<span class="vcard">Craig Calcaterra</span>

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees

Curb Alert! The Orioles are shopping Ubaldo Jimenez

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Signing Ubaldo Jimenez to a $50 million deal last winter did not impede the Orioles march to the AL East title. But it wasn’t a good move either, and now the O’s are trying to do some damage control:

It’s hard to imagine someone actually wanting Jimenez in and of himself. Rather, it’d probably be a good “bad contract for bad contract” sort of deal, preferably from a team that has a bum bat in a pitchers park that would do well to move to Camden Yards while providing Jimenez with a more Jimenez-friendly situation.

Like, I dunno, a park that is 500 feet below sea level with 500 foot power alleys and a marine layer that rolls in at about noon each day.

Nelson Cruz rejected a three-year offer from the Orioles

Division Series - Baltimore Orioles v Detroit Tigers - Game Three
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Say what you want about Nelson Cruz, but he’s certainly confident:

Once again he has qualifying offer compensation attached. He’s coming off a great season, yes, but he’s a year older and in this day and age players in their mid 30s tend not to set new plateaus of performance. They may peak a bit, but doesn’t 2014 look like a peak year for him?

Still, the Orioles want him and are willing to go multiple years. Good luck to him if he think he can do better.

Chad Billingsley “remains a person of interest” for the Diamondbacks

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
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This sort of makes it sound like Chad Billingsley murdered someone. I’m sorry, allegedly murdered someone. And the Dbacks are the police. Which makes no sense because they fired Captain Towers and Sgt. Gibson back in September. But anyway, I do hope we talk about free agents as criminal suspects more often in the future. Instead of signings we get “apprehensions” and things like that. Hey, we’ve been “kicking the tires” for years. At least this makes them more human.

Anyway, Billingsley is probably on the Dbacks’ radar primarily because the Dbacks GM, Dave Stewart, was his agent until just before he became the Dbacks’ GM. Which makes this all an inside job, see?

Sorry. I can’t stop with this. Here’s Billingsley’s rap sheet for 2014: two starts at Rancho Cucamonga in the California League and flexor tendon surgery in June. He’s supposed to be ready for spring training, but he hasn’t committed any acts of major league baseball since 2013, and has been out of the game in a serious way since 2012. He’s probably hoping, though, that he can come back for one last big score. Because that always works.

If the Mets didn’t come calling, Michael Cuddyer would’ve accepted the Rockies qualifying offer

cuddyer ap
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Newest Met Michael Cuddyer met the press a few moments ago. And he revealed that he didn’t have any intention of testing the free agent market at large:

So he effectively set a 5pm-yesterday deadline on his adventures in the free agent market. The Mets or no one else. Which makes sense, because I don’t feel like there was a big market for a draft-pick-encumbered Michael Cuddyer. The Mets wanted him and got him, but not many other teams would’ve done that.

Which isn’t to hit the Mets too hard here. I know a lot of people are, but really, I can’t get too worked up about them signing him. Yes, the pick is worth a lot and yes Cuddyer is a question mark as far as his health goes. But given how baseball has worked in the past few years — given that teams like the Royals and Mariners and any number of other sub-90 win teams are in contention or actually make the playoffs — it’s not crazy for the Mets to take a gamble. Cuddyer, if healthy, can improve them. Their pitching staff can carry them a long way if things break right over the course of the season. It makes some baseball sense.

Yes, the Mets could regret this. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The Astros have checked-in on Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros have checked in on free agent Hanley Ramirez

I know they’re the 2017 World Series champs and everything, but I have to think that (a) the Astros aren’t yet willing to spend big for a free agent like this; and (b) Ramirez may be looking for more of a win-now situation. Also worth noting that Houston has a lot of prospects who would be blocked if Ramirez was on the team.

Of course, no one really though Robinson Cano would go to the Mariners until he did last year, so who knows?