Monday, September 26, 2011

Landing Spots for Juan Carlos Oviedo

When Leo Nuñez was placed on the Restricted List for a personal reason late last week, people expected it was a family emergency or visa problem. In actuality, he was involving himself in the process of reassuming his own identity, after posing as a childhood friend to be a younger, and therefore more appealing baseball prospect. The best insight on the story is from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

Leo Nuñez's real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo.

In the long run, this may not be a big deal. Miguel Tejada and others who've lied about their age never had to pay any real stiff penalties.

I feel like Juan Carlos Oviedo will be better than Leo Nuñez, at least for a year or two, because he won’t have this laying on his conscience any longer. The Marlins have a decision about his third year in arbitration, but they should offer it to him. All 30 teams should be interested in this guy to handle the 7th, 8th, or 9th.

As an exercise, we could look to see who may be in the market for a top-tier relief pitcher. An examination:

Honesty is the best policy.
Juan Carlos Oviedo is arbitration eligible, and unless they change they change their public stance on the impropriety, he is likely to stay with his current club and close out games in the stadium. We would think, by now, that every Major League GM knows about the diminishing rate of return on high-priced closers. The fact remains, however, that it is a free and rich market. Therefore, the best at their positions will continue to make more money than the generation of relievers before them. In his last year of arbitration, his 2012 salary should be around $6 million. Even if he were more expensive than the Marlins would want to pay, they would likely find an amiable trading partner.

If Oviedo’s stock drops significantly from suspensions or visa complications, the Royals may anticipate a barren market and let him go. Dayton Moore, the Senior VP of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Royals, Godfather of ‘the Process’, may want to reacquire Oviedo, a player he once traded for the inferior Mike Jacobs.

The Yankees have shown the ability to sign talented players with question marks and have them flourish with a slightly diminished role on the Bronx Bombers. The millions they spend on their roster isn’t so much an advantage with signing stars. (The Cubs, Mets, Mariners, and other big losers have expensive stars.) The advantage lies in being able to eat the cost of a failed star to sign another one, and the chance to have some excellent players on the bench. This past winter, the Yankees signed former star players like Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, and Russell Martin and just asked them to be part of the supporting cast.

Tony probably throws a solid BP.
It’s probably not worth much, but Joe Girardi’s bench coach is Tony Peña. In addition to living one of the more inspirational stories I’ve ever heardTony Peña was the Manager of the Royals when Oviedo, as Nuñez, was called up to the Big Leagues for the first time. Their relationship at the Major League level didn’t last long, as Peña was fired midseason, but they may have a good relationship.

This post could be "Landing Spots
for Francisco Rodriguez"
The Brewers are certainly going for it this year, with Prince Fielder likely leaving this winter for richer paydays. It’s all good so far, as they won the NL Central this past Saturday night. The incremental dollars the Brewers make during their postseason run may not be enough to let them keep Prince, but it should help them fill other holes. While Francisco Rodriguez may take his K-Rod talents out of Wisconsin, a renamed outcast from the Marlins might be a great replacement.

Twins, Rays, Tigers, Angels, Mets, and Cubs
While these teams had vastly varying degrees of success this season, their bullpens were below average, and they should the money to buy a late-inning arm like Oviedo’s.

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