Now you're just making stuff up, Kenny

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal thinks the Jays should let Alex Rios depart on waivers, deleting his contract while getting nothing in return. It’s an arguable position, except that Rosenthal doesn’t put forth much of an argument. Instead, he starts off with this:
The “trade” would not be Rios for whatever meager package the White Sox might offer. The “trade” would be for the $58.7 million that Rios is guaranteed from 2010 to ’14, an average of nearly $12 million per year.
Know what a team could have bought for $12 million last offseason? Outfielder Bobby Abreu, second baseman Orlando Hudson, first baseman Russell Branyan and shortstop Adam Everett — and still had $800,000 to spare.

And Adam Everett!!! Be still my heart.
This is the argument?
First, those players are probably going to end up making over $15 million this year. It’s fun to pretend Hudson’s deal was worth the guaranteed $3.38 million, but he’ll earn $8 million if he stays healthy. He’s already guaranteed himself more than $6 million.
Second, no one team could have had those four players for even the $15 million. It’s never going to work that way. If the Angels faced competition for Abreu, he wouldn’t have signed for $5 million. If the Blue Jays or any other random team offered him $5 million on December 15, he would have laughed in their faces.
So, let’s just say the Blue Jays were waiting in the weeds for all of these guys. Well, Abreu might have been realistic. Not at $5 million, but maybe $7 million-$8 million. Hudson? Back to Toronto and J.P. Ricciardi’s loving arms? Probably not. Plus, he would have cost a draft pick. Branyan? They weren’t going to offer him regular playing time, so he still would have gone to Seattle. Everett? No, I just don’t get that one.
But Rosenthal’s point is that the Jays could use Rios’ money on free agents. And they could. It probably wouldn’t work out, but they could. First, let’s run down all of Ricciardi’s successful big free-agent acquisitions.

Should we do it again? OK, you can say A.J. Burnett was a modest success. He was an above average starter while earning $31 million over three seasons, going 38-24 with a 3.94 ERA, but he only stayed healthy in his walk year. The other three multiyear deals Ricciardi handed out to bring in free agents all ended up with him eating money: B.J. Ryan, Frank Thomas and Corey Koskie. If Ricciardi chooses to spend Rios’ money on free agents, he’ll likely end up with worse players and fewer draft picks.
No, I hardly think that’s the answer. Rios has been a disappointment since landing his big contract prior to 2008, but he’s still been a huge bargain to this point. Yes, he’s eventually going to make $12 million in 2011. However, in 2008, he earned $4.235 million. In 2009, he’s making $5.9 million. Next year, it’s going to be $9.7 million. The odds are still very good that he’ll be worth every penny he’s earning, particularly if the Jays face facts and realize they’d be better off with him in center and Vernon Wells in a corner.

Diamondbacks working on a deal with Tyler Clippard

at Citi Field on July 28, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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Last week Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart revealed that he was interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the two sides have “made progress toward a deal.”

Piecoro notes that by trading Aaron Hill and his remaining contract to the Brewers the Diamondbacks created a bit of payroll flexibility that they could use to sign Clippard.

Clippard has a long history of excellent work as both a setup man and closer, but his raw stuff and secondary numbers have declined even though his ERA remained very good at 2.92 last season for the A’s and Mets. His strikeout rate dipped to a career-low 8.1 per nine innings, which is drop of about 25 percent from 2009-2014.

Two elite Cuban players defect

cuba hat
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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it. UPDATE: Here it is.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.

 

Indians close to signing ex-Nationals reliever Craig Stammen

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Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.

A Mexican team wins the Caribbean Series for the third time in four years

Mexican players celebrate their victory in the Caribbean Series baseball final against Aragua Tigres of Venezuela, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Designated hitter Jorge Vazquez hit a game-winning home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, lifting Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory and the championship of the Caribbean Series. (AP Photo/Roberto Guzman)
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For those who aren’t familiar, Serie del Caribe, or the Caribbean Series, is the highest club level baseball tournament in Latin America, pitting the champions of the winter leagues in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela against one another in a bacchanalia of baseball that, if there was justice in the world, we’d all be watching instead of football.

This year’s installment ended last night with Mexico’s Mazatlan Venados beating Venezuela’s Aragua Tigres 5-4 in the final game at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Jorge Vazquez — who Yankees fans may remember from a few years back — provided the winning margin when he hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.

This is the third Serie del Caribe title for a Mexican club in the past four years, with Naranjeros de Hermosillo winning in 2014 and Yaquis de Obregón winning in 2013. Pinar del Río from Cuba won it last winter. This is the first time the Venados have won it.

As we noted yesterday, this was longtime MLB starter Freddy Garcia‘s last game. He gave up four hits and allowed two earned runs over five and a third innings for the Tigres, getting a no-decision.