Bob Wickman Rumors
The D'Backs have experienced second-half dropoffs from late-inning relievers Tony Pena and Brandon Lyon. Plus, Juan Cruz's shoulder may be barking again. As a result, Arizona added some depth by signing 38 year-old Bob Wickman today. The team's press release is claiming he's 35 but the beer gut is definitely more indicative of a 38 year-old.
Wickman must've gotten over his dissatisfaction with pitching in non-save situations, since Jose Valverde is going strong with 42 saves.
Rockies beat reporter Troy E. Renck had the scoop on all kinds of Rockie rumors yesterday; I'm just now getting to it. Let's look at some highlights from his column.
- Renck suggests the Rox take a look at Bob Wickman. Meanwhile, the Phillies actually inquired but aren't expected to work out a deal. The Indians will take a pass.
- Renck mentions that the Rockies have "long coveted" catcher Paul Lo Duca. Lo Duca should be there for the signing this winter.
- The Rockies will have around $45MM tied up in Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, Garrett Atkins, Brad Hawpe, Brian Fuentes, and Aaron Cook for 2008. Even if the team raises its $55MM payroll, someone has to go. By the way, locking up Holliday long-term will cost a king's ransom. He's a Scott Boras client.
- Given the burden of Todd Helton's contract and his no-trade clause, he may be immovable. But a .400 OBP is still valuable any way you slice it, so perhaps the Red Sox or Angels will get re-engaged. Renck believes Atkins and Fuentes are the main trading chips to clear payroll though. The Angels and Twins could still use Atkins while the Phils, Red Sox, and Yankees have inquired on Fuentes in the past. Atkins for a Kevin Slowey or Scott Baker just makes too much sense.
Wondering where all the posts have been lately? Like many in Illinois, my power has been out for a couple of days. I'm back in business, trying to catch up.
We'll start with Bob Wickman. He's been designated for assignment. Sometime during the next ten days, he'll be traded or claimed off waivers. The move was brought about both by Wickman's mediocre pitching and attitude towards pitching in non-save situations. This year, his control slipped and has luck on hits allowed ran out simultaneously. The result? Too many baserunners for a late-inning reliever. My guess is that the 38 year-old will retire now or after the season.
Rafael Soriano has been decent aside from home runs allowed, and he'll have first crack at ninth inning duties until Octavio Dotel returns.
Let's take a look at some deals that almost happened yesterday.
Kyle Farnsworth for Bob Wickman. This would've been fun, reunions with former teams for both players. However, the Braves wanted the Yankees to pick up all of Farnsworth's salary, apparently. Brian Cashman didn't want to make him go away that badly, and Wickman would probably be a nonfactor back in the AL.
Mariners acquire Mark Loretta. Eh. Let's not overstate the abilities of Loretta. It sounds like Tim Purpura wanted some kind of legitimate prospect for him.
Rockies send Jeff Baker and others to Tampa Bay for Dan Wheeler. We can't really evaluate this one without knowing who else would've been involved. And the Rays don't really have a place to play Baker; they're already squeezed finding playing time for Jonny Gomes. If Rocco Baldelli ever gets healthy they'll really have a pickle. I mentioned in a recent interview at D-Rays Bay - Wheeler would probably be one of the ten best relievers available if he was a free agent after the season. The Rays can pump up his value and get a promising young pitcher next year, as the Royals did with Octavio Dotel.
Brewers send Tony Gwynn Jr., Zach Jackson, and another minor league for Eric Gagne. This could've been the difference-maker that Scott Linebrink ain't in a tight NL Central race. But it doesn't seem like Doug Melvin got a chance to counter the Red Sox offer, so you can't really fault him.
Red Sox send Wily Mo Pena and Craig Hansen to White Sox for Jermaine Dye. Well, there has to be some statistical way to evaluate whether this pair beats two draft picks. You'd have to know the attrition rates of first/second rounders, and get some scouts on Pena and Hansen to see if they can ever reach their potential. If I was the Kenny Williams I probably would've made the deal. I think Pena gets docked in value from where he was two years ago, but still has pretty much the same upside if you manage him right. Who knows, maybe Williams will go after Pena again this winter.
Jayson Stark was just on ESPN talking about the crazy market for relievers. As you know, the Octavio Dotel to Atlanta trade is held up until medical records for all six players involved in the Teixeira deal are reviewed. That's just business as usual.
But Stark's saying that teams are still calling up the Royals trying to beat the offer of Kyle Davies for Dotel. He also mentioned that teams are calling the Braves to try to pry Bob Wickman loose in the event that the Braves do get Dotel. Tim Brown backs this up - Wickman can be had if Dotel is secured.
Finding a return to the NL to his liking, 37 year-old closer Bob Wickman has re-upped with the Braves for one year and $6.5MM. It seems a little pricey for a guy valued at about a million bucks for 2007 by Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA projection system. Still, he was the best option in a thin market.
Some teams are already thinking outside the box when looking for closers. The Red Sox are considering trying hard-thrower Matt Clement in the role. His stuff is nasty, so maybe a move to the 'pen would do him good. Other possible converts include Adam Eaton, Randy Wolf, and Kerry Wood. Wood is the most likely to make the switch, and he could find some interested parties despite pitching only 85 innings over the past two seasons.
As usual, Ken Rosenthal has the scoop: the Braves have their closer in 37 year-old Bob Wickman. The righthander last pitched in the National League back in 2000 with the Brewers. He has 229 career saves.
Wickman has allowed more than a hit per inning this year with the Tribe, up considerably from last year. He's only surrendered one home run though. His control has deteriorated a bit and his K rate is a bit down from '05. Wickman is on a one-year, $5MM deal.
The Braves parted with 21 year-old A ball catcher Max Ramirez, who is hitting well this season. Atlanta has good depth behind the plate so they shouldn't miss Ramirez.