Emilio Bonifacio Rumors
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."
A look at Jon Heyman's new column at SI.com...
- Heyman writes in praise of the Marlins for acquiring Emilio Bonifacio as part of the Josh Willingham-Scott Olsen deal last November. Contrast that with Ken Rosenthal, who spoke to a scout a week ago who was not impressed with Bonifacio.
- Heyman hasn't found any evidence that the Giants are close to signing Tim Lincecum to an extension.
- Heyman says that Freddy Garcia's contract doesn't have an out clause, but "it's generally understood that if another big-league team is ready to give him a shot, the Mets would either try to find room for him or let him go." Garcia has apparently looked good in extended spring training.
It's official - the Marlins traded Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the Nationals for Emilio Bonifacio, Jake Smolinksi, and P.J. Dean. Let's round up commentary on the surprising deal.
- Jim Bowden says he acquired Willingham as an outfielder, not a first baseman.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro has Larry Beinfest saying the Marlins will move forward with both Jeremy Hermida and Dan Uggla.
- Mike Berardino and Juan C. Rodriguez also believe Uggla will stay put this winter.
- Olsen talked to Frisaro and the Palm Beach Post's Joe Capozzi about the trade. He's happy it's over, but doesn't sound bitter.
- Also at MLB.com, Jonathan Mayo evaluates the prospects the Marlins received.
- ESPN's Keith Law calls it an "easy win for Washington." He notes that Olsen's velocity rebounded in September.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reminds us that the Marlins excel at evaluating young talent. He says Nick Johnson, if healthy, figures to be trade bait now that the Nats have Willingham.
- Dave Cameron weighs in. He says the neither Olsen nor Willingham are as good as their reputations, but the Nats didn't give up much.
9:44pm: Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel was assured this evening that Dan Uggla will not be traded this winter. Additonally, Mike Berardino says the Marlins won't be signing Ivan Rodriguez for a second stint.
6:34pm: According to ESPN's Peter Gammons, the Nationals acquired Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham from the Marlins for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio and two minor league players, pitcher P.J. Dean and shortstop Jake Smolinski.
Bonifacio was the prospect the Diamondbacks traded straight up for Jon Rauch. He fits into the "speed and defense" plan. Smolinski was ranked 11th among Nationals prospects heading into the season according to Baseball America. They consider him a polished hitter with gap power. Dean was ranked 30th, but he projects well and could become a mid-rotation starter according to BA.
I have to say, I thought the Marlins would get more for these two players. There's not really a sure thing in the bunch. Did Jim Bowden pull a heist, or was this the true market value of these two players? Olsen's peripheral stats weren't great this year, while Willingham has back problems.
Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.
The Washington Post is reporting that the Nationals released both Paul Lo Duca and Felipe Lopez following tonight's game. The move was made to free-up space on the roster for Elijah Dukes and Emilio Bonifacio.
Lo Duca was hitting .230/.301/.281 in 139 at bats this season and made $5MM on a one-year deal. Lopez was hitting .231/.303/.309 in 324 at bats and was in his final arbitration-eligible season, making $4.9MM.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has an article today about the implications of the Diamondbacks' acquisition of reliever Jon Rauch.
- The loss of second baseman Emilio Bonifacio doesn't exactly change the D'Back's plans, as they were skeptical on his ability to become a regular anyway. Still, people are asking whether they'll try to re-sign Orlando Hudson. Piecoro says Hudson is expected to test the free agent market, and doesn't seem likely to offer a discount. His salary should exceed $10MM.
- If Hudson leaves, the D'Backs could either look for a new second baseman or shift Mark Reynolds over there and consider a third baseman. Take a look at the free agent market - options are limited at both positions. Perhaps a trade could be explored.
- Closer Brandon Lyon is a free agent after the season as well, and seems likely to leave. The D'Backs have plenty of in-house replacement options, starting with Rauch. Lyon will join free agent closers such as Brian Fuentes, Trevor Hoffman, Francisco Rodriguez, and Kerry Wood. It's easy to see Hoffman and Wood staying put, leaving three solid options.
- Piecoro talked to team officials who downplayed the recent Mark Teixeira rumblings.