Felipe Lopez Rumors
The Rays signed infielder Felipe Lopez to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced. ESPNDeportes' Enrique Rojas reports (in Spanish) that Lopez will earn $1MM if he makes the Major League roster and can earn another $1MM in incentives. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that the sides were close to a deal.
Lopez, 30, spent most of last season with the Cardinals, but they released him, partly, because he was late for a game. The Red Sox signed him and, once he was designated a Type B free agent, offered him arbitration. Boston would have obtained a compensatory pick if Lopez had signed a Major League deal elsewhere, but after a season in which he hit just .233/.311/.345, the interest wasn't there. Lopez would clearly have obtained more guaranteed money by accepting Boston's offer of arbitration.
Some Red Sox tidbits to close out the evening..
- BoSox GM Theo Epstein doesn't think that the Albert Pujols negotiations will have an impact on the club's talks with Adrian Gonzalez, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. In December the slugger said that he would look for a market value deal rather than try to pattern his extension after Pujols'.
- By acquiring Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Bobby Jenks, Rays manager Joe Maddon believes that the Red Sox gained the most ground of any team in the division this winter, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Red Sox signed catcher Paul Hoover to a minor league deal, tweets Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Hoover, 34, has a career .733 OPS at the Triple-A level.
- If Felipe Lopez winds up signing a minor league deal with the Rays and makes the Opening Day roster, the Red Sox still won't receive a compensatory draft pick, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
We can expect to see the Rays sign veteran Felipe Lopez to a minor league deal in the next couple of days, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (via Twitter). Topkin wrote earlier today that Lopez was a name to "keep in mind" as the club is in need of an inexpensive middle infielder.
After signing a one-year, $1MM deal with the Cardinals last year, the club cut ties with the 30-year-old due to behavioral problems. Lopez's flat offense didn't help his case either as he hit just .233/.311/.345 in 109 games before signing with Boston. The Red Sox wisely offered the Type B infielder arbitration, but a minor league deal means that they won't receive a compensatory draft pick.
SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field, making it very possible the stadium will host an All-Star Game before it hosts its first playoff game. Let's check out the rest of today's Mets- and Yankees-related links....
- The Mets' two-year deal with R.A. Dickey could be a coup, says Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Daniel Murphy has played all over the diamond in recent years, and will head into the 2011 season aiming to become the Mets' starting second baseman. Manager Terry Collins says Murphy could also play some first and third base. ESPNNewYork's Adam Rubin has the details.
- Speaking to the media, Jorge Posada discussed his and Derek Jeter's defensive positions for 2011 and beyond. Peter Botte of the New York Daily News passes along quotes from the Yankees' new designated hitter, who says he still expects to see some time behind the plate this year.
- Chad Jennings of the Journal News explores possible fits for the Yankees' bench, naming Lastings Milledge or Felipe Lopez as potential targets.
23 American League free agents were offered arbitration on November 23rd. Four of those - Joaquin Benoit, John Buck, Victor Martinez, and Javier Vazquez - already have new contract agreements. Current free agent Kevin Gregg has chosen to decline. The remaining 18 AL free agents offered arbitration will have their decisions noted here and in our tracker.
- Cliff Lee (A) declined the Rangers' offer, as expected.
- Miguel Olivo will decline the Blue Jays' offer, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jason Frasor (A) will accept the team's offer, according to Mike Wilner of the FAN 590. Scott Downs (A) will decline the Blue Jays' offer, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier that Jason Frasor would either sign a multiyear deal or accept arb (Twitter link).
- Adrian Beltre will decline arbitration from the Red Sox, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Felipe Lopez (B) will also decline an offer of arbitration, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.
- Carl Pavano (A) has officially turned down arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter). Orlando Hudson (B) will decline the Twins' offer of arbitration, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweets of "strong indications" Jesse Crain (B) will also decline.
- A source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that Paul Konerko (A) will decline arbitration (Twitter link). J.J. Putz (B) declined arbitration from the White Sox, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin (on Twitter).
- Chad Qualls (B) and Carl Crawford (A) have declined arbitration, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). Grant Balfour (A) turned down arbitration, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). As anticipated, Randy Choate (B) declined the Rays' offer, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. ESPN's Buster Olney predicted the decision earlier today. Rafael Soriano (A) will decline the Rays' arbitration offer, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Brad Hawpe (B) will decline the Rays' offer as well, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.
- Frank Francisco (A) will accept the Rangers' offer, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Scott Downs (A) Jason Frasor (A) Kevin Gregg (B) Miguel Olivo (B), according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisolm (on Twitter).
- The Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano (A), Jesse Crain (B) and Orlando Hudson (B) and declined to offer arbitration to Matt Guerrier (A), Brian Fuentes (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays offered arbitration to Grant Balfour (A), Carl Crawford (A), Rafael Soriano (A), Randy Choate (B), Brad Hawpe (B) and Chad Qualls (B), according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. They did not offer Dan Wheeler (A) or Carlos Pena (B) arbitration. It seems possible that Hawpe has agreed in advance to turn down arbitration.
- The Orioles won't offer arbitration to Koji Uehara (B) or Kevin Millwood (B), according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
- The Angels declined to offer Hideki Matsui (B) arbitration, the team announced.
- The Rangers offered arbitration to Cliff Lee (A) and Frank Francisco (A), but not to Vladimir Guerrero (A) and Bengie Molina (A), according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The Yankees will offer arbitration to Javier Vazquez (B), but not to any of their other free agents, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday on Twitter. Andy Pettitte (A), Derek Jeter (A), Mariano Rivera (A), Lance Berkman (B) and Kerry Wood (B) were the team's other ranked free agents. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Yankees would offer Vazquez arbitration and noted that the right-hander has agreed to reject the offer, a common gentleman's agreement that can take place with Type B free agents. Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger first reported on Twitter that the Yankees would not offer Jeter arbitration.
- The Red Sox offered arbitration to Adrian Beltre (A), Victor Martinez (A) and Felipe Lopez (B), but not to Mike Lowell (B) or Jason Varitek (B), according to the team.
- The White Sox offered arbitration to Paul Konerko (A) and J.J. Putz (B), but not to A.J. Pierzynski (A) or Manny Ramirez (A) according to the team (on Twitter).
- As expected, the Tigers announced that they will not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, including Scott Boras clients Magglio Ordonez (A), Johnny Damon (B), and Gerald Laird (B).
The Red Sox will only pay Atchison $40K more than the MLB minimum in 2011. That's a bargain considering the 34-year-old threw 60 innings of 4.50 ERA ball with 6.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 last year.
Boston chose to pay Hall a $500K buyout instead of guaranteeing him $9.25MM in 2011. The 30-year-old utility man batted .247/.316/.456 with 18 homers in 2010 and he played every position but first base and catcher (he even pitched). Hall is an unranked free agent, so the Red Sox won't obtain draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.
They could obtain a compensation pick if Lopez, a Type B free agent, turns down arbitration to sign elsewhere. That possibility appeared to contribute to the team's interest in the infielder when they signed him in September. Lopez batted .233/.311/.345 in 441 plate appearances for the Cardinals and Red Sox.
The Red Sox hired Curt Young as their new pitching coach, according to WEEI's Alex Speier. The team already made a formal announcement. Young, formerly of the Athletics, replaces John Farrell. Farrell is now manager of the Blue Jays. A few other Red Sox notes from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe...
- Former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi will probably decide later this week whether to join the Red Sox or Mets front office.
- The Red Sox told Bill Hall they'll reject his $9.25MM club option in favor of a $500K buyout according to Cafardo, though The Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson notes it's team policy to wait until the deadline to officially make option decisions.
- Cafardo says early talks with David Ortiz "haven't yielded much progress." Big Papi is known to be seeking multiple years, but the Sox have a $12.5MM club option just for 2011.
- Felipe Lopez has an "unspecified option" in his contract, writes MacPherson. He's a Type B free agent, but the Red Sox will need to decline the option, offer arbitration, and have him turn it down to sign a big league deal elsewhere if they're to get a draft pick.
- The Red Sox also have Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, and Jason Varitek as free agents. They have five arbitration eligible players: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kevin Cash, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon. Salty has already agreed on a contract for 2011.
The Red Sox will "explore their options" with Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, and David Ortiz, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They're also "already checking into" Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, possibly with the idea of moving Jacoby Ellsbury back to center field and making Mike Cameron a pricey fourth outfielder. Rosenthal's other musings...
- Rosenthal's quick math suggests the Yankees would have to stay out of the Crawford/Werth derby - barring a payroll increase - if they sign Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Cliff Lee.
- Rosenthal finds the offseason trade market for starting pitching unimpressive. Though Matt Garza is "drawing long looks" from other teams, the Rays are more likely to trade a starter after the 2011 season. As for Royals ace Zack Greinke, the team might be inclined to let him rebuild value in the first half. Earlier this month, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith named five other starters who might be available this winter.
- John Hart, Stan Kasten, or Sandy Alderson could be a fit for the Mets if they look to add an experienced executive above Omar Minaya, speculates Rosenthal. Rosenthal's source does not see Kasten replacing Bob Dupuy as baseball's second in command.
- Felipe Lopez wouldn't net the Red Sox a draft pick if his next deal is of the minor league variety, notes Rosenthal.
Some links to check out after the Rangers clinched their first AL West title since 1999...
- Brandon Webb will meet with new Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers next week to discuss his immediate future, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert and Andrew Pentis. Webb acknowledged that he's not 100% back from shoulder surgery, but he wants to be activated next week to showcase himself before hitting the free agent market.
- Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com says that the Pirates have begun the process of evaluating their relievers. It's safe to say that Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan are the only guys guaranteed jobs next year.
- Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times tweets that Ozzie Guillen said the Cubs would be an option if he does not return to the White Sox next season.
- Carlos Pena doesn't think his struggles this season (.200/.329/.412) are the result of him putting too much pressure on himself in advance of free agency, writes Tony Fabrizio of The Tampa Tribune.
- Michael Baron of Metsblog.com says that the Mets shouldn't rule out any kind of trade that can improve the roster, even if it includes David Wright or Jose Reyes.
- Felipe Lopez told FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal that he rejected the Padres' waiver claim because he wouldn't have felt like part of the team (all Twitter links). Lopez wouldn't have been eligible for San Diego's playoff roster if he helped them clinch a playoff spot.
- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) says that some within the Orioles organization view Victor Martinez as someone who could serve as a backup catcher and mentor to Matt Wieters while still getting plenty of at-bats at first base and designated hitter. We learned of Baltimore's interest in V-Mart yesterday.
- With their contracts set to expire after the season, the futures of long time Tigers Jeremy Bonderman and Brandon Inge are up in the air, writes Lynn Henning of The Detroit News.
- Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune reports Ozzie Guillen indicated that any decision about his future will first go through his family. Ozzie's status beyond this season has been uncertain of late.
- MLB president and COO Bob DuPuy is expected to move out of his current role according to Olney, though the timing of the move is unclear. DuPuy was viewed by some as a potential successor to commissioner Bud Selig, who has indicated that he will retire when his contract is up in two years.
- Last, but certainly not least, hello to MLBTR reader Aaron Hill! He was caught checking out MLBTR in this clubhouse video tour with Shaun Marcum.