Red Sox should forgo Halladay for Holliday

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halladay throwing.jpgAfter all, it’s only money.
The addition of Roy Halladay to Boston’s already fine rotation would certainly provide a boost. Halladay is clearly one of the top five pitchers in baseball, and he’s about as much of a Yankee killer as anyone in the league, having gone 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA and seven complete games in 35 starts and two relief appearances against the Bombers.
But the price tag is simply too big. The Jays will demand at least two top youngsters as part of a deal. In Boston’s case, that will mean Clay Buchholz and perhaps Casey Kelly, their No. 1 prospect. It might be worth it if Halladay were underpaid, but the 32-year-old is just one year away from free agency, and he’s set to earn $15.7 million next season. He’ll almost surely demand a higher salary in 2011 and beyond as part of a contract extension.
Buchholz, on the other hand, will make less than $500,000 next season and is under control for five more years. He went 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 16 starts last season and impressed in his lone playoff start against the Angels. He has his quirks, for sure, but he also possesses a 92-95 mph fastball and an excellent changeup as part of a four-pitch arsenal. He’s poised to win 15 games for the Red Sox in 2010. Halladay might well win 20, but he’d eat up a significant chunk of the payroll in the process and cost Boston one or two more top youngsters.
That’s why it makes tons of sense to go after Matt Holliday instead. The only cost will be money. In fact, Boston would even pick up a draft pick in the process, since they’d lose a first-rounder for signing Holliday but gain two picks as a result of Jason Bay’s departure. Holiday is due about $20 million per year, which is probably close to what Halladay will want as part of an extension.
The Red Sox can afford that price tag and stay the course with a rotation that will include Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Buchholz and Tim Wakefield. The time for reevaluation will be in a year, when Halladay, Beckett, Cliff Lee and Brandon Webb are all set to become free agents.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.