November 2010

Dunn Seeks Four Years, $60MM

The agent for Adam Dunn is telling teams that he expects the bidding for the free agent to start at four years and $60MM, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. Dunn settled for a two-year, $20MM deal the last time he was a free agent, but two years and 76 homers later, Greg Genske is looking to triple his client's previous contract.

Dunn has been one of baseball’s most dangerous sluggers since breaking into the majors a decade ago. The 31-year-old, who has hit at least 38 homers in each of the past seven seasons, will likely decline the Nationals’ offer of arbitration later tonight. That will mean the team that signs him will have to surrender a top draft pick (assuming he leaves Washington).

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examined potential suitors for Dunn earlier today.


Greinke May Consider Large Market Teams

The Yankees and Royals have continued to discuss a Zack Greinke trade and the right-hander is more open to pitching in a major market than it seems, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. Greinke can block trades to the Yankees and other large market teams, but a source close to the former Cy Young Award winner says winning matters more than anything.

Greinke’s partial no-trade clause would give him leverage if the Royals approached him about a deal, but he would not necessarily turn down the chance to pitch for a winning team in a large market. The Royals are still asking for a Mark Teixeira-like haul for their ace, though they're willing to move him. GM Dayton Moore is looking for “at least one major league-ready player and multiple high-level prospects,” Passan writes.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported last month that Greinke can block trades to half the teams in baseball between now and the 2011 trade deadline. Between next August 1st and the end of the 2012 season, when his contract expires, Greinke loses his no-trade protection. The 27-year-old will earn $13.5MM in both 2011 and 2012.


Rockies Sign Tulowitzki To Six-Year Extension

Troy Tulowitzki is officially the face of the Rockies. This afternoon the team announced a six-year extension that will keep the shortstop in Denver through 2020 and pay him $119MM. Tulowitzki will be guaranteed $157.75MM between now and 2020, when he will be approaching his 36th birthday.

Tulowitzki is midway through the six-year, $31MM extension he signed before the 2008 season. He'll earn $38.75MM through 2014 on that deal once the Rockies exercise his 2014 option for $15MM. He'll also earn $119MM for the 2015-2020 seasons.

Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd and Tulowitzki's representatives at TWC Sports agreed to a multiyear deal with another Rockie, Jorge de la Rosa

Tulowitzki won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in 2010, finishing fifth in MVP voting for the second consecutive season. The 26-year-old also made his first All-Star team and, even though he missed a month with a left wrist fracture, finished the season with fantastic numbers. He posted a .315/.381/.568 line and hit 27 homers in 529 plate appearances.

Tulo's deal will become one of the most lucrative contracts in Rockies franchise history. Todd Helton ($141.5MM over nine years, 2001) and Mike Hampton ($121MM over eight years, 2000) also signed nine-figure deals with the Rockies.  Back in March, O'Dowd compared Tulowitzki to Derek Jeter in a conversation with Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.  Interestingly, the Rockies are locking up Tulo at the same time the Yankees' negotiations with Jeter have become surprisingly contentious.

ESPN.com's Keith Law first reported that the sides were nearing a deal, ESPN.com's Buster Olney confirmed that the sides were closing in on a deal and added detail. Jon Heyman of SI.com, Thomas Harding of MLB.com, Troy Renck of the Denver Post and Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports also reported on the story via Twitter.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.



Cardinals Sign Brian Tallet

The Cardinals signed Brian Tallet to a one-year contract, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The southpaw posted 8.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 against lefty batters last year and should continue to be productive against them in Tony La Russa’s bullpen.

The 33-year-old posted a 6.40 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 2010, his fifth season in Toronto. Tallet earned $2MM in 2010 and was headed for a raise through arbitration until the Blue Jays outrighted him to Triple-A. He refused the assignment and hit free agency before I named him as a potential bargain reliever.

The Blue Jays used Tallet as an occasional starter, but Morosi hears that the Cardinals will use him as a reliever. That makes sense, since they have Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse in their rotation.


Cardinals Acquire Ryan Theriot

The Cardinals acquired infielder Ryan Theriot from the Dodgers for righty Blake Hawksworth, according to the Dodgers' official Twitter feed.  Theriot was a non-tender candidate for the Dodgers in the wake of their Juan Uribe signing, but the Cardinals have a need for him. 

The Cardinals view Theriot as a shortstop and could still pursue a second baseman, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

Theriot, 31 next month, is intimately familiar with the NL Central after spending parts of six seasons with the Cubs.  He was dealt to the Dodgers at the trade deadline this year along with Ted Lilly.  Theriot struggled offensively at both stops, hitting a combined .270/.321/.312 in 640 plate appearances.  He'll still be due a raise on this year's $2.6MM, a salary he was assigned after losing a February arbitration case.

Hawksworth, 28 in March, posted a 4.98 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.5 HR/9, and 51.5% groundball rate in 90 1/3 innings for the Cardinals this year.  Heading into the 2008 season, Baseball America ranked Hawksworth 20th among Cardinals prospects, praising his changeup but noting his injury history and struggles against left-handed hitters.

This appears to be the first time GMs Ned Colletti and John Mozeliak matched up on a trade.


Dodgers Sign Juan Uribe

Juan Uribe is leaving the Giants for the rival Dodgers on the first multiyear free agent deal of his career.  The infielder officially signed a three-year, $21MM contract with the Dodgers today.

Uribe, 31, hit .248/.310/.440 with 24 home runs in 575 plate appearances for the Giants this year, adding a pair of postseason home runs.  He mainly played shortstop, but also logged time at third base and second base.  Uribe will presumably serve as the Dodgers' second baseman with Rafael Furcal in the fold at short.  The contract may seal Ryan Theriot's fate, with Thursday's non-tender deadline looming.  Another effect may be a heightened sense of urgency for the Giants as they search for a shortstop.  Uribe is a Type B free agent who was offered arbitration by the Giants, so they'll receive a supplemental draft pick for their loss.

Uribe's agents Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro engineered the deal.  They did well in getting three years, though Uribe was a hot commodity in a weak market for middle infielders.  On November 2nd, MLBTR correctly predicted Uribe would sign with the Dodgers.

ESPN's Buster Olney first reported that a three-year deal was close, while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted the amount and agreement.


Yankees Rumors: Jeter, Chamberlain

The latest on the Yankees, as GM Brian Cashman prepares to rappel down a building dressed as an elf on Sunday

  • Eduardo Nunez is the team's Plan B if they are unable to re-sign Derek Jeter, reports ESPN's Buster Olney.  Rather than try to sign a veteran replacement, the Yankees would install Nunez and allocate the money elsewhere.  Of course, Olney feels that the Yankees would remain flexible for potential upgrades if Nunez became their starting shortstop.
  • SI's Tom Verducci looks at how other teams have compensated aging icons in recent years, with Cal Ripken, Barry Larkin, George Brett, Craig Biggio, and Paul Molitor serving as examples.  It may be difficult to reduce Jeter's pay from his previous $18.9MM average annual value.
  • Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues estimates Joba Chamberlain's 2011 salary at a bit less than $2MM.

Astros Avoid Arbitration With Humberto Quintero

The Astros avoided arbitration with catcher Humberto Quintero, according to a team press release.  Eligible for arbitration for the third time, Quintero will earn $1MM in 2011.  He gets a $250K raise after hitting .234/.262/.317 in 276 plate appearances and catching 653 2/3 innings.

The Astros have seven remaining arbitration eligible players: Nelson Figueroa, Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Keppinger, Wandy Rodriguez, and Clint Barmes.  I expect they'll all be tendered contracts on Thursday.  Among the seven, Rodriguez is an extension candidate according to GM Ed Wade.


Dodgers Interested In Damon, Multiple Catchers

The Dodgers have outfielder Johnny Damon on their radar, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  They're also in contact with "virtually every free agent catcher," including Jason Varitek, Rod Barajas, A.J. Pierzynski, and Miguel Olivo.  They're trying to hammer out a deal with Russell Martin prior to Thursday's non-tender deadline; the Dodgers will not risk going to arbitration with him.

Martin is at least a week away from running and maybe six weeks away from baseball activities, says Rosenthal.  Martin is recovering from an August hip fracture; his agent Matt Colleran gave MLBTR an update last week.  Martin would still be at $4MM if the Dodgers cut his salary by the maximum, something Colleran would presumably reject anyway.

As Rosenthal notes, Damon might be an awkward fit for the Dodgers in left field since he logged fewer than 300 outfield innings in 2010.  On the other hand, the Dodgers put up with Manny Ramirez in left field for over 1,100 innings across the 2009-10 seasons. 

The Dodgers have been aggressive this offseason, committing over $71MM to Ted Lilly, Juan Uribe, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland, and Jay Gibbons.


International Links: Marmol, Cano, Jeter, Ruiz

Baseball was an afterthought on most international sports pages this morning, due to FBC Barcelona's 5-0 humiliation of Real Madrid, but links in Spanish still abound…

  • Carlos Marmol confirmed that he and the Cubs are in discussions about a long-term extension, talking to Hoy's Dionisio Soldevila. "There still isn't anything, but we're talking," Marmol said. "I would like to sign something long and stay with the team."
  • Derek Jeter's double-play partner Robinson Cano thinks the shortstop "would retire before he would go to another team," Cano told Soldevila on his Dominican talk show La Semana Deportiva.
  • The Rays released Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz in mid-November, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. After a long and complicated courtship, the team signed Ruiz to a minor-league deal last June and had until November 15 to offer him a $4MM major league contract. He showed little of his reputed power over the summer in brief stints with Double-A Montgomery and in the Arizona Fall League. Less than a year ago, Ruiz seemed like the most promising Cuban power hitter since Kendry Morales, drawing interest from numerous teams and being rumored as a possible successor to David Ortiz in Boston.