Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

Author Archives: Brien Jackson

Rays, Royals, complete Shields-Myers swap

The Rays have been shopping James Shields around the league for weeks to multiple suitors, but it would appear now that they have settled on a partnership with Kansas City. The Rays will be shipping out not only Shields, but also Wade Davis, and in exchange they’ll be getting outfielder Wil Myers, RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery, and 3B Patrick Leonard.

My first thought here is that Tampa Bay is getting a lot of recognizable names. Myers, of course, is the centerpiece and one of the top five prospects in baseball, but Odorizzi was Kansas City’s top pitching prospect and also somewhere in the top 75-100, and Montgomery was formerly viewed as their top pitching prospect before struggling quite a bit in the last couple of years. But unlike the Royals, who have been awful at developing pitching from their vaunted farm system, the Rays seem to have a magic touch with their young hurlers. If they can find a way to help both Odorizzi and Montgomery reach their potential in the big leagues, this is going to go down as a mammoth haul for them.…

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Dodgers land Greinke

My how quickly things change during hot stove season. The last time I did a once over of the latest Zack Greinke rumors, the conventional wisdom was that the Rangers were the heavy favorites to land his services, so much so that the bottom less money pit in Los Angeles Dodgers were thinking of bowing out of the sweepstakes altogether and focus on Anibal Sanchez or something. Instead, it was announced tonight that Greinke has agreed to sign a six year, $147 million contract with the Dodgers. The top line number here is a bit lower than what had been floating about, but the $24.5 million AAV is the highest in baseball history for a pitcher on a multi-year contract, surpassing the previous record of $24.4 million owned by C.C. Sabathia.

More importantly, however, Greinke’s decision should get the dominoes falling in place around the rest of the league pretty quickly. Texas, for one, figures to reverse course from trying to sign Greinke/trade for Justin Upton to re-signing Josh Hamilton and trading for an additional pitcher, perhaps James Shields or R.A.

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Free agents can, in fact, change teams

I’d say we’ve officially reached the point in the offseason where the media is really mining the rumor mill for anything remotely interesting they can get. Yesterday it was talk that the Yankees might hit the proverbial bank shot and sign Josh Hamilton after all, and today it’s this report in the Daily News that Robinson Cano may be playing elsewhere in 2014. The problem is that there’s really nothing new in the report, nor anything concrete for that matter. It basically just says that Cano isn’t going to give the Yankees any discounts as he angles for his one chance at a big payday, and that he has no problem signing somewhere else if the Yankees don’t match the going rate for his services.

Actually, I take that back. There is one slightly interesting nugget here, but it’s only tangentially related to Cano. Rather, it’s this assessment of the Yankees’ organization from the ever popular rival executive. “I don’t think [Cano] be with the Yankees beyond next season,” they said.…

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Yankees still talking to Ichiro

Though their primary concern at the moment is waiting on a decision from free agent Kevin Youkilis, the Yankees still have a hole to fill in right field, and with that in mind they are still engaged in talks with their own Ichiro Suzuki, tweets Jon Heyman. Ichiro was a pleasant surprise during his time with the Yankees in 2012, including a very strong postseason performance, and would seem to be a natural fit for a team obsessed with avoiding anything more than one year contracts this winter. On the other hand, many have speculated that the Yankees don’t want to have an all left-handed hitting outfield, especially one that includes both Ichiro and fellow light-hitter Brett Gardner.

All the same, both sides seem to prefer a reunion, and I wonder if a lot of the feather fluffing from both sides isn’t designed as a ruse to push the other closer to an agreement.

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Sayonara Andruw?

Via NPB Tracker, it appears that Andruw Jones may be taking his talents to a whole new country in 2013. Nikkan Sports is reporting that the outfielder, who spent the last two seasons in the Bronx, has agreed to play for the Rakuten Golden Eagles for $3.5 million this coming season. If true, it’s a pretty interesting turn for a player with a borderline Hall of Fame case like Jones to take, as it sees like most of those kinds of players (*cough* Johnny Damon *cough*) do whatever they can to hang around and compile counting stats. I certainly can’t think of any who have spent their twilight years playing in another country, especially when there’s a decent chance he could have landed at least a Spring Training invite stateside.

Of course, that almost certainly wasn’t going to come with the Yankees. Jones was a surprisingly valuable player back in 2011, especially in the second half when he absolutely destroyed left handed pitching, but he was just as utterly useless last season.…

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Yankees avoid arbitration with Gardner

The Yankees have announced that they have agreed to terms on a 2013 salary with Brett Gardner, avoiding arbitration, the team announced today. The speedy outfielder will earn $2.85 million this season, after making just 9 nine starts before being sidelined for most of the season with an elbow injury in 2012.

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Was Marvin Miller bad for players? #Slatepitch

On Wednesday, Hippeaux linked to this piece written by Dan Rosenheck at The Economist that purports to counter the “hagiography” that has followed the death of MLBPA pioneer Marvin Miller. The basis of the charges: that Miller didn’t care about the rank and file baseball players, be it union members with less service time or non-union minor leaguers and even amateurs. The supposed proof for this is that today’s salaries are largely concentrated amongst the “elite” players, with a far smaller share of the pie concentrated amongst the masses. The raw data is interesting, I guess, but I don’t really agree with the conclusions drawn. Furthermore, I’m going to respectfully but forcefully disagree with my colleague and say that not only is Rosenheck’s premise not “compelling,” but rather obvious hogwash.

First of all, let’s take what is supposed to be the damning accusation here, that the free agent pricing mechanism is irrational because it unevenly distributes salary dollars, and note that this simply isn’t true.…

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Someone from the Yankees checked out Josh Hamilton

This is just a very, very strange report from Bob Nightengale:

I say it’s strange because, well, why is someone other than the GM doing this? After all, yesterday the story was that Cashman lacked the authority to make any offers at the Winter Meetings because ownership was already clamping down on their payroll spending, and now today someone other than Cashman (so presumably someone above Cashman’s head) is running a background check on the top position player on the free agent market? Talk about night and day.

Of course, checking up on someone isn’t the same thing as being all that interested in signing him, and I would still put the odds that Hamilton lands with the Yankees at somewhere between slim and none. Then again, there is a distinctly similar feel to the way the Mark Teixeira signing went down: a middle of the order bat the Yankees could certainly use just sitting in limbo on the free agent market, with no one seemingly making a particularly strong push to sign him.…

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