Brian Fuentes Rumors


Athletics To Sign Brian Fuentes

The Athletics have agreed to terms with Brian Fuentes on a two-year contract that includes a club option for 2013, the team announced.  Terms of the deal are unknown but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) reported that the deal would be for two years with an option for a third at more than $5MM per season.  Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) reported that the two sides were working on a two-year deal worth roughly $10.5MM.

Fuentes, 35, registered a 2.81 ERA last season with 8.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 for the Angels and Twins.  The 6'4" left-hander is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

The A's have remade their team quite a bit this offseason, facilitating trades for David DeJesus and Josh Willingham while signing Grant Balfour and Hideki Matsui as free agents. Fuentes would join Balfour in an already strong bullpen that features Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, and All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.

ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out that geography could work in Oakland's favor since Fuentes is from nearby Merced. The Blue Jays were also considered a serious suitor to sign the lefty reliever, and both the Yankees and Rays were connected to him earlier this month. Fuentes was said to be seeking Scott Downs money a few weeks ago, though it's likely that his asking price has since come down.

Steve Phillips of AOL Fanhouse first reported (via Twitter) that the two sides were close to finalizing an agreement.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.



Twins Notes: Pavano, Liriano, Crain, Punto

Let's take a look at some Twins tidbits..

  • The Twins and Carl Pavano are still close to a deal but appear to be in a temporary holding pattern, writes Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.  The sides still have some details to work out but they've agreed to put the talks on hold through Tuesday. 
  • Tabling the talks with Pavano should allow the Twins to focus on their potential arbitration cases.  Matt Capps, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, and Delmon Young are all scheduled to swap figures with the Twins on Tuesday.  Christensen points out that the Twins settled all eight of their potential arbitration cases at the eleventh hour last year.
  • The Twins made some attempts to retain Jesse Crain but ultimately knew that relievers Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, and Jon Rauch would sign elsewhere, according to Christensen.
  • Nick Punto is still on the open market but the Twins don't have any plans to bring the infielder back, writes Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune.  Punto, 33, has spent the last seven years with the Twins, hitting .248/.323/.324.



Athletics Notes: Fuentes, Relievers, Right-Handed Bat

Yesterday the Athletics agreed to sign Grant Balfour to a two-year deal and today we learned that they're making a push for Brian Fuentes.  ESPN's Buster Olney brings us a pair of Oakland-related tidbits..

  • Location could definitely work in the A's favor as they look to land Fuentes, Olney tweets.  Fuentes, a "[California] guy", was raised in Merced - roughly two hours east of Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.  The left-hander is arguably the best remaining free agent reliever available.
  • Oakland's signing of Balfour likely won't be the club's last move of the offseason, Olney writes.  The A's are now in search of bullpen depth and a right-handed bat.  If Oakland decides not to spend on a lefty reliever like Fuentes they could go with less-expensive options such as Joe Beimel, Tim Byrdak, Dennys Reyes, and Mark Hendrickson.  A few notable right-handed relievers remain as well including Chad Durbin and Manny Delcarmen.



Athletics Pushing To Sign Brian Fuentes

Despite agreeing to sign Grant Balfour, the Athletics still aren't done trying to upgrade their bullpen. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says that Oakland is "pushing" to sign Brian Fuentes, and he reiterates that the Blue Jays are a serious suitor for his services as well.

A multitude of teams have expressed interest in the free agent lefty this offseason, and with Balfour and Rafael Soriano now off the board, Fuentes has emerged as arguably the best free agent reliever available. Oakland already has two effective left-handers in its bullpen (Craig Breslow and Jerry Blevins), but there's no such thing as too many quality relievers.

We've also seen young, cost-controlled relievers traded quite a bit this offseason, including in deals for J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, Jason Bartlett, and Cameron Maybin. Oakland could turn around and deal Blevins, Joey Devine, or Brad Ziegler for help at another position now or before the deadline. The market is certainly there, and adding Fuentes would help maintain the team's relief depth.



Athletics Close To Deal With Brian Fuentes

8:09pm: The two sides are closing in on a two-year deal worth about $10.5MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter).

6:55pm: Expect the A's to announce the signings with Fuentes and Balfour on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter).

5:08pm: The deal calls for Fuentes to get more than $5MM per year and will include "lots" of closing incentives, a source told Rosenthal (via Twitter).

4:50pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that it is expected to be a two-year deal with an option for a third.

3:36pm: The Athletics are close to finalizing a deal with Brian Fuentes, reports Steve Phillips of AOL FanHouse (on Twitter). We heard that Oakland was pushing to sign the free agent lefty just yesterday. ESPN's Buster Olney says the deal isn't done just yet (Twitter link).

The A's have remade their team quite a bit this offseason, facilitating trades for David DeJesus and Josh Willingham while signing Grant Balfour and Hideki Matsui as free agents. Fuentes would join Balfour in an already strong bullpen that features Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, and All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.

ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out that geography could work in Oakland's favor since Fuentes if from nearby Merced. The Blue Jays were also considered a serious suitor to sign the lefty reliever, and both the Yankees and Rays were connected to him earlier this month. Fuentes was said to be seeking Scott Downs money a few weeks ago, though it's likely that his asking price has since come down.



AL East Notes: Jays, Soriano, Farnsworth, Arroyo

Some news items from the AL East...

  • Toronto's payroll could end up being in the $80-$85MM range, tweets FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi.  The Blue Jays currently have just under $49MM committed for 2011 (according to Cot's Baseball Contracts) and have eight players eligible for arbitration.  Jose Bautista will get the biggest raise of this group, but even with notables like Yunel Escobar and Brandon Morrow also arb-eligible, the Jays should have a bit of money left to spend beyond settling their arbitration cases.
  • Perhaps the Jays' extra money could be spent on Brian Fuentes?  We heard about Toronto's interest in Fuentes earlier this week, and now SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays are still "pressing for" the free agent reliever.
  • Did Scott Boras wait too long for a Rafael Soriano market to develop?  Fangraphs' R.J. Anderson thinks this might be the case, and that Soriano might have to settle another one-year contract with the hopes of finding a long-term deal next offseason.
  • A bit of early reaction to Tampa Bay's agreement with Kyle Farnsworth: CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler thinks the signing is risky, but believes the Rays need to take chances on their bullpen if they want to contend.  Meanwhile, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks the Rays made a better deal for Farnsworth than Boston did with Bobby Jenks, given that Farnsworth and Jenks put up comparable numbers over the last two seasons.
  • Bronson Arroyo tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald that he enjoyed pitching for the Red Sox and wouldn't mind returning: "Even though I can safely say that I’ve cemented myself in Cincinnati for a while, [Boston] definitely still feels like home and in the back of my mind I know that there is no better place to play than in Fenway Park."  Arroyo said when his three-year extension with the Reds runs out after the 2013 season, he would be interested in pitching for the Rays (to play close to his family), returning to the Red Sox, or staying in Cincinnati.
  • MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli has details on the vesting option included in Kevin Gregg's contract with the Orioles.  Gregg's 2013 option will become guaranteed if he finishes 50 games in 2012, or if he finishes 100 games total in 2011-12.  As SI's Jon Heyman tweeted in the previous link, Gregg will earn between $6-$10MM in 2013 if his option vests.
  • Matt Bush, the first overall pick of the 2004 draft, talks to MLB.com's Dawn Klemish about his battle with alcoholism and the progress he's made in the Tampa Bay organization.



Rockies Notes: Fuentes, Gonzalez, Kazmir, Beimel

Let's take a look at some Rockies-related tidbits..

  • The Rockies like Brian Fuentes but the left-hander is looking to close and also looking for roughly $5MM per year.  Colorado isn't looking to shell out that kind of money for the 35-year-old, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
  • After resolving his visa issues, Carlos Gonzalez arrived in Denver today and will take a physical tomorrow to finalize his seven-year, $80MM contract, Renck writes.  The Rockies will likely hold a presser on Tuesday to announce the deal.
  • The Rockies lost interest in pitcher Scott Kazmir once they re-signed Jorge de la Rosa, Renck tweets.
  • One reader asks Renck via Twitter if the Rockies are still interested in reliever Joe Beimel.  It appears that other clubs have more interest in the veteran as Colorado hasn't talked to his representation lately.



Pirates No Longer Pursuing Brian Fuentes

Before the new year, the Pirates were identified by SI.com's Jon Heyman as one of a handful of teams with some interest in Brian Fuentes. However, Pittsburgh is no longer pursuing the left-hander, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

When he listed teams' remaining needs, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes opined that the Pirates could use another veteran reliever, making Fuentes a logical fit. Biertempfel agrees that the 35-year-old would have been a good addition to Pittsburgh's bullpen, but suggests the cost is too high for the club. Fuentes is looking for a multiyear deal worth $5MM annually and "doesn't seem inclined to budge."

Fuentes also still appears to be seeking a closing opportunity, with the Rays and Blue Jays among the suitors who could offer a shot at some save opps.



Blue Jays A Serious Suitor For Fuentes

The Blue Jays are one of the most serious suitors for left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. The Blue Jays appear to be one of many teams pursuing Fuentes, who would like to close according to FOX Sports.

Though the Red Sox may be done adding lefties now that they've re-signed Hideki Okajima, AL East teams appear to have heavy interest in Fuentes. Along with the Blue Jays, the Rays and Yankees have also been linked to Fuentes this offseason. Not every AL East team is bidding on the 35-year-old, though. He appears to be too expensive for Baltimore, though the O's are looking at more affordable southpaw relievers.

Fuentes would be a fit for the Rays, if they can afford his asking price ($5MM-plus per season on a multiyear deal). The Blue Jays could also use left-handed relief help after losing Scott Downs and Brian TalletJesse Carlson, Wil Ledezma, Rommie Lewis and David Purcey figure to compete for spots in manager John Farrell's 'pen this spring.

Octavio Dotel is the favorite to close in Toronto, but Jason Frasor could win the job and Fuentes would likely have a chance at it if the Jays sign him



Relief Rumors: Saito, Fuentes, Burton, Nationals

As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, lots of free agent relievers remain unsigned. Here's the latest on the relief market:









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