Tag:Atlanta Braves
Posted on: December 15, 2008 3:32 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2008 3:38 pm
 

GM for a Day:Diamonds in the "non-tendered" rough

                                        

Friday marked the date when teams sent a load of non-tendered players packing to join the already crowded free agent pool. Of those players, a large amount of whom are bottom-of-the-barrel type athletes, there are to be found a few possible sleepers:

Ty Wigginton - Probably the most sought-after non-tendered player on the market. Wigginton was let go by the Astros after signing a deal with them only a year ago. The now former Houston third baseman hit .285 last season with 23 homers in just 386 ABs. Wigginton is just 31 years old and is very consistant, hitting at least .275 with 22 HRs in each of his last three seasons, not to mention that he is versitile (having played second base for Tampa Bay two years ago) and can be picked up relatively cheaply at around $3.5 million a year. Apparently the Giants, Indians, Pirates, and Reds have all already shown interest.

Chris Capuano - After undergoing his second career Tommy John surgery Capuano didn't play at all during the 2008 season and was subsiquently not offered a contract by the Milwakee Brewers. In 29 starts in 2007 the lefty posted a 5-12 record, 5.10 ERA, and 132Ks. While those numbers are far from impressive, in his previous two seasons, which took place after his first Tommy John surgery, Capuano went 29-24 with a 3.99 ERA and pitched at least 220 innings both years. He might have to start the year on the DL, but the 30 year old is capable of keeping the ball around the plate (3:1 career K:BB ratio), and, if healthy, eating up some innings. For a couple million, this guy could be a steal for teams who are contenders but still have holes in their starting rotations like the Blue Jays, Twins, Cardinals, or even the Brewers.

Daniel Cabrera - The Orioles parted ways with this 5 year veteran on Friday after the hurler failed to post a winning record in any of the last four seasons. The 27 year old fireballer ended last year with an 8-10 mark and a 5.25 ERA. While Cabrera's final statistics are by no means head-turning, the fact that through through July first in 2008 he was able to compile a 5-1 record, 3.60 ERA and 10 straight quality starts, is what will land him a spot somewhere next year. Because he has a reputation (well deserved) of being unbelievably inconsistant, he will not be signing with any immediate contenders, but there are teams like the Padres (if they keep Peavy), Athletics, and Braves who have an outside shot at making a run at the playoffs and could afford to take a chance at around 2 million per. I could even see the Red Sox taking at a look at him and turing him into the long relief guy out of the pen, much like they did with Kyle Snyder a few year ago (very similar build and control issues).

Takashi Saito - The belief that the Dodgers are going to make a hard push for Trevor Hoffman has been confirmed by the team not offering 39 year old Takashi Saito a contract. Saito had a productive, but injury plagued 2008 campaign (4-4, 2.49, 60Ks in 47 IP) leading many teams to think his days as a quality bullpen arm are numbered. While not expected to sign anywhere as a closer, the Japanese born right hander could make his way to a legitimate team in need of an 8th inning type arm like the Diamondbacks, Giants, White Sox, or possibly even the Yankees.

Other notable non-tendered free agents include Joey Gathright (KC), Jonny Gomes (TB), Willy Taveras (COL), and Chuck James (ATL).

Posted on: December 11, 2008 3:58 pm
 

GM for a Day: Smoltz + Red Sox = Perfect Couple

Throw a Sox hat on this guy      

For the first time since his successful shoulder surgery in June, righty John Smoltz climbed to the top of a pitching mound earlier this week. Not only did he snap off his full repertoire of pitches, but he turned some heads as well.

One of those heads sat on the shoulders of Theo Epstein.

Smoltz, who is a free agent and on record as saying Boston is one of a very few places he would be willing to sign, is favored to land back in Atlanta where he has spent all 20 years of his career. The Tigers, who are of special significance since Smoltz is a Michigan native, are also interested in the future hall of famer.

Despite his allegiance to Atlanta or reveries of a heart-warming homecoming in Detroit, Boston is the best place for Smoltz.

In my estimation, by stating that he only wants to return to the Braves if they have a realistic chance of winning a World Championship is another way of saying, "Sorry Atlanta, but you are rebuilding and I'm gonna work the market and play for a winner". And who better to fit that bill than the Red Sox who came within one game of returning to their 3rd world series in 5 years?

One selling point is that the Sox have a specific void which needs to be filled: the fourth spot in their rotation. At 41 years of age (42 in May) Smoltz would be asked to be the ace in both Atlanta and Detroit. Putting that kind of presure on a surgically repaired arm can't be healthy...but Boston offers a low-risk option. Even if Smoltz doesn't return to Cy Young form, which is likely the case, he would be considered a success in Beantown if he went 14-8 with a 4.00 ERA...with those numbers he would be considered a flop elsewhere.

The Red Sox also have to think of the future of their rotation. Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden are supposedly still a little ways away from starting the season in the big leagues, but are both penciled in to be in the 2010 rotation. So where can Boston find a decent arm willing to sign only a one year deal? Tah-dah! John Smoltz, because of his recent arm problems, is only looking for a single year deal.

But Smoltz is a former Cy Young winner, isn't it going to cost an arm and a leg to sign this guy? Not so. Where as other 2nd tier hurlers like Oliver Perez (5 years $75 mil), Andy Pettitte (extended contract, $15 mil per year), and Ben Sheets (upwards of $14 mil) are all looking for around $15 million per season, Smoltz is testing the waters at $10 million! That has "steal" written all over it.

Just close your eyes for a minute and picture a playoff rotation of Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, and Smoltz....beautiful, isn't it? And unlike all the Peavy go-getters out there, this is actually realistic!

This deal makes perfect sense for both next year and the future...not to mention that fans will go nuts with such a big name signing. Don't expect Smoltz to be a 20 game winner, but he would, hands down, be the best number 4 starter in the league.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com