a big leauger.
- Phillies sign outfielder Marlon Byrd to two-year deal worth 16 million dollars
- Free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz is looking for a two-year deal worth 20 million dollars tweets Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports
- The Twins are looking into a reunion with former catcher A.J. Pierzynski after moving Joe Mauer to first base tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports
- Heyman tweets that the A’s could trade Brett Anderson,especially if they lock up Bartolo Colon
- Rosenthal tweets that free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz among hitters the Mariners are considering
- The Mariners have also checked in with outfielder Carlos Beltran tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN
- Brian Cashman said he’s looking to add “400 innings” to add to the Yankees rotation tweets Jon Morosi of FoxSports
- The Rangers have announced Bengie Molina as the team’s new first base coach
- Infielder Mark DeRosa has informed the Blue Jays that he is retiring after 16 seasons in the MLB
- Morosi tweets that the Tigers want to move Drew Smyly to the rotation.
- Morosi tweets that Joe Torre says owners vote on replay is “possible” this week, but approval of player and umpire unions still required
The Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting that the Mariners have hired Lloyd McClendon as the team’s new manager. This move has been confirmed by CBSSports’ baseball insider Jon Heyman on Twitter. McClendon will take over for former manager Eric Wedge, who informed the team that he would not be back for 2014 season with 3 games left in the 2013 season.
This will be McClendon’s second major league managerial job. He was the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2001-05 amassing a record of 336-446 over his 5-year tenure. McClendon managed the Pirates with a lot of fire and emotion that his players tried to duplicate on the field. My favorite memory of McClendon’s managerial career was when he got ejected from the game by the first umpire and he decided to take first base with him into the clubhouse. McClendon has the same fiery personality of the M’s best manager in team history Lou Piniella. Hopefully McClendon can enjoy the same success that Piniella received with the Mariners.
Lloyd has also held other roles is baseball. McClendon is a former major league player, who played from 1980 to 1995 with Cincitti Reds, Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates. He started his coaching career as a roving minor league hitting instructor for the Pirates in 1996. McClendon become the Pirates’ hitting coach in 1997 and held on to that position until becoming the manager of the club before the 2001 season. He also managed teams in the California League and Arizona Fall League in 1999-2000. McClendon has spent the last 8 seasons as a coach for the Tigers. He served as the team’s bullpen coach in 2006 and has been the hitting coach for the last 7 seasons.