Billy Wagner Rumors
The season started with nine vesting options to watch, but we're down to just five a little beyond the season's halfway point...
- Trever Miller, Cardinals. The southpaw's $2MM option vests with 45 appearances. He's appeared in 31 of the team's 85 games, so he's on pace for 59. He should get there easily.
- Alex Cora, Mets. Cora's $2MM option vests with 80 games (not necessarily starts), and he's already appeared in 48. He's on pace for 91 games. Luis Castillo's foot and Ruben Tejada's emergence could stand in Cora's way.
- Darren Oliver, Rangers. His $3.25MM option will lock in with 59 appearances. He's already appeared in 37 games, so he should get there without a problem.
- Ramon Hernandez, Reds. Hernandez must play in 120 games for his $3.25MM option to vest. He's appeared in just 57 of Cincinnati's first 86 contests, putting him on pace for 107 games.
- Magglio Ordonez, Tigers. Ordonez's $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances. He's on pace for 141 and 615, respectively, so it'll take a lengthy stint on the disabled list to knock him off track.
Some links for Thursday, a day that has even the most intense baseball fans wondering about LeBron James' decision...
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reviews all of the players Pirates' GM Neal Huntington has acquired after they were designated for assignment by another team. The best of the lot: Delwyn Young.
- Tony LaRussa is happy with the Cardinals' recent bullpen additions, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. St. Louis added Mike MacDougal today and Renyel Pinto about two weeks ago.
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer confirmed to Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio that the Padres have payroll flexibility and would like to add a well-rounded hitter and a starting pitcher (all Twitter links).
- Peter Gammons notes a Corey Hart-Mike Minor rumor (via Twitter). The Braves are interested in Hart and other right-handed hitting outfielders, but Hart tells MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that he wants to stay in Milwaukee.
- The Mets, Phillies, Rays and Dodgers are among the teams watching Roy Oswalt today, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (Twitter link).
- Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog hears that the Mets, Phillies and Rangers are among the many teams eyeing Ben Sheets.
- Yahoo's Steve Henson dials the clock back to 1999 and takes a look at the little league team that included Stephen Strasburg and Mike Leake.
- Cubs draftee Matt Szczur has a deal that will give him an additional $500K if he gives up football, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America.
- Jamey Newberg says the Rangers should seriously consider trading Chris Davis or Justin Smoak if there's a real chance to improve the club.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the D'Backs will listen to offers for Dan Haren, but will likely have to be blown away to deal him (Twitter link).
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun asks Orioles fans: should the O's have any untouchable players in trade talks this year?
- Billy Wagner repeated something he said earlier in the year, telling Ray Parrillo of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he intends to retire after 2010.
- Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies - like every other team in baseball - would be better with Cliff Lee.
- David Ortiz tells John Tomase of the Boston Herald that he hopes to talk to the Red Sox about staying in Boston after this season. The Red Sox hold a $12.5MM option for Big Papi in 2011.
We entered the season with nine 2011 vesting option situations to watch. With one month in the books, several have already been pretty much decided. Let's take a look.
- Brian Fuentes, Angels. A back strain put Fuentes on the DL for a little while, making it unlikely he reaches 55 games finished. He'd need 51 in the team's remaining 136 games to cause his $9MM option to vest.
- Billy Wagner, Braves. Wagner's $6.5MM option vests with 50 games finished. He's finished eight games so far, and would have a shot at 50. However, the 38-year-old lefty recently told Braves manager Bobby Cox he'll retire after the season.
- Trever Miller, Cardinals. His $2MM option vests with 45 games, and he's appeared in seven so far. That's behind Miller's typical pace; he's averaged 71 the last three years. It's probably random, and Miller should still reach 45 games.
- Matt Cain, Giants. The $6.25MM option probably would've vested, but the Giants decided to guarantee Cain's 2011 salary at $7MM as part of an extension.
- Kerry Wood, Indians. His $11MM option vests with 55 games finished, but a back injury has Wood just now approaching his 2010 big league debut.
- Alex Cora, Mets. His $2MM option vests with 80 starts. He's started ten games so far. With Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes in the Mets' middle infield, we can't rule this one out yet.
- Darren Oliver, Rangers. His $3.25MM option vests with 59 appearances. He's already made a dozen, so this is looking likely.
- Ramon Hernandez, Reds. His $3.25MM option vests with 120 games played. Hernandez is at 16 so far, with the red-hot Ryan Hanigan getting more playing time recently.
- Magglio Ordonez, Tigers. His $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances. He's at 25 games started and 113 plate appearances, so he'll get there barring injury.
- We're down to five vesting options to monitor: Miller, Cora, Oliver, Hernandez, and Ordonez. Also keep an eye on Francisco Rodriguez, whose scary $17.5MM option for 2012 vests with 100 games finished in 2010-11, 55 games finished in '11, and a successful physical after the '11 season. K-Rod has finished nine games on the young season.
Braves closer Billy Wagner told manager Bobby Cox that he plans on retiring at the end of this season, writes Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The lefty says that he will not play out his $6.5MM option for 2011 which automatically vests if he finishes 50 games.
Cox told Wagner that he believes that he still has the ability to play for a few more years, but the 38-year-old says that he wants to spend more time with his family. Wagner, who turns 39 in July, will earn $7MM this season.
The fireballer is sixth on the all-time saves list with 386 and wants to reach 400, but he's only going to give himself the rest of 2010 to get there.
FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in...
- If the Red Sox decide to give Mike Lowell more at-bats at the expense of David Ortiz, don't be surprised if it happens soon. Just six of their next 26 games are on the road, and Lowell is a .303/.361/.513 career hitter at Fenway. Yesterday we heard that the Sox would probably release Ortiz before keeping him on the bench.
- Should the Orioles decide to part ways with manager Dave Trembley, Rosenthal calls Greg Maddux an outside the box replacement candidate. Andy MacPhail has long admired Maddux's baseball smarts, and thinks he could succeed in any role. Keep in mind that the 355 game winner is currently working for Cubs GM Jim Hendry, and his only tie to the O's is MacPhail, his former GM with Chicago.
- The Diamondbacks' rotation depth remains an issue, but they have minimal interest in Jarrod Washburn. They only have so much money to spend, and Washburn is coming off knee surgery and hasn't been through Spring Training. Arizona believes they're better off waiting until other teams fall out of the race and the trade market begins to develop.
- The concern in Atlanta is about Bobby Cox's bullpen management. The 38-year-old Billy Wagner and 40-year-old Takashi Saito have been worked hard in the early going.
The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has his usual Sunday column up, kicking it off by entertaining the unlikely possibility of Joe Mauer playing in Boston. If the Twins and Mauer can't work out a long-term deal, Cafardo thinks the Red Sox would be one of a handful of teams that could afford the superstar backstop. Here are a few other highlights from Cafardo's piece:
- One possible roadblock in the Josh Beckett negotiations is the Red Sox' desire to incorporate injury protection into the contract. If Beckett has a good year in 2010, he will likely have suitors that won't include health clauses in their offers, which could appeal to the right-hander.
- The Cubs have some interest in Kerry Wood. Cafardo notes that the Indians closer would also be a good fit for the Twins, but that the Tribe would have to pick up a significant chunk of the $10.5MM Wood will earn this season.
- The Rays may entertain trade offers for Andy Sonnanstine, who is having a solid spring.
- Billy Wagner says that returning to Boston was "tempting" but that with Jonathan Papelbon firmly entrenched as the ninth-inning guy, the lefty went where he'd have a better chance to close.
Vesting options are always fun for hot stove junkies to follow during the season. Last year we had Kevin Millwood's $12 Million Out and the Tigers allowing Magglio Ordonez's pricey option to vest. 2011 vesting options to watch this year:
- Brian Fuentes, Angels: $9MM option vests with 55 games finished. Fuentes has finished 55+ three times in his career, last year included. Fernando Rodney will be lurking.
- Billy Wagner, Braves: $6.5MM option vests with 50 games finished.
- Trever Miller, Cardinals: $2MM option vests with 45 games, but reverts to a club option with a left arm or shoulder injury.
- Matt Cain, Giants: $6.25MM option vests with 182.3 innings or 27 starts. The Giants will exercise this even if it doesn't vest, as the alternative will be going to arbitration with Cain and potentially paying him more.
- Kerry Wood, Indians: $11MM option vests with 55 games finished. A trade into a non-closing job could affect Wood's bank account. That's three closers whose GF totals we'll be monitoring.
- Alex Cora, Mets: $2MM option vests with 80 starts.
- Darren Oliver, Rangers: $3.25MM option vests with 59 appearances.
- Ramon Hernandez, Reds: $3.25MM option vests with 120 games played.
- Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances.
- Note that a game finished is given to the last non-starting pitcher of record. Also, thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.
Links for Thursday...
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure tweets that Jose Julio Ruiz has changed agents, which will likely complicate any negotiations. The Red Sox were reported hot on the Cuban defector's trail.
- Tim Marchman of SI.com ranks MLB's 30 general managers, from Andrew Friedman to Dayton Moore.
- Moore tells Doug Tucker of the AP that he's confident he'll continue to build the team's farm system. The Royals have tripled their budget in Latin America under Moore.
- Stephania Bell of ESPN.com explains the injury risks that come with Billy Wagner, Troy Glaus, Takashi Saito and Tim Hudson, four players the Braves signed or extended this offseason.
- I've ranked the American League offenses over at RotoAuthority, using CHONE projections and the Baseball Musings lineup analysis tool.
- Jack Curry tweets that no one has called the Yankees yet about Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre, and GM Brian Cashman won't deal until late spring anyway.
- Milton Bradley told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that "obviously, it was something with Chicago, not me." Bradley says the Cubs tried to make him a player he's not, expecting 30 home runs.
- Cubs manager Lou Piniella said on ESPN's Waddle & Silvy show that he'll determine his future after the season.
If you read these very slowly, maybe they'll last until Opening Day!
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson has a terrific Q&A up with Nationals President Stan Kasten. Among the topics covered: will Stephen Strasburg make the Opening Day roster (almost certainly not) and early returns on GM Mike Rizzo (positive).
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark provides an entertaining look at just how certain Derek Jeter is to stay with the Yankees, even though his contract is up at the end of the season. Stark quotes one Yankee official as giving Jeter's chances of leaving as "zero", but then amending them to "none and none".
- The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham describes just how well the Billy Wagner trade has worked out for the Red Sox. In short: the 20th and 57th picks in next year's draft belong to them, they got fifteen terrific appearances from Wagner, and all they gave up were a pair of low-level prospects. Abraham also covets Adrian Gonzalez for the Red Sox here.
- Ryan Franklin is considering retirement after the 2011 season, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Mark Buehrle might, too, according to Chicago Breaking Sports.
Links for Wednesday...
- Check out Huston Street's contract extension details, courtesy of Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Free agent reliever Joe Nelson has expressed an interest in pitching for the Cubs, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Nelson seemed like a bargain signing by the Rays at $1.3MM, but his control and flyball rates took a turn for the worse and he was designated for assignment in September.
- ESPN's Keith Law ranks the farm systems, from the Rangers at #1 to the White Sox at #30. Law's Top 100 Prospects list comes out tomorrow.
- Baseball America is also kicking into gear, with their Prospect Handbook coming out soon. They're holding an all-day chat Friday, with BA editors as well as prospects Tim Alderson, Ryan Westmoreland, Logan Morrison, and Casey Crosby available for your questions.
- ESPN's Tim Kurkjian has a must-read article on Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and his plan to bring the team back to prominence.
- Scott Lauber of The News Journal tweets that while the Phillies like Chien-Ming Wang, but he might not be a fit because he won't be ready for the start of the season.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets are on a "Pollyanna streak," currently regarding their rotation. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports seems to believe the Mets are a total mess, and suggests they start over.
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News that he wouldn't have made the Billy Wagner deal last August without the shot at two draft picks.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says that the A's agreed not to offer arbitration to Ben Sheets if he's a Type A free agent after the season. Achieving that status seems impossible anyway after he missed all of '09 and did not receive DL days. Slusser also notes that Coco Crisp received a $250K signing bonus, bringing his deal to $5.5MM guaranteed.