Fernando Rodney Rumors
The Yankees enter play today with a one-game lead over the Orioles and four games over the Rays. And, it's a good thing this isn't your father's Yankees, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. If George Steinbrenner was alive today, Rosenthal believes he might have fired manager Joe Girardi after blowing a ten-game lead in the AL East and replaced him with the likes of Lou Piniella. Hal Steinbrenner is almost the polar opposite of his father. So much so that, when Rosenthal asked Brian Cashman of the potential fallout that might occur if the team fails to reach the playoffs, the Yankees' GM said, "We have objective, patient ownership." Also from Rosenthal's column:
- The new schedule hasn't been a cure-all for small market teams like the Rays. Rosenthal suggests one way to mitigate the Rays’ disadvantage would be to scale revenue sharing so they would receive a greater percentage than a low-revenue club such as the Indians, who compete in a division with lower payrolls.
- A criticism of the new playoff system is Wild Card teams who have better records than division winners are penalized in the seeding of the Division Series. Rosenthal's solution is to wait until after the Wild Card game to seed the Division Series.
- The AL CY Young Award voting will be a test of how accepted advanced statistics are by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Rosenthal points out the last eight AL pitchers to either lead or tie for the lead in those categories, like the Rays' David Price this year, each have won the award. The Tigers' Justin Verlander meanwhile leads in wins above replacement and Chris Sale of the White Sox leads in ERA+. Price is tops, however, in quality of opponents faced, based on the rankings of Vince Gennaro, president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
- Larry Bowa's interview for the Astros' managerial vacancy is a good sign, as rival executives have worried that GM Jeff Luhnow is surrounding himself with too many like-minded sabermetric types rather than building a diverse baseball operations department.
- The Marlins may have difficulty in sticking with their plan to keep Emilio Bonifacio in center field, play Donovan Solano at second, and make the acquisition of a third baseman their top priority. Rosenthal points out the market for third basemen is bare, so one alternative for the Marlins is to acquire an outfielder and move Bonifacio back to third base.
- Look for the Rays to exercise their $2.5MM option on Fernando Rodney. Rodney is bidding to become only the second reliever in history (Dennis Eckersley in 1990) to have a season of 40 or more saves and an ERA under 1.00. Rodney leads baseball with 43 saves and his ERA is 0.66.
- The Cubs will look again this offseason to move Alfonso Soriano, who is one home run and one RBI shy of his first 30-homer, 100-RBI season since 2005. If the Cubs fail to receive a sufficient offer, they could always bring back Soriano, owed $36MM over the next two years, and try to move him at the deadline again. Rosenthal cited the example of Carlos Lee of how it is easier to deal an overpriced player the closer he gets to the end of his contract.
Though offseason additions such as Albert Pujols and Heath Bell have disappointed so far this year, other free agent signings are playing well for new teams. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com puts together a list of 25 such players, including C.J. Wilson, Bartolo Colon and Edwin Jackson. Here’s more from Heyman:
- Heyman hears negotiations between the Diamondbacks and Miguel Montero could start up again soon (Twitter link). Montero, a free agent this offseason, has been seeking a four-year, $52MM deal.
- The Yankees want Mariano Rivera back in 2013, but he'll have to wait until the season ends to discuss a contract, per team policy (Twitter link).
- The Angels continue seeking relief help, Heyman tweets. However, few teams are looking to sell just yet.
- Fernando Rodney says he signed with the Rays because they believed in his ability. "With the Angels they tried to change my mechanics to throw more strikes,'' Rodney recalled. "Here they told me, you come here, we're not going to change anything.''
- Heyman suggests the Mets should extend manager Terry Collins for doing a “terrific job” (Twitter link).
- One management person suggested a five-year, $100MM deal could work for the Rangers and Josh Hamilton, Heyman reports. One agent says a seven or eight-year deal worth $25-30MM per season seems more appropriate, assuming there’s protection for the Rangers. For more on Hamilton’s next contract, check out this post from earlier today.
The Braves played their first ever game in Atlanta on this date in 1966. The contest featured two home runs from Joe Torre, but the Pirates won 3-2. Here are today's links...
- Ian Kinsler recently signed an extension with the Rangers, even though he was already under team control through 2013. How about Dustin Pedroia, who’s under contract through 2014 with an $11MM club option for for 2015? Pedroia tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he wants to stay in Boston and play for the Red Sox. His agent, Seth Levinson, says "Dustin's value far transcends his statistics."
- Manager Jim Leyland said the Tigers were "quietly interested" in Fernando Rodney before he signed with the Rays, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports. The former Tigers reliever has yet to allow a baserunner in four outings with his new club.
- Former Expos GM Omar Minaya explained to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the deal that sent Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore to Cleveland occurred under highly unusual circumstances. “Long-term, we were going to be contracted,” he said. “And if you were going to be contracted, the No. 1 priority was to be as competitive as you can.” Minaya, now the Padres’ senior VP of baseball operations, and Mark Shapiro of the Indians completed the fateful Bartolo Colon trade ten years ago.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com couldn’t find any GMs interested in trading for Justin Morneau. The Twins first baseman earns $14MM per season in 2012 and 2013, but Bowden wonders if the Rangers or Yankees could show interest later this summer.
The Rays announced that they signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year deal that includes club option for 2013. Rodney will earn $1.75MM in 2012 and has a $2.5MM option for '13 with a $250K buyout, tweets ESPN's Enrique Rojas. The Associated Press first reported the deal (link in Spanish via ESPN).
“Fernando’s pure stuff is top-notch and can beat hitters both in and out of the strike zone,” Rays Executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “We feel he will be able to maximize his ability with us to further strengthen our bullpen.”
Rodney posted a 4.50 ERA with more walks (28) than strikeouts (26) and a 58.4% ground ball rate in 32 innings of work for the Angels in 2011. The 34-year-old has a 4.29 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 and a 49% ground ball rate in nine seasons with the Tigers and Angels. Rodney told the AP that he hopes to compete to be the Rays' closer in 2012 and that he’s feeling good physically and mentally.
Congratulations to Tim Wakefield, who won his 200th career game tonight. Here are this evening's links, starting with updates on two players who were traded for one another 13 years ago...
- White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he might retire after 2013, when his current contract expires. The 35-year-old has a terrific .308/.395/.528 line with 29 homers in the first season of the three-year, $37.5MM deal he signed last offseason.
- The Marlins released Mike Cameron because of conduct detrimental to the team, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
- The Braves have increased the responsibilities of three front office members following the departure of director of player personnel Kurt Kemp, according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Assistant GM Bruce Manno will oversee player development, Ronnie Richardson was promoted to director of minor league operations and John Coppolella was promoted to director of professional scouting.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post can see the Rockies pursuing Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham this offseason (Twitter links).
- Renck also suggests Jason Hammel is available. Hammel's strikeout rate (5.0 K/9) and ground ball rate (43.5%) dropped this season, while his ERA (4.91) and walk rate (3.7 BB/9) rose, so his trade value is considerably lower than it would have been last winter. The 29-year-old is under contract for $4.75MM in 2012.
- Fernando Rodney told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com that he would have liked more chances to close with the Angels this year. The right-hander will look to sign with a team that can provide him with more regular work when his two-year contract expires after the season.
The Rockies aren't in on Michael Young, but other clubs have at least some interest in the Rangers infielder. Young would consider trades on a case-by-case basis, though he can veto deals to teams other than the Cardinals, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Rockies, Dodgers, Angels and Padres. Yesterday we found out that the Cardinals, Twins, Mariners and Tigers have little or no interest in Young. The Astros, however, like Young's tools to an extent and might consider sending Carlos Lee to the Rangers for him. Here's the latest on Young, with the most recent updates up top:
- The Phillies recently contacted the Rangers to express interest in Young, three league sources told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The talks ultimately didn't get very far and are no longer active. One of the sources characterized the interaction as "tire kicking" on the part of the Phillies. It should be noted that the Phillies are not one of the eight clubs that Young would approve trades to, though the 34-year-old says that he would consider deals to teams not on the list.
- The Yankees aren't expected to pursue Young, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- Several people involved with the Young situation tell Jon Heyman of SI.com that they believe there’s a “decent chance” that the Rangers open Spring Training with Young. Texas is talking to multiple teams about Young and for now the Rangers are discussing deals with clubs that Young would accept trades to.
- The Angels have little interest in picking up most of Young’s contract or assembling a package of players that would appeal to the Rangers, according to Mike DiGiovanna and Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times. Texas is looking for starting pitching and a position player who can help at the Major League level. The Angels would part with Scott Kazmir and Fernando Rodney, but those players have little appeal to the Rangers.
- The Dodgers have some concern about Young’s defense and power, according to DiGiovanna and Dilbeck.
- The Mets should consider acquiring Young, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Mets could send Jason Bay to the Rangers, who are known to be seeking a DH type, and New York could then either keep Young or flip him to another team, with net salary savings in either scenario.
Sunday night linkage..
- The Tigers could use another arm in the bullpen, though they can likely find one in Triple-A Toledo, writes Steve Kornacki of MLive.com.
- Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times likes the Ben Zobrist contract extension for both parties. Zobrist officially agreed to a three-year extension with the Rays on Friday.
- Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter) says it's time for the Giants to call up a certain young right-handed slugger who can fill in at catcher and first base.
- We should see Coco Crisp's Oakland A's debut in about two weeks, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com. Billy Beane & Co. signed the outfielder to a one-year, $5.5MM deal in December of last year.
- Jim Bowden of FOXSports.com breaks down his favorite offseason moves. Bowden praises the Angels' acquisitions of Joel Pineiro, Hideki Matsui, and Fernando Rodney.
2:57pm: The Angels have agreed to terms with Fernando Rodney, according to ESPNDeportes.com's Enrique Rojas (Jayson Stark of ESPN.com provides an english version of the story). Rodney will sign a two-year deal worth $11MM, pending a physical.
WEDNESDAY, 11:58am: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark hears that Rodney won't end up in Philadelphia. Instead, the Phillies will look for bargains in the new year. Stark mentions Danys Baez as a possibility for the Phils.
7:00pm: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Phillies are interested in Rodney as well, at two years and $12MM. Nice little offer.
TUESDAY, 1:07pm:The Angels are in serious discussions with free agent reliever Fernando Rodney, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. The Angels are a nice match for Rodney, as the number of teams with closing opportunities is dwindling. The Angels are already on the hook for $9MM for Brian Fuentes next year, but if they bump him to a setup role they can prevent his 2011 option from vesting.
Rodney, 33 in March, posted a 4.40 ERA, 7.3 K/9, and 4.9 BB/9 in 75.6 innings. Not very impressive numbers, but he can at least boast of saving 37 games in 38 tries. Rodney operates with a mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s changeup. Since he's a Type B free agent who turned down arbitration, the Tigers will gain a supplemental draft pick if he signs elsewhere.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun dishes the latest Orioles hot stove news...
- The Orioles contacted the agents for a few of Saturday's non-tendered players, including reliever Matt Capps. Capps' agent has mentioned his client's desire to close as a major factor, and the Orioles could accomodate. However, Connolly names Fernando Rodney as Baltimore's top target at closer. Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde, and Kevin Gregg are also of interest, though Gonzalez and Valverde are dinged for the draft pick cost.
- The Orioles need help at the infield corners, and they've contacted the agents for a long list of free agents: Carlos Delgado, Hank Blalock, Joe Crede, Nick Johnson, Ryan Garko, Garrett Atkins, and Mike Jacobs. I think they'd be best-served by adding Delgado and Crede. Your thoughts?
- Connolly indicates that about 25, rather than 15, teams were on hand to watch Aroldis Chapman yesterday. So the list of teams not monitoring Chapman is shorter. The Orioles remain involved.
There's more going on with the Phillies than the big trade. Here are the details:
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki says Fernando Rodney and John Smoltz are "believed to be" top targets for the Phillies.
- Ross Gload's two-year deal is worth $2.6MM, according to Scott Lauber of the News Journal.
- Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phils had two scouts watch Aroldis Chapman today. The NL champs are not considered major threats to sign the lefty, though.