Quick Hits: Harden, Wheeler, Padres, Votto, Mets

Links for Tuesday as news and rumors pick up after a holiday lull… 

  • Free agent right-hander Rich Harden is drawing interest from teams that would use him either as a starter or a reliever, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Harden posted 9.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 82 2/3 innings as a starter for the Athletics in 2011.
  • The Twins continue eyeing affordable right-handed relievers and have been in touch with the agent for Dan Wheeler, according to Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. Wheeler, who has also drawn some interest from the Pirates, sits below a couple of pitchers on the Twins’ list.
  • The Pirates have had discussions with free agent left-hander Paul Maholm, but it remains highly unlikely that he'll return to Pittsburgh, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • The Mat Latos trade improved a Padres farm system that already ranked among the game’s best, Jim Callis of Baseball America wrote in this week’s edition of Ask BA.
  • One MLB executive suggested to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Cubs and Blue Jays may prefer to pass on Prince Fielder, since Joey Votto projects to hit free agency two years from now when both Chicago and Toronto could have stronger teams (Twitter link).
  • Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com provides contract details for Mets relievers Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco, who both agreed to terms during the Winter Meetings.

36 Responses to Quick Hits: Harden, Wheeler, Padres, Votto, Mets Leave a Reply

  1. I have two words for the Twins and their search for a right handed reliever.

    Pat Neshek.

    What can I say. I’m a sentimentalist.

    • twins06 3 years ago

      I wish neshek would have been able to stay in the twins organization. 
      How about ryan madson. theyd have to pay probably 8 million but only on a one year deal since he hasnt been able to get the deal he wants so far and if/when he leaves next year the twins would get two draft picks out of it

  2. start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    Before the Latos trade I would have put good odds on Votto being traded during either this deadline or next offseason. But now… no clue. I doubt they can afford to keep him and I doubt they are as much of a threat without him.

    So what do people think… Go for win it all in the next 2 years and let him walk, take the draft pick or trade him in the offseason to whatever team offers a staggering amount?

    • Sniderlover 4 years ago

      I think they’ll do what Brewers did with Fielder.

      Unless Cinci is a non-playoff team in Votto’s contract year, they’ll likely keep him and try to get a contract done if possible.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        yah pretty much. not much else they can do..

        Unless they can trade Votto for 1 or 2 on field pieces that can allow them to continue to win now.  hard to envision that scenario though, especially after they already traded Alonso

  3. Neil Tatro 4 years ago

    get him theo! low risk – high reward signing for us to flip at the deadline!

  4. Whoever that executive is, I’m glad he’s not running my favourite team.  Waiting for 2 years for Joey Votto (who would be 30 years old) on the off chance that you’ll be able to sign him is insane.  The Fielder situation is a perfect storm.  The Yanks, Red Sox, Angels and Phillies (the typical big spenders) don’t need 1B, the Mets and Dodgers are having money issues and Fielder is 27 years old.  How often does that happen?

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      I think that if Fielder offered defensive value a lot of teams would be willing to sign him, but the reality is, he’s a younger, rounder version of big papi.

      Not to say big papi isn’t a valuable player, but he’s strictly one dimensional and as we saw this past off season, most teams these days aren’t interested in signing permanent DH’s that offer no positional flexibility.

      I would love Fielder on the Jays, but I’d atleast agree with the restraint of not signing him to an 6+ year deal. Not sure why it has to be due to Joey Votto’s existence.

      • Right.  I fully understand not wanting to go after Prince because you don’t think he’s going to be good value (even if I don’t necessarily agree with that), but basing the decision to sign him on Votto is ludicrous.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          I’m sure its just fabricated.. if either the jays or cubs felt they could sign prince for the price they want, they would

          the reality is, the mariners, nationals or some other team is going to give him 8 + years for a ton of money.

          If he does end up signing a 5 or 6 year deal with another club, I’ll be sorely disappointed in the jays for missing out

          • johnsilver 4 years ago

            Remember how despised Richie Sexon was in Seattle as his contract was winding down? Imagine how much Fielder will be if they give him that 8 year deal you mentioned for the last 3+ seasons..

            Sexon only reeked the last year and a half of his deal and wasn’t the worst defensively at 1B. Fielder is not even good now at 1B, will probably get even worse by the 4-5 year point, necessitating a move to DH and would face the full wrath of the M’s fans as Sexson did for 2x the time as a DH/PH making well over the 15m he did.

            it could get really scary and money IMO better spent locking up King Felix.

          • I see why the M’s really want Fielder. They lose so many games by a run or two that if they had Fielder, they will have a legitimate shot to win.
            Of course, in a big moment, you could just walk Prince and force Ack or someone to beat you.
            Prince makes so much sense for the M’s, but I hope it doesn’t happen, given that i’m a Rangers fan. 

          • Yea, if Fielder’s asking price was coming down there would be more teams jumping into the ring. The fact that so many rumors are swirling about Nats being the front-runner means that his asking hasn’t come down at all.

  5. JackPackage 4 years ago

    Not signing Prince Fielder because you might, possibly at some point down the line be able to sign an older Joey Votto, is perhaps the most retarded thing ever.

    You either want Prince Fielder at his asking price or you don’t. You don’t make decisions based on things you have no control over.

    That being said, Fielder makes zero sense for the Cubs who are rebuilding and the Nationals just don’t need him when they have Laroche, Morse and Bryce Harper.

    Mariners would make sense if they had any other offensive threat/commitment to winning… and Toronto are (hopefully) too smart to overpay him.

    6/120 is the maximum Fielder should get, 5 good years for one useless DH year is fair. If some team gets him for 5/100 they have got a bargain but if it is going to happen… this is the time, none of the big spenders need a 1B.

    How cool would it be if St. Louis got Fielder at a good price and win another WS this year? I seriously think if you put Fielder at 1B for the Cards that they barely skip a beat…

    • I laugh every time someone says the Nats don’t need Fielder because they have LaRoche.

      • JackPackage 4 years ago

        What about when somebody says they don’t need Fielder because they have: Laroche, Morse and Harper? Or is that not as funny because it doesn’t support your comment, to include the Nats two other options I mentioned?

        Laroche is capable of a 2 WAR season, Fielder is about a 5 WAR player. If you think 3 WAR is worth $20 million+ a season who am I (Or statistics and logic) to argue?

        The Nationals have a number of cheaper in house options for 1B that include (for better or worse) Adam Laroche, it is a waste of resources to pay a premium for something they already have in abundance.

        The Nationals don’t need Fielder. Would he make them a better team? Yes, of course. He is better than Laroche and marginally better than what Morse offers. Is the improvement worth a $20+ million for more than 6 years? No, not now, not ever. They don’t need him, they needed another SP, which they got in Gonzalez and they need more seasoning for their young team. Fielder improves them in the short term but hamstrings (potentially) their ability to re-sign a much better player in Zimmerman and their ability to improve potential areas of need.

        Less funny?

  6. dc21892 4 years ago

    Wonder if Boston still has interest in Harden.

  7. BlueCatuli 4 years ago

    Considering past comments, I would be shocked to see Votto want to sign with the Cubs or Cubs fans giving him a chance. That would be a very rocky relationship.

  8. SunsetStripper 4 years ago

    “Free agent right-hander Rich Harden is drawing interest from teams that would use him either as a starter or a reliever, according to Ken Rosenthal.”

    Ken Rosenthal, master of the obvious

  9. GlassJawn 4 years ago

    Harden pretty much has to be a relief pitcher at this point in his career.  How can you be a starter in the majors for about a decade and only have one season of more than a 150 innings?

  10. Stuart 4 years ago

    Harden would be the new Kerry Wood. I’d take a bet Toronto makes a run at Votto by mid season. Offering Lind and Drabek would be pretty hard to look away

    • Stuart 4 years ago

      And fielder will get over 150. It’s gonna be a overpay. “Bargain” is not in Boras vocabulary unless it’s used in a sentence like, Prince is a bargain at 200 mill”

    • Beersy 4 years ago

      I would assume after trading Alonso, the Reds would have no interest in dealing Votto this season.  Seems to me they are “all in” this year and next. 

      • Stuart 4 years ago

        But they could add above average 1b in Lind and then add a pretty good young SP to there rotation.

  11. Ryan The Braves Fan For Life 4 years ago

    Imagine how beast votto will be then
    He’ll be getting the big bucks

  12. “I don’t like the Cubs, and I’m not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back.” – Votto on Marlin Byrd during the friggin’ All-Star game… about his teamate. Yeah, Cubs fans will not allow it to happen.

  13. BigRedOne 4 years ago

    What’s with all this incessant Votto talk? Votto is not going anywhere. The Reds would not have mortgaged their future by trading away Alonso if they aren’t fully confident they will extend him. Look for Uncle Walt to get it done sometime in the next year.

  14. MrBaseball29 4 years ago

    That would be the “big signing” they been talking about

  15. abbearden 4 years ago

    Harden as a bullpen addition would make sense. He has decent enough stuff to make an impact over a couple of innings. I say this as a Rangers fan who watched him pitch for us in the starting rotation at the beginning of 2010 and saw how he would do well against opposing lineups the first time through but by the second and definitely the third time through it was game over pretty quickly and he would get hammered. Watching him play against the Rangers last year in the limited amount games looked like pretty much the same old story. 

    I usually like to back this all up with stats but in Harden’s case I’m just going off of pure memory on this guy.

  16. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    i think if that was an option they would have kept molina and signed harden to close?

    with janssen, frasor, oliver and santos, back end is pretty full. doubt he’ll sign up to be a 7th or 6th inning guy (when morrow/mcgowan start)

  17. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Pitches 1-25 of a game (career) 2.79 so/bb, .618 OPS
    Pitches 26-50 of a game           2.50 so/bb, .685 OPS


    Pitches 1-25    3.40 so/bb, 1.027 OPS
    Pitches 26-50  1.90 so/bb  .634 OPS


    Pitches 1-25    1.13 so/bb, .766 OPS
    Pitches 26-50   2.07 so/bb, .720 OPS

  18. abbearden 4 years ago

    Nice work Lunchbox on getting those breakdown stats. His career numbers seem to favor my general argument the most rather than the ’10 & ’11 comparisons. 

    Just goes to show memory isnt exactly the most reliable tool to use for players when it comes to performance results. 

    Thanks again on the stats.

  19. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Well he’s not the pitcher he once was.. but starters have to ensure they have enough in the tank to go multiple innings..

    As a reliever, I think Harden can excel, he still has strike out stuff. but he’s obviously too stubborn to move in to the pen, shocking when you realize that if he establishes himself he could actually make more money (considering he cant keep himself healthy as a starter)

  20. johnsilver 4 years ago

    Would be worried with his history of arm injuries the cause of his worry of moving to the BP and just how long he would last if he could be moved into that role.

    Granted.. *IF* he could indeed be moved/convinced to sign and go that route, he might be a wipeout middle guy, kind of like Justin Masterson was a few years back and something to be coveted.

    John Farrell is just the guy (IMO) to try and convince him to give that role a serious try.

    Always like Harden and hopefully his bull headedness can be overcome and Farrell will try to convince him he has a future as a long/swing role reliever to fix his career.

  21. Guest 3 years ago

    that is rich”dice game” harden……..remember he is the only pitcher i know of who can get injured shooting dice…

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