Carlos Pena Rumors
Some news items to wrap up the evening as we inch closer to the Winter Meetings....
- Carlos Pena would be a fit with the Blue Jays, Brewers, Cubs, Mariners, Nationals, Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees, opines SBNation's Rob Neyer. The Yankees tried to claim Pena on waivers last August but the Cubs pulled him back.
- Joel Zumaya said the Red Sox expressed an interest in him as soon as he hit free agency, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck. Boston will be one of the 10 or more teams present when Zumaya throws a mound session in two weeks. The right-hander underwent elbow surgery in March and didn't pitch last season.
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (via Twitter) lists, in order, the Yankees, Rangers and Phillies as the top candidates to sign Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler.
- The Orioles interviewed Rick Peterson for their open minor league pitching coordinator's position, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Peterson (former pitching coach of the Brewers, Mets and Athletics) is also a candidate to be Bobby Valentine's new pitching coach with the Red Sox.
- Also from Rosenthal, the Royals "backed off" pursuing free agent starters due to their large number of minor league pitching prospects and also because the club wants to remain flexible since they know not every young arm will properly develop. The Royals re-signed Bruce Chen and their other major starting acquistion this winter (Jonathan Sanchez) came via a trade.
- The Cardinals could make an acquisition or look internally to fill their middle infield needs, writes MLB.com's Matthew Leach, but the team won't know how much they have to spend until Albert Pujols makes his decision.
Some items out of the AL and NL Central to round out the evening..
- Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena is unlikely to accept the club's arbitration offer, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. Heyman writes that the Type B free agent should be able to land a multi-year deal after hitting .225/.357/.462 with 28 homers in 2011.
- Twins insiders believe that the new collective bargaining agreement will make it easier for them to sign the No. 2 pick in next June’s draft, writes Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune. The slot bonus for that pick has been set at $6.2MM.
- More from Christensen as he writes that before hiring Gene Glynn as their Triple-A skipper, the Twins spoke to recently dismissed Cubs manager Mike Quade, who was a top minor-league manager before landing the Cubs' job. Quade wasn’t interested, as he’ll still be drawing a paycheck from the Cubs for 2012.
- Wandy Rodriguez represents an appealing option for several teams looking to improve their starting pitching, writes Stephen Goff of Examiner. Earlier today, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe wrote that the Astros are getting more and more inquiries about the availability of the 32-year-old and the Red Sox are among the interested clubs.
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon (video link) doesn't see the Reds moving Yonder Alonso for anything less than a top-end starter. Sheldon goes on to say that he thinks the Reds should hang on to the 24-year-old slugger.
10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
The Cubs and Red Sox are now discussing compensation for GM Theo Epstein. Here are the latest Cubs-related notes as we await an official announcement about the leadership change...
- There’s a “good chance” that Epstein hires Padres executive Josh Byrnes to work with him in Chicago, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres (on Twitter). Byrnes, the D’Backs’ former GM, worked with Epstein in Boston.
- Carlos Pena told the Chicago Sun-Times that he's excited to see what the Cubs can do under Epstein. Pena, a free agent after the season, hinted that Epstein's presence makes Chicago an even more desirable place to play.
- Bradley Woodrum of CubsStats.com loves the Epstein hire for the Cubs, but wouldn't trade prospect Brett Jackson for the rights to the new GM.
- Check out Tim Dierkes' preview of the Cubs' offseason.
Links for Sunday evening as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 7-4 in 14 innings. The Rays now sit one game back in the wild-card hunt with a three game set against the Bombers to go..
- Marlins reliever Edward Mujica hopes that the club gives the closer formerly known as Leo Nunez another chance, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel. Nunez, or Juan Carlos Oviedo, is arbitration eligible and it’s unclear whether the club is required to tender him a 2012 contract before the December 12 deadline.
- There's going to be some big name players on the open market this winter but there are also going to be some important scouts available for hire, Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes (on Twitter). Among those available are Gary Hughes (Cubs), Larry Corrigan (Pirates), Bryan Lambe (Mets), Keith Champion (Pirates), and Wayne Krivsky (Mets).
- No one knows for sure if Albert Pujols will wind up with a new club this offseason, but Cubs slugger Carlos Pena believes that he'll stay with the Cardinals, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
- This season, the Indians drew 1.84MM in 81 home games, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). That figure marks an increase of 450K from last season.
The Cubs are 62-81, well on their way to earning a top draft pick in 2012. Here's the latest from Chicago...
- Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have made it clear that they want to remain with the Cubs next year, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Until the Cubs hire a general manager to replace Jim Hendry, it's difficult to say whether Ramirez and Pena are likely to return.
- Ramirez tells the Sun-Times that Chicago isn't Milwaukee and wouldn't have the patience for a long rebuilding process.
- Reds manager Dusty Baker, who managed the Cubs under Hendry, told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he hopes his old boss finds a new job in baseball. The Cubs fired Hendry last month.
- The Cubs appear to be leaning toward bringing Pena back, but Bryan LaHair, this year's Pacific Coast League MVP, told Sullivan that he's hoping to make an impression on the Cubs this month and earn a chance in 2012.
Here’s the latest on the Cubs, including an update on their search for a successor to Jim Hendry...
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times says former Dodgers general manager Dan Evans fits all the criteria chairman Tom Ricketts has established for his new GM. Friends and associates of Evans tell Wittenmyer that the executive has always considered the Cubs' GM job his dream position.
- A’s owner Lew Wolff told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wouldn’t prevent GM Billy Beane from exploring job opportunities elsewhere, though he hopes to retain him for a long time. "I would never inhibit anybody from bettering themselves because of a contract," Wolff said, noting that no teams have called regarding the "indispensable" Beane.
- Wittenmyer says Matt Garza's presence at the front end of Chicago's rotation seems critical to any Cubs turnaround. The Cubs can retain Garza as an arbitration eligible player through 2013, though he won't be cheap.
- Meanwhile, Carlos Pena told Wittenmyer that he was "pleasantly surprised" that the Cubs pulled him off of waivers after the Yankees claimed him earlier in the week.
10:41pm: Pena has been told that the Cubs will pull him back off of waivers, according to Muskat (on Twitter).
5:59pm: The Cubs and Yankees haven't had contact about Pena as of this evening, according to Olney (on Twitter).
5:06pm: GM Brian Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that a trade is "very unlikely" for the Yankees and that he's "not optimistic" about making a deal. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports (on Twitter) that Pena isn't going anywhere.
4:16pm: The Yankees claimed Pena, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). That means every team in baseball other than New York and possibly Boston passed on Pena. It's clear that the Yankees want Pena, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Cubs remain reluctant to make a deal (Twitter links).
1:09pm: Cubs slugger Carlos Pena was claimed on waivers by an unknown team, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Cubs made the decision to place Pena on trade waivers on Monday, triggering a 48 hour window in which teams could put in claims.
In 480 plate appearances this year for the Cubs, the 33-year-old is hitting .222/.342/.455 with 23 homers. Pena is owed about $1MM for the rest of the year and projects as a Type B free agent this winter. The Cubs will be on the hook for a deferred $5MM in January even if they deal him.
- The Cubs are likely to pull Pena back off of waivers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). They did not get good offers for Pena in July.
- Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com that he didn't know Jim Hendry had been fired until the day the Cubs announced their decision. Wilken and Hendry played baseball as teenagers and Hendry brought his friend to the Cubs years later.
- MLB executives explained to ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the Cubs' GM job is an opportunity with enormous potential. Olney suggests the Cubs could consider the likes of Brian Cashman, Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman for the opening, though it's not yet clear who they're targeting.
- Peter Gammons said on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show that he thinks Epstein would have interest in the Cubs' job. Interest doesn't mean it's time for Red Sox fans to get worried, though. Jerry Spar of WEEI.com has the details from Gammons.
- Alfonso Soriano told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes that he doesn't regret signing a free agent deal with the Cubs, even though the last three years have been disappointing for the team (link in Spanish).
Heath Bell, Jason Kubel, and Carlos Pena were placed on trade waivers today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal tweeted earlier about Jim Thome being placed, also. The placement on waivers starts a 48 hour period during which teams can put in claims. Hundreds of players are placed on waivers in August, but these four are notable because they do appear to be trade candidates.
Bell, the Padres' closer, sports a 2.60 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.35 HR/9, and 42.9% groundball rate in 52 innings this year. That's a big dropoff from his typical strikeout rate. The 33-year-old has $1.5MM left on his contract. He projects as a Type A free agent, but has said he'd accept arbitration if the Padres offer. Owner Jeff Moorad said this month that Bell accepting arbitration would be preferable in some ways, but if the Padres aren't actually interested in a potential eight-figure one-year deal for Bell, they've got two days to move him. Dan Mennella took a look at the fantasy impact of the move at CloserNews.
Kubel, 29, is hitting .295/.350/.456 in 326 plate appearances for the Twins, playing right field and DH. The left-handed hitter has about $1MM plus incentives left on his contract and currently profiles as a Type B free agent in the American League. He earns more than Thome, but not so much that we can rule out a team claiming him mostly for the draft pick.
Pena, 33, is hitting .222/.342/.455 with 23 home runs in 480 plate appearances this year for the Cubs. Though he projects as a Type B, teams might be reluctant to offer arbitration given his salary. He's owed about $1MM for the rest of the year, and the Cubs will be on the hook for a deferred $5MM in January even if they trade him.
Two players who will not be traded this month: Oakland's Rich Harden and Coco Crisp, who were claimed on waivers but pulled back according to this report yesterday from Rosenthal. Today, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Indians won the claim on Harden, but could not work out a deal.