Tim Redding started 17 games and threw 120 innings for the Mets in 2009, but he spent all of last season at Triple-A and will likely begin this year there as well after signing a minor-league contract with the Dodgers.
Redding pitched pretty well at Triple-A with a 2.89 ERA and 83/22 K/BB ratio in 109 innings and he’s been a useful back-of-the-rotation starter in the past, but he picked perhaps the toughest rotation in the majors to crack because the Dodgers already have six veteran starters under contract in Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, and Jon Garland.
Once upon a time Redding was a top prospect for the Astros, but now he’s 32 years old with a career ERA of 4.95 in 822 innings.
Chin-lung Hu never really got another shot in Los Angeles after struggling as a rookie in 2008, and today the Dodgers traded the 27-year-old shortstop to the Mets for left-hander Michael Antonini.
Once upon a time Hu was considered a top prospect, but his bat never developed enough to match his strong glove and now his potential tops out at utility man.
He’s hit .303 in 274 games at Triple-A, but it’s an incredibly empty batting average with just 19 homers and 46 walks in 1,135 plate appearances and his .754 OPS is anything but impressive at hitter-friendly Las Vegas.
Antonini was an 18th-round pick in 2007 and spent this year between Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 4.49 ERA and 131/31 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. Antonini doesn’t project as a big leaguer, but unlike Hu he won’t require a spot on the 40-man roster.
Russell Martin officially signed his one-year, $4 million deal with the Yankees after passing a physical exam earlier this week, but it turns out he didn’t so much “pass” as the Yankees were only concerned with the status of his fractured hip.
Presumably they were encouraged enough by what they saw in his recovery from that injury to sign off on the contract, because Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the physical exam revealed Martin needs knee surgery.
Sherman classifies it as minor surgery and Martin is expected to be recovered from the operation in time for spring training, but going under the knife complicates things even further for the 28-year-old catcher who was already somewhat of a question mark coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons and a major hip injury.
Sherman opines that the Yankees’ willingness to sign Martin anyway “says lot about” their lack of faith in top prospect Jesus Montero being ready to catch in the majors in 2011, but realistically a minor knee surgery in mid-December seems unlikely to hold up a signing regardless.
Matt Guerrier has been linked to Boston throughout the offseason, but Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is said to be against the idea of handing out three-year contracts to relievers and Erik Boland of New York Newsday reports that Guerrier has agreed to a three-year deal with the Dodgers believed to be worth $12 million.
Guerrier is a Type A free agent, but the Dodgers won’t have to part with a draft pick because the Twins declined to offer him arbitration for fear that he’d accept and force them into a $5 million commitment for 2011.
Guerrier spent seven seasons in Minnesota as one of the most underrated relievers in baseball, posting a 3.38 ERA and .247 opponents’ batting average in 472 innings while twice leading the league in appearances. He’s had an ERA above 3.50 just once in six full seasons as a reliever and has made 70-plus appearances in each of the past four years.
However, he’s shown some signs of decline at age 32, as his strikeouts per nine innings have dropped from 7.0 in 2007-2008 to 5.4 in 2009-2010. His fastball velocity was also down about one mile per hour this year and Guerrier is a fly-ball pitcher whose secondary numbers (strikeouts, walks, ground-ball rate) have never been quite as strong as his ERAs. Los Angeles is getting a very capable, durable setup man, but the three-year commitment is a risky one.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has the details of Russell Martin’s one-year contract with the Yankees. He’ll earn $4 million in base salary, which is less guaranteed money than he turned down from the Dodgers prior to being non-tendered.
Los Angeles reportedly offered him $4.2 million upfront and another $1.5 million in potential incentives, while Martin is said to have insisted on at least $5 million guaranteed.
There’s no word yet on if his deal with the Yankees includes more than $1.5 million in incentives, but either Martin simply wanted a fresh start after five seasons with the Dodgers or he miscalculated his market value coming off a fractured hip and back-to-back down years.