Archive for December, 2008

Penny confirms deal

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Brad Penny confirmed to WEEI.com that he has reached a preliminary agreement with the Red Sox on a one-year deal with a base salary of $5 million, which was first reported by FoxSports.com. The contract has the potential to reach a total of $8 million for the year with incentives.

“There were a lot of teams involved,” said Penny in a phone conversation, “but I wanted to go somewhere where I knew we had a great chance at winning and Boston is that place.”

Penny, who was shut down in September last season by the Dodgers with a sore shoulder after experiencing bouts of tendinitis throughout the 2008 season, will take a physical in Boston on Jan. 7, which is when the deal will become official if the examination goes off without a hitch. The 29-year-old right-hander said he will begin his throwing program next week.

Penny had already talked to two of his former teammates with the Marlins, Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, Sunday, to pass along the news of his agreement with the Red Sox.

Speaking of Beckett, the right-hander will begin his throwing program Monday. He had begun exercises on his throwing shoulder earlier this offseason than in years past.

The injury the hurler experienced throughout the end of the 2008 season involving his side has also subsided. Upon further examination it was determined that the ailment was centered more in the intercostal muscles (running between the ribs), and less an problem with his oblique, than previously thought. Because of the location of the intercostals, there wouldn’t have been much different the Red Sox’ medical team could have done to alleviate the pain he was incurring throughout the postseason.

The Mut and Bradford Show

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

The Yankees Still Have Money to Burn

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

It has been a busy and expensive offseason for the New York Yankees. As they prepare to enter into a new ballpark–a move that will not only generate tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue, but that will also relieve the team of some of its revenue-sharing obligations–they clearly have money to spend, particularly since a number of players’ expensive contracts (Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, to name a few) are no longer on the payroll.

The Yankees have suggested that their 2009 payroll would not exceed the approximately $222 million (based on average annual value–an amount that led to a $26.9 million luxury tax penalty) that they spent on their 40-man roster this past season. In fact, even after dropping almost $425 million on contracts to free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, New York does not appear likely to surpass that standard.

As of now, based on reports that Teixeira will earn an annual average of $22.5 million per season over his eight-year, $180 million deal, the Yankees appear to have salary commitments of just over $190 million to 18 players (with the caveat that Kei Igawa and Andrew Brackman are not likely to be on the major-league roster) for 2009:

 

 


Player 2009 AAV Notes
A Rodriguez 32 27.5  
CC Sabathia 14 23  
M Teixeira 22 22.5 Estimated 2009
D Jeter 20 18.9  
AJ Burnett 16.5 16.5  
M Rivera 15 15  
J Posada 13.1 13.1  
J Damon 13 13  
H Matsui 13 13  
N Swisher 5.3 5.35  
C M Wang 5 5  
D Marte 3.75 4  
X Nady 5.5 5.5 Arbitration estimate
R Cano 6 7.5  
J Molina 2 2  
A Brackman 0.1 1.14 2009 estimate
B Bruney 1.2 1.2 Arbitration estimate
K Igawa 4 0 Not on 40-man roster
       
TOTAL 191.45 194.19             

(Note: all numbers are in millions)

All of that suggests that even with their three huge signings this offseason, the Yankees may *still* have available payroll with which to round out their roster than most clubs in baseball.

Reports: Mark Teixeira a Yankee

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

ESPN.com and SI.com are now reporting that the Yankees and Mark Teixeira have reached an agreement on an eight-year deal for $180 million. The Yankees reportedly had been monitoring the Teixeira negotiations from the sidelines, but swooped in on the switch-hitting first baseman after the Red Sox made an offer that was reportedly in the $170 million vicinity. The Yankees now have committed $423.5 million in contracts to Teixeira and pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett this winter.

Despite those allocations, the team’s 2009 payroll remains well below what it was in 2008. For more on the Yankees’ payroll, click here.

The Teixeira timetable

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Word is now circulating that an announcement of Mark Teixeira’s fate is “imminent” (ESPN), and that he could make a decision as soon as today (Washington Times). But what if the free-agent first baseman waits to decide on his new East Coast location?

Major League Baseball will close its doors for the holidays after a half-day on Dec. 24. The offices will remain shuttered until Jan. 5.

All the same, league officials can approve deals electronically from out-of-office locations, so there is at least a good chance that the a decision that has hijacked most of baseball’s offseason will get done before the new year. That said, at least one acquaintance of Teixeira said that, while the first baseman prefers to make a decision by Christmas, he wouldn’t be shocked if the 28-year-old allowed the process to continue into the early weeks of January if he and agent Scott Boras believed that it would lead to a better deal.

The countdown continues…

Why do these guys love Scott Boras?

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I know this subject comes up every offseason, folks wondering why anybody would use Scott Boras for anything but helping keep photoshopped devil’s horns in business. But usually the majority of those who are forming such opinions aren’t the ones who are handing over the five percent to Boras Corp. Talk to that faction and you will have a distinctly different crafted picture.

Think ‘The Kramer’‘ set against Monet’.

As we hear the evils that come with a Scott Boras negotiation, all I can do is present you with some examples of his righteousness as suggested by some clients.

Let’s start with J.D. Drew. Drew, a devout Christian who lives his life under the ‘family first-baseball second’ umbrella, would seem to live at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Boras. But talk to the Red Sox outfielder about his agent, and you hear of a person that Drew perceives as a family man, who is also grounded in his own faith, and somebody who will always be there for you.

After listening to Drew you honestly believe that Boras would prioritize sending out Christmas cards over contract demands.

Another example: Jason Varitek. This from Curt Schilling on his latest blog post over at 38 Pitches

Bottom line is if you want to scrap every penny you can from the bottom of the barrel, leave nothing on the table, he’s your guy. That being said I’ve spoken at length with Jason about him, a guy I have a ton of respect for, and Jason considers him a very close friend, so that means something to me.

Couple the feeling of good vibes with the notion that Boras will always protect his guys by taking the bullet and being the bad guy, and that adds up to a pretty powerful combination.

Alex Cora, another Boras client, is all about the agent’s hands-on approach. He insists that no other agent will take as much of a personal interest in their client as this guy, no matter what the pay-scale. Cora cites the example of when he signed his two-year deal with the Red Sox. Boras sat him down and explained that he was going to lay out a plan for the infielder to stay physically fit enough that when his next contract came up he would be in position to score another payday. He then hooked Cora up with the Boras Corp. personal training guru, Steve Odgers, and presented a diet/fitness plan to keep the utilityman’s greatest asset to potential suitors — his infield range — viable enough so that the value would still be there.

This was after signing the two-year deal!

Here’s something I wrote in the Eagle-Tribune on March 1, 2007:

Scott Boras, of all people, has shown Cora the light.

“Scott and I talked about it and he said if you keep your legs and range, you’re going to keep making money,” the Sox utility infielder said. “I turned 31, but if I keep doing what I’m doing, there will be a few options out there, not breaking the bank, but making some money.”

The words of wisdom from Cora’s agent, which came after he signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Red Sox, led the infielder to change his ways. Using the online guidance of Boras’ conditioning director, Steve Odgers, the Boston infielder altered his eating habits (most notably, cutting out beer and rice), while staying loyal to Odgers’ offseason workouts.

After playing for much of last season at 200 pounds, the 6-foot Cora shot up to 205 immediately after the season. At last check, however, his weight had dipped to 191 with his body-fat percentage dipping from 14 percent last year to 10.

Cora’s journey back to fitness began with Boras, was kick started by Odgers and continued thanks to Cruz, who began working with Cora on Nov. 1 and hasn’t stopped since.

“Scott was the one who mentioned it,” Cora said. “He said, ‘You see this contract we got? This is why we got it.’ I already mentioned I wanted to lose a little weight, and he said that was a good idea. Now I feel good.

“(Boras) just mentioned I could get one more two-year deal, or two more, and then we can go year by year. It all depends on if I can keep my range.”

Then, of course, there is that other factor when signing up Boras … getting the money. But it’s more than that. In many players’ eyes it’s about the belief that this guy will somehow navigate around sometimes enormous obstacles to make their situation appreciably better.

When Julian Tavarez was looking at the potential of having the Red Sox control his existence with a team option, leaving the pitcher feeling like he might be missing out on a payday as a starter for another team, he had his focus on Boras. The conversation went something like this …

“They can control you. They have final say.”

“Yeah,” Tavarez responded, smiling, “but I have Scott.”

Reality be darned, this was the perception. Boras means more than legally binding documents.

Of course there is another example, Manny Ramirez. Starting in August 2007, Ramirez had asked his then-agent, Greg Genske, to find out if the Red Sox had planned to pick up his option after 2008. That morphed into a desire to at least meet with the Sox brass to broach the subject following the ’08 campaign. When no headway was made, Ramirez turned to the agent he believed would break free of the lingering nothingness and get the job done — Boras.

The player whose existence was perceived as silence and uncertainty all of a sudden became a stream of sound bites, most of which included some reference to the new dream of a six-year deal. The transformation was no coincidence.

And, at the end of the day, the heart of the Ramirez case offers the most succinct answer as to Boras is consistently wooed by pro ballplayers, young and old. The other stuff is nice — and fairly fascinating — but at the end of the day he gets them the money. End of story.

Report: Angels out of Teixeira hunt

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Angels have pulled their offer to free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira. If true, then there would be three or potentially four remaining suitors for the 28-year-old: the Red Sox, who despite owner John Henry’s recent declaration that he believed the Sox would “not be a factor” in the bidding, have shown no evidence that they have pulled out of the process; the Nationals; the Orioles; and, perhaps, the Yankees, about whom there have been recent reports suggesting that the team is following the proceedings from afar to decide whether or not to get involved.

Kat O’Brien of Newsday reported today that the Yankees do not want to pay more than $160 million over eight years for Teixeira, but that they were told that agent Scott Boras told the club that it would cost roughly $20-25 million more to acquire him.