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Another week of NFL games gone by and one week closer to spring training. Things should get cooking this week with the GM meetings tomorrow and Wednesday. But before getting into the latest rumors, etc., a moment to send out condolences to new Mets GM Sandy Alderson and his family.
Sadly, Mr. Alderson’s 87-yr old father John was stuck by a car on Saturday night and was pronounced dead a short time later. The senior Alderson, an Air Force veteran of three wars, was looking forward to opening day at Citi Field.
And now on to the hot stove…
Japanese native Hiroki Kuroda would like to play more one year in the major leagues and it appears he’ll re-sign with the LA Dodgers to make it happen. The two sides are reportedly close to a one year, $12M contract.
It’s a fresh start for Cameron Maybin, once regarded as one of the most highly touted prospects in all of baseball. Maybin was dealt on Saturday to the San Diego Padres for relievers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica.
Maybin, still just 23, was acquired by the Marlins from Detroit in December, 2007 as part of the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers. (Andrew Miller also acquired by the Marlins in that trade was recently dealt to the Red Sox.) This may be Maybin’s last chance to show he can hit major league pitching, though his first trip to the majors with Detroit was rushed- he was recalled from the minors in ’07 after playing just six games above the Single-A level. At times he has shown flashes of the multi-tool player that has been talked about, but has yet to put his game completely together.
Mujica emerged as a solid reliever in 2009 and then had a breakout year this past season. He struck out 72 and walked just six batters in 69.2 innings. Webb, originally drafted by the A’s in 2004, has appeared in 82 major league games with average results. He’s give up more than a hit an inning and 3.2 walks per nine innings.
As previously reported, the Marlins are also shopping 2nd baseman Dan Uggla, who turned down a four year contract extension. Buster Olney of ESPN reported Sunday night that the Toronto Blue Jays, for the moment, have emerged as the front runner to acquire the slugging second sacker.
As of Sunday night, Jose Contreras was on the verge of re-signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. The two year deal would be reportedly worth $10M and would include an option year. Not bad for the “at least” 38-yr old reliever.
Terry Collins has emerged as the Mets front runner for their open managerial job. Contender Clint Hurdle was hired to be the Pittsburgh Pirates new manager.
The Chicago Sun-Times Gordon Wittenmyer speculates that the Cubs will forgo bidding for Cliff Lee and instead will look for a 200 innings man such as Javier Vazquez, Kevin Millwood, or Jake Westbrook.
We put a wrap on the division roundup with a look at the NL Central. The division produced a world championship (2005) and two pennants (2004 2007) in St. Louis in 2006 (St. Louis), a pennant winner in Houston (2005), and countless broken hearts in Chicago (every year).
Reds - Cincinnati surprised everyone with an all around solid year to win their first division title since 1995. The “Little Red Machine” was led by should be MVP Joey Votto and key contributions throughout the 25 man roster. The Reds have nine free agents, all 32 or older, and all are not likely to be back in 2011. The Reds have a solid nucleus to contend for the division title again in 2011.
Cardinals - The team has Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, and Chris Carpenter, but couldn’t do better than 86 wins and a second place finish. The Cards are in the same boat as the Reds as for as free agents are concerned, all eight are 32 or older. St. Louis will make a pitch (see what I did there) to bring back Jake Westbrook to compliment their big two and youngster Jaime Garcia. The Cardinals will also try to begin contract negotiations with Albert Pujols to keep him from hitting the open market after the 2011 season.
Brewers – Ron Roenicke is the club’s fourth manager in four years. It’s cliche, but pitching wins, and that’s why the Brewers only won 77 games this past season. Yovanni Gallardo was the only Milwaukee starter with an ERA under 4.00. The Brewers tend to add a Randy Wolf-type (13-12, 4.17) pitcher or two as they did last year. Look for more of the same this year. The Brewers also have to decide what to do about Prince Fielder, who becomes a free agent after the ’11 season. Of the Brewers six free agents, David Bush is the only one with a realistic possibility of being back.
Astros - Gone are long time veterans Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman from a team that surprised some with a 76 win season. Geoff Blum and Brian Moehler are the only two Astros free agents and neither will be back. Houston has three decent starters in Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, and J.A. Happ, but not much offense. 2005 seems like a distant memory.
Pirates – New manager Clint Hurdle has a number of good young players to work with, but how that’s going to translate into wins is anyone’s guess. The Pirates have no free agents and won’t be active in pursuit of free agents. It’s going to be hard to have a significant improvement from 2009′s abysmal 57 win season.
Update 7 p.m.
Some coaching news to begin tonight’s update. Rick Peterson is out as Brewers pitching coach and Rick Kranitz is in. Kranitz’s name had been mentioned as a possibility for the Yankees vacancy due to his association with Joe Girardi when the latter was manager in Florida. Jerry Narron was also added as the Brewers bench coach.
Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports expects John Russell to be Buck Showalter’s new bench coach in Baltimore and says that Willie Randolph has the inside edge to be the team’s new 3rd base coach.
On to player news, as expected Jose Contreras and the Philadelphia Phillies have officially agreed on a two year deal with an option for 2013. The contract is worth $5.5M per season.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have inked veteran utility man Geoff Blum to a two year deal.
No news from day one of the GM meetings. Stay tuned.
Update 10 p.m.
The Cincinnati Reds have re-signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a one year deal, reportedly worth $3M.
The Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi reports that the Florida Marlins and free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski are interested in one another, but the 33-yr old’s asking price may be too high for the Fish.
The Dodgers received minor leaguer Anthony Jackson from the Rockies to complete the September deal that sent Octavio Dotel to Denver.
Quiet night by the stove.
Drew Sarver is the Yankees content editor and a contributor for BaseballDigest.com. You can also read his work at his blog, My Pinstripes. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter at @BD_Sarver and @MyPinstripes.
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