Brian Bruney Rumors

Odds & Ends: Dodgers, Bruney, Conrad, McLouth

Links for Friday, as interleague play begins…

Odds & Ends: Pirates, Yankees, Storen, Mets

Links for Sunday night..

  • The Pirates have promoted Bryan Morris to Double-A after a sensational start to the season, writes Jenifer Langosch of  The 23-year-old starter, who has a 0.60 ERA, could earn another promotion by August according to GM Neal Huntington.  Morris was one of the main pieces the Pirates received in the Jason Bay trade in July of '08. 
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter) points out that three former Yankees set-up men have been released in the last 24 hours: Chad Gaudin, Edwar Ramirez, and Brian Bruney.
  • Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty says that the club has not yet determined Drew Storen's role and that they will "ease him in", tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • Adam Rubin of writes that Mets GM Omar Minaya will accompany the team on their trip to Atlanta, though a team official insists that he will be there just to lend support.

Odds & Ends: Scherzer, Lamb, LaRoche

Saturday night linkage..

Relievers Headed For Non-Tenders

Often due to the save statistic, decent relievers are non-tendered every year because of their expected salaries.  It happened to Matt Capps last year.  Which relievers might get the axe on this year's December non-tender deadline and join the free agent market?

  • Bobby Jenks, White Sox.  Jenks has only blown one save this year, but Ozzie Guillen is already looking at other closer options.  Jenks has racked up strikeouts, but his control is off and he's given up a slew of hits.  I felt he was a longshot non-tender candidate last time around.  Tendering him a contract and giving a raise on his $7.5MM salary this time probably won't be appealing.
  • George Sherrill, Dodgers.  Giving Sherrill a bump from $4.5MM might not make sense for the Dodgers even if he was pitching well.  However, the lefty has completely lost it in the early going with 12 walks and 14 hits in 11.3 innings. 
  • Brian Bruney, Nationals.  Bruney would earn more than $1.5MM in 2011 as a fourth-time arbitration-eligible player.  With the walks spiraling out of control, there's a good chance the Nats cut him loose as they did with Mike MacDougal last year. 
  • Tony Pena, White Sox.  Pena has time to turn things around; he's only tossed 15.6 innings this year.  He's earning $1.2MM on the season and would go to arbitration for a second time.
  • Rafael Perez, Indians.  Perez is only earning $795K this year, but even the idea of a guaranteed contract might not work for the Tribe if he repeats his '09 season. 
  • The 2011 free agent list already contains a full slate of relievers, but keep these names in mind as potential additions.

Top Trade Chips: NL East

Let's continue our top trade chips series today with the NL East…

  • Braves: The Braves aren't going to move Tommy Hanson and/or Jason Heyward, and they already traded away their top piece of bait this winter when they sent Javier Vazquez to the Yankees. What Atlanta does have is cache of big time pitching prospects in 20-year-old Randall Delgado,19-year-old Julio Teheran, and 19-year-old Arodys Vizcaino that they could dip into if needed.
  • Marlins: Florida has been reduced to flipping players before they get expensive through arbitration, nevermind get close to free agency. Dan Uggla is the team's highest paid player and also one of its most productive, but he's perpetually on the block because he's owed $7.8MM this season and will make even more in 2011 through arbitration. The Marlins could trade him, put Chris Coghlan back at second (his natural position), and call up super-prospect Mike Stanton to fill the vacant outfield spot.
  • Mets: Even though Carlos Beltran's knee is problematic and Jeff Francoeur is a perennial non-tender candidate, the team's best piece of trade bait is 21-year-old outfielder Fernando Martinez. Lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano could be used as trade fodder, but if ownership decides to part ways with GM Omar Minaya, then they could be in for a full blown firesale. Everyone not named David Wright would be available.
  • Nationals: Forget Stephen Strasburg, it's obviously not happening. However, GM Mike Rizzo has a valuable piece in Josh Willingham, who is no stranger to the trade rumor circuit. He is under team control through 2011, and his production isn't far off from Bay's. Relievers Matt Capps and Brian Bruney could be dealt as well.
  • Phillies: Philadelphia unloaded most of their top prospects to acquire Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the last nine months, so the cupboard is pretty bare. They could shop hard-throwing and oft-injured reliever Scott Mathieson, but the doomsday scenario could find Jayson Werth on the block if the Phils don't think they can re-sign him after the season. Of course that's highly unlikely, he's only the second or third best player on the top team in the league.

Nationals Win Arbitration Hearing Against Bruney

WEDNESDAY, 12:12pm: The Nationals won their hearing against Bruney, reports the AP.  He'll be paid $1.5MM, saving the team $350K over his request.

TUESDAY, 5:13pm: The Nationals and reliever Brian Bruney were unable to come to an agreement on a contract for 2010, so the two sides went to an arbitration hearing today according to the AP (via The Miami Herald). Bruney filed for $1.85MM, the team $1.5MM.

Bruney, who turns 28 tomorrow, was acquired from the Yankees in December for the rights to the first overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft. He posted a 3.92 ERA with an 8.3 K/9 in 39 innings last year, battling elbow trouble in the first half. Bruney's fastball routinely sits in the mid-90's, but he often doesn't know where it's going (6.2 BB/9) and has trouble staying on the field (three DL trips since 2008).

The Nationals only other remaining arbitration case is lefty Sean Burnett, who filed for $925K. The team countered with $775K.

Odds & Ends: Bay, Holliday, Bruney

Monday night linkage..

  • Daniel Barbarisi of The Providence Journal points out that Boston giving Jason Bay a backloaded contract would do nothing to keep them out of luxury tax territory.  Payroll is calculated by totalling the average yearly earnings of a player, not a player's year-to-year salary.  However, Barbarisi offers up a number of other ways the Red Sox could retain Bay without getting hammered by the luxury tax.
  • Chuck Brownson of The Hardball Times writes that the Cardinals can afford to be patient with Matt Holliday as long as alternatives remain on the open market.  Brownson feels that Mark DeRosa signing with the Giants put a little more pressure on St. Louis.
  • Brian Bruney told Bill Ladson of that he wants to close for the Nationals in 2010.  Bruney will have to compete with newly acquired Matt Capps for the role.

Nationals Acquire Brian Bruney; Release Saul Rivera

4:11pm:  The Yanks will receive the Nationals' Rule 5 pick for Bruney, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

12:51pm: The Nationals confirmed the deal via a press release.  They released Saul Rivera to make room for Bruney.  Rivera, 32 today, posted a 6.10 ERA in 38.3 innings for the Nats this year.  Releasing a man on his birthday…for shame!  Saul did receive one gift: he's now on our 2010 free agents list.

11:56am: The Nationals acquired reliever Brian Bruney from the Yankees for a player to be named later, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Bruney, who is arbitration-eligible, is due a small raise on this year's $1.25MM salary.  He's under team control through 2011. 

The hard-throwing righty, who turns 28 in February, posted a 3.92 ERA in 39 innings this year, striking out 36 but walking 23.  Plagued by elbow troubles, Bruney was bumped from the Yankees' set-up role for Phil Hughes in July.  He figures to be high in the pecking order of Washington's pen, perhaps even a closer candidate if Mike MacDougal is non-tendered.

Brian Bruney Braves Rumor

George A. King III of the New York Post talked to an official from a team interested in Yankees reliever Brian Bruney, and was told, "We asked about him but hear he is going to the Braves."  The Braves would seem an odd match for Bruney, who is arbitration-eligible and due a raise on last year's $1.25MM salary.  The Braves already signed Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito and might be saddled with Rafael Soriano if he accepts arbitration.  Honestly, I'm not buying this rumor.

Yankees To Tender Contract To Brian Bruney?

The Yankees plan to tender a contract to reliever Brian Bruney, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  The estimated salary for the arbitration-eligible righty is around $1.5MM.

Bruney made our list of non-tender candidates in October, on account of his sore elbow and high walk rate.  He made $1.25MM this year, so Sherman believes Bruney's 39-inning season will limit his raise to 20%.