John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press has the news - Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said today the team will decline shortstop Edgar Renteria's $12MM option for 2009. They'll pay the $3MM buyout instead. Next question: will the Tigers offer him arbitration? Renteria is a Type A free agent, and he'll be less attractive to the other teams if he'll cost draft picks.
Dombrowski will be looking to improve the club at catcher, shortstop, and closer next year (though Francisco Rodriguez will be too costly). Dombrowski debunked the rumor about the Tigers reducing payroll - he says it won't be down significantly. In general, the Tigers will not be active on the free agent market. One other note - Kenny Rogers says it's the Tigers or retirement for him in '09.
Let's collect some a few postmortem Mets articles floating around this morning.
- Ken Davidoff suggests the Mets patch up their bullpen with Francisco Rodriguez. It'd be an obvious overreaction, and would ignore past history of big money tossed at relievers. The Mets had a firsthand look with their own Billy Wagner signing. $43MM for 193.3 innings - was it worth it?
- David Lennon believes Luis Castillo is as good as gone, though I'd be surprised if eating half of his contract is enough. Would Castillo get a three-year, $9MM deal on the open market right now given numerous palatable one-year options? Adam Rubin sees the Mets trading Castillo, Aaron Heilman, and Scott Schoeneweis (he suggests eating 90% of Castillo's contract).
- As for the rotation, Lennon doesn't see the Mets involved on C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets, A.J. Burnett, Oliver Perez, or Pedro Martinez. I imagine the Mets will add one starter to follow Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine though. Freddy Garcia could make sense. Rubin says Derek Lowe and Brian Moehler are rumored possibilities, though Moehler already re-signed with Houston for '09.
- Bob Klapisch wonders if the Mets should consider trading Jose Reyes, David Wright, or Carlos Beltran to shake up the team.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, GM Walt Jocketty lists a right-handed run-producing hitter as the Reds' top offseason need.
In our Reds Offseason Outlook, we suggested the Reds attempt to trade for Adrian Beltre. That could improve the team on both offense and defense. Commenters on that post noted that Chris Dickerson could play center field in '09, leaving a vacancy in left. Right-handed hitting left fielders on the free agent market include Manny Ramirez and Pat Burrell. The Reds could also consider Matt Holliday or Magglio Ordonez as trade targets. Payroll could increase to $80MM, which could leave the Reds with $20MM to spend.
As for the Reds' own free agents, Hal McCoy sees them attempting to re-sign Jeremy Affeldt, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Mike Lincoln.
You may recall Jayson Stark's September 12th article, where he explained the details of Carlos Delgado's 2009 option. Stark wrote that Delgado's option could've flipped from $12MM to $16MM if he won the World Series MVP and finished top six in the regular MVP vote.
Delgado still might snag a few MVP votes, but he won't be winning any postseason awards with the Mets eliminated. GM Omar Minaya has an easy decision - exercise at $12MM or buy Delgado out for $4MM. Earlier this year the buyout seemed a lock; now we're certain to see the option exercised.
In my Offseason Outlook for the team, I suggested the Orioles explore the possibility of signing A.J. Burnett but pass on a huge commitment for Mark Teixeira. Zrebiec says the O's will be in the initial bidding for both free agents. I respect that; it's hard to see them winning any bidding wars though.
Instead, the Orioles will look to add starting pitching, a shortstop, and maybe a first baseman this winter. To do so, they can shop Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff, and Ramon Hernandez among others. Brian Roberts could bring the biggest bounty, but the Orioles will explore an extension first.
My gut feeling is we will see Daniel Cabrera join the free agent class via a non-tender. He did not show progress this year, and his average fastball velocity dropped almost two miles per hour. He'd be $3MM+ poorly spent.
- I wrote last week that the Rockies would come in a bit under $80MM after arbitration raises. Renck pegs it around $75MM.
- The team's plan is to shop Garrett Atkins for a frontline starter. If the interest is not there (why would it be?), they could switch to Matt Holliday. Renck ponders Matt Cain and a prospect to Colorado, but that is a lot to give up for one year of Holliday. Plus the Giants are not looking to add an outfielder.
- Dave Krieger of the Rocky Mountain News analyzes whether the Rockies could afford to re-sign Holliday. He believes they could, but doesn't expect them to go past five years.
- Renck sees Clint Barmes as the starting second baseman heading into '09. Barmes could earn around $1.7MM as a first-time arbitration player.
- Manager Clint Hurdle admitted his starters are more like #2-5s, so it'd be perfect to add a #1 and push them all back. #1 starters are hard to come by, of course.
- Yorvit Torrealba isn't happy as a backup but the Rockies aren't looking to trade him. Meanwhile Willy Taveras is a non-tender candidate.
- The Rockies hope to re-sign free agent Glendon Rusch.
A couple of Padres rumors this morning from Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune...
- Reliever Heath Bell says talks on a multiyear deal didn't get very far and he's content using the arbitration process for the first time. Bell stands to earn a million or two in '09.
- The Reds are interested in Padres pitcher Clay Hensley. Hensley, 29, posted a 5.31 ERA in 39 big league innings. He pitched another 48 innings in Triple A. His strong groundball rate could make a nice fit for the Reds. Jeff from Cot's Baseball Contracts told me Hensley has enough service time to qualify as a Super Two, meaning he'll be arbitration-eligible this winter.
- Tim Sullivan of the U-T says Brian Giles is the Padres' primary offseason issue. In my opinion, it'd be embarrassingly cheap for the Padres to choose the $3MM buyout over the $9MM option.
- Nothing imminent on the Trevor Hoffman front.
11:06pm: Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi says he's yet to discuss dollars with Burnett's agent.
10:38am: Yesterday, MLBTR reported the Blue Jays are preparing a two year, $30MM contract extension which would have A.J. Burnett making $54MM over the next 4 years. Here's some of the latest:
Mike Rutsey of the Sun Media reports Burnett has also mentioned to Baltimore players that he'd like to play for the Orioles, but that his decision on whether to opt out or not is contingent on the Blue Jays offer. Says Burnett,
"The bottom line is when I sit down at the end of the season and [my agent is] with me and tells me what I'm worth and then we will look at Toronto's offer and hopefully it's close."
Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star says Burnett was pleasantly surprised by the number being floated by the Jays.
"Nice," he said, nodding his head approvingly. "That's more than I thought they would come up with."
MLB.com's Alyson Footer has some quotes from free-agent-to-be Mike Hampton regarding Houston:
"I've always loved this place. Definitely. I'm sure there will be interest on both sides. We'll see if we can work something out. I've always loved it here."
Hampton, 36, showed promise in thirteen starts this year. He could be a useful back of the rotation addition for Houston. Many teams might consider him (Rockies excluded).
Here's your weekly look back at some of the biggest stories we've covered on MLBTR!
- The Pedro Alvarez drama may finally be behind us. The Pirates' first-round pick agreed to terms with the organization on a new four-year, $6.355MM major league contract. Jim Callis and Dejan Kovacevic have some more insight to offer on the signing here. The contract was officially signed later in the week, and the grievance was resolved. Royals fans and Eric Hosmer are also both relieved that this is over I'm sure.
- The Blue Jays began talking extension with A.J. Burnett this week. Later on, we learned that the Jays would offer a two-year, $30MM extension onto the remaining two years of his contract, bringing the total remaining value to four years, $54MM. Burnett seemed pleasantly surprised with the amount of money the Jays were said to offer. He expected they'd offer less. You're always going to be wondering just how many innings he can give you in a season, but in a world where Carlos Silva makes $12MM per season, if Burnett is healthy he'd be a steal at this price.
- Lots of question marks for another AL East team's rotation, with the Yankees trying to figure out just what exactly Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina are planning for 2009. Pettitte has said that he'll play for the Yankees or retire. Bringing Pettitte back only makes sense if he's willing to take a much smaller contract. I think around $10MM would make sense; someone also suggested a $7-8MM deal with incentives. That seems fair as well. As for Mussina, he initially said that he didn't think he'd pitch in 2009, but later at least discussed the possibility of pitching for 300 wins. His first preference would be to pitch for the Yankees again. Congrats to Moose on picking up win number 20 today, by the way. Another milestone in a great career.
- Erik Bedard's injury and operation weren't as serious as thought, and the Mariners now face more of a decision on bringing him back. If he's healthy enough to pitch, I can't see a reason not to bring him back. Maybe they can at least get a few months of the pitcher they initially thought they were getting, and get something in return in July.
- Curious about what it will take for your club to reel in that free agent you're craving? Buster Olney took a look at the market earlier this week that might shed some light on the issue.
- One player who will be in that free agent pool is Orlando Cabrera. He openly criticized his teammates, saying that none of them wanted to win enough, and that "they were the problem," not him. Cabera's hitting a very weak shortstop market; he should draw a lot of interest from numerous clubs. Interestingly, that article suggests Chicago's biggest rival - Minnesota - as a possible landing place for Cabrera.
- Two players officially called it quits this week. Todd Jones retired, notching 319 saves in his career. Elsewhere, J.T. Snow signed a one-day contract with San Francisco, so he could officially retire as a Giant.
- Tim updated the Offseason Outlook series with entries for the Reds, Rockies, and Rangers.
- Has anyone seen Brad Penny recently? No? Apparently, neither have the Dodgers.