Baseball Notebook

Daily Baseball Blog

Rangers Active At Winter Meetings


Kevin Millwood was traded by Rangers to Orioles in exchange

for reliever Chris Ray and $3 million cash on Wednesday.

The Rangers were the busiest team at the winter meetings on Wednesday. They traded Kevin Millwood to the Orioles for Chris Ray and agreed on a deal with free agent Rich Harden and traded for Mike Lowell while sending catcher Max Ramirez to the Red Sox.

 The Rangers threw in $3 million in addition to Millwood to make the trade for Ray. He has been effective in the past for the Orioles out of the bullpen but last season was a major disappointment.

 He was 0-4 with a 7.27 ERA allowing 64 hits in 43 innings while striking out 39 and walking 23 for a 2.01 WHIP. Hitters batted .352 against Ray so unless Ray rebounds in 2010 this may be a very one-sided trade.

Harden Has Overwhelming Stuff

The Rangers hope that Rich Harden can replace Millwood in their starting rotation but with his injury history it is not a sure thing. Harden does have overwhelming stuff and has held major league hitters to a .220 batting average during his career.

Harden did double his previous most starts of 13 with 26 for the Cubs in 2009 but his ERA ballooned to 4.09 from the 1.77 he posted with the Cubs in 2008.

The Rangers also reached a preliminary agreement with Mike Lowell subject to Red Sox ownership approval and a pending physical after the Red Sox received catcher Max Ramirez in return. If Lowell does sign with the Rangers he would be used as a DH and as a first baseman.

Lowell Missed 92 Games Over Last Two Seasons

Lowell has missed 92 games over the last two seasons due to injuries but has hit well when in the lineup. He hit 17 homers last season in only 119 games while driving in 75 runs so if he can play at least 150 games in 2010 he could hit 25-30 homers and drive in at least a 100 runs.

He is a contact hitter who hasn’t struck out more than 79 times in a season since 2002. He had little chance of DH’ing with the Red Sox with David Ortiz being the DH so he should be able to play more games in 2010 if he doesn’t have to take the field defensively so often.

Brewers Add Pitching

The Brewers showed they are serious about improving their starting pitching in 2010 by agreeing with lefthander Randy Wolf on a three year contract for $29.75 million. Last offseason the Brewers sat on the sidelines after losing C.C. Sabathia and paid the price with one of the worst pitching staffs in the National League.

Wolf has been healthy the last two seasons with 33 starts in 2008 and 34 in 2009 after having only 30 starts combined during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. He has won more than 12 games only once since his major debut in 1999 so the price tag seems a little high for a pitcher with only 101 wins in 11 seasons.

The Brewers also have reached an agreement with Latroy Hawkins on a two year contract for $7.5 million but I think that is too much money for a pitcher that can’t get righthanders out with them hitting .303 against him. He would probably be used mostly against lefthanders who hit .203 against him in 2009.

Trade Winds Swirling Around Bradley

From what I heard on the MLB Network last night it is almost a certainty that Milton Bradley will not be returning to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field in 2009. What is uncertain is which team will jeopardize their team chemistry to acquire Bradley.

Bradley had no business being signed to a three year contract for $30 million by the Cubs last offseason considering his reputation as a troublemaker everywhere he had played in the past. He had done nothing offensively to warrant such a huge contract. He did have great offensive percentage numbers with the Rangers in 2008 but 77 RBI’s is not worth a $30 million contract.

If he was a good hitter teams might be more willing to deal for him but his 40 RBI’s of the 2009 season are not looking good on his resume.

More Turmoil If Bradley Returns

It is only my opinion for what it is worth but if Milton Bradley returns to Wrigley Field in 2010 it will be a repeat of the 2009 season with the clubhouse in turmoil. He almost certainly will  hit better than he did in 2009 but is it worth disrupting the team chemistry another season?

The team has the ingredients to make a run at the NL Central title in 2010 but their chances will improve if Bradley is a missing ingredient on opening day for the Cubs.

As soon as the Bradley signing was announced last winter I felt it was a huge mistake. Another mistake like the Bradley signing and general manager Jim Hendry may be going door to door selling vacuum cleaners.

Yankees Agree With Pettitte

The Yankees have agreed to pay Andy Pettitte $11.75 million in 2010. Pettitte was given the shaft by the Yankees last offseason signing him to a basic salary of $5.5 million but he earned another $5 million in incentives plus a World Series share.

Still he was being paid very little compared to C.C. Sabathia who earned $14 million in 2009 while A.J. Burnette earned $16.5 million.

Took Advantage of Pettitte’s Loyalty

The Yankees have taken advantage of Pettitte’s loyalty to the Yankees by underpaying him. This season Sabathia will earn $23 million and Burnette will earn $16.5 million again for a total of $39.5 million.

If Pettitte had refused the offer by the Yankees last offseason the team may not have won the World Series. Pettitte has won the third most games as aYankee pitcher in their history yet he is being paid less than Oliver Perez in 2010 who won a total of three games for the Mets in 2009.





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