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Free Agency and Trades
Transaction Action: Tigers Tab Jose Valverde to Close PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Friday, 15 January 2010 11:00

MLB.com's Jason Beck praises the Tigers two-year contract for closer Jose Valverde. Valverde was one of the last type A free agents left on the market and his signing will cause Detroit to forfeit its first round draft pick to the Astros. Houston had earlier in the year signed former Tiger reliever Brandon Lyon to a three-year $15 million contract to replace Valverde. Valverde's two-year deal with Detroit is worth $14 million and includes a 2012 option for another $9 million.

Based on Valverde's near spotless record as a closer, the Tigers have gotten the better of the deal, even as they shed the 19th overall draft pick. Valverde has excellent peripheral numbers and will pitch primarily in a pitchers park for the first time in his career, having called Arizona's Chase field and Houston's Minute Maid Park hitter friendly havens home to this point in his career. The thirty year-old righty closed out 25 games for Houston with a tiny 2.33 ERA. He'll be set up in the Tiger pen by Joel Zumaya.


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Ryan Church to Wear Andy Van Slyke's #18 with Pirates PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 15 January 2010 02:00
Andy Van Slyke
Andy Van Slyke fouls one off foot.
Now, Ryan Church will wear #18

In working through the increased number of player transactions that are tied with salary arbitration, the free agent signing of Ryan Church to the Pirates popped on the screen. Working on the story, we accessed MLB Pressbox in order to obtain a headshot image for the story, and stumbled across something that brought back memories...

As the screenshot from Pressbox below shows, Church has been assigned #18. For those that look back to the last gasp of the Pirates winning ways, #18 was worn by Andy Van Slyke.

So, when Church takes the field, tip your hat and remember Van Slyke in center field being sandwiched in-between Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla. Van Slyke was traded to the Pirates from the Cardinals on April 1st, along with catcher Mike LaValliere and minor league pitcher Mike Dunne for catcher Tony Pena. When told of the trade, Van Slyke thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Johnson's 4-Year, $39 Million Deal Tied to Marlins Agreement to Increase Player Payroll PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 15 January 2010 01:35

Josh JohnsonJust two days after the MLB, the MLBPA, reached an agreement with the Florida Marlins that they would increase MLB player payroll after the union for the players believed them to not be spending revenue-sharing dollars the manner the current CBA defines it, they broke out the wallet.

According to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, the Marlins have signed pitcher Josh Johnson to a guaranteed $39 million contract that will keep the player wrapped up with the Marlins through 2013.

In a sign that the contract is tied to the opening of the new ballpark for the Marlins, something outlined in the agreement with MLB and the MLBPA, Johnson’s contract is heavily backloaded. As reported by Crasnick:

The deal will pay Johnson $3.75 million this season, $7.75 million in 2011 and $13.75 million in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

<snip>

Johnson's contract is the second-biggest ever for a pitcher heading into his second salary arbitration. The only bigger deal was signed by Johan Santana, who agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with Minnesota in February 2005 after winning the Cy Young Award.

Johnson made $1.4 million last year. His $3.75 million salary for 2010 is an increase of 168 percent. To add to the deal, he sees an increase of 107 percent from this season to 2011 and an 83 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 when his salary levels off for the 2013.

As further reported by Crasnick, the jumping off point for the near recording-setting salary arb deal, was Zack Greinke's four-year, $38 million contract with Kansas City, while the Marlins countered with a reported three-year, $23 million offer.

With the salary arbitration filing period ending tomorrow, the Marlins have six players left that are salary arbitration eligible, Jorge Cantu, Leo Nunez, Renyel Pinto, Cody Ross, Anibal Sanchez, and Dan Uggla. Uggla will be a key player to deal with in the salary arbitration process. Last year, the Marlins and the top-tier second baseman went all the way to salary arbitration hearing, where Uggla won his $5.35 million asking figure to the Marlins $4.4 million offering figure.

As of Thursday – the day before the salary arbitration filing period ends – there were 133 players still salary arbitration eligible. See The Biz of Baseball’s salary arbitration tracker for details.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Transaction Action: Aubrey Huff Joins Giants PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 14 January 2010 18:09

Dennis O'Donnell of KPIX in San Francisco blogged that the Giants had signed first baseman Aubrey Huff to a one-year deal worth $3 million. Huff will replace Ryan Garko at first for the Giants, and pushes newly-signed Mark DeRosa to left. DeRosa had been considered a possibility for third base with Pablo Sandoval moving across the diamond to first base.

Huff split time between Baltimore and Detroit last season and struggled, posting his worst season at the plate since 2001, eking out a .241/.310/.384 line in 597 at bats. The Giants are counting on him to bounce back and produce big power numbers in the middle of their lineup.


Joe Tetreault is a member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey.

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Transaction Action: Cleveland Signs Mark Grudzielanek PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 14 January 2010 18:07

MLBlogger Anthony Castrovince posted that the Cleveland Indians have inked well-traveled middle infielder Mark Grudzielanek to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Grudzielanek spent last year almost entirely out of baseball, after being released by the Twins eleven minor league games into the 2009 season.

The 39 year-old is on his seventh franchise. His last major league action came in 2008 with the Royals, where he hit .299/.345/.399 in 360 plate appearances. He'll compete with Luis Rodriguez to back up Luis Valbuena and Asdrubal Cabrera up the middle.


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Transaction Action: Arizona Adds Adam LaRoche PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:53

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets that the Diamondbacks have agreed on a one-year deal with Adam LaRoche. The deal will pay LaRoche between $4-5 million for 2010.

The thirty year old first baseman split time with the Pirates, Red Sox and Braves last season, getting dealt twice within a ten-day span. He combined to bat .277/.355/.488 in 629 plate appearances with his two months back in Atlanta the statistical best performance. LaRoche is a power hitter who should benefit from Chase Field's friendlier confines. He replaces Chad Tracy at first, and joins fellow former Brave Kelly Johnson on the completely remade right side of the diamond for Arizona.


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Transaction Action: Ryan Church Joins Pirates PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 14 January 2010 11:31

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted the details of the Pirates contract for Ryan Church. The deal is worth a guaranteed $1.5 million, with incentives that could bring the total value to just $2.82 million.  Church passed his physical earlier this week.

The 31 year-old outfielder started 2009 with the Mets before being swapped for Jeff Francoeur in July. Church struggled with both clubs on the year, hitting a combined line of .273/.338/.384 in 111 games. When healthy, Church has posted very good numbers, but battled concussion problems in 2008. He joins the Pirates outfield that includes Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge, who ironically the Mets traded to Washington to acquire Church along with Brian Schneider.


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Transaction Action: Minor Moves Round Up PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Monday, 11 January 2010 16:01

Dodgers Sign Nick Green

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed shortstop Nick Green to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Green spent last year in Boston before a back injury ended his season. He is recovering from surgery, but is expected to be ready for spring training. His line last season with the Red Sox was .236/.303/.366 in 309 plate appearances.

Texas Picks Up Khalil Greene

MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers have inked former Cardinal and Padre Khalil Greene to a one-year contract worth $750,000. The deal is pending a physical.

Greene spent his career to this point in the National league with first the Padres and, last season, the Cardinals where he hit .200/.272/.347 in 193 plate appearances.

Royals DFA Luis Hernandez

MLB.com's Dick Kaegel notes that Kansas City designated outfielder Luis Hernandez for assignment to make room for new Royal Scott Podsednik

He averaged .205/.256/.219 line in just 81 plate appearances. For his career he has posted a woeful line of .244/.284/.276. Hernandez remains an acceptable fifth outfielder because of his excellent defensive ability.

Matt Herges Joins Royals

The Royals also announced via press release their new minor league contract for veteran righthander Matt Herges. The well-traveled reliever is on his ninth major league team.

Herges, soon to be 40, divided his time last season between Cleveland and Colorado, posting a combined 3.38 ERA with very good peripherals in 30 relief appearances.

Cubs Ink 1B Bryan LaHair

Carrie Muskat of MLB.com posts a story on former Mariner minor leaguer Bryan LaHair's minor-league deal with the Cubs. LaHair will get an invitation to spring training.

The 27 year-old posted a .289/.354/.530 in 510 plate appearances with Seattle's AAA affiliate Tacoma. LaHair adds balance to a Cubs bench overloaded with right handed hitters.

Dogers Add a Pair

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has a pair of Dodger minor league deals on his plate. First up, veteran righty Russ Ortiz joins the club. he spent last year in Houston, making 13 starts and posting a 3-6 record to accompany an ERA over five.

Also new in Dodger Blue, minor league outfielder Michael Restovich. Restovich has played for six different MLB organizations since 2004 in addition to spending the 2008 season in Japan. He posted a .290/.366/.505 line at AAA Charlotte in the White Sox system last year.

Cleveland Sends Zach Jackson to Toronto

The Associated Press has a story on a small Cleveland trade sending lefty Zach Jackson to Toronto in exchange for a player to be named later.

Jackson spent most of 2009 in the minors, save for eight and two-thirds innings at the big league level. For his career, he has an 5.81 ERA in 105.3 innings pitched.


Joe Tetreault is a member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey.

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Transaction Action: Reds Set to Sign Aroldis Chapman PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Sunday, 10 January 2010 16:06

UPDATE: Mark Sheldon, the Reds beat reporter for MLB.com, is reporting via Twitter that the deal is not finalized and that Reds' sources are saying it's a 5 year, $25 million deal with a sixth year option.


Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweets that the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes has concluded. And the winner is the Cincinnati Reds. Rumors had swirled through baseball circles with destination suggestions such as Los Angeles to join the Angels, north of the border to play for the Jays, Beantown to join the Sox, but in the end, the Great American Ballpark will be Chapman's new home park after he signs the five-year, $30 million major league contract the Reds offered him.

Chapman defected from Cuba during the summer of last year. The young lefty has a fluid motion that allows him to dial his fastball to the mid-nineties while maintaining solid command of his secondary breaking pitches. Where he begins with Cincinnati is anyone's guess. At 22, he could be ticketed to Advanced A to join second year college players, or he could start higher in the organization. Debuting in the majors is considered a longshot at this point, though so were the Reds as the Angels and Blue Jays surged to the front of the chase in the final week.

When he is ready he'll join young pitchers Edinson Volquez, who began throwing this week after season ending Tommy John surgery last August, former Reds top pitching prospect Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto should Cincinnati's dream of a four aces rotation rotation develop.


Joe Tetreault is a member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey.

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Transaction Action: Rangers Pick Up Vladimir Guerrero PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Saturday, 09 January 2010 20:39

MLBlogger T.R. Sullivan has word that Vladimir Guerrero has signed on with the Texas Rangers. The deal is for 2010 with an option for the 2011 season. The soon to be 35 year old designated hitter has spent the last six seasons crushing American League pitching at the heart of the Angels lineup, mostly playing rightfield until the last two seasons, when injury shifted him to DH.

He began his career with the Expos, departing for Los Angeles when they still were called the Anaheim Angels. Guerrero was a perennial all-star and MVP candidate throughout his career until 2009, when he slipped to career low batting line of .295/.334/.460 with the Angels. While still above average, those numbers were a far cry from his fantastic career averages .321/.386/.568 - numbers that signal a likely enshrinement in Cooperstown when he chooses to retire. The Rangers are expected to use him as a Designated Hitter, replacing departed Hank Blalock who remains in search of a team for 2010.


Joe Tetreault is a member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey.

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