12/21/2004: Hot Stove League News (including Unit Watch: Day When-Will-It-Ever-End?)
Lee Sinins's daily baseball newsletter has some interesting tidbits in it this morning:
- According to Lee, Anaheim signed free-agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera to a 4 year/$32 million dollar contract (which, IIRC, was the last offer the Cardinals made to Edgar Renteria before he signed with the Sawx). This news is of interest to Redbird Nation inasmuch as Cabrera's name was being bandied about as a possible successor to Edgar in the event we lost him to free agency. My take (at this juncture): as far as the Cardinals' middle infield is concerned, is it too early to panic (to avoid the rush)?
- Unit Watch: Lee reports that rumors are flying that the LA Dodgers are trying to back out of the three-team deal that would send Randy Johnson to the Yankees. The more things simmer on this, and the more the Gentlepersons of the New York Press keep whining "Stop delaying and send Johnson to the Yankees, as Pinstripes Are His Destiny", the more I get the feeling that The Unit will be the starting pitcher on Opening Day in Arizona.... UPDATE, 12/22/04: Lee Sinins reports today that the Dodgers have backed out of the three-team trade. According to a story in the LA Times the deal fell through because Javier Vasquez, who would have come to the Dodgers under the terms of the deal, refused to take a physical. Is Randy's Destiny To Be Pinstripes? I'm thinking more and more that will happen, if it does, near next season's trading deadline.
- The Cardinals non-tendered OF So Taguchi. Surprised? Nah, me neither. However, I've been watching The Gootch play in Memphis for the past few years, and he's grown on me. I'm a little saddened to see him (probably) lost to the Cardinals organization (that's all sentimentality speaking, not any Baseball Wisdom) UPDATE, 12/22/04: Lee Sinins (in conjunction with explaining another team's signing) and Brian Walton both point out that a non-tender could be an attempt to resign a player for a larger pay cut than the 20% cut limit currently allowed in the collective bargaining agreement. So The Gootch isn't necessarily lost to the Cards, though they may be looking to re-sign him at less than 80% of last year's contract price.
- After several months of speculation that the New York Yankees were interested in acquiring him, free-agent relief pitcher Steve Kline signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles for 2 years and $5.5 million. Alas, we won't get the opportunity to see the Joe Torre Death Stare if Kliner flips off Torre for warming him up and then not using him....
- And lastly, the Cardinals re-signed relief pitcher Mike Lincoln to a 1 year/$360,000 contract, thus avoiding arbitration. Interesting, insofar as it's a bit of a pay cut from last year. If Mike can return to his 2001-02 form, we could, as one member of a Cards related mail list I'm on said, be "get[ting] a Lincoln for the price of a Ford Focus".
Len on 12.21.04 @ 11:09 AM CST