The Astros didn't tell any other teams that they'd kick in $11 million on Oswalt


The general consensus immediately after the Oswalt deal was announced yesterday was that the Astros got hosed.  Then, after some time, more and more voices spoke up saying, “hey, don’t you think that if there was a better deal out there the Astros would have taken it?”

Well, maybe not, because Joel Sherman reports that the Astros may not have known if there was a better deal out there:

Executives from multiple teams complained they had no idea the Astros
were willing to include $11 million of the $23.5 million owed Oswalt
through next year and his 2012 option as they did to move him to the
Phillies . . .

 . . . an executive of a team interested in starting pitching said, “I don’t
know how we didn’t know [what Houston was willing to pay]. I don’t know
how it is in the best interest of your organization not to explore every
avenue. We knew the pitcher [Oswalt] was available, but we didn’t know
it was a financial giveaway.”

Sherman notes that while the Yankees and Mets were unaware of the money, it’s possible that Houston wouldn’t have offered to send money to those teams anyway, which is a good point. But Sherman implies that the last quote came from a different team altogether that may very well have been in on Oswalt if they knew that it was a good deal financially speaking.

When we call a trade dumb, we risk making faulty assumptions about the market. But we do the same thing when we assume that general managers run out every potential ground ball when going to make a deal.

On this one it sounds like Ed Wade locked in on the Phillies and very well might have bypassed other, better deals.

Angels sign outfielder Rafael Ortega to one-year contract

Rafael Ortega
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According to the official Twitter account of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the club has agreed to terms on a one-year major league contract with outfielder Rafael Ortega.

It’s worth the MLB minimum, which should be a little north of $507,000 in 2016.

Ortega was once considered a top prospect in the Rockies’ minor league system, but he has made only six total plate appearances at the big league level since signing out of Venezuela in 2008. The 24-year-old batted .286/.367/.378 with two home runs and 17 stolen bases in 131 games this past season for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.

He’ll be in the running for an Opening Day roster spot next spring in Angels camp.

Report: Ben Zobrist’s price tag is currently four years, $60 million

Ben Zobrist
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Ben Zobrist will turn 35 years old early next summer, but that doesn’t seem to be putting too much of a dent in his free agent value.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the “sense among interested teams” is that Zobrist’s price is currently hovering around four years, $60 million and it “may go higher.”

There was a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Sunday stating that the Mets have made Zobrist their “No. 1” offseason target, and over a dozen other clubs have linked to him since the World Series ended. That’s the kind of attention you command when you can both hit — Zobrist posted an .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 2015 — and also cover a range of positions defensively.

He makes sense for just about any club looking to contend in the coming seasons.

Wilin Rosario elects to become free agent

Wilin Rosario
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Wilin Rosario was designated for assignment by the Rockies late last month. Now, according to Thomas Harding of, the 26-year-old former National League Rookie of the Year vote-getter has elected to become a free agent.

Rosario is a bad defensive catcher and wasn’t much better when the Rockies tried him at first base, but he should draw some interest from American League teams looking for a bench bat and part-time DH.

Rosario slugged 28 home runs for the Rockies in 2012 and he’s averaged 26 home runs for every 162 games over the course of his five-year major league career.

He boasts a .319/.356/.604 career batting line against left-handed pitching.

Orioles acquire Mark Trumbo from Mariners for Steve Clevenger

Mark Trumbo
AP Photo/Joe Nicholson

As first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma Tribune and now confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mariners have traded first baseman and corner outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Orioles in exchange for catcher and first baseman Steve Clevenger. There is also a second player headed to Baltimore in the deal.

This feels like an admission from the O’s that they’re not going to be able to re-sign Chris Davis, who is said to be looking for more than $150 million in free agency.

Clevenger was out of options and the Orioles have both Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph coming back at the catcher position. Wieters was due to become a free agent but accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Baltimore last month.

Trumbo has always been a low-OBP guy and he rates as a poor defender everywhere he has played, but the 29-year-old has averaged 31 homers and 96 RBI for every 162 games in his six-year major league career. Camden Yards is a much better place than Safeco Field for him to show that power.