November 7, 2013
Hey Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken
Declined a club option on RHP Jose Veras. [11/1]
A bit of a surprise. The assumption at the deadline was the Tigers would retain Veras' services for an additional season at a reasonable ($4 million cost). Not so. Veras hits the open market at a good time. He's coming off arguably the best season of his career, in which he spent time closing. Whether he lands another closer job is to be determined, but he's a versatile power arm who should appeal to teams wishing to avoid upmarket prices.
Named Lloyd McClendon manager. [11/5]
From three years ago:
McClendon is expected to interview for the manager's position with the Mariners. It would be his first managerial interview since getting the ax five years ago.
McClendon didn't get the job back then, of course. Eric Wedge did. The Wedge era didn't work out in Seattle, and he recently walked away from the team amid unusual circumstances. In some ways, McClendon is similar to Wedge, as both were former managers with promises of doing better in their second shot.
No disappointed Mariners fan will take solace in that, nor this: McClendon's success or failure depends on how well Jack Zduriencik completes what's become a lengthy rebuild. (On that note, it's worth mentioning Zduriencik is reportedly in line for an extension.) Unlike the other teams to hire managers so far this winter, Seattle doesn't have a good roster in place. The Mariners do have an assortment of interesting young players, and could be on the rise, but it's going to take a quality offseason for anyone to consider them a threat in the AL West—and even then, who knows.
One interesting aspect about Seattle's decision: It goes against the recent trend of inexperienced skippers. If the Cubs hire Rick Renteria, then McClendon would be the only manager hired this offseason with previous non-interim experience. Make of that what you will.
The Rays exercised DeJesus' club option, worth $6.5 million, on Sunday night, then lowered his 2014 salary by about $2 million with a new contract. Useful but limited is probably the best way to describe the veteran outfielder. He's a capable hitter against right-handed pitching, though his at-bats needs to be micromanaged so he rarely faces same-side pitching. DeJesus is a solid fielder and baserunner, yet he's not an ideal center fielder nor someone you want stealing bases. The Rays tend to read the market well, so expect comparable players—David Murphy and Nate McLouth—to get similar deals.
Oviedo missed the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. It was believed he might return and compete for the Rays' vacant ninth-inning job, so Tampa Bay should be in the market for a veteran reliever.
Re-signed C-R Geovany Soto to a one-year deal worth $3.05 million. [11/5]
Soto is the first player from our Top 50 Free Agents list to sign this winter. Here's what I wrote about him entering free agency:
Soto spent the season with Texas, seldom playing as A.J. Pierzynski's backup. When he did appear, he mashed left-handed pitching. Soto still possesses good pull-side power, and his approach continues to result in healthy walk rates. However, his strikeout rate spiked last season, and he's never been an effective hitter against secondary pitches—particularly from right-handed hurlers. Defensively, Soto can be an overenthusiastic field general. He's a decent receiver, but his inaccurate throws limit his caught-stealing rate. Soto should get the chance to play more next season.
Maybe Soto won't get the opportunity to play more after all—not if the Rangers sign Brian McCann, too. For now, the veteran backstop gives the Rangers a safety net no matter how the rest of the winter unfolds. Texas knows Soto and likely values his willingness to take a lesser role for the betterment of the team. He's a good enough player that, even if the Rangers fall short in securing McCann, they still have a starting caliber backstop to plug into the lineup. It's tough to find a negative here.
Claimed UTL-S Jimmy Paredes off waivers from the Astros. [11/4]
Some might remember Paredes from the Lance Berkman trade, others will recall his solid cameo as a 22-year-old in 2011. The two seasons since haven't been kind to him at the big-league level. Now he finds himself changing hands, heading from the worst team in the AL to the worst in the NL. Paredes an unskilled defender whose arm and footwork limit him from regularly playing the left side; his outfield work resulted in two collisions within a week's time during last season. Offensively, he likes to swing (and miss) a lot without atoning for those sins with a good average or power production. Paredes has worked hard to improve himself in recent seasons, but his best-case scenario involves utility work.