Fausto Carmona Rumors
The Indians started their offseason off with a few major moves today, acquiring Derek Lowe from the Braves, picking up Fausto Carmona's option and declining Grady Sizemore's. Here are some more notes about the Indians...
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he visited Sizemore's Arizona home to tell him that the Indians had decided to decline his option. The decision was "very difficult" for Antonetti, but he determined that there were better ways for the Indians to spend the $8.5MM they saved.
- The Indians will pursue a "quality outfielder" through free agency, Antonetti said. There's still a chance that the Indians will re-sign Sizemore.
- The Indians are expecting better results from Carmona in 2012, since the groundballer has bounced back from difficult seasons in the past.
- Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer says the Indians should make Michael Brantley their everyday center fielder and shop for a corner outfielder this offseason.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law breaks down the Lowe trade and says it helps the Indians, since they get another groundball pitcher who makes his starts. Lowe isn't much more than a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, Law writes, so Atlanta's willingness to part with him for salary relief and lefty reliever Chris Jones is understandable.
- Jason Roberts of FanGraphs explains that there's reason for the Indians to expect Lowe to rebound from his ugly 5.05 ERA in 2012.
- When I looked ahead to the Indians' offseason last week I explained that adding rotation depth was a significant part of the team's offseason challenge. Now that they've acquired Lowe and declined Sizemore's option, their next job will be to re-establish outfield depth.
Carmona would have earned more than the $7MM option price as an arbitration eligible player, and the Indians made the expected choice to retain him.
Sizemore spent his entire career with the Indians, peaking in 2008 with a tenth-place finish in the MVP voting. Due to Sizemore's health concerns, the Indians chose a $500K buyout over a $9MM option for 2012. Sizemore has had several surgeries in recent years but expects to be ready for Spring Training, so he'll be appealing on a one-year deal to many teams.
The Indians are expected to decline their $9MM 2012 option on center fielder Grady Sizemore and exercise their $7MM 2012 option on right-hander Fausto Carmona, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Sizemore will be owed a $500K buyout.
Sizemore, 29, was a cornerstone player for the Tribe from 2005-08 (.281/.372/.496) but has seen his stock plummet after three consecutive injury-riddled campaigns. Bastian notes that the Indians will likely be interested in bringing back Sizemore on a lesser deal, and as Tim Dierkes wrote earlier today, the three-time All-Star should garner interest - perhaps in the form of an incentive-laden deal - from teams in need of help in center field.
Carmona, 28 in December, will apparently return for a seventh season in Cleveland. The groundballer (58.6% career rate) has seen pretty wild fluctuations in his yearly ERAs, although his FIPs usually sits in the mid-4.00s. He averaged 200 innings over the past two seasons, however, so the Indians are hoping that he can shoulder a similar workload again and pitch competently at what is a reasonable salary. The Indians also hold options on the right-hander for 2013 ($9MM) and 2014 ($12MM).
Last night we learned that all option decisions - regardless if it's team, player, or mutual - must be made by 11:59pm ET on Monday.
Some links from around baseball as we await Game Three tomorrow night..
- Former Mariners pitcher Randy Messenger has agreed to a contract to return to the Hanshin Tigers in 2012, a source tells Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. Messenger’s agent Matt Sosnick confirmed that the deal is for one-year with an option for 2013. MLBTR has learned that the two-year deal could be worth just under $5MM.
- If the White Sox stick to their plan of cutting their $127MM payroll, with $89MM already tied to eleven players, it's likely that John Danks or Mark Buehrle won't start next season with the team, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin. The arbitration-eligible Danks would be one of the team's greater trade chips.
- Three days after the World Series, Indians GM Chris Antonetti will have to decide whether to exercise club options on center fielder Grady Sizemore and starter Fausto Carmona, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Picking up the options of both would cost the Tribe $16MM in 2012.
- Shortstop Rafael Furcal wrestled with the decision of whether or not to approve the deal sending him from the Dodgers to the Cardinals, writes Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.
- After clearing waivers, Cardinals lefty Arthur Rhodes could have wound up with any number of teams, writes Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Blue Jays skipper John Farrell gained valuable experience in his first year as a big league manager, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.
Wednesday night linkage..
- The Indians plan to take their time in deciding whether to pick up the options on Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Sizemore, who underwent surgery on his right knee earlier this month, has a club option worth $9MM with a $500K buyout while Carmona's option is worth $7MM for next season.
- The Cardinals are hopeful that the good feelings from this postseason might carry over into the Albert Pujols negotiations this winter, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.
- Even though the Marlins are expected to spend this offseason, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (via Twitter) doesn't like their chances of landing Pujols or C.J. Wilson.
- If Yankees pitcher and former Rule 5 pick Ivan Nova can build off of an inspiring rookie season, he’ll be taking one of the rarest career paths in baseball history, writes Josh Goldman of Fangraphs.
On this date in 1983, Steve Carlton of the Phillies won the 300th game of his career. The Phillies don't have any 300 game winners on their staff at this point, but it won't be surprising if one or two of their pitchers join Carlton in Cooperstown one day. Here are some links for Friday...
- Coco Crisp told Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times that he's looking for a winning team, a location he likes and a good "financial situation" when he decides where to sign this offseason (link via the Boston Herald). The 31-year-old California native says he enjoys playing in Oakland and believes the A's have a chance to win in 2012.
- The Orioles placed Troy Patton on the restricted list yesterday, according to MLB.com's Transactions Page. The left-hander left the team for a court-appointed orientation class that's related to his offseason DUI arrest, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. He should re-join the team in Detroit today.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Bob Klapisch of the Record that he's "comfortable but not expectant" of a new contract after the season, when his current deal with the Yankees expires. Klapisch says Cashman has earned another contract.
- Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer made the case for bringing Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona to the Indians next year. Though there are arguments in favor of each player, it's not easy to get excited about "the prospect of continued uncertainty."
The Indians may have had their playoff hopes dashed by the Tigers, but with a strong performance over the next week and a half, they'll still finish the season with a winning record. Cleveland sends Justin Masterson to the hill against the Twins today, looking to finish off a sweep and get back to .500. Before they get underway at Target Field, let's check out a few Tribe-related links....
- The Indians figure to pursue starting rotation depth and a right-handed bat this winter, according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Pluto also expects the club to exercise Grady Sizemore's 2012 option, though he's not as sure about Fausto Carmona's. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes said earlier this month that Carmona's option "requires pause, but is worth exercising," and also predicted Sizemore's option will be exercised.
- Within Pluto's piece, he notes that the Tribe should end up drawing more than 1.8 million fans this season, well above their projected figure of 1.3 million. The bump in attendance will help accommodate a payroll increase for 2012.
- The Indians have sent $20K to the Twins to complete the Jim Thome trade, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer fields reader questions in his latest mailbag, discussing Casey Kotchman, Orlando Cabrera, and September callups, among other topics.
- The Star-Ledger's Mike Vorkunov looks at the Indians and a few other teams whose playoff hopes fell by the wayside in the second half. He briefly explains what went wrong and why there's hope next year for each club.
A few links to pass along regarding clubs in the Central divisions ...
- The Indians are facing an offseason of difficult decisions, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. With basically the same roster, the Tribe's payroll would jump from $49MM in 2011 to roughly $70MM next season, explains Hoynes. Several key players like Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez and Asdrubal Cabrera will be eligible for arbitration, and the Indians own options on Grady Sizemore ($9MM) and Fausto Carmona ($7MM).
- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa dismissed a rumor that he will manage the Cubs next season, writes Kevin Roberts of MLB.com. A report surfaced earlier this week that the Cubs would hire La Russa and Reds GM Walt Jocketty (formerly the Cards' GM) in an effort to lure impending free agent Albert Pujols this offseason. This one seems to be falling apart, as Reds owner Bob Castellini has said Jocketty will be back with the Reds in 2012.
- The AL MVP Award is now Tigers righty Justin Verlander's to lose, opines Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
The AL East won't be short on storylines tonight, when the Red Sox host the Yankees in Boston and Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie makes his MLB debut against the Orioles in Baltimore. Here's the latest from the division...
- Top Orioles draft pick Dylan Bundy is in Baltimore for a physical and he told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that he hasn't yet started negotiations with the team (Twitter links).
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Red Sox made a late push for Fausto Carmona before the trade deadline.
- Jonathan Papelbon told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he is not going to set up for anyone. Papelbon, who hits free agency after the season, then reinforced his point by speaking about himself in the third person. "Cinco don't set-up," he said. "Never."
- Justin Duchscherer had successful hip surgery today, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The right-hander hopes to pitch in 2012, but it won't be with the Orioles, who released him earlier in the week.
- As Zrebiec explains, the regression of the Orioles' top young arms is the biggest reason that it's hard to see the club threatening for a playoff spot in the near future.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- Yesterday's push by the Yankees to acquire Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez came from ownership, not GM Brian Cashman. SI's Jon Heyman wrote yesterday that the Yankees offered to pay $21MM of the $38MM left on Rodriguez's contract, implying they feel that Rodriguez is worth less than $7MM a year. Rosenthal says the Astros were willing to pay $2MM of Rodriguez's salary this year (essentially all of it) "or $5MM if his [player] option for 2014 were exercised." I'm in the minority, but I'm with the Astros in thinking paying Wandy down to the range of Ted Lilly's contract is reasonable. At any rate, Rosenthal says the Astros and Yankees never even got to the point of discussing names.
- Cashman has seven untouchables in trade discussions, a rival GM told Rosenthal.
- More than a handful of teams called the Indians "to gauge the club’s willingness to flip Ubaldo Jimenez less than 24 hours after acquiring him." The Indians wanted Jimenez for themselves though. Rosenthal adds that the Indians entertained a "flurry of offers" for starter Fausto Carmona before the deadline.
- Rosenthal says he was unfair to print a rival executive's quote last week about how Astros GM Ed Wade was trying to make a "job-saving" deal for Hunter Pence.
- Athletics GM Billy Beane explained to Rosenthal that "ultimately a trade is a bilateral and not a unilateral process," suggesting that teams were not engaging in back-and-forth negotiations for his players. Also, Rosenthal hears that the Rangers offered Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland (who ultimately got them Mike Adams) plus shortstop prospect Leury Garcia for closer Andrew Bailey.