Aroldis Chapman Rumors
The Reds have made it no secret that they want to add a top-of-the-rotation starter this winter, and today GM Walt Jocketty reiterated to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer that starting pitching is the team's top priority...
“I can’t comment of other team’s players," said Jocketty, "although others are OK talking about ours. I will say we’re looking at improving pitching. The first priority is finding a starting pitcher. If [Francisco] Cordero leaves, we’ll have to look at finding a closer.”
The Reds have been linked to Huston Street and Andrew Bailey this week, and earlier this month Jocketty said the team is more likely to seek upgrades via trade rather than free agency. Internal solutions are also "something we'll discuss" according to GM, who said that Aroldis Chapman "probably" won't be one of those solutions. The hard-throwing southpaw was supposed to work as a starter in winter ball before a shoulder problem put that plan on hold.
Yonder Alonso is the club's primary piece of trade bait since Joey Votto is off limits. Tim Dierkes broke down the trade market for starting pitchers earlier this month, though not many of the clubs with available starters are in need of a first baseman.
A few items of note regarding teams from MLB's Central divisions, as the Cards fall behind the Phils in Game 1 of the NLDS.
- The Tigers preferred Doug Fister to Ubaldo Jimenez when they were shopping for a pitcher before the trade deadline, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Whether that's true, we'll probably never know, but Fister certainly pitched better for Detroit than Jimenez did for Cleveland after the deadline. The Mariners were originally hesitant to move Fister, according to Knobler, but Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski was persistent in pursuing the right-hander.
- The Reds tried to acquire Hunter Pence from the Astros, according to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, and GM Walt Jocketty has said he thought he made a better offer to Houston than the one it eventually accepted from the Phillies. McCoy reports that the Astros wanted Devin Mesoraco and adds that lefty Aroldis Chapman was not available.
- The Cubs remain in limbo while waiting to hire a new general manager, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, who notes that the fates of manager Mike Quade, his coaches, and several players are up in the air until someone takes the helm. The Cubs are unlikely to spend lavishly this offseason, according to Sullivan.
In looking at Francisco Cordero's 2012 option earler this week, MLBTR's Dan Mennella speculated that the Reds will probably decline the $12MM commitment. He's very likely correct, but according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati may not have to make that decision. Cordero is willing to re-negotiate the option, and the Reds have interest in working out a new extension with their closer of the past four seasons.
General manager Walt Jocketty said the Reds have discussed an extension "quite a bit" but haven't made a final decision;they're hoping to make that call before season's end.
As Fay points out, the Reds don't have an obvious replacement for Cordero on their roster and would likely have to sign another one. The team is leaning toward using Aroldis Chapman in the starting rotation next year, Nick Masset has been decent but not great, and while Bill Bray's numbers appear nice, his career numbers against right-handers aren't overly impressive (.262/.327/.424 triple slash line).
Cordero is in the midst of a brilliant season; the 37-year-old righty has a 2.30 ERA with 32 saves and a career-low 2.4 BB/9 in 62 2/3 innings to date. However his 5.7 K/9 is also a career-low, and his average fastball velocity, while still a solid 93mph, is down considerably from when he averaged 94-96mph routinely from 2003-2008. Cordero posted a 10.3 K/9 over 432 1/3 innings in that stretch.
It's tough to see an extension for Cordero guaranteeing anything other than two more years, perhaps with a club option for the 2014 season, when he'd be 40 years old. Cordero has expressed his desire to stay in Cincinnati, and we saw the Reds go down a similar path with Bronson Arroyo last offseason, working out a three-year extension as he entered what would have been an option year (though they exercised his option first). A two-year deal to replace the $12MM option may have to guarantee Cordero more than that dollar amount, but perhaps his desire to remain a Red would lead to a discount.
Yesterday, a Major League source close to the Ubaldo Jimenez trade talks told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the chances of a deal are "around 50/50." Here's the latest on the Rockies' ace, with the newest info up top...
- The Yankees and Red Sox called the Rockies about Jimenez today, according to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Talks with the Reds appear to be further along, though the Rockies appear to be asking for Travis Wood, Bailey and either Chapman or Mesoraco. The Rockies won’t lower their asking price, Harding reports. The Reds haven't said no yet, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). Until they do, there's a slim chance a deal will occur.
- Sources tell Dan Knobler of CBSSports.com that the team with the best chance to trade for Jimenez is the Yankees (Twitter link). The Blue Jays are considered a "real longshot at best."
- About seven teams are interested in Jimenez, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com who names the Reds, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Indians and Blue Jays (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays "legitimately want" Jimenez, according an executive who spoke to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter).
- The Rockies have asked the Reds about Homer Bailey, tweets Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Earlier, Renck wrote that "chances remain slim" of a Jimenez trade. He said the Rockies "continue to listen and negotiate with multiple teams regarding Jimenez, with the Reds receiving the most attention," but in general Colorado's demands are so high that no team is expected to bite. Renck said the Rockies have asked the Reds for Devin Mesoraco, Aroldis Chapman, and Chris Heisey, among others. In an email exchange with MLBTR, Renck clarified that the Rockies asked for Mesoraco and Chapman together while Heisey is simply another name that has come up in talks. Both Mesoraco and Chapman appear to be untouchable.
- The feeling from executives is that the Rockies want to find a trade for Jimenez, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Reds are calling, and the Blue Jays kicked the tires.
- The price on Jimenez hasn't dropped at all, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark. He says the Rockies require "three sure-thing young players, including one pitcher who goes into their rotation immediately." One executive who spoke with the Rockies pegs the chances of a deal at no more than 25 percent.
- The Rockies "recently held a two-hour internal conference call to go over the trade alternatives" for Jimenez, writes SI's Jon Heyman.
Aroldis Chapman went on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation today, after Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on the Reds’ options for proceeding with the struggling Cuban left-hander. Here’s the latest on Chapman plus notes from around the league:
- A veteran scout insists that the Reds need to demote Chapman and make him a starter, but pitching coach Bryan Price isn’t so sure that a demotion is the way to go. He points out that Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson took time to develop. “Both struggled with command until they got enough work to figure out how their body works, how to put their hand in the right position to throw quality strikes,” Price said.
- The Braves would ideally add a leadoff hitter and put Martin Prado second in the order, according to Rosenthal. He suggests the Braves could target leadoff options Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Denard Span or David DeJesus via trade or free agency after the season.
- The Rockies appear to be concerned about losing out of options relievers Felipe Paulino and Franklin Morales to waivers.
- Astros GM Ed Wade says Bud Norris has become a much more mature pitcher. The 26-year-old right-hander has 60 strikeouts in 50 innings this year.
Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon are closer to settling on a limited partner who will bring cash and keep the organization running, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Unlike the Dodgers, whose ownership situation “seems to be deteriorating,” the Mets are doing fine, according to Commissioner Bud Selig. Here’s the latest from Heyman:
- If Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has support, it’s either “minute or nonexistent.”
- People who know Mets GM Sandy Alderson expect him to trade Jose Reyes and others if he believes it’s best for the organization.
- There’s no indication yet that the Cubs would be willing to offer Albert Pujols $200MM or more in free agency, Heyman writes. However, the Cubs have money and no long-term answer at first base.
- Some baseball people believe Aroldis Chapman and Mike Leake could use time in the minors.
- Though the Yankees aren’t concerned with Derek Jeter’s bat, they are “very concerned” about Jorge Posada. The DH has a .162/.273/.352 line with 6 homers this year.
- Writing for MLB.com, Peter Gammons talks to a number of GMs and scouts about the NL Central contenders. One general manager thinks the Reds could "be the single biggest favorite in any division going into the season," while three scouts are collectively unimpressed with the Brewers, saying "Milwaukee may be awful" this season.
- Ivan Rodriguez is "not a fit" for the Astros' catching needs, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nationals are known to be shopping one of their catchers, but Kilgore thinks Rodriguez's $3MM salary in 2011 may be too pricey for Houston, though the 'Stros have said they would add payroll for the right catcher.
- Aroldis Chapman has been working hard in preparation for his first full Major League season, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy looks at the details of the contract Matt Szczur signed with the Cubs in January, and also the revamped deal he signed just last week.
WEDNESDAY, 9:45am: The Yankees "never made an offer" to Chapman, GM Brian Cashman tells ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).
TUESDAY, 10:01pm: The Yankees really liked Aroldis Chapman. A Florida lawsuit against the left-hander's representatives claims that the Yankees made an “offer to Chapman valued at more than $54MM," according to Melissa Segura of SI.com (on Twitter, hat tip to River Ave. Blues).
Chapman, who accepted a six-year, $30.25MM deal from Cincinnati must have really liked the Reds to accept $24MM less from them. The 23-year-old Cuban struck out 19 of the 51 batters he faced in his cameo for the NL Central Champions last year. He posted a 3.57 ERA with 11.8 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 95 2/3 innings at Triple-A before his callup.
Some news items to wrap up the evening....
- In regards to the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista pushing back their arbitration hearing, a source tells FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link) that when hearings are delayed, it "frequently" means a long-term deal is on the way.
- Reds pitching coach Bryan Price confirms that Aroldis Chapman will pitch relief for Cincinnati this season, reports Fanhouse's John Hickey. The Reds' rotation is deep enough that they "don't have to push Chapman," Price said. "We don't need to stockpile innings on him at this stage of his career...But down the road will he start? I think he will."
- The Mariners announced that Ken Griffey Jr. will be a special consultant for the club, according to the team's Twitter feed. MLB.com's Greg Johns outlines some of the tasks Griffey will perform in his new position.
- Chris Ray tells Greg Johns that he turned down a Major League offer from another club to sign a minor league deal with the Mariners since Ray will get a chance to close or at least set up games in Seattle. "It doesn't really mean a whole lot if it's a one-year contract [elsewhere] and I'm a free agent again next year if I'm pitching basically the scrap innings," Johns said. "That's not something that will help me out in the future. From this point forward, I want to be the guy who goes in late in the ballgame."
- Jeffrey Loria thinks the Marlins are a playoff-caliber team, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Loria also hinted that Florida's payroll will rise next year when the Fish move into their new Miami stadium.
- Jorge Posada said "it wouldn't surprise" him if Andy Pettitte pitched again, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
- Angels GM Tony Reagins told MLB.com's Lyle Spencer that "just about every" Angel has been placed on waivers this month. Naturally, that doesn't mean the team has interest in making more trades.
- Jeremy Bonderman told MLB.com’s Jason Beck that he would like to return to the Tigers in 2011. The Tigers have room for him, as this piece explains.
- Jim Edmonds told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that he's likely to retire after the season. The center fielder, who is now on the DL with a strained oblique, may return to the Reds late in the season.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds will call up top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman tomorrow so that the lefty will be eligible for the team's postseason roster.
- Orlando Hernandez decided not to finish his AA season when he heard that the Nationals didn’t intend to call him up, according to Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams told reporters that he didn't claim Brian Fuentes because his team doesn't need another left-handed reliever at this point.