Chad Cordero Rumors
According to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Twins have ended their pursuit of right-handed reliever Juan Cruz.
Cruz rejected the Twins' contract offer before talks ever evolved into the sign-and-trade stages, and it doesn't sounds like the club plans on making another run at him. Cruz, 30, posted a 2.61 ERA in 51 2/3 innings last season.
Neal suggests that the Twins might now focus their attention on free agent Chad Cordero, who threw for several teams on Wednesday.
According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the Marlins continue to have interest in free agent lefty Will Ohman. Back on February 16th, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick said Ohman had offers in hand from the Marlins, Padres, and Pirates. The Pirates are still involved, while the Padres are seen as a long shot. Ohman doesn't figure to get more than $1MM as the lefty reliever market continues to drag.
Frisaro adds that the Marlins were one of about 15 teams watching Chad Cordero's recent workout. Frisaro's read on the audition:
The reports are Cordero likely won't be ready until perhaps the second half. His fastball was clocked around 80 mph, and the ball wasn't coming out of his hand like it did when he was healthy pitching for Washington.
Cordero's agent Larry Reynolds, however, suggested his client would be at "full tilt" sometime in March.
Some links for your Thursday night viewing pleasure...
- Diamond Leung has some Dodgers notes, including a particularly interesting one regarding Scott Boras. Earlier, Peter Gammons reported that the Dodgers scouting department wouldn't be touching any Boras clients in the June draft. Leung refutes that, citing Dodgers Assistant General Manager of Scouting Logan White's statement that the Dodgers will consider Boras clients because "talent comes first."
- The Nationals have been watching Chad Cordero's auditions, according to Dave Sheinin. Cordero threw 40 pitches "at 70-75 percent effort" the other day. Cordero's agent, Larry Reynolds, says that he's on pace to be ready for Opening Day.
- Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News has a good article highlighting Okalahome State University lefty Andy Oliver and his victory in a lawsuit against the NCAA. Oliver challenged the rule that athletes cannot have attorneys participate in direct negotiations with Major League teams prior to being drafted. Oliver was suspended prior to an NCAA Regional in 2008.
- Ringolsby also notes, in the same article, that the Braves have interest in Garret Anderson.
- Tim Hudson got into a heated exchange with a reporter in the clubhouse, regarding the recent Ken Griffey Jr. drama, and had to be separated by a team official, according to the AP.
- Speaking of Griffey, the Mariners will hold a press conference for him this Saturday, Geoff Baker reports.
- Anthony Castrovince reports that Edward Salcedo, a top Dominican prospect who had been tied to the Indians last year, had an investigation launched surrounding his age. There were doubts that he was really 16, which obviously quieted talks.
8:48 Neal has another update, reporting that Ayala's contract is indeed guaranteed. Ayala will get the previously-reported $1.3MM base salary, along with $250K of appearance incentives. $50K for 50 appearance, and then another $50K for every five games after that - up to 70 games.
Ayala also has bonuses for finishing games, which would require an injury to All-Star closer Joe Nathan. He also has bonuses for making the All-Star team, winning ALCS or World Series MVP honors, or finishing in the Top 3 of the Rolaids Relief Award.
Aside from his appearance incentives, none seem plausible. Nothing further on Cruz or Cordero in this update.
9:52am: La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune learned that newly-signed reliever Luis Ayala does not have a guaranteed contract:
The Twins can cut Ayala up until 16 days before Opening Day and be on the hook for just 1/6th of his $1.3MM salary [about $217K]. If they cut him 15 days from the first pitch on in, they are on the hook for about 1/4th of the salary [$325K]. The Twins have a little protection if Ayala doesn’t have a good spring.
That's good to hear, because Ayala wasn't really deserving of a guaranteed contract based on his '08 and the current market. Neal also has more on Juan Cruz:
If Cruz is moved as part of a sign and trade deal, Arizona is out a first-round pick and sandwhich round pick as compensation. That should influence the types of players the D'Backs would want in return for Cruz. It also stands to reason that several teams, and not just the Twins, would be in on Cruz if draft picks aren’t a factor. But there are indications that Arizona can’t just sit back and demand a lot for Cruz. Cruz is making noises about sitting out until after the June draft, so Arizona would get nothing for compensation once Cruz signs with a club. So there’s motivation on their part to get something in return for him. The Twins have made a call to the league office to check on the change in the sign-and-trade rules. If they haven’t already been informed of the changes they should know today.
Sitting out is Cruz's only leverage...is he bluffing? A bit more on the relief front: Neal was unable to confirm that the Twins attended Chad Cordero's audition yesterday.
Anthony Andro of the Dallas Morning News talked to Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who said the team will be represented at Chad Cordero's audition this week.
Other teams rumored to have interest at various points: the Royals, Brewers, Marlins, Dodgers, Twins, Angels, Mets, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Nationals, and Tigers. We know the Mets will probably pass.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Brewers will have a scout on hand for Chad Cordero's next throwing session.
"We have interest in him,” said GM Doug Melvin. "This will be his first workout off the mound. We’ll wait until we get the report."
Cordero, 27, missed most of the 2008 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. He has a 2.78 career ERA and 128 total saves in six MLB seasons. He'll throw for several teams on Wednesday in California.
Links for Monday...
- RotoAuthority discusses possible lineup position changes for star players.
- Baseball America has the latest minor league transactions.
- Greg Maddux has joined the Padres as a Spring Training instructor, says MLB.com's Corey Brock.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News learned that Adrian Beltre enjoys hitting in AT&T Park and would be excited to play for the Giants. Baggarly wonders if the Giants could attempt to acquire Beltre this summer. The third baseman and Scott Boras client will be a free agent after the season.
- Shawn Estes, currently in camp with the Dodgers, will retire if he can't make a Major League roster according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.
- A Mets official told Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News that the team is unlikely to sign free agent reliever Chad Cordero.
- Jake Peavy talked more about the failed attempts to trade him during the winter (Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune reporting).
- The Mariners added catcher Jason Phillips on a minor league deal, according to Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune.
Word from a source around the Royals' mini-camp in Arizona is that the team is taking a long look at free agent reliever Chad Cordero. Cordero will be conducting a showcase on February 18th.
The Royals join a long list of teams connected to the rehabbing righty this winter. Teams rumored to have interest at various points: the Brewers, Marlins, Dodgers, Twins, Angels, Mets, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Nationals, and Tigers. A few of those clubs may have since spent their bullpen budgets. Cordero, 27 in March, had surgery to fix tears in his labrum and biceps tendon in July of 2008. On Monday, Cordero will throw his first private bullpen session (off a mound).
The latest from SI.com's Jon Heyman...
- The Yankees offered a minor league deal to Andruw Jones, which he turned down. Other teams "thought to have interest": the Rangers, Phillies, Braves, and Mets.
- Heyman thinks Pedro Martinez makes a lot of sense for the Dodgers. However, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times learned from Ned Colletti on January 6th that the Dodgers weren't among the teams pursuing Pedro.
- Jason Varitek's camp (ie, Scott Boras) apparently has no regrets about rejecting arbitration since it wouldn't have been a guaranteed contract.
- Chad Cordero's next showcase is scheduled for February 19th.
- Heyman has the Twins as favorites over the Giants to sign Joe Crede. More on Crede here.
- Heyman says the Yankees feel they're more likely to find a deal for Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady.
- Add Mark Grudzielanek to the list of right-handed hitters the Phillies are considering (Nomar Garciaparra, Rich Aurilia, and Moises Alou being the others).
4:13pm: The Rangers' minor league deal with Guardado is official, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
TUESDAY, 7:48am: Wilson says Guardado "has agreed to return to the Rangers on a non-roster deal." Final details remain, and the deal could be worth up to $3MM.
MONDAY, 5:21pm: Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spoke with Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who confirmed that a deal could be finalized for Guardado "within the next few days."
2:05pm: According to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers are close to a deal to bring lefty reliever Eddie Guardado back to Texas. It may be completed in the next few days. Adding Guardado could help soften the blow of losing Joaquin Benoit to rotator cuff surgery.
Sullivan adds that the Rangers continue to look for pitching help beyond Guardado, with names like Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, and Chad Cordero in the mix.