Posts Tagged ‘Winter Meetings’

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Winter Meetings

Friday, December 12th, 2008

This Week’s Topic: How was Winter Meetings Week for you?

Joe -

This year’s Winter Meetings, for me, were…well…fine. That’s it. My emotions never got “down” and they certainly didn’t get high.

I’m sure many fans are pretty upset about losing CC, but my reaction to that is “what did you expect?” Sure, there was definitely a part of me that was really hoping he’d sign, but I knew better. Discounts are very few and far between in Major League Baseball. I’ll always be a CC fan. P.S. I fricking hate the Yankees. More on that later.

I don’t really have much of an opinion on the likely trade of Cameron for Melky Cabrera that gained a lot of speed towards the end of the Meetings. I think a straight one-for-one trade is good for the Brewers, but I agree it may mean the Brewers are looking past this year. Cameron is hands down the better option in center this coming year, but Melky has great upside and could be huge for the Brewers in the not-so-distant future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Melvin can manage to make Hall part of the deal and get Ian Kennedy. I don’t see the Brewers getting Philip Hughes, but that would be great in my opinion.

I’m hoping Melvin can manage to get the pieces necessary for the Brewers to again be competitive this year. We’ll just have to sit back and see what happens. As for right now, I’m remaining level headed and patient.

Jared -

The Winter Meeting Week has sort of been like middle school for me. My body (or, in this case, team) is changing rapidly and I’m not sure what to expect. My voice is changing (Ned Yost to Ken Macha). My old friends (Sheets, Gagne, Shouse, Torres) are leaving only to be replaced by new, less reliable friends (Julio, Swindle, Melky Cabrera?). I was dating the hottest girl in school (CC Sabathia) and I thought things were getting serious, but when I asked her to go steady (contract offer) she cut me loose for that douchebag with money (New York Yankees). My dad (Doug Melvin) says everything will be fine and that I should try going after the older, more experienced girls (Smoltz, Johnson, Wolf, Moyer), but I don’t think I have much of a chance with them either. They’ve been flirting with the trendy guys with the flashy Trapper Keepers (West coast/East coast teams). It feels like I’ll never be kissed again (Wild Card), much less get handsy (division title) or do the things I’ve really been thinking about (World Series). But, hey, things could be worse (I could be a Cubs fan…). And at least I’m not that smelly kid sitting in the corner that everyone makes fun of (Pittsburgh Pirates).

OK, so that’s not exactly what the Winter Meetings week has been like for me and I really just took that convoluted illustration way, way, way too far (and, trust me, this awkward kid definitely never got any kind of middle school action), but you get the point… It’s been a frustrating week. I can see that Melvin and company are working towards something, but I’m not sure what it is and I’m not sure I like it at this point. I’ll give management the benefit of the doubt for now though and say I hope/expect some significant activity from the Crew in the coming weeks.

Bryan -

Winter meetings week is usually fun, what with all the tossing around of names and destinations. For awhile it was fun. I was constantly checking the every rumor blog update site I could find.

One thing that has really brought me back to reality this week was that almost every big name can be traced back to New York. I almost forgot what it was like to have New York absolutely DOMINATE major league free agency, but now I remember…it blows for those who don’t get the YES network.

As far as the Brewers go, I appreciate the offer they gave to C.C. We all knew it probably wasn’t going to happen; we’re used to it. I’ll still be a C.C. fan, just not a Yankee one. I’m sad to see him go, but he did more than we could have asked in the short time he was around. I’m actually worried for him, that he might fall apart like Alex Rodriguez and I honestly hope that doesn’t happen to the guy. He deserves better.

The Cameron/Cabrera rumor that popped up was an interesting one. I’d like to keep Cam; I think he’s a great with the Brewers’ young outfielders, but you can’t deny it’s interesting to think about having another young outfielder who has proven he can play in the largest media market to some extent and the Brewers could have him until 2013 if they wanted. That said, I’m glad it hasn’t gone down especially with the Bill Hall, Kei Igawa, Brewers picking up Cam’s tab rumors. C’mon Yankees…you’re going to spend a quarter of a billion dollars this offseason! What’s a measley ten million more? It’s like we say at the bar, if you’re gonna go…go all out!

The fact that I’m talking more about the Yankees than the Brewers can tell you how the Winter Meetings went down this week. Now I can get back to my regularly scheduled offseason.

Tyler -

The four-plus day span that was my Winter Meetings week to this point was OK. I woke up early like an overgrown and out-of-shape child on Christmas day to read the latest news, views and speculation on what teams were up to, who would sign where and how the chips fell. As you might be aware, I used my four consecutive days of 20-hour conciousness to scribe numerous up-to-date posts on both this fine Web site and HERE. I was so preoccupied that I thrice forgot to shave and subconciously weened self gratification to am almost prudish 5-6 times a day. The week was like one long religious holiday, except one for intelligent people who invested their interest in something worthwhile.

As far as the Brewers go, what can be said? I expected CC to go, and vowed to be happy for him no matter where he decided. His choice of the Yankees is a bit tougher to swallow than, say, any non-Cubs franchise, but I would’ve done the same thing if I had any flash of skill at a valued task. In all, I’m just happy to officially know his destiny so the Brewers front office can move on in their quest to field a decent team. I love the Todd Coffey signing, like the Eduardo Morlan Rule 5 pickup, feel numb and bored just thinking about the Mike Lamb re-sign, and - in all - feel like the groundwork has been placed for a modest signing and/or huge trade in the coming days,weeks or month.

In terms of feelings, I am sad that moments after this is posted, the Brewers will likely trade Mike Cameron and this thing I spent like 12 minutes writing will be stale and outdated. But, as is the case in almost every time wasting thing I choose to do in my unfufilling existence, I’m still happy I was involved… and that I probably did better than Jared. Lolz.

Report: Cam traded to Yankees for some Melk(y)

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

ESPN is reporting this morning that the Brewers are trading Mike Cameron for Melky Cabrera. Mike Cameron, who I believe was a very good influence on our outfield defense, only had one year left in Milwaukee where Melky, who was considered the Yankees “CF of the Future”, doesn’t become a free agent until 2013. Melky had two solid years in 2006 and 2007, but didn’t produce last year and was sent to the minors. More info when it becomes available…

UPDATE: Haudricourt says the deal is probably not completed yet, but it seems close. The Yankees may also be asking the Brewers to include Bill Hall. While Hall’s trade value is limited since he has a couple big money years coming up (at least for the production he’s put up the last two years), I think the Yankees would have to kick in pitching to make this happen. Their starting rotation already includes Sabathia, Wang and Chamberlain for sure. They’re looking to add at least one more top free agent (probably out of Burnett, Lowe and Sheets) and could also re-sign Pettite. It seems that they could part with Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy (more likely). If it’s Kennedy, I think they’ll have to include another prospect to get Cameron and Hall since Melvin was reportedly asking for Cabrera AND Kennedy for Cameron when trade discussions started in November. Haudricourt mentions the Brewers might have to pay some of Hall’s remaining salary to make a deal happen. More as it comes in…

UPDATE 2: It looks like the sticking point may be the pitcher the Brewers receive in addition to Cabrera and how much money the Brewers would pick up:

Cameron was due to make $10 million next season and the deal, according to a source, might be contingent on how much the Brewers are willing to pay of that. The source said the more that Milwaukee pays the better the pitcher they could receive in addition to Cabrera.

There’s no mention of Hall in that story.

UPDATE 3: It looks like the Cameron/Cabrera trade has hit a snag. Haudricourt says it may have to do with how much of Cameron’s salary the Brewers are willing to pay. Really? As the Yankees offer ridiculous coin to any free agent with a pulse, they’re asking the Brewers to pick up salary on a player they apparently asked about in the first place? It’s easy to hate the Yankees… Anyway, it looks like Hall will likely not be a part of the trade since the Brewers wisely passed on adding Kei Igawa to the deal for him.

Jared also contributed to this report. (Always wanted to do that…)

Report: Sabathia to Sign With Yankees

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Though nothing has been made official at MLB.com or even Yankees.com on the Sabathia contract front, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman is reporting that CC Sabathia has signed a 6-year contract worth “at least $140 million.”

Sherman says the only minor hurdle in making this official is a physical. He seems pretty confident in the validity of his claim.

“Barring the unforeseen, Sabathia is going to be a Yankee. The Yanks scored the big prize for which they were hunting.”

As I’ve mentioned. I haven’t seen this anywhere else. But this announcement comes just after reports surfaced of Yankees GM Brian Cashman meeting with Sabathia for a third consecutive day. I’ll wait to react until it’s (viably) confirmed elsewhere, but this looks like a dark day in Brewers baseball.

When CC’s departure is made official, I wish him the best. He did so much for Milwaukee in such a short time and carried the Brewers on his left arm to the playoff promise land. I will never forget what he’s done for Milwaukee, and how he did it. I personally wouldn’t blame him for signing anywhere. He deserves it.

Update: FOX Sports senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal confirms the signing, but indicates it’s a 7-year/$160 million agreement. I view Rosenthal to be more reliable than anything The Post whips up, but we’ll keep the updates coming as years and money are made official.

Cashman to Meet With Sabathia for Third Time

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

A late report from Tom Haudricourt’s blog cites a Newsday article that claims Yankees GM Brian Cashman left the Winter Meetings to meet with the Sabathia family in San Fracisco, reportedly to talk Mrs. Sabathia into moving to New York. If this is true, Cashman has met with Sabathia three consecutive days.

Haudricourt says,

Many New York writers take this third consecutive meeting as an indication that the Yankees and Sabathia eventually will do a deal. I can’t say I disagree.

This is a bad indication, but - as we’ve all become aware - CC Sabathia isn’t the protoypical modern athlete, and this might not be a telltale indication of Sabathia’s departure, but might just be a meaning. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Unless New York plans to pull its offer in the coming days, I don’t understand CC’s motivation to sign quickly.

In the News (12/09)

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Brewers News

- As stated earlier, Mike Lamb was signed for a year at the rate of 400K

- Bill Hall didn’t make a pitch for C.C. to stay. Way to stay un-clutch William.

Rumors and Speculation

- C.C. has been rumored to have met or to meet with many teams including the Brewers, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Dodgers, and Angels. And believe it or not, all the teams feel they have a legitimate shot at him. That’s how good his agent is doing so far.

- ESPN is madly fueling rumors of Prince Fielder on the trading block. Both Peter Gammons and Buster Olney have said as much. Steve Phillips on the ESPN Winter Meetings Blog has even asked the question of a Prince for Putz trade. I’d say “Are you f**king kidding me? No way in hell do the Brewers do a deal in which the centered around J.J. “I Swear it’s Pronounced Pootz” Putz.” Rattler Radio also has some thoughts on bringing in Putz that do not involve Fielder.

- Somebody told Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury News that the Brewers are emerging as the front runners for C.C. Sabathia, but then doesn’t say anything to back up his source.

- According to a nice, information filled post on the Boston Globe, the Brewers might not bring back Gabe Kapler because they are in need of left handed bats. If that’s true, it would be sad. If you’d bring in the switch hitting Punto for the infield, then maybe…(I know, I know, not happening, get over it)

- Last night, a deal was imminent for Peavy to go to Chicago and now, reports are that a deal is not even remotely close. The Cubs are also looking at Milton Bradley. Cubs are also rumored to be willing to part with fan favorite Mark DeRosa and ship him to Philidelphia. This move would be seen as a way to free up money to bring in Bradley and Peavy. Well, they already bankrupt the Trib, why not more?  UPDATE: ESPN rumor page has the Peavy deal “close” again. It’s the equivilant of a see-saw and it’s making me sick.

- Yankees might offer Ben Sheets a contract. Maybe the All Star performance was an open interview?

- A couple names that fans were interested in are off the table. The Dodgers swept up Casey Blake and Mark Loretta.

NL Central

- The Reds had a busy day. They were reported to have signed veteran pitcher Livan Hernandez, which was later retracted and later traded Ryan Freel and prospects to Baltimore for Ramon Hernandez.

- Are the Pirates going to sell off some goods? Many teams are inquiring about Paulino, Maholm, and Snell.

Other News

- BrewCrewBall runs the numbers on Soup, then runs him through the shredder. They also gave some projections on how the Brewers bullpen is shaping up.

- Closer News: K-Rod is probably going to the Mets and former Cub Kerry Wood is close to a two year deal with the Indians.

- It’s interesting, but unconfirmed: On a Brewers message board, it was posted that the Brewers were interested in Rick Ankiel. While a left-handed centerfielder makes sense, I don’t see it happening.

Brewers to Re-Sign Mike Lamb

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

JS’s Tom Haudricourt reports the Brewers will announce they’ve signed free agent third baseman Mike Lamb today.

Haudricourt said he spoke with Doug Melvin this morning and Melvin confirmed the signing and said it will be officially announced soon.

Lamb, 33, was picked up by Milwaukee in early September after being released by the Twins. In his last 10 games for Milwaukee in ‘08 Lamb hit .300 and only struck out once. He has a career .333 OBP and as a left-handed hitter, he will surely spell platoon mate for Bill Hall - if not provide veteran insurance in case of a Hall trade.

No word yet on years or money, but I’d assume it’s likely a one-year deal worth - at tops - $2M after incentives. Jared or myself will provide updates on this as they come.

Update: It’s official. And, Lamb will make the minimum from Milwaukee. Minnesota will be on the hook to pay the rest of Lamb’s $3M salary for 2009. Even if you hate this signing, you have to like the combo of upside and affordability.

More: One-year/$400K. Melvin says Gamel will get a chance at third in Spring Training… which, I guess, isn’t exactly saying much.

Sheets in Vegas: Not Burning Bridges

Monday, December 8th, 2008

According to foxsports.com’s blog, Ben Sheets has arrived in Vegas with the news that the Yankees and Rangers may be interested in his services. When asked if he’d consider a return to Milwaukee, Big Ben plainly said “Everything’s possible. I never burn any bridges.” Personally, and I know I’m in the minority, I’d like to have him back especially if the price is alright.

In related news, Ben Sheets’ agent has forbidden Ben from playing slot machines over the week just in case he tries to pull a handle and something in his body goes awry.

UPDATE: According to mlblogs, Sheets has already met with the Yankees

The Brewers Re-Sign Coffey

Monday, December 8th, 2008

The Brewers have inked reliever Todd Coffey to a one-year $800,000 contract, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Coffey can earn an additional $200,000 in performance bonuses as well. He was entering his final year of arbitration.

This is another nice, low-risk bullpen signing for Melvin. Coffey pitched well for the Brewers down the stretch and could be a valuable arm in 2008. If he doesn’t perform well, they lose out on some money this year, but have no financial commitment going forward.

I think Melvin will probably try to add one more bullpen arm, but it’s likely it won’t be a big-name free agent. I believe the closer is already on the team. It’s just anyone’s guess who steps up and takes it (McClung, Villanueva, Julio, Riske?).

The Brewers Are the Frontrunner for CC?

Monday, December 8th, 2008

The Brewers may be closing in on a deal to resign ace CC Sabathia, according to George A. King III of the New York Post:

Prior to Yankee GM Brian Cashman’s meeting with CC Sabathia yesterday in Las Vegas, there was a feeling in the baseball universe the stud free-agent lefty would eventually re-sign with the Brewers.

Since the Yankees’ six-year, $140 million has been in front of Sabathia for more than a month, there are reasons he hasn’t taken it. A popular theory is, he doesn’t want to work in The Bronx.

Another is that his wife, Amber, is encouraging him to wait for an offer from a West Coast team that may not be coming - that is, unless the Bay Area product wants to work cheap for the Giants.

Now, there is talk of the Brewers, who have offered five years for $100 million, exploring ways to entice the 28-year-old Sabathia, who went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts after being acquired from the Indians.

According to a source who has talked to the Brewers, the club has enough money to sweeten the pot and offer “contract flexibility” that could include an opt-out clause after three seasons.

The Yankees have believed it’s been between them and the Brewers for a while. The Angels and Giants are looking for hitters before pitchers.

First off, don’t get your hopes up too high yet since these free agent stories tend to change day to day, but wow… Talk about an underdog sports story if it is true. The small market Brewers go toe-to-toe with the New York Yankees, offer less money and still could come out with the top prize in the free agent market (and the Yankees top target)? I haven’t even mentioned beating out CC’s home state teams. While there is no concrete info suggesting any of the California teams made an offer, there is no doubt they’d love to have CC too. They seemingly can’t contend with the money the Brewers (and Yankees) put out there.

There are certainly two sides to this… This is a very significant risk for the Brewers if CC does sign with Milwaukee. They’d likely be sinking about 40 percent of their payroll into one player. And that player is a starting pitcher. Not only does he only toss the ball once every five games, he also plays at a position that is most susceptible to injury.

I think the Brewers can get away with this for a couple of reasons. First, the team has noted that CC is an exception. They would not do this for any other player. He is a special talent and they are breaking from their plans to try to acquire him. The Brewers are also in a unique position. They have their best player, Ryan Braun, locked up to an affordable long-term deal. Braun and Sabathia is a great foundation for any team to build on. The Brewers would have one of the best position players and one of the best starters in all of baseball in their primes. They also have young starters that will be with the team for a number of years (Parra and Gallardo) and highly regarded prospects to bolster the offense (Escobar, Gamel and Salome). A CC signing could mean players like Fielder, Hardy, Weeks, Hart and Bush will be traded or let go in free agency as their arbitration years come to an end, but the Brewers should be able to field a competitive team with the cheaper alternatives they are developing now and the players they’ll acquire through trades, draft picks and compensation picks. It will also help the team financially when the contracts of Cameron (signed through this year), Hall (signed through 2010) and Suppan (signed through 2010) expire.

One of the pieces of information that stands out in the story above is the “’contract flexibility’ that could include an opt-out clause after three seasons.” That would not be particularly good for the Brewers because it means that if Sabathia performs as an ace and the contract ends up being “good” for the Brewers, he’ll likely opt out after three years so he can cash in on free agency again. If he underperforms, the market for free agent pitchers goes down or he becomes injury prone, he won’t opt out and the Brewers would be stuck with a “bad contract.” The latter scenario is obviously the worst-case scenario and is the risk for the Brewers. And that risk is there with the opt-out clause or without it.

Sabathia opting out of the contract after three years would not be ideal for the Brewers either since CC would likely be earning his contract as an ace in that scenario and the Brewers would only have him for three years instead of six. But would that be so bad? We’d get three more years of an elite player and the team would still get the comp picks for him at that time if he left. Plus, it’s obvious that money is not everything to CC and he could end up staying in Milwaukee for less than market value (or renegotiating with the Brewers) instead of opting out.

So, there are risks… But who cares? We’re fans. It’s not our financial risk if the Brewers ink Sabathia. It’s Mark A’s and the Brewers management. What Brew Crew backer out there doesn’t want to see the enormous lefty we fell in love with last season take the mound for our team again? It’s hard to believe the Sabathia/Brewers match would always be as exciting and productive as it was down the stretch of the 2008 season, but it’s also hard to believe Sabathia isn’t the kind of player that can be the heart of a team and will them to success.

Hold your breath because for all we know CC and his agent are working on the final details of his Bronx Bomber contract, but if the rumors are true and the Brewers are nearing a contract with Sabathia, it’s time for Brewers fans to celebrate the most significant signing in Brewers history.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Realistic Trade?

Friday, December 5th, 2008

This Week’s Topic: With the winter meetings starting next week, come up with a realistic trade idea for the Brewers

Joe -

I’m taking the high road on this one. Yeah, super lame and weak, I know. I was really pumped about the idea of trading for Matt Cain; however, that seems less and less likely. The Giants are reportedly interested in JJ Hardy (as Jared linked in Wednesday’s “News” post), but apparently the Brewers are not. On top of that, the Giants have signed Edgar Renteria to a two year deal. Although, if reports of the Giants courting CC Sabathia ring true and he does choose to sign with his “home town” club, the Giants might try to push a trade for one of their starters (besides little Timmy of course). Since the Matt Cain talk has subsided, there is no one in particular that gives me that J-Riv hard on. So I’ve taken the empty-minded, wait and see approach to this offseason.

Bryan -

One thing I love reading are all the crazy trade ideas people have and all the possibilities for players to land. That’s why this week’s topic asks for semi realistic trades but, in the grand scheme of things, are probably still terribly unrealistic. I’d still prefer it if more baseball players stayed put, but this is the system we have so might as well enjoy the drama that comes with it.

One trade that I think would make sense for both teams is this:

Bill Hall and a PTBNL to the Tigers for Zach Miner or Nate Robertson. The Tigers have a bunch of starting pitchers and have already looked into getting rid of Nate Robertson for Julio Lugo…allegedly. Even if they get rid of Robertson to another team, they still have stud-in-waiting named Rick Porcello in the minors. The Tigers also need a third baseman so Brandon Inge can go back to catching.

It won’t happen but maybe, just maybe, the Angels believe that Brandon Wood is their future and Chone Figgins would be on the Brewers radar. Or vice versa. They need a first baseman if Texeira doesn’t return and Brad Nelson wouldn’t be a bad piece in a trade that would also probably need to include a high prospect or current pitcher.

That said, I’d be shocked if the Brewers made a trade that would affect any starting roles. I believe we will see more signings and trades like the Julio signing this year and Torres trade from last year.

Next week, the roundtable will be back on Friday morning like it used to be. Until then, feel free to comment and enjoy the winter meetings.

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