Doug Davis Rumors

Twins, Mariners Are Atop Washburn’s “Wish List”

With the likes of Ben Sheets and Jon Garland now signed, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi provided an update on Jarrod Washburn, one of the few high-profile arms left on the rapidly-dwindling free agent pitching market.  Morosi quotes one source who said that Washburn only wants to play in “a limited number of places,” and another source who says he "would be surprised" if the lefty went anywhere besides Minnesota or Seattle. 

The Twins have made one attempt to sign Washburn: an offer worth roughly $5MM that was rejected earlier this month.  Given Minnesota's signing of Carl Pavano to serve as the veteran anchor of their rotation, Washburn would've been a luxury that the Twins may feel that they can live without. 

As for the Mariners, we've heard some whispers that they might be interested in bringing Washburn back to the city where he pitched from 2006 to last year's trade deadline.  The M's have already spent a lot of money this offseason, but Washburn might be enticed to return to a familiar situation for a contract akin to the one he turned down from Minnesota.  Then again, Washburn is a Scott Boras client, so a bargain could be hard to come by.

Another source tells Morosi that six teams "have inquired" about Washburn.  Aside from Minnesota and Seattle, we've heard Washburn linked to such suitors as Milwaukee (who are probably out of the running after signing Randy Wolf and Doug Davis), Kansas City and the Mets.  Morosi also points out that the Cubs could join the Washburn sweepstakes in the wake of missing out on Sheets.


Brewers Sign Doug Davis

The Brewers officially signed lefty Doug Davis to a one-year deal today worth $5.25MM guaranteed. The contract pays $4.25MM in ’10 and has a $6.5MM mutual option for ’11 with a $1MM buyout. Davis can also earn another another $1MM in incentives each season, broken down into payments of $125K each for 180, 185, 190, and 195 innings pitched and 28, 29, 30, and 32 starts.

This marks Davis’ second stint with Milwaukee, his first being the best stretch of his career. He signed with the Brewers as a free agent in July of ’03, and stayed until a November ’06 trade with Arizona. The 34-year-old posted a 4.12 ERA in ’09, but that didn’t match up with his 1.42 K/BB ratio.

Davis joins Randy Wolf as the second addition to the Brewers’ rotation this winter. Yovani Gallardo will lead the group, with Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan/Manny Parra rounding out the back end.

MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy first reported the agreement.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


Odds & Ends: League, Bourgeois, Giants, Uggla

Some links for Wednesday night…



Odds & Ends: Alfaro, Brewers, Byrnes, Giambi

Monday links, as we await a flurry of players avoiding arbitration…

  • The Rangers signed 16-year-old Colombian catcher Jorge Alfaro for $1.3MM, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.comClick here to watch video, courtesy of Kiley McDaniel.
  • The Mariners agreed to sign 17-year-old righty Kevin Quintanilla out of El Salvador.
  • Here's a link to Jon Heyman's latest at SI.com, where he ranks which teams have had the best offseasons so far.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees did not make an offer to Jerry Hairston Jr., nor have they had recent contact with Johnny Damon.
  • Olney also says the Rockies "are staying in contact with Jason Giambi, but they are considering other options first."
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel names the Brewers' arb-eligible seven, while also noting that GM Doug Melvin "remains in touch with the agents for free-agent lefties Doug Davis and Jarrod Washburn."
  • Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes about the Blue Jays' six arb-eligibles, noting that GM Alex Anthopoulos will not negotiate beyond Tuesday's deadline.
  • Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner believes Eric Byrnes is a fit for the Ms, though he acknowledges that the team already has several injury-prone players.  Cameron would be willing to pay about $1MM for Byrnes.  Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic looks back at the positive side of Byrnes' Arizona tenure.
  • In a FanGraphs article, Cameron says the WAR stat does value relievers correctly, and teams are just overpaying for closers.
  • WEEI's Rob Bradford wonders if Jonathan Papelbon's 2010 salary will lead to Theo Epstein's first arbitration hearing.
  • White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko told MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he wants to stay with the team beyond 2010, the last year of his current contract.
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan examines the Athletics, who he feels are set up to contend in 2011.
  • At the Cubs Convention over the weekend, GM Jim Hendry said fans can "expect to have two new faces" before Spring Training.  The Cubs seek a reliever and a bench bat. 

Odds & Ends: Hairston, Brewers, Reds, Salazar

Some links for Friday…


Odds & Ends: Standridge, Johnson, Davis, Crede

Links for Thursday…

  • Josh Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick is now "cautiously optimistic" about a potential long-term deal with the Marlins for his client, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. However, the two sides still have differing thoughts on the proper comparables to use for Johnson's 2010 salary.  I'd say Ben Sheets, Carlos Zambrano, and Zack Greinke might be used in that discussion, but given Johnson's $1.4MM salary in '09 he probably can't expect much more than $4.2MM. 
  • What do Tupac, Sandra Bullock, and MLBTR have in common?  They're all favorites of Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
  • Scott Lauber of The News Journal tweets that the Phillies signed righty Jason Standridge to a minor league deal.  The former Rays first-rounder pitched only 12.6 innings for the Marlins' Triple A club this year. 
  • Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports wrote last night that the Twins, Brewers, Mets, and Nationals have interest in free agent lefty Doug Davis.  Davis suggested to MLB.com's Bill Ladson that the Nats are more focused on adding a second baseman.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASN says Joe Crede "appears to top" the Orioles' free agent list.
  • The Mets signed lefty Bobby Livingston to a minor league deal, tweets MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  The 27-year-old southpaw logged 156 innings of 4.15 ball at various minor league stops in 2009.
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says players of Adam LaRoche's caliber should take note of his new deal, because "the offers aren't going to get any better."
  • Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post runs through Yorvit Torrealba's suitors, while also noting that Miguel Olivo's $2.5MM option for 2011 can become a player option with 110 games in '10.
  • Catcher Mike Rabelo is a new name among the Tigers' 17 minor league deals announced today, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.

Odds & Ends: Maddux, Valverde, Davis, Felix

Links for Monday…

  • Press release: Greg Maddux has joined the Cubs as an assistant to GM Jim Hendry.  He'll work with the coaching staffs as well as baseball operations.  Click here for the official story. 
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Diamondbacks' interest in Jose Valverde has cooled.  The Tigers made an offer, the magnitude of which is unknown. 
  • Morosi says the Indians are not engaged in trade talks for Jhonny Peralta.
  • ESPN's Keith Law praises the Reds for adding a pitcher with huge upside in Aroldis Chapman.  He also points out that MLB's current draft setup "screws American-born players."
  • David Coleman of The Crawfish Boxes says the Astros drew a line when they designated Julio Lugo for assignment in '03 following domestic violence charges, making their Brett Myers signing seem hypocritical.
  • Free agent lefty Doug Davis is interested in joining the Nationals, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson, but Davis was told the Nats are more focused on adding a second baseman.  Davis acknowledged, "Things are kind of going slow for me because I'm fifth or sixth down the line [when it comes to] starting pitching."
  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times talks about the Mariners' need to sign Felix Hernandez long-term before the season begins.
  • Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles evaluates the Giants' Aubrey Huff signing.
  • MLB.com's Doug Miller discusses new defensive stats with experts and team officials.

Brewers May Not Be Able To Add Another Starter

The Brewers may be right up against their 2010 payroll limit according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, however GM Doug Melvin is still looking to upgrade his club.

"If we can [add another starter] we'd like to," Melvin said at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings. "We might not be able to. We're always looking to improve the club.

"We're trying to keep flexibility to do things. The worst thing you can do is lose flexibility. We still want to be aggressive but we can step back and look at the landscape, see what takes place with free agents and trades."

McCalvy notes that the club's free agent signings total a $21MM commitment for 2010, plus there's another $37MM or so tied up in players already on their roster. The team has seven players eligible for salary arbitration, and there's about $18MM budgeted for them. If they fill out their roster with players making close to the minimum, it'll push Melvin's club over their $80MM or so projected payroll.

Given Randy Wolf's price tag, the team may not be able to add the second starter they crave. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com said the Brewers will "almost certainly" sign one of Jon Garland, Doug Davis, or Jarrod Washburn, though they may have to make a move to free up some cash to sign one of them.


Twins Looking To Upgrade Infield, Rotation

The Minnesota Twins are interested in bolstering their infield and their starting rotation, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. For now, they seem to be adopting a wait-and-see approach, in hopes that the asking prices for some free agents will drop. Here are the highlights from Morosi's update:

  • According to a source, Jarrod Washburn, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, and Brett Myers are among the Twins' pitching targets.
  • Garland, who is hoping to sign a multi-year deal, may be out of the Twins' price range.
  • The Twins are interested in Mark DeRosa and Adrian Beltre, but may not be able to afford them either. Their more realistic infield options include Miguel Tejada and Juan Uribe.
  • The Indians could move Jhonny Peralta, but the Twins "haven't actively pursued a trade" for him yet.

Discussion: Battle Of The Upside Starters

With the signing of Jason Marquis, the free agent starting pitchers left on the board are all awfully similar in terms of likely value. If you like Doug Davis over Jon Garland, or Joel Pineiro over Davis, you're still not likely to get a frontline starting pitcher, and it is likely to cost a team roughly what Marquis cost the Nationals.

The two remaining starters with the chance to be much better than average- but carrying significant risk- are Ben Sheets and Pedro Martinez. With Martinez, we have a better sense of what he is looking for, contract-wise, thanks to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reporting earlier today that he wants "more than Brad Penny got"- more than $7.5MM base salary, in other words. That's still in line with Marquis and company, however.

As for Sheets, he's reportedly seeking $12MM next year. So the question becomes, is Sheets likely to be more than a third better than Martinez?

The major advantages for Sheets: he's posted an ERA of 3.39 since 2007, while Martinez is actually below average during that time, at 4.66. Sheets has also made at least 30 starts as recently as 2008; Martinez last accomplished the feat in 2005.

But Martinez may be a better bet than that would suggest. For one thing, Sheets didn't pitch at all last season, while Martinez was quite effective- a 3.63 ERA in the regular season, 3.70 ERA in the playoffs. Martinez has also had a better strikeout rate than Sheets since 2007, which is a strong indicator of future performance.

If the price tag is significantly lower for Martinez- and as of right now, it appears to be- he might be the more valuable upside candidate of the two.

And if risk isn't your game, there's always Jon Garland.