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Mashup: Creativity, Top 10, Montero, Sandoval, AFL, Ortiz

November 7, 2010

As of today players are free to negotiate and sign with any team as the free agent signing period official began at midnight. Unlike years past there weren’t any significant signings taking place during the few days where teams have exclusive rights to talk their pending free agents. Now that anything can happen, let’s take a look at some of the ongoings across the game:

  • The Toronto Blue Jays made a creative, but unconventional move when they acquired Miguel Olivo from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later. Olivo’s option for 2011 was then declined making him a free agent. The plan is likely to offer him arbitration with the expectation that he’ll decline, thus giving Toronto an extra draft pick next summer.
  • In case it wasn’t already well know, next summer’s draft class is expected to be one of the deepest in history in terms of overall talent. There is going to be extra attention paid this winter to arbitration offers and which free agents sign where considering the draft pick compensation that comes with signing the top available players.
  • Baseball America continued their organizational Top 10 prospects lists with Toronto. This week they’ll release the remainder of the AL East – New York and Tampa Bay.
  • Speaking of the Yankees’ top prospect – Jesus Montero – there is word that he’ll come to Spring Training with the expectation that he’ll win the starting catcher job next season. The move would push Jorge Posada primarily into the designated hitter role. The biggest concern among most scouts and analysts are questions about Montero’s defense but most within the organization feel he’s already a better defensive catcher than Posada is at this point in his career. He won’t simply be given the job, but he’ll have every opportunity to earn it.
  • One more thought on Montero. We know the Yankees were willing to include him in a failed trade this past summer for Cliff Lee. Presumably if the Yankees were to go after another big name pitcher this winter there will be discussions about building a package around Montero. I can’t say that anything is impossible but I personally don’t see a trade happening. There are few stars who trading Montero for would make sense and none are seemingly available (either due to recent contract extensions with their current club or a no trade clause that rules New York out of the equation).
  • During the Giants winning World Series run one of the surprising occurrences was how little Pablo Sandoval factored into their lineup. Sandoval had an extraordinarily disappointing season in 2010 and the team is concerned that much of this is due to his poor conditioning. ESPN’s Buster Olney recently mentioned in his blog (Insider Only) that one of his colleagues saw Sandoval on the morning of one of the World Series games. For breakfast he was having a bag of Cheetos and a Mountain Dew. So it’s understandable where San Francisco is coming from with their concerns. According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle the team has already told Sandoval that if he continues to have conditioning issues next year they’ll be forced to send him down to the minors. They’ve apparently placed him on a very strict schedule for this offseason, including having him meet with a nutritionist.
  • The Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars game took place last night with the Western Division squad beating out the Eastern Division squad by a 3-2 final score thanks to a walk-off home run by Cuban defector and Tampa Bay outfielder Leslie Anderson. The league’s All Star Game has become a popular attraction over the past few years as it usually showcases a great deal of talent. This year’s game actually featured 19 former first round draft picks.
  • According to GM Theo Epstein, David Ortiz is “content” with the team only picking up his option for 2011 instead of working out an extension. I took a look at Ortiz’s situation a few days ago and really couldn’t find substantial reason for an extension to be offered.
  • Prospect Insider took at look at some of the reasons why the Elias ranking system used to determine Type A and Type B free agents needs to be done away with. I could not agree more but, as the author of the post mentions there aren’t any viable solutions that have been presented. This is one of those debates that may go on for some time now.
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