Al Reyes Rumors

Mariners Targeting Al Reyes

Recent reports had indicated that Tampa Bay closer Al Reyes was off the market. Maybe those were false, or maybe the Dan Wheeler acquisition has increased the Rays’ willingness to listen.  At any rate, interest is growing in Reyes.

Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times notes the Mariners’ interest; they had two scouts at Tropicana Field yesterday.  Reyes did not pitch, however.  One of those scouts was Norm Charlton on a special assignment.  Topkin seems to imply that the Rays would want young catcher Jeff Clement in return for Reyes.  He also alludes to the Mets’ interest but believes a three-team deal could be necessary to get the Rays what they want.

From the start of the season through June 17th, Reyes was a revelation for the Devil Rays.  During that time period Reyes had a 2.17 ERA, 10.9 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9 with 16 saves in 29 innings.  But since then Reyes has allowed 12 earned runs in nine innings, all of them coming from three separate four-run blowups.  He gave up four home runs during the span.  That time period also included a couple of weeks off for a rotation cuff strain, so there’s a definite correlation with his performance.

To give up a player like Clement for a reliever as shaky as Reyes would be a very questionable move.  The idea that the Rays could get him is pure speculation on my part.  As I mentioned earlier, expanding the trade to include Carlos Pena could really sweeten the deal for Seattle. 

By the way, the Devil Rays hold a club option on Reyes for 2008 that tops out at $2.25MM.

Mets Hunting For Reliever, Second Baseman

Pretty much the same old story with the Mets, though Joel Sherman and Mark Hale of the New York Post do have some new tidbits.

  • The authors name Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, and Eric Gagne as relievers on the radar.  However it seems the asking price is too high for Gagne and the Indians have become the frontrunner for Dotel (they may have passed the Dodgers).  Shawn Chacon doesn’t catch the Mets’ eye, and they don’t want Chad Bradford‘s three-year commitment.  They had that option with Bradford this winter.  I think that logic is silly – Bradford’s pitched well this year, and acquiring him now would be akin to a two-year contract.  Sometimes it seems GMs pass over certain players because they simply want to add a fresh name.
  • You can add Al Reyes to the mix for the Mets, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
  • The Mets think many of the available starting pitchers could be traded in August – Jose Contreras, Kyle Lohse, and Steve Trachsel for example.  I don’t agree on Lohse – he’ll be traded today or tomorrow.  But Contreras’s contract would probably get through waivers without a claim.
  • The Post reports no substantive talks to the Royals about Mark Grudzielanek.  An inquiry has been made on Mark Loretta
  • Meanwhile, Newsday says the Twins are open to trading Luis Castillo but don’t want any of the current Major League Mets.  Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger seems to disagree, citing a Twins scout at Shea yesterday.  Graziano does not believe Castillo would get through waivers unclaimed.  He believes the Twins want Double A starter Kevin Mulvey and then some (perhaps Ruben Gotay).
  • Graziano says a deal for Castillo could be expanded to include 28 year-old righty reliever Juan Rincon.  Rincon had been consistently solid for three years (perhaps aided by steroids) but has seen his strikeout rate and overall performance plummet in 2007.  Rincon is under control next year and will make at least $2MM again.
  • Graziano notes that the Mets have talked to the A’s about Joe Blanton, but Billy Beane wants Lastings Milledge.  The Mets can’t do that without damaging the current team.  The Mets could actually add an outfielder in Jay Payton; the Cubs’ interest has waned.  The Sammy Sosa rumor also has some legs, as the Mets could bring him in to platoon with Shawn Green if they decide they can tolerate the sideshow.

Tigers Notes

Will Carroll has the scoop on which relievers the Tigers may be chasing:

The Tigers are also after a reliever, but they’re not willing to give up much, knowing that Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney are coming back. All rumors involving the Tigers seem to be centered on Kyle Farnsworth, but they’ve also looked at Rauch, and asked about Jason Isringhausen and Al Reyes.

Between getting guys back and being in the catbird seat in the AL Central with postseason odds around 86%, it seems likely to me that the Tigers stand pat.  After all, that seems to be what Jim Leyland thinks, as well.

By Jeff Sackmann
Brew Crew Ball

Mariners Considering Kei Igawa, Al Reyes, Jason Jennings?

Apparently the Mariners have some interest in twice-demoted Yankees starter Kei Igawa, according to an uncited TV report.  The report pleased Ichiro Suzuki and Kenji Johjima.

Igawa is locked up through 2011, which may or may not be a positive.  He earns another $1.5MM this year plus $4MM annually through the end of the contract.  The posting fee situation ensures that Igawa’s salary is  really cheap, the price a team might pay for a semi-utility guy like Mark DeRosa.  If Igawa can be league average in the comfy confines of Safeco, he’s a bargain.  More likely he’d have value to an NL team. 

The Mariners were in on Igawa this offseason, along with the Padres, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Braves, Mets, Cubs, Tigers, and Indians.  Igawa was said to prefer playing on the West Coast.  The 28 year-old had a decent strikeout rate but has otherwise been rocked in 62 innings as a Yankee.

Meanwhile Dan Graziano says the Mariners are entertaining practically every available starter.  He says they’re "hot on the trail" of Jason Jennings.  I still think Jennings stays put.

Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times has a few new names for us: the Mariners have "serious interest" in reliever Al Reyes and may go for Edwin Jackson as well.

Rosenthal’s Latest

The authority on all trade rumors, Ken Rosenthal has spoken.  Let’s review.

  • As we have heard before, the Dodgers like Adam Dunn.  We’ve also discussed the fact that there’s not a clear place to put him.  Whether you go with first base or left field, a veteran must move.  The Padres like Dunn as well but talks have yet to occur.  The Angels may have liked him in the past but they don’t seem likely at this point.  And the Twins?  They just won’t break the bank for him unfortunately.
  • With Michael Barrett having issues with 40% of the Cubs’ rotation, the Cubs could look to trade him.  Even though he’s a top offensive catcher, his impending free agency might prevent any strong return.  Plus, the Cubs would have to go with a Henry Blanco/Koyie Hill tandem.  A more likely scenario is that the Cubs will let Barrett walk after the season.
  • Finally some clarity on Eric Gagne‘s limited no-trade protection.  Rosenthal reveals that he can veto trades to 12 teams.  The Phillies and Indians are again mentioned as suitors.  Rosenthal thinks Mark Teixeira could generate a lot of talk but no action at the trading deadline.  Kind of like Alfonso Soriano or A.J. Burnett before him.
  • The asking price for Brad Lidge, supposedly: a premium young catcher and promising young pitcher.  Lidge will probably earn $8MM next year before hitting free agency.  The Astros should be happy with a young catcher or a young pitcher, not both.  I’d mention Salty here but I think he is worth much more than Lidge.  Rosenthal says the Astros could move another bullpen arm like Wheeler or Qualls to get the bat they need. 
  • Could the Devil Rays simply retain Al Reyes and Carlos Pena?  Both players could be valuable contributors to the 2008 club.  I like the idea of keeping Reyes around for next year, but I think Pena has peaked.
  • Noah Lowry would get the attention of the Braves or Cardinals, but the Giants are unlikely to move him.
  • The Phils are likely to pass on Tomo Ohka despite their need for pitching.

Tigers Trade Rumors

Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press has the trade chatter surrounding the Tigers.

The first issue is the bullpen, which is having all sorts of problems. Joel Zumaya is out for three months after finger surgery, Fernando Rodney has been on the DL with biceps tendinitis, Jose Mesa predictably bombed, and Todd Jones has struggled recently.  Logically, the Tigers are scouring the trade market for relief pitching.  They still might sign Troy Percival.  The main competition there seems to be the Phillies.  Morosi also indicates that a trade could be worked out with the Rangers for Eric Gagne or Akinori OtsukaPeter Gammons confirms Gagne’s availability, and also mentions Al Reyes as a trade candidate.

Last December, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski showed interest in Renyel Pinto of the Marlins and C.J. Wilson and Ron Mahay of the Rangers.  That was back when the need was though to be a lefty specialist rather than just relievers in general.

One expendable player for the Tigers might be 29 year-old southpaw Mike Maroth.  The Tigers were offering him up in December but couldn’t find a deal.  Maroth had surgery a year ago to remove bone chips from his elbow, and was never right in ’06.  While he’s made all his starts this year, Maroth isn’t pitching like he did from 2003-05.  This year, his K rate is down even further, his control is off, and he’s allowed an unacceptable number of home runs (15 in 61 innings).  Morosi confirms Maroth’s availability via an NL exec.  The return of Kenny Rogers later this month may push him out of the rotation. 

Maroth makes $2.95MM this year and then will be eligible for arbitration afterwards.  He’ll become a free agent after the 2008 season.  He alone probably won’t bring a useful reliever, but could be part of a larger deal.   

Relief Moves

The Red Sox picked up 35 year-old right-handed reliever Brendan Donnelly from the Angels for Phil Seibel.  Donnelly’s control slipped significantly last season, but he’s had an excellent career despite a late start.  He can help.  Seibel, a southpaw, turns 28 in January.  He was unhittable across three minor league levels for the Red Sox this year.  The Red Sox also added J.C. Romero as a LOOGY option.

The D-Rays signed Al Reyes to a one-year deal.  You may recall he was a fantastic reliever for the Cards in ’05 before succumbing to TJ surgery.  He already threw a few Triple A innings in August so he should be 100% for spring training.  I could see him as the closer at some point.

The Mets probably won’t land Akinori Otsuka, but the Diamondbacks could trade for him.  On one hand, it’s scary to rely on Eric Gagne for anything.  On the other hand, Otsuka’s value will never be higher.  I agree with RotoWorld that Scott Hairston could be a huge sleeper in Texas.  More on Hairston here.