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Free Agency and Trades
Transaction Action: Tigers Deal Nate Robertson to Florida PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010 16:55

MLB.com's Joe Fisaro tweets that the Marlins and Tigers have swung a deal that will move pitcher Nate Robertson and a massive chunk of the money he is owed for 2010 to South Florida. Robertson had appeared to be the front-runner for Detroit's fifth starter job, before trade rumors surfaced, indicating the Tigers would consider moving Robertson. According to Fox Sport's Ken Rosenthal, Detroit is picking up all but $400,000 of Robertson's $10 million salary.

In exchange, the Tigers receive minor league reliever Jay Voss. Two disappointing seasons shuttling between the rotation and the pen led to a full-time bullpen gig for Voss in 2009. The result was a 3-1 record and a 2.72 ERA between Advanced A Jupiter and AA Jacksonville. He may begin 2009 at Detroit's AAA affiliate Toledo.

Robertson appeared in 28 games, starting six of them for the Tigers in 2009. He was ineffective for a second consecutive year, with an ERA of 5.44 and nearly as many walks allowed as strikeouts. Robertson's best success had been as a league average, innings eater. The Marlins are expected to make him their fifth starter. Detroit will make Dontrelle Willis their fifth starter as a result of the deal.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Giants Sign Matt Cain, Officially Announce Deals for Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Sunday, 28 March 2010 17:52

Matt CainThe Giants continued to secure the core elements of their pitching staff for the foreseeable future, officially announcing the signing of Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt and Matt Cain. Both Affeldt and Wilson's deal were leaked last week.

The club regards the move as an effort to keep the club's strong pitching staff intact for the upcoming future. Affeldt receives a one-year extension for the 2011 season, with a club option for 2012. Affeldt's deal is worth a guaranteed $9.5 million. There is also a club option worth $5 million. Wilson receives a two-year extension for 2011 and 2012. We reported the details of the contract last week.

Jeremy AffeldtDetails about Cain's contract are still to be revealed, but it keeps him in San Francisco through the 2012 season. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the deal runs from 2010 through 2012 and will pay Cain $4.5 million in 2010. He estimates Cain will earn $8 million in 2011 and better than $15 million in 2012. Cain would have been eligible for free agency after the 2011 season.

By locking up the three pitchers, the starting rotation has four pitchers under team control through the 2012 season, with Cain (signed through 2012), Tim Lincecum (arbitration eligible through 2013), Jonathan Sanchez (arbitration eligible through 2012) and Barry Zito (signed through 2013 with a club option for 2014).

Brian Wilson"Pitching is our hallmark," said Sabean. "By signing these three outstanding pitchers, this gives us cost certainty in this area and makes a statement to our fan base that we realize their importance."

Cain, 25, won 14 games against 8 losses last season with an ERA of 2.89. His peripherals were also quite strong allowing 7.6 hits per nine innings while striking out 7.1 batters per nine. His hit rate was partially the product of a remarkably low .267 BABIP. The league average tends to be near .300, but even without last year, Cain had one significantly better than average. Being able to duplicate that effort will be essential to building on last season's numbers.

Wilson,28, was one of the most effective closers in the National League in 2009. His 38 saves for the Giants in 2009, with a 2.79 ERA over 72.1 innings pitched.

Affeldt, who turns 31 in June, split four decisions last season, appearing in 74 games and recording a 1.73 ERA. He had a team best 33 holds and stranded 72% of the runners he inherited on the season.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Twins Sign Joe Mauer to 8-Year, $184 Million Extension PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 21 March 2010 16:53

Joe MauerTHIS IS BREAKING NEWS...

The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have agreed to terms with catcher Joe Mauer on a eight-year, $184 million contract extension, covering the 2011-2018 seasons. The deal, which includes a full no-trade clause, will be made official at a 7:00 pm (ET) press conference in the Twins’ Conference Center at the Lee County Sports Complex (Minor League building).

The deal ranks Mauer as having the third largest current contract in baseball behind Alex Rodriguez ($275 million, 2008-'17) and Derek Jeter ($184 million, 2001-'10), both with the Yankees. In terms of average annual value (AAV), he ranks second ($23 million) among the three, sandwiched bewteen A-Rod ($30.55 million) and Jeter ($18.9 million).

He will earn $12.5 million this season in the last year of his four-year, $33 million contract. According to Joe Christensen of the Minnesota-Star Tribune, Mauer will earn $23 million in each of the years in the new contract from 2011-18.

Mauer, 26, batted .365 (191-for-523) with 30 doubles, one triple, 28 home runs and 96 rbi in 138 games with the Twins last season. He was named to his third career All-Star team (2006, 2008), won his second career Rawlings Gold Glove Award (2008), third career Louisville Slugger “Silver Slugger” Award (2006, 2008) and was named the American League Most Valuable Player. Mauer was also named the Player of the Year by Baseball America and the American League Most Outstanding Player by the MLB Players’ Choice Awards.

With his 2009 batting title, Mauer became one of 10 players in Major League history to win three-or-more batting titles, and the first to win back-to-back batting titles since Nomar Garciaparra in 1999 and 2000. He also became the 12th player (first catcher) in American League history (first since George Brett in 1980) to lead the league in batting average, on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.587). Of the 12 American League players to accomplish those numbers, 10 are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound catcher from St. Paul, Minnesota, was selected by the Twins as the first pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. Mauer has a career batting average of .327 (844-for-2582) with 158 doubles, 15 triples, 72 home runs and 397 rbi in 699 games. He has a fielding percentage of .996 (18 E, 4158 TC) and has thrown out 93 of 204 (46%) runners attempting to steal. Since making his Major League debut in 2004, Mauer ranks third among all Major League players in batting, behind Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners (.335) and Albert Pujols of the Cardinals (.334).


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Transaction Action: Diamondbacks Sign Mark Reynolds to 3-yr. $14.5M Contract PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Monday, 15 March 2010 20:18

Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have have announced the signing of starting third baseman Mark Reynolds to a three year $14.5 million contract that includes an option year that would extend the contract to 2013 if exercised by the club. The option is worth $11 million.

Another of the many players facing contract renewal during spring training, Reynolds was subject to having the team dictate his pay because he has yet to accumulate the necessary service time to be arbitration eligible. In fact, the Diamondbacks had renewed his contract on March 11th, prior to working out this deal. The deal buys out Reynolds' next three seasons, leaving Arizona with the choice of picking up his option or going to arbitration in his final year of eligibility.

The deal will pay him salaries of $500,000 for 2010, $5 million in 2011, and $7.5 million in 2012. He also receives $1 million signing bonus. The option includes a $500,000 buyout.

Reynolds hit .260/.349/.543 in 662 at bats while leading the national league in strikeouts for the second consecutive season with a mind-boggling 223 whiffs. Reynolds' K-rate of 33.6% was offset in part by his 76 walks and 44 homeruns. More than half (51.8%) of his plate appearances resulted in one of the so-called three true outcomes - a strikeout, a homerun or a walk. With those on-base skills and power production, Reynolds remains a vital cog in the Arizona offense.

The Diamondbacks had previously secured outfielder Justin Upton to a long term contract buying out the entirety of his arbitration eligibility. The moves allow the club to establish some payroll certainty over the coming three to four seasons when they hope to contend for the top spot in the National League West.


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Transaction Action: Twins Sign Denard Span to 5-yr, $16.5M Contract PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Saturday, 13 March 2010 13:48

The Minnesota Twins today announced the signing of starting centerfielder Denard Span to a five year $16.5 million contract that includes an option year that would extend the contract to 2015 if exercised by the club. The option is worth $9 million.

Span was subject to contract renewal having accumulated, just over one year of Major League service time over the past two seasons. He may have qualified salary arbitration process following the 2010 season had his service time exceeded the threshold to be a Super 2 player. The contract buys out the entirety of Span's arbitration eligibility.

In his two seasons, Span has enjoyed good success at the plate, while providing the team with solid defense at a premium position. The club points to his total of ten triples that tied him for the league lead and his eye-popping 40 infield hits to highlight the threat his speed provides. More important is his career slash line of .305/.390/.422 in 1087 plate appearance spanning two seasons. His .811 OPS in centerfield makes him a very valuable cog in the Twins offensive attack because he gets on base and with his speed and his good batting eye setting the table for Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer.

This is the second major long-term signing by the Twins this month. Previously, they locked up starting pitcher Nick Blackburn through the next four seasons for $14 million. As a small market club, Minnesota has emphasized locking up young talent with multi-year deals that provide the team with cost certainty and allow them to forgo the potentially contentious arbitration process. Rumors have swirled through baseball surrounding the contract status of Minnesota's MVP catcher Mauer. The long term contracts signed by Blackburn and Span may be precursors to the completion of an extension for Mauer that will keep him in the Twin Cities well into his thirties.


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Transaction Action: Rockies Extend Todd Helton Through 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 11 March 2010 16:35

Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have re-signed first baseman Todd Helton to a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Rockies through 2013. Helton will get $9.9 million over the life to the two year extension, paid as $4.9 million in 2012 and $5 million in 2013. Helton also agreed to restructure his 2011 salary to defer a portion of the $19.1 million he was set to receive next season, giving Colorado added payroll flexibility next off-season.

Bouncing back from an off 2008, the Rockies longtime first baseman posted a thoroughly respectable batting line of .325/.416/.489 in 645 plate appearances. For his career he has an outstanding .427 OBP which is the highest among active players, just two thousandths of a point higher than Albert Pujols.

Colorado could have significant payroll flexibility next offseason with both Brad Hawpe and Jeff Francis likely leaving when their contracts are up. They'll need the extra cash as a number of their young players are becoming arbitration eligible following this season.


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Transaction Action: Tampa Bay Agrees to 1-yr, $925K Contract with Hank Blalock PDF Print E-mail
Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 00:05

Hank Blalock has found a new team and according to a pair of tweets from SI.com's Jon Heyman that team is the the Tampa Bay Rays who have agreed to pay the former Rangers third baseman a base salary of $925,000 with performance bonuses that that could total $350,000.

Blalock spent his first eight seasons with the Texas Rangers mostly playing third base for the team, but shifting to first and DH the last two seasons. Blalock hit well earlier in his career but struggled recently, dipping to a .234/.272/.459 batting line in 495 plate appearances for the Rangers. For his career to date, he put up a batting line of .269/.329/.465. The Rays are hoping he can recapture that performance at the plate coming off the bench. He'll be backing up Carlos Pena at first, Evan Longoria at third and Pat Burrell at DH.


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Transaction Action: Twins Ink Nick Blackburn to a 4-yr. $14M Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joe Tetreault   
Sunday, 07 March 2010 17:20

The Associated Press reports on Minnesota's new four-year $14 million contract with starting pitcher Nick Blackburn that will buy out the entirety of his arbitration eligibility and possibly one year of free agency. The four year deal includes a club option for $8 million.

Blackburn just missed super-two status following the 2009 season, leaving him subject to contract renewal during spring training. He would have been able to go through the salary arbitration process following the 2010 season when he achieved three years of MLB service time. The contract provides Blackburn with security, locking him up through at least 2013, following a year when he earned $440,000.

The second year player enjoyed a remarkably familiar sophomore season as 2009 seemed an extension of 2008 for Blackburn. Like 2008, he posted an 11-11 record with a slight decrease in his ERA, from 4.05 to 4.03. He made 33 starts and worked 205.2 innings for the team, posting solid but unexceptional rate stats that were completely in line with those he put up in his rookie campaign.

Blackburn's deal continues the ever-popular trend of inking young talent to multi-year deals that provide teams with cost certainty and allow them to forgo the potentially contentious arbitration process. The added security of a guaranteed salary and the stability of a settled contract holds plenty of appeal to these young players who are susceptible to injury or ineffectiveness. The trend began with the Cleveland Indians in the early 1990s as a means of maintaining their core of young players without budget busting increases via salary arbitration.

The Biz of Baseball maintains detailed information about baseball's salary arbitration process. Our arbitration scorecard has a recap of cases since 2005 as well as links to more detailed data. For a historical perspective on salary arbitration, please click here. Our archive of articles on the process, including player signings and filings can be found here.


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A Detailed Breakdown of the 2010 Red Sox Spring Training Roster PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 05 March 2010 11:27

Red SoxThe Boston Red Sox were very active this off-season, moving toward a more defense-oriented roster to address being on the wrong side of run differential last season. Here's a look at how the team looks entering the 2010 season.

The Red Sox has 59 players in Major League Spring Training camp, including 20 non-roster invitees. Here's how the roster breaks down by position:

29 pitchers (10 invitees), 6 catchers (2 invitees), 15 infielders (4 invitees) and 9 outfielders (4 invitees).

HOW THEY WERE OBTAINED:

2010 40-MAN ROSTER:

  • Amateur Draft Picks (15): Bard (2006-1st round), Bates (2006-3rd round), Bowden (2005-compensation round), Brown (2000-35th round), Buchholz (2005-compensation round), Delcarmen (2000-2nd round), Ellsbury (2005- 1st round), Lester (2002-2nd round), Lowrie (2005-compensation round), Papelbon (2003- 4th round), Pedroia (2004-2nd round), Reddick (2006-17th round), Richardson (2006-5th round), Wagner (2005-9th round), Youkilis (2001-8th round)
  • By Trade (9): Beckett (From Marlins, Nov. 2005), Bonser (From Twins, Dec. 2009), Hall (From Mariners, Jan. 2010), Hermida (From
    Marlins, Nov. 2009), Hulett (From Royals, Nov. 2009), Lowell (From Marlins, Nov. 2005), Martinez (From Indians, July 2009), Ramirez (From Royals, Nov. 2008), Varitek (From Mariners, July 1997)
  • Free Agents (9): Atchison (Dec. 2009), Beltre (Jan. 2010), Cameron (Dec. 2009), Castro (Dec. 2009), Drew (Jan. 2007), Lackey (Dec. 2009), Ortiz (Jan. 2003), Scutaro (Dec. 2009), Wakefield (April 1995)
  • MLB-NPB Posting System (1): Matsuzaka (Dec. 2006)
  • International Free Agent (4): Doubront (July 2004), Iglesias (Sept. 2009), Okajima (Nov. 2006), Tazawa (Dec. 2008)
  • Off Waivers (1): R. A. Ramirez (From Rays, Dec. 2009)

Source: Boston Red Sox


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Transaction Action: Mets Sign Kiko Calero to a Minor League Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Free Agency, Trades, and Signings
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 04 March 2010 17:18

The Associated Press reports that the Mets have signed free agent reliever Kiko Calero to a minor league contract.  Despite an excellent season in South Florida, injury concerns had limited the interest he drew from major league clubs.  The contract will pay him $850,000 should he break camp with the team with performance bonuses that could push the deal's total value to $1.5 million.

Calero posted a 2-2 record and a 1.95 ERA in 67 relief appearances with the Marlins in 2009. He had the lowest ERA and the best peripheral rate stats on the Marlins staff last season. The 35 year-old righty will likely be used in a setup role for the Mets, should he make the big club out of spring training. The Mets had previously signed Kelvim Escobar to fill that role in the pen, but he is not expected to be ready for Opening Day as he rehabs from shoulder woes.


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