The latest from the rumor mill as moves continue to trickle along …
- The Rangers just signed lefty Matt Harrison to a five-year, $55 million extension (with a vesting option on the end), which is most notable from the Cubs’ perspective as they consider extending Jeff Samardzija long-term, most likely after the 2013 season. Harrison, like Samardzija, is 27, and had two more years of arbitration remaining (just as Samardzija will have after this season). After becoming a full-time starter in 2011, Harrison put together back-to-back dominant seasons for the Rangers (which could be the case for Samardzija after this season), and made $2.95 million in 2012. Samardzija will probably make a bit more than that in his first year of arbitration, so that’s where the comparison breaks down slightly, but I can guarantee you that this is going to be one of the comps that comes up in any extension discussions.
- The Red Sox and Mike Napoli have finally come to an agreement … one year, and $5 million. Yowsah. Quite the pay cut from the original three-year, $39 million agreement, which tells me that Napoli’s hip issues were serious enough to not be able to get a better deal, and the Red Sox felt boxed into locking Napoli down after Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse went off the market. It’s fair to wonder now if the Red Sox will use some of that “saved” money on one of the remaining free agents like Kyle Lohse – if they’re willing to lose the draft pick. The deal contains incentives that could take it up to $13 million, for what that’s worth.
- FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron looked at center fielders who derived a great deal of their value from their defense, and analyzed how much value they provided defensively after age 30. The results were quite ugly, and raise yet another red flag regarding free agent Michael Bourn.
- Ben Nicholson-Smith chatted yesterday at MLBTR and … (1) Ben doesn’t think Jim Johnson’s value is as high as Rick Porcello’s, so there’s another data point in trying to discern just how much Porcello would cost in trade; (2) Kyle Lohse’s price tag probably won’t fall far enough to take him into the Brewers’ range; (3) the Rangers are still likely to do something, and that could be a free agent signing like Bourn or Lohse, or a trade for Justin Upton; (4) David Price is probably traded before the end of 2015 (the final year of Rays control), but 10 to 20 teams would have interest; (5) Ben thinks the Cubs will win at least 76 games in at least one of 2013 or 2014 (yeah, they’ll win more than 76 in 2014); (6) if the Cubs deal Alfonso Soriano, their return will probably be a decent (but not great) prospect or salary relief (I don’t think that’s a particular helpful answer – if the Cubs deal Soriano, it’s going to be for both some salary relief and a decent prospect/player, and those two pieces are obviously correlated); and (7) Ben lists the Cubs as one of four logical Bourn destinations, together with the Rangers, Mariners, and Braves.
- As you plan for 2013 free agency, know that the Giants haven’t given up on the idea of re-signing Tim Lincecum. His season will be watched very closely after being among the worst starting pitchers in all of baseball last year.