Arthur Rhodes Rumors

Yankees Rumors: Pettitte, Lefty Relievers, Lee, Martin

The latest on the Yankees:

  • Andy Pettitte is likely to return because his family supports it, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. The lefty will not take a "lowball" offer, however.
  • The Yankees "seem to be looking" at lefty relievers at the moment, says SI.com's Jon Heyman. He lists Arthur Rhodes, Brian Fuentes, and Pedro Feliciano in his tweet.
  • Darek Braunecker, agent for Cliff Lee, told reporters "The fact of the matter is, there's nothing the Yankees could have done differently" at today's introductory press conference according to Marc Carig of The Star Ledger. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds this (via Twitter) from Lee himself: "There wasn't anything that scared me away from playing in New York."
  • Russell Martin's contract guarantees him $4MM and the catcher could earn another $1.4MM in incentives, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times. If Martin catches 120 games, he'll earn the full $1.4MM in incentives.
  • The Yankees expect Andy Pettitte to tell them whether he intends to retire within a few days, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link). They're cautiously optimistic that he'll return.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Yankees will be a deeper, less top-heavy team without Cliff Lee. Expect the Yankees to sign a couple relievers and an outfielder who bats from the right side as they continue to monitor the market for starting pitching.
  • So which starters might the Yankees pursue? In a separate piece, Sherman says the Yankees don't like Brandon Webb all that much. However, they will consider pursuing a veteran with "good stuff but questionable health." 
  • Bill Madden of the New York Daily News says Carlos Zambrano is a "likely target" for GM Brian Cashman. Like new addition Mark Prior, Zambrano knows Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild from their time in Chicago.
  • The Yankees are believed to be on Felix Hernandez's no-trade list, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).

Mets Notes: Elvin Ramirez, Ohman, Rhodes, Okajima

The latest on the Mets as the third day of the Winter Meetings wraps up…


Reds Rumors: Rhodes, Votto, Webb

The Reds signed Miguel Cairo to a two-year deal today. Here are the rest of the rumors from the Winter Meetings:

  • The Reds aren't particularly close to re-signing Arthur Rhodes, since the reliever values himself differently than the team does, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Rhodes is seeking a multiyear deal. He's 41, but GM Walt Jocketty was willing to give the 36-year-old Cairo two years.
  • The Reds talked to Joey Votto's agent and will offer the NL MVP a multiyear deal, but the team doesn't expect to reach an agreement soon. Votto's representatives "weren't really ready to talk about [an extension]" Jocketty said.
  • The Reds were often mentioned as a speculative destination for Brandon Webb, since his Ashland, Kentucky home is relatively close to Cincinnati. However, they haven't talked to the right-hander, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter).


Red Sox Like Rhodes, Downs, Guerrier, Feliciano

5:32pm: GM Theo Epstein told reporters, including Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox have made "a number" of offers to free agent relievers, some left-handed, some right-handed.

4:36pm: Like the Reds and Phillies, the Red Sox have some interest in Arthur Rhodes, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The lefty does not appear to be close to deciding on his next team.

11:23am: The Red Sox are also in on Pedro Feliciano, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Feliciano's other known suitors: the Yankees, Phillies, and Rockies.

2:24am: Signing Type A relievers and surrendering a draft pick is a risky proposition, as the swings in any reliever's performance from year-to-year can be wild, and they simply don't impact a large amount of innings over the course of a season.

WEEI.com's Alex Speier tells us that may not stop the Red Sox from pursuing Scott Downs, however, despite the fact that he'd cost Boston a first-round pick. Speier's source also says that the club wouldn't give up a pick to sign Grant Balfour to the multi-year deal he's seeking, and he cites multiple industry sources saying the club is interested in Matt Guerrier after the Twins declined to offer him arbitration.

As Speier points out, Downs has some of the most dominant numbers in history for a reliever during his age 31-34 seasons, and the Red Sox have taken note of the division rival's excellence. Since 2007, Downs has compiled a 2.36 ERA with a 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over 236 2/3 innings, while being a stickler for home runs (0.5 HR/9). He's been a menace to left-handed hitters, but it's worth noting that the highest OPS right-handers have managed off him in that timeframe is .643.

Guerrier, 32, has appeared in 70 or more innings every year since his first full season in 2005, with the exception of 2006 — when he came one out short of the mark. While his career peripherals (5.9 K/9, 45.7% GB%, 4.44 FIP) don't dazzle, Guerrier has managed to out-perform them year-in and year-out. He's led the league in appearances twice (2008 and 2009) and has a career ERA of 3.38 to his name to go along with solid control (2.8 BB/9).

Epstein said Monday that the Red Sox will acquire multiple relievers via trade or free agency, but as he points out in this quote relayed from Speier, teams may be waiting for some distance from the Joaquin Benoit signing:

“Sometimes when there’s a contract that exceeds expectations early, it can embolden players and agents within that subset of players who have a similar resume,” said Epstein. “Time will tell whether they get attached to that contract or it’s an outlier contract.”

The Red Sox haven't surrendered a draft pick to sign a reliever since 2004 with Keith Foulke, but Downs could change that trend, especially if the Red Sox end up receiving additional first-round and supplemental picks for the departures of Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre, and Felipe Lopez.


Reds Rumors: Bruce, Votto, Rhodes, Cairo, Arroyo

The Reds have had preliminary extension talks with the agents for Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, and those aren't the only players GM Walt Jocketty is thinking of extending. Here are the details, from John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

  • Jocketty says the extension Troy Tulowitzki signed will probably figure into discussions with Votto "to some extent."
  • Free agent deals have been more lucrative than Jocketty expected so far this offseason. 
  • The Reds continue to talk to Arthur Rhodes, who's a Philadelphia target, and Miguel Cairo. Jocketty says he expects to reach a deal with Cairo.
  • The Reds are also making progress on an extension with Bronson Arroyo. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears (on Twitter) that the talks are hovering around three years and $35MM with some deferred money. Arroyo, writes Cafardo, is "not biting yet."

Stark On Soriano, Quentin, Phillies, Astros

As ESPN.com's Jayson Stark points out in this week's Rumblings & Grumblings, there's not much starting pitching available after Cliff Lee and Carl Pavano. Stark examines alternatives for pitching-starved teams and provides some rumors along the way. Here they are:

  • Though it appeared to some baseball people as though the Angels were trying to sign Rafael Soriano before the Winter Meetings, it now appears that their search for relief pitching is secondary to their pursuit of Carl Crawford.
  • Stark sees indications that the Angels are showing "very little" interest in Jayson Werth so far this offseason.
  • The White Sox still say they're not shopping Carlos Quentin, but rival teams say Chicago will listen to offers.
  • The Phillies don't plan on pursuing a trade for Quentin, according to Stark.
  • Arthur Rhodes appears to be one of Philadelphia's top left-handed relief targets, followed by Pedro Feliciano. Neither reliever would cost the Phillies a draft pick, which is their preference.
  • The Astros have quietly been shopping for an affordable outfielder who bats from the left side.

Reds Hopeful Of Re-Signing Rhodes, Less So Cabrera

The Reds have an interest in bringing back both Arthur Rhodes and Orlando Cabrera, but "the chances of Rhodes returning are far greater than Cabrera," reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Neither player was offered arbitration by the club yesterday, since as GM Walt Jocketty explained to Fay, the Reds didn't want to take the risk that either Rhodes or Cabrera would accept and earn a raise for 2011.

The lack of arbitration offers makes sense, though it means that the Reds will face more competition to re-sign Rhodes.  Since the left-hander was a Type A free agent, a team that signed him would've had to give up a draft pick as compensation — a risky price for a pitcher that turned 41 last month.  Now that the Reds have declined to offer arbitration, however, teams are free to sign Rhodes without losing one of their picks. 

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that if Rhodes wasn't offered arbitration, the veteran reliever could command a two-year deal on the open market in spite of his advanced age.  Jocketty says that he's "still hopeful of getting something done" with Rhodes and last we heard, Rhodes was also hoping to return to Cincinnati next season.

Cabrera became a Type B free agent when the Reds declined his 2011 option and it appears that his days in Cincinnati could be numbered.  Jocketty said talks between Cabrera and the team were left "open," but the shortstop is "looking for more playing time than we can offer."  We heard a couple of weeks ago that Cabrera was already drawing some interest from teams, which is no surprise given the slim pickings on the middle infield market this winter.  Since the Reds are committed to starting Paul Janish at shortstop next year, Cabrera will likely depart if he can find at least a platoon role with another club.


National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

11 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.


Free Agent Stock Watch: Arthur Rhodes

Two years ago the Reds took a gamble on 39-year-old lefty Arthur Rhodes, signing him to a two-year, $4MM deal.  Last we read, interest was mutual on a new contract.  Still, let's examine Rhodes' free agent stock.

The Good

  • Since returning to the National League at the 2008 trade deadline, Rhodes has a 2.22 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and 0.52 HR/9 in 121 2/3 innings across 160 appearances.  He's allowed only 86 hits in that time.
  • Rhodes dominated lefties this year in 23 2/3 innings, and was solid against them the previous two seasons.  His consistent ability to prevent them from getting hits is not credited in a stat like xFIP.
  • Rhodes has been around since 1991, so he should offer the intangible of veteran wisdom.

The Bad

  • Rhodes is a Type A free agent.  We'll know late tomorrow whether the Reds offer arbitration.  If Rhodes turns down such an offer, a new team would have to surrender a draft pick to sign him.  This could hurt his market quite a bit.
  • Rhodes turned 41 last month, which may give teams pause if he seeks a two-year deal. 
  • He doesn't get many groundballs.  That hasn't stopped him from preventing home runs, but some clubs could be concerned.  Also, Rhodes is ordinary against right-handed hitters.
  • ESPN's Keith Law wasn't kind in his relievers buyer's guide, saying Rhodes' stuff was diminished toward the end of the year and he is "a bad month away from a forced retirement."  Would he succeed back in the American League?  In Rhodes' defense, he dealt with a sore foot for much of the season.

The Verdict

Rhodes' Type A designation could prevent him from getting another two-year deal.  If the Reds offer arbitration, his best move might be to accept rather than try to score a contract elsewhere with the draft pick stigma attached.  He'd still be in pretty good shape with a potential $4MM salary for 2011.  If the Reds do not offer arbitration, I think Rhodes will get another two-year deal.


Odds & Ends: Westbrook, De La Rosa, Papelbon

Links on a busy Tuesday as the first day of the GM Meetings wraps up…