Mariners Mini Morsels: Movember 25 (later morning edition)

Oh, that’s who’s steering the ship. I get it now.

Comment From Nervous Ms Fans: Jokes aside, what does Kendrys Morales get?

Dave Cameron: I’d guess 3/36 from the Mariners.

 

AL West Commentary

Draft picks could be especially important to the Rangers next summer. That’s because the club went far over its financial allotment as far as international amateur signings this past summer, and the Rangers will be limited to what they can spend next July. In past years, Texas has been a heavy player in the international amateur market, and that has allowed the club to overcome some big injuries and setbacks to key top Draft picks. From T.R. Sullivan at MLB.com

 

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has sued the team’s former owner and a pair of media companies, alleging he’s lost possibly hundreds of millions of dollars because they misrepresented the value of a regional television network that broadcasts. In his lawsuit, Crane alleges that McLane fraudulently boosted the value of the network by false representing the subscription fees that providers would pay. The lawsuit says McLane knew these rates were “too high and that other distributors would not agree to pay the rate.” The lawsuit, filed in state court in Houston on Thursday, accuses former Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr., as well as Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal Media of fraud, misrepresentation and conspiracy. The suit also accuses McLane of breach of contract.

Astros games are broadcast in the Houston area on Comcast SportsNet Houston. When Crane bought the Astros in 2011 for $615 million, part of that included a more than 40 percent stake in the regional television network. At a news conference Friday, Crane said the network’s failings have cost the team “tens, probably hundreds” of millions of dollars in revenue and if the network deal stays in place, losses would continue for years. “We now face a situation where either we accept millions of dollars in loss each year, with the damage to this franchise and this city for next 20 years, or we fight back,” Crane said. “I did not buy this team to have a low payroll and be mediocre. We bought this team to win 

 

Comment From Ousy: How does Oakland get better? Seems like they have few holes to fill, difficult to upgrade significantly.

Dave Cameron: They need better pitching. Their rotation isn’t very good.

 

The Angels are “in” on both Bronson Arroyo and Bartolo Colon but are NOT close on anyone according to sources. From Jim Bowden at ESPN

 

So they said

“With his elevation to the college of Cardinals secure, it was but a matter of time before he could lay claim to the name Pope Jhon I.” —Old Hoss Radbourn

 

Mariner’s potential off-season targets

The Yankees are currently engaged with free agents Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Stephen Drew and Hiroki Kuroda while eying Joe Nathan and top pitching target Masahiro Tanaka. They are also pressing Robinson Cano for a meeting soon to figure out whether there’s something to talk about. —Jon Heyman at CBS Sports

 

The Marlins have expressed interest in free agent catcher Dioner Navarro, 29, a switch-hitter who hit .300 with 13 homers and 34 RBI in 89 games for the Cubs last season. The Marlins would like to add an offensively gifted catcher to complement defensively skilled backup Jeff Mathis. —Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald
Free-agent left-hander Randy Wolf, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, auditioned for eight teams last week. Wolf, who will pitch next season at 37, threw 87 mph to 89 mph with a good curve and already is receiving offers, according to a major league source. From Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports

 

Draft and Prospects

On the pitching side, right-hander Brandon Maurer went 1-2 with a 5.95 ERA in six starts as he continued his development as a starting contender in the organization. Maurer, 23, made 14 starts for the Mariners last year after jumping straight from Jackson to the big leagues. Mariners Minor League Coordinator Chris Gwynn said the AFL provided more time for Maurer to continue his maturation.

“He was just working on his control and believing in his fastball and using it to both sides of the plate,” Gwynn said. “A couple years ago he was in Double-A as probably a fifth starter on that staff and nobody knew him. He turned it on pretty good that year, had Lights-out Spring Training and then struggled a little. He found out guys in the big leagues are really good and you have to make all your pitches. But I think when he sits down now, he’ll have some really good lessons to draw from. We all like him. He’s young and has a great arm.” —Greg Johns at MLB

 

Baseball Best Practice

Comment From Jay: I feel like players like Uribe and Peralta get bad reps as defensive players because they are pretty “thick” guys… would you agree their body plays into this weird misconception that they are poor defenders?

Dave Cameron: Yep. People think good defenders have to be skinny.

 

“Keep in mind that any dollar value we throw on a win — $5.3 million or $6 million or whatever — is an average that suggests the additional value for each win is the same for the Astros as for the Yankees, when in fact that’s untrue. For a contending team, each additional win exponentially increases its chances of reaching the playoffs, which would thus allow it to tap into an additional revenue stream. Therefore a $150 million deal that produces $125 million of “actual” value would not only be within the expected range of variance but would be more justifiable for contender such as the Rangers than a cellar-dweller such as the Mariners.” By Jay Jaffe at Sports Illustrated 

 

That’s it. The Jhonny Peralta contract will be a tipping point, leading to harsher penalties for players who are suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. Prior to Peralta striking it rich, $16 million for two years seemed to be the standard free-agent deal for a position player coming off a PED suspension. The Cardinals are in agreement with Peralta on a four-year, $53 million contract, according to major-league sources. And while some fans are outraged, they hardly are the only ones disgusted. “It pays to cheat,” Arizona Diamondbacks reliever and player representative Brad Ziegler tweeted Sunday. “Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use.” By Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports

 

Baseball Biz

MLB Free Agency: The albatross contract faces extinction. With money flowing into the game from local television deals, big contracts don’t pose the same risk they once did.  So says Matt Sullivan at Lone Star Ball, pointing out the ability of teams to trade even mega-contracts like Vernon Wells and Prince Fielder, although he goes on to point out that the albatross contract isn’t completely gone.

Alex Rodriguez’s current deal looks as immovable as a deal can right now. The Angels will need a serious bounce-back performance from Josh Hamilton to get him off their books and Albert Pujols‘ contract might be even tougher to escape from. Should Joey Votto decline rapidly, his deal could haunt the Reds something fierce. A few special cases could leave teams hamstrung for years, but the current MLB environment mitigates that risk extraordinarily well. The lack of consequences for signing players to deals that pay too much and last too long is only going to encourage GMs to take even bigger risks. Eventually, a few of those risks will be so ill advised that they will offer no escape plan. High revenues might endanger the albatross contract, but as long as there is someone willing to overextend, their population will survive.

 

Comment From Gila Monster: Is MLBAM the greatest success store in baseball? MLB seemed to be way ahead of the game and is making a fool of the NFL and NBA struggling to catch up. MLB.TV seemed to cut the middleman instead of paying outrageous prices to buy cable packages.

Dave Cameron: It will be interesting to see if there comes a point when MLB starts just cutting cable companies out and selling baseball games directly to the fans through MLB.tv. It would require a huge investment in terms of building out advertisements, but it could very well prove more profitable long term.

 

International

Top Japanese baseball officials are scheduled to fly to New York this week to try to finalize a new posting system, which would end the logjam that has delayed star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka’s availability to MLB teams and potentially also stir some movement among the better MLB free-agent pitchers in what’s been a mostly dormant starters’ market. There is renewed hope for a posting agreement after deals fell though in late October and again about 10 days ago, though there is no guarantee a deal will be struck. Representatives from the 12 teams of the Nippon Baseball League reportedly re-started their own meetings last Monday, according to the Japan Times.  —Jon Heyman at CBS Sports

 

Tohoku Rakuten Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka sat down with club president Yozo Tachibana at the Japan Series winner’s office on Friday to discuss the course of action both sides are looking to take in the offseason. Tanaka informed the club before this past season of his desire to make a jump to the major leagues in the near future. On this day, Tachibana focused his comments on the state of negotiations for a new posting-system agreement between Nippon Pro Baseball and Major League Baseball. Tanaka didn’t discuss his wishes. “I told him we want to aim for the championship again next year, and he would be a necessary part of that plan,” Tachibana said.

“Once the new [new posting system] is determined, we’ll take a look at everything as a whole—including his desires—and decide whether or not to post him,” said Tachibana, who doesn’t anticipate a quick agreement on the posting system.

“Considering the way things are done in the United States, once the Winter Meetings are over [Christmas vacation] slows things down and there isn’t much going on,” Tachibana said. “I think that would be a key time,” he said, anticipating an agreement in mid-December. From The Japan News

 

Promising Cuban shortstop Erisbel Barbaro Arruebarruena has left his home country to try and sign with a major league team, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Arruebarruena is known for his tremendously sharp defense at the shortstop position, drawing comparisons to Jose Iglesias in the field. Arruebarruena, 23, has played in Serie Nacional for six seasons, so his bonus will not be subject to the international bonus pools. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that Arruebarruena has established residency in Haiti. He will now need to be cleared to sign by the U.S. government and MLB.

In related news, Cuban reporter Ibrahim Rojas tells MLB Trade Rumors that 19-year-old pitcher Javier Gonzalez, 22-year-old pitcher Jorge Hernandez, and 25-year-old outfielder Dayron Varona have left Cuba. By Zach Links at MLB Trade Rumors

 

By The Numbers

The Yankees have used 9 catchers since 2010. They combined for 61 HR. Brian McCann since 2010 all by himself: 85 HR (in 154 fewer games). From Jason Stark at ESPN

 

More Chat Review with Dave Cameron

Comment From Nick: with rumors of the tigers shopping [Prince Fielder], any idea who could grab him and what the tigers would get for him

Dave Cameron: Tigers would get salary relief only, and they’d have to eat a lot of the remaining contract to move him. Most teams smart enough to know that contract is awful.

 

Comment From Jtt: Scherzer and Prince for Kinsler is about the closest way I can see the tigers getting rid of prince. Does texas even consider?

Dave Cameron: No. Prince’s contract is that bad.

 

Comment From JC: Does Jhonny Peralta get 3-4 years? More than 12mil/per?

Dave Cameron: I could see 3, probably not 4.

 

Comment From Prich: Who is the odd man out in the LA OF, and how much $$$ will the Dodgers have to eat?

Dave Cameron: Ethier, $40 million.

 

Comment From semperty: When involving call-ups and send downs, does a team only use 1 option per season, or is it per move up/down?

Dave Cameron: 1 per season.

 

Comment From Josh: What do you believe the current undervalued asset on the free agent market is/will be this off-season?

Dave Cameron: Roberto Hernandez.

 

Comment From Guest: How much do you think the lower tier of damaged goods starters (like Marcum and Floyd) will get?

Dave Cameron: A few million guaranteed, lots of incentives.

 

Comment From Dan: Which SPs do you think the Angels will end up wooing to Anaheim? Any idea who they may be targeting via trade? Thanks!

Dave Cameron: My guess is they trade Kendrick for a starter. Detroit makes some sense, given their 2B need, and we know the Tigers are shopping Porcello.

 

Comment From Steven: If Mike Napoli’s leaves Boston, how likely is it that Mike Carp would be viewed as a reasonable replacement? Would he need to be platoon?

Dave Cameron: Doubt they’d give him a full time job. I could see Nava moving to 1B if they sign an OF.

 

Comment From Seymour: with seemingly no competition (Mets certainly don’t count), do you see Cano getting over $200M ? 8 yrs? this doesn’t seem like the freewheeling Yankees of past years.

Dave Cameron: If this drags out and the price comes down far enough, a smart team like the Cubs will jump in and sign him. I don’t think he’s getting under $200M.

 

Comment From Erich: Corey Hart gets X dollars over Y years from Z team. Solve for X, Y, and Z.

Dave Cameron: $6 million (plus incentives), 1 year, Tampa Bay.