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Andres Torres Rumors
The Mets have kept mum on their payroll situation heading into 2013 but several reports have indicated that the club won't ratchet it far beyond the neighborhood of $90MM. There are a number of multi-million dollar contracts coming off of the books including $5.69MM for the very likely non-tendering of Mike Pelfrey, Jon Rauch's $3.5MM deal, and Ramon Ramirez's $2.65MM pact. However, much of those savings will be eaten up by 2014 buyouts for Johan Santana and Jason Bay and pay raises to David Wright, Frank Francisco, Jonathon Niese, and others. On top of that, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Bobby Parnell, and Josh Thole will all be headed to arbitration this winter. General Manager Sandy Alderson will be working with an extremely tight budget, which will make it difficult for the club to justify also going to arbitration with outfielder Andres Torres.
Torres has started 79 games for the Mets in centerfield this year but has not been able to return to 2010 form when he hit .268/.343/.479 with 16 in 570 plate appearances with the Giants. Instead, Torres owns a .227/.330/.320 batting line across 105 games with a career low -2.6 UZR/150. Torres avoided arbitration with the Mets last season for $2.7MM after coming over from the Giants and would probably net something near $3MM for 2013.
Looking ahead to next season, the club could install Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the full-time starting centerfielder. That would position Torres as the club's fourth outfielder and at ~$3MM they would likely prefer to put that money into their bullpen and other areas of need. Even if Torres can no longer deliver the kind of offensive production that he did in San Francisco in 2009 and '10, he can still be an attractive option to clubs looking for a veteran with experience at all three outfield positions. However, he's not likely to see something in the range of $3MM and it would seem to be even less likely to be with the Mets.
The Mets have placed Scott Hairston and Andres Torres on waivers, a major league source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Mets have said that they want to be competitive in the month of September but may be willing to part with Hairston as they sit with a 58-69 record heading into this afternoon's game against the Astros.
The club has yet to have contract extension talks with Hairston, though he recently indicated that he would be open to the discussion. The 32-year-old has a slash line of .272/.312/.512 with 14 homers in 104 games this season for the Mets.
On the other hand, Torres has been viewed as a possible non-tender candidate for 2013. The centerfielder is earning $2.7MM this season and would see something in the neighborhood of $3MM in arbitration this winter. For the Mets, it wouldn't make a great deal of sense to dole out such a deal for a fourth outfielder.
- Not a huge surprise here, but Sabean said that the Giants won't go after Yoenis Cespedes, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "The price tag is probably beyond what his talent is," the GM said. The outfielder still has a number of suitors including the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, and Tigers.
- Sabean said that Ramon Ramirez was included in the Andres Torres–Angel Pagan trade in December to even out the money, Schulman tweets. Back in December, the GM admitted that if the Giants hadn't traded Ramirez, they would have tendered the right-hander a contract.
- Speaking of Torres, a competing baseball exec told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) that he sees the former Giant as a fifth outfielder, even though he is slated to start in center field for the Mets. Heyman agrees with that assertion.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
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The Giants and Mets have agreed on a deal that will send Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez to New York and Angel Pagan to San Francisco, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Giants will also receive a player to be named later or cash, according to a team release. The deal was announced by both clubs today.
All three players are arbitration eligible, and Torres in particular was a candidate to be non-tendered next week. Both Torres and Pagan were valuable as regulars in 2010 but struggled in 2011, though the Mets were expected to tender Pagan a contract.
Prior to the Giants' acquisition of Pagan, their outfield was expected to feature Aubrey Huff in left, Melky Cabrera in center, and Nate Schierholtz in right field. Given the defensive inadequacies of Huff and Cabrera, Pagan might be a well-used fourth outfielder in San Francisco. Pagan will be surely be motivated to earn regular playing time, as he's entering his contract year. He projects to earn $4.7MM through arbitration for 2012.
The Mets can potentially control Torres for two years, and MLBTR estimates a salary of around $2.5MM in 2012. He makes for a nice upside play for GM Sandy Alderson. Alderson has also revamped his 2012 bullpen in the course of about an hour. Ramirez is a useful, affordable addition, and the Mets also signed veteran relievers Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco (together again!)
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
8:46pm: The Giants and Mets are believed to be discussing a deal that would send Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez to New York for Angel Pagan, tweets Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. That would match up with the two-for-one rumors, and Torres and Pagan qualify as "change of scenery" players as well.
8:33pm: Hot on the heels of their agreement with Jon Rauch, the Mets have a multi-player trade in the works, tweets MLB Network's Jon Heyman. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) describes the deal as a "change of scenery" trade both ways, and says the Mets are going to receive two players in exchange for one. Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link) hears that the move will net the Mets another reliever.
8:42pm: The Giants are "far down the road" on two trade proposals and GM Brian Sabean thinks the team may make a move tonight, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter). The proposed moves don't involve Jed Lowrie, Carlos Quentin, or Martin Prado, three names that have surfaced in recent trade rumors, adds Baggarly.
With rumors swirling that the Mets are also close to making a deal for a reliever, and the Giants said to be entertaining offers for Ramon Ramirez, it's possible the Mets could be on the other end of one of San Francisco's two proposals. That's my own speculation, however.
12:37pm: It'd be a fairly easy call for the Giants to non-tender Keppinger, reports Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Baggarly also notes that the Giants intend to work out a multiyear deal with starter Ryan Vogelsong, who would be eligible for free agency after 2012. For more on the Giants' huge arbitration class, read up here.
11:34am: The Giants are trying to trade infielder Jeff Keppinger, outfielder Andres Torres, and reliever Ramon Ramirez, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. They're planning to keep lefty Jeremy Affeldt. ESPN's Buster Olney says there's a strong feeling by other teams Torres will be non-tendered. If so, the Giants may not be able to get much for him. Torres was the second-most valuable center fielder in baseball in 2010, based on FanGraphs' wins above replacement.
Keppinger, Torres, and Ramirez are all arbitration eligible, and MLBTR projects salaries in the $2.3-2.7MM range for each.
The 2011 Giants closely resembled last year’s World Championship team, but change lies ahead for San Francisco. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle explains that health considerations and the rising cost of arbitration eligible players will shape next year’s Giants team. Here are some highlights from Schulman's piece:
- Pat Burrell could again sign a one-year deal when he hits free agency after the season (he earns $1MM this year), but he may have to retire because of a foot injury. Burrell says he’ll play as long as he’s healthy enough to take the field.
- Schulman says it’s hard to imagine the Giants offering Cody Ross a raise from $6.3MM or agreeing to a multiyear deal when the outfielder hits free agency.
- Mark DeRosa is hoping to sign closer to Atlanta, where he makes his home, and realizes he may be in line for a minor league deal.
- The Giants will probably decline Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option for 2012, but they’ll “almost certainly” pursue him in free agency, according to Schulman.
- Jonathan Sanchez and Andres Torres are non-tender candidates. When MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes identified Sanchez and Torres as non-tender candidates last month, he pointed out that Sanchez’s salary would rise over $6MM (he now earns $4.8MM) through arbitration.
- Eli Whiteside is another non-tender candidate, Schulman writes.
- Jeff Keppinger, who’s arbitration eligible, will likely return in 2012 and it’s hard to imagine the Giants cutting Nate Schierholtz after seeing him progress in 2011.
- The Giants may not have room on the roster for both Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burriss.
The Giants have officially signed Andres Torres to a one-year deal "in the $2.1MM range." This is the first time Torres has been eligible for arbitration.
Torres submitted a $2.6MM figure to the club last Tuesday, and the Giants countered with a $1.8MM offer. A $2.1MM settlement would represent a minor win for the Giants in what's been a successful arbitration season for the World Series champs. San Francisco has avoided arbitration with their other six arb-eligible players, as you can follow on the MLBTR ArbTracker.
Torres, who turns 33 on Wednesday, was one of the several unsung players who contributed to San Francisco's World Series title last year. He hit .268/.343/.479 and started 73 games in center field for the Giants, and also contributed a .984 OPS in the Series. Torres earned $426K in 2010.