Alex Gonzalez Rumors
As the calendar gets ready to flip over to May, let's check in on the players who have vesting options for the 2013 season...
- Jason Bartlett, Padres - $5.5MM option vests with 432 plate appearances. Bartlett currently has 61 PA and has come to the plate at least 432 times in each of the last five seasons.
- Alex Gonzalez, Brewers - $4MM option vests with 525 PA. Gonzalez has 66 PA at the moment and has eclipsed 525 PA in both 2010 and 2011.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles - $6MM option vest with 50 games finished. Gregg has finished three games this season but is a release candidate given his poor performance (7.94 ERA).
- Brett Myers, Astros - $10MM option vests based on unknown starting or relieving milestones.
Chipper Jones has an option worth $9MM+ that will vest with 123 games played, but he's already rendered the option moot by announcing his plans to retire after the season. Chipper has played in a dozen of the Braves' first 20 games.
Which players can lock in 2013 contract options based on their 2012 performance? Let's take a look.
- Jason Bartlett, Padres: $5.5MM option vests with 432 plate appearances.
- Alex Gonzalez, Brewers: $4MM option vests with 525 plate appearances.
- Chipper Jones, Braves: $9MM+ option vests with 123 games.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles: $6MM option vests with 50 games finished.
- Brett Myers, Astros: $10MM option vests based on unknown starting or relieving milestones.
TUESDAY, 7:23pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter) that the deal is worth $4.25MM. A $4MM option for 2013 will vest with 525 plate appearances, a level Gonzalez has reached in each of the last two seasons.
MONDAY, 11:18am: The Brewers announced the signing of shortstop Alex Gonzalez today. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first tweeted news of the agreement last week, noting that it's a one-year deal with a vesting option for 2013. Gonzalez will take over as Milwaukee's starting shortstop, a position occupied by Yuniesky Betancourt this year. Gonzalez is represented by Eric Goldschmidt.
Gonzalez, 34, hit .241/.270/.372 with 15 home runs in 593 plate appearances for the Braves in 2011. UZR suggests Gonzalez was average defensively this year and above-average from 2006-10. Gonzalez seems to represent an upgrade over Betancourt, but not by much. In November, the Braves elected not to offer arbitration to Gonzalez, so they won't be receiving a supplemental draft pick for the loss. The Cardinals and Giants had also been linked to Gonzalez.
As our free agent tracker shows, the list of available shortstops includes Betancourt, Ronny Cedeno,Nick Punto, and Jimmy Rollins. Most of the clubs that lost or need shortstops, such as the Giants, Braves, Rays, Mets, Phillies, and Astros, say they have acceptable internal candidates. It doesn't seem like Rollins has much leverage to extract a big five-year deal out of the Phillies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
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."
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...
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune hears from people in the Twins’ front office that the club recently examined the free agent market for starting pitchers and shortstops. They’re determined to find a reliable shortstop this offseason and Neal suggests free agents Ramon Santiago and Alex Gonzalez could be targets.
- The Twins will “push hard” to re-sign Michael Cuddyer, according to Neal.
- Earlier today, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian suggested the Indians will likely "kick the tires" on Cuddyer once he reaches the open market.
- Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com explained why the Twins traded Delmon Young to the Tigers in August. He was struggling in Minnesota and the Twins weren't likely to tender him a contract through arbitration.
- I looked ahead to the Twins’ offseason earlier in the month.