2008 International Free Agents

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2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:52 am

2008 International Free Agents

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=733#more-733

Other than the News of Jose Jose finally getting signed by the D'backs today most of the big (Hyped) names except for Salecedo have already been signed.

Here's an early look at the next crop of International free agents.


Inoa, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound righty, creates easy velocity through relatively sound mechanics. At the workout, Inoa consistently sat at 91-92 mph with his fastball, topping out at 94. He also throws a softer breaking ball which was inconsistent at times, and will also show a splitter. Inoa turns 16 in September, so he won’t be eligible to sign until his birthday.
In the two innings he worked, just one hitter made contact, and that was a popup to the shortstop.


"Everything’s really easy and the fastball has good life," said one international scouting director. "For as big as he is, you’d expect him not to be able to repeat as well as he does. But he stays within himself and once he grows more into that frame, you’ll see that velocity start to climb . . . and that’s a scary thing."


Another interesting player in the workout was lefthander Carlos Perez. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound lefty has good velocity from that side, with his fastball sitting 88-91. He also throws a curveball and changeup, though lacks consistent command with both pitches.


"He commands the fastball pretty well, but the secondary pitches . . . I don’t know," said another international scouting director. "But events like this are total projection. You don’t have a stat sheet, you don’t know the background, you just show up and see what you see. Based on that, there is definitely projection."


Inoa didn’t pitch until the third inning, and once he was done, the group of 70-to-100 scouts left the formal workout and headed over to another field to see righthander Johenser Cevallos. Cevallos wasn’t invited to the event, but his agent brought him anyway, hoping to take advantage of the sheer number of eyes that would see him.


A 6-foot-5, 200-pound righty, Cevallos will likely be another July 2 bonus baby, though his stuff lags behind Inoa’s. Cevallos’ fastball sat in the 88-90 range, and there is some effort to his delivery. His command of the breaking ball lags behind his fastball right now, but most scouts liked what they saw.
"First, you love the body,but for what it is now," said another international scouting director. "With Inoa there is more long term projection. (Cevallos) is pretty maxed out. But he’s got arm strength and commanded the zone pretty good. Someone’s going to take a chance on him."


VENEZUELA: Outfielder Yorman Rodriguez has a lot of buzz in advance of July 2, and several international scouting directors have predicted he could receive the highest bonus in Venezuelan history. Rodriguez’ two best tools are his power and speed, as both grade as 70s on the 20-80 scouting scale.


Rodriguez’ body is different than Dominican outfielder Ezdra Abreu’s (also a July 2 candidate), and he projects to hit for more power. Rodriguez is stocky, strong and athletic where Abreu is taller and wiry strong. Both are certainly names to watch in advance of this summer.


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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:55 am

Another Day, Another Workout



http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=737#more-737



Posted Feb. 6, 2008 4:03 pm by Chris Kline
Filed under: Caribbean Series

SANTIAGO, D.R.–The first workout I went to in the Dominican Republic last week, there were at least 50 scouts present, most of which were there to see 15-year-old outfielder Ezdra Abreu. On Wednesday that number multiplied significantly since 15-year-old righthander Michael Inoa is currently considered the top arm available when the July 2 signing period begins.

Wednesday, however, was a little different. There were no catered meals. There were no large groups of scouts. The only thing this workout, which took place in the Tirena Alta section of Santiago, had in common with the others was the sound of roosters crowing and goats babbling at one another off in the distance.

This workout had just one international scouting director and his scouting staff present to see somewhere between 50 and 70 players. It took a while to get on the field, as each player came forward to the scout, who gathered information on his position, name and birthdate. The scout judged weights roughly by sight, and did the same thing with heights, standing up and looking them in the eye, pausing and then saying simply, ‘OK.’

This alone took nearly two hours to get through, before the scout said, "Anybody off the street want to come out here and try out?"

The most interesting thing about this process was being able to get an early read on makeup. The brief interaction allowed the scout to feel out details of each player’s personality that he might not otherwise see. The was especially evident during the date of birth question, as several players fumbled their answers, prompting the scout to pull them aside and frame out expectations, "You are what you are. I don’t care if you’re 15 or you’re 25. But whatever you say you are better be what you are. Regardless of anything you tell me right now, we’re going to find out how old you really are. So if you’re not telling me the truth, that’s going to say a lot about who you are."

Double-digits of players lined up in right field, shortstop and at pitcher, and there were also a handful of third basemen. Because of the secrecy that surrounds scouting in general, I’m not going to divulge names of players. This was not a workout for high profile July 2 players, but it was one where the next superstar in the big leagues could come out of for signing for less than $100,000. And the track record in Latin America shows that those high bonus players are typically the ones to fizzle out somewhere in the minors anyway.

There were two shortstops of interest, one of which is a 15-year-old follow for 2009. The last third baseman to work out had plus arm strength, but not great actions or hands. So rather than have him hit with the rest of the group after infield, the scout put him on the mound where he threw 86-88 mph out of the stretch and showed a decent breaking ball at times.

"He could throw the hell out of it, so I told him to go out there and see what he could do," the scout said. "That guy’s not going to play third base anywhere, but the arm strength is interesting."

For the players, having this chance to work out is always seen as a great opportunity. Third baseman Edwin Pena wasn’t getting much buzz in the States and actually came to the Dominican from his home in New York City six months ago, hoping he’d have the opporunity to perform in front of more scouts more often.

Pena just turned 20 and didn’t make it through the first round of cuts. And if you don’t make it through the cuts, all the scouts have seen is your ability to run the 60-yard dash and what kind of defender you are–after just five ground balls.

"I just want to talk to someone to find out what they’re looking for," Pena said. "It’s tough because we travel around to all these workouts trying to stand out somehow. But the 15- and 16-year-old kids out here are bigger and stronger here than they are in the States. In some ways, it’s a lot more difficult coming here and trying to get signed."

As the workout was winding down, all of the sudden there was a commotion. A man dressed all in black went running across the outfield and people in the stands started yelling at him. Suddenly, two plainclothes police officers–with 9mm handguns in the pockets of their jeans–went running after him.

Apparently he’d stolen a woman’s purse from a nearby plaza and was trying to make his getaway. Police ultimately apprehended him, and as he walked down the steep–some might call it treacherous–hill that leads up to the field, the back of his shirt read, "Prepare To Meet Thy Maker."

Things eventually calmed down and the workout ended 30 minutes later. Out of 70 players, the club had interest in two, but signed none.

The rest of the players gathered up their gear and headed to other destinations across the country for another opportunity while the two players and their buscones chatted with club personnel.

"It’s your dream, but you’re got to keep trying," Pena said. "I didn’t think it’d be this hard when I turned 20, but I was wrong. Every scout looks at me like I’m a grandfather now when I tell them how old I am. It’s frustrating and in two years if I haven’t made it, I’m basically done."





Good Article on how the Scouting/training process is down there in DR

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=737#more-737

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:58 am

Originally Posted by CallOfTheCrow
according to PP, the Yanks signed 4 Mexican pitchers. One is a 16 year old who sits 89-91 already & has a "plus-plus" curveball.
Great ! Thanks The lefty sounds like a good one...

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:59 am

Alfredo Aceves is another guy....25 year old RHP that sits 90-92 & hits 95 as a starter. Patrick thinks he can make it to Scranton this year as a reliever. I see no reason why that velo can't increase if he's moved to the pe

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:01 am

Sox trolling for catching help in Japan?


http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2008/02/sox_trolling_fo.html

Late word tonight from Globe designer and Japanese baseball expert Daigo Fujiwara regarding muliple news reports out of Japan that the Sox are close to signing an independent league catcher, Hayato Doue, to a minor-league deal. Doue (pronounced Dough-oo-eh, according to Daigo, which is pronounced DYE-GO, according to me) is 25 and hit .322 with 7 HRs and 50 RBIs in 89 games playing for the Kagawa Olive Guyners of the independent Shikoku Island league.

Evidently he caught the eye of Sox scouts, presumably Jon Deeble, while playing winter ball in Australia. A little late to get much confirmation, and I can't even begin to speculate on the quality of play in Japanese independent ball, but leave it to Daigo to find a clip of the player on YouTube. Check back later for futher developments.



Good Counter move by Redsox when The Yankees signed two kids from Australia two weeks ago. One was a catcher and outfielder.





1.

all this worrying about the catching situation for nothing.
Posted by Jay-Fox February 7, 08 03:15 AM
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2.

"all this worrying about the catching situation for nothing."

oh really? Varitek is getting up there (35)....what happens if one month into the season he strains a hammy and is out for 2 months - or worse, it becomes a lingering problem through the whole season? Do you think it's viable to have Mirabelli (who is even older, 37) catching every day?
Catching may be the one major weakness\need this team has over the next couple of years.
I think the Sox would like to send Coco to TX for Saltalamacchia, but problem is TX only has 2 catchers on their roster as well.
Posted by MZ February 7, 08 09:27 AM
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3.

"all this worrying about the catching situation for nothing."

oh really? Varitek is getting up there (35)....what happens if one month into the season he strains a hammy and is out for 2 months - or worse, it becomes a lingering problem through the whole season? Do you think it's viable to have Mirabelli (who is even older, 37) catching every day?
Catching may be the one major weakness\need this team has over the next couple of years.
I think the Sox would like to send Coco to TX for Saltalamacchia, but problem is TX only has 2 catchers on their roster as well.
Posted by MZ February 7, 08 09:47 AM
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4.

There is no chance that Texas is going to give up Salty for a light hitting defensive CF who makes 4-5x as much money. Why would a team like Texas give up a top prospect for a 29 y/o CF who has not hit in two years?
Posted by JaredK February 7, 08 11:17 AM
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5.

Don't the Red Sox have a catcher in the minors who they have high hopes for? The name escapes me at the moment.
Posted by JC February 7, 08 11:29 AM
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6.

What about George Kottaras, the kid they traded David Wells for? Will he ever make it up the the Bigs? If so, how far away is he?
Posted by mark Leslie February 7, 08 11:31 AM
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7.

If I could get Salty in a package for Coco and a minor league pitcher, I would be more than thrilled and would consider it a major coup.

But in the meantime, doesn't hurt to look to all corners of the globe, cause their isn't too much to look at in the US for catching prospects.
Posted by Tim February 7, 08 11:47 AM
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8.

If the renouned Red Sox scouts will just work hard with Jon Still he might just be the ticket for the Red Sox's quest for a new catcher within the next two years or so. The guy can mash, has good power and hits for average. We also have Mark Wagner who is no slouch either. He will be at Portland this year after a very good year at Lancaster out here in California. I also think the Sox will sign Varitek for two more years after this season. I'm more concerned that we do not do something stupid like trade Jed Lowrie, or decide to go with Cocopops Crisp over Jacoby Ellsbury in CF. That would really be a sign for panic.
Posted by SeaBeachFred February 7, 08 12:06 PM
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9.

Fat chance Coco would land us Saltalamacchia, he was the major chip in the Texiera deal, if we were to get a catcher from Texas it would be Laird.
Posted by BBS February 7, 08 12:13 PM
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10.

"There is no chance that Texas is going to give up Salty for a light hitting defensive CF who makes 4-5x as much money. Why would a team like Texas give up a top prospect for a 29 y/o CF who has not hit in two years?

Posted by JaredK"


Because they're the RANGERS, thats why!!!
Posted by LDog February 7, 08 12:17 PM
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11.

"Why would a team like Texas give up a top prospect for a 29 y/o CF who has not hit in two years?"

I didn't say it would be a straight up trade, but TX is looking for a CF. It would probably be a 2 or 3 for 1 deal with mid-level prospect or 2.

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:15 am

Rob Neyer's -Ranking the best catchers

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=neyer_rob

Heading into the home stretch now ... Today we're looking for the best catcher of the next five seasons, and this time around there aren't many candidates from which to choose (as always, the stats are from 2007 and the last column is a projected Wins Above Replacement Player, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections).

PLAYER AGE OBP SLG OPS+ '08 WARP
Geovany Soto 25 .433 .667 175 4.7
Victor Martinez 29 .374 .505 127 6.0
Joe Mauer 25 .382 .426 117 6.2
Russell Martin 25 .374 .469 113 5.7
Mike Napoli 26 .351 .443 107 3.6
Brian McCann 24 .320 .452 100 5.2

Soto's presence at the top is a bit of a lark, obviously; he posted those big 2007 numbers in only 18 games. But as you can tell from his 2008 projection -- fueled by incredible stats in the Pacific Coast League last season -- he's no fluke, either.

Which isn't to say he's got a shot at No. 1 on our list, considering he's actually (slightly) older than established stars Mauer and Martin.

1. Russell Martin
2. Joe Mauer
3. Brian McCann
4. Victor Martinez
5. ????

Does Martinez belong on this list at all? He's past his prime and he's an occasional first baseman. And who do you like for that fifth slot? The competition probably is between Soto and Napoli, but there's also Texas' Jarrod Saltalamacchia (if he's a catcher), Colorado's Chris Iannetta and Seattle's Jeff Clement. Oh, and Houston's J.R. Towles, who spent most of last season in Double-A but seems to have the inside track on the No. 1 job with the big club this spring (as long as Brad Ausmus is around, though, one wonders how often Towles will actually play, particularly if he doesn't get off to a good start in March or April).

The choice between Mauer and Martin is a tough one. Mauer's projection is better than Martin's because PECOTA projects more playing time for Mauer. Now, PECOTA's a lot smarter than NEYER, but I can't figure that one. They're the same age. Counting time in the minors, Mauer over the last three seasons has played 131, 140 and 110 games; Martin has played 129, 144 and 151 games. I'm not saying Martin will play more often than Mauer this year ... but doesn't he figure to play just as often?

Which still doesn't necessarily make Martin as good as Mauer, considering the difference between the leagues. I just can't quite trust Mauer to play a full season until he does. And I just can't resist a guy whose middle name is "Coltrane" -- Russell Nathan Coltrane Jeanson Martin

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:22 am

What is your outlook and expectations for the Yankees upcoming season for 2008?

Some member from Media like Mr. Ken Rosenthal said that The Blue Jays could jumped ahead of the Yankees in second place.

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:26 am

Yanks counting on young arms in AL East
by TRACY RINGOLSBY, FOXSports.com


http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7768078/Yanks-counting-on-young-arms-in-AL-East?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&ATT=49



Baltimore Orioles

What has changed: The direction of the team. Having already dealt shortstop Miguel Tejada and with deals pending for pitcher Erik Bedard and second baseman Brian Roberts, new club president Andy MacPhail has succeeded in getting owner Peter Angelos to undertake a major rebuilding plan instead of looking for shortcuts.

Erik Bedard's impending departure signals a long-term rebuilding plan in Baltimore. (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)

Battle front: With the trade of Tejada, Luis Hernandez is penciled in at shortstop with Freddie Bynum listed as the backup. But then Bynum's also a backup in center field, and second base.

Story line: MacPhail can have an impact with trades of Bedard and Roberts. Getting Adam Jones from Seattle to play center field along side Nick Markakis gives the Orioles two impact outfielders to anchor the rebuilding plan.

Strength: Even with the trade of Bedard, Orioles have quality young pitching and that depth is only enhanced by the returns they will get from Seattle for Bedard and the Cubs for Roberts.

Weakness: Bullpen is a mess. With Chris Ray and Danys Baez both on the shelf, there isn't a legit candidate to close.

Sleeper: Pitcher Kam Mickolio, who didn't play baseball until after his junior year in high school, was an 18th-round draft pick in 2006 out of Utah Valley State and is moving in a hurry.

Off-season deals: The Orioles' biggest deals are about to happen — sending Bedard to Seattle for five quality prospects and Roberts to the Cubs. They also traded Tejada to Houston for outfielder Luke Scott and pitcher Troy Patton.

Summary: There's no pretense about this season. Orioles are finally committed to a long-term building plan.

Boston Red Sox

What has changed: Rookie Jacoby Ellsbury showed enough that he has made Coco Crisp expendable. The decision to retain Bobby Kielty would seem to underscore that Crisp is headed out of town.




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Battle front: Until Crisp is traded, there will be discussions about center field, but there really is no debate about who has the most talent — Ellsbury.

Story line: Red Sox are no longer lovable losers. They are the hated winners. And they love it that way.

Strength: The pitching depth assures the Red Sox that they will be in games, meaning they will have a legitimate shot to win every day they take the field.

Weakness: The depth isn't very deep, particularly at shortstop where starter Julio Lugo is marginal at best, and there's no immediate help on the horizon. But the team is strong enough overall, which it showed last year, to cover up minor issues.

Sleeper: Pitcher Clay Buchholz is not an unknown — he did pitch a no-hitter last year — but he doesn't sit into the projected rotation. He, however, is ready to make the move to the big leagues and will provide a key injection when a need arises.

Off-season deals: Red Sox didn't retain free-agent pitcher Eric Gagne. They signed pitchers Dan Miceli and Dan Kolb to minor-league deals, and acquired pitcher Dave Aardsma from the White Sox. Outfielder Sean Casey signed as a free agent.

Summary: The Sox didn't tinker with success, keeping the team together with its sights set on becoming first team to win back-to-back world championships since the Yankees in 1999-2000.

New York Yankees

What has changed: Joe Torre's ability to diffuse the explosive nature of Yankee Stadium was shoved out the door. He's now with the Dodgers and the high-strung Joe Girardi has taken over. It will be interesting to see what Girardi learned from the power trip he had in his year as the manager in Florida.

Battle front: The Yankees are pretty well set. Pitcher Joba Chamberlain would like to start, but with the young arms of Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes already slated for a rotation that includes Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang, it's difficult to see Chamberlain getting his wish until an injury opens a hole.


Story line: Two world championships for Boston in the last four years and none for the Yankees since 2000 makes for uneasy times in the Bronx.

Strength: The Yankees can score runs and do it in a hurry. There's not a glaring offensive hole.

Weakness: Young arms are arriving to fill voids, but they require patience, never a virtue in the Bronx. Bullpen doesn't have depth.

Sleeper: There is no snoozing at Yankee Stadium. Everybody is awake.

Off-season deals: Signed free agent pitcher LaTroy Hawkins and lost free agent pitcher Luis Viscaino. Signed infielder Morgan Ensberg. Lost free agent first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.

Summary: Yankees have made a commitment to giving a chance to the likes of Chamberlain, Kennedy and Hughes, who have legitimate potential to dominate. It better be sooner rather than later for the sake of general manager Brian Cashman.

Tampa Bay Rays

What has changed: Delmon Young was shipped to the Twins to fill needs, but it doesn't leave a major hole considering the Rays' outfield depth. They can plug Rocco Baldelli in right, Carl Crawford in left and B.J. Upton in center.

Battle front: Evan Longoria, the No. 1 pick two years ago, is going to be given every opportunity to win the third-base job. Willy Aybar, acquired from Atlanta, is the closest thing the Rays have to competition for him.

Story line: The future is on the horizon — if the Rays could ever get there.

Strength: The outfield is an exciting alignment if — and it's a big if — they can keep Baldelli healthy. The outfielders anchor a lineup that has more speed than any other in the big leagues.

Weakness: Someone has to get the 27 outs. The rotation is a major uncertainty after Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Matt Garza. And the bullpen remains a concern.

Sleeper: Pitcher Jeff Neimann, first-round choice out of Rice in 2004, could end a long line of wasted high picks if he steps into the rotation this spring.

Scott Rolen will get a fresh start in Toronto in 2008. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

Off-season deals: Traded Young to Minnesota for a package that included Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett, and sent outfielder Elijah Dukes to Washington. Acquired Aybar from Atlanta. Signed pitcher Troy Percival and outfielder Cliff Floyd.

Summary: The future is definitely not now for the Rays. They do have good young players, but they have to learn how to play together to win.

Toronto Blue Jays

What has changed: The Jays and Cardinals swapped unhappy veteran third basemen. The Jays are counting on Scott Rolen providing strong defense and continuing to be a productive hitter, but he is going to have to stay healthy to contribute.

Battle front: David Eckstein signed with the idea he will be the shortstop, but incumbent John McDonald developed his backers with the steady play he has provided. Eckstein won't be given the job.

Story line: Life isn't much fun being the third team in a two-team race.

Strength: The rotation has quality arms with the front four of Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum.

Weakness: The offensive depth isn't there. The Jays are too dependent on the middle of the lineup.

Sleeper: Pitcher Casey Janssen has the stuff to make the move from a setup role to the fifth spot in rotation, and make a difference.

Off-season deals: Acquired Rolen from St. Louis for third baseman Troy Glaus. Signed Eckstein and infielder Marco Scutaro. Released pitcher Josh Towers.

Summary: The Jays keep adding pieces, but nothing major. Eckstein and Scutaro? Rolen? There's no difference-maker in the group.

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:35 am

http://www.metsrefugees.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=1

Jay (Madison,WI) : Carlos Gomez or Melky Cabera?

SportsNation Jim Callis: Wow, two guys I don't like as much as other people do. Gomez has more upside, Cabrera has more polish . . . it's a tossup on which way you want to go. I'd take Melky, I guess.

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:01 pm

Beckett>Wang
Matsuzaka<Pettitte
Buchholz=Hughes
Lester<Joba
Wakefield=Kennedy

pretty even now in my book. Uh oh sox!

oh shitz

I gotta say though Schilling is quite possibly the only player out there that I actually take pleasure in seeing hurt.

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:03 pm

http://www.shikoku-np.co.jp/sports/basebal...=20080207000084


Here's a translation I threw together:

Yesterday (2/06) the Boston Red Sox entered into final negotiations with catcher Hayato Doue (25) of the Kagawa Olive Guyners. The contract appears be a minor league deal though Doue says that “my dream is to play in the Majors but for now I will have to wait. I will do my best to earn a major league contract”.
From January 11th Doue along with his teammate pitcher Kouji Tsukamoto had competed in the Australian Amateur League. After watching him in a game the Red Sox regional scout for Asia began negotiations with Doue. The Red Sox have a shortage of catchers and with Japanese pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima on the team it appears that the Red Sox see Doue as a player who could compete for a job on the team soon (their interest in him is as a player who could be “ready fire power”) . Doue planned to be in Australia until mid-March but returned to Japan Monday to confirm to the Kagawa Olive Guyners his intentions (i.e. to sign with the Sox).
When Doue attended Yokohama Business College he was a phenomenon who represented Japan in the Japan-America College All Star tournament. Doue joined Nissan’s industrial team after college and from May 2006 he joined the Kagawa Olive Guyners. The strong-armed Doue is able to throw a ball 130 meters and being a powerful hitter is seen as the nucleus of his team. Assuming that the contract is completed the plan will be for Doujou to join the team in training camp (in Florida).
The cornerstone of his team’s offense and defense Doue led his team to three straight league championships and two straight Japanese independent league championships.
In 2006 Doue won both the home run title and the battling title while also taking the league MVP. In the 2007 late-season (don’t know exactly what this refers to; it seems to be referencing some of type of secondary season like a winter or fall league) he was again selected league MVP. Doue was also receiving interest from the NPB (the Japanese Major Leagues). In the past two years Doue had been seen as a possible candidate to be selected in NPB’s college/corporate league draft.

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:16 pm

Cano, Yankees complete four-year, $30M deal

BY KAT O'BRIEN | kat.obrien@newsday.com
4:52 PM EST, February 7, 2008

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spcano0208,0,2399784.story?track=rss

The Yankees officially announced the signing of second baseman Robinson Cano to a contract that could keep him in the Bronx through 2013.

"We're very happy," Cano's agent, Bobby Barad, said by phone. "That was the goal when we started these conversations. We both knew each other quite well and had some conversations going back to as far as spring training. Just through those conversations, both of us had interest."

General manager Brian Cashman said by phone: "Robby is one of the emerging talents in the game. He's a tremendous hitter, and he's dedicated to getting better and better. … He has the chance, God willing if he stays healthy and productive, he's going to have a tremendous career. He's already proven he can play in New York. When you have players that prove they can handle the stress and pressure of playing here, like Robby has, you've got to put your arms around them."



The contract, announced this afternoon, buys out Cano's four arbitration-eligible seasons and includes club options for 2012 and 2013, his first two free agent years. He will earn a minimum of $30-million on this contract. It calls for Cano to make $3 million this year, $6 million in 2009, $9 million in 2010 and $10 million in 2011. The 2012 team option is for $14 million, with a $2-million buyout; and the 2013 option is for $15 million, with a $2-million buyout.

Cano, 25, batted .306 with 19 home runs, 97 RBIs and 93 runs scored in 2007. He had a slow start to the season, batting .274 with six homers and 40 RBIs before the All-Star break. But he surged in the second half, hitting .343 with 13 homers and 57 RBIs.

Cano was an All-Star in 2006, when he contended for a batting title with his .342 average. He also finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2005.

The biggest bonus about the contract, Barad said, is: "Like any player with their first contract, just getting the financial security. Robinson now has the security that, no matter what happens, he and his family will be set for life. But he's young enough that, if he stays healthy, he'll also be a free agent at a young age."

The Yankees have traditionally not signed players to long-term contracts before they become eligible for free agency. Cashman said this afternoon that there have been cases in which they tried, but were rebuffed either because ownership (George Steinbrenner) was not on board with it or because they couldn't make the money match.

"We've expressed interest in the past," Cashman said. "Whether it's not being able to get common ground with an agent (in Bernie Williams's case) or not being able to get ownership on board (with Derek Jeter), it hasn't worked out. These things are complicated."

Cashman said the Yankees will not try to work out a multi-year deal with right-handed pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, who is also arbitration-eligible

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:24 pm

I'm upset and disappointed that Cashman will not try to work out a multi-year deal with Wang. Do you think The Yankees are worried about Wang's shoulder?

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:44 pm

Goodell willing to protect Walsh
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday at the Pro Bowl that the NFL is willing to give former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh legal indemnification for any information and materials he would provide to the league regarding his work with the Patriots.
Goodell also said Wednesday he's willing to pursue any believable information in the Spygate case, but he simply doesn't know if any exists.
League attorneys are working with an attorney for Walsh to get an agreement in place for Walsh to meet with league officials.
In general legal terms, indemnity is a guarantee against any loss which another might suffer, often financially.
Walsh, who is now a golf pro in Maui, did video work for the Patriots when they won their first Super Bowl after the 2001 season, and was not interviewed as part of the NFL's investigation into New England illegally taping opposing coaches in the last two years.
"If there is new information that is credible, new material that could be credible that would help us," Goodell said, "yes, we'll look at it.
"We've had people come to us over the last six months with material that we pursued and it didn't lead to anything."
Among the things the league wants to talk to Walsh about is a recent Boston Herald report that a member of the Patriots' video staff taped the St. Louis Rams' pregame walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI.
"We were aware of this before," Goodell said. "We pursued it and weren't able to get any information that was credible. We were aware of some of the rumors and we pursued some of them and we continue that. From Day 1, I said if we feel there is new information that's inconsistent with what we've been told [by the Patriots], I reserve the right to reopen it.
"The staffs are talking about making sure [Walsh] has the ability to talk and what information he might have."
Goodell also said on Wednesday he had no firm date as to when he would meet with Sen. Arlen Specter, but Goodell said it would be next week.
Specter questioned the thoroughness of the NFL's investigation that led to a $500,000 fine for coach Bill Belichick, a $250,000 fine for the Patriots organization, and the loss of this year's first-round draft pick. Specter also wondered why Goodell had the six tapes turned over by the Patriots destroyed, along with notes the team gave Goodell.
Goodell spoke during the AFC team practice for the Pro Bowl. He was asked if the league received any information about other teams taping opposing coaches' signals.
"We had and pursued it and found nothing credible," Goodell said.
Asked why the Patriots turned over six tapes, he replied: "That's what they had. My guess is they taped over some of those from time to time ... their notes were reflective of that."
Taping over previous video is not unusual for NFL teams.
"We asked for all the tapes and anything that could've been done that was inconsistent with our policy," he added.

-ESPN NEWS

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:57 pm

according to PP, the Yanks signed 4 Mexican pitchers. One is a 16 year old who sits 89-91 already & has a "plus-plus" curveball.

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:50 pm

Matt Clement = Redsox version of Carl pavano

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Re: 2008 International Free Agents

Post  RedMagma on Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:47 am

Revisiting the Deion story

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster

We are headed for a week filled with testimony, bloody gauze, the looming threat of perjury charges, and talk of Debbie Clemens getting injected in the stomach, all of which will serve to obscure the fact, for at least a few days, that pitchers and catchers report to spring training this week. So today, we will honor a blog tradition here by beginning the baseball year with a story from many days gone by, involving a former center fielder and cornerback and a diminutive sports writer.

*****
I don't collect autographs, and the one souvenir baseball I have on my desk contains a full sentence, rather than a signature. The black print is all but faded now, but the message remains indelible, 16 years later.

Deion Sanders wanted to kick my ass.

In 1989, I was just out of college and working for the Nashville Banner, covering the Nashville Sounds, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. I loved the job and jumped at any chance I could to write.

So when I heard some griping about the Columbus Clippers' new center fielder -- Neon Deion, as he was known back then -- this had all the makings of a perfect feature. He was mostly known for his football exploits at Florida State, and when writing for papers in the South, you find any way to make a football connection, even during baseball season.

The Clippers came to Nashville for a two-game series, and before the first game, I walked up to Deion's locker in the visiting clubhouse, which, in the middle of summer in Nashville, smelled like rotting garbage. It was hot and damp, without air conditioning.

"Deion," I asked, "do you have a second?"

He glanced upward at me, and within the quarter-second that we made eye contact, he might have calculated that I was a very young-looking writer from a college paper. Or maybe a high school paper. Or maybe he just saw my notepad and realized I was a reporter. Or maybe he quickly sized me up as someone he didn't need. Or maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe he was having a good day.

Deion stood, reached into his locker and collected his glove and cap, and walked away wordlessly.

Being relatively new to the business, I was not familiar with the technical definition of what he had done. But later, after experiences with the likes of Albert Belle, I would learn: It's called being blown off.

I returned to the press box and wrote my column, which lacked Deion's perspective on Deion. There were details about how he had managed to draw a distinction between himself and his teammates: He was the only Columbus player who traveled with a girlfriend and the only player who didn't carry his own luggage. He drew a dollar symbol each time he stepped into the batter's box, which tended to annoy opponents -- and his teammates, as well, who were reminded with each Deion illustration that he had a lot of cash and they didn't. About five years ago I found a copy of the column, and it was poorly executed and harsh -- probably too harsh, actually, enough to make me cringe. I could understand a little better why Deion apparently was not pleased with what I wrote.

The members of the Sounds who saw the column loved it; they were put off, too, by the dollar signs, by the special treatment that was fueling his rapid ascent through the minor leagues. Many of the Nashville players were career minor leaguers, guys who might've had a few days in the big leagues but were destined to rides buses through small towns for the rest of their careers. Some of them would never get a break and now this football player with an awkward swing was being hand delivered into the big leagues.

I didn't understand at that time that some of them were probably jealous of Sanders.

A couple of them chortled about the column and I was feeling good about myself, and that's about the time a batboy walked out of the visiting dugout. "Hey, Deion wants to see you in the clubhouse."

His words were flat, but the kid raised his eyebrows the way someone might while informing you a falling manhole cover is about to part your hair. "And he's really pissed."

This is one of those crossroad moments in each of our lives. Sportswriters come in all sizes -- all heights, all widths. But they tend to be vertically challenged and I fit the trend; throw in a pair of well-heeled work boots and I'm still not flirting with 5-foot-10. Buster vs. Deion equals total physical mismatch, so I wasn't enamored by the idea of he and I having a chat in that cramped visitors' clubhouse, in front of 20 other players.

But I also thought that personally delivering myself bodily to him -- especially after he ignored me the day before -- would be something of a surrender.

I wanted a more neutral site than the visitors' clubhouse, but I had to stand behind the words I wrote. Some of the Nashville players heard all this going on and listened in; my rep was at stake. So I took stock of all this and told the batboy, loud enough for all the players around to hear:

"Tell Deion," I said, with far more bravado than I felt, "that if he wants to talk to me, I'm out here."

I glanced around the batting cage. A couple players smiled and nodded. Yeah, that's right, don't give in to that guy. Make him come to you. Way to stand up behind your words, man.

Yeah, what a tough guy. What a joke.

So I leaned against the cage and waited and considered all the possible resolutions to the confrontation that was now inevitable. In later years, the NFL rap on Deion was that he didn't like physical contact, he wasn't a great tackler and you could run right at him. But at that time, he was still larger than most baseball players and I didn't think my 150 pounds would intimidate him (I've put on 20 poorly placed pounds since then, but I don't think they would change the basic dynamic of any Buster vs. Deion confrontation).

I knew the possibilities of what was to come, generally:

1. Deion would rush out of the clubhouse and clothesline me like I was a receiver catching a pass over the middle.
2. Deion would rush out of the clubhouse brandishing a bat and give me the Juan Marichal treatment.
3. Deion would rush out of the clubhouse and go nose-to-nose and get so far in my face that I might accidentally nudge him, therefore giving him the opening to slap my notepad and my head over the left field wall.

If he did come after me, my options for self-defense were limited. I wasn't going to run, so my only shot was one later popularized by an NBA coach about my size:

1. Dive at his legs, hang on and wait for everybody else to break up the fight. The Jeff Van Gundy Rope-A-Dope.

I was new to the business, so I never considered the possibility that Deion -- who was much more experienced in the athlete-writer give-and-take than I was -- would simply verbally challenge what I wrote. I prepared only for the worst-case scenario.

I kept waiting behind the batting cage as Nashville finished hitting. No Deion. No Columbus Clippers, in fact; turned out they were having a team meeting. If Deion actually wanted a piece of me, well, he would miss his chance, because the Clippers were getting an earful of inspiration in their clubhouse, probably inspired by a George Steinbrenner dictum.

So I returned to the press box before game time, not knowing about the Clippers' team meeting, wondering if Deion's anger had subsided and he thought it a waste of time to complain about a column written in a small afternoon paper (which would fold a decade later).

In fact, Deion was still quite perturbed.

In the fourth inning of the game, the same batboy who had summoned me on behalf of Deion walked into the pressbox, holding a baseball. "Deion told me to give this to you."

The baseball was dirty, probably a leftover from batting practice. In the sweet spot, Deion had scrawled a message. He didn't include his signature.

"Keep writing like that your whole life," he wrote, "and you'll always be a loser."

Words to live by. It's my one true souvenir.

*****

• Hanley Ramirez is apparently going to have to wait to get a nice deal from the Marlins, as Juan Rodriguez writes.

• As Joe Girardi is heading off to spring training, he leaves behind a lot, writes Jack Curry.

• The Nationals should have a better feel for their pitching this time around, writes Barry Svrluga.

• Ryan Howard is likely headed to arbitration, writes Todd Zolecki.

• These are the top 10 issues for the Pirates, as they prepare to begin spring training, as Dejan Kovacevic writes. It's a franchise that has been overhauled by Frank Coonelly, writes Rob Biertempfel.

• Erik Bedard won't be caught bragging, writes Larry Stone.

• The White Sox believe they'll be worth watching, Scot Gregor writes.

• Dusty Baker's camp is set, writes John Fay. He will concentrate on getting to know the players.

• Money may be a problem as the Reds consider a new spring training facility in Arizona, writes Hal McCoy.

• Length of contract is at issue in the negotiations between C.C. Sabathia and the Indians.

• Questions swirl around the Cardinals, writes Joe Strauss.

• The question about Scott Olsen is this: Has he learned his lessons?

• Dioner Navarro must make strides this year, writes Marc Lancaster.

• The St. Pete Times has a nice set of stories about that town's spring training history.

• A top Detroit prospect is a small-town guy, writes Jon Paul Morosi.

• Baseball America reports that . But he feels it's easy to be optimistic about the Astros the Astros stink, writes Richard Justice. I'd tend to be very glass-half-empty about the Astros this season ...

• Luis Gonzalez is planning to offer leadership, writes Clark Spencer and Barry Jackson.

• Pitching is the top priority for the Rangers as they open camp, writes Evan Grant. They're aiming to follow the Rockies' path to the top, writes Jeff Wilson.

• The winter trades have given the Athletics a makeover, writes Susan Slusser.

• Barry Zito is at ease as he prepares for his second season with the Giants, writes Henry Schulman.

• Barry Bonds is still jobless, writes Janie McCauley. The Padres are not interested, writes Tim Sullivan.

• Tony Clark is a Padre.

• The D-backs will go into spring training with a lot of optimism, writes Nick Piecoro.

• The NL West will be very top heavy.

• Dodgertown is closing, but not a spring too soon, writes Bill Plaschke. Ross Newhan gives some history of the place here, in a nice piece.

• The Dodgers are going through a makeover, writes Mark Whicker, through the work of Dr. Charles Steinberg.

• The work of the starting rotation will be pivotal for the Rockies, writes Troy Renck. Agree with him completely. More specifically: Ubaldo Jimenez figures to be the linchpin guy for the Rockies.

• Steve Serby has a Q&A with Johan Santana.

• The Orioles have stepped toward a brighter future, writes Rick Maese. Rebuilding a team can be risky, writes Childs Walker. A possible trade of Brian Roberts is the next logical step to consider, as Andy MacPhail said. I've heard that MacPhail is very much in favor of the notion of dealing Roberts to the Cubs, for the right price.

• Curt Schilling may not pitch at all this season, writes Tony Massarotti, and he says we should keep an eye on Justin Masterson.

• Jim Hendry is not done tinkering, writes Paul Sullivan. The Cubs are approaching a century of perfection, of sorts, writes Bob Verdi.

• The Giants may well be watching Joe Crede in spring training, as Mark Gonzales writes.

• Dustin Pedroia has left doubters in the dust, writes Gordon Edes.

• What the Twins are getting is the new Delmon Young, he says, in this Joe Christensen piece. Minnesota GM Bill Smith has money to spend, and Kelsie Smith writes about what he will do with the extra cash.

• The Brewers look at Rickie Weeks and think he's about to hit the big time, writes Tom Haudricourt.

PED ZONE

Roger Clemens' side is challenging specific information contained within the Mitchell report about a conversation that the pitcher allegedly had with Jose Canseco. This is what it says in the Mitchell report, on pages 168-169:

Jose Canseco was playing for the Blue Jays in 1998. On or about June 8-10, 1998, the Toronto Blue Jays played an away series with the Florida Marlins. McNamee attended a lunch party that Canseco hosted at his home in Miami. McNamee stated that, during this luncheon, he observed Clemens, Canseco, and another person he did not know meeting inside Canseco's house, although McNamee did not personally attend that meeting. Canseco told members of my investigative staff that he had numerous conversations with Clemens about the benefits of Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol and how to "cycle" and "stack" steroids. Canseco has made similar statements publicly.

McNamee's recollection is dead wrong, Clemens' side is contending, and they say they have information to back it up:

1. Clemens was not there; he was playing golf, and Clemens' reps say can prove it with a receipt.

2. Canseco says Roger was not there. Jose Canseco also says, under oath, that not only was Roger not at the party, he never saw Roger use or get steroids from him, and that what McNamee says about Canseco in the Mitchell report is wrong. Canseco further says that nobody with the Mitchell law firm ever asked him about the party or whether Clemens was there or if what McNamee said was true.

3. During the Marlins television broadcast of the Blue Jays/Marlins game that night, the broadcasters talk about the party and the announcers say Roger was not there. ... They say Clemens was playing golf, and one of the broadcasters said he saw Clemens on the golf course that day.

Rusty Hardin says this proves McNamee lied about what he saw between Canseco and Clemens, Brian Costello writes.

• Jeff Novitzky is expected to attend Wednesday's hearing.

• The situation on Capitol Hill is turning into a joke, Mike Lupica writes, referring mostly to the meetings with congressmen.

Spoke to lawyers Saturday who think that this strategy has all the fingerprints of Lanny Breuer, the former Clinton administration lawyer who is now working for Clemens. "He's taking Roger around the way you would a Supreme Court nominee, making his case," said one. "It's a brilliant strategy, going face to face."

• The whole thing gets stranger and stranger, writes Tim Dahlberg. Clemens looks like a loser in this, writes Rick Morrissey.

Clemens and McNamee are going the distance, writes Ray Ratto, and next to all this, Barry Bonds is the most dignified man in the world.

AND OTHER STUFF

• A sophomore made a huge shot for Vanderbilt. Whew ... That's 20 wins, and counting ...


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