Alexi Casilla Rumors

Twins Avoid Arbitration With Alexi Casilla

The Twins avoided arbitration with infielder Alexi Casilla, agreeing to a one-year, $1.3825MM contract, tweets director of baseball communications Mike Herman.  The Proformance client settled $25K below the midpoint, avoiding an arbitration hearing.  Casilla received a $517,500 raise his second time through arbitration.  MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at some possible comparables last week.

As MLBTR's arbitration tracker shows, the Twins are now finished with their arbitration eligible players.  They committed a total of $8.432MM to Casilla, Francisco Liriano, and Glen Perkins for 2012.

Two arbitration eligible players remain unsigned overall: Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee of the Pirates.


Alexi Casilla & Jed Lowrie Head To Arbitration

Only two of the 13 remaining unsigned arbitration eligible players filed for less than $2MM: Alexi Casilla and Jed Lowrie. Though they’re reasonably similar in terms of career stats, Casilla is arbitration eligible for the second time, so the players relevant to his case are different than the players relevant to Lowrie’s.

Casilla, who earned $865K in 2011, posted a .260/.322/.368 line with two home runs in 365 plate appearances while playing second base and shortstop last year. He filed for $1.75MM, while the Twins countered with a $1.065MM submission for a midpoint of $1.407MM. 

Current infielders who put together similar Arb 1 seasons to Casilla’s 2011 campaign include Aaron Miles, whose salary jumped from $1MM to $1.4MM after the 2007 season, Alfredo Amezaga, whose salary jumped from $945K to $1.3MM after the 2008 season, and Jeff Baker, whose salary jumped from $975K to $1.175MM after the 2010 season. All three are among the possible comparables for Casilla's case, in my view, though his representatives may focus on similar players who settled above the midpoint.

Lowrie filed for $1.5MM after a season in which he posted a .252/.303/.382 line with six home runs as a shortstop/third baseman in Boston. The Astros offered their new infielder $900K for a midpoint of $1.2MM.

Mike Aviles, who essentially replaces Lowrie on Boston’s roster, may be his top comp in arbitration. Aviles settled at $1.2MM — Lowrie's midpoint — after a highly similar platform season. Aviles has better career numbers across the board, and that should help the Astros build their case. On either side of Aviles, we have two first-time eligible infielders from the current service class: Robert Andino at $1.3MM and Blake DeWitt at $1.1MM. Andino had a strong platform year, while DeWitt has the career bulk and both will figure in to Lowrie's case.


AL Central Notes: Tigers, Twins, Hernandez, Dunn

On this date in 1997, the Tigers drafted Matt Anderson first overall (under management that has since been replaced). The flame-throwing right-hander briefly became the Tigers' closer, but didn't match the success of others in his draft class like J.D. Drew, Troy Glaus, Vernon Wells and Lance Berkman. Anderson attempted a comeback with the Phillies this year, but has since been released. Here's the latest from around the AL Central…

  • David Mayo of The Grand Rapids Press defends Tigers manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski, saying the Tigers are annual contenders and “give the Michigan summer a sporting purpose.”
  • Yes, the Twins are just 18-37, but GM Bill Smith tells John Shipley of the Pioneer Press that it's not too late for a comeback. Smith says better health and more home games and intra-divisional series could get the Twins back into contention. Smith also noted that his re-worked bullpen "hasn't worked" and expressed confidence in Alexi Casilla's skills. 
  • The Royals have been linked to international prospect Elier Hernandez, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The outfielder is likely to command a $2-3MM bonus once he's eligible to sign after July 2nd. 
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests that Adam Dunn's struggles and $56MM contract with the White Sox could affect the way American League teams build their rosters going forward. Red Sox DH David Ortiz tells Morosi that DHing is harder than it seems (for more on Ortiz's market value, click here).


Twins Avoid Arbitration With Alexi Casilla

The Twins and Alexi Casilla have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $865K, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. It was his first time eligible for arbitration.

Casilla, 26, missed almost two months of the 2010 season after having surgery to remove bone spurs from his throwing elbow. When he was on the field, he hit .276/.331/.395 in 170 plate appearances, a nice rebound from a .202/.280/.259 effort in 2009. The departures of J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, and Brendan Harris have created an opening for Casilla to get regular playing at one of the middle infield spots. New pick-up Tsuyoshi Nishioka will handle the other spot.

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows that the Twins still have five players eligible for arbitration: Matt Capps, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Delmon Young, and Francisco Liriano.


Twins, Red Sox Eyeing Nishioka?

3:32pm: The Red Sox are also in on Nishioka, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  However, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe disagrees (Twitter link).

8:25am: The Twins' Orlando Hudson-J.J. Hardy middle infield combination may not stick around for 2011.  Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune runs through the possibilities.

For starters, the Twins are expected to bid on Tsuyoshi Nishioka this week.  However, Christensen finds the team unlikely to win the bidding.  Nishioka was posted Monday, and the high bidder should be revealed next week.

Only one of Hudson and Hardy is expected to be retained, and Christensen writes of "growing indications" the Twins will tender Hardy a contract at the December 2nd deadline.  In an August 17th poll, almost 84% of you expected Hardy to be tendered.  If they keep Hardy and lose out on Nishioka, it looks like Alexi Casilla will get a shot as the regular second baseman.


Twitter Rumors: Smoltz, Damon, Mulder, Felix, Counsell

Twitter madness…

  • Surprisingly, Ken Davidoff of Newsday writes of an "increasing expectation around MLB" that the Yankees will eventually re-sign Hideki Matsui.
  • Crasnick talked to one exec who says Scott Boras wants three years and big money for outfielder Rick Ankiel.
  • The Royals talked to the Dodgers about Juan Pierre, writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, but the Dodgers would have to eat too much money to make it work.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Phillies are now looking hard at John Smoltz as a possible "back-of-the-bullpen weapon."  Smoltz's agent apparently told the Phils that the pitcher has no problem with Citizens Bank Park.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney heard "the Yankees are in the process of negotiating with Johnny Damon's camp."  He adds that the Yanks "intend to use market forces to pressure Damon to make a decision quickly."  I'm sure Scott Boras will love that.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin plans to visit free agent lefty Mark Mulder in January to discuss a possible contract, says Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says there have been no Felix Hernandez negotiations this week after an initial four-year offer from the Mariners.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that they'll tender contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players.  No big surprise, though it's a large group of players.
  • Scott Lauber of the News Journal talked to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said Astros GM Ed Wade stole Brandon Lyon from the Phillies.  The Astros committed three years and $15MM to Lyon despite holes at shortstop and third base.
  • MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says the Brewers upped their offer to Craig Counsell this morning and GM Doug Melvin is confident they'll get it done.  The Reds are still in the mix for Counsell, says MLB.com's Mark Sheldon
  • La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune heard last night that Twins infielder Alexi Casilla is available.