Dan Wheeler Rumors

Angels Still Exploring Relief Options

The LaTroy Hawkins signing got understandably overshadowed during the winter meetings, but the Angels are still exploring bullpen options according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. Gonzalez says they've been in touch with Darren Oliver's representatives and had scouts watch Joel Zumaya's recent showcase.

The Halos have Jordan Walden, Scott Downs, Hisanori Takahashi, and Hawkins slated for the bullpen at the moment, plus they have Kevin Jepsen, Rich Thompson, Bobby Cassevah, and Jerome Williams on their 40-man roster as well. Gonzalez says the Angels can't afford Francisco Cordero, and he adds that GM Jerry Dipoto has not reached out to free agents Luis Ayala and Dan Wheeler either.


Free Agent Arbitration Offer Decisions

37 free agents were offered arbitration in November, but Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes, Matt CappsBruce Chen, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Mark Ellis, Frank Francisco, Freddy Garcia, Aaron Harang, Ramon Hernandez, Jose Molina, Jon Rauch, and Mark Buehrle have already reached agreements.  The deadline is tonight at 11pm central time.  For MLBTR's handy chart that can be filtered by team, type, and whether the player was offered and/or accepted, click here.


AL Central Rumors: Navarro, Lillibridge, Wheeler

A few of Wednesday's rumors from the AL Central:

  • The Royals are shopping Yamaico Navarro in an attempt to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for the Rule 5 draft, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. He names the Pirates, Mariners, and Astros as possible fits.
  • In their search for a utility infielder, the Royals are considering Edgar Renteria and several other players, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
  • Brent Lillibridge has been the White Sox player drawing the most interest in Dallas, sources tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • The Indians talked to free agent reliever Dan Wheeler, but they don't consider the bullpen an area of need, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti won't make any moves in the Rule 5 draft, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (Twitter link).


American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day 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:

Teams with decisions still due:


Red Sox Decline Options On Wheeler, Atchison

The Red Sox declined their club options on relievers Dan Wheeler and Scott Atchison, announced the team.  Atchison remains on the team's 40-man roster.

Wheeler, a Type B free agent, had no buyout on his contract.  The 33-year-old posted a 4.38 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 1.28 HR/9, and 32% groundball rate in 49 1/3 innings for the Red Sox.  He missed time due to calf and forearm injuries.


2012 Vesting Options Update

The season is offically more than halfway complete now, so let's update the status of the various vesting options from around the league…

  • Bobby Abreu, Angels: $9MM option vests with 433 plate appearances. Abreu is just 82 plate appearances short of that total, so this one will vest later this month, barring injury.
  • Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: $12MM option vests with 600 plate appearances. Injuries have limited Furcal to just 82 plate appearances this year, so this one won't be vesting.
  • Jon Garland, Dodgers: $8MM option vests with 190 innings pitched. A few days ago we heard that Garland is unlikely to pitch the rest of the season due to a shoulder issue. He's at 54 innings, so the Dodgers won't have to worry about this one vesting either.
  • Francisco Rodriguez, Mets: $17.5MM option vests with 55 games finished and if doctors declare him healthy at the end of the year. K-Rod has finished 32 games already, putting him on pace for 60. A trade to a team that would use him as a setup man would change things, though we recently heard that some GMs beleieve Rodriguez's trade value is reaching a "tipping point" as he racks up the games finished.
  • Koji Uehara, Orioles: $4MM option vests with either 55 appearances or 25 games finished. Uehara has appeared in 35 games and finished 16, putting him on pace for 68 and 29, respectively.
  • Arthur Rhodes, Rangers: $4MM option vests with 62 appearances and if he's not on the disabled list at the end of the season. Rhodes has appeared in 28 games so far, and he's on pace for 52. Texas will need to use him a little more liberally down the stretch for this one to kick in.
  • Joakim Soria, Royals: $6MM option vests with 55 appearances. With 35 appearances already to his credit, Soria is on pace to pitch in 69 games this year.
  • Dan Wheeler, Red Sox: $3MM option vests with 65 games; increases to $3.25MM with 70 games. Wheeler has appeared in 26 games this year with a disabled list stint mixed in. He'd have to appear in 39 of the team's final 77 games for the option to vest, which seems unlikely.

Adam Wainwright's 2012 ($9MM) and 2013 ($12MM) options will not vest because he will finish the season on the disabled list after having Tommy John surgery. Aramis Ramirez's option depends on MVP Award finishes and whether or not he's traded, not plate appearances or another counting milestone.


2012 Vesting Options Update

Now that the calendar has flipped to June, let's check in on the status of the various vesting options around the league…

  • Bobby Abreu, Angels: $9MM option vests with 433 plate appearances. Abreu has already come to the plate 276 times this year, so this one seems life a safe bet to vest, barring injury.
  • Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: $12MM option vests with 600 plate appearances. Furcal is back on the disabled list with an oblique strain, and he's still a month away from returning. He has only 69 plate appearances this year, so this one won't vest.
  • Jon Garland, Dodgers: $8MM option vests with 190 innings pitched. Garland has been on the disabled list twice this year (the first two times of his career), and he's currently out with a sore shoulder. He only has 54 innings to his credit and won't be back anytime soon, so this one won't vest.
  • Francisco Rodriguez, Mets: $17.5MM option vests with 55 games finished and if doctors declare him healthy at the end of the year. K-Rod has already finished 25 games, putting him on pace for 65 at season's end. A trade to a team that would use him as a set-up man would change everything, but right now the option figures to vest.
  • Koji Uehara, Orioles: $4MM option vests with either 55 appearances or 25 games finished. Uehara has appeared in 26 games and finished 11, putting him on pace for 69 and 29, respectively.
  • Arthur Rhodes, Rangers: $4MM option vests with 62 appearances and if he's not on the disabled list at the end of the season. He's appeared in 20 games so far, putting him on pace for 50. Rhodes' workload could increase down the stretch.
  • Joakim Soria, Royals: $6MM option vests with 55 appearances. He's already appeared in 28 games and is on pace for 71. It's worth noting that even if the option doesn't vest, the Royals would still control Soria as an arbitration-eligible player in 2012.
  • Dan Wheeler, Red Sox: $3MM option vests with 65 games; increases to $3.25MM with 70 games. Wheeler has appeared in 17 games so far, so a stint on the disabled list did not help his cause.

Adam Wainwright's 2012 ($9MM) and 2013 ($12MM) options will not vest because he will finish the season on the disabled list after having Tommy John surgery. Aramis Ramirez's option depends on MVP Award finishes and whether or not he's traded, not plate appearances or another counting milestone.

Mark Buehrle is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2011 season and although he doesn't have a traditional option in his contract, he gets an extra year at $15MM tacked onto his current deal if he's traded at some point this season.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.


Checking In On Former Rays Relievers

Six prominent Rays relievers hit free agency and signed elsewhere for a total of $67.65MM last offseason (for reference, the Rays’ payroll has surpassed that figure exactly once since 2000). We know how the Rays' new 'pen is working out (pretty well, so far) but let’s check in on last year’s relievers:

  • Rafael Soriano – three years/$35MM, Yankees – After allowing 12 earned runs and 14 walks in 62 1/3 innings last year, Soriano has allowed 9 earned runs and 9 walks in 14 innings this year. His ERA is approaching 6.00, his strikeout rate is down and his walk rate is up. What's more, he underwent an MRI on his right elbow this week. It doesn't appear that he'll need DL time, as there's only mild inflammation. Still, Brian Cashman must be shaking his head over this one.
  • Joaquin Benoit – three years/$16.5MM, Tigers – Benoit has already allowed more earned runs (10) in 2011 than he did all of last year (9). After allowing just 30 hits in 60-plus innings last year, he has allowed 17 hits in 13 2/3 frames for his new club. The spike in hit rate is no doubt related to the fact that opponents had an improbably low average on balls in play against Benoit last year (.192) that has since risen to an unusually high level (.356). His strikeout (7.2 K/9) and walk (2.6 BB/9) numbers have fallen off, though they're still strong. 
  • Grant Balfour - two years/$8.1MM, Athletics – Balfour's walks are up, but he is still striking out over a batter per inning and his ERA is under 2.00.
  • Dan Wheeler – one year/$3MM, Red Sox – Wheeler, currently on the DL, has an 11.32 ERA for the Red Sox despite an 8K/1BB ratio through 11 appearances. Wheeler appears to be unlucky in terms of opponents' batting average on balls in play (.389) and home run per fly ball rate (21%).
  • Chad Qualls - one year/$2.55MM, Padres – Qualls has replaced Ryan Webb in the Padres' 'pen and has already pitched 20 2/3 innings. The results are good so far despite a drop in Ks, as Qualls has limited baserunners and been considerably more fortunate than he was in 2010.
  • Randy Choate – two years/$2.5MM, Marlins – Choate has been excellent so far; the lefty specialist has an 11K/2BB ratio and a 1.50 ERA in his first 14 appearances as a Marlin.

The early results are disappointing, as Wheeler and Soriano are dealing with injuries and Benoit hasn’t come close to replicating his 2010 performance. The results will likely improve for Wheeler and Benoit, who have been unlucky so far. But this group probably won’t reproduce the 2010 performances that helped the Rays win the AL East. Reliever performance is simply volatile, even for pitchers who appear to be safe investments.


Quick Hits: Wheeler, Doumit, Relegation

The legendary Cy Young threw a perfect game against the Philadelphia Athletics on this date in 1904.  The perfecto was one of three no-hitters thrown by Young in his career, and it accounted for nine of Young's record 24 consecutive hitless innings.

Some notes from around the majors…


2012 Vesting Options Update

It's the final day of the month, so let's check the status of the various vesting options around the league…

  • Bobby Abreu, Angels: $9MM option vests with 433 plate appearances. Abreu is more than a quarter of the way there already; he has 116 PA after today's game.
  • Rafael Furcal, Dodgers: $12MM option vests with 600 plate appearances. Furcal came to the plate 28 times before breaking his thumb. He's going to miss another three to five weeks, so he's unlikely to see the option vest.
  • Jon Garland, Dodgers: $8MM option vests with 190 innings pitched. Garland started the year on the disabed list and has thrown just 20 innings so far. He should still get there if he stays healthy.
  • Francisco Rodriguez, Mets: $17.5MM option vests with 55 games finished and if doctors declare him healthy at the end of the season. K-Rod has finished eight games so far, but you have to think the club will use him in a way to prevent the option from vesting.
  • Koji Uehara, Orioles: $4MM option vests with either 55 appearances or 25 games finished. Uehara has appeared in eight games and finished four, putting him on pace for 54 and 27, respectively.
  • Arthur Rhodes, Rangers: $4MM option vests with 62 appearances and if he's not on the disabled list at the end of the season. He's appeared in eight games so far, putting him on pace for 50. Injuries to the some of his bullpen mates could increase Rhodes' workload though.
  • Joakim Soria, Royals: $6MM option vests with 55 appearances. He's already appeared in 12 games and is on pace for 75.
  • Dan Wheeler, Red Sox: $3MM option vests with 65 games; increases to $3.25MM with 70 games. Wheeler has appeared in just eight games so far, so he'll have to start seeing more time for the option to kick in.

Adam Wainwright's 2012 ($9MM) and 2013 ($12MM) options will not vest because he will finish the season on the disabled list. Aramis Ramirez's option depends on MVP Award finishes and whether or not he's traded, not plate appearances or another counting milestone.

Mark Buehrle is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2011 season and although he doesn't have a traditional option in his contract, he gets an extra year at $15MM tacked onto his current deal if he's traded at some point this season. 

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.