Discussion: Kiko Calero

A 1.95 ERA sure doesn't go as far as it once did.  Veteran reliever Kiko Calero posted that career-low mark in 67 appearances for the Marlins last year, as well as an impressive 10.4 K/9 ratio.  With those numbers, a career ERA+ of 132 and a history of dominance against right-handed hitting (RHB have hit just .202/.266/.312 against Calero in his career), you would've thought that the 35-year-old had set himself up for a decent free agent contract this winter.

Instead, teams have opened their spring training camps and Calero (a Type B free agent) is still without a new address.  He has been connected to a few clubs, but hasn't signed for a variety of reasons…

  • Florida, who signed Calero to a minor-league deal for $500K in January 2009, didn't offer salary arbitration to the right-hander and haven't pushed hard to bring him back.  MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweeted that the chances of Calero returning to the Marlins "are very slim" since the Fish are worried about Calero's injury history.  The reliever tore his right rotator cuff in 2008 and also missed a few weeks of action last season with shoulder problems.
  • These arm problems may have also scared off the Cubs, who were talking to Calero last month.  Chicago only wanted to give Calero a one-year contract, while the reliever was looking for two years.  The Cubs have been looking for bullpen help all winter and might be well served to revisit negotiations with Calero given right-hander Angel Guzman's most recent injury woes.
  • San Francisco made an offer to Calero that CSNBayArea.com's Mychael Urban guessed was probably a one-year deal plus an option.  But that news broke over a month ago, and the Giants have since announced that they had finished their winter shopping.

So if these teams are out of the running, who's left?  One intriguing destination is St. Louis.  Calero broke into the majors with the Cardinals, posting a 2.80 ERA in 67 appearances with the Redbirds in 2003 and 2004 before being shipped to Oakland in the Mark Mulder trade.  Erik Manning of Fangraphs points out that the Cards' bullpen is the "one potential Achilles heel" on a team that should dominate the NL Central, and finds it "surprising" that there have been no whispers about the Cardinals bringing Calero back. 

If the righty performs as he did in 2009, he would provide a big boost to whatever team takes the plunge and signs him.  For Calero's part, he might have to recognize the reality of the market and accept a one-year deal or a contract similar to the Giants' reported offer rather than hold out for a multi-year commitment.  After all, not every reliever can be as lucky as Brandon Lyon.

25 Responses to Discussion: Kiko Calero Leave a Reply

  1. rootman1010 5 years ago

    im sure calero’s demands have gone down enough for the cubs to give him a look. they were in on chan ho park and calero’s demands are probably close to park’s.

    i think the cubs have a legit shot at trading for frasor. the jays are obviously rebuilding and don’t need frasor, downs, and gregg.

    if they could get gregerson i would be pumped.

    i think felipe lopez should sign with the cubs if they have the money. what would lopez cost right now? 1 yr, $3MM? that would allow the cubs to keep baker in that super utility role which suits him best. baker or lopez could get time at third when aramis inevitably gets hurt.

    with lopez:

    1. theriot ss
    2. lopez 2b
    3. lee 1b
    4. ramirez 3b
    5. byrd cf
    6. soriano lf
    7. fukudome rf
    8. soto c

    that looks a lot better than throwing fontenot in there somewhere. with guzman and lilly hurt, scoring runs will be important for the cubs to start the year.

    • alexchicago14 5 years ago

      if the cubs did this, i would consider that a pretty good bounce back from last off season. but they’ll probably try for calero, but pass on lopez and gamble with castro and fontenot

      • Ferrariman 5 years ago

        Or give lopez 5/50 deal because hendry is a genius.

        • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

          Ferrariman = Tony Tag.

          • Ferrariman 5 years ago

            what the hell does that even mean? you’ve been saying im a “tony tag” for a few days.

          • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

            Come on, Tone. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t pretend.

        • disgustedcubfan 5 years ago

          With a no trade clause and a $4million buy out.

      • disgustedcubfan 5 years ago

        I think the Cubs hopes are riding on Castro, not so much Fontenot.
        I like to think that by now, the Cubs understand what Fontenot can and can not do.
        Being an everyday, productive major league 2nd baseman would be in the “can not do” column.

    • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

      Not going to happen.

  2. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    I’m gonna say he signs a 1yr deal for 650k and a 300k buyout ( opttion year)

    • Guest 5 years ago

      I’d make that for 800k.

      I think Felipe Lopez would be a great fit on the Astros.

  3. coolstorybro222 5 years ago

    I think the fish are stupid to let him go. They just need to take another risk. besides they have not that good set up men..?

  4. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    It’s really interesting nowadays how teams want to get younger and are more cautious of health, even after how well Calero pitched last year.

    • Ricky Bones 5 years ago

      It’s the trend of the day & some guys are going to suffer until it naturally cycles out & the next trend comes around.

  5. coolstorybro222 5 years ago

    what I find weird is that teams are treating him like he is bullpen poison

  6. yeah as a marlins fan im huge on this guy. he was amazing to watch last season. so im surprised some of these bigger market teams dont just swallow like a 1mil a year deal with incentives, give or take….so is Kiko just asking for too much? i dont get it. there are plenty of teams that 1million wouldnt mean much to them for a chance of a reliever that can set up and hold leads. He was hurt and still appeared in 67 games, not a bad amount…i hope he goes unsigned longer so we can snatch him up somehow…

  7. humbb 5 years ago

    “For Calero’s part, he might have to … accept … a contract similar to the Giants’ reported offer …”

    I’m confused. I didn’t hear of any Giants “reported offer”. It was only one man’s guess.

    Edit: Ok, I think I understand – perhaps saying “a contract similar to the Giants’ hypothetical offer …” would have been better. Mark is only using Urban’s guess as a package that Calero should consider.

  8. cardsdrummer 5 years ago

    As a Cards fan I’d like to have Calero back. One yr at 750K with an option for a 2nd year

    • InTheKZone 5 years ago

      Gotta agree with you hear. Former Cardinals RP coming back to a team with bullpen issues. It’s a perfect match.

  9. TheBunk 5 years ago

    Unless it comes out that the guy literally cannot pitch this year, I think it’s embarrassing that no one has offered him a one year 1M dollar deal, if he gets hurt, that’s only 1M down the drain, not exactly a big deal when the risk/reward is so high.

  10. Suzysman 5 years ago

    Zero chance he repeats last seasons HR/9 rate, and when he doesnt his ERA jumps to the 3.5 range already. Adjust the LOB% accordingly and you have uninspiring numbers!

    We are really discussing a 35 YO with shoulder issues that can K some guys but will walk nearly 5 per nine. Couple that with an expected average HR rate and you have an old, average reliever with two years of arm/shoulder issues. Not exactly anything to get overly excited about.

    I just pray the Cubs arent the team foolish enough to give him a spot with a fairly hefty dollar amount. Hendry is that kind of fool though, and loves to chase mediocre relievers off fluke ERA seasons so kind of surprised he isnt already in camp. (this is one time Jim’s screwing up the payroll, to the point his back is completely against the wall, has actually worked out for us!)

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      I think we’re in agreement here. It’s a good thing Hendry has hamstrung himself with his previous ineptitude. That being said, if we get him on a one year, incentive type deal, it won’t be a bad thing. The best part is that it leaves one less opening for Mike Parisi. Trouble is, it probably won’t happen. Like you said in another post, the likely scenario is that Hendry approaches ownership and presents the Guzman situation so that he can get more money. Then he’ll use the extra $$ on Calero or (gulp) Looper.

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        To tell you the Gods honest truth, I am not sure I even want him on a incentive deal. Well first I dont think Hendry would do an incentive deal very well to begin with (Bradey option at 75 games? What the???) so if Hendry thinks “incentive” means 2 MM plus 250-500K for every few games/innings pitched after 20 or something then the amount paid to him will likely be pretty massive.

        But my bigger issues comes in this – the temptation to sign him to a longterm deal. Hendry just (illogically) gave Grabow the extreme 2/7 deal, and why? Relief pitching is like our biggest organizational strength; we have like 10 or so ready now with countless more on their way. But watch this mediocre 35 year old with two years of arm problems get his foot in the door, produce a nice looking ERA for half a season, then be offered a 2 year deal for 8 million or so by Hendry right before JimmyBoy gets canned (well, hopefully gets canned).

        I wouldnt be opposed to him on the club if I knew for sure 1) he wasnt going to get much money (we should keep what we have in case we need to pick up a starter – Lilly scares me, as you know) and 2) I knew he was only going to be here one year. BUT, we have enough minor league pitchers that should be able to produce similar results, so ultimately I would rather we use one of them and skip the possibly of those two issues coming into play.

  11. mochaman 5 years ago

    Even with health, I’m surprised no one has taken the bait with Calero. Not too many sure things in the bullpen.

  12. stackthedeck 5 years ago

    C’mon Mo. If we signed Calero and Lopez, we’d shore up two weak points, our pen and bench. These two would certainly cost less than the 7 million it’s rumored we have that we are holding on to.

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