Alex Cora Rumors
4:03pm: The AP says an agreement has been reached on a $2MM deal with an additional $1MM in performance bonuses. A $2MM option for 2011 vests with 80 starts in 2010.
12:17pm: The Mets are close to a one-year deal with a vesting option with infielder Alex Cora, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford. Bradford believes Cora will again be guaranteed $2MM. The agreement is pending a physical.
Cora, a Scott Boras client, had his OBP slip from .371 in '08 to .320 this year with increased playing time (308 plate appearances, 599 innings in the field). With all of the Mets' needs this winter, I'm a little surprised they didn't fill Cora's role more cheaply.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explains that the Indians would have been hesitant to offer Carl Pavano arbitration if they hadn't traded him to the Twins. After a healthy season, he could command close to $10MM if offered arbitration and the Indians are reluctant to commit that much to the righty, though they may end up bringing him back. Here's more on some free agents the Indians may consider:
- GM Mark Shapiro is looking to add a right-handed hitting first baseman. Hoynes wonders if Robb Quinlan (.651 OPS vs. LHP last year) and Kevin Millar (.723 OPS vs. LHP last year) might fit. Either player would presumably be cheap compared to other options on the market.
- The Indians are looking for an extra infielder. Hoynes suggests Ronnie Belliard, Alex Cora and Craig Counsell could be fits for the Tribe.
The incomparable Marty Noble answers many of the fan inquiries with his usual mixture of information and wit. Among other ideas, he considers:
- Just what would it take, hypothetically, to bring Adrian Gonzalez to Queens? Noble believes a package of John Maine, Fernando Martinez and Ike Davis "and perhaps more would be one to consider seriously."
- Noble likes Joel Pineiro more than Jason Marquis, adding that "I know the Mets are interested in [Bengie] Molina."
- He says that while Mark DeRosa wouldn't be a top priority, "If they can't bring back Alex Cora, DeRosa would an even better fit."
- He counters a fan's proposal to trade "Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Omir Santos to the Angels for Erick Aybar, Gary Matthews Jr., Ervin Santana and Jeff Mathis" with one of his own: "How about Perez for the rights to Albie Pearson?" Pearson was the 1958 AL Rookie of the Year, of course.
Mets GM Omar Minaya met with agent Scott Boras last night at the GM Meetings for 45 minutes, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman says Matt Holliday, Alex Cora, Jarrod Washburn, and Rick Ankiel were discussed.
Of course, the Mets' plans extend beyond Boras clients, and Sherman says Bengie Molina sits atop their list of catching targets. The Mets made a play for Molina four years ago. Another target might be Chone Figgins, as suggested by SI's Jon Heyman.
Sherman sums up the Mets' offseason situation:
The Mets' priority list in order is a slugging left fielder, a high-end starting pitcher and a regular catcher. But a Mets executive said that if the club cannot land a significant left fielder they could spend more on a starter such as free agent John Lackey. For now, the Mets more are contemplating a mid-rotation type starter such as Randy Wolf, Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis and Washburn.
In our recent Top 50 Free Agents list, we predicted the Mets will sign Holliday, Wolf, and Brad Penny. All speculation at the time, and there hasn't been any actual connection to Penny so far.
The Mets are likely to re-sign Alex Cora as their backup infielder for 2010, according to Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News. Cora, 34 in October, hit .251/.320/.310 in 308 plate appearances for the Mets this year. The Scott Boras client earned $2MM for his efforts.
MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone appreciates Cora's intangibles, but would hate to see GM Omar Minaya overpay him with a two-year deal (see Marlon Anderson and Julio Franco).
Usually, getting shut out five times in 13 games as the trade deadline nears while falling ten games behind the division leader is a good excuse to get a team to waive the white flag.
But the Mets are no ordinary team, with executives challenging minor leaguers to fights, having altercations with closer Francisco Rodriguez, and an injury a day- this one to Alex Cora, who has been filling in for the injured Jose Reyes.
So it should come as no surprise that Mets GM Omar Minaya says New York will be buyers, not sellers at the trade deadline, according to the tireless Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post.
"Right now we do not envision [being a seller]," Minaya said. "If we're 6 ½ [back] in the wild card with a couple of teams in front of us, we are still kind of trying to find out how we can improve this team, if we can improve it through trades."
Not clear if Minaya also believes Lloyd Christmas should be a buyer at the trade deadline because he was told he has a "one in a million chance."
With Carlos Delgado out until at least late July, the rumors have swirled around the Mets and first basemen throughout the league.
But what the Mets may really need is a shortstop. Jose Reyes left Wednesday night's game against the Dodgers with what looked to be an aggravation of the calf injury that kept him out for five games. With backup Alex Cora out indefinitely with a thumb injury, the Mets are now left with a pair of shortstops: Ramon Martinez, who had two errors in his start on Monday night, and Fernando Tatis, who is a "break glass in case of emergency" kind of shortstop.
Even if Reyes returns quickly, the Mets need a credible backup. In house, the Mets have last season's backup middle infielder Argenis Reyes at shortstop, a decent glove who simply cannot hit. Jose Coranado is struggling so much with the bat, a .141 average at Triple-A, that he is an unlikely recall.
As previously reported, the Indians are fielding offers for Mark DeRosa. But DeRosa hasn't played more than 20 games at shortstop in a season since 2001-and over his last three seasons, he played a total of nine games there.
The AP reports that the Mets finalized their one year contract with Alex Cora today.
We heard last week that the deal was for $2MM, but there are also incentives for Cora based on games started. He gets a $250K bonus for each of 110, 120, 130 and 140 games started. Cora hasn't started more than 100 games since 2004.
According to Ben Shpigel of the New York Times, the Mets have agreed to terms on a one-year, $2MM deal with veteran infielder Alex Cora.
Cora, 33, hit .270/.371/.349 in 152 at-bats for the Red Sox last season. He'll provide some insurance at second base in case Luis Castillo continues to struggle. Cora has also played shortstop and third base in the past.
According to Rob Bradford of WEEI, the Mets are close to a deal with infielder Alex Cora for one-year and $2MM. The 33 year-old hit .270/.371/.349 in 179 plate appearances in '08 while playing both middle infield positions for the Red Sox.