Eric O'Flaherty Rumors
Earlier today, MLBTR posted a batch of notes from the National League West. Now, let's take a look at the other teams playing in the Senior Circuit:
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted his skepticism of the Braves' reported interest in Raul Ibanez citing his age (41) and lack of available at-bats (if Atlanta's corner outfielders are healthy).
- The Nationals now appear to be targeting a backup catcher and left-handed bullpen help, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets, suggesting Eric O'Flaherty as an option to meet the latter need. The connection with O'Flaherty corroborates a recent report from the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore.
- O'Flaherty is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and may not be available until May, but it won't scare off the Nationals, tweets Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com.
- While the Nationals are making a strong run at O'Flaherty, the Phillies and Dodgers have also shown interest, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak provided his explanation of the rash of signings and trades prior to the start of the Winter Meetings to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold. "For us, it was limited opportunities," Mozeliak said. "Everything we looked at, everything we wanted to do, everything we found attractive was limited, and we knew that we had to move quickly to attend to those needs or perhaps miss on (the preferred targets) and have to reassess."
- The market for Roy Halladay has yet to develop, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Brian McCann, who grew up a Braves fan, tells MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he relished his time in Atlanta. "I got to be teammates with Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz," McCann said. "I don't know if it gets much better than that, being from Atlanta."
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
The market for relievers continues to take shape, as the Tigers yesterday announced a two-year, $20MM contract with Joe Nathan, and the Red Sox and Edward Mujica struck a two-year agreement. Here's the latest on the free agent market for relievers...
- Agent Dan Horwits received calls from 14 teams regarding client John Axford in the first 36 hours following his non-tender by the Cardinals, he told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. As Nicholson-Smith writes, any team to sign Axford would control him through the 2016 season, making him a potentially more appealing target.
- One team who figures to be heavily in the mix for Axford is the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The O's liked Mujica prior to his signing with the Red Sox, and the fact that he is off the board likely strengthens Baltimore's interest in Axford, Kubatko adds.
- The Nationals are interested in Scott Downs and have inquired on him at least twice, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. It's not clear what kind of contract Downs is looking for at this time, writes Ladson, who also reports that the Nats are considering using Ross Detwiler out of the bullpen in 2014.
- The Nationals are also interested in southpaw Eric O'Flaherty, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Though the Nationals have yet to make an offer, they've maintained a constant dialogue with his agent. Washington is one of six teams to have shown interest in O'Flaherty and is also eyeing J.P. Howell and Boone Logan, per Kilgore.
Braves left-handed setup man Eric O'Flaherty visited Dr. James Andrews today, and it was determined that he will indeed undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery tomorrow, as the team had feared, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The news bears extra significance for O'Flaherty because he's in his final year of team control and will be eligible for free agency following the 2013 season. The 28-year-old, who was a lock for a multiyear free agent contract, will almost certainly have to settle for a one-year deal and could end up signing a minor league contract.
Since being selected off waivers from the Mariners prior to the 2009 season, O'Flaherty has been a dominant force coming out of the Atlanta 'pen. He's posted a 1.99 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 to go along with a 54.6 percent ground-ball rate. While he's unquestionably better against left-handed hitters, as one might expect, O'Flaherty has also held right-handed opponents to a sub-.700 OPS four times in the past five seasons.
Lefties Sean Burnett, Javier Lopez and Pedro Feliciano have all signed two-year deals worth $8-9MM in the past few years. O'Flaherty, however, could likely have pushed for a three-year deal in the mold of the contracts signed by Scott Downs ($15MM) or Jeremy Affeldt ($18MM) had he posted another strong season, especially considering his youth relative to the age at which those contracts were signed.
With O'Flaherty's stock plummeting, Downs could once again be the class of the lefty relief market. J.P. Howell and Boone Logan also represent lefties who, like O'Flaherty, will be younger than most of their peers when they hit the free agent market.
With one-fourth of the season in the books, let's have a look around some injury situations and how they might impact the developing trade market.
- The Cardinals and Yankees provide an interesting case study as we enter the second quarter of the season. Both have excellent records and lead their division. Both have sizeable payrolls as well as large portions of those payrolls sitting idle on the DL. Both have had to insert players onto their active roster that they did not anticipate. But, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch well explains, the source of those substitute bodies has been drastically different. While the Yankees spent well over $20MM to bring in players like Lyle Overbay, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, and Vernon Wells -- all of whom are 34 or older -- the Cards reached into their minor league system. Remarkably, St. Louis has plugged all of its holes with players making league minimum, including young pitchers John Gast, Shelby Miller, and Seth Maness.
- The Goold piece also includes some valuable insight from GM John Mozeliak. According to Mozeliak, amongst the team's Double-A and Triple-A rosters, "there is almost at any one position, if we needed help at the big leagues, someone we could call on from there." He acknowledges that such cheap, youthful depth cannot always be achieved, and says the team is prepared to pursue other markets as necessary. "I don't want us to go down the path where we feel like we've created this functional model and don't utilize a really robust pro scouting model that makes sure we understand the trade market and understand the free agent market. We can't be scared of those." Yet, by looking internally first, the team has managed to retain salary flexibility to add outside impact down the line. "This organization's way now of staying healthy is not being tied to those outside markets to fill needs," says Mozeliak. "Having some young players step up like they are now gives us additional flexibility when we're going to need it."
- The Cards' internal depth will once again be put to use with starter Jaime Garcia now staring at a strong possibility of season-ending shoulder surgery, writes Goold. Even with fellow starter Jake Westbrook also stuck on the DL, the team has multiple options among its current relief corps and Triple-A rotation that make a look outside the organization unlikely. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Garcia's replacement(s) can match his strong start to the year. He had thrown 55 1/3 innings of 3.58 ERA baseball to open the season. Veteran starter Chris Carpenter is increasingly shaping up as a viable mid-season option for the club. But any setback in his surprising recovery, or hiccups among the team's young hurlers, could lead St. Louis to consider eventually utilizing some of its salary reserves and young minor league depth in a trade.
- The Braves are another National League contender dealing with injured arms. As Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder writes, Eric O'Flaherty appears likely to join fellow setup man Jonny Venters as a season-ending Tommy John patient. While the team seems likely to utilize internal options to fill in for the present, the loss of its two late-inning lefties leaves the team with just one southpaw in the pen, Luis Avilan. Ultimately, then, Atlanta could be forced to explore the trade market to re-establish its depth as the season wears on.
- Teams shopping for starters at the trade deadline appear likely to find a limited supply of attractive arms, says ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). Two Cubs pitchers headline the developing market, with Scott Feldman shaping up as the surprise top option at the moment. (Matt Garza, of course, will begin his potential audition on Tuesday.) In addition to several other well-documented trade candidates in Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins and the Astros' Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell, Olney pegs the Padres' Jason Marquis and Edinson Volquez as likely available. Meanwhile, Bartolo Colon of the Athletics and Cliff Lee of the Phillies could also be dealt, writes Olney, with the A's having other internal options and the Phils still weighing how to proceed with their excellent (but expensive) 35-year-old co-ace.
Braves lefty Eric O'Flaherty has a torn UCL and will likely need surgery, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). GM Frank Wren tells O'Brien (also via Twitter) that the Braves are unlikely to make an immediate trade to replace O'Flaherty in the bullpen, noting that Wren doesn't expect other teams to trade top relievers this early in the season. Here are more notes from around the East divisions.
- The Mets have not yet discussed the possibility of acquiring first baseman Daric Barton, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says (on Twitter). Sherman writes (also via Twitter) that a Mets employee says the team will likely at least consider Barton, however. The Athletics designated Barton for assignment Saturday afternoon. Mets first baseman Ike Davis has struggled terribly this season, posting a line of .160/.245/.267.
- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury might be distracted by his impending free agency, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald suggests. Lauber quotes Mike Napoli, who discusses how pressures from friends and family during a contract year can take a player out of his comfort zone. "I could see where guys, because of that free agent year, if you start off rough, it’s like you want to do so good that you’re overdoing it," Napoli says. Shane Victorino says that he hasn't noticed Ellsbury overburdening himself, however. Ellsbury is hitting .247/.312/.346 so far this year.
- Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says this season has been "amazing" so far, Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger reports. "I didn’t but into the doomsday scenario that many people did. Because I knew that we had some good kids at Triple A. But more importantly, I knew that the guys we got in the offseason were veterans," Steinbrenner says. "[T]his is what you expect veterans to do." Newly-acquired veterans Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay have played key roles in the Yankees' 27-16 start.
- Steinbrenner tells McCullough he won't address manager Joe Girardi's contract until after the season, but Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News argues that Girardi deserves a new contract now, given his performance as the team has struggled with injuries.
Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements -- those worth less than $4MM -- right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.
Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB...
- The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM). Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
- The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
- Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
- The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
- The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
- The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
- The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
- The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter). Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
- The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
- The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter.
- The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
- The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
- The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
- The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).
For all of the hype generated by Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters last year, it was easy to overlook the impressive numbers posted by left-hander Eric O'Flaherty in 2011. O'Flaherty recorded 32 holds in 2011, throwing 73 2/3 innings over his 78 appearances and posting an 8.2 K/9 rate, a 3.19 K/BB ratio, and a miniscule 0.98 ERA (though, advanced metrics indicate that ERA may have been a bit lucky, as O'Flaherty had a 2.54 FIP and 3.05 xFIP). Also, O'Flaherty stayed dominant down the stretch, while Kimbrel and Venters' respective struggles in September were big reasons why the Braves blew their lead in the NL wild card race.
It was the best season yet for a southpaw who has thrived since Atlanta picked him up off waivers from Seattle in November 2008. O'Flaherty has a 2.02 ERA in 174 innings as a Brave, which translated into a nice payday in his second trip through the arbitration process this winter, as O'Flaherty and the Braves agreed to a $2.49MM contract for 2012.
O'Flaherty is the first of Atlanta's big three relievers to reach arbitration, as Venters is eligible after this season and Kimbrel is eligible after 2013. While it can be argued that the Braves should worry about those other two pitchers first, O'Flaherty's bronze-medal status within the Braves' bullpen could actually be more of a reason for the team to explore extending him; GM Frank Wren can use Kimbrel and Venters' presence as leverage to try and extract a bargain on an O'Flaherty contract.
MLBTR's Extension Tracker reveals three notable extensions for left-handed relievers over the 14 months...
- Glen Perkins' three-year, $10.3MM extension with the Twins, plus a club option for 2016. This deal covered Perkins' last arb-eligible season and his first two free agent years. Perkins, 29, enjoyed a big season in his first year as a full-time reliever and looks to stay in the Twins' bullpen for the foreseeable future.
- Sean Marshall's three-year, $16.5MM extension with the Reds that could earn him up to $4MM more in incentives. Marshall, 29, was scheduled to hit free agency after 2012.
- Marshall again, this time the two-year, $4.7MM deal he signed with the Cubs in January 2011. This contract covered Marshall's final two years of arbitration eligibility.
O'Flaherty just turned 27 last month, so he'll be roughly the same age as Marshall when he signed that 2011 contract with the Cubs, though O'Flaherty will be in line for a more expensive deal since he's already making $2.49MM this year. O'Flaherty's three-year track record of stellar relief also gives him an argument that he should earn more than Perkins.
I would say that a three-year, $12MM deal would be a fair price for both O'Flaherty and the Braves. It's notably less than Marshall's latest contract, but Marshall has pitched better than O'Flaherty over the last two seasons, plus the Reds made that deal with an eye towards Marshall likely taking over as closer should Ryan Madson leave next winter. Here's where the Braves' leverage over O'Flaherty comes into play --- whereas Marshall could close in Cincinnati and Perkins could perhaps supplant Matt Capps as Minnesota's closer, O'Flaherty will see minimal opportunity to finish games as long as Kimbrel and Venters are in the fold. With this in mind, I can see the Braves trying to go lower with an initial offer akin to Perkins' contract before settling on the $12MM number, with incentives and maybe an option year included.
Whatever Atlanta pays O'Flaherty will set the table for what his fellow lefty Venters might look for in a contract extension, and you can bet that Kimbrel will generate an even bigger deal if he keeps up his current elite status. Busy times lie ahead for the Braves in bullpen negotiations, so it can't hurt to get the first piece of the puzzle locked up now. Or, with free agency awaiting after 2013, O'Flaherty might choose to forego security now and take a shot at a more lucrative closer's contract in two years.
Photo courtesy of Mark Goldman/Icon SMI
In advance of tomorrow's 11am central time deadline to exchange arbitration figures, settlements will be rolling in today. Follow all of the action with MLBTR's arbitration tracker. The latest for players under $4MM:
- The Braves and Eric O'Flaherty avoided arbitration, Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets. O'Flaherty will earn $2.49MM, just shy of his projected $2.6MM salary.
- The Orioles and Jim Johnson have avoided arbitration, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets. The right-hander will earn $2.625MM in 2012, just north of his projected $2.5MM salary.
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Franklin Morales, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. The left-hander had a projected salary of $1MM and agreed to an $850K deal.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with J.P. Howell, agreeing to a $1.35MM deal for 2012, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Matt Swartz had projected a $1.4MM salary for the left-hander.
- The Royals avoided arbitration with Chris Getz, agreeing to a $967,500 deal for 2012, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Matt Swartz had projected a $1.2MM salary for the infielder.
- The Nationals announced they've avoided arbitration with catcher Jesus Flores. Flores, who is represented by Praver/Shapiro, received $815K, MLBTR has learned.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with outfielder Nyjer Morgan, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The ACES client received $2.35MM, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- The Royals announced they've avoided arbitration with catcher Brayan Pena, a client of Wasserman Media Group. Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star says the deal is worth $875K; Matt Swartz had him at $900K.
- Orioles pitcher Darren O'Day avoided arbitration for a deal worth $1.35MM, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Matt Swartz had projected the same for the Beverly Hills Sports Council client.
- Yankees righty Phil Hughes agreed to a deal worth $3.2MM plus performance bonuses, tweets his agency CAA. The 25-year-old gets a $500K raise after a lost 2011 season.
- The Tigers announced they've avoided arbitration with lefty Phil Coke. Coke, a client of Full Circle Sports Management, gets a $1.1MM base salary with $50K in incentives for appearances or starts, MLBTR has learned.
- The Angels avoided arbitration with infielder Alberto Callaspo, signing him to a one-year deal worth $3.15MM, tweets ESPN's Keith Law. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz nailed this one, projecting a $3.1MM salary. Callaspo, a client of Eric Goldschmidt, received a $1.15MM raise for his second time through arbitration.
- Ryan Zimmerman repeated to MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he'd like to spend his entire career in Washington. The third baseman is set to hit free agency after the 2013 season.
- Scouts tell Bob Nightengale of USA Today that the Nationals will be powerful in a couple of years and would compete in the NL West right now (Twitter link).
- The Phillies and Cole Hamels want to work out a long-term deal this offseason, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gelb shows that Jered Weaver is about as statistically similar to Hamels as possible and suggests that the Phillies and Hamels could agree to a contract that mimics Weaver's recent five-year, $85MM extension. Hamels should earn more than Weaver, given his higher 2011 salary and proximity to free agency.
- Mets manager Terry Collins asked starter Mike Pelfrey if he'd be up for becoming the team's closer in 2012 and Pelfrey said he "absolutely" would, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. However, it's unlikely that Pelfrey will become the Mets' closer, since GM Sandy Alderson is opposed to the idea, Martino writes. Check out CloserNews.com for more on each team’s bullpen.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he has focused on adding speed in recent years, bringing in players such as Jose Constanza and Michael Bourn.
- Braves reliever Eric O'Flaherty switched agents and is now a client of Dan Lozano's Icon Sports Group, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter). Steve Canter formerly represented the left-hander, who will be arbitration eligible for the second time after the season. Keep track of each player's representation with MLBTR's Agency Database.