Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spreading rumors

The Star Tribune, having opted not to send one of its baseball writers to the World Series, did send Joe Christensen to the general managers meetings in Chicago this week. I suppose two days in Chicago is cheaper than 10 days in Philly-NYC.

The GM meeting is a rumor mill; historically, trades and contracts are talked, but action comes about a month from now, at the winter meetings. But then, there have been some trades of significance already — Akinori Iwamura to Pittsburgh, Mark Teahen to the White Sox, J.J. Hardy to the Twins — so who knows? The GMs might surprise us.

Chatter gleaned from the Internets:

* The Tigers are said to be shopping Edwin Jackson. There is a difference between shopping him around and actually trading him, of course.

The motivation is said to be financial. He's arbitration-eligible, which means his salary is about to accelerate, and you may have heard that the Detroit economy isn't strong these days.

I wonder, however, if the Tigers aren't suspicious about his declining numbers as the season progressed. First half ERA: 2.52. Second half ERA: 5.07. Seven homers allowed through June; 20 from July on. Twenty-three extra base hits allowed in Oct./Sept.

If the Tigers trade Jackson, yeah, they'll shed a growing financial obligation. But it may also be a good baseball move.

* Carl Pavano's agent says the free agent starter would like to stay with the Twins. Pitching coach Rick Anderson is said to be enthusiastic about that idea. Usually, if the player wants to stay and the team wants him to stay, he's staying, but there may be a gap between what Pavano thinks he should be paid and what the Twins think.

I get a chuckle out of the defense that Pavano's 5.10 ERA in 2009 was inflated by his first start, in which he gave up nine runs while getting just three outs for Cleveland. Toss out that one, and his season ERA drops to 4.86 — which is still almost a half-run higher than the league average.

* Christensen also says the Twins may pursue Jarrod Washburn. That would be a mistake, especially with the planned outfield defense.

* The Red Sox reworked Tim Wakefield's contract and said the reason was to save money under the competitive balance tax. They were about 45 million short of being hit by the tax last season, so the speculation is rife that they're going to spend spend spend. Which may be the best possible news for Matt Holliday.

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