Clint Barmes Rumors

Brewers Rumors: Furcal, Aramis, Barmes, Reyes

Here's the latest on the Brewers, including what's happening at the GM meetings in Milwaukee:


Dodgers Links: Sale, Offseason, Infielders, Rivera

On this day in 1988, Los Angeles right-hander Orel Hershiser won the NL Cy Young Award by a unanimous vote after going 23-8 with a 2.31 ERA. Here are a few items of note regarding the Dodgers …

  • Tom Golisano, the former owner of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, is preparing a bid to purchase the Dodgers, according to Craig Karmin and Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal. Golisano is "one of the first to declare an interest in buying the franchise who actually has the money to pull off the transaction," according to the report.
  • Outgoing owner Frank McCourt hasn't told GM Ned Colletti not to spend on free agents — even ones of Prince Fielder's caliber — this offseason, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Dodgers are "aggressively pursuing" infielders and are also interested in acquiring a catcher and starting pitchers, Major League sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Los Angeles is targeting Clint Barmes, Aaron Hill and Mark Ellis to play second base and/or a utility position.
  • Juan Rivera's new contract with the Dodgers could be worth as much as $9MM over the next two seasons, according to Hernandez. The outfielder is guaranteed $4MM in 2012, with a $4MM option or $500K buyout for 2013, and he can earn as much as $500K in each of the next two seasons depending on his number of at-bats.

Rockies Notes: Fowler, Prado, Hudson, Barmes

The Rockies have asked the Braves about Martin Prado, who could play second base for Colorado in 2012. Here’s a follow-up on the trade talks and an update on some alternatives at second base…

  • 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.


NL West Notes: D’Backs, Barmes, Darvish, Dodgers

The Diamondbacks finalized a new deal with Willie Bloomquist today and the move has had an impact for at least two NL West teams. Here are the details.


Central Notes: Tigers, Cain, Cubs, Barmes

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…


Twins Notes: Doumit, Barmes, Krivsky

The Twins started their offseason by claiming a pair of pitchers off waivers earlier this week. Let's round up the latest from Minnesota…

  • 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.

Astros Unlikely To Be Major Players In Free Agency

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.


Free Agent Stock Watch: Clint Barmes

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

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.


NL Central Notes: Cubs, Cordero, Pirates, Barmes

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.

Astros Notes: Free Agents, Barmes, Sale

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.