Weekend Update – 02/02/08

It’s Groundhog Day, where is Phil Connors? All of baseball is focused on the trade and contract extension of Johan Santana. The Mets and the 2-time Cy Young Award winner agreed in principal to a record-breaking contract on Friday night to complete the trade with the Minnesota Twins. Santana agreed to a 6-year extension with the Mets that will pay him $137.5 million starting in 2009….the total value of the package including his $13.25 million dollar salary for 2008 is $150.75 million, an average annual salary of a little more than $21.5 million.

The Erik Bedard deal appeared to be making progress on Friday, but both camps are remaining very quiet this time. Several reports indicated the Mariners and Orioles are close on announcing the deal, but as everyone has learned, nothing is imminent that involves Peter Angelos.

Here is the latest from the mill and a few notes from the North Side….

Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard

Roch Kubatko reported in the Baltimore Sun on Friday night that the Mariners and Orioles deal for Erik Bedard will get done pretty soon.

According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, Jason Marquis could be included in a package for Brian Roberts if the Orioles deal Erik Bedard. The Orioles are looking for an innings eater and Rosenthal said if the Orioles are willing to take Marquis it “could enable them to demand better prospects from Chicago.” Marquis is owed $6.375 million in 2008 and $9.875 million in 2009.

One of the few sources remaining that believes the Cubs are still trying to trade for both Roberts and Bedard is Yahoo Sports. In a recent report Yahoo stated talks have “cooled down” with the Orioles for both players, if the two sides were to pick up talks again it would likely take a 7-for-2 deal to pull off the trade.

The Cubs

Baseball Prospectus released their Top 100 Prospects list for 2008 on Thursday. Jay Bruce of the Reds topped Kevin Goldstein’s list. Clay Buchholz, Evan Langoria, Joba Chamberlain and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers rounded out the Top 5. There were only two Cubs in the Top 100…. #37, Geovany Soto and #45, Josh Vitters.

Yahoo Sports mentioned the Cubs are looking at free agents Marlon Byrd, Shannon Stewart and Kenny Lofton. Like the Roberts-Bedard report, this is the only source still reporting the Cubs interest in these players.

Tim Brown from Yahoo Sports recently toured the NL Central. Brown broke down each team in the “weak” division and stated the biggest competition in Spring Training for the Cubs will be the backend of the rotation….between Jason Marquis, Ryan Dempster, Jon Lieber and Sean Marshall. “The time is now” for Felix Pie according to Brown but Sam Fuld will provide competition in Mesa.

Rob Neyer ranked the best centerfielders in the game….number 8, Felix Pie.

Tracy Ringolsby brought up all of the questions in the National League in a report in the Rocky Mountain News. The question for the Cubs…. Can Geovany Soto keep up the offensive production he displayed last September for an entire season?

Cubs.com looked at the Cubs starting rotation candidates this past week. The last sentence….”It will be an interesting spring.” Yes, it will.

From Around the League

150 players are still looking for a job for the upcoming season with Spring Training right around the corner according to Jayson Stark.

Sean Casey’s name was removed from Stark’s count at the last moment. ‘The Mayor‘ signed a 1-year deal with the Boston Red Sox worth $700,000 on Friday.

Ken Rosenthal reported the Padres are expecting Mark Prior to “throw off a mound within the next week.” They are wanting Prior to start a rehab assignment in April in order to be able to pitch in early May. Prior’s agent does not agree with the timeframe and wants a “more cautious approach.

Prior’s agent said he hoped they would not be in a position in which Prior was “rushed into duty.” The Padres told Prior he would not be rushed back but apparently San Diego has changed their mind. A little advice to the Padres, beware of the ‘Employee‘.

Finally…. One of the Best Teams on Paper in February, the Chicago Cubs.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein