- White Sox Claim Kyle Drabek
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- East Notes: Papelbon, Warren, Victorino
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Clint Barmes Rumors
- Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler is off-limits in trade talks, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links).
- The Braves and Rockies are expected to keep lines open about a possible deal involving Prado, according to Renck. Fowler won't be going to Atlanta, but the Braves do like Seth Smith.
- The Rockies have had internal conversations about trading for Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson or signing former Rockie Clint Barmes, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The Rockies sent Barmes to the Astros a year ago this month and he responded with a .244/.312/.386 line and solid defense in Houston.
- The Giants offered Bloomquist a two-year deal worth more than $3.8MM before he re-signed in Arizona, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). San Francisco’s offer was worth $4.6MM over two years, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown. The D’Backs remain interested in Aaron Hill.
- The Giants are looking for a shortstop as a fallback for Brandon Crawford, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter). Baggarly notes that some Giants coaches are big fans of free agent Clint Barmes.
- Brad Lefton of the New York Times explains the origins of the posting system MLB teams use to bid on Japanese players. Within the piece, Lefton reports that the Diamondbacks scouted Yu Darvish this past season.
- Not surprisingly, the Dodgers won't be able to bid on free agents such as Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols until the team is sold, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- The Rockies will consider pursuing Roy Oswalt, according to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding.
The Tigers signed Jhonny Peralta to a two-year deal on this date in 2010. The shortstop responded with 21 homers and a .299/.345/.478 line in 2011 and the Tigers won their division. Here's the latest from baseball's central divisions, starting in Detroit…
- Jonathan Maurer, the agent for free agent second baseman Jamey Carroll, told Lynn Henning of the Detroit News that the Tigers would be viewed "enthusiastically" should they approach Carroll about a deal. Obtaining a second baseman is one of the Tigers' offseason challenges.
- It doesn’t appear that the Tigers will talk seriously with free agent reliever Joe Nathan, according to Henning.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he’s “got to give” Lorenzo Cain a chance to play. The Royals created space for Cain yesterday, shipping Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez.
- The Cubs will interview Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. for their managerial opening later this week, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Red Sox are also interviewing the former catcher.
- Astros GM Ed Wade re-stated his interest in bringing shortstop Clint Barmes back, but he’s not sure the free agent will re-sign in Houston. “I just don't know if it's going to work in our situation," Wade told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Agent Barry Meister expects a “significant market” for Barmes.
- There has been no early contact between the Twins and free agents Ryan Doumit and Clint Barmes, reports Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (on Twitter). Ben Nicholson-Smith said a major expenditure at shortstop is unlikely in his Offseason Outlook, but he did mention that they need help at backup catcher.
- The Twins hope to finalize an agreement with Wayne Krivsky that would make him GM Bill Smith's special assistant, according to Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune. His focus would be on pro scouting. Krivsky worked with the organization as Terry Ryan's assistant GM before becoming GM of the Reds in 2005.
- Earlier today we learned that the Twins denied the Orioles permission to interview VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff for their still vacant GM job.
The Astros went into full blown rebuilding mode by trading Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, and Michael Bourn over the last 15 months, and the team is now focused on youth and building from within. As part of that process, GM Ed Wade told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that Houston is unlikely to be a major player in free agency this offseason…
"We'll do all the legwork we normally do and be prepared to read and react as opportunities present themselves, but I don't see us being major players in the free-agent market," said Wade. "I think the course we set out on actually a year ago with the Oswalt and Berkman trades, it's a course we have to continue to follow.
"We'll try to infuse as many young players into our situation as we possibly can and that being the case, we're committed to trying to stay young and build that core nucleus from within. I just don't see a scenario where we're major players in the market, but there could be opportunities to present themselves along the way that we have to be prepared for."
Wade also reiterated that he would like to re-sign Clint Barmes, but the team's "economic environment" probably will not allow them to do so. There is only one-year and $18.5MM left on Carlos Lee's contract, though the team still owes Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers a combined $39.5MM over the next two seasons. Jim Crane is awaiting approval from the other owners before he can finalize his purchase of the team from Drayton McLane, and he'll likely be faced with the opportunity of moving the team to the American League.
In our Offseason Outlook, Tim Dierkes mentioned that the Astros could import some relievers on one-year contracts with an eye towards flipping them at the trade deadline or recouping compensatory draft picks next winter. Houston will pick first overall in the 2012 draft after finishing with the worst record in the game this season.
Clint Barmes ranks eighth among all free agent position players in FanGraphs' wins above replacement for 2011, after Jimmy Rollins and Aramis Ramirez but before Michael Cuddyer and Marco Scutaro. Not bad for a guy I considered a non-tender candidate a year ago.
Barmes (pictured) ended up a bright spot for the Astros, mainly because he was able to play a capable shortstop for a thousand innings. That's where most of the WAR value comes from, rather than Barmes' .244/.312/.386 batting line. He played 123 games for the Astros, missing most of April due to a broken bone in his hand.
Credit the Astros for recognizing Barmes' value as a shortstop, a position he hadn't played regularly for Colorado once Troy Tulowitzki arrived. Barmes has said he'd like to return to the Astros, but GM Ed Wade isn't sure if the team's economic environment will allow it.
Omar Infante's two-year, $8MM extension with the Marlins seems a fair comparable for Barmes and the Astros. The Astros should at least offer arbitration to Barmes, assuming our projection that he just barely made the cut for Type B status is accurate. Above-average shortstops are hard to come by on the open market, though at least two others will be available in free agency this winter in Jose Reyes and Rollins. If the Astros fail to sign Barmes, he could be a more affordable alternative for the Twins, Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Pirates, Cardinals, or Giants.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
The Astros are playing spoiler against a former bitter rival of theirs tonight, as they try to halt the Cardinals’ improbable playoff bid. Here are some notes from the NL Central, while the two clubs play in Houston…
- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told Cubs reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, that he's looking to name a GM as soon as possible, but cautions that there's "no point in rushing" the process. Ricketts pointed to the Diamondbacks to remind reporters that turnarounds can happen quickly in baseball under the right circumstances.
- Ricketts added that he expects GM candidates to see the four-year extension that director of player personnel Oneri Fleita obtained this summer as a positive.
- It's looking like the Reds will complete a deal with Francisco Cordero instead of picking up his $12MM option for 2012 ($1MM buyout), according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). We heard yesterday that Reds GM Walt Jocketty is optimistic about working out a deal with his closer. For the latest on Cordero and other MLB closers, check out CloserNews.com.
- Ryan Doumit told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he thinks his chances of returning to Pittsburgh in 2012 are "slim" (Twitter link). The Pirates hold a $7.25MM option ($500K buyout) for the backstop next year.
- Clint Barmes told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he would like to return to the Astros next year. However, the shortstop is open to exploring other options and he realizes that Houston’s ownership changes could affect offseason plans. Earlier in the month, I revisited the trade that sent Barmes to the Astros.
Stephen Goff of Examiner spoke to several people within the Astros organization recently, so let's round up the news. All links go to Goff's Twitter feed…
- GM Ed Wade does not expect the team to be very active in this winter's free agent market. "It would run contrary to what we did at the trade deadline," he said. "Our goal is to trend to a younger club to where we can sustain success for an extended period."
- Wade likes the job Clint Barmes has done this year and would like to re-sign him, but the team's "economic environment" might not allow them to do so. Ben Nicholson-Smith revisited the trade that brough Barmes to Houston earlier this month.
- Owner Drayton McLane said he expects the final sale of the team to Jim Crane to be approved by MLB within the next three or four weeks.
One month into the season, it looked like the Felipe Paulino-Clint Barmes trade would go down as a lose-lose deal. Paulino struggled through his first month with the Rockies and Barmes spent the first four weeks of the season on the disabled list while he recovered from a fractured left hand.
But Paulino has put together his best season yet and Barmes recovered from his hand injury on his way to a strong campaign in Houston. Win-win trade? Not quite. The Rockies gave up on Paulino after 14 2/3 ugly innings, so the Royals are the ones who benefitted from the 27-year-old’s turnaround.
Paulino, who struck out 11 without walking a batter in seven innings of work on Saturday, has a 4.10 ERA in 107 2/3 innings since the Royals acquired him in late May. His fastball clocks in over 95 mph, just as it has every season of his career, and his peripheral stats are strong: 8.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 45.1% ground ball rate, 3.81 xFIP.
Considering that Kansas City only gave up cash considerations, the Paulino move looks especially favorable for the Royals. They need the pitching and can pencil the Dominican right-hander into their rotation going forward. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes estimates a raise from $790K to $1.6MM in 2012, so Paulino will remain affordable next year.
The Astros could use the pitching, but Paulino had his chances in Houston and the Astros needed a shortstop. For $3.925MM, Barmes has hit .249/.323/.388 with ten home runs. FanGraphs’ UZR suggests the 32-year-old plays above-average defense and their version of wins above replacement has Barmes as the 11th most productive shortstop in baseball this season (3.1 WAR).
He’ll hit free agency after the season and doesn’t project as a ranked free agent, so this may be all Houston gets out of Barmes. Even if he departs for nothing this offseason, the Astros will have done significantly better than the Rockies in this trade. It’s not that Colorado was necessarily going to keep Barmes – he was a non-tender candidate in the offseason – but the Rockies are the only team that didn’t profit from last November’s trade. The Royals ended up with a cheap, productive arm, the Astros got an affordable everyday shortstop and all the Rockies got was 14 2/3 innings of 7.36 ERA ball.
Let's take a look at some news out of the NL Central, where the Brewers hold a comfortable 10.5 game lead over St. Louis..
- Astros shortstop Clint Barmes is facing free agency this offseason for the first time in his career and would like to return to the club, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. General Manager Ed Wade thinks so highly of Barmes that he was not made available at the trade deadline.
- The Cardinals can't find room on the 40-man roster for Nick Stavinoha, who is headed for minor league free agency, writes Matthew Leach of MLB.com. It appears likely that the outfielder will wind up elsewhere given the lack of openings in the organization.
- Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com examines last winter's Matt Garza trade to see if the Cubs or Rays came out on top in the deal. The eight-player trade sent Garza, Fernando Perez, and Zach Rosscup to Chicago for Sam Fuld, Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, and Hak-Ju Lee. Ultimately, Mooney thinks that the trade benefited both parties.