Fernando Rodney Rumors
Links for Wednesday...
- The Reds signed pitcher Jon Adkins to a minor league deal, according to the pitcher's Twitter (hat tip to The Hall Of Very Good). Adkins spent 2009 pitching in Korea.
- The Giants were right not to offer arbitration to Bengie Molina, writes Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles.
- Chris Pummer as well as our own Howard Megdal from The Perpetual Post weigh in on Andruw Jones, who recently signed with the White Sox for $500K.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News discusses the chances of the Giants signing Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, or Hudson.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says the Mariners are interested in Orlando Hudson, at the right price. The lack of an arbitration offer helps.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs looks at Ned Colletti's claim that the Dodgers' decision not to offer arbitration to Type A free agent Randy Wolf "was made strictly from a baseball perspective."
- No surprise here: Astros GM Ed Wade indicated that a reunion with Wolf is unlikely (MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reporting). Wade also downplayed the reports linking the Astros to Brett Myers and J.J. Putz, saying, "We've made contact with agents for about every player out there as a matter of course. I would not read anymore into it than that."
- ESPN's Buster Olney believes Rafael Betancourt "could be the player whose market is most affected" among the ten Type As offered arbitration.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday questions the Mets' Billy Wagner trade from August.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders if the Braves might now pursue a setup man such as Octavio Dotel or Fernando Rodney.
- Corey Brock and Steve Gilbert have Winter Meetings previews at MLB.com for the Padres and Diamondbacks, respectively.
- Diamond Leung links to stories indicating the Chiba Lotte Marines "are interested in purchasing the contract of Dodgers left-hander Eric Stults." Stults posted a 4.86 ERA in ten starts for the Dodgers last year, making another 13 starts in the minors.
Now that the Braves officially have closer Billy Wagner in tow, they're considering some free agent candidates to fill the role of setup man. Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution named Octavio Dotel and Fernando Rodney as candidates earlier today. MLB.com's Mark Bowman went further, saying the Braves are pursuing Dotel, Rodney, and Takashi Saito. While it seems unlikely, the Braves might want to make sure Rafael Soriano and/or Mike Gonzalez do not accept their arbitration offers before making offers to other free agents.
Bowman also notes that the Braves maintain interest in first baseman Adam LaRoche despite not offering arbitration to the Type B free agent. The Braves appear unwilling to offer a multiyear deal.
5:13pm: GM Dave Dombrowski told Beck that he would be "very surprised" if Rodney or Lyon accepts arbitration.
1:16pm: The Tigers offered arbitration to Type B free agent relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, but not Type A second baseman Placido Polanco, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck. These decisions fit with our predictions from yesterday.
The Tigers most likely want to go in a cheaper direction at second base, and Polanco benefits because his new team will not have to surrender a draft pick. I am guessing they do not expect Rodney or Lyon to accept the arbitration offers, but wouldn't mind if either one does.
Links for Saturday...
- Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe thinks the Red Sox made a big mistake by letting Alex Gonzalez go to Toronto. I can't say I'd be too upset if my team let a guy with a 78 career OPS+ go, no matter how good his defense was.
- ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes writes that even if the Red Sox eat a big chunk of Mike Lowell's contract, they'll still have trouble trading him because of all the third base options on the free agent market.
- Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times wrote about all of the flexibility Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik has going into the winter meetings.
- Meanwhile, Larry Stone at The Seattle Times wouldn't be surprised to see Kevin Towers end up with the Mariners because of his relationship with Zduriencik.
- Lynn Henning of The Detroit News guesses that the Tigers will offer arbitration to Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney, and Brandon Lyon before Tuesday's midnight deadline. Polanco is a Type-A free agent, Rodney and Lyon are both Type-B's.
- The sale is complete and the Ricketts family has assumed control of the Cubs, according to David Roeder of The Chicago Sun Times.
- The deadline for the sale of another team, the Rangers, passed more than a week ago, but owner Tom Hicks hasn't indicated what happened, or how many groups actually made a pitch, according to Barry Shlachter of The Star Telegram.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along the news that Jose Contreras has one less suitor in Japan. Meanwhile, Ryo Shinkawa writes that Hiroshima is looking into signing Giancarlo Alvarado, who pitched with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate last season, posting a 3.49 ERA.
- The best bet for the Red Sox to fill their need at shortstop might be to make a trade, says Tyler Hissey of MVN.com. Hissey suggests that Reid Brignac, Stephen Drew, and Yunel Escobar could be had via trade, but would cost the BoSox a pretty penny.
- Steve Melewski of MASN Sports says that the Orioles can find their next closer in-house. Recently, we learned that the O's are one of eight teams interested in free agent Billy Wagner.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com discussed some of Atlanta's options in the free agent market, and here are a few of the more notable pieces of news....
- Relievers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez "will likely leave Atlanta" for greener free agent pastures, and thus the Braves are looking for new options at the back of their bullpen. Bowman says the Braves have talked to free agent closer Billy Wagner's representatives and "won't necessarily be scared" by Wagner's Type A status since Soriano and Gonzalez are also both Type A's. If those two were to sign elsewhere, the compensation that Atlanta would receive would more than make up for the picks they would lose for signing Wagner. The Braves and Wagner's most recent club, the Red Sox, may end up virtually trading relievers since Soriano and Gonzalez are two names on Boston's lengthy list of possible free agent targets.
- Bowman lists former Brave Octavio Dotel as a potential set-up option, and Fernando Rodney as a signing who could serve as either a set-up man or a closer.
- There isn't anything to rumors that Atlanta will try to trade with Detroit for Miguel Cabrera, or sign free agent Jermaine Dye. Cabrera's big contract is too rich for the Braves' blood, and as for Dye, there is no DH spot in the National League to stash a right fielder who posted a -20 UZR and -24.5 UZR/150 last season.
- Signing Marlon Byrd would make Jordan Schaefer expendable, Bowman reports. Byrd wouldn't necessarily solve Atlanta's need for a right-handed outfield bat, however, given that Byrd's career splits against right-handed and left-handed pitching are pretty even --- a .769 lifetime OPS against southpaws and a .759 OPS against righties. Byrd actually hit significantly better against righties (.835 OPS) last season than he did against lefties (.744 OPS).
- The Braves are prepared to see what other offers Adam LaRoche receives before they decide if they want to bring him back next season.
The Orioles are positioned to be buyers in free agency, according to Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun. GM Andy MacPhail says that the club is looking to spend this offseason, but there remains some skepticism in Baltimore as to whether owner Peter Angelos will be willing to open up his checkbook. If the O's decide to dole out dollars this winter, here are some of the players they will and won't be targeting:
- Barring a change in organizational plans, you can cross the Orioles off the list of suitors for outfielders Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.
- The Orioles have contacted the agents of Chone Figgins and John Lackey, but are hardly alone in that regard.
- Adrian Beltre and Pedro Feliz top the O's wish list to replace Melvin Mora at third base.
- At first base, Nick Johnson, Hank Blalock, and Carlos Delgado are options. We know that Baltimore is not the only club keeping tabs on Delgado, as his last employer is said to be keeping an eye on him as well. The 37-year-old slugger ranked #43 on Tim's Top 50 Free Agents list, where it is predicted that he will sign with the Orioles.
- Andy MacPhail & Co. are considering Dodgers pitchers Randy Wolf and Jon Garland, as well as Braden Looper. MacPhail noted that the club is not afraid to take a chance on a hurler with a history of injuries and high upside. Former Oriole Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets, and Rich Harden all fit the bill.
- The O's would gladly add an established closer at the right price. Billy Wagner, Fernando Rodney, and Mike Gonzalez are mentioned as members of a deep crop of available relievers.
- It shouldn't be long before the Orioles agree to terms with pitcher Mark Hendrickson as both sides want to get a deal done. The 6'9 lefty spent time with four different organizations before coming to Baltimore - eight if you count NBA teams.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki runs down the Phillies offseason, looking at how the club is planning to improve coming off back-to-back World Series appearances. Here's some highlights:
- The Phillies are looking to upgrade at third base, as we've heard before. Chone Figgins figures to be too expensive for their liking, and they'll look for a shorter, more affordable contract. Zolecki names the same possibilities we heard earlier in the week: Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Placido Polanco.
- Philadelphia has interest in Fernando Rodney, but it may not be mutual, as Rodney likely would prefer a team with whom he can close. As Zolecki writes, that is "not an option" in Philly.
- The Phillies have seven impending free agents: Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre, Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, and Jack Taschner. Zolecki says Park and Eyre are the two most likely to return, with Ruben Amaro Jr. already having contacted Park's agent.
- Bako's return hasn't been ruled out, but Amaro has said that he's seeking a backup catcher. Feliz is in a similar situation, with his return not being ruled out but the team looking to upgrade.
- If Stairs returns, it will be on a minor league contract. Taschner and Martinez are not expected to return.
- The futures for Eric Bruntlett, Clay Condrey, and Tyler Walker are in question.
Steve Kornacki of MLive.com has plenty of material from Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski for us this morning, but it's all spread out among several articles. We're here to make things easy for you, so let's round 'em up...
- Dombrowski indicated that no player on his team is untouchable, but "there are some on our club that we want to hold on to." He also added that there was more trade talk at the GM meetings this year than in previous years.
- The team obviously wants to keep Justin Verlander around for a long time, but Dombrowski wouldn't comment about the possibility of locking him up to a long-term deal. "I won't get into that because that is best kept internal," he said. Verlander can become a free agent after the 2011 season.
- Dombrowksi acknowledged that the team is "looking to be fiscally responsible," citing economic changes in the community.
- The Tigers called both Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff this week to let them to know the team won't be pursuing them. We first heard the team won't attempt the re-sign the two a little over a week ago.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports that the team has had contact with the agents for Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon, Placido Polanco, and Adam Everett, but the talks were believed to be just preliminary.
The Phillies are "showing preliminary interest" in free agent reliever Fernando Rodney, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News that he's reached out to five or six free agents, so Rodney is presumably among those.
The FOX writers expect Rodney "to draw heavy interest from a large number of clubs," which comes as a surprise to me. I suppose it all just depends on Rodney's demands - will he take a one-year deal at less than $8MM, and is he open to a set-up role? Here in 2009 I imagine GMs aren't terribly impressed by 37 saves when they come with a 4.40 ERA, 7.3 K/9, and 4.9 BB/9. To his credit, Rodney was one of few free agent relievers with a strong groundball rate (57.9%).
Rodney could benefit from being classified as a Type B free agent rather than Type A. But with relievers, the importance of those designations seems overblown because arbitration offers are far from certain. Jose Valverde, Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, LaTroy Hawkins, Rafael Betancourt, Kevin Gregg, John Grabow, Billy Wagner, Darren Oliver, Takashi Saito, and Octavio Dotel are Type A free agents, but only a handful will actually be offered arbitration.
- GM Dave Dombrowski replied "Nothing hot and heavy" when asked if there was any trade dialogue ongoing.
- The Tigers would "likely bite on an affordable two-year deal" for Fernando Rodney, but would probably not want to gamble on anything longer.
- Brandon Lyon's agent, Barry Meister, emphasized that his client wants to know what his job description in 2010 will be ahead of time. The Tigers may not be willing to commit to him as closer, and Lyon knows that's where the money is.
- Placido Polanco "has all but been consigned to free agency."
- Henning thinks the "best bet" is that Adam Everett and the team agree to a "mutually pleasing" contract.
- Detroit will make no effort to sign either Jarrod Washburn or Aubrey Huff. Washburn has already said that he isn't expecting to get an offer from his post-trade deadline employer.
- The Tigers have already traded away their most expendable minor league arms, so they aren't blessed with much trade ammo.
- John Lowe of The Detroit Free Press says the Tigers weren't involved in trade talks for J.J. Hardy. Brewers' GM Doug Melvin said he was looking for a centerfielder or cost efficient pitching, and he "did not see a match."
- MLB.com's Jason Beck notes that the Tigers were deep in talks with the Mariners for Michigan native J.J. Putz last offseason, but they can now take him on as a "low-risk, high-reward signing" if they so choose.