After nine wins in four seasons in pinstripes, look for Carl Pavano to take full advantage of his incentives-based contract in Cleveland, by winning double-digits while starting as many games this year as he did in New York the last four (26). The 33-year-old will receive $1.5 million guaranteed and could earn another $5.3 million depending on performance.
If you needed yet another signal as to how bad the economy is, look no further than the one-year deal signed by Jason Giambi with the A’s. Producing 32 homers, 96 RBI’s, and a .372 OBP in 2008, Giambi only garnered a robust sum of $4 million. Granted, Giambi gives you nothing in the field, but with the addition of Matt Holiday, and the Angels' loss of Mark Teixeira (who can not be replaced), Oakland has greatly improved its chances of postseason play.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays have been awfully quiet this off-season. Asides from a feeble attempt to keep A.J. Burnett, nothing has happened north of the border, and holes still remain at SS, DH, and in the starting rotation. As prices fall and we close in on one month before pitchers and catchers report, Orlando Cabrera could be a solid addition at the top of the Blue Jays order with a one-year deal. John Garland could eat up the innings left by Burnett’s signing with the Yankees. Rookie outfielder Travis Snider and young LF/DH Adam Lind will need to play big roles in the Jays offense.
The Manny situation couldn’t happen to two better guys than Ramirez or agent Scott Boras. If there is a baseball god, Boras will have to tuck his tail between his legs and have Manny accept the Dodgers' two-year offer, which may come down from $45 million. The Giants' interest was false from the get-go. The Angels would only be players if they could unload the horrendous contract of Gary Mathews, Jr. (three years, about $30 million remaining). The Dodgers are not only the best fit, but the only fit.
The world champion Phillies will have to do without the second most important piece of their dominant bullpen, thanks to the 50-game suspension of J.C. Romero. There is not a better conditioned player in the locker room than J.C., but the setup man was given false information by his own union. Granted, Romero should have shown better judgment, not taking a product he’s never seen before without it being cleared by MLB. The supplement company should be hearing from Romero’s attorney in the very near future for not detailing what their product does at the time the reliever’s purchase. A $1.2 million hit is harder to swallow than the horse pill causing the positive test. The Phils will look internally to fill Romero’s spot in the pen until his return on June 1. Expect J.A. Happ to end up as the 12th man and Chan Ho Park beginning the year as the No. 5 starter.