Cafardo On Loney, Papelbon, Pavano, Feliz

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tackles the subject of arbitration hearings in his latest column, pointing out that teams are far more willing to settle on salaries with their players than they used to be. After speaking to Astros president Tal Smith, who says hearings don't involve as much "mud-slinging" as you'd think, Cafardo wonders why more clubs aren't inclined to fight to keep their payroll down. Here are the rest of his notes:

  • James Loney won't be traded for now, but the Nationals made a "good push" for him earlier this winter, before they signed Adam LaRoche.
  • According to one of Cafardo's Red Sox sources, Jonathan Papelbon will be available throughout the season, regardless of where the Sox are in the standings.
  • Cafardo indicates that before Carl Pavano agreed to a two-year deal with the Twins, the Yankees offered the right-hander a one-year pact worth $7MM.
  • Ron Washington offers the latest on the Rangers' plan for Neftali Feliz, who could get a chance to start this year after winning Rookie of the Year honors as a closer: "We’re going to bring [Feliz] into camp and give him an opportunity to stretch himself out. And if he shows us he’s better fitted with our ball club to start, then we’ll go in that direction. If not, we know he can close ballgames and we’re very happy with that."
  • Joaquin Benoit discussed former teammates Carl Crawford and Rafael Soriano with Cafardo, opining that Red Sox pitchers will love having Crawford behind them, and expressing some surprise that Soriano won't be closing in 2011. He also told Cafardo that he was "getting a lot of phone calls" this winter from fellow relievers who felt Benoit helped them by signing early to his three-year deal.

69 Responses to Cafardo On Loney, Papelbon, Pavano, Feliz Leave a Reply

  1. RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

    So if Papelbon goes back to being a lights out closer and the Sox are in first, they’ll still have him available? One word, NO!

    • elmedius 5 years ago

      better to get something for him than nothing at all given that they cant risk offering him arbitration because nobody is going to give him 12-15 mil a year. they have bard and jenks. if its a decent offer i think they take it.

      • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

        Only people outside of Boston think Papelbon will accept arbitration. He has bragged from year one that he will never accept arb and he wants to be the one to raise the salary bar for closers! ( I know, it’s both arrogant and foolish and won’t happen in today’s market for closers) Only way Sox don’t offer arb is if Paps has a down year! Also remember how the Sox value picks( offering arb to Tek when they could have been stuck paying 10 mil 2 yrs ago and Wagner and Lopez) the Sox are unafraid to roll the dice with arb unlike most teams!

        • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

          A $15M paycheck has a way of changing a guys mind, especially if his agent is suggesting he take a one-year deal to raise his value.

          • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

            I know this makes the most sense but Papelbons Huge Ego won’t allow this IMO! He’s just cocky enough( a la Scott Boras) to turn down arb even after a down season! If he has a good year this whole conversation is a mute point!

          • guydavis 5 years ago

            moot point. although i guess people might be mute about it too…

          • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

            Lol! Thanks!

          • johnsilver 5 years ago

            Just curious if Papelbon even decides to hire and agent when he hits the open market after the season. he is one of the handful of players, evidently smart enough to do his “homework” on his own and hammer out his own deals.. ALA Schilling while saving the..5% commission most chisel clients out of.

          • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

            Remember though, Schilling really only hit free agency once and the rumor was he was only serious about negotiating with Boston. He never really had to go hunting for a deal, whichever team he was with was usually eager to sign him to an extension. Paps has a different issue. My bet is Paps signs with some agency before the All Star break.

        • “Only people outside of Boston think Papelbon will accept arbitration” … “Only way Sox don’t offer arb is if Paps has a down year!”

          You pretty much responded to yourself. If he has a decent or better year, he’ll probably decline. If he has a lousy year the Red Sox probably won’t offer arbitration, because if they did he’d probably accept.

    • flickadave 5 years ago

      They said he would be available. They never said how much they would want for him. Pretty much any player is available for the right price.

      • RedSoxDynasty 5 years ago

        Not when they’re earning Their money AND in first place! This doesn’t happen cuz of message it sends to teammates and it ruins chemistry! No way Boston sabotages their playoff chances to save cash when they’re gonna get compensated with draft picks anyways( yes they will, no way will Paps accept arb unless he has a bad year)! And if Paps isn’t performing well then yes, they may trade him but that’s the only way they do it!

        • If Jenks and Bard are also pitching really well and someone is willing to overpay, they’ll definitely listen. If they’re in first they certainly won’t trade him for scraps, but in the grand scheme of things relievers aren’t that valuable and Theo is all about both short and long-term success.

        • $3866193 5 years ago


  2. tiger313 5 years ago

    Benoit set the market for almost every well-known reliever this winter.

  3. 0vercast 5 years ago

    I hope the Rangers don’t put Feliz in the rotation. They have a really, really good thing going for them with him as a closer.

    • Rob NY 5 years ago

      Crazy. Feliz could be a front line starter which is 100% worth more than a lights out closer.

      • It may not be as flashy, but even if he’s just a solid starter he’ll be more valuable. Not saying he can’t be a good one, just throwing in my approval for trying it out.

    • stl_cards16 5 years ago

      200 IP of 3.5 ERA > 70 IP of 2.75 ERA

      If he can be just a solid starter, he is much more valuable than as a reliever.

      • guydavis 5 years ago

        What?! That’s not true!!!1!
        I can’t
        Now think of any closer
        Who this
        Really worked out for.
        I just don’t
        How you’d come
        To that conclusion…

        Ugh, I’m sorry… It took me ages too.

  4. optionn 5 years ago

    I agree with this. Why give more to the player that he is entitled to? He can play that game in free agency. I guess the clubs just pay more than they have to in arbitration because they can afford it.

  5. johnsilver 5 years ago

    Stroke of good fortune that the LAD had Loney over valued and the Nationals ended up with LaRoche.. a far better power hitter, while neither is exactly GG caliber around the bag and LaRoche at 2/16M, with that 10M mutual option for 2013 is a better choice than Loney, already expecting a big raise over 3M this past season and who knows how much more via arbitration after 2011 and 12 seasons? far safer bet for the better power hitting and run producing LaRoche and it didn’t even cost a player to acquire.

    • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

      This argument eats itself. I was hearing before LaRoche signed with Washington and Loney filed for arbitration that LaRoche was the less expensive option. This argument persists even when it’s known that LaRoche will get at least $8m per, and $10m in the third year, if the option is exercised, and Loney’s high arbitration number is $5.25m. How often do players with similar skills get more through arbitration than free agency? They don’t.

      • johnsilver 5 years ago

        It’s also that LaRoche will out perform Loney as well and with a raise at year 2 on top of the 5.1m, bringing him up to?? Just how much is a fair defensive 1b worth will little power that fails to drive in runs? LaRoche has had decent power everywhere he has been and as for that 10M mutual option in 2013.. The Nats can walk away from that with a 1m buyout.

        One would think 8m in 2011 for a 1B with power and producing, vs 5m in 2011 for a 1b that has doubles power is an easy choice, especially when neither is gifted defensively around the bag and the 1st is known pricewise for 2 years.

        • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

          Even with his terrible season last year, Loney still had 88 RBIs, so the argument that he fails to drive in runs… fails. BTW, it’s mark which LaRoche has beaten only once. Fans are too obsessed with power. LaRoche is also a strikeout king. Anyway, since this is 2011, I’m going to worry about 2011. If Loney returns to earlier form, he might get more than $5m in 2012 or 2013, but probably not twice as much, and only if his stats warrant it.

          • johnsilver 5 years ago

            Evidently LA is also.. They are the ones shopping him..

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            Every player is available, for the right price. Any GM who says otherwise is kidding you, and if you believe it, is succeeding. No question, had Loney been traded this winter, the comments would have been how Colletti is an idiot for selling low.

        • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

          Wait, what? The main thing people say are positive with Loney is his defense and RBIs. Now, RBIs are a horrible stat to classify how good a player is, but driving in runs is definitely one of Loney’s strong suits. LaRoche and Loney are similar players except Loney will make 1/2 of what LaRoche will make over the same time. Add in that Loney has some potential to get better… Depending on what would have been sent back to LAD, it may have been better for the Nats to trade for Loney.

  6. Victor Kipp 5 years ago

    Let the “Joba Rules” serve as an example that when you have a young pitcher that has proven he can be “DOMINANT” in a specific role teams shouldn’t move them out of that role. I’m not saying Feliz can’t be a very good starter, maybe he can and will be. Sometimes its best to leave well enough alone. Sure, Wilson did a nice transition from CP to SP but let Feliz mature and have some more success, besides he is a very good closer and who knows maybe he can be great.

    • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

      And let Adam Wainwright serve as the counterexample.

    • alxn 5 years ago

      and Francisco Liriano, Derek Lowe, Johan Santana, Brett Myers, Ryan Dempster, David Price, Edwin Jackson, Jonathan Sanchez, etc.

      • Victor Kipp 5 years ago

        Duh!! None of these guys were dominant closers. Santana never had alot saves, myers wasn’t great, price relieved in the playoffs, Sanchez was o.k., Lowe got removed as closer cuz he started blowing games, Liraino wasn’t the closer..Nathan was and Edwin Jackson..dude… You’re so wrong…come on man give me better stuff than that… also..Wainwright was nice I’ll give the other poster that. get real guys…frickin Edwin jackson and Brett Myers hahahaha.

        • alxn 5 years ago

          If you’re using saves to judge how well these guys pitched it is your own problem. Feliz is more dominant than any of these guys, which is why the Rangers should be even more optimistic that he will transition well. Your argument is so illogical. Because none of the players I mentioned were dominant closers like Feliz, they were more capable of transitioning to being a starter?

          • Victor Kipp 5 years ago

            So…they were more capable of transitioning to starter. O.K. cuz that’s what I thought we were discussing in regards to Feliz. Joba was supposed to be a great starter. Call me crazy I like it when I have a young dominant pitcher who is enjoying success. Let him gain some more experience and develop before the greed factor kicks in. “Hey if he can get 3 guys out for 1 inning just imagine if he could translate that into 7 innings”

        • Victor Kipp 5 years ago

          Ya know, even though Joba was never the closer he was straight up filthy and was far better than any of the players the 2 of you mentioned. he was also seen as Mo’s replacement. Now he is just trade bait for a 5th starter. If anyone can pull it off though it’s Nolan Ryan. Under is guidance I’m sure Feliz won’t totally suck.

        • ilikebaseball 5 years ago

          As a Red Sox fan who watched David Price murder my team’s chance to go to the World Series, I’d say he was pretty dominant (even with the small sample size).

    • johnsilver 5 years ago

      All the back and forth with Chamberlain still trying to get his stuff back together just has to make Boston fans so glad that the Sox have such a system in place and rightfully let Bard 1st try to start in the system for 1 year, saw it was not right, then set him to relieving which they do will most every pitcher they draft: Start first.. Then relieve. It’s a sound system.

      Now the Yankees have wasted 2 years with Chamberlain and still have no idea what they have anymore. His best option now might even be to go BACK to the minors and learn all over again (if possible) how to set himself both mind wise and pitch wise to get himself ready, as well to stop throwing 4 pitches, of which 2 of them are not even average, then try and get that once dominant 98mph FB back that was.

      • slider32 5 years ago

        Joba is still too young to say what kind of pitcher he is going to be. Joba was so good when he came up, but that was a very small sample in terms of innings. I agree the Yanks messed up with their treatment of him as a starter, but the last year or so are on him. He has been just average like most of the pitchers in baseball that didn’t get as much hype. Most pitchers want to be starters, because they can make more money.

        • johnsilver 5 years ago

          I get what you are say, but where else is he going to learn how to fix the mechanics that have gotten so fouled up over the last 2 years and either improve upon his changeup that is not very good, the curve that is awful, or just toss them aside? he is really a 2 pitch pitcher. Wouldn’t he be better off (from a fan’s standpoint at least) dumping those 2 and trying to just focus on his mechanics, increasing his velocity and just 2 pitches as a reliever?

          it’s not like the Yankees (and other teams) have not been persuasive about career moves and what position is best suited for a player, especially when one move has been so disastrous so far and not trying to dice on the guy, but really.. That one season he had relieving was oh so dominant and what everyone has seen since has been just the opposite.

  7. Gumby65 5 years ago

    Beings Loney is still a Dodger, using the term “good push” is a little strong…

    • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

      That was my reaction too. Possibly the Nats’ front office was reading too many fan comments on MLBTR, and figured they could get him for a bucket of balls.

    • nats2012 5 years ago

      The Dodgers were willing to trade Loney, they asked for Desmond and J. Zimmerman.

  8. Flharfh 5 years ago

    Why does Loney keep coming up in trade rumors? His bat isn’t good enough to play at 1B (.723 OPS and only 10 HR in 648 PAs in 2010), except maybe for the MLB minimum on a non-contender. His defense is above average though, if I were Ned Colleti (lol) I would sign Branyan (certainly cheaper and better at 1B) to play 1B try Loney as a 1B/3B/ corner OF utility player ala Eric Hinske.

    • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

      Russell Branyan? A career .234 hitter with limited experience playing first? Brilliant. Then you move Loney to third, a position he’s never played, or the outfield, where he’s hardly ever played? Why not convert him to a pitcher, while you’re at it?

      • Victor Kipp 5 years ago

        Considering Loney is left handed I doubt he’ll be playin third dude. He will still start at 1st.

        • Victor Kipp 5 years ago

          Obviously, I realize you are joking, and what’s more. I don’t understand why every team is so in love with power hitting first baseman. A good defensive first baseman can make an average infield great and save a lot of runs and keep your pitchers in the wind up.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            If you’re responding to me, I’m not the one who thinks it makes sense to move Loney to another position. It’s funny in a sad sort of way when GMs come in for criticism by fans spouting loopy ideas like this one. They make Ned Colletti look like a freaking genius, which ain’t easy.

          • dusto 5 years ago

            Considering Loney isn’t that good of a defensive third baseman….

      • Flharfh 5 years ago

        He played 116 games at 1B in 2009 and 51 in 2010. How much experience does he need?
        Let’s compare them over the past three years. Loney has been worth only 3.4 WAR over 1951 PAs, while Branyan has been worth 6.1 WAR over 1085 PAs. Branyan produced nearly double the WAR of Loney in less than 2/3 of Loney’s PAs.

        The only real question is injuries, though Branyan is probably worth about as much WAR in half a season as Loney will accrue in a full one. Even if he did get hurt, Loney would still be there to back him up, and the Dodgers are only out a million or two that Branyan would likely cost. I’d be shocked if he signed anywhere for more than 1.5mm.

        • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

          More experience than that, if you’re going to rely on him as an every-day first baseman. You won’t get anywhere with me spouting black box stats like WAR. They don’t mean diddly in the real world. The fact is, his BA stinks. The fact that even you know he’s not worth much on the open market should give you some idea of his comparative value.

          • Flharfh 5 years ago

            WAR is a black box stat? lol? Batting Average? C’mon man. The Padres signed Brad Hawpe to be their full time first baseman and he has 9 games in his entire career at 1B.

            To cite a recent and poignant example, Vernon Wells is making 20+ million dollars next year. Value on the open market definitely does not equal value on the field.

            I’ll agree to disagree with you, that’s what this site is for. However, one last thing: there is a rather interesting article that favors my point of view on fangraphs that is good reading: link to

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            How could you cite anything but Fangraphs in defense of black box stats? That’s what they’re all about. WAR is a classic black box. Not only is the calculation ridiculously complicated, it also incorporates UZR, a proprietary data source and formula which is known only to its creator. You can bet that GMs don’t trade or sign on WAR — they have to build actual teams to play in actual leagues. Citing any move made by the Padres is certainly not proof of anything, except that the Padres have one of the lowest payrolls in the game.

            Yes, batting average. At least we know what it means.

  9. slider32 5 years ago

    If I was a Dodger fan I would be more worried about the LF,3b,and catching positions rather than worrying about Loney.

  10. nick1538 5 years ago

    The Sox should move Papelbon to the 8th inning and give Bard or Jenks a shot at closing. That would lower Papelbon’s value in arbitration and contract negotiation. If he is as much of a jerk as people say he is, he deserves it.
    They are essentially stating that they are comfortable with Jenks or Bard in the 9th, so why wait?

  11. thegrayrace 5 years ago

    While, as a Dodger fan, I was hoping the Dodgers would pick up Dunn, Konerko, Lee, LaRoche, Pena or someone similar for 1B, I can live with Loney if he is used in the right way.

    Loney just needs a platoon partner. He is still decent against RHP. The problem in 2010 was his .222/.262/.313 line against LHP. An OPS of .575 against lefties isn’t going to cut it… His career numbers are a little better, but .261/.321/.381 (.702 OPS) vs. LHP is still not what you want out of your regular NL 1B.

    I’m hoping, and am fairly confident, that this will be the first year since 2007 that Loney actually improves rather than declines. His OPS has fallen every year over the last 4 seasons (from .919 to .772 to .756 to .723), as have his batting average and slugging percentage. That trend can’t continue… right?

    • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

      Well, it could, but I wouldn’t expect it to. I haven’t heard talk about some flaw in his approach that emerged last season, or any injury — anything that needs to be fixed. Slumps come and slumps go. But citing OPS — that’s another stat I don’t trust.

      • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

        so you only trust your eye and batting average? C’mon man, its 2011. Baseball is so much more than BA and your gut…

        • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

          Come on is right. No, I don’t trust stats that nobody but their creators understand, especially if they are supposed to explain everything, and I wonder why anyone does. My problem with OPS isn’t for the same reason. It’s pretty easy to understand, and isn’t based on secret data or formulas. So far so good — but I have made the mistake of thinking about what it’s supposed to represent. I have this idea that most baseball fans would be more suspicious of OPS if they only gave it the same thought.

          Never mentioned my gut BTW — but now that you have, I’m going for a snack.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

            go to any baseball site that is not rumor based and you will see hundreds, if not thousands, of people who understand these stats. Just because you dont understand them doesnt mean no one does. To find the true value of a player, you must balance OPS, BABIP, WAR and others. No one stat will show you how good a player is. But I promise if you go to any website and claim that batting average is the best way to value a guy, they will laugh you off the community. Baseball is more advanced stat based now because of advances in technology which allow people to get this data.

            And I mentioned your gut because you basically said Loney had something wrong, you are sure of it, but that it could be fixed. That is an example of listening to your gut

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            I can go here to see hundreds if not thousands of fans who think they understand these stats, but don’t and can’t, since they are proprietary. Most fans don’t seem to understand what that means. But I agree that no one stat represents the value of a player, which if you go back and read what I said, you’ll see that this was my point. Also, I said just the opposite about Loney’s situation, so you might want to go back and reread for that too.

          • MaineSox 5 years ago

            Most, if not all, sites that have advanced statistics have what their stats mean and how they are figured right on their websites.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            Not the proprietary stats, such as WAR and UZR. They are based on private data and secret formulas, and they are the stats waved around most often these days by fans. The non-proprietary stats are also flawed (especially the compound stats like OPS), but at least we can understand their flaws if we have any interest in that aspect of statistics. Most people just like to quote them, though.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

            This is not the website to talk stats. This is the website to talk rumors. Which is why when major trade times come around, you see the most senior commentors are correcting people on these stats and therefore the trade proposals they send out. If you go to websites where the people who comment on the site follow the game not as a hobby but as a very large part of their life, you will see people who understand these stats and how to use them.

            As with the one stat comment, I was talking about how you consistently went back to batting average to say who was good and who was not. You used an arbitrary stat that requires more than just that stat in order to even consider using it to prove your point. Batting average is largely influenced by LD percentage and BABIP, among others.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            Please go back and read what I wrote, as a simple courtesy if nothing else. People talk stats here all the time, often as part of a “one stat that rules them all” argument, which was made here as well. I never, ever make that argument myself. Anyhow, I will respond as I think appropriate, and I’m sure that’s the exact same rule you use.

  12. Mauerneau 5 years ago

    Pavano must have been seriously considering the Stankies if the Twins had to offer both more years and more money.

  13. dusto 5 years ago

    Clearly this is something that you don’t understand.

  14. thegrayrace 5 years ago

    I think we’re all praying for an Eric Chavez comeback to resolve the 3B issue… 😉

    Gibbons/Thames will be OK, I think. And honestly, putting Gwynn in CF and focusing on a defensive outfield isn’t a terrible idea either.

  15. BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

    For sure. But even if Chavez looks healthy and the Dodgers sign him, he’s going to be a prime breakdown candidate during the season. I agree though, way too much focus on Loney. If he can shake off a terrible last half of 2010 and start batting near his career average, and continue playing plus defense, I can wait another year for a replacement who’s an actual upgrade.

Leave a Reply