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Carlos Marmol Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're looking for some good reading over your Saturday morning coffee, here are a few nice leftovers from yesterday: Writing for Fangraphs, MLBTR contributor Marc Hulet broke down the position players who will participate in the MLB Futures Game. MLB.com's Corey Brock had the story of former third-overall pick Donavan Tate's attempt to revive his injury- and addiction-plagued career. Writing for the Biz of Baseball, Maury Brown discussed the decline in MLB and MiLB PED suspensions thus far in 2013. And as the Washington Post's Dave Sheinin reports, youth baseball is experiencing what could be an inner-city renaissance in Washington, D.C. On to some National League notes:
- Dodgers fans are probably still reeling from last night's beating, the team's worst home loss (Twitter link) since the franchise played in Brooklyn. But with the club's offense pointing upwards of late and with just six games to make up in a scuffling NL West, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes that L.A. still could be looking to buy pitching. He says that the Dodgers cannot depend on a mix of Chris Capuano, Stephen Fife, Ted Lilly, and Matt Magill at the back of the rotation, and would be even more foolish to place their faith in Brandon League, Peter Moylan, and Matt Guerrier with late-inning pen roles.
- While the Phillies continue to hang around just under .500, speculation has focused on whether the club might deal top arms Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com wonders whether the club might be more likely to look to deal infielders Chase Utley or Michael Young, in spite of the no-trade protection that both enjoy. With Utley and Young set to become free agents after the season, a clear fall away from contention would make it difficult to pass up a youth infusion. On the other hand, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that his "intention would be to keep [Utley] in our uniform for the rest of his career, if possible." Should the Phils look to deal, Knobler suggests that the Yankees could be in on both players, with the Royals potentially interested in Utley.
- One player that Philadelphia was hoping might provide a boost was mid-season signee Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano's inconsistent performance in minor league action had already dampened any real enthusiasm for his ascension to the bigs, but he took the Triple-A mound last night hoping to convince Amaro that a call-up was warranted in advance of his July 1 opt-out date. Instead, Zambrano left the game with what Amaro called "serious pain" in his shoulder. As Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports via Twitter, the injury means that Zambrano's already-uncertain big league return will now definitely not occur for the foreseeable future.
- Embattled Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol, who currently sits in DFA limbo, may be able to draw some kind of trade return after all. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that three unnamed teams have shown some interest in Marmol.
Yesterday the Cubs finally parted ways with embattled former closer Carlos Marmol, and they also cut ties with Ian Stewart after his harsh Twitter outburst against the team earlier this month. Here's more out of the NL Central…
- Pirates general manager Neal Huntington wouldn't say whether or not Gerrit Cole is on an innings limit for his rookie season when asked by Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Huntington did hint, however, that the Pirates try to prepare their minor leaguers to "log innings without the media attention that some have gotten," which seems to be an allusion to Stephen Strasburg's case last season.
- The Brewers will promote Johnny Hellweg to replace the injured Alfredo Figaro, reports MLB.com's Kevin Massoth. The 24-year-old right-hander will be the second player from last summer's Zack Greinke trade with the Angels to appear for the Brewers (the other, of course, being Jean Segura). Hellweg, the Crew's No. 6 prospect according to Baseball America, had a 2.82 ERA but a meager 1.14 K/BB ratio in 76 2/3 Triple-A innings.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com that Marmol had become a distraction, and it was time to move on. Hoyer had been trying to deal Marmol since last August (Twitter link).
- Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald notes (on Twitter) that it's likely the Cubs will simply release Marmol, as they're unlikely to be able to find any takers in a trade.
- Hoyer also told Muskat that he or president Theo Epstein has been in contact with every other GM in the game over the past four to five days as they prepare for the trade deadline rush (Twitter link).
The Cubs finally pulled the plug on longtime reliever Carlos Marmol today, announcing they've designated him for assigment. The team also announced the suspension of third baseman Ian Stewart was settled and upheld, and he was granted his unconditional release. The team selected the contract of outfielder Brian Bogusevic to replace Marmol.
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 will eat the remaining $5MM+ on that ill-advised contract. 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.
Stewart's departure was inevitable after a June 11th Twitter rant criticizing the team for letting him "rot" in Triple-A, where he's authored a .168/.286/.372 line since returning from a quad injury. The Cubs handed him a ten-game suspension without pay for the comments for violating the loyalty clause in his contract. The Cubs had non-tendered Stewart in December and re-signed him for $2MM later that month. Given that he cleared outright waivers in May, teams were not anxious to take on his salary, nor was Stewart willing to abandon the money and elect free agency at that time. The Cubs ultimately recoup about $110K of Stewart's salary, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bogusevic, 29, was born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, as was this post's author. The Cubs signed him to a minor league deal in November, and the former first-round pick posted a .319/.418/.512 line with 10 home runs in 304 Triple-A plate appearances this year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.