Dan Alexander at Forbes.com posted an informative article entitled “2013 Houston Astros: Baseball’s Worst Team Is The Most Profitable In History.” Among the interesting points he makes are that: “The Astros opened this season with a league-low $26 million active payroll and have since cut it to under $13 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. Houston traded or released four of its five players making over $1 million. Number of York Yankees players making at least $13 million: 9. The players are: Alex Rodriguez, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Hiroki Kuroda, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. Rodriguez, Sabathia and Teixeira alone cost more than the opening-day payrolls of seven Major League teams. Rodriguez is set to make $29 million this season and will earn another $6 million in bonus money if he passes Willie Mays 660 mark on the all-time home runs list. He has 11 to go, and if he gets them before the season ends, he could make just shy of triple the Astros’ active payroll.”
The Yankees of course are not the only big time spenders suffering from buyer’s remorse. In a piece by John Taylor on the Angels at mlb.si.com he points out that, “the team still owes over a quarter of a billion dollars to Pujols and Hamilton going forward, not to mention a combined $118 million in long-term money to Weaver and Wilson, almost $20 million to Howie Kendrick, $17 million to Aybar, and $7.5 million to Blanton. That all complicates what will be the biggest issue for DiPoto or his replacement: Negotiating a long-term deal for Trout, who will be arbitration eligible in two years. Regardless of whether DiPoto, Scioscia or both end up ousted, it’s clear that whoever inherits the mess that is the Angels will have plenty of work to do.”
As noted by Geoff Baker at the Seattle Times, earlier reports that Tony Blengino had been fired by the Mainers were not accurate. According to Baker “the Mariners have sent an email out to other MLB teams telling them that Blengino requested he be released from the exclusivity restrictions of his contract so he can pursue other opportunities.” Reached this morning, Blengino confirmed that this was true. “I just wanted the chance to see what was out there if it looked like I wasn’t going to be a part of the future here,” Blengino said.” Blengino added that he had nothing bad to say about the Mariners or the city of Seattle. He just sensed that his time here had run its course and that it’s time to look at new opportunities. Despite reports that Blengino has been “let go” by the Mariners, that part isn’t entirely accurate.
Blengino is still under contract with the Mariners until the end of the year and will keep being paid by them unless he finds a different job first,” Baker concluded.
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors has created a Free Agent Position Player Leaderboard on FanGraphs for their readers to track the performance of the upcoming free agent class. The players are ranked according to their current WAR value. Those of possible interest to the Mariners might include: #2 Jacoby Ellsbury (4.7 WAR) who may get the second richest contract after #1 ranked Robinson Cano (5.0 WAR); #4 Hunter Pence (3.7 WAR); #6 Sin-Soo Choo (3.5 WAR); #8 Marlon Byrd (3.4 WAR); #10 Nate McLouth (2.6 WAR); #15 Coco Crisp (2.2 WAR); #17 Carlos Beltran (2.2 WAR); #19 David DeJesus (2.0 WAR); #22 Nelson Cruz (1.5 WAR); and #29 Kendrys Morales (1.1 WAR). Most of these players might wish to stay with their current teams but some teams may have a surplus of players at their positions or not have sufficient payroll flexibility. While some may be offered a Qualifying Offer (QO) of about $14MM which, if the player rejects it, would require a new team to surrender a first or second round draft choice next June if they sign him.
Shin-Soo Choo, RF, Reds — It doesn’t appear that the Reds will have the finances to sign Choo for the long run. The Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, and Red Sox appear to be teams that will have interest, according to Nick Cafardo Boston Globe. Industry sources told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com last week that the Cubs are expected to make a run at Choo. The outfielder ranks No. 5 on Tim Dierkes’ 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings at MLB Trade Rumors
Casper Wells might want to consider a position switch to the mound, or not. As reported by Mark Townsend of Big League Stew, “ With all other options exhausted as their marathon game entered the 18th inning — already the longest game time wise in both Arizona Diamondbacks and Citizens Bank Park history — new Philadelphia Phillies skipper Ryne Sandberg had no little choice but to turn the game over to a position player. Luckily for him, he had one with some recent big league experience waiting in the wings in Casper Wells, who earlier this season made a very successful appearance for the Chicago White Sox. Sandberg had to figure Wells would at least enter Sunday morning’s appearance with some confidence in his ability to get outs. I mean after all, he did hit 93 mph on the gun in Chicago and struck out Asdrubal Cabrera with a filthy breaking ball. That confidence probably built up even more as Wells quickly retired Cliff Pennington and Tuffy Gosewisch to begin his second outing. Then it all went away. Quickly, and emphatically. It all started with a walk to Tony Campana. Adam Eaton — no, not the former Phillies pitcher by the same name — immediately followed with the breakthrough hit, scoring Campana from first on a double. It then spiralled from there. After an intentional walk to Paul Goldschmidt, Martin Prado singled home a run. Then another walk, and another RBI single from Gerardo Parra. And then Ryne Sandberg brought the hook, sending Wells back to the outfield.”
Howard Megdal@SPORTS ON EARTH relates how Jeremy Bonderman transferred to a bullpen role with Detroit. The results in Seattle weren’t encouraging, with a 4.93 ERA and nearly as many walks as strikeouts. It was clear to both Bonderman and pitching coach Jeff Jones that something fundamental had to change, when Bonderman was signed and sent to Triple-A Toledo to prepare for bullpen work last month. The results in Toledo were 9 2/3 scoreless innings. Since he’s come to the Tigers, he’s pitched another 9 2/3 innings, allowed just three runs, and most encouragingly, struck out 10, though he has walked six. The success, even as he’s made this change mid-year, has impressed Jones. “He’s done a real nice job for us,” Jones said. “You know, it’s not an easy transition, after you’ve been a starter as long as he has. He’s been in the strike zone, for the most part. You know, the experience factor’s really going to help us.”
On the farm
Stefen Romero had a big game offensively, going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and three RBIs Sunday. He’s a big part of the Rainiers offense – it’s too bad he’s had so many nagging injuries this season; he’s only played in 87 games. Tacoma closer Logan Bawcom worked a scoreless ninth to earn his 20th save. He’s the first Rainiers player to get 20 saves in a season since Randy Messenger saved 25 games in 2009. Mike Curto@ Mike… Off Mic
Nate Tenbrink hit his 15th home run of the season to surpass his career high set in 2010. Since July 18, Tenbrink leads the PCL with a .595 slugging percentage. “I’m focusing on keeping my approach simple,” Tenbrink said. “I’m really just trying to see the ball as well as I can.” From Sam Horn The News Tribune
On August 23, 1936, Bob Feller, just 17 years old, struck out 15 in his first start. Cleveland beat the St. Louis Browns 4-1 behind Feller. Baseball de World
Yasiel Puig doesn’t waste any time at the plate when he sees a pitch he thinks he can hit. Puig swings at the first pitch in almost half of his at-bats and is hitting .600 when putting the first pitch in play. ESPN Stats & Info
Alfonso Soriano represents the sixth time in 19 years the Yankees obtained an established slugger in midseason who had at least the following season left on his contract. Joel Sherman, NY Post
The Mariners have allowed double-figure runs in 18 games this season, the most in the majors. From The Bill Chuck Files
Bryce Harper went 2-for-5 with his 18th home run in the Nationals’ loss to Kansas City on Sunday, giving him 40 long balls in his career. He is the fourth player in history to hit at least 40 through his age-20 season, joining Mel Ott (61), Tony Conigliaro (56), and Alex Rodriguez (41). Roger Schlueter@MLB.com