Yesterday we heard Ruben Amaro trying to spin things in such a way so that if Jayson Werth signs elsewhere, Amaro can claim that it wasn’t about the money. Apparently he also tried to spin things in such a way so that he can also claim that Werth wasn’t necessarily worth it in the first place. How? By saying that Werth “did not have an extraordinary year.”
Which is kind of nuts. I mean, sure, if you believe that Werth was never an elite player to begin with, his 2010 isn’t necessarily going to make you think otherwise. You have crazy high standards, I guess, but good for you for having them.
But if you think Werth was a top talent prior to this year — which I’m guessing Amaro certainly did — you can’t reasonably claim or even imply that his 2010 was some kind of disappointment. Werth’s agent Scott Boras certainly agrees, saying in response to Amaro that “the only way to argue that Jayson had a decline in 2010 is to look at home runs, where he was down by nine. But so many other areas of his performance were up. A lot of people would say he had a better year in 2010 than he did in 2009.”
Not substantially better, but his on base and slugging percentage both went up. While the homers dipped by nine, the doubles increased by 20 and he hit an extra triple. It’s certainly hard to argue that he had a falloff from 2009, even if a lot of people wanted to believe he did earlier in the season.
The key thing here is that there is no way on Earth that Ruben Amaro would have said, a year ago, that, Jayson Werth didn’t have an extraordinary year. The fact that he’s saying it now is more a matter of politics than it is a matter of baseball analysis.
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.
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.
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.
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.