David Eckstein Rumors

Padres Rumors: Gonzalez, Torrealba, Eckstein

The Padres exercised their 2011 option for Adrian Gonzalez today and saw Yorvit Torrealba and Jon Garland turn down their sides of their respective mutual options. Here's the latest on those three players, plus other updates on the Padres' offseason plans:

  • The Padres will meet with the agent for Gonzalez, John Boggs, this week, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter). Presumably the meeting will help the sides determine whether a long-term deal is possible. It certainly doesn't seem likely.
  • Torrealba told Hayes that he'd love to return to San Diego, but is seeking a two-year deal (Twitter links).  The catcher is a Type B free agent, so the Padres could get a draft pick if they offer arbitration and Torrealba turns it down to sign elsewhere.
  • David Eckstein, a free agent, probably won't return to the Padres in 2011, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock.
  • Brock points out that Jon Garland will likely make more on the open market than he would have with the Padres (Twitter link).

Free Agent Stock Watch: June 2010 Edition

Players only have six months to establish their value on the free agent market, so every month counts. Let's take a look at some (not all, but some) of the upcoming free agents who have seen their stock rise or fall this June. First, a few players who have seen their free agent stock drop:

  • Livan Hernandez – It wasn't an awful month for Hernandez, who posted a 5.12 ERA in June. But he had an improbably low 2.15 ERA entering the month and June showed that he won't be able to sustain that mark with peripherals like his (4.8 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 in June).
  • David Eckstein – Eckstein didn't have a bad month, either. He batted .273/.308/.323 and the Padres stayed in the race, but it wasn't long ago that Eckstein appeared to be raising his free agent stock with a standout all-around season.
  • Kevin Millwood – It was a rough month for Millwood, who had a sub-4.00 ERA at the end of May, even though he had yet to win at that point. In June, Millwood had an 8.78 ERA and opponents posted a 1.032 OPS against him.
  • Ty Wigginton – There's no question that Wigginton, one of Baltimore's top trade chips, had a poor June. He didn't hit a home run and posted a .207/.298/.256 line. He broke out with two exceptional months in April and May, but his stock has since fallen considerably.

And some players who are in position to demand better deals thanks to a big month:

  • Cliff Lee – Lee's strong play suggests his early-season abdominal injury is no longer an issue. He has a 1.76 ERA this month and has rattled off four complete game wins in his last five starts. Impressive. No one knows where Lee will be playing August 1st, but this much is certain: he helped his free agent stock this June.
  • Ted Lilly – Lilly posted a 2.57 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 this month, solidifying his place among the top free agent starters this winter.
  • Hiroki Kuroda – Back in May, Kuroda seemed poised to attract interest from many clubs after the season. He has posted 8.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 2.67 ERA this month against some stiff competition (the Braves, Cardinals, Reds, Yankees and Red Sox).
  • Adrian Beltre - Beltre, who will presumably opt out of his contract and seek a multi-year deal this winter, has established himself as a legitimate MVP candidate. He has played strong defense and hit .378/.425/.684 in June.
  • Manny Ramirez and Victor Martinez would have been candidates for this list were it not for their recent injuries.

All stats are as of the morning of June 30th. This list is not intended to include all 2011 free agents who have had noteworthy months. Feel free to add more players in the comments.

Free Agent Stock Watch: David Eckstein

He's not the free agent middle-infielder that everybody's going to be talking about this offseason, but David Eckstein is in the midst of a strong year. The 5'7" second baseman is living up to his reputation as a player who does the little things right.

Eckstein, now 35, is playing great defense, hitting .302/.362/.395, stealing bases efficiently and, as Dave Cameron of FanGraphs points out, Eckstein's contact skills are exceptional.

If Eckstein reminds you of another former Blue Jays shortstop with tremendous control of the strike zone and solid defense, you're probably thinking of Marco Scutaro, who turned a breakout season into a $12.5MM payday last winter. Despite the similarities between the two, Scutaro is younger and has more power. By the time Eckstein becomes a free agent, he will be 20 months older than Scutaro was when the Red Sox signed him. 

Eckstein's age may prevent teams from offering multi-year deals, but if he continues playing like this, he should sign a contract worth more than the $1MM he'll make in 2010. Eckstein's 2007 batting line of .309/.356/.382 earned him a $4.5MM guarantee from the Blue Jays the following winter. He's hitting at a nearly identical clip this year and playing better defense, which could be enough for a $3-6MM deal this offseason.

Cardinals, Others Interested In Felipe Lopez

SATURDAY, 3:53pm: Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter) hears it's highly unlikely that the Padres will make a move on Lopez.

WEDNESDAY, 5:12pm: Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports are reporting that free agent infielder Felipe Lopez has four suitors, two of whom are San Diego and St. Louis.

We've heard about the Cards' interest in Lopez already this winter, and Morosi/Rosenthal note that Brendan Ryan's wrist surgery might be a main reason why St. Louis is keeping an eye on Lopez.  For the Padres, Lopez would be essentially a depth signing, though David Eckstein and Everth Cabrera aren't exactly rock-solid everyday options in the middle infield.  Cabrera is entering just his second season, and Eckstein has never posted an OPS in any of his nine major league seasons that has come within 50 points of the .810 OPS that Lopez achieved in 680 plate appearances last season..

Padres Extend David Eckstein Through 2010

9:23pm: Brock adds the deal does not include any performance bonuses.

7:03pm: Brock says the deal will pay Eckstein $1MM next year.

6:15pm: MLB.com's Corey Brock hears that the Padres "will officially extend 2B David Eckstein today, through 2010." Eckstein is hitting .255-.317-.325 in 416 plate appearances this year, also spending some time on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Eckstein Preferred To Stay In San Diego

Corey Brock from MLB.com writes that David Eckstein told general manager Kevin Towers he'd prefer to remain in San Diego when the Twins called to ask about his availability, prior to the July 31 deadline.

According to Brock, Towers didn't want to move Eckstein but thought he owed Eckstein the chance to go to a team with some playoff hopes if he desired. Eckstein didn't:

"I want to be a guy who can help these young guys out. I don't think this club is as far off as some people think. They've got to learn how to play the game the right way, because next year, there's not going to be any excuses. These guys are starting to step up."

San Diego is in rebuild mode, with lots of young players such as Kyle Blanks, Chase Headley, and Eckstein's partner up the middle, Everth Cabrera, whom Eckstein enjoys playing with:

"Playing alongside a guy like Everth, that inspires you." 

Eckstein signed a one-year deal with the Padres this offseason worth $850K, but Towers says that he'd like to talk with Eckstein about extending his contract before season's end.

Heyman On August Trades

Executives tell Jon Heyman of SI.com that we saw the "softest deadline ever" last week because there's still the possibility for trades this month. Here's an explanation of how trades can occur after the deadline and here are the players Heyman deems likely to clear waivers (player who clear waivers may be traded):

  • Bronson Arroyo, Adam Dunn, Jose Guillen, Aaron Harang, Adrian Beltre, Aubrey Huff, Jason Giambi, Melvin Mora, Miguel Batista, Juan Cruz, Ty Wigginton, Ron Mahay, Willie Bloomquist, Lyle Overbay, Willy Taveras.

Some players who could clear waivers:

  • Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Gil Meche, Alex Rios, Carl Pavano, Mark Hendrickson, Jhonny Peralta, Jamey Carroll, Ron Villone

And some players who probably won't clear waivers, but who could be dealt to a claiming team: 

  • Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Heath Bell, Adrian Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Chad Qualls, Michael Wuertz, Brian Bannister, Josh Willingham, Gary Sheffield, David Eckstein, Jason Frasor, Mark Teahen.

Twins Acquire Orlando Cabrera

6:59pm: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A's will send a total of $500k to the Twins.

12:45pm: Via Twitter, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Twins are also getting cash in the deal.

12:08pm: Yahoo's Tim Brown said it was a done deal, with the Twins sending shortstop prospect Tyler Ladendorf to Oakland for Cabrera.

Cabrera, 34, is hitting .280/.318/.365 on the season in 448 plate appearances.  He has $1.75MM remaining on his contract, once you factor in a $250K bonus for being dealt.  Though he profiles as a Type A free agent after the season, Cabrera's agent wisely negotiated a clause disallowing his club to offer arbitration.  So, no draft picks for the team for the loss and no impediment to signing Cabrera from the player's point of view.

11:56am: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says Cabrera to the Twins is "very close."  Slusser says Valencia is not part of the deal.

11:41am: La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune doesn't see the Twins as close to a deal for Cabrera.  The A's apparently want third base prospect Danny Valencia.  Neal wonders whether the Twins might go after David Eckstein or Kennedy instead.

FRIDAY, 1:26am: ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that the A's and Twins are making "steady progress" as they discuss a deal that would send Cabrera to Minnesota.

THURSDAY, 11:31pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Twins are making progress in their attempt to acquire Cabrera. The teams continued talking today and expect discussions to resume tomorrow.

9:30am: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has a few hot stove notes on the A's this morning.

  • Despite interest, the A's do not intend to trade infielder Adam Kennedy.  They might even try to re-sign him for 2010 eventually.  The 33 year-old is hitting .296/.350/.434 in 327 plate appearances while playing second and third base.  Oakland acquired Kennedy back in May from the Rays.
  • Slusser debunks a Providence Journal report from Daniel Barbarisi that the Red Sox turned down a trade for Orlando CabreraNick Cafardo of the Boston Globe agrees with Slusser, saying Cabrera "is not keen on returning to Boston."
  • We do know that the Twins have talked to the A's about O-Cab.  Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says the Twins are "still chasing" Marco Scutaro as well.

Odds And Ends: Torre, Ross, Braves

The rumors keep coming; here are a few tidbits for the evening…

Towers Speaks About Possible Moves

Padres GM Kevin Towers spoke with Darren Smith of 1090 XX Sports Radio earlier today, touching on a variety of Padre related topics. You can download and listen to the interview by clicking here, but here's a roundup of the rumors…

  • Towers said he expects to get calls from contending teams about his "experienced players," mentioning David Eckstein, Brian Giles, Henry Blanco, Kevin Correia, Chad Gaudin, Cla Meredith and Mike Adams by name.
  • He also said it's doubtful that the team would take on salary in a deadline deal, but they might be able to during the offseason.
  • Depending on how he comes back from injury, there may be interest in Giles. Towers said it's doubtful anything happens before the deadline, but a waiver trade could be made in August. Giles, of course, has a full no-trade clause.
  • When asked why he wouldn't trade Adrian Gonzalez or Heath Bell before the deadline to bring back as much talent as possible, Towers said "it's not to say we won't." He then mentions that they first need to determine what young players they're committed to keeping here and what they need to bring in from outside the organization, but if someone approaches them about one of those guys "they need to listen."