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Bartolo Colon Rumors
The Braves have announced (via Twitter) that Hall of Famer Hank Aaron suffered a fall on the ice and underwent partial hip replacement surgery. The surgery was successful, and he should recover and return to his usual activities within two months. Here are a few notes from around the National League.
- The Mets added Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Chris Young this offseason, but those moves mostly simply replaced money that had come off their payroll, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes. Notably, Johan Santana (who made $25.5MM last year and had a $5.5MM buyout for 2014) is gone, as are John Buck ($6.5MM), Frank Francisco ($6.5MM) and Shaun Marcum ($4MM).
- The Mets were the only team to offer Colon a two-year deal this offseason, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin tweets. Colon, 40, signed for two years and $20MM.
- The Phillies still aren't sure what they have in Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the Associated Press reports. The Cuban pitcher signed for $12MM in August, an amount that was drastically reduced from $48MM after the Phillies became concerned about Gonzalez's elbow. The Phillies watched Gonzalez pitch as spring training opened on Thursday. "He shows deception with his delivery, so that's something," says manager Ryne Sandberg. "I'll be anxious to see how he continues to look as he continues to build arm strength."
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin is excited about his team's pitching depth, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel. One benefit of the Matt Garza deal is that it allows other pitchers more time to develop, Melvin notes.
Here's the latest from Citi Field…
- Bartolo Colon's two-year, $20MM deal with the Mets breaks down as $9MM in 2014 and $11MM in 2015, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports. Rubin estimates that the Mets' 2014 payroll currently sits at roughly $85.9MM.
- The Mets discussed Jerome Williams earlier this offseason, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweets, though his name hasn't come up since Colon signed. Williams is hoping to find a full-time rotation job and the Mets can't guarantee him a regular turn. At least eight to 10 teams checked in on Williams after he was non-tendered by the Angels, and he already received a few offers during the Winter Meetings, with most of the interest coming from the AL West and AL Central.
- Since the Mets don't project to be contenders in 2014, ESPN's Buster Olney opines (Insider subscription required) that signing Stephen Drew doesn't make sense for the team, barring the unlikely event that Drew agrees to a team-friendly one-year deal.
- In other Mets-related news from earlier today, the Mets signed Taylor Teagarden to a minor league deal and Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he was in "ongoing discussions" with Mets GM Sandy Alderson about a trade involving a first baseman (namely, Ike Davis) but nothing has materialized.
SATURDAY, 4:42pm: The Mets have confirmed the deal via press release.
Colon's agent, Adam Katz of the Wasserman Media Group, was reportedly targeting a two-year deal rather than a one-year pact and he apparently succeeded. The hurler had interest from several clubs, including the Twins, Rangers, and Orioles, despite his age and previous ties to PEDs. The Indians also had some level of interest in a reunion, according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (on Twitter), but were unwilling to go to two years.
Colon, 40, pitched to a 2.65 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 30 starts last season for the A's. Colon's velocity and strikeouts have dropped as he's aged, but he's also taken his command to new levels and now is one of the most precise pitchers in all of baseball. Over the past two seasons — a span in which he's thrown 342 2/3 innings — Cliff Lee is the only starter in all of baseball with a lower BB/9 rate than Colon.
There had been interest between Colon and Oakland in a reunion, but chances of that reunion likely dissolved when the A's added Scott Kazmir on a similar two-year deal worth $22MM. Colon's contract comes in just a shade under the two-year, $23MM inked by Tim Hudson to pitch for the Giants, showing that teams aren't deterred by aging arms in this market, as long as they remain productive.
Colon will join Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese in the Mets' rotation and replace some of the production lost when Matt Harvey suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John surgery. The Mets' 2015 rotation will likely consist of Harvey, Colon, Wheeler, Niese and Gee with other arms like Rafael Montero and Jenrry Mejia potentially in the mix as well.
For his career, the veteran owns a 3.94 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 16 seasons for the Indians, Expos, White Sox, Angels, Red Sox, White Sox, Yankees, and A's.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Minnesota has been uncharacteristically aggressive on the free agent market, already landing Ricky Nolasco (four years, $49MM) and Phil Hughes (three years, $24MM) to shore up a rotation that posted an MLB-worst 5.26 ERA and 4.9 K/9 in 2013. Previous reports have indicated that despite being shipped off by the Twins years ago in a trade for Delmon Young, Garza would be open to returning to the team that drafted him.
The Twins' interest in Arroyo has been ongoing, and they're currently in the mix for the veteran innings eater along with the Reds and Mets. The Pirates are said to have dropped out of the Arroyo market, but the Reds could be preparing an offer. We've also heard of their interest in a reunion with Pelfrey a number of times, and they've reportedly extended an offer in the two-year, $10MM range that Pelfrey and agent Scott Boras have declined.
Minnesota's connection to Colon is new and would seem to be a dificult fit, as the aging Colon likely would prefer to sign with a team that's more likely to contend in 2013. However, the Twins could try to sell Colon on the fact that his addition would give them a fairly competitive rotation, or they could guarantee Colon a second year if other teams are reluctant to do so.
Things are starting to heat up again on Day Three of the Winter Meetings, so let's dive right in and round up a few early morning notes on a handful of starting pitchers….
- The Diamondbacks are targeting front-line starters, as we heard yesterday, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter) that, besides Masahiro Tanaka, Matt Garza is the team's top choice due to the lack of draft pick compensation.
- Bartolo Colon and agent Adam Katz continue to focus on a two-year deal rather than a one-year pact, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney. This isn't the first time we've heard about the righty's desire for a multiyear contract — the deals for Scott Kazmir and Tim Hudson have recently been cited as possible comparables for Colon.
- La Velle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune has a few updates on the Twins' search for starting pitching, including word that the club could be in on Garza and, if he becomes available, Tanaka. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities cautions (via Twitter) that there are no real developments on the Garza front, and that the Twins have spoken to agent multiple times and are familiar with his asking price.
- Jerome Williams represents a solid buy-low candidate, and is expected to top his projected $4MM arbitration salary on the open market, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes hears that as many as eight to 10 teams have checked in on Williams in the past 48 hours (Twitter link).
By participating in the three-team Mark Trumbo trade with the Diamondbacks and Angels, the White Sox hindered their cross-town rivals' hopes of dealing Jeff Samardzija, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. The Diamondbacks have been interested in Samardzija since the summer, and one of the players they dealt in the Trumbo deal, pitcher Tyler Skaggs, would have been a key component of any package strong enough for the Cubs to send Samardzija to the desert. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Wittenmyer also reports that the Cubs haven't yet made an offer to Scott Baker, who worked through an elbow injury and made three late-season starts for the Cubs in 2013. They have, however, talked with his agency. Baker is represented by Octagon.
- The Blue Jays are still prefer not to sign players for more than five years, although, as Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently noted (via Twitter), there may be signs that could be softening somewhat. Still, their reluctance removes them from the market for top-tier free agents, who usually sign for longer, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm points out. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos prefers to trading for high-profile players rather than signing them. "There are some players out there in trade that signed long-term contracts, and then a year or two later, they're already getting moved," he says. "That's pretty telling. I still think five years is a long period of time."
- Chisholm also reports that Anthopoulos says that prospects Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman "come up in every trade talk we probably have," due to their relatively close proximity to the Majors. "If you're trying to get a controllable starter, everyone would prefer to get the talent level that's closest," Anthopoulos says.
- Even though the the Royals didn't sign Carlos Beltran, they haven't ruled out the possibility of trading DH Billy Butler, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets. If they do, they could end up signing Nelson Cruz.
- The Rangers, Mariners and Orioles still appear to have interest in Cruz, Stark tweets, noting that it could still be awhile before Cruz signs.
- The Orioles have also checked in on free agent starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, tweets FOX Sports' Jon Morosi.
- The Yankees, Mets and Padres have asked about Dustin Ackley of the Mariners, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Ackley, 25, hit .253/.319/.341 in 427 plate appearances in 2013, with his time split between second base and outfield.
- Ten teams are interested in infielder Justin Turner, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes writes (via Twitter). Turner hit .280/.319/.385 in 214 plate appearances and played all four infield position for the Mets in 2013.
- Astros outfielder L.J. Hoes is now represented by MVP Sports Group, Dierkes tweets.
The Rangers have interest in starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Colon would provide the Rangers with a backup plan in case Matt Harrison isn't ready to come back from injuries that limited him to two big-league starts in 2013. If Harrison is healthy, Colon would likely bump Alexi Ogando to the bullpen.
Colon will be 41 shortly after the start of the 2014 season, so he could very well be available to the Rangers on a one-year basis. Wilson notes that a one-year deal would be attractive for the Rangers, who might have Luke Jackson or other prospects knocking on the door by 2015. Colon posted a 2.65 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 190 1/3 innings with the Athletics last season.
The Marlins have made the most headlines in the NL East today, agreeing to terms with Garrett Jones and talking trades with a number of teams regarding Logan Morrison. There's a lot more going on in the NL East though, and here's a rundown of some news from today…
- The Mets have already had internal discussions regarding Cesar Izturis and plan to meet with his agent in the coming days, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter). Izturis batted just .209/.259/.271 in his age-33 season with the Reds in 2013.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the Mets aren't likely to sign Bartolo Colon or Bronson Arroyo and instead figure to look at back-end type starters like Daisuke Matsuzaka. "We'd be hesitant to give a multi-year deal (to a pitcher), but that doesn't mean we wouldn't," GM Sandy Alderson told Martino. Alderson said he's also had recent discussions with Johan Santana's agent.
- The Nationals aren't interested in adding another catcher at this time, tweets Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington. GM Mike Rizzo believes that Wilson Ramos can catch 125 games next season, though he's never appeared in more than 113 games in a single Major League season.
- The Nationals have been linked to Eric O'Flaherty a number of times already, but a source told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that that issue will be addressed "down the road." O'Flaherty told Ladson in a phone interview that he's open to going anywhere and also spoke highly of Washington's group of young talent.
- Adding a lefty reliever is one of Rizzo's top priorities, but a deal may not get done this week, reports Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. Rizzo added that in an ideal world, they'd add more than a lefty specialist, landing someone who can also get right-handed hitters out as well.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn't envision making a move to acquire a front-line player (Twitter link). "I see more support (type) moves," Wren told O'Brien, which O'Brien speculates could mean a power bat for the bench and depth for the bullpen and rotation.
3:01pm: Peter Gammons noted on the MLB Network's broadcast that the Mariners have been in on Colon from the beginning and mentioned the Blue Jays as a possibility as well.
2:35pm: Colon's market is heating up, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears (on Twitter). Heyman lists the Orioles and Mets as possibilities, noting that if Colon signs a one-year deal it could be north of $10MM.
1:18pm: The Mets and Adam Katz of the Wasserman Media Group — Bartolo Colon's agent — had a meeting today, according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN (Twitter link). Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Mets aren't considered to be serious suitors for Colon, as they feel him to be too expensive.
Colon, 40, posted a sterling 2.65 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 with the A's in 2013 but doesn't figure to return to Oakland now that the A's have inked Scott Kazmir to a two-year pact. Katz is also the agent for Nelson Cruz, though the Amazins don't appear to be a good fit for Cruz after bringing in Chris Young and Curtis Granderson in recent weeks.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Athletics offered the same two-year, $22MM contract to Tim Hudson prior to his two-year, $23MM agreement with the Giants.
- That Kazmir signed for two years and $11MM annually speaks to the expectations of Bartolo Colon, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Colon feels he can get multiple years at a higher annual value, according to Passan.
- Kazmir's agreement firmly takes the Athletics out of the mix for Colon, a source confirmed to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).
- The Angels remain interested in Bronson Arroyo but the Dodgers aren't really in the mix, a source tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (on Twitter). However, the source adds that the market for the veteran hasn't really "heated up" yet.
- DiGiovanna adds that the Angels are expected to clear more than $10MM in payroll by non-tendering Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams and Chris Nelson, which should allow them to pursue a free agent starting pitcher (Twitter links). DiGiovanna also mentions that Kevin Jepsen's status is still up in the air at this time and there's no decision on whether or not to tender him a contract.
- Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that one of the reasons Joe Smith signed his three-year deal with the Angels is that his wife works as a sports radio host in Orange County.
- In a harsh review of today's Willie Bloomquist signing by the Mariners, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and the U.S.S. Mariner writes that Bloomquist "is Nick Punto minus all the things that make Nick Punto valuable." As Cameron points out, they're comparable hitters but Punto provides more baserunning and defensive value. However, Seattle paid nearly double the price for Bloomquist that Oakland did for Punto.