- Extending Gardner was a wise move for the Yankees, argues Jack Curry of the YES Network. The club never intended to deal him unless it was "overwhelmed," says Curry. "He really has developed into a real solid, every day player," said GM Brian Cashman. "He's tough and he's a gamer. I think he's part of the solution here."
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News opines that the deal was a win-win. "I think Brett would be valuable to any team," said Cashman. "He's got that type of dynamic speed and defense, and the ability to get on base that would fit with any franchise." From his perspective, Gardner said that signing the deal was "probably the biggest decision I've ever had to make in my life." He continued: "I've put a lot of thought into it, but at the end of the day, that's a lot of money, and where I come from, at that money, or twice that much money, I'm not going to change the way I live."
- Bailey is not expected even to begin throwing until July, at the earliest, reports Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. "The bottom line is focus on August or September for him to help the major league club, if at all," said Cashman. But the Yankees were moved to make the deal given Bailey's upside, even if they remain less than certain that it will reap any dividends. "When he is healthy, he is an exceptional reliever," Cashman explained. "He's coming off shoulder surgery so we're taking a flier, a low risk. If we can get a reward out of it, great. If not, it's one of those nothing ventured, nothing gained. It's his shoulder — more likely than not it's an uphill battle, but we'll see."
- Meanwhile, New York may be open to discussing an extension with new closer David Robertson but has yet to engage him in talks, reports Brendan Kuty of the Star-Ledger. Cashman was noncommital when asked about a new deal for Robertson, who is set to reach free agency after this season: "Would we be opposed to it? We'll see." The dominant setup man will earn $5.215MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility. He will hit the market at age 30, and with another strong season could be in line for a sizeable new contract.
- The Yankees will not make an offer to shortstop Aledmys Diaz or pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne, reports George A. King III of the New York Post (hat tip to River Ave. Blues). The pair of Cuban free agents recently auditioned for New York, with the former a particularly intriguing possible target given the Yanks' long-term needs up the middle.
SUNDAY: The 2015 option is a team option, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
SATURDAY, 11:18pm: Bailey will earn a prorated base salary of $1.975MM if he works his way up to the Major League club, Olney reports. All told, the Major League side of the deal is valued at $2.5MM, and includes a 2015 option and buyout.
8:57pm: The Yankees have agreed to an incentive-laden minor league deal with Andrew Bailey, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes was the first to report that the sides were close to a deal (via Twitter).
Bailey, 29, had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in July, and was not tendered a contract by the Red Sox this offseason. Nevertheless, more than 15 teams had called to check in with the reliever by early December, according to an MLBTR report. If the timetable we reported at that time holds, Bailey will be ready to suit up in pinstripes by mid-May.
A former All-Star closer with the Athletics, Bailey has struggled with injuries since his rookie season, and managed just 44 innings for Boston after he was acquired in a winter 2011 trade. However, he could provide a midseason boost to the Yankees, as his career 2.64 ERA attests to. The club's bullpen is in a state of flux following the retirement of Mariano Rivera, and appears to have few certain options behind closer David Robertson. January's sigining of lefty Matt Thornton is the team's lone major bullpen acquisition in an offseason in which Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain have been lost to free agency.
Now that it's clear Nelson Cruz won't be back, it's unclear who the Rangers will use as their designated hitter against lefties, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Rangers still had interest in Cruz, Grant writes, noting that, in addition to the qualifying offer, they made at least one offer that exceeded the $8MM Cruz ended up taking from the Orioles. That leaves them with a variety of options to play DH against lefties, but none manager Ron Washington likes very much: Mitch Moreland is a lefty, Michael Choice doesn't have enough experience for Washington's taste, and Washington would prefer to keep the Rangers' spare catcher (Geovany Soto or J.P. Arencibia, depending on who isn't starting) available on the bench.
- With Cruz off the market, Grant, in a separate article, believes now is the time for the Rangers to extend manager Ron Washington. Grant also opines players tagged with qualifying offers are going to think more seriously about accepting them in light of Cruz's surprisingly small contract.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks new minor-league signee Andrew Bailey can help them in the late innings, but probably not until September, Jack Curry of the YES Network tweets. The former Athletics and Red Sox closer had labrum surgery last July.
- The Red Sox will try Mike Carp out at a new position this spring, Alex Speier of WEEI.com tweets. While Spring Training experiments like these aren't uncommon and often have little long-term impact, a bit of added versatility might change Carp's outlook with the Red Sox, particularly if he can play third, where the Red Sox are less settled than they are elsewhere. Carp hit .296/.362/.523 in 243 plate appearances last season, but the Red Sox already have plenty of talent at first base, left field and DH, which has led to speculation that Carp could be a trade candidate.
- Scott Boras blames the Blue Jays' lack of activity in the free agent market on its ownership, Rogers Communications, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. "There is no one who has the asset base of Rogers," said Boras. "They’re a car with a huge engine that is impeded by a big corporate stop sign . . . a successful and committed ownership that needs to give their baseball people financial flexibility." GM Alex Anthopoulos denied Boras' assertion telling Rosenthal, "Our ownership has been outstanding and given us all the resources we need." The Blue Jays' payroll is expected to exceed $130MM this season.
- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters, including Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, Justin Smoak will be the team's first baseman as long he performs. This means McClendon expects new acquistions Logan Morrison and Corey Hart to man the corner outfield spots and DH.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledged internal discussions about a contract extension for catcher Jason Castro have taken place, reports the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. No offer, however, has been discussed with Castro.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Bailey, 29, had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in July, and was not tendered a contract by the Red Sox this offseason. Nevertheless, more than 15 teams had called to check in with the reliever by early December, according to an MLBTR report. If the timetable we reported at that time holds, Bailey will be ready to suit up for a Major League club by mid-May.
A former All-Star closer with the Athletics, Bailey has struggled with injuries since his rookie season, and managed just 44 innings for Boston after he was acquired in a winter 2011 trade. However, he's been excellent when he's managed to stay on the mound, as his career 2.64 ERA attests to.
The last major free agent closer domino fell today when Fernando Rodney signed with the Mariners. That deal carries implications for his new club and for other teams that had interest in his services. Here are the latest rumors on the free agent market …
- After inking Rodney, the Mariners are "all in" and are "cautiously optimistic" that they will land outfielder Nelson Cruz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. We heard recently that Seattle was talking with Cruz and was willing to give him multiple years.
- Though they had interest, the Orioles never pursued Rodney that aggressively, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). Connolly says that Baltimore never indicated a willingness to spend near the $14MM guarantee that Rodney will receive from Seattle. "They liked him a little bit more than us," executive VP Dan Duquette told WBAL Radio (via a tweet from MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko). Of course, the O's had a two-year, $15MM deal in place with Grant Balfour until the team blew up the deal over issues with his physical.
- With Rodney out of the picture, internal option Tommy Hunter appears to be the likeliest choice to close for Baltimore, notes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore (via Twitter). Nevertheless, the Orioles have kept tabs on other late-inning relief options from the scratch-and-dent market. As Kubatko tweets, the club has shown interest in Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey as options to provide a mid-season boost. Both pitchers are coming off of surgeries, but offer plenty of upside. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported in early January that Hanrahan was preparing to audition in the spring, and also reported in December that Bailey has received significant interest, and expects to be ready by the middle of May.
- Of course, three other relievers also came off the board today, with Carlos Marmol and Chaz Roe signing with the Marlins and Pat Neshek going to the Cardinals.
- Now that Rodney has signed, it is clear that no reliever will beat Joe Nathan's guarantee of $20MM, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. That represents a notable shift, as every one of the last six signing seasons has featured a reliever deal with at least $25MM in guaranteed money. The changing market has not only opened the door for smaller-market clubs to ink top bullpen arms, Nicholson-Smith notes, but also creates an opportunity for teams to limit the earnings of their younger arms by preventing them from picking up saves and increasing their arbitration earnings. It is worth noting that this year's market featured an ample supply of excellent-but-aging closers, which could help explain why no single arm garnered a huge guarantee.
More than 15 teams have called to express interest in free agent reliever Andrew Bailey, MLBTR has learned. The 29-year-old had season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in July, and the Red Sox declined to tender him a contract earlier this month. Barring setbacks, he is expected to be Major League game ready by mid-May.
Bailey burst onto the scene in 2009, saving 26 games with a 1.84 ERA for the Athletics and winning the Rookie of the Year award. He made the All-Star team in 2009 and '10, though in 2010 he missed nearly a month with an intercostal strain. Bailey also had elbow surgery in late September that year. In 2011 he was injured in a spring training game, making his season debut on May 29th after recovering from a forearm strain. Bailey had thumb surgery in April 2012, making his season debut in mid-August.
Bailey hasn't had a completely healthy season since his rookie year. However, he still averages the same 94 miles per hour on his fastball he did then, and aside from a recent flyball tilt and a slip in control, Bailey has continued to show good skills in his limited mound time.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of American League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Orioles announced they've non-tendered outfielder Jason Pridie and minor league starter Eddie Gamboa.
- The Rays will non-tender reliever Wesley Wright, tweets Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune.
- The Red Sox announced that they have non-tendered outfielder Ryan Kalish, Mike Salk of WEEI.com tweets.
- The White Sox will not tender a contract to pitcher Dylan Axelrod, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Angels will non-tender pitcher Jerome Williams, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The club will also non-tender righty Tommy Hanson and third baseman Chris Nelson, tweets DiGiovanna. J.C. Gutierrez will also be non-tendered, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, though that seemed a given since that he had already been designated for assignment.
- The Indians have non-tendered outfielder Matt Carson, pitcher Tyler Cloyd, and catcher Lou Marson, the club announced.
- The Rays are non-tendering outfielder Sam Fuld, a source tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Fuld, who will turn 32 in a few weeks, could be a lefty-swinging bench piece for another club, though he slashed only .199/.270/.267 last year in 200 plate appearances for Tampa.
- GM Brian Cashman says that the Yankees will non-tender infielder Jayson Nix, tweets Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The 31-year-old veteran appeared in 87 games for New York last season, putting up a .236/.308/.311 line in 303 plate appearances. The club will also non-tender reliever Matt Daley and infielder David Adams. New York confirmed the moves via press release.
- The Royals announced that they have non-tendered second baseman Chris Getz. The 30-year-old Getz has tried to hold down Kansas City's keystone spot for several years now but produced just a .246/.299/.314 batting line from 2012-13. Swartz had pegged Getz for a $1.3MM salary in 2014.
The Red Sox have declined to offer arbitration to right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey, the club announced (via a tweet from Mike Salk of WEEI.com). The 29-year-old will now hit the open market. He is represented by Jim Murray of Excel Sports Management.
Last year, Bailey threw 28 2/3 innings for the Sox, notching a 3.77 ERA and posting a strong 12.2 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9. His season ended after he suffered a shoulder injury, however, which ultimately required surgery. Bailey was a major part of the deal that sent Josh Reddick to the Athletics before the 2012 season.
We had heard yesterday that Boston would tender a contract to Bailey, but that obviously did not occur. As noted in that post, Bailey is expected to miss a significant portion of 2014, though he says his rehab is progressing well.
The Red Sox will tender a contract to Andrew Bailey, a source tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Sherman surmises the reliever can serve as insurance for the incumbent closer Koji Uehara and/or become a valuable trade chip this summer. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects that Bailey will earn $4.3MM through arbitraton, after earning $4.1MM during an injury-plagued 2013.
Bailey underwent shoulder surgery in July and is expected to miss the first half of the 2014 season making him a non-tender candidate. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports Bailey has made twice-weekly trips to Boston since the end of the season to work with Red Sox physicians and trainers and will begin his throwing program in January. The 29-year-old, however, refused to put a timetable on his rehab.
"I don't want to say I'm ahead of schedule, but things are going really well," Bailey told MacPherson.
Bailey saved eight games and pitched to a 3.77 ERA, 12.2 K/9, and 3.8 BB/9 in 28 2/3 innings (30 innings) before landing on the disabled list. Since being acquired by Boston two years ago, Bailey has struggled with thumb and shoulder injuries limiting his production to 14 saves in 49 appearances covering 44 innings. In his previous three seasons with Oakland, Bailey was the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star with 75 saves in 157 appearances (174 innings).
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Koji Uehara's run of 37 straight batters retired came to an end last night, falling eight men shy of Mark Buehrle's absurd Major League record of 45 consecutive batters retired. Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus breaks down Uehara's streak (with some help from Dan Brooks of Brooksbaseball.net), looking at several at-bats along the way and calculating that, based on the projected rest-of-season OBPs of the hitters that Uehara faced, the average pitcher has a 0.000056 percent chance of retiring those 37 batters consecutively. Here's more on the Red Sox…
- General manager Ben Cherington may have gone 6-for-7 in terms of free agent signings this offseason, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman lists Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew as wins, and that's not including the cheap pick-up of Mike Carp. Other teams are taking note of the blueprint, with one Mets official telling Heyman there's "a lot of merit" to Cherington's approach. Heyman points out that even with the $8MM worth of incentives to Napoli, the total free agent commitment of $108.2MM is about $17MM less than Josh Hamilton's contract on its own.
- Ian Browne of MLB.com believes the Red Sox are probably more comfortable trying to retain Jarrod Saltalamacchia than trying to bring in a free agent or trade target to rebuild the excellent rapport that Saltalamacchia has established with the team's pitching staff.
- Within that same Inbox piece, Browne speculates that the team likely isn't comfortable going to six or seven years for Jacoby Ellsbury as a free agent, having learned the hard way from the Carl Crawford contract.
- Browne also writes that it's all but certain that the Red Sox will non-tender Andrew Bailey this offseason. Bailey earned $4.1MM this season and would've been in line for a slight raise via arbitration because he pitched well prior to being lost for the season due to injury once again. The team could still look to bring Bailey back at a reduced rate, but Uehara will be Boston's closer in 2014, Browne writes definitively.