Last Friday was Friday the 13rh, so we should have been expecting something when our toaster didn't blow up, our car started without issue, and the cat didn't puke hairballs on our pillow. Instead, we were just preparing for bed or heading out to that club (you know, the one with the loud BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP music you love so much) and decided to check the computer/TV/smart phone one last time. For that we got Brian Cashman And His Furious Pitcher-Grabbing Machine (Golden Globe winner for best impersonation of a trip to the dentist's office) which snatched up the best starter available and one of the best not available in Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda. Rats.
Friday night wasn't exactly the greatest night ever for thefranchise, though it should be noted it wasn't the worst either. But we'll get to that. First, the made two moves. First, they signed starter and ex-Red Sox fan binky Hiroki Kuroda. Minutes later they succeeded in trading to Seattle, receiving starter Michael Pineda in return. Kuroda's one year $10 million contract had lots of Red Sox fans asking, "Why not us?", which is a fair question, although it could be asked of many teams besides Boston as well.
But the bigger of the two moves was the Pineda/Montero deal. Dave Cameron at Fan Graphs thinks the Yankees paid less than they should have considering the market for young above average starting pitchers this winter. In a further article on Pineda, Mr. Cameron notes that Pineda's splits aren't the red flag that many analysts have made them out to be. Rats. Over at The Pinstriped Bible, Steven Goldman applauds the move for the Yankees. Here at SBN, the incomparable Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing has his take on the deal here (he's not wild about it, but he's optimistic) and another writer on the site, Matthew (no last name given and no, it wasn't me) gives his thoughts. Regardless of who "won" the deal according to the analysts, the Yankees starting rotation just got much better.
first year second year of arbitration eligibility, the Red Sox signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a one year, $2.5 million deal, and I don't understand the acrimony over it. This is not intended to be antagonistic as friends can disagree and remain friends, but both Ben Buchanan here at OTM and our compadres at Fire Brand of the AL were less than thrilled that Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed a one year offer for $2.5 million. The idea is that in his first year of arbitration eligibility, Salty doesn't deserve that high a salary. MLB Trade Rumors projects what arbitration-eligible players will get and they projected Salty to get $1.6 million, or $900 thousand less than what he received. That's a significant difference for Salty but I'm not sure it is for the Red Sox. [Edit: It was pointed out to my by a very reputable source that Saltalamacchia is in his second year of arbitration, not his first. This makes his $2.5 million salary look even better, as salaries escalate throughout arbitration towards free agency.]
That's not to say the Sox should go handing out $900 thousand checks to everyone not on a long term deal, but as a one off I don't see the issue. I'm not sure what the data says about creating acrimony though the arbitration meeting, but if I were in charge I'd do just about anything to avoid standing in a room in front of a player I'm depending on and arguing that he wasn't as good as he thought he was. That might not hurt anything, but it also could, and there is no upside to it from the team's standpoint. I'd pay a bit extra to avoid it. And, perhaps the more salient point, $2.5 million for a starting catcher isn't anything to worry about.
Some quickies on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:
- Bobby Valentine's response (via Tim Britton at the Providence Journal) to the Yankees' two deals this past Friday is priceless. I'm starting to warm to the guy.
- MLB Trade Rumors has the Red Sox in talks (whatever that means) with Roy Oswalt. Peter Abraham at the Globe also thinks the Red Sox should pursue Oswalt. Oswalt is fine, he's an excellent pitcher in fact, when he's healthy, but one would hope that A) any Oswalt signing isn't a reaction to the Yankees moves but part of a plan, B) for far less money than Hirokie Kuroda got from New York. Because if not, why not Kuroda?
- At Beyond the Boxscore, Dave Gershman puts his top twelve Red Sox prospects into four buckets: Major League Star, Above-Average Regular, Solid/Average, and Bench. I have to take slight issue with his rankings, as from what I've read Will Middlebrooks fits exactly into that second category while Xander Bogaerts has been described frequently as possessing a ceiling of exactly the first category, yet Mr. Gershman has the two reversed. Another quibble (while I'm beating on a perfectly good article): it has to be very difficult to put players with zero professional experience into those categories. Maybe specifying what exactly is being ranked would be helpful (i.e. a player's ceiling or the author's personal expectation, for example).
- Jonathan Bernhardt at Baseball Prospectus wrote the definitive piece on Jack Morris and his ridiculous (my word, not Mr. Bernhardt's) candidacy for the Hall of Fame. As Craig Calcaterra noted at Hardball Talk, it's a long article, but it's absolutely worth the read.
Finally, if you'll indulge me, a bit of self promotion. Over at Baseball Prose, I wrote a piece about a guy I used to know in high school named Andrew Bailey.