Braden Looper Rumors
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up. Let's dive in...
- Don't expect the Mets to just give away Billy Wagner as a salary dump. He'll have "actual trade value" this winter, and his $8MM club option would not be outrageous money on a one year deal if he's healthy.
- Even if his team declines the option, they could offer him arbitration and receive two high draft picks if he signs elsewhere since he projects to be a Type-A free agent. Wagner would be much more than a six-week rent in that case.
- Matt Holliday's performance with the Cardinals has undoubtedly boosted his stock as an impending free agent. One GM still thinks Jason Bay is a comparable player on the open market, but Holliday is better defensively, younger, and better at hitting breaking balls than Bay.
- The real question is how each player will age, which is impossible to say at this point.
- The Brewers have yet to place veterans like Mike Cameron and Trevor Hoffman on trade waivers, but with the team now out of contention, Rosenthal asks "why not?"
- GM Doug Melvin is disinclined to make such deals because he knows the return may not be significant, but Hoffman in particular would be attractive. The Rockies have already discussed him internally.
- Craig Counsell, Braden Looper, and Jason Kendall could have value as well.
- Earlier this season there was talk that Mark Mulder and Ben Sheets could help teams in the second half, but that hasn't happened. Sheets has decided that the risk of a setback isn't worth the reward of an accelerated return, but he should be healthy for next season.
- Mulder has only thrown 12.2 IP over the last two seasons, but he's been working with his former pitching coach Rick Peterson and supposedly wants to pitch this season.
- Melvin admits that pitchers like John Smoltz and Oliver Perez were tempting, but says he's glad he resisted.
- The Brewers were interested in Jarrod Washburn at the deadline, but didn't have enough young pitching to complete a deal with the Mariners.
- The Brewers were in on the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, but were reluctant to give up Alcides Escobar and Mat Gamel.
- Melvin sounds hesitant to experiment with Rickie Weeks in center field.
- The Brewers will have some "some flexibility" to add free agents this offseason.
- Melvin expects the Red Sox to pursue free agent position players aggressively.
- As of today, Melvin says he's not motivated to move J.J. Hardy, but hints that the Brewers could move him after the season to make room for Alcides Escobar.
- Melvin's pleased with the progress 2009 first rounder Eric Arnett has made.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up.
- Rosenthal discusses the unprecedented number of decent free agents available, a few games into the season (click here for our free agent list). He suggests the hitters will have a harder time getting jobs than the pitchers due to the time needed to shake off the rust. In talking with execs, Rosenthal learned that the trade market for mediocre players (Jarrod Washburn, Nate Robertson, Austin Kearns) may be depressed this summer due to the available free agents.
- As he wrote in February, Rosenthal says that Braden Looper turned down more money to play for the Orioles due to his preference for the NL. Tim Redding also preferred the easier league. The result of those rejections: a very questionable '09 rotation.
- Rosenthal spoke to an executive who was shocked to discover that Russ Ortiz seems to be back to his peak form.
- Rosenthal speculates that Paul Bako could help the Twins.
MLB.com's Alyson Footer spoke with Astros GM Ed Wade and has the latest on the club.
- The Astros made "11th-hour" offers to Randy Wolf and Braden Looper before they signed elsewhere.
- They offered Wolf a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2010.
- The offers to Wolf and Looper were both for less than $5MM.
- The Astros haven't spoken with Ivan Rodriguez in weeks and never made him a formal offer.
- Wade says he isn't likely to make any moves between now and the regular season.
THURSDAY, 6:18pm: Tom Haudricourt writes that the Brewers have designated Vinny Rottino for assignment to make room for Looper on the 40-man roster. Rottino, a 28-year-old catcher, was stuck behind Jason Kendall, Mike Rivera and Angel Salome on the organizational depth chart.
5:16pm: Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the deal is now official.
Looper's 2010 option is worth $6MM and comes with a $750K buyout. That buyout increases to $1MM if he starts 30 games or 180 innings this season.
WEDNESDAY, 2:53pm: According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Brewers' signing of Braden Looper will be announced tomorrow (assuming he passes his physical). Looper will earn $4.75MM in '09 and has a mutual option for '10.
Looper fills a need for the Brewers: someone who can eat innings following the departues of C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets. The Brewers' rotation will include Yovani Gallardo, Jeff Suppan, Dave Bush, Looper, and Manny Parra. Seth McClung, Chase Wright, and Chris Capuano add additional depth.
TUESDAY, 8:02pm: Tom Haudricourt, who's done a great job staying on top of this whole saga, revealed today that Looper's contract comes with a mutual option for 2010. His '09 salary is thought to be $4.75MM.
MONDAY, 7:57pm: Haudricourt says the agreement is in place, pending a physical. It's a one-year deal with an option of some kind for 2010.
2:55pm: Haudricourt talked to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, who is "optimistic" about signing Looper1:56pm: Haudricourt keeps the updates coming. He's "pretty sure" Looper has reached an agreement with the Brewers.
12:59pm: Haudricourt has now heard from two more sources and says the Brewers will sign Looper. Apparently Looper's wife didn't deny the signing when she was contacted.
11:36am: Haudricourt says, "Just got word from one more source that the Looper signing is going to happen."
11:00am: Taking a cautious approach with the scoop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the Brewers might sign Braden Looper:
I'm starting to hear that the Brewers have changed their minds about adding a starting pitcher prior to camp and might sign Looper. From what I hear, the sides could be working toward a deal at this very moment.
Haudricourt figures Looper wouldn't require more than the $5MM guaranteed to Randy Wolf. Looper, 34, posted a 4.16 ERA in 199 innings for the Cardinals in '08. He pitched to contact, but walked only 2.04 per nine innings.
SI.com's Jon Heyman believes that, with Randy Wolf headed to the Dodgers, "Braden Looper becomes the top free-agent starter still available." Let's take a minute to review Looper's situation.
- Ken Rosenthal wrote Tuesday that the Orioles have serious interest, but Looper has said that he would prefer to stay in the National League.
- The Rockies pulled out of the running on Wednesday.
- The Dodgers are also probably done pursuing him now that Wolf is in the stable.
- The Cubs expressed mild interest back in January, but we haven't heard much since.
- Same goes for the Pirates.
Looper, a 34-year-old right-hander, went 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA last year for Cardinals. He has a 3.93 career ERA and is a Type B free agent.
THURSDAY, 10:06am: Despite O'Dowd's comments, Renck says Beimel remains interested in joining the Rockies. However, Beimel doesn't think much of the Rockies' offer.
WEDNESDAY, 7:47pm: According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies are no longer pursuing free agent left-hander Joe Beimel.
"We maintained contact with his agent, and our desire was there, but I believe he’s going in a different direction so there’s no reason to keep calling," said GM Dan O'Dowd. Beimel has drawn interest recently from the Diamondbacks, Tigers and Phillies.
O'Dowd also told Renck that the club has not reopened talks with free agent starter Braden Looper. He has recieved interest from the Orioles, but would reportedly prefer to stay in the National League.
Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Jeff Moorad's acquistion of the Padres does not affect the likelihood of a Jake Peavy trade, according to Rosenthal's source. There have been no recent conversations with the Cubs about Peavy.
- The Phillies had been confident of signing Ty Wigginton before the Orioles offered two years. The Phils are still mulling Nomar Garciaparra and Rich Aurilia, with the Giants also in on Aurilia. The Phillies are out on Will Ohman.
- Braden Looper is receiving interest from Baltimore, but he prefers the NL. The Brewers are not optimistic about signing Looper despite a recent conversation with one of his agents (Tom Haudricourt believes the Brewers are "laying in the weeds" for when the right pitcher comes along). Looper is Plan B behind Randy Wolf for the Dodgers, and not a candidate to return to the Cardinals (who are apparently out of money). One other team known to have interest in Looper is the Pirates.
10:36am: According to a press release from the Cubs, they've traded Hill to the Orioles for a player to be named later. A sensible low-risk move for the Orioles, who can afford to let Hill take his lumps at the big league level. The AL East may not be the ideal environment for him, but it's worth a shot.
Roch Kubatko says Brian Burres was designated for assignment to make room for Hill.
10:16am: We learned yesterday from Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that the Orioles are close to acquiring pitcher Rich Hill from the Cubs for a player to be named later. The deal is not done, but it could be completed early this week. Today Roch Kubatko of MASN adds that the player to be named later the Cubs receive would likely be a "low-level minor leaguer." The Orioles could add Hill and still sign Braden Looper for additional rotation depth.