The week of the arbitration deadline always means last minute wheeling and dealing. But that wasn’t the only story line stopping the presses this week! I love the smell of baseball news in the morning!
The Halos are sitting pretty as we inch closer to Spring Training. However, they worked to tie up a few loose ends this week with arbitration-eligible players.
First, they agreed to a one-year, $3.15 million deal with infielder Alberto Callaspo. He was a .288 hitter with a .366 on-base percentage last season. Callaspo spent most of his time at third base.
It’s not the long-term deal they were (are still) hoping for, but the club also reached an agreement with shortstop Erick Aybar. The word from GM Jerry Dipoto is that both sides are still working on an extension that would now begin in the 2013 season. This year, though, the career .276 hitter will make a cool $5.075 million as he waits on that longer deal to develop.
If you’re interested in the non-roster Spring Training invitees, feel free to look over all 20 of them here.
Just when you thought starting pitcher Fausto Carmona couldn’t get more unpredictable, he drops this bombshell on the squad. Well, he didn’t drop it, I suppose. The Dominican Police did when they arrested him Thursday for assuming a false identity. While the details have yet to be sorted out, the club will try to focus on things like making final arrangements for minor league deals and continuing a two-decade-long trend of avoiding arbitration hearings.
They did. (That’s the good news for the Tribe this week!)
In a flurry of one-year signings, and indians.com report relayed the following deals:
On Tuesday, the Indians agreed to terms on one-year contracts with right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, starter Justin Masterson, closer Chris Perez, reliever Joe Smith and third baseman Jack Hannahan. Only All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and lefty reliever Rafael Perez remain unsigned.
They also added reliever Jeremy Accardo and outfielder Fred Lewis on Minor League contracts with Spring Training invites.
It was a quiet week for the Friars, except for one extraordinarily busy Tuesday morning. With 11 arbitration hearings staring GM Josh Byrnes in the face, it was time to get to work. And he did work, coming to terms with 9 of 11 players. According to padres.com, here’s what Byrnes and Company worked up.
The deals agreed to on Tuesday were for Thatcher ($700,000), Baker ($750,000), Headley ($3.475 million), Quentin ($7.025 million), Hundley ($2 million), Gregerson ($1.55 million), Volquez ($2.2375 million), Venable ($1.475 million) and Stauffer ($3.2 million).
Only pitchers Dustin Moseley and Clayton Richard remain unsigned.
The Bucs were busy this week organizing their own remaining contract issues.
To kick things off, they brought in Doug Slaten on a Minor League deal. Slaten spent much of the 2011 season injured. However, the now-healthy lefty adds some extra flexibility to the Pittsburgh bullpen.
Then it was time to try to avoid arbitration.
First up, Chris Resop. The righty when 5-4 last year with a 4.39 ERA in 76 games.
Then came deals with closer Joel Hanrahan and right-hander Charlie Morton. Hanrahan posted a 1.83 ERA while earning 40 saves in 2011, while Morton went 10-10 with a 3.83 ERA. He underwent hip surgery in October, but doesn’t expect any remaining complications come Spring Training.
Following in their footsteps were pitchers Jeff Karstens and Evan Meek. Karstens had a banner year in 2011, posting several career bests, including wins, strikeouts and innings. Meek spent much of the year fighting injury, and played in only 24 games. However, his 2010 campaign resulted in a spot on the All-Star team.
Kudos to the Rockies for boasting the biggest news of the week — inking Jamie Moyer to a Minor League deal.
Yes, the 49-year-old is back after missing 2011 recovering from Tommy John’s surgery. The “old jokes” have infiltrated the interwebs this week, but for a dose of facts that prove Moyer’s feat, try these on for size:
You can’t blame the majority of current Rockies players for missing Moyer’s major-league debut on June 16, 1986 against the Philadelphia Phillies. That’s because 14 players on the Rockies current 40-man roster hadn’t even been born yet …
But for those players who missed Moyer’s debut, it was held at Wrigley Field, and we can safely assume it was a day game, because Wrigley wouldn’t add lights until more than two years later.
Moyer’s first opposing batter? Current Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.
It’s safe to say he has an early hold on “Comeback Player of the Year,” at least in theory.
When they weren’t dealing with Moyer’s contract details, the Rockies worked out a few other kinks, trading outfielder Seth Smith to the Oakland As for right-hander Guillermo Moscoso and left-hander Josh Outman (a move that seemed inevitable once Cuddyer was added to the roster).
The club also reached an agreement with center fielder Dexter Fowler that is rumored to be worth $2.35 million for the 2012 season.
Two more eleventh-hour deals were reached before the arbitration deadline. This time, it was Twins lefties Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins. While Perkins excelled last season, Liriano struggled.
Perkins pitched in 61 2/3 innings and posted a 2.48 ERA with 65 strikeouts, walking 21 and surrendering only two homers all year.
Liriano pitched 134 1/3 innings, but could only manage a 5.09 ERA with 112 strikeouts and 75 walks.
The bigger news, however, also deals with pitching. Former Detroit flamethrower Joel Zumaya agreed to a one-year deal, assuming the role of “set-up guy” for Perkins. The question mark for Zumaya is his health — he has battled elbow injuries for the last year and a half that kept him out of games.
Perhaps this week’s biggest news, impacting three of our adopted teams, came at the hands of veteran infielder Orlando Cabrera. After 15 years, 9 different teams, 1,985 games, 123 home runs, 854 runs batted in and 216 stolen bases, two Gold Gloves and one World Series ring, 36-year-old Cabrera is calling it a career. Most remembered for his part in the 2004 Boston World Series, Cabrera helped the ’07 Angels to the post season, as well. If you need a good look down memory lane, check this piece out.
For those of you counting down the days (the hours, the minutes, even seconds!) until baseball is back, we’re below the one-month mark! Just 29 more days, and we’re golden once again!
Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball and a contributor to Around the Horn. Follow her on Twitter @tarawellman.