Friday, January 28, 2011

BD Hot Stove: The Unemployed | Baseball Digest

BD Hot Stove: The Unemployed | Baseball Digest

You can never compare athletes to people out in the real world, but there are a number of major league caliber baseball players that haven’t been able to find a job this winter. Guys like Kevin Millwood, Freddy Garcia, and Justin Duchscherer. The three pitchers have to wonder when they see Bartolo Colon get a minor league deal after he hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in two years. Granted, in some cases injuries (Duchscherer), sub par seasons (Millwood), and wear and tear (Garcia) may be keeping teams away, as well as the possibility of the players and their agents wanting too much guaranteed money.

Then there’s the case of a once fierce warrior that scared opposing pitchers so much that he became known as “Vlad the Impaler”. Or maybe it was just how pale pitcher’s faces went when they had to face Vladimir Guerrero. The man who would swing at anything looked like he might be finished with the Angels a couple of years ago, but despite a bad back and bad feet the Impaler returned in 2010. Guerrero produced 29 HR and 115 RBI and nearly slugged .500. But a .513 OPS with 6 RBI in 15 post-season games apparently sent up red flags. Offers have been few, partially because Guerrero reportedly wants $8M a season. Sources say the Orioles have made an offer, but it’s likely to be closer to the one year, $2M deal Manny Ramirez received from Tampa Bay than what Guerrero wants.

If you think Guerrero has it bad, look at the case of Jermaine Dye. The veteran outfielder didn’t play in 2010 after not finding an acceptable offer. Our own Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb talks about the issue in today’s Baseball Digest Birthday segment as Dye turns 37.

Among those still looking for jobs are catcher Bengie Molina, infielders Troy Glaus, Orlando Cabrera, Christian Guzman, Pedro Feliz, David Eckstein, Jorge Cantu (tentative deal with SD as of this writing), Felipe Lopez, Willy Aybar, Nick Johnson, Eric Chavez, pitchers Jeremy Bonderman, David Bush, Kelvim Escobar, Mark Hendrickson, John Maine, Lance Cormier, Manny Delcarmen, Chad Durbin, Doug Davis, slugger Russell Branyan, outfielders Jim EdmondsRyan Church, and Jose Guillen. Click here for a complete list and a summary of the winter signings.

Rumors, News, and Transactions

The Contra Costa Times heard that the A’s were trying to deal 3rd baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff to the Mariners for Chone Figgins. Buster Olney also reported that Toronto could be involved, but so far Figgins has not been asked to waive his limited no trade clause. The infielder was a bust in the first season of a four year, $36M contract.

Several sources have reported that the Mets are putting a portion of the team up for sale. The majority owner, Jeff Wilpon and family, lost a large amount of money in the Bernie Madoff “Ponzi” scheme.

Pitcher Joe Beimel has agreed to a minor league deal and an invitation to spring training with the Pirates.

Despite a number of rumors, Indians GM Chris Antonetti stated that Fausto Carmona and Grady Sizemore are not being dealt.

The Minnesota Twins have announced they will retire number 28 in honor of recent Hall of Fame electee Bert Blyleven.

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