A lot of teams are asking about Fausto Carmona

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Now that the Cliff Lee shoe has dropped, everyone is looking at cheaper, less-already-signed-by-other-teams-this-winter  pitchers.  Jon Paul Morosi reports that one of the more sought-after of that breed is the Indians’ Fausto Carmona:

One major-league source with close knowledge of Carmona’s market said the Indians aren’t eager to move him but are in a “listen and explore” mode because of the heavy interest following the Cliff Lee signing.

Carmona had that monster 2007 and then spent two years in the woods.  It was a nice quiet bounce back season last year, however, in that he reduced his walks and allowed fewer homers than he had in previous seasons.

Still, I have a hard time seeing Cleveland giving up Carmona given that he has a pretty team-friendly contract (he’s owed $6.1 million next year and has team options for $7 million, $9 million and $12 million in 2012-14).  It’s probably too much to expect that he’ll return to 2007 form, but even if he just builds on what he did last season in a modest fashion, he’s pretty valuable and is worth having around for at least the next three years, and maybe even that third option year.

But yeah: I totally see why he would be sought-after by someone looking for starting pitching.

The Marlins made an empty threat. Giancarlo Stanton made an empty promise.

Associated Press
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I covered the main press conference about Giancarlo Stanton earlier, but afterward he and his agents fanned out to various TV shows, radio shows and reporter scrums from which some new, fun things have spun out. Part of what they’ve talked about is silly and meaningless, part of it just meaningless.

Here’s the silly and meaningless, from a Marlins official, apparently, trying to bully Stanton into accepting either the Giants or the Cardinals trades despite the fact that he told them beforehand that he was not willing to go to either of those teams:

This is silly because it comes off like a threat. Like the worst possible thing that can happen to a guy is to stay with the very team that is making the threat. It’s like telling your wife that if she does not leave you, she’s stuck with you forever.

It’s meaningless too, in that Stanton has an opt-out clause after 2020. If the Marlins could not make a trade Stanton would approve, he’d simply collect close to $90 million and then leave at age 30. Oooh, don’t throw me into that briar patch, Mr. Jeter!

Not that Stanton’s people are offering statements of serious gravitas. His agent was asked about Stanton’s opt-out rights, which he retains even though he’s now with the Yankees:

That may very well be true! He just got here and everything is going great so far. It’s totally empty, of course, because anything can happen between now and the fall of 2020. If the big time free agents of the next two years sign for the sort of money that makes Stanton look underpaid, he’ll certainly opt-out, even if he wants to stay with the Yankees. Ask Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia how that works. The opt-out clause is pure, unadulterated leverage for a player and unless he totally craters over the next three seasons he’ll most certainly use it, regardless of present desires.

Which, hey, that’s how things work when a big trade or free agent signing happens. Everyone who has lost looks bad and everyone who won sounds happy. Then, later, the baseball happens.