A pretty quiet day yesterday, though the rumor of a Johnson for Jackson trade was an intriguing one. I would probably be inclined to pull the trigger on that one: their career output has been similar [Johnson 108 OPS+, Jackson 105 OPS+], and they are very close in age [Jackson is less than three months older], but filling second-base would be a big step forward for Arizona, even though Johnson looks to be no great shakes defensively. Tracy then plays first-base - and, it has to be said, the discussions with Tony Clark about him coming back then begin to make a lot more sense should that trade get done, than if we have a Tracy/Jackson platoon at first.
On the Montero front, some interesting comments over at mlbtraderumors.com, where one of the comments suggests:
My working trade idea is for the Sox to eat Eric Byrnes bad contract which will allow them to trade very little talent for Montero. Byrnes is bad but he also fits the bill of a 4th OF the Sox are looking for. Right Handed, can play CF. This would be a good deal for both clubs as Arizona would then have money freed up.
$11m freed up for 2009 and 2010 is certainly very tempting, even at the cost of losing Montero. Of course, there's the little matter of Byrnes and his middle-finger [a.k.a. the no-trade clause], but the Red Sox could be a tempting option, especially now the prospect. of him being a fourth outfielder looms on the horizon.
Nick Piecoro says we made an offer to another left-handed reliever, with reports saying it's Arthur Rhodes. I envisage Josh Byrnes roaming the Bellagio buffet, and if anyone picks up the tongs with their left-hand, he reaches for a contract. Looks like Doug Slaten is not going to be the preferred option as a LOOGY in 2009, which makes me wonder what they have planned for him. And in the Tribune, Scott Bordow is pessimistic about Arizona's off-season moves so far. He quotes "a source" as saying that we have $15m to spend, which seems more than most reports, but may include the $4m we are no longer going to be paying Brandon Lyon.
Anyway, more info as the day progresses, I'm sure. Dbackskins wants me to mention Sabathia going to the Yankees. So I did. No great shock there: a couple more years than I'd have gone for, but the amount per year is about right. We could see a few other dominoes topple as a result.
Kerry Wood to the Indians. Two years, other reports say around $20 million, which seems a LOT more than I'd expect. Not quite D-backs related, but it's another quality player leaving the NL [see also Sabathia], and indicates that the economy is perhaps not impacting, at least the top level of players, as much as might have been thought. It'll be another benchmark against which to measure subsequent D-backs offers, etc. The story adds, "The Indians' spring training move from Florida to Goodyear, Ariz., was a factor because Wood lives in the Phoenix area." What? He wouldn't come here for $3m and the veteran presence of Tony Clark?
TY Very Much.Ed Price reports, "While the Astros are having trouble finding a taker for Miguel Tejada, they are also shopping Ty Wigginton as part of their effort to pare salary, and the most interest right now is from Arizona. Wigginton, who played third base in Houston but played second a fair amount in 2004 and 2006-07, would replace free agent Orlando Hudson at second for the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers had interest in Wigginton before re-signing Casey Blake, and Cleveland briefly considered him before deciding against it."
Rauch justice. "Unable to acquire both a top-shelf closer and a second-tier starter through free agency, the Cardinals have met with representatives for free-agent lefthander Brian Fuentes, but first the team plans to explore trades. Seattle Mariners closer J.J. Putz, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Matt Capps and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Jon Rauch are among potential targets after talks for Houston Astros closer Jose Valverde stalled abruptly earlier in the week."
Junior Mints Nick Piecoro says things are quiet: "The Diamondbacks still are waiting to hear back from left-hander Arthur Rhodes on that deal they offered him." But then he drops this nugget: "Junior Spivey (remember him?) has been bouncing around the hotel this week. The former Diamondbacks second baseman – correction: the former Diamondbacks All-Star second baseman – is job-hunting. He’s 33 and he wants a crack at a roster spot in spring training. He said he touched base with the Diamondbacks." Surely, surely not. If he's on our Opening Day roster, I'm brushing the dust off my 'yotes shirt.
Augie! Augie! Augie! Not that it really matters all that much, but we re-signed Augie Ojeda to a new one-year contract for $712,500. So, looks like he'll be reclaiming his throne as The Littlest Ballplayer in Arizona come next spring.