David Aardsma Rumors
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe asked ten baseball people to select the ten most significant moves/non-moves of the offseason. Unsurprisingly, Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Carl Crawford, and Cliff Lee topped the list. Here are the rest of Cafardo's rumors...
- Talks between the Braves and Dan Uggla have slowed because he's seeking more money, but an extension should get done during the first week of January. Cafardo reported that the two sides were close to a five-year deal worth $60-61MM about two weeks ago.
- The Orioles still have interest in Kevin Gregg and the Red Sox still have interest in Brian Fuentes, but other free agent relievers like Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Octavio Dotel, Aaron Heilman, Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima and Jon Rauch remain in limbo.
- Carl Pavano is holding out for three years, with the Nationals, Twins, and Rangers still showing interest. Cafardo adds the Mariners to the mix, with the caveat that they free up some money first.
- The teams considering Pavano could also turn to Joe Blanton, who would certainly come cheaper.
- The Red Sox "haven’t heard anything close to the value they would need in return" for Daisuke Matsuzaka.
- The Angels and several other teams made a run at Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason, but the Sox "never heard any offer resembling proper value."
- Cafardo wonders if Adrian Beltre is looking at a much smaller payday than originally anticipated. Last we heard, the Angels pulled their five-year, $70MM offer to the third baseman, but they remain in the mix to sign him.
- David Aardsma is still trade bait and the Mariners wouldn't mind moving him for starting pitching depth. Earlier this week we heard Seattle wanted an impact bat for its closer.
The Mariners are looking for an "impact bat" in exchange for closer David Aardsma, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. As Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported last week, Aardsma doesn't appear to be a fit with the Rockies, who believe the Mariners are asking for too much. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Mariners are looking to trade Aardsma, who turns 29 next week.
Aardsma will earn a raise from his 2010 salary of $2.75MM when he and the Mariners determine his upcoming salary through the arbitration process. The reliever has posted high strikeout, walk and save totals since joining the Mariners and 2010 was no exception. In 49 2/3 innings last year, he posted a 3.44 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 4.5 BB/9 and 31 saves. Aardsma may have seen his trade value jump because of the rising cost of free agent relievers, as as MLBTR's Mike Axisa explains here.
The Rockies are considering a number of alternatives, including Grant Balfour, Todd Coffey, Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls and Joe Beimel. GM Dan O'Dowd told Harding that he would sign certain relievers to multiyear deals, but would generally prefer to make short-term commitments.
Teams have handed out 12 multiyear deals to relievers so far this winter, as MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows.
Let's take a look at some Rockies news..
- Jeff Francis will decide on whether he will return to the Rockies soon, writes Jim Armstrong of The Denver Post. Colorado turned down a $7.5MM club option on the pitcher this offseason, making him a free agent. The Rockies are probably offering the left-hander a deal with about $1MM guaranteed.
- The Rockies believe that the Mariners are asking too much for David Aardsma, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. It was reported last night that the Rockies had interest in the veteran pitcher.
- A new name to keep in mind for the Rockies is free agent reliever Aaron Heilman, Renck tweets. Colorado has tried to land the 32-year-old multiple times in recent years.
The Rockies have spoken to the Mariners about a possible David Aardsma trade, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Colorado has also shown interest in right-handers Grant Balfour and Todd Coffey, though Renck tweets that Balfour would have to be acquired in a "sign-and-trade" arrangment since the Rockies don't want to lose their first round draft pick as compensation for signing the Type A free agent.
Aardsma, who is known to be on the market, would be used in a set-up role with the Rockies since Huston Street is established as Colorado's closer. Balfour's Type-A status isn't the only hindrance to a possible signing, as he reportedly wants a three-year contract. The Rockies may be hesitant to give a middle reliever that kind of long-term commitment, though Joaquin Benoit, Jesse Crain, Scott Downs and Matt Guerrier have all signed three-year deals this winter.
Coffey, non-tendered by the Brewers earlier this month, comes with the smallest price tag but is also coming off the least-accomplished season (4.76 ERA, 9.4 H/9 rate) of the three pitchers. Renck adds that Colorado's "wish list" also includes Jon Rauch and Chad Qualls (Twitter link).
The Mariners are trying to trade David Aardsma, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. As Rosenthal points out, the reliever will earn a raise from his 2010 salary of $2.75MM when he and the Mariners determine his upcoming salary through the arbitration process.
The Red Sox have missed out on a number of free agent relievers, so it would not be surprising to see them try to reacquire Aardsma, who turns 29 later this month. Kevin Gregg, who has drawn interest from a number of clubs, such as the Orioles and Red Sox, is among the possible replacements for Aardsma, Rosenthal reports.
Like Gregg, Aardsma generally posts high strikeout, walk and save totals. In 49 2/3 innings last year, he posted a 3.44 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9. Aardsma has likely seen his trade value jump because of the rising cost of free agent relievers, as MLBTR's Mike Axisa explains here.
1:16pm: The Red Sox liked Matt Guerrier well enough to offer him a two-year deal, but the Dodgers offered a third guaranteed year and the right-hander has agreed to play for Los Angeles. The Red Sox will have to move on to other targets as they look to round out their 'pen. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the details on what he says is the biggest challenge of the offseason for GM Theo Epstein.
Two former Twins, right-hander Jesse Crain and left-hander Brian Fuentes are the team’s priorities now. The Red Sox are also considering trades and would “love” to reacquire Justin Masterson, according to Cafardo. The Indians have been reluctant to part with Masterson, whom they acquired in the 2009 Victor Martinez trade.
There are a number of alternatives for Epstein to pursue, including Indians relievers Joe Smith and Rafael Perez, who “could be on Boston’s radar.” The A’s are likely willing to listen on their relievers and the Mariners would listen on David Aardsma, Cafardo writes.
The offseason is less than a month old, but the perception is that Joaquin Benoit's three-year, $16.5MM deal with the Tigers has busted the free agent reliever market. It's possible that the most cost effective bullpen pieces can now be found in trades, and Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times believes that David Aardsma's trade value has gone up without throwing a pitch since the end of the regular season.
Aardsma, 29 next month, emerged as Seattle's closer in 2009, and has pitched to a 2.90 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 121 innings with the Mariners. He's 69 for 78 in save opportunities in that time, numbers that are likely to push his salary north of $4MM in his second time through the arbitration process this offseason. Aardsma earned $2.75MM in 2010.
The Mariners, who finished with the game's second worst record in 2010, have a number of holes to fill. They have a replacement closer in waiting in Brandon League, and could shop Aardsma for an upgrade at basically any position not occupied by Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, or Franklin Gutierrez. As we've seen in recent years, hard-throwing relievers can fetch all kinds of returns.
Matt Lindstrom brought back three non-top prospect minor leaguers in a trade. Kerry Wood returned two low level minor leaguers and salary relief. Leo Nunez brought Mike Jacobs. Chris Perez and another player landed Mark DeRosa. Joel Hanrahan and Sean Burnett were essentially traded for each other. Jose Valverde, Rafael Soriano, Chad Qualls, Ramon Ramirez, Octavio Dotel ... the list goes on and on.
The number of teams that could use a guy like Aardsma is 30, for all intents and purposes, but his expected salary will likely limit his market to teams with sizable wallets. Baker speculates about a fit with the Rays, but acknowledges their payroll crunch. The Red Sox are seeking bullpen help and are familiar with Aardsma after his 2008 stint with the team, then of course you have the usual suspects like the Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs, Tigers, Phillies, etc. All of this is one reason why Aardsma will almost certainly not be with the Mariners come Spring Training, as Baker puts it.
As the Padres face a big uphill battle in San Francisco this weekend, we look at some news items....
- Yu Darvish's likely posting fee could be around $25MM and the right-hander might look for a five-year deal from an MLB club, suggest sources of Matt Cerrone of Metsblog.com. The Mets, Yankees, Rangers and Braves are listed as four of the eight teams who have shown an interest in Darvish, and we know the Rays have watched him pitch as well.
- Pedro Feliciano's struggles against right-handed hitters will prevent the reliever from earning a big contract this winter, writes David Brown of Yahoo Sports. The fact that Feliciano is a Type A free agent will also hurt his cause, since teams will shy away from losing a draft pick to sign a limited relief pitcher.
- Rafael Soriano, Cody Ross, David DeJesus and Francisco Rodriguez are among several free agents or trade candidates that Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic thinks the D'Backs might consider acquiring.
- Bob Gebhard, the Diamondbacks' vice-president and special assistant to the GM, will survive the expected front office changes in Arizona this winter, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Nightengale also tweets that Tim Wallach is "picking up plenty of steam" in regards to the Toronto manager's job. The Rockies have granted hitting coach Don Baylor permission to interview for that same position, reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- The Everett Daily Herald's Kirby Arnold lists several Mariners who might not be with the team next season, including Jose Lopez, David Aardsma and Casey Kotchman.
- Dodgers assistant GM Logan White told Baseball America's Jim Callis that he hasn't been fired by L.A., and is "working for the team until...told otherwise" (both Twitter links). Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweeted about "rumors starting to swirl" that White and the Dodgers were parting ways earlier in the day. White was one of several candidates interviewed for the Arizona general manager's job that eventually went to Kevin Towers.
- The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore lists five possible replacements for Adam Dunn if the Nationals don't re-sign the slugger.
- In a chat with fans on Thursday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News predicted that the Rangers would announce contract extensions for manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels within a week of Texas' final playoff game.
- Trevor Hoffman hasn't decided if he will play next year yet, but if he does, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy predicts Hoffman will look for "a situation in which he at least has a chance to be the closer."
There has been a “flurry” of waiver claims on prominent players, according to an MLB official who spoke with ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. Nearly every desirable hitter and reliever has been claimed, according to Stark’s source. However, we can add at least one name to our list of players to clear waivers. Here it is, along with Stark’s other rumors:
- George Sherrill, who has a 7.00 ERA and $1.3MM remaining on his contract, cleared waivers, according to Stark. The Dodgers can now trade him to any club, as our waiver trade primer explains.
- David Aardsma, Kevin Gregg and Brandon League were all claimed on waivers and pulled back, according to Stark’s source. If the Mariners or Blue Jays re-expose their respective relievers to waivers, they would no longer have the right to pull the players back.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Stark that he’s looking for high-impact players, because the club is geared towards reaching 95 wins.
- One MLB official believes Manny Ramirez will sign a one-year, incentive-based contract with an AL team this winter. That sounds about right.
- There have been no signs that Scott Boras, who represents first overall pick Bryce Harper, has had any meaningful conversations with the Nationals about what it will take to reach a deal. The sides have until Monday at 11pm CST to reach a deal.
- The Twins were willing to include Wilson Ramos (now in Washington’s system) in a trade for Cliff Lee, according to Stark’s sources.
- Jim Thome already has 15 homers for the Twins, and he could be back in Minneapolis next year. "We'd certainly have interest in him coming back," Twins assistant GM Rob Antony told Stark.
Aardsma, 28, has a 4.59 ERA on the year with 9.7 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. Recently we have learned that the Tigers are keeping tabs on him, the Giants inquired on him, and the Red Sox have explored a trade for him (and roughly fifteen other relievers).