Chris Young

Redoing the 2001 draft: picks 11-20


I’m redoing round one of the 2001 draft, pick by pick.  If you missed part one Wednesday, click here.

11. Detroit Tigers
Actual: Kenny Baugh
Redo: Gavin Floyd (4th pick, Phillies)

After an impressive debut in 2001, Baugh suffered a torn labrum and missed the 2002 season. His stuff failed to come all of the way back, and he finally gave up after a stint in indy ball in 2009. In his place comes Floyd, a late bloomer who wouldn’t have made a difference in the Tigers’ 2006 postseason run, but who is on his way to a fourth straight season as an above average starter.

12. Milwaukee Brewers
Actual: Mike Jones
Redo: Chris Young (493rd pick, White Sox)

Jones, who spent his entire 10 years career in the Brewers organization without ever reaching the majors, underwent two shoulder procedures and Tommy John surgery before announcing his retirement in February. Taking over for him and filling what’s been a pretty big hole for Milwaukee in center field is Young. The Brewers did get two nice years from Mike Cameron in 2008-09, but they relied on Brady Clark and Bill Hall the two previous years and Carlos Gomez last season.

13. Anaheim Angels
Actual: Casey Kotchman
Redo: Geovany Soto (318th pick, Cubs)

I was high on the Kotchman pick at the time, and it worked out just fine, considering that he was a solid regular in 2007 and ’08 and then was turned into Teixeira in a 2009 trade with the Braves. Still, I’ll make a change here. While I’m not convinced the Angels really needed a catcher — they always did just fine with Mike Napoli behind the plate — Soto’s presence may well have spared us the Jeff Mathis era. Mathis was the Angels’ supplemental first-round pick this year, going 33rd overall.

14. San Diego Padres
Actual: Jake Gautreau
Redo: Jeremy Bonderman (26th pick, Athletics)

Gautreau was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2002, and whether that had much to do it with it or not, he never fulfilled his potential. He was last seen playing indy ball in 2008. Bonderman is done now, but he could have been of real use to those 2005-08 Padres teams that went to the postseason twice and missed by one game another year. He had his best season in 2006, going 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA and then 1-0 with a 3.10 ERA in three postseason starts for Detroit. Had he been a part of San Diego’s rotation, perhaps the team wouldn’t have lost in the NLDS.

15. Toronto Blue Jays
Actual: Gabe Gross
Redo: Edwin Jackson (190th pick, Dodgers)

Gross turned into a useful role player for a few years, but only after Toronto traded him to Milwaukee as part of the Lyle Overbay deal. With no shortstop worth mentioning from 2005-08, the Blue Jays really could have used J.J. Hardy. But he didn’t fall, and the other shortstop possibility here, Jason Bartlett, had his one great season in 2009, which is what Marco Scutaro had a career year for Toronto. As a result, I’m simply giving the Jays the best available pitcher. Jackson still hasn’t developed into a consistent force eight years after debuting in the majors, but he has his moments.

16. Chicago White Sox
Actual: Kris Honel
Redo: Brandon League (59th pick, Blue Jays)

Honel was still looking like a strong prospect a couple of years after getting drafted, but he hurt elbow in 2004 and underwent Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, while his stuff mostly came back afterwards, his command went from average from terrible. Getting nothing from their 2001 first-rounder didn’t stop the White Sox from winning the World Series in 2005, and I’m not seeing anyone left on the board who would have made a real difference for the club when it lost in the ALDS in 2008. So, I decided to focus strictly on who would be helping the team most right at this moment, and the answer would seem to be League, who just made the All-Star team as Seattle’s closer.

17. Cleveland Indians
Actual: Dan Denham
Redo: Luke Scott (277th pick, Indians)

The Indians took Denham and J.D. Martin with their two compensation picks for losing Manny Ramirez to the Red Sox. Only Martin eventually reached the majors, doing so with the Nationals in 2009. In Denham’s place, the Indians get Scott, their ninth-round pick whom they traded away to the Astros for Jeriome Robertson in 2004. As it was, the Indians never realized what they had in him. However, Scott could have helped plenty during a 2007 season in which the team got a .718 OPS from its left fielders and a .760 OPS from its right fielders. That was the year they lost to the Red Sox in the ALCS, and Scott had a nice .855 OPS with 18 homers and 64 RBI in 369 at-bats for Houston.

18. New York Mets
Actual: Aaron Heilman
Redo: Ricky Nolasco (108th pick, Cubs)

The Mets lost the NLCS in 2006 and then missed the postseason by a game in 2007 and ’08, so that would be the reasonable place to look for help. But, since we’re redoing the whole draft, the Mets don’t have David Wright and probably wouldn’t have had such strong records those seasons anyway. Based on that logic, I changed my mind about keeping Heilman here. Nolasco is 28 now and still has just one above average season under his belt, but there’s still hope that he’ll improve.

19. Baltimore Orioles
Actual: Mike Fontenot
Redo: Jason Bartlett (390th pick, Padres)

This is the first of two picks Baltimore received after Mike Mussina signed with the Yankees. After bypassing J.J. Hardy to give C.J. Wilson to the Orioles with the seventh pick, I am supplying Baltimore with a shortstop here. Bartlett won’t ever have another year like his 2009, when he hit .320/.389/.490 and went to the All-Star Game for the Rays, but he’s a solid regular and he would have been a big upgrade over Juan Castro in 2008 and Cesar Izturis in 2009 and ’10.

20. Cincinnati Reds
Actual: Jeremy Sowers
Redo: Jason Hammel (559th pick, Rays)

Many speculated that the Reds had no intention of signing Sowers after using the 20th pick on him. He ended up going to Vanderbilt and getting taken sixth overall by the Indians three years later. In his place comes Hammel. The right-hander failed to develop in Tampa Bay, but he’s on his way to a third straight solid season as a member of Colorado’s rotation. I also considered another Tampa Bay product instead: Jonny Gomes, who drove in 86 runs for the Reds when they won the NL Central last year.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.