Fernando Martinez Rumors
A wrap-up of some items as we head into the weekend...
- Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle wonders if the Athletics erred in dealing promising outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to Colorado.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli says that the Orioles are holding off on any potential Luke Scott trades until they see if Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold are healthy and can handle regular roles.
- Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock tells MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that the team isn't looking at free agent relievers to fill in for the injured Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero: "We're keeping our eyes open, but we're not actively pursuing. People are calling us more than we're calling them."
- The Indians have no interest in the recently-released Elijah Dukes, reports The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes.
- Speaking of the Tribe, they announced in a press release that seven players were optioned to their minor league camp, the most notable of these being top catching prospect Carlos Santana. Indians GM Mark Shapiro told Hoynes that Santana was being sent down to work on his defense, but noted that Santana will "be on an accelerated program" due to his impressive bat. The ESPN Insider Rumors page speculates that the club may have made the move to delay the start of Santana's major league service time.
- In the wake of Cliff Lee's suspension, abdominal strain and possible DL stint, Dave Cameron of the U.S.S. Mariner blog notes (via Twitter) that signing Jarrod Washburn as a replacement wouldn't work since Washburn wouldn't be fit for the start of the season anyway.
- MLB.com's Marty Noble covers several topics in a reader mailbag, including how Mets prospect Fernando Martinez "is less likely trade bait now" than he has been in the past two years.
- Arn Tellem, Hideki Matsui's agent, was originally told by the outfielder that he wanted to play in the majors for 10 years, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Matsui is about to enter his eighth season, and though his current contract with the Angels is just for the 2010 campaign, I suspect the 2009 World Series MVP will last that full decade.
The incomparable Marty Noble answers many of the fan inquiries with his usual mixture of information and wit. Among other ideas, he considers:
- Just what would it take, hypothetically, to bring Adrian Gonzalez to Queens? Noble believes a package of John Maine, Fernando Martinez and Ike Davis "and perhaps more would be one to consider seriously."
- Noble likes Joel Pineiro more than Jason Marquis, adding that "I know the Mets are interested in [Bengie] Molina."
- He says that while Mark DeRosa wouldn't be a top priority, "If they can't bring back Alex Cora, DeRosa would an even better fit."
- He counters a fan's proposal to trade "Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Omir Santos to the Angels for Erick Aybar, Gary Matthews Jr., Ervin Santana and Jeff Mathis" with one of his own: "How about Perez for the rights to Albie Pearson?" Pearson was the 1958 AL Rookie of the Year, of course.
Some links on this Monday evening...
- The Giants have hired Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens as their hitting coach, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Meulens - who previously held the same position with San Francisco's Triple-A affiliate - recorded an OPS of .641 in his Major League career.
- MLB.com's Chris Haft brings us a look at Bam Bam's resume. Meulens was the only candidate manager Bruce Bochy spoke to before he and GM Brian Sabean made their choice, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.
- In a radio interview this morning on WGN-AM 720, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that he wants the Cubs' payroll to remain in the top three in baseball. Signing John Grabow to a new deal would help towards that goal.
- MLB.com's Mets beat writer Marty Noble answered fan questions in his latest mailbag installment and says that he is not sure that the club wants to rid themselves of John Maine or Fernando Martinez. However, the Mets would be willing to part with them in a deal to acquire a much needed number two starter or power hitter.
- More Mets news from Noble as Jeff Francoeur is expected to be ready in time for spring training after undergoing thumb surgery. Francoeur, who is entering his second year of arbitration, will likely be retained by Omar Minaya & Co. However, it remains a slight possibility that the Mets do not tender the 25-year-old an offer.
9:34am: Heyman says the Yankees inquired about Cliff Lee and were told they'd have to give up Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, plus other players.
8:34am: Jon Heyman of SI.com has the latest on the biggest stars available:
- The Phillies are the frontrunners to acquire Roy Halladay. Heyman says the Jays are expected to ask for one of J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek, one of Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, plus others.
- The Brewers may be the Phillies' biggest threat, but they'd probably have to part with Alcides Escobar, and maybe Mat Gamel, too.
- The Mets bowed out of the Halladay talks once Fernando Martinez's name came up.
- There's a "good chance" the Cardinals trade for Matt Holliday, according to one of Heyman's sources.
- Indians GM Mark Shapiro wonders if teams are holding onto their prospects too tightly: "It's almost to the point where there's an over-evaluation of these guys. There's almost an over-correction."
- Heyman says the Nats should trade Nick Johnson, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham.
More links for the afternoon...
- The Red Sox had this deal set up before July 2nd and now it's finalized. They signed Dominican SS Jose Vinicio to a $1.95MM deal, according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
- Roy Halladay leads the league in pitcher abuse points, as Tim shows at RotoAuthority. Click on the link for the entire list of hard-working starters.
- ESPN.com's Jorge Arangure Jr. says Miguel Angel Sano wants to sign with the Pirates, but his agent wants him to take the biggest offer.
- Newsday's David Lennon reports that Fernando Martinez had surgery and will miss 6-8 weeks.
- In spite of all the injuries the Mets have suffered, Cameron Smith of the Washington Post isn't sure a second-place finish will be enough to save Omar Minaya's job. Minaya's three-year $4.5MM extension kicks in next season.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Dodgers would have to overpay for Jake Peavy, the Red Sox are going after bats and the Giants are "dangling" Jonathan Sanchez. Here are the details:
- It's unlikely the White Sox could pry Cliff Lee away from the Indians.
- The Brewers aren't sure whether they'll go after a hitter or a pitcher.
- Heyman cites a source who says the Dodgers believe they'd have to pay "insanely" more than anyone else if they want to acquire Peavy. That's not much of a problem for the Dodgers, who are looking strong as-is.
- The Red Sox are "aggressively seeking help," according to their competitors.
- The best player they have a realistic shot at is Victor Martinez. If the Red Sox are going to deal for V-Mart, they'll likely have to part with young pitching.
- Along with Nick Johnson and Aubrey Huff, Heyman says Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham are "possibilities" for the Red Sox.
- Not surprisingly, the Mets would not deal Fernando Martinez for Matt Holliday.
- The Giants are "dangling" Jonathan Sanchez.
- The Cubs remain the favorites for Peavy, though they haven't called the Padres about him recently.
- The Yankees, Angels and Rangers are looking for relief help.
- One AL exec believes Erik Bedard would not adjust well to the attention if he's dealt to the Phillies.
- And could George W. Bush team up with Nolan Ryan to re-purchase the Rangers?
A look at the latest from SI.com's Jon Heyman...
- Heyman addresses the issue of whether the Indians will trade staff ace Cliff Lee. GM Mark Shapiro isn't thinking about it (not under consideration, according to Ken Rosenthal), and rival execs are divided. Heyman says neither side made a contract extension proposal during the offseason. The Indians will have Lee through 2010 once they exercise his option.
- The Mets mulled calling up Fernando Martinez, but they'll stick to their plan of keeping him in Triple A until at least June.
- The Orioles are "seriously considering" drafting USC shortstop Grant Green with their #5 pick. However, the Padres are said to be eyeing Green at #3.
11:56pm: Rodriguez's agent Paul Kinzer on whether the rumored two-year, $25MM offer with a third-year option is true: "Absolutely not." It will require three guaranteed years at least to sign K-Rod.
8:43pm: K-Rod gave some quotes to the media, nothing interesting.
7:14pm: Stark says the Mets finished their meet with Fuentes; Hoffman is up next. Wood is not in Vegas. Stark adds that the Mets discussed concepts but did not make a formal offer to K-Rod.
6:45pm: Sherman now says the Mets' offer was for $25MM over two years plus a third year option.
6:03pm: Rodriguez's agent Paul Kinzer told Sherman he'll try to be creative with this contract. Sherman asked whether that could mean an opt-out clause, and Kinzer responded in the affirmative. Sherman says the Mets' offer is in the range of three years, $33MM; no talk of the vesting option Heyman mentioned.
5:26pm: Jon Heyman says the Mets offered K-Rod a two-year deal worth about $12MM per with a third-year vesting option. Doesn't sound like something he'll jump at.
2:14pm: Joel Sherman rejects Graziano's report. Sherman says the Mets have not talked to the Jays about B.J. Ryan.
1:39pm: Gerry Fraley learned from a team official that the Mets made a three-year offer to K-Rod, but they don't expect him to take it immediately.
12:06pm: Joel Sherman has details on the Mets' talks for Huston Street. Omar Minaya called the Rox a few weeks ago suggesting Aaron Heilman and Pedro Feliciano for Street. The Rockies took the weekend to think about it, but when they called back Minaya had changed his mind.
In another article, Sherman says Omar Minaya's approach toward free agent closers is Boras-like. He believes the Mets' offer to K-Rod last night was three years with an option.
10:33am: Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger says the Mets and Blue Jays had discussions about B.J. Ryan. However, the Jays want Fernando Martinez and the Mets don't want to trade the young outfield prospect.
7:50am: According to David Lennon of Newsday, the Omar Minaya and other Mets officials dined at a steakhouse with Francisco Rodriguez for over four hours Sunday night. Lennon believes the early presence of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon implies that negotiations with K-Rod may have reached a critical stage.
SI.com's Jon Heyman wrote earlier yesterday evening that the Mets were expected to make an offer to Rodriguez at the meeting. Maybe three years with a vesting option.
The Mets also plan to meet with Brian Fuentes and Trevor Hoffman today, with Kerry Wood also on the radar. Ken Davidoff looks at the options and says, "It's gotta be K-Rod." The Rangers like Wood as well, by the way.
THURSDAY: David Lennon of Newsday talked to a source who said there's "nothing there" in regard to the rumor of a Dye and Jenks to the Mets blockbuster. Joel Sherman talked to a few Mets officials who called the rumor nonsense. Sherman says Martinez is "all but untouchable."
WEDNESDAY: Let's dig into the latest column from John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus.
- Perrotto speaks of whispers of a possible White Sox-Mets blockbuster. The Mets would receive Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks and the White Sox would receive Fernando Martinez among others.
- Regarding the Orioles' possible involvement in a trade that would send Jake Peavy to the Cubs, Perrotto says Baltimore seeks Ronny Cedeno and Felix Pie from Chicago.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has spoken to outfielder Jayson Werth and setup man Ryan Madson about contract extensions. Madson might be a tough one as he's represented by Scott Boras (who recently compared him to Mariano Rivera). Both players are under team control for one more season.
- The Red Sox are considering free agents Willie Bloomquist, Jay Payton, and Mark Loretta as possible bench additions. A return to Boston seems to be Payton's preference.
- Perrotto believes the only player seriously considering accepting arbitration is Darren Oliver. Oliver's already seen the Reds drop out of the mix due to the draft pick price.
- Perrotto says the Tigers and Orioles are showing interest in Jack Wilson, while the Dodgers have backed off.
Let's try to decipher the Mets' strategy for acquiring a new closer.
- Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post says the Mets will pursue a free agent out of the gate, perhaps with Brian Fuentes ranked above Francisco Rodriguez on their list. Still, K-Rod's agent noted that they're not "wedded" to a five-year deal, and he didn't toss the reported $15MM demand out there. Hubbuch believes the Mets will move on to trade targets such as Bobby Jenks and Huston Street if they fail to sign Fuentes or Rodriguez.
- Ken Davidoff and David Lennon mention J.J. Putz as well, while suggesting the Mets don't love Street. They agree that the Mets will try free agency first, with Kerry Wood a third target. Davidoff likes Jenks over K-Rod, but expects it'd cost Fernando Martinez and maybe Bobby Parnell. The White Sox have reportedly scouted Parnell and Eddie Kunz.