Emilio Bonifacio Rumors
The Yankees enter play today with a one-game lead over the Orioles and four games over the Rays. And, it's a good thing this isn't your father's Yankees, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. If George Steinbrenner was alive today, Rosenthal believes he might have fired manager Joe Girardi after blowing a ten-game lead in the AL East and replaced him with the likes of Lou Piniella. Hal Steinbrenner is almost the polar opposite of his father. So much so that, when Rosenthal asked Brian Cashman of the potential fallout that might occur if the team fails to reach the playoffs, the Yankees' GM said, "We have objective, patient ownership." Also from Rosenthal's column:
- The new schedule hasn't been a cure-all for small market teams like the Rays. Rosenthal suggests one way to mitigate the Rays’ disadvantage would be to scale revenue sharing so they would receive a greater percentage than a low-revenue club such as the Indians, who compete in a division with lower payrolls.
- A criticism of the new playoff system is Wild Card teams who have better records than division winners are penalized in the seeding of the Division Series. Rosenthal's solution is to wait until after the Wild Card game to seed the Division Series.
- The AL CY Young Award voting will be a test of how accepted advanced statistics are by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Rosenthal points out the last eight AL pitchers to either lead or tie for the lead in those categories, like the Rays' David Price this year, each have won the award. The Tigers' Justin Verlander meanwhile leads in wins above replacement and Chris Sale of the White Sox leads in ERA+. Price is tops, however, in quality of opponents faced, based on the rankings of Vince Gennaro, president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
- Larry Bowa's interview for the Astros' managerial vacancy is a good sign, as rival executives have worried that GM Jeff Luhnow is surrounding himself with too many like-minded sabermetric types rather than building a diverse baseball operations department.
- The Marlins may have difficulty in sticking with their plan to keep Emilio Bonifacio in center field, play Donovan Solano at second, and make the acquisition of a third baseman their top priority. Rosenthal points out the market for third basemen is bare, so one alternative for the Marlins is to acquire an outfielder and move Bonifacio back to third base.
- Look for the Rays to exercise their $2.5MM option on Fernando Rodney. Rodney is bidding to become only the second reliever in history (Dennis Eckersley in 1990) to have a season of 40 or more saves and an ERA under 1.00. Rodney leads baseball with 43 saves and his ERA is 0.66.
- The Cubs will look again this offseason to move Alfonso Soriano, who is one home run and one RBI shy of his first 30-homer, 100-RBI season since 2005. If the Cubs fail to receive a sufficient offer, they could always bring back Soriano, owed $36MM over the next two years, and try to move him at the deadline again. Rosenthal cited the example of Carlos Lee of how it is easier to deal an overpriced player the closer he gets to the end of his contract.
No team in baseball has a better ERA than the Nationals (3.25), who are seeking infield depth and monitoring the market for arms as the trade deadline approaches. Here are the latest links from the NL East, starting with the 61-40 Nationals...
- Though the Nationals liked Emilio Bonifacio, the Marlins said a trade "ain't happening," Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- The Nationals are looking for a utility player and are focusing on players who can back up at shortstop, Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports (on Twitter). The team has discussed 15-20 players in the Marco Scutaro, Jamey Carroll, Nick Punto mold, Adam Kilgore reported last week. With Ian Desmond on the disabled list, Washington needs middle infield depth.
- The Braves have checked in on relievers and Wade Davis' name has come up in discussions, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports. However, the Rays seem reluctant to trade the right-hander.
- The Phillies are more likely to trade Hunter Pence than Cliff Lee, but it's possible both will be moved, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- The Marlins are telling teams Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle are off-limits, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. They feel committed to Buehrle and believe Reyes will play better now that Hanley Ramirez has been traded. The Marlins are also sure to keep Giancarlo Stanton, Heyman writes.
- The Marlins are reluctant to trade Emilio Bonifacio, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- The Padres offered to trade Luke Gregerson for Daniel Murphy, but the Mets rejected the possible deal, John Harper of the New York Daily News reports. Gregerson, 28, has a 3.05 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 44 1/3 innings this year. He earns $1.55MM and will remain under team control through 2014.
The two biggest free agent contracts handed out by NL East teams this offseason went to Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle of the Marlins. They signed deals worth $106MM and $58MM, respectively, in December. Here are the latest links from the division...
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today previews the 2012-13 free agent market and explains that Cole Hamels and B.J. Upton project as two of the top available players. Nightengale suggests Johan Santana’s $137.5MM contract could be a target for Hamels, who has had some talks with the Phillies about a long-term extension. The Phillies aren’t expected to offer the left-hander more than five years, Nightengale writes.
- Now that the Marlins have officially missed out on Yoenis Cespedes, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com examines the team's center field options. Emilio Bonifacio figures to start in center with Aaron Rowand, Chris Coghlan and other players in the mix for reserve roles.
- Frisaro doubts the Marlins will make a last-minute push for Ivan Rodriguez.
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com suggests Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens could draw trade interest this spring if he appears to be healthy.
Emilio Bonifacio beat the Marlins in their arbitration hearing, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. The Wasserman Media Group client will be paid $2.2MM in 2012 instead of the Marlins' $1.95MM figure.
Like the Rays, Nationals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and Astros (prior to Jeff Luhnow), the Marlins have a policy of going to hearings once the arbitration figure exchange deadline is reached. This year they also lost a hearing to Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins lost to Cody Ross in 2010, Dan Uggla in 2009, and Miguel Cabrera in 2007. The team beat Kevin Gregg in '07. Keep in mind, though, that if the Marlins had settled at the midpoint in all six cases, they only would have saved $1,562,500 in total. They might have gained more than that amount if their "file and trial" policy compelled other players to settle at team-friendly amounts out of fear for going to a hearing.
This year the clubs and players are even at 2-2, with the teams having beaten John Lannan and Jeff Niemann. 14 arbitration eligible players remain unsigned, though in recent years we have not seen more than eight total hearings. Check out MLBTR's arbitration tracker here.
Marlins infielder Emilio Bonifacio had his arbitration hearing today, the Associated Press reports (via ESPN.com). Bonifacio asked for $2.2MM, while the Marlins countered with $1.95MM. Arbitrators Steven Wolf, Mark Burstein and Sylvia Skratek heard the case and are expected to reach a decision by tomorrow.
As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Bonifacio is the Marlins’ lone unsigned arbitration eligible player. Anibal Sanchez won his case against the team last week. The 26-year-old Bonifacio is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and will remain under team control through 2014. He is a client of Wasserman Media Group.
If you're in the Northeast, here are some links to check out while you take a break from shoveling...
- ESPN's Jayson Stark ranked baseball's ten-year contracts, with Derek Jeter's soon to be completed ten-year, $189MM deal coming in as the best.
- The Marlins agreed to one-year contracts with 12 of their pre-arbitration eligible players according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, including Sean West, Chris Volstad, Emilio Bonifacio, and Dan Meyer.
- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio confirmed that he will be involved in long-term contract discussions with Prince Fielder, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). Haudricourt also tweets that Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin met today to discuss the situation and there will be no deadlines imposed on the 25-year-old.
- Rich Aurilia, who stopped by the Giants' camp today, says that while he's still looking for a job, he will retire if he doesn't have one by the end of spring, tweets Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse. The 38-year-old has a broadcasting deal in place if he is unable to find a job on the field.
- Shin-Soo Choo says that he would like to stay in Cleveland long-term, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Choo, like Morales, cut ties with his former agent (Alan Nero) in favor of Scott Boras.
- Michael Weiner, the executive director of the players' union, confirmed that the union is participating in an investigation into alleged unauthorized withdrawals from Kendry Morales' bank account by a former employee of his former agents, Hendricks Sports Management (Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reporting). Morales recently dropped HSM and hired Scott Boras.
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides a few quotes from Albert Pujols about his contract situation. "Do I want to do this right now and take care of this so we don't need to worry about it? Of course," said Pujols. "If it happens, it happens. But there are some things I am able to control and there are other things that are out of my hands that I can't control. And that's the truth."
- The Mariners signed righty Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor league contract, according to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. The 27-year-old had been out of baseball since 2005 because of substance abuse issues, though he resurfaced with an independent league team last season.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report indicating the the Orix Buffaloes are moving towards a deal with Freddie Bynum. The White Sox released Bynum last week so he could pursue opportunities in Japan.
- Meanwhile, Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Felipe Lopez will provide the Cardinals with a great amount of flexibility.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post calls the contracts of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and other Yankee players "time-bomb contracts."
- John Tomase of The Boston Herald says the Red Sox have a deep bench with Mike Lowell, Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida, and Jason Varitek.
MLB.com's Joe Frisaro answered some questions from fans and discussed all things Marlins in his latest inbox piece...
- Though Florida non-tendered Alfredo Amezaga earlier this month, "both sides have mutual interest" in seeing the utilityman back in the teal-and-black. Amezaga played in just 27 games last season due to knee surgery, and was non-tendered since he likely would have earned an arbitration raise from his 2009 salary of $1.3MM. If the Fish are hoping to sign Amezaga at a lower price, however, they'll have to make a better offer than the other 10 teams interested in Amezaga's services.
- If Dan Uggla is traded, Frisaro thinks that it isn't automatic that Chris Coghlan would take over at second base. Frisaro thinks the defensively-superior Emilio Bonifacio would be given a shot at playing second, though he notes that both Bonifacio and Coghlan combined couldn't make up Uggla's power numbers.
- Frisaro shoots down any chance of the Marlins pursuing Erik Bedard, since even on a short-term and discounted contract, he's still out of the club's price range.
- Moreso than finding a starter, Frisaro says that Florida's greater priority is signing an experienced reliever.
Links for Friday...
- Royals third baseman Alex Gordon is out 10-12 weeks due to hip surgery. Mark Teahen will slide over to take his place.
- Ken Rosenthal examines the Indians.
- I did a Q&A with But The Game Is On.
- Chico Harlan of the Washington Post gets into the Emilio Bonifacio trade.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. writes about how the Yankees' signing of D'Angelo Jimenez changed everything.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker has a Yu Darvish velocity chart.
- The Big Lead talked to Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Paul DePodesta explains the Padres' decision to expose Travis Denker to waivers.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- Rosenthal suggests Cecil Cooper of the Astros may be the first manager fired; he says the team's veterans "do not care for Cooper." He's in the last year of his contract.
- With a comeback season for the Red Sox, Brad Penny could be in line for a lucrative free agent deal after the season. One executive told Rosenthal Penny had the least amount of structural issues in his arm compared to similar free agents last winter.
- The Red Sox are said to be "maintaining a quiet dialogue" with Jason Bay, who is eligible for free agency after the season. Rosenthal says there's no acrimony or deadline; the sides are just trying to determine Bay's value. It's a tricky calculation for corner outfielders, and the market will be flush after the season.
- Angels infielder Brandon Wood appears big league ready. Will the Angels trade Chone Figgins this summer to make room, or at least let Figgins leave as a free agent after the season? There are plenty of ways to sort out the situation, but Wood deserves to play.
- Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario, signed out of the Venezuelan winter league, drew strong praise from one scout.
- One scout had this to say regarding Emilio Bonifacio: "He's just a guy."