Mariners Mini Morsels: December 3

Los Angeles Angels: By non-tendering players like Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams and Chris Nelsonthe team has freed up enough payroll to pursue a free agent starting pitcher like Bartolo Colon, who the Oakland Athletics are expecting to sign elsewhere in 2014.  —AJ Mass at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]

 

So now Arte Moreno doesn’t want to pay? After Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews Jr.? Hey, it’s Moreno’s money. He can spend it any way he likes. The guy must be a phenomenal businessman, able to convince Fox Sports that 20 seasons of Angels telecasts are somehow worth $3 billion.

Moreno’s team has had a payroll in excess of $120 million in the past four seasons. It is strange, though, to read that the owner now wants to avoid paying luxury tax just one year after he signed off on paying Joe Blanton $15 million. The Angels have only about $10 million worth of payroll space left, according to reports, and they remain two pitchers short of a rotation. The Angels just gave Joe Smith $15.75 million to take care of the eighth innings for the next three seasons, making it obvious that $10 million isn’t going to go very far in filling out the starting five.

So GM Jerry Dipoto is searching for a trade partner interested in Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar or Mark Trumbo, who should be embraced as one of the best bargains in baseball but instead might have to go because the Angels absolutely had to have Hamilton last off season. “Hamilton’s move cements L.A. as game’s power center,” read a headline on Sports Illustrated’s website. The Angels then spent 161 games of their 162-game season at or below .500.

The two most effective ways to build a rotation are to grow one or buy one. The best rotations typically are a combination of both. Here we’re talking about the Dodgers, whose starters easily had the lowest ERA in baseball last season. And the worst way to build a rotation? By patching one together, which is exactly what the Angels tried to do last winter and, unless Dipoto can work some magic, could be doing this winter. Again, no thanks. Based on a piece by Jeff Miller at the Orange County Register

 

The Oakland Athletics have reportedly signed free agent pitcher Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal, believed to be worth $22 million. It was likely that second year which prevented Cleveland from attempting to outbid Oakland in an effort to retain Kazmir’s services. Prior to the signing, there were rumors that a potential trade involving Brett Anderson was contingent on the A’s being able to bring free agent Bartolo Colon back into the fold for 2014. Now, with Kazmir filling that spot in the rotation, the phone will likely start ringing off the hook with inquiries from team on the availability of Anderson. Multiple teams, including the Minnesota Twins, and the Kansas City Royals (according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney) have expressed interest in Anderson. Presumably, there’s now one less hurdle to making those rumors into a reality. AJ Mass at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]

 

Before the Kinsler-Fielder trade, the Angels offered the Tigers Kendrick for Fister. They wouldn’t do it. Today, they got Lombardozzi/Krol/Ray from the Nats. From: Alden Gonzalez at MLB.com

 

International

MLB Posting System Proposal Includes Maximum Bid By Aaron Steen at MLB Trade Rumors

MLB negotiators’ latest proposal for the posting system would establish a maximum bid and include a provision prioritising teams with low records, Sponichi reports (Japanese link). Under the plan, multiple teams could submit the maximum bid for a player, with negotiating rights going to the club that had the lowest winning percentage that year. Nippon Professional Baseball was scheduled to discuss the proposal in a meeting with the 12 NPB teams on Tuesday.

Last month, the two sides nearly reached an agreement that would have seen the Japanese team paid a posting fee equal to the midpoint between the top two bids. However, this arrangement was ultimately rejected by MLB because of opposition by small-market teams, which insisted that the posting fee be counted against the luxury tax.

As the article notes, this new proposal and its maximum bid could encourage greater participation among small-market teams. A marquee name like Masahiro Tanaka is all but off-limits for low-revenue clubs under the current system, which can require teams to pay more than $50MM just to get to the negotiating table. Small-market owners are therefore likely to drop their luxury tax-related demands if a scheme that gives priority to lower-ranking teams is on offer, Sponichi reports. However, winning teams are certain to oppose the plan because it would greatly reduce their chances of securing negotiating rights. It’s also unclear how the proposal would be received by the 12 Japanese teams, which would appear to gain little by agreeing to a system with a maximum bid.

 

Pretty sad to see the negotiations over the new posting system between NPB and MLB continue to drag on. It’s already December now, and MLB teams are trying to set their rotations for next season. It doesn’t look too good when NPB sends its director of baseball operations (Nobuhisa Ito) to negotiate with a monolith like MLB, then he comes back and blames the other side for a deal not being reached. Being embarrassed on the international stage is definitely not cool, but is it just me, or are the NPB folks completely oblivious? Just a shrug of the shoulders like we so often see in this country.

Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking, and Masahiro Tanaka’s future hangs in the balance. It almost makes you wonder if the dithering is not intentional, so it gets to the point where Tanaka says, “OK. I will just stay in Japan for another year.”

NPB really needs to get its house in order. First there was the ball scandal, now no commissioner or new posting system.

When will the comedy routine end? —Jack Gallagher at the Japan Times

 

By The Numbers

Doug Fister is one of six American League pitchers to throw at least 100 innings and post an ERA of 3.75 or below in each of the last three seasons. The others are Jered Weaver, Verlander, James ShieldsDavid Price and Felix Hernandez. Source: ESPN Stats & Info

 

Curt Schilling is the only member of the 3000 strikeout club with fewer than 750 walks. In fact, Schilling’s 4.38 K/BB ranks first all-time. Source: YCPB You Can’t Predict Baseball