Day: January 31, 2012

Todd Coffey

Cubs and A’s interested in reliever Todd Coffey


I’ve been confused about why the Twins haven’t snatched up one of the many low-cost veteran relievers who’ve signed recently and of the remaining options Todd Coffey would seemingly be a good fit, but Darren Wolfson of in Minnesota reports that they aren’t even in the mix for him.

According to Wolfson the Cubs and A’s are showing the most interest in Coffey, who made $1.35 million from the Nationals last season while throwing 60 innings with a 3.62 ERA and 46/20 K/BB ratio.

At this point in the offseason one-year deals worth $1 million seem to be the going rate for decent veteran setup men, and Coffey fits into the group that includes Brad Lidge, Chad Qualls, and Dan Wheeler.

Edwin Jackson is willing to accept a one-year deal

Edwin Jackson Getty

He entered the free agent market last fall with such high expectations, but now Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Edwin Jackson is likely to accept a one-year deal.

This is somewhat surprising given that the multiple teams were reported to have three-year deals on the table. Unless those reports were a function of bluster and psy-ops by Jackson’s agent in an effort to create more interest in his clients. But that’s unpossible, because his agent is Scott Boras and he’d never to that.

Anyway, the theory of a one-year deal to build value and go out on the market next year is good in a vacuum, but I’m not sure it works in Jackson’s favor. I mean, if he can’t get any action when, for most of the winter, his biggest competition on the free agent pitching market was Roy Oswalt, how will he fare when Cole Hamels, Matt Cain and Zack Greinke are on the market next winter?

UPDATE: The Red Sox have offered him a one-year deal worth $5-6 million. Yikes, way lower than he probably thought he’d get.

Insurance to cover “about half” of Victor Martinez’s salary

Detroit Tigers' Martinez runs bases after hitting a solo home run against the Texas Rangers in Game 3 in their MLB American League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Detroit

Victor Martinez underwent microfracture knee surgery yesterday and is slated to undergo another surgery to repair his torn ACL in 6-8 weeks, leaving no doubt that he’ll miss the entire season.

According to Jayson Stark of the Tigers’ insurance policy on Martinez’s four-year, $50 million contract is “expected to cover about half of the $13 million he has coming this year.”

That’s a nice chunk of change, obviously, but that still leaves the Tigers paying $6-7 million for Martinez to do nothing this season and the $6-7 million they’ll get from the insurance company barely makes a dent in the $23 million Prince Fielder will get in 2012 to basically replace him in the lineup.

And then Martinez is owed $13 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014, while Fielder will get $23 million in 2013 and $24 million in 2014 (plus $24 million each year from 2015-2020).

Great Moments in Consistency: Mark Teixeira-against-the-shift edition

teixeira getty

Mark Teixeira has had a tough time hitting left-handed. Teams are pulling the old Ted Williams shift on him, stationing everyone on the right side and daring him to keep pulling the ball.  Which he has been, to less-than-great results of late.

Last August, the New York Times ran an article on this, and reported this as the official position of Yankees’ hitting coach Kevin Long and manager Joe Girardi with respect to Teixeira trying to thwart the shift by hitting to the left side and such:

“‘The main thing is he can’t get hung up on it,’ Long said of the shift, ‘because we’re seeing it more and more …’  Long and Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said they did not want to see Teixeira try to change who he is as a hitter.”

And here’s Long quoted in Andrew Marchand’s piece over at ESPN New York today:

Kevin Long said he has told Teixeira, “Hey, take a single sometimes. . .”  His power is to the pull side, which is why he’s reluctant to go the other way. I think he needs to learn to hit the ball up the middle or the other way, because if you consistently hit into the shift, there just ain’t no holes. It’s something he’s got to work on …  There’s got to be a little give-and-take. He’s going to have to change his routines a little.”

I suppose everyone is entitled to change their mind. For what it’s worth, though, Teixeira doesn’t seem to be changing his.  In both articles he says he’s not gonna become no slap hitter.  So this spring should be fun in Tampa.

Dirk Hayhurst to play ball in Italy this year

Dirk Hayhurst

Dirk Hayhurst, author of “The Bullpen Gospels” and the upcoming “Out of my League,” is a personal favorite of mine. Yes, because of the books, but also because he lives in Ohio and I got to meet him last fall and I found that he is just as neat a guy in person as he is in print and on Twitter and stuff.

Anyone who has paid attention to his career since his first book came out knows that, after 25 major league games in 2008-09, he was first beset with injury and then, last year, was beset with being part of the Tampa Bay Rays organization which, unfortunately for Hayhurst, had way damn too many good pitchers.

It might be easy to get discouraged if you’re a guy like Hayhurst, but he’s not doing that.  No, rather than get upset at a system that is, by design, almost impossible to crack, he has decided to view his baseball career as an opportunity to experience neat stuff.  He just announced on Twitter that he’ll be playing baseball in Italy in 2012.

He was already considering this possibility when I met him in September, and what he told me about it made it sound pretty sweet. It’s a relatively short season with games mostly on weekends, allowing players a lot of time to travel around and see the sights.  He’s taking his wife with him, so he won’t be stuck in some minor league town talking to her on the phone all the time.  And, of course, Italy is way cool.

Bonus: I’m guessing the Italian league won’t get nearly as bent out of shape at Hayhurst for blogging about what goes on inside their clubhouses as U.S. baseball does, so we can probably assume that he’ll be writing an awful lot about his experiences.  Which, given that his writing — sorry Dirk — has been more successful than his baseball career in many respects, is probably a good thing for him as he thinks about what the rest of his playing days and then the rest of his life hold in store for him.

Good luck, Dirk.  I know it will be hard to leave magical, beautiful Ohio for boring old Italy for the rest of the year, but I’m sure you’ll somehow find a way to make it work.