December 2008

Indians deal for DeRosa

The Indians and Cubs have come to a New Year's Eve agreement on a four-player swap that brings infielder Mark DeRosa to the Tribe.

 

To get the versatile DeRosa, who will likely move from second base to third, the Indians are giving up three Minor League pitchers -- right-handers Jeff Stevens and Chris Archer and left-hander John Gaub.

 

Though the 33-year-old DeRosa played primarily at second base for the Cubs, the Indians will probably move him to third to avoid disrupting their infield. The Tribe had considered moving shortstop Jhonny Peralta to third and second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera to short.

 

The Indians did not have to give up a single proven Major Leaguer to acquired DeRosa, who is coming off his career-best season, because of his contract status. DeRosa is entering the final year of a three-year $13 million contract that will pay him $5.5 million in 2009. He is eligible for free agency after the season.

 

UPDATE (5 p.m. ET): Both Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge confirm that DeRosa is moving to third base, though he has the versatility to help out elsewhere, if need be.

 

"He can play second base, first base, left field or right field," Wedge said. "He's a guy we're not going to hesitate to throw in the outfield, depending on who we're giving a day off or who we're facing. That versatility is huge. This is a very solid pickup."

 

Wedge also said DeRosa will be considered for the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

 

And there you have it, folks. One last heaping off the Hot Stove in 2008. Here's wishing you all a safe and happy holiday, and may all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.*

 

* -- Joey Adams. Always cite your sources, kids. 

Something's brewing…

It appears some news will be coming down the pike here on New Year’s Eve. I’ll get you the details soon.

"A Festivus for the rest of us!"

This blog’s been on a bit of a hiatus the last few days, and it will likely remain that way through the holidays, barring breaking news.

But I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a happy holiday season. I’d like to think we’ve had some fun and some good dialogue on this blog in its first year. And we were, in fact, the eighth-most viewed blog on MLB.com in 2008. (I don’t pretend to know if that’s significant, but at least we beat out those Dodger-loving Italians, Tommy Lasorda and Alyssa Milano.) Here’s hoping the fun continues in 2009.

In the meantime, there’s a new mailbag up on the site today, and we’ll have our usual year in review/preview content up there in the coming days, as well.

Best regards, thanks for reading and may your aired grievances be few and your feats of strength be many.

~AC

Wood deal done

Kerry Wood passed his physical and has signed a two-year contract worth nearly $20 million. The contract includes a club option that has a vesting mechanism within it.

General manager Mark Shapiro will discuss the signing — and that complicated option — on a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

UPDATE: Wood is guaranteed $20.5 million over the two years ($10 million in ’09 and $10.5 million in ’10). The option is worth $11 million and vests if Wood finishes 55 games in either season. Otherwise, it’s a club option.

Read all about the deal, including reaction from Shapiro and Wood, right here.

Give me 5

The Rule 5 draft rules. It is, by far, my favorite part of the Winter Meetings.

You know why? Because it signals the end of the Winter Meetings.

And the Indians went out quietly this morning. They neither lost nor took anybody in the Major League portion of the draft. This was something of a surprise, because it was assumed Jordan Brown, Chuck Lofgren and Neil Wagner were among those with a possibility of being plunked.

It was interesting, however, that right-hander Luis Perdomo — the hard-throwing reliever the Indians traded to the Cardinals for Anthony Reyes in July — was taken from the Cards by the Giants.

In the Minor League portion, the Indians lost Class A right-handers Rafael Quintero to the Pirates and Carlos Arias to the Royals. Farm director Ross Atkins said the Indians opted to dole out those pitchers’ innings elsewhere, so it doesn’t appear as though the Tribe is sweating the loss.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the 40-man roster is at 39. Though I have a feeling that final spot will be filled soon…

"This is a big one."

The Indians, Mets and Mariners appear to be on the verge of a three-team deal in which J.J. Putz would go to New York as the setup man to the newly acquired Francisco Rodriguez.

The particulars of the deal were still being worked out Wednesday night at the Bellagio, but it appears Franklin Gutierrez is headed to the M’s, and Mets right-handed reliever Joe Smith and Mariners infielder Luis Valbuena are coming to Cleveland.

Mets right-hander Aaron Heilman and Mariners outfielder Jeremy Reed are also believed to be involved, though it is unclear who is headed where.

Stay tuned. Many, many more updates to come.

UPDATE (10:38 p.m. ET): Got confirmation on the particulars of this trade. This could get done tonight.

The Indians receive Smith and Valbuna.

The Mariners receive Gutierrez from the Tribe and Heilman, outfielder Endy Chavez and first baseman Mike Carp from the Mets. 

The Mets receive Putz, Reed and reliever Sean Green.

So, unless I’m missing something (such as other Minor Leaguers being involved), it’s a nine-player swap, with the Indians giving up Gut to get a situational right-handed reliever and an infield prospect that the Mariners were considering for their starting second base job next season.

What do you think?

UPDATE No. 2 (11:50 p.m. ET): Holy Lord, this thing just keeps growing. It’s actually a 12-player swap, and it does involve other Minor Leaguers. Nobody from the Indians, though.

In addition to the players previously mentioned, the M’s are getting right-hander Maikel Cleto, left-hander Jason Vargas and outfielder Ezekiel Carrera from the Mets.

Wow.

Wood is Cleveland-bound

Kerry Wood is en route to Cleveland, with a planned arrival on Wednesday night and a planned physical on Thursday.

 

Should Wood pass the physical, it is expected that he will sign a two-year contract with the Indians worth just under $20 million. It is believed the contract will include an option for a third year, though it was not clear whether that option would be a club option, player option or vesting option.

 

The Indians are cautiously optimistic that the deal will get done, but they also know these things can fall apart in a hurry. Passing their physical is no easy task, and it's no secret Wood has had more than his share of injury woes over the years.

 

Knowing that a deal is never done until it's done, the Indians continue to show an interest in Mariners closer J.J. Putz, who is available on the trade front.

Will the 'stache go international?

Because this is, purportedly, The Official Web Site of Sal Fasano, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Mustachioed One is on the list of 69 potential participants for Team Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Fasano is one of 69 players on the provisional list. The official roster of 28 players will be formed by Feb. 24.

Get those stakes up higher

Multiple reports claim the Indians’ two-year guarantee to Kerry Wood is worth a total of $20 million, though that figure has not yet been confirmed. The impending deal is believed to include an option — possibly a vesting option — for a third year.

As reported earlier, the deal is not yet done and probably won’t be for at least another couple of days. But multiple sources say the deal will most assuredly get done.

For what it’s worth, Wood had been seeking three years, $30 million this winter.

April 16, Yankee Stadium…

How about a matchup of 2007 Cy Young winner CC Sabathia against his former club and 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee in the opener of the Yanks’ $1.6 billion ballpark in the Bronx?

Looking at the schedule, and factoring in each guy going on his usual four days’ rest, it’s not only conceivable but extremely likely, now that Sabathia appears to have gone to the Dark Side.

And to that point, I’ll be interested to see how Indians fans react to the news on CC. On the one hand, you simply can’t blame the guy for taking an unprecedented offer to a pitcher.

On the other hand… it’s the Yankees (shudder).

One last note: About a year ago, the Indians offered CC a four-year extension worth about $18 million a year. If the reports are true, Sabathia willl receive a seven-year deal worth $22.9 million a year. Any lingering doubt over whether the Indians did the right thing by trading him?

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