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Carlos Gonzalez Rumors
The Rockies have baseball’s third worst record at 27-44 because they have the game’s least effective pitching staff, a crew that has allowed an average of 5.7 runs per game. Offseason pickup Jeremy Guthrie (6.34 ERA) has been both hurt and ineffective, ditto both Jhoulys Chacin (7.30 ERA) and Juan Nicasio (5.28 ERA). Jamie Moyer‘s feel-good story came to an unceremonious end when he was released after pitching to a 5.70 ERA.
Last weekend, Joel Sherman of The New York Post opined that Colorado should consider trading outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for prospects while noting there is no indication that he is actually available. Troy Renck of The Denver Post countered today by saying CarGo is simply too young, too good, and too affordable to trade. The 26-year-old has hit .328/.385/.604 this season and is under contract for approximately $73.5MM through 2017.
Players like Gonzalez don’t getting traded very often, but it’s safe to say he would command a monster package. The number of teams that both have a need in the outfield as well as the young players to swing a deal is limited, but the Rockies will surely find suitors if they put one of their two superstar hitters on the market.
MLB executives expect the additional Wild Card teams to slow the trade market this summer, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Cubs and a few other teams such as the Athletics, Astros and Padres are willing to sell now, but most clubs still hope to contend this summer. Here are some notes from Sherman on the trade market:
- No clear difference makers appear to be available right now, Sherman reports. People are generally waiting to see if the Brewers or Phillies decide to trade established stars for controllable talent.
- A Yankees official told Sherman that Ryan Dempster would just “muddy the water” in New York, an indication that the Yankees aren’t overly interested in the Cubs right-hander.
- Though there’s no indication that Cliff Lee and Carlos Gonzalez are available, Sherman makes the case that their respective clubs should consider trades for them this summer. Lee, who has a nine-team no-trade list, would appeal to a number of contenders, and Gonzalez would draw considerable interest in a trade market that currently features few impact hitters.
- Sherman points out that people in the industry see California native Cole Hamels heading toward a big payday from the Dodgers after the season when he hits free agency.
Here's a look at some items out of the National League West..
- The Giants offered Tim Lincecum at least $100MM over five years a couple months back, but it now it appears that the two sides are at least $75MM apart, with the right-hander looking for a seven- or eight-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Jeff Moorad has withdrawn his application to be the controlling partner of the Padres, meaning that John Moores will own the team for the foreseeable future, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres runs down the particulars of what this means for the future of the club. Moorad will remain the Vice Chairman and CEO of the Padres while Moores will remain the majority owner of the team as he has since 1994-95. Krasovic also writes that MLB is likely to approve the 20-year TV deal between the Padres and FOX.
- Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez don't exactly see eye-to-eye with former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez on his dissatisfaction with the Rockies, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The pitcher said that he was upset with the club in part because Tulowitzski and Gonzalez received lucrative new deals following the 2010 season while he did not.
The Rockies were one of the most aggressive teams in baseball in terms of extensions last offseason. They locked six of their players up on multiyear deals, including two contracts worth $80MM or more.
It’s still too early to say with much authority that the deals failed or succeeded, but Troy Tulowitzki’s contract doesn’t expire until 2020 at the earliest and that’s a long wait, so let's check in on the deals now. The early verdict? Nearly five months into the season, the Rockies’ new deals are going well, largely because their biggest investments are looking good. That in itself doesn't justify the moves, but it's certainly better than the alternative.
Tulowitzki (ten years, $157.75MM), Carlos Gonzalez (seven years, $80MM), Matt Lindstrom (two years, $6.6MM), Jason Hammel (two years, $7.75MM), Rafael Betancourt (two years, $8.02MM) and Matt Belisle (two years, $6.125MM) all signed long-term last winter. Conventional wisdom says multiyear deals for relievers and megadeals for players already under long-term control aren’t the most prudent ways of spending money, especially for a mid-market team. Nevertheless, the Rockies went ahead with the moves and they’re going well so far this year.
It would be hard to argue that Tulowitzki isn’t the best shortstop in the game. Gonzalez has boosted his walk rate, lowered his strikeout rate and, thanks to a recent hot streak that has included seven home runs in 12 days, raised his season line to .289/.360/.523. Betancourt, Belisle and Lindstrom (now on the DL) have each pitched at least 43 2/3 innings with at least 6.2 K/9, no more than 2.3 BB/9 and an ERA of 3.41 or below. Even Hammel, who just lost his rotation spot to Alex White, provided Colorado with three months’ worth of solid starts before faltering in July and August.
The extensions look good so far, despite the Rockies’ disappointing 63-68 record. At this point, that’s all Colorado could hope for. But every player they locked up could have been on the team this year even if GM Dan O’Dowd hadn’t inked them to long-term deals, so the final verdict on the 2010-11 offseason deals will have to wait for another decade or so.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's recap…
- Two GMs tell Rosenthal that the Yankees are more worried about Mariano Rivera's nagging triceps injury than they're letting on. If true, they could increase their efforts to acquire a setup man, though they're hopeful Rafael Soriano will be back from his elbow injury soon after the All-Star break.
- The Mets have called the Yankees and offered Francisco Rodriguez according to one source, but they're only interested if the Mets call them at the deadline and offer K-Rod at a minimal price.
- The starting pitching market could soon heat up. The Rockies are getting calls about Ubaldo Jimenez and several other players, though they're not shopping their ace right-hander. Rosenthal says they'll listen on anyone besides Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Jimenez is under contract through 2014 (though he can void that option if traded) and could return a significant package of the players, so the team would give a trade serious consideration.
- Don't be surprised if the Marlins listen on Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez. Florida will try to get back into contention, though they'll likely entertain offers for both pitchers if that doesn't happen. Nolasco is under contract though 2013, Sanchez under team control through 2012.
- The Blue Jays offer perhaps the best value on the bullpen market. Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel, and Jon Rauch aren't in the same class as Heath Bell, though all three could pitch better outside of the AL East and have club options for 2012. They all figure to qualify as Type-B free agents as well.
- The Rockies' offer of a seven-year, $80MM extension was probably less than Gonzalez could have earned between arbitration and potential free agency several years down the road, writes Heyman, but Gonzalez accepted it anyway.
- Gonzalez, who grew up poor in Venezuela, is exceptionally mature and humble for his age, according to Heyman, and rather than chase top dollar, he preferred the security of the long-term deal with a team that's he comfortable with.
- Gonzalez had the full support of his agent, Scott Boras, whose clients typically go to free agency rather than signing extensions. Boras provided Gonzalez with the information indicating that Gonzalez could probably make more money if he waited till free agency.
- Boras praised Gonzalez for handling and analyzing the information, noting that Gonzalez turned down three or four offers before accepting the one that he did.
- Turning down top dollar is not new for Gonzalez, however. He accepted a $150K bonus as a 16-year-old international free agent when he could have demanded as much as $1MM, writes Heyman.
- Gonzalez is a close friend of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who also signed a long-term extension with Colorado this offseason. Tulowitzki said part of the reason he signed his extension is because Gonzalez had told him that he wanted to sign long-term, too.
In January, the Rockies accomplished a feat thought to be impossible: they locked up Carlos Gonzalez, who is represented by Scott Boras. Despite Boras providing CarGo with "actuary tables that would show Gonzalez's earning power if he would stay healthy and productive," the Rockies were able to buy out three free agent seasons at less than $18MM per year.
Gonzalez's seven-year, $80MM deal set a record for the largest deal signed by a player with between two and three years service time. The contract topped Hanley Ramirez's six-year, $70MM contract, signed nearly three years ago. Other recent deals for two-plus players include Justin Upton's six-year, $51.25MM contract and Jay Bruce's six-year, $51MM pact. A few details on the four contracts:
- Gonzalez is paid $23MM for his three arbitration years plus $53MM over the course of three free agent seasons ($17.67MM per). There are no option years, so CarGo could reach free agency at age 32 and score one more huge deal.
- Ramirez gets $23.5MM for his three arbitration years and plus $46.5MM over three free agent seasons ($15.5MM per). His deal also has no options, and he can reach free agency at age 30.
- Upton will earn $20.75MM for his three arbitration years plus $28.75MM over two free agent seasons ($14.375MM per). The deal has no options, and he can be a free agent at age 28.
- Bruce will make $25.25MM over four arbitration years plus $25.5MM guaranteed over two free agent seasons ($12.75MM per). In the likely event Bruce's 2017 club option is exercised, that's $37.5MM over three free agent seasons or $12.5MM per. If the option is exercised he'll reach free agency at age 30.
CarGo essentially matches Ramirez's arbitration earnings and tops his free agent take by a total of $6.5MM. In one sense Boras deserves credit for brokering the largest deal ever for a two-plus player, but in another Hanley's agents at WMG win since their deal came almost three years earlier.
Though the Rockies paid top dollar to do Gonzalez's extension now, the savings could still be significant. Further along in their careers, Ryan Howard and Joey Votto required $44MM and $38MM for their three arbitration years, respectively. Howard later gave up five free agent seasons at $25MM each, so paying CarGo $16MM in 2015 could be a downright bargain if he remains an elite player.
For my take on the Rockies' other huge extension, the Troy Tulowitzki contract, click here.
It's still early in Arizona, where the five NL West teams train, but that won't stop us from providing updates on some of those clubs. Here's the latest…
- Giants manager Bruce Bochy repeated that he's open-minded about who ends up playing left field in 2011, according to MLB.com's Chris Haft. Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Mark DeRosa and Nate Schierholtz are all candidates to play left for San Francisco.
- Edgar Renteria told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he called the Giants' $1MM offer "a total disrespect" because of pride, not money. The 2010 World Series MVP went on to sign a $2.1MM deal with Cincinnati.
- Carlos Gonzalez told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post that he doesn't expect to be overwhelmed by the attention that comes with national endorsement deals and his new $80MM contract with the Rockies.
- D'Backs GM Kevin Towers explained to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he intends "to build [the Arizona] organization around young pitching." Pitchers like Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy and Jarrod Parker figure to be important contributors for the D'Backs' staff going forward. Kennedy, who was often grouped with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes while playing in the Yankees' system, cautions against lumping pitchers together, though.
The Rockies are officially announcing that they have signed Carlos Gonzalez to a seven-year, $80MM extension. The deal will keep Gonzalez in the Rockies' lineup through 2017 along with Troy Tulowitzki, who is under contract through 2020.
Augusto Cárdenas of Diario Panorama explains that Gonzalez receives a $3MM signing bonus and will earn $1MM in 2011, $5MM in 2012, $7.5MM in 2013, $10.5MM in 2014, $16MM in 2015, $17MM in 2016 and $20MM in 2017.
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.