Alex Gonzalez Rumors

Quick Hits: Bell, Reyes, D’Backs, Rox, Rollins

A handful of odds and ends as Friday night winds down …

  • Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has the breakdown on Heath Bell's and Jose Reyes' respective contracts with the Marlins. Bell's 2015 club option for $9MM will vest if he finishes 55 games in 2014 or 100 games in 2013-14. Reyes will earn a $1MM bonus if he wins a World Series MVP.
  • D'Backs GM Kevin Towers told reporters, including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, that he's looking to fortify his bullpen and perhaps add another starting pitcher (Twitter link).
  • The Rockies are looking for a short-term answer at third base so as not to block the path of prospect Nolan Arenado, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro will meet with shortstop Jimmy Rollins' agent, Dan Lozano, on Saturday, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
  • Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez told Spanish-language sports talk radio show Los Cronistas in Venezuela that he had offers from the Giants and the Mets but that he chose to sign with Milwaukee because he wanted to be a starter (Twitter links). Thanks to MLBTR's Nick Collias for the translation.

Brewers Notes: K-Rod, Shortstop, Saito

The Brewers are on the hook for a likely salary in excess of $11.5MM for reliever Francisco Rodriguez next year, after K-Rod accepted their arbitration offer.  The latest on the team after GM Doug Melvin met with reporters:

  • Melvin said he doesn't have to trade Rodriguez to clear payroll space, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  The Brewers feel good about the back end of the bullpen now, and Melvin noted that Rodriguez's added cost should be considered less the $3MM he would have had to spend to sign two compensatory draft picks.  That estimate doesn't hold water if you assume the Brewers would have received, say, the Padres' second-round pick plus a supplemental choice.  Slot for two picks of that nature would probably total $1.25MM.
  • Asked about Aramis Ramirez, Melvin said, "Anybody that's still a free agent is a possibility."
  • Melvin hopes to zero in on a shortstop early next week.  Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, and Rafael Furcal are the candidates, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
  • Melvin gave some parameters to Takashi Saito's agent Nez Balelo, which didn't change post K-Rod.  It's not an official offer, but Melvin expects Balelo to try to get more from another team.  Six to eight teams have shown interest in Saito, Balelo told WEEI's Alex Speier yesterday.

Brewers Looking For Bullpen, Infield Help

The Brewers stand to lose both Takashi Saito and Francisco Rodriguez to free agency this winter, and GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that he plans to talk to agents and look for bullpen help at the Winter Meetings next week (all Twitter links). Furthermore, the club is also looking to add infield help, though the only player they are actively trying to sign right now is Jerry Hairston Jr.

Jimmy Rollins, Alex Gonzalez, Rafael Furcal, and 2011 Brewer Yuniesky Betancourt are among the shortstops the club has checked in on. Melvin said he plans to meet with Betancourt's agent next week. Last week we heard that Milwaukee has already offered Hairston a one-year deal, but several other teams are interested as well. Melvin also confirmed that he does not have any offers out to free agent relievers at the moment.



Brewers, Cardinals, Giants In Talks With Alex Gonzalez

5:18pm: The Brewers and Cardinals are also interested in Gonzalez, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.

4:48pm: The Giants are negotiating with free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, reports Fernando Gonzalez of ESPN Deportes (passed along via Jim Bowden's Twitter account).  The Giants had been rumored as candidates to sign such bigger-name free agent shortstops as Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins, but with relatively little payroll space to go around, the other school of thought was that prospect Brandon Crawford could get the starting shortstop job.

Like Crawford, Gonzalez brings strong defense (a career UZR/150 of 6.3, though it dipped to -0.4 last season) and not much of a bat (a .241/.270/.372 line for Atlanta last season).  San Francisco could use Gonzalez and Crawford in a righty-lefty platoon next season, plus Gonzalez could be a valuble mentor to the 24-year-old.

The Braves didn't offer arbitration to Gonzalez (a Type B free agent), so Atlanta wouldn't receive a compensation pick if Gonzalez signed elsewhere.  The Braves hadn't ruled out re-signing Gonzalez themselves to act as a veteran bridge to their own shortstop prospect, Tyler Pastornicky.


National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.  

Updated team decisions:

Teams with automatic decisions only:


Braves Notes: McCann, Prado, Smith, Jurrjens

Here's the latest on the Braves from David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • Brian McCann was set to earn $8.5MM next season but "maxed out" his contract incentives related to Silver Slugger awards and All-Star appearances, so the star catcher will earn a total of $11.5MM in 2012.  O'Brien said the Braves haven't discussed a long-term extension with McCann but the team usually doesn't pursue such negotiations until later in the winter.  McCann is under contract through next year and the Braves have a $12MM club option on McCann for 2013 that looks like a lock to be exercised.
  • In regards to the Martin Prado trade talks between the Braves and Rockies, O'Brien thinks Atlanta would move Prado for Seth Smith and a center field prospect like Tim Wheeler or Charlie Blackmon.  With Michael Bourn only contracted through 2012, the Braves are looking for center field depth in case Bourn's asking price is too high for their liking.
  • Atlanta "made a run at" Jamey Carroll but balked at giving the 37-year-old infielder a multiyear contract. 
  • The Braves are known to desire a trade package for Jair Jurrjens similar to the one the Royals received last winter for Zack Greinke, but O'Brien says this asking price could be too high for most teams.  "Word out of the GM meetings was that the Braves are demanding so much for Jurrjens that a deal might be unlikely unless they come down in their multi-player/prospect asking price or some teams get desperate for starting pitching later in the offseason," O'Brien writes.
  • "It's unclear" if Atlanta is interested in bringing back Alex Gonzalez on a one-year deal.  The Braves are looking for a short-term veteran to play shortstop until Tyler Pastornicky is ready.
  • GM Frank Wren says his team isn't actively shopping Prado and Jurrjens but are willing to listen to offers.  "I think that [Prado and Jurrjens trade possibility] was wrongly characterized from the very beginning,” Wren said. “What we said and what we stand by is that we’re looking to get better, and however we can get better we will. We’re open minded. We’ll listen if somebody calls."

Twins Notes: Shortstop, Cuddyer, Young

The Twins will likely pursue starting pitching, relief pitching, a backup catcher and middle infield help this offseason after finishing with the worst record in the American League. Here are some notes on the club's offseason plans…


Quick Hits: Clippard, Storen, Ellsbury, Braves

B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria and Casey Kotchman all homered for the Rays tonight as Tampa Bay defeated Boston, 9-2, in the opener of a big four-game series.  The Red Sox now have just a three-game lead over the Rays (and a four-game lead over the idle Angels) for the AL Wild Card.

Some notes from around the league….


Cafardo On Rays, Cameron, Gonzalez, Hale

Jim Hickey has one of the most important roles in the American League this year, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Rays pitching coach is responsible for rebuilding a Rays bullpen that was depleted by free agency. Hickey says he expects at least one of the team's unheralded arms to break out unexpectedly, adding that if there's going to be a 2011 version of Joaquin Benoit, he'd put his money on Juan Cruz. Here are some of Cafardo's other Sunday notes:

  • Domonic Brown has struggled this spring and is now set to undergo surgery on a broken hand. As such, Mike Cameron remains a potential fit for the Phillies. Cafardo argues that "the only problem with a Cameron-Phillies hookup is that he may be a very valuable member of the Red Sox now that he’s completely recovered from abdominal surgery."
  • Alex Gonzalez doesn't like changing teams as much as he has in the last two seasons, and would have liked to stay in Toronto. Now that he's playing in Atlanta, the shortstop tells Cafardo that he'd "love to stay here for a long time." Gonzalez will be a free agent at season's end.
  • DeMarlo Hale was interviewed for two managerial openings this past offseason, and Cafardo wonders if he'll be hired away from the Red Sox next winter. "Right now," Cafardo says, "there doesn’t appear to be an obvious place for a managerial change next season."

Braves Exercise Options For Gonzalez, Infante

The Braves exercised their 2011 options for Alex Gonzalez and Omar Infante, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). The team also signed reliever Scott Proctor to a one-year deal. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported earlier today that the reliever will likely earn a base salary of $750K or so in 2011. Proctor, who was arbitration eligible, will likely have the chance to earn more through incentives.

The options for Gonzalez and Infante cost just $2.5MM each – a reasonable price to pay for two infielders who exceeded expectations in 2010. Gonzalez, who arrived in the Yunel Escobar trade, batted .250/.294/.447 with 23 hom runs in 2010. He hit most of his homers in Toronto, but added six in Atlanta. The 33-year-old is a good defender with some pop who has a sub-.300 on base percentage in his 12-year MLB career.

Infante, 28, batted .321/.359/.416 this year and made his first All-Star team. He finished third in the league in batting average and played second, third, short, left and right, so picking up his option was just a formality; the Braves weren't about to let him hit free agency.