Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Non-Tenders - Shea Hillenbrand and Josh Fogg

Peter Gammons speculates that Shea Hillenbrand and Josh Fogg may be among the players that are non-tendered (not offered arbitration) by their current ball clubs. These two players intrigue me.

Hillenbrand used to be a member of the Red Sox but was traded for Byung-Hyun Kim. Hillenbrand's trade opened up third base for Bill Mueller who ended up winning the batting title as a result. Third (and first) base are all set for the Red Sox but I could see a couple of teams having interest in Hillenbrand.

The Dodgers would be a good fit if Adrian Beltre moves on. Hillenbrand would not be able to fully replace Beltre's production but has shown some pop when playing at Dodger Stadium (.938 OPS in 68 AB). Hillenbrand could be signed for 3-years for less than what Beltre would be looking for just one.

The Mariners and Rockies both need a third baseman. Hillenbrand hasn't shown much as far as production at Coors but I'm sure he'd adapt and if the Rockies signed him I'd be willing to bet that he posts better numbers than what Vinnie Castillo will come up with in Washington. The Mariners are rumored to be in on both Troy Glaus and Beltre but it wouldn't surprise me if they went with the cheaper Hillenbrand instead.

Hillenbrand would cost the Diamondbacks about $3.5 million if they gave him arbitration and that may be too much (especially if they really plan on trying to keep Richie Sexson). Anyone interested in Corey Koskie should be interested in Hillenbrand as well.

I should note that in Boston, Hillenbrand was a favorite of both Johnny Pesky and Manny Ramirez. That says something about him as a teammate (although I'm not really clear on what it says).

Josh Fogg is originally from Lynn, MA (Lynn, Lynn - the city of sin, you never come out the way you went in).

Fogg only cost the Pirates $340,000 last year so I'd be really surprised if he wasn't offered arbitration. (Sometimes Gammons throws stuff like this against the wall to see if it sticks.)

Fogg's numbers are really nothing special but you have to like the idea that he's managed a winning record (33-31) while pitching for the Pirates the last 3-years. He easily could be a 200 inning, 17 win guy for an American League team and he would cost a fraction of guys like Kris Benson.

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