Carlos Marmol Rumors

Quick Hits: Bailey, Burnett, Twins, Samardzija

Even though most of Alex Rodriguez's 2014 salary will be wiped out by his season-long PED suspension, the controversial slugger's contract is still ranked as the worst in baseball by Grantland's Jonah Keri.  Of Keri's list of the 15 worst contracts in the sport, the Dodgers have four, the Yankees, Angels and Braves each have two and the Reds, Rangers, Phillies, Blue Jays and White Sox have one each.

Here are some items from around the baseball world…

  • The Reds and Homer Bailey are "still talking" about a multiyear contract, GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  "There has not been a lot of progress, but good conversations anyhow," Jocketty said.  Bailey's arbitration hearing is scheduled for February 20 and there is a $2.9MM gap ($11.6MM to $8.7MM) between his demands and the Reds' offer for a 2014 contract.  This is Bailey's last season under contract with Cincinnati and the two sides are reportedly far apart on a long-term deal.  Sheldon suggests that the Reds will be watching the Indians' case with Justin Masterson, as he and Bailey have posted comparable numbers over the last three years and Masterson is also scheduled to be a free agent next offseason.
  • The Pirates offered A.J. Burnett a $12MM contract for 2014, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  This obviously fell short of the $16MM Burnett received from the Phillies earlier today.
  • The Twins aren't one of the teams interested in Emilio Bonifacio, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter).  Bonifacio cleared release waivers and became a free agent earlier today.  The Orioles are known to be one of at least nine teams interested in the speedy utilityman.
  • Also from Wolfson, a Twins official said that the club "had extensive talks" about Erisbel Arruebarruena but he was judged to be too expensive.  The Cuban shortstop agreed to a deal with the Dodgers today that could be worth as much as $25MM.
  • The Cubs can afford to be patient in trading Jeff Samardzija, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan argues, as teams may be more willing to meet Chicago's large asking price once the free agent pitching market thins out and teams get more desperate once the season begins.
  • Right-hander Josh Roenicke is drawing interest from a "handful of teams" and could be signed soon, a source tells MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter link).  Roenicke posted a 4.35 ERA, 6.5 K/9 and 1.25 K/BB rate in 62 relief innings with the Twins in 2013 before being outrighted off Minnesota's roster in November.
  • Also from Cotillo, right-hander Blake Hawksworth has retired.  Hawksworth posted a 4.07 ERA and 1.85 K/BB over 124 games (eight as a starter) with the Cardinals and Dodgers from 2009-11 before elbow and shoulder injuries derailed his career.  Hawksworth has taken a job with the Boras Corporation, his former agency.
  • Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed the club's recent signing of Carlos Marmol with Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
  • Luis Ayala chose to sign a minor league deal with the Nationals since they (as the Expos) were the franchise that originally signed him and he still has many friends in the organization, the veteran reliever tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.  Several teams were linked to Ayala this offseason but the bidding came down to the Nats, Tigers and Phillies.

Marlins To Sign Carlos Marmol

The Marlins have agreed to a one-year, $1.25MM deal with reliever Carlos Marmol, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Spanish language link). The 31-year-old former Cubs closer is a client of Kinzer Management Group.

Sporting a 5.86 ERA after 27 2/3 innings in the midst of his eighth season with the Cubs, Marmol was dealt to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier in a deal that seemed more about international bonus slot money than the players involved. Yet both Marmol and Guerrier flourished with the change of scenery, and each looks to have a good chance at a job for the coming season. The former threw to a 2.53 ERA in 21 1/3 innings for Los Angeles, though his 11.4 K/9 mark was still offset by a troubling 8.0 BB/9 during that time.

Indeed, the trick for Marmol has never been getting batters to miss his offerings; it has been getting his offerings not to miss the strike zone. He has posted a walk rate of under six-per-nine only three times in his career (2007, 2008, 2011). Meanwhile, he has maintained a career 11.7 K/9 and has only dipped below the 11 K/9 level over one season (last year) since converting fully to relief. Marmol saved 117 games for the Cubs over his tenure, but presumably he will slot in front of Miami 9th inning man Steve Cishek.


NL Central Notes: Votto, Singh, Cards, Cubs, Yoon

Joey Votto is well known not only for his massive, ten-year contract, but also for being one of the game's most dedicated and thoughtful hitters. He is also known as a reserved presence, making his lengthy interview with Lance McAlister of Cincinnati's 700 WLW well worth a listen (hat tip to the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay.) Among other things, Votto dismissed the concept of lineup protection, but says that he did see noticeably better pitches when speedster Billy Hamilton got on base in front of him last year. His favorite stat? wRC+. Touching on roster construction and player evaluation, Votto said that he values all aspects of the game, and finds it is telling that both of last year's World Series contestants featured well-rounded rosters of well-rounded players. Here's more from the NL Central:

  • After missing all of 2013 due to arm injuries, Pirates prospect Rinku Singh tells MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom that he is working on his arm strength and still plans to reach the Major Leagues.  Singh, 25, famously won a pitching reality show in India in 2008 and subsequently signed a minor league deal with the Bucs.  The story of Singh (and Dinesh Patel, the reality show runner-up) will be told in the upcoming film Million Dollar Arm.
  • The Cardinals lost a number of notable relief arms and could be lacking some depth, Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.  Gordon lists several minor leaguers who could emerge in Spring Training and be in the bullpen on Opening Day.
  • The Cubs are unlikely to participate in a "bidding war" for Korean hurler Suk-min Yoon, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Though Chicago saw Yoon pitch along with multiple other teams, it sounds as if the club's interest is heavily conditioned on price. 
  • The Brewers are "kicking tires" on several free agent relievers, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links). Milwaukee is waiting for the asking prices to come down. Two names that Haudricourt wouldn't be surprised to see added are ex-Brewer Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Marmol, who is a good friend of Aramis Ramirez.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post



Free Agent Links: 2015 Starters, Rodney, Marmol, Gourriel

Though plenty of good arms are still free on this year's open market, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs proposes a look ahead at next year's crop of starters. By Cameron's reckoning, the current market price to buy out a free agent year of a top-level starter is between $20MM and $28MM, over a five or six year term. There are two tiers among the five best starters, according to the ZIPS and Steamer projection systems: Max Scherzer, James Shields, and Jon Lester in the first grouping, and Homer Bailey and Justin Masterson, in the second. Of course, several of those hurlers could be locked up by the time the market opens anew next fall. You can find a fully updated list of players set to become free agents next year right here.

Here are some notes on some other free agent situations around the game:

  • The Mariners appear to be "very much in [the] mix" for right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Seattle was recently said to be showing strong interest in Rodney, who stands as the last of the premium late-inning relievers on the open market.
  • Fellow reliever Carlos Marmol is in talks with three teams and could soon reach agreement on a deal, tweets Heyman. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported a month back that the talented-but-turbulent Marmol had been speaking with three clubs and that a big league deal was being discussed.
  • Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel hopes to have a chance to play outside of his native island, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The 29-year-old looked to be a major international target after the 2006 World Baseball Classic, but never defected. (Last MLBTR checked in on Gourriel, there were incorrect rumors that he had done so.) Gourriel still has MLB-caliber ability, Pirates international scouting director Rene Gayo tells Sanchez, though his luster has faded somewhat as he has exhibited signs of "playing a little bit bored" in his current setting. Gourriel says he is hoping for Cuban authorities to permit him to play abroad, as was allowed Cuban star Alfredo Despaigne, but was not granted permission when he tried last year.

Relief Rumors: Marmol, Farnsworth, Lyon

The market for relievers will start to move in the next month or so as teams look to round out their bullpens with one-year deals.  Some reporting on the topic today from MLBTR:

  • Teams are planning to watch free agent righty Carlos Marmol, who is currently pitching for Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League playoffs.  Marmol has discussed a Major League deal with three teams, MLBTR has learned, and there's a good chance he signs this month.  The 31-year-old posted a 4.41 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 7.3 BB/9, 1.29 HR/9, and 37.6% groundball rate in 49 innings for the Cubs and Dodgers in 2013.  Marmol began 2013 as the Cubs' closer but was designated for assignment in June and eventually traded along with the club's fourth international bonus slot to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier.  He wound up making two appearances in the NLCS for the Dodgers after appearing in 21 games for them in the regular season.
  • Though nothing is imminent for another former Cubs closer, Kyle Farnsworth, MLBTR's Zach Links hears six to eight clubs have varying degrees of interest.  Farnsworth, 38 in April, posted a 4.70 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9, and 45.5% groundball rate in 38 1/3 innings for the Rays and Pirates in 2013.  Released by the Rays in August, he pitched well in his month with Pittsburgh.  He averaged 95.5 miles per hour on his fastball in September, according to Brooks Baseball.
  • Free agent relievers Brandon Lyon and Pat Neshek are also looking for big league deals, adds Links.  They're joined by Luis Ayala, who we reported earlier today has drawn interest from the Tigers, Indians, and Orioles among other teams. 

NL Central Notes: Bailey, Marmol, Brewers, Tanaka

Despite the fact that Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters the team won't be trading Homer Bailey, some within the organization feel they'll have to overpay to sign him to an extension at this point, which could eventually change Jocketty's stance, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that the Reds would only move Bailey if they felt it improved their 2014 club (All Twitter links). More from the NL Central…

  • The Brewers are one of a few teams to have shown interest in Carlos Marmol, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Brewers could get jump back into the Ike Davis market, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Much like their interest in Logan Morrison, Milwaukee's interest is contingent upon Corey Hart's decision, says Martino.
  • The Cubs will be in on Masahiro Tanaka, tweets Bruce Levine of WSCR. As he notes, the potential ace could greatly accelerate their timeline to compete.

AL East Notes: Rays, Red Sox, Napoli, Weber

We rounded up several Orioles rumors from Orlando right here, but the O's aren't the only AL East team making news. Let's check in on a few more items related to Baltimore's division rivals….

  • Rays GM Andrew Friedman says he made some progress in talks today, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Topkin suggests the Rays have been meeting more with other teams than with agents.
  • Friedman added that nothing is imminent for the Rays when it comes to the club's pursuit of a first baseman, tweets Topkin.
  • A Red Sox source tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link) that the team's discussions for Matt Kemp haven't reached the serious stage, and are unlikely to do so.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links), that the Sox need "two guys to play shortstop" and that a handful of teams have inquired on Boston's starting pitching surplus. The club doesn't appear inclined to move a starter at this point though.
  • The Red Sox are among one of three or four teams with some interest in Carlos Marmol, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, who cites the Brewers as another possible suitor (Twitter link).
  • Mike Napoli's new two-year contract with the Red Sox includes a limited no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
  • The Blue Jays are nearing an agreement to sell Thad Weber's rights to the NC Dinos in South Korea, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link). Once the deal is finalized, it will reduce the Jays' 40-man roster count to 39 players.

Dodgers Outright Carlos Marmol To Triple-A

THURSDAY: Marmol has cleared outright waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com (on Twitter).

WEDNESDAY, 11:54am: Gammons tweets that Marmol has already been placed on outright waivers. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the outright move is procedural. Marmol has agreed to go to the minor leagues and try to work out his struggles there.

10:35am: The Dodgers have designated Carlos Marmol for assignment, according to Peter Gammons of the MLB Network (on Twitter). Gammons reports that the Dodgers were only interested in the international bonus slot they acquired in the deal, not in retaining Marmol as a member of their bullpen.

The Dodgers made what appeared to be a puzzling trade yesterday, dealing the recently DFA'ed Matt Guerrier to the Cubs in exchange for Marmol and an international bonus slot worth an additional $209,700. The Dodgers spent about $500K of actual money to acquire just under $210K of pool money, which makes sense, as international spending dollars carry more value than standard dollars due to bonus pool limitations.

In the end Marmol was property of the Dodgers for less than 24 hours. The 30-year-old, who posted a 5.86 ERA with 10.4 K/9, 6.8 BB/9 and 2.0 HR/9 in 27 2/3 innings this season, drew interest from multiple teams, so perhaps yet another club will inquire on his services.


Dodgers, Cubs Swap Guerrier, Marmol

In a swap of relievers who had been designated for assignment, the Cubs announced they have acquired Matt Guerrier from the Dodgers for Carlos Marmol and Chicago's fourth international signing bonus slot.  That slot is worth $209,700 in pool money, announced the Dodgers, who had a pool of $2,112,900.  Marmol

Of Marmol's $9.8MM salary this year, about $4.8MM remains.  The Cubs will pay nearly $2MM of his salary, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown, plus the aforementioned pool money.  Guerrier earns $3.75MM this year (plus a $750K installment of his signing bonus) in the final season of his three-year deal with Los Angeles. He has about $2.34MM remaining, so the Cubs will only save about $500K in the deal, as noted by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times (on Twitter).

ESPN's Jayson Stark adds that if the Dodgers end up releasing Marmol and he signs with another team, the Cubs will need to send additional money to the Dodgers (Twitter link).

Marmol had become a symbol for the Cubs' struggles this year, with a 5.86 ERA, 6.8 BB/9, and 1.95 HR/9 in 27 2/3 innings.  He began the season as the team's closer, apparently as a way of building trade value, but lost the job after allowing five runs in his first three outings.  Marmol, a converted catcher/outfielder, joined the team's bullpen in 2007, snagged an All-Star nod in '08, and ascended to the Cubs' closing job late in 2009.  He peaked in 2010, striking out nearly 42% of batters faced while racking up 38 saves.  That season earned him a three-year, $20MM extension in February 2011.  Marmol had always had major problems with walks, and now the team has finally moved him in a bad contract swap.  During November of last year, it seemed like Marmol was headed to the Angels for Dan Haren before the Cubs pulled the plug and the Halos declined Haren's club option. 

The Dodgers will send Marmol to the minors for a few outings, notes ESPN's Keith Law.  The Dodgers are second-to-last in bullpen ERA in the NL, with a 4.39 mark.  The club is eight games out in the wild card; should they pull closer to contention perhaps they'll acquire a more stable reliever.

Guerrier, 34, posted a 4.80 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.90 HR/9, and 42.6% groundball rate in 30 innings for the Dodgers this year before being designated for assignment.  The Dodgers signed him to a three-year, $12MM deal in December 2010, with that third year serving as the kicker.  The Cubs also added Pedro Strop to their bullpen earlier today; they may yet ship closer Kevin Gregg to a contender.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Dodgers, Cubs Closing In On Marmol Trade

6:54pm: If the Dodgers get Marmol, the Cubs would pay most, if not all, of the $5MM owed to him tweets Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.  The Cubs might also get a player recently removed from the Dodgers' roster.  Gurnick doesn't specify, but the recently DFA'd Matt Guerrier would fit the bill.

4:27pm: The Dodgers are closing in on a trade to acquire Carlos Marmol from the Cubs, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. Marmol was designated for assignment by the Cubs last week.

There are some hurdles left, as the Dodgers are on Marmol's limited no-trade list, and he's owed about $5MM for the rest of the season. The Dodgers are expected to absorb some of the salary and it's unclear which player or players might be heading to Chicago, according to Levine.

Marmol has a 3.50 ERA with a healthy 11.7 K/9 in 542 1/3 career innings, but he's also averaged 6.1 walks per nine innings pitched. Those command problems have worsened over the past two seasons, and his strikeout rate has dropped in 2013. He is in the final season of a three-year, $21MM extension he signed in early 2011.