Category Archives: Transactions

Trade Review: Shaun Marcum to the Brewers

The Winter Meetings hadn’t even officially kicked off and there had already been two trades, one gigantic one, and another which is a pretty decent sized one as well. I already wrote up the Adrian Gonzalez trade, but another one that came together pretty quickly on Sunday evening was the Brewers’ acquisition of Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Shaun Marcum in exchange for 2B prospect Brett Lawrie.

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Free Agent Signing – Victor Martinez to the Tigers

We have the first major piece to fall into place from free agency this offseason, with the news that catcher Victor Martinez has agreed to a 4 year, $50 million contract with the Detroit Tigers.

It appears, according to MLBTR, that Martinez was offered both a 3 year and 4 year deal by the Red Sox, but for less money than the Tigers offered. 

From the Tigers’ Perspective

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Trade Deadline Thoughts

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, I put out a call to some of the team-centric bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance with 3 questions each, dependent on whether or not they considered their team to be a contender or not. Below are the questions, along with each of the responses.

Note that most of these responses were received over the last week, so some may be a bit out of date with the information now known, but that has more with my inability to sit down and write it all down and not with the respondents themselves.

The Respondents

Bill Ivie from I-70 Baseball (Responses are for the Cardinals)
Daniel Shoptaw from C70 at the Bat (Cardinals)
Bee Hylinski from Contract Year (Athletics)

For Contending Teams:

1.  What would you say is your team’s most pressing need to help them get to (or stay in) the playoffs?

Ivie: I will take the opinion side of this.  I have said it for months now.  The Cardinals need some strong help in the middle infield.  When they get production and table setting from the 2b/SS position, they produce and win.  When those positions are quiet, the team loses.

Shoptaw: There are two glaring holes on this team–middle infield, most especially shortstop, and the back of the rotation.  With the hopeful emergence of Tyler Greene to replace Brendan Ryan‘s woeful production, getting another starter would seem to be the most pressing need.  The team can not continue to run out Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth on a regular basis and expect to play in October.

Interesting to me is the fact that both writers agree that the Cardinals’ middle infield is pretty much a black hole in terms of offense. I’m also inclined to agree with Daniel about the fact that the Cardinals need something in their rotation, but I think they are going to have to either make a small acquisition or wait to find out if and when injured pitchers Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse will be able to return to the rotation.

2. What player(s) do you think would most effectively fit that need? Generally, these would only be players that actually have a decent chance of being traded, so no offers for Albert Pujols 🙂

Ivie: What if I want to offer for Albert…oh, wait…we got ’em.  Dan Uggla is always and intriguing name.  I also like the discussions that are suggesting Stephen Drew at SS.  Other than that, I think the market is kind of small for help, but hopefully they can find something out there.

Shoptaw: While the Cardinals would be well-suited to a Dan Haren or a Roy Oswalt, their contract situation most likely leaves them out of the crosshairs of GM John Mozeliak.  All moves must be filtered through the prism of the potential Albert Pujols extension.  Therefore, they’d much rather have someone that was a free agent after this season rather than someone taking up space in the next year or two.  You would think, in that case, they’d look for someone like a Jake Westbrook or perhaps a Kevin Millwood.

I actually really like the idea of the Cardinals acquiring Dan Uggla for a playoff run. While he is a bit expensive at $7.8 million for this season, he is under team control for next season as well, and could conceivably be moved during the offseason if they feel he will be too expensive. I actually really like the Stephen Drew thought as well, but he has more seasons under team control and would realistically cost more to acquire than Uggla. The Cardinals also seem like they would be a good team to take a risk on a Jake Westbrook/Kevin Millwood/Jeremy Guthrie type, and pair them up with Dave Duncan and let him do his magic.

3. What player(s) in your system are most likely to net you the player(s) for those needs?

Ivie: This probably is the biggest obstacle for the Cardinals.  I would say that Bryan Anderson (AAA Catcher), Mitchell Boggs (ML Reliever), and Brendan Ryan (ML Shorstop).  Brendan may be thrown in for a change of scenery and take a team that feels that is what he needs, but it will be hard to tell.

Shoptaw: What they can give up is another story.  Since they used a lot of their chips last year acquiring Mark DeRosa and then Matt Holliday, there’s not a lot on the farm.  There are potentially useful players such as Mark Hamilton and Joe Mather, along with current big leaguers Jon Jay and Allen Craig, that could be used as parts of a deal.  Most likely, St. Louis would have to take on payroll, something that ownership has said there is flexibility to do, and give away lesser quality prospects.  Expect that Brendan Ryan could be a part of a deal as well, especially if they do make a deal for a shortstop.

After looking at the Cardinals system myself, it’s pretty empty at the higher levels. The biggest name that I have heard for them is pitcher Shelby Miller, who I would assume would have to be included in a trade if they were to get themselves someone like Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. The other thing to remember at this point is that if they acquire a player who has a longer term contract, they may start running into a problem with their payroll limits after 2011 when they will need to resign Albert Pujols.

For Non-Contenders:

1. Which player(s) on your team do you think are most likely to get moved before the deadline?

Hylinski: Pitcher Ben Sheets, notwithstanding Billy Beane’s comments that he doesn’t plan on moving anyone.  Sheets has pitched better with every start recently.  His fastball is up to the mid nineties and all his other pitchers are working more accurately.  He’s a veteran presence and great with the young pitchers.  Speaking of the latter,  if a team would give up a great player and need more than Sheets, the A’s have a plethora of young pitchers in the minors to sweeten the pot.

I really thought that they were going to move him, and that despite his veteran presence he could bring back a fair amount in return. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and could potentially miss the rest of the season.

2. What would you like to see the organization get in return (ie, a 3B prospect, starting pitching prospects, salary relief, etc)? Specific players aren’t necessarily a requirement, unless you see a specific good match.

Hylinski: A slugger, a 3 or 4 hole hitter who can also play in the field (not another Jack Cust, please)  Someone like Hanley Ramirez would be terrific: a young major league hitter (or major-league ready hitter) with substantial pop in his bat.

I agree that this is definitely what the Athletics need, because the lineup just isn’t good enough in terms of power. Even when Sheets was healthy, I’m not sure I saw a player on the A’s current roster that could have brought that in return. Maybe catcher Kurt Suzuki, but with him now signed to a contract extension, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for at least a couple of seasons.

3. Do you see a good fit for these players that you think could get a deal done?

Hylinski: I am not convinced that Billy Beane and the ownership will pay top dollar for a hot bat.  But that’s what the team needs.  The only 2 bats at top of the A’s minor league system (Sacramento River Cats) are Chris Carter who can only play 1st base, so unless something happens to Daric Barton who has been a hitting and field machine, he’s not coming up; and  Michael Taylor who is at least a year off.

Another possibility might be 2nd-baseman Mark Ellis (though I’d really hate to see him go).  I understand the Phillies and maybe the Red Sox are looking for a 2nd baseman.  Probably Kevin Kouzmanoff will not be traded unless the other end of the deal is too good to pass up.

I’m inclined to agree with these points also, unfortunately. With the stadium situation continuing to drag on in Oakland, and with the team possibly moving to parts unknown, San Jose, or half a dozen other places, they just seem extremely unlikely to pay to get someone like that. The two prospects Bee mentioned have unfortunately been disappointments at AAA to this point, and signs are pointing that they may actually have to repeat the level again next season.

Overall, I thought it was interesting to get the perspective of some writers who are clearly very knowledgeable about their teams, and see if their observations about their teams were similar to mine as someone who sees it a little more at arm’s length. Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions, and you should check out their blogs at the links above as well.

Also, Allen Teruel over at Prorumors.Com had a series of writeups regarding potential trade targets for each team and certain types of players as well. You can find these stories here:

Here are a few Top 10 lists that can help you out too:

Roster Rules Review and the Next Set of Posts

With my post about trades and the trade deadline, I’ve finished up my Roster Rules series.

  1. The 25 man roster
  2. The 40 man roster
  3. The Disabled List
  4. Free Agency and Free Agent Compensation
  5. Arbitration
  6. The Rule 4 draft (June Amateur)
  7. The Rule 5 draft (December)
  8. Trades, the Trade Deadlines and Waivers

 Starting Friday, I am going to be reviewing some of the top candidates for the Writers’ Ballot for the Hall of Fame.

Roster Rules – Trades, the Trade Deadlines, and Waivers

A trade, essentially, is the movement between 2 or more teams of player contracts. Teams can make trades with any team they choose, involving any players that they choose, but there are some limitations:

  • Teams cannot trade players drafted in the Rule 4 draft for 1 year from the date of the draft.
  • Players can have no-trade clauses added to their contracts, generally only as a part of a new contract.
  • Players can earn no-trade rights by having 10 years of service time in the major leagues, and having 5 years of service time with their current team.
  • Players can waive their no-trade rights to facilitate a trade if they so desire.
  • Teams can send monetary considerations as a part of the trade. Any amount of $1 million in cash must be approved by the commissioner’s office.
  • Teams can also include a “Player to be Named Later”. Generally, this is a player who has already been determined by the teams involved, but cannot be included for various reasons.
  • Free agents who sign a contract cannot be traded until after May 1st of the first season of the contract.

The Trade Deadlines

There are 2 trade deadlines:

  • July 31st: The Non-Waiver Trade Deadline
  • August 31st: The Postseason Roster Trade Deadline

After the July 31st trade deadline, a player must be placed on waivers and clear waivers before they can be traded to any team. Teams have until August 31st to trade for a player if they want to have them on their postseason roster.


Players are placed on waivers in the period between July 31st and August 31st, with very few exceptions. Teams are allowed to make a claim to any player placed on waivers, and based on how many teams claim the player will determine how the claim is rewarded:

  • If no one claims a player, they are said to have “cleared waivers”, and can be traded to any team
  • If only one team claims the player, that team is awarded the claim.
  • If more than one team claims the player, the team with the worst record in their own league is offered the claim.

If a player is claimed, they can only be traded to the team that was awarded the claim. If they choose not to trade the player to this team, they can pull him back off of waivers. What this does is make the player essentially untradeable during this period. A team can only pull a player back from waivers once in this time period. If they place the player on waivers again, they cannot pull him back again.

Once a waiver claim has been awarded, the team with the player can try to negotiate a trade with the team that was awarded the claim.


Alex Rios was placed on waivers last season during the month of August. A claim was placed on him, and this gave the Blue Jays three choices:

  • Pull him back off of waivers, and not allow him to be traded without exposing him to waivers a second time.
  • Negotiate with the team that won the claim (The White Sox) to try and get something in return for him via trade
  • Simply allow the other team to have the player, without any return. The new team would be responsible for the entirety of their contract, and the old team would be off the hook for any of it.

In this particular example, the Blue Jays chose option #3, and were free of the rather large contract of Rios.

ESPN.Com article  – Waiver Rules

Roster Rules – Free Agency

Free Agency actually started this morning at 12 AM EST, so we’ll go over that topic next.

After a player has completed 6 full seasons in the major leagues, they can file for free agency. Free agency allows a player to negotiate with any team they chose. A player can also become a free agent if they are released by their previous team. Since major league contracts are guaranteed, if a player is released, any team that signs him during the remainder of that contract will only be required to pay the player the minimum salary, and his old team will be on the hook for the rest.

Free Agents may be subject to compensation as well, under the following system:

All players at the end of each season are ranked by the Elias Sports Bureau. They are broken into groups by league, and by similar positional group:

Starting Pitchers
Relief Pitchers

MLB Trade Rumors has a breakdown of exactly what they look at for each player. Keith Law of also went into this in quite a bit of detail.

What the end result of this process is that each player is given a ranking:
Type A: Top 30% of their position group
Type B: Top 50%, but outside the top 30% of their position group
All Others: Bottom 50%

Type A free agents, if signed by a different team, earn for their previous team compensation in the form of:

  • The first round draft pick of the team that signed the player (if the pick is #16 or higher), OR
  • The second round draft pick of the team that signed the player (if their first round pick is from picks #1 through #15), AND
  • A “sandwich” pick in between the 1st and 2nd rounds.
  • These are all in the June Rule 4 draft. (To be discussed in a later post)

Type B free agents, if signed by a different team, earn for their previous team the following:

  • A “sandwich” pick in between the 1st and 2nd rounds.

All other free agents which do not qualify as Type A or Type B will not earn their previous team any compensation. Also, any team which re-signs a player that had been on their team prior to filing for free agency does not earn any compensation for that team (since there is no loss to the team).

The key with any compensation is this: The player’s previous team must offer the player arbitration by the deadline (usually in the first week of December), or the player must sign prior to December 1st. If neither of these conditions are met, then there is no compensation.

MLB Trade Rumors also has some examples about this as well.

Roster Rules – The Disabled List

The Disabled list is a fairly basic concept. When a player gets hurt, and he is going to be hurt for an extended period of time, you move the player onto the disabled list. There are two different lists, the 15 day, and the 60 day.

15-day Disabled List
This is used to allow teams to bring a player onto the 25 man roster. Any player placed on the 15-day disabled list remains on the 40 man roster. A player can be moved from the 15-day to the 60-day, but not vice-versa.

60-day Disabled List
This is used to allow teams to bring a player onto the 40 man roster. A roster spot is freed up by placing a player on the 60 day disabled list.

In both cases, a player may be placed on either list retroactively up to 10 days into the past, providing that they have not appeared in a game since. Also, players are required to be on the list for the full amount of time (either 15 or 60 days).

Players may also be sent down to the minor leagues for rehabilitation, but there are limits of 20 days for position players and 30 days for pitchers.



Roster Rules – The 40 man roster

Yesterday, I discussed the basics of the 25 man roster. Today, we’ll go into the 40 man roster.

The 40 man roster is considered to be the protected roster.

Players on the 40 man roster include:

  • All players on the 25 man roster
  • All players on the 15 day disabled list
  • Selected minor leaguers

Any minor leaguers which a team wishes to protect from the Rule 5 draft must be added to the 40 man roster by November 20th each year.  Only certain minor leaguers are required to be protected:

  • If they signed their initial contract by the age of 18, after 5 seasons in the minor leagues
  • If they signed their initial contract at age 19 or older, after 4 seasons in the minor leagues

Some other terms related to the 40 man roster:

Recalling a player – Moving a player already on the 40 man roster to the 25 man roster.
Purchasing a player’s contract – Adding a player to the 25 man roster that has not been added to the 40 man roster. This player would also be automatically added to the 40 man roster as well.
Designated for Assignment – This is essentially a holding place for a player that is being removed from either the 25 man or 40 man roster. It gives the team 10 days to either trade the player, or put him on waivers.

Options – Once a player has been added to the 40 man roster, they can be freely moved between the minors and the majors for 3 different seasons following that. Some notes:

  • If a player does not get sent down during a season, an option is not used. 
  • If a player is sent down to the minors during spring training, an option is used.
  • If a player uses all 3 of his options, he must be put on waivers, and clear in order to be sent to the minor leagues.

This roster is also used starting September 1st, and any player listed on the 40 man roster can be used in a game for the month of September. Players on the 40 man roster, but not on the 25 man roster on August 31st, are not eligible for postseason play.

The 40 man roster is probably the most important piece of information for a general manager. It helps protect players from other teams, allows them to draw on a base of players for their team, and can potentially be a financially driven item as well.



Roster Rules – The 25 man roster

Each team has both a 25 man roster, and a 40 man roster. I’m going to start with discussing the 25 man roster today.

The 25 man roster is also known as the active roster. These, simply put, are the players you can use in a live game. Any player that you wish to use MUST be on the active roster. The key with this roster is this: If you wish to have a player available to play, you must get them on this roster. There are a few ways to get players onto it:

– Place a player on the disabled list (either 15 or 60 day)
– Release a player
– Send a player to the minor leagues (on an option)

Any player that a team wishes to use in a playoff game must also be on the 25 man roster as of August 31st each year.

All players which are on the 25 man roster are automatically on the 40 man roster as well.



Roster Rules Series

As we enter the free agency period, you’re likely to hear a lot of terms about transactions that you may or may not be very familiar with. Over the coming posts, I am going to go over a lot of the concepts involved with major and minor league transactions, and the impact that they can have. Some of them are pretty straightforward, and some are confusing. I am hoping to shed some light on those ones.

  1. The 25 man roster
  2. The 40 man roster
  3. The Disabled List
  4. Free Agency and Free Agent Compensation
  5. Arbitration
  6. The Rule 4 draft (June Amateur)
  7. The Rule 5 draft (December)
  8. Trades, the Trade Deadlines and Waivers