Fernando Rodney Rumors
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.
Some links to peruse while you eagerly await Game Six of the ALCS...
- Lynn Henning of The Detroit News suggests some salary figures for the Tigers' four key free agents: Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon, Placido Polanco, and Adam Everett. He also says there's no way to the team will bring back Aubrey Huff or Jarrod Washburn, nor "is it fathomable that either player will be offered salary arbitration for 2010."
- The Phillies' braintrust has already met about offseason decisions according to Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and a person familiar with the team's thinking tells him that they haven't ruled out offering Pedro Martinez a contract longer than one year.
- Steve Slowinski at DRaysBay.com took a look at the Rays' projected payroll for 2010, and concludes that salary escalations and arbitration raises don't leave the team with too much wiggle room next year, even though they have/will shed some expensive contracts.
- Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti said he "doesn't anticipate any cutbacks in resources" despite the drama between the McCourts, according to the AP (via ESPN).
- Dylan Hernandez of The LA Times says that impending free agents Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf are expected to "depart to greener pastures."
Wait, what do you mean "there are no baseball games tonight?!?"
- James Schmehl of MLive.com says that during the Tigers' annual season-ending meeting, GM Dave Dombrowski acknowledged "that payroll limitations this offseason will prevent the Tigers from keeping every free agent." Detroit's double play combo of Placido Polanco and Adam Everett will be free agents, as will their setup man-closer tandem of Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney.
- Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Braves scouting director Roy Clark "told the Braves on Tuesday that he's leaving the organization to become an assistant general manager with the Nationals." Clark will have a similar role with the Nats, overseeing player development and the scouting department. He had been Atlanta's scouting director since 2000, drafting such players as Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, and Jason Heyward.
- Cardinals' pitching coach Dave Duncan said he's going to wait and see what manager Tony La Russa does before making a decision about his future, according to FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
- In a mailbag at MLB.com, Marty Noble says the Mets are "boxed in" when it comes to Carlos Beltran because not many clubs can assume the $37MM he's owed the next two years, not to mention concerns about his physical condition.
Following the disappointing finish to the Detroit Tigers' 2009 season, plenty of thoughts have turned to the upcoming winter in Detroit.
- Steve Kornacki of MLive.com indicates the Tigers will feel the need to re-sign either Brandon Lyon or Fernando Rodney to close games, since the club isn't sure that either Ryan Perry or Cody Satterwhite is ready for that role yet. Kornacki also wonders if the Tigers are confident in Curtis Granderson as an offensive catalyst, or if they might try to deal for a speedster like Carl Crawford or Juan Pierre.
- MLive.com's Chris Iott takes a stab at what the 2010 roster might look like. He expects the Tigers to part ways with Jarrod Washburn, Placido Polanco, and Rodney, while retaining Lyon for the ninth inning.
- Detroit squandered their financial advantage over teams like the Minnesota Twins by handing out too many bad contracts, according to Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press. Rosenberg writes that committing big money to players like Dontrelle Willis and Gary Sheffield killed their payroll flexibility and resulted in a subpar offense in 2009. Going forward, Rosenberg hopes the Tigers "show the creative thinking of a good small-market team" when making roster moves.
- The Detroit Free Press's Drew Sharp agrees that the Tigers have to spend wisely. He warns owner Mike Ilitch against succumbing to the temptation of adding another big name like Crawford. Sharp thinks the team would be better off saving some cash and hoping players like Carlos Guillen and Jeremy Bonderman stay healthy in 2010.
It took 163 games to determine the AL Central title in 2009. The Detroit Tigers were, of course, on the losing end. After leading the Tigers to the 2006 World Series in his first year as their skipper, Jim Leyland has been unable to steer the club back to the postseason.
As Keith Law writes, "This one will be hard to get past." Along with Baseball Prospectus and the ESPN Insider staff, Law takes a look at this past season and what the Tigs can do to improve in 2010. An Insider subscription is required to read the article, but here are some of the key tidbits from the piece:
- Law highlights the team's lack of production at the DH spot as one of its biggest shortcomings. However, GM Dave Dombrowski recently said that the team is unlikely to employ a full-time DH next season. If for some reason he has a change of heart, he will find more than a few candidates on the open market.
- Bullpen staples Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney are headed for free agency. Law says that Rodney "has the closer's mantle but not closer command." Ryan Perry should be able to step into that role eventually, but currently lacks the control to do so. if the youngster is asked to be the fireman and Lyon and Rodney walk, it'll leave a significant void in the 'pen.
- Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus points out the poor performances of mid-season acquisitions Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff. After posting a 2.64 ERA, 7.4 H/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 20 starts with Seattle, Washburn recorded a 7.33 ERA, 10.7 H/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in eight starts. Huff was supposed to strengthen the middle of the Tigers' lineup but instead floundered as he recorded an OPS of .567.
- Tigers' second baseman Placido Polanco is a free agent after completing a four-year deal worth $4.6MM annually. The article says that retaining him would require $6-7MM per season, a steep price for a player who is not likely to improve much on his 2009 season in which he hit .285/.331/.396 with 10 HRs. Polanco, who turns 34 tomorrow, has been a $50MM value over the last three years according to Fangraphs.
- When Buster Olney polled six GMs asking if Detroit would keep Polanco, they were split. Law & Co. think that there's a good chance that Polanco plays elsewhere next season.
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus writes that 24-year-old Scott Sizemore is ready to take over for Polanco at second base. Scouts feel that he will become a well-rounded offensive player who should be able to hit ".280-plus with 12-15 home runs, 60 walks and 15-20 stolen bases annually."
- Because of high-priced commitments to Magglio Ordonez and Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers don't have much financial flexibility. Expect Detroit to find their next closer on the cheap from within the organization.
- Kahrl closes the piece by saying, "they need a major upgrade at DH or left if they're going to offensively afford themselves a luxury like a plus defender at shortstop." Dave Dombrowski will have to get creative as he is handcuffed by several bad contracts.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says this year's club was good, even though it had "shortcomings," according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. Here's how the GM plans on improving the Tigers:
- Dombrowski hasn't been handed a firm 2010 budget yet.
- He sounded prepared to move on if the club can't complete a reasonable deal with Placido Polanco. The GM says prospect Scott Sizemore is "ready to play."
- Expect the Tigers to rotate a number of players through the DH spot next year. Looks like Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and other free agent DHs can rule Detroit out for now unless they'd accept a part-time role.
- It sounds like the Tigers will fill their rotation out from within.
- The Tigers will emphasize plate discipline at all levels.
- It looks like Joel Zumaya will be able to throw as hard as ever next year.
- Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney will both be free agents after the postseason, so the Tigers don't have much certainty in the 'pen right now.
Magglio Ordonez has made his third plate appearance of the night in Detroit against the Royals, reaching base on an Alex Gordon error. The at-bat means his 2010 option has vested, as expected. Making his 1080th plate appearance in 2008 and 2009 combined, Ordonez reached the minimum number of PA required to guarantee his $18MM option.
When the Tigers benched and platooned the 35-year-old right fielder earlier in the year, it seemed unlikely that he would play enough to trigger the option, but a torrid second half (.364/.438/.521) has made it impossible for Jim Leyland to keep him out of the lineup.
While Ordonez's hot bat has helped the Tigers in their 2009 playoff push, his overall production has declined significantly. He has only homered seven times, after hitting 20-plus in each of the last three seasons. His age and injury history suggest the odds are against his 2010 numbers rebounding to his career averages of .311/.371/.512.
With $18MM now committed to Maggs next season, the Tigers will have less flexibility for other roster moves, such as re-signing or replacing closer Fernando Rodney and second baseman Placido Polanco.
A look at the American League saves leaderboard reveals some surprising names - David Aardsma with 32, Fernando Rodney with 30, and Andrew Bailey with 21.
Rodney, 33 this March, won the Tigers' closer job over Brandon Lyon in Spring Training despite trade rumors, shoulder problems, and a 4.91 ERA in 2008. Along with those 30 saves this year, Rodney cut his ERA to 3.22 despite his typical shaky control. Couple the walks with Rodney's age and injury history, and he'll make for a risky signing after the season.
Nonetheless, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News sees Rodney getting two or three years at $8-10MM per on the free agent market. Rodney's current salary, $2.7MM, was decided prior to his success in the ninth inning. Henning believes Rodney will be priced out of the Tigers' range for 2010 and beyond. Last we checked Rodney projected as a Type B, but a good September could make him an A. It certainly makes sense for the Tigers to at least offer arbitration.
Will Rodney get Kerry Wood ($20.5MM over two years) or even Brian Fuentes ($17.5MM over two years) money this winter? He'll be joined on the free agent market by closers such as Trevor Hoffman, Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde, and perhaps Billy Wagner.
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News predicts how the Tigers will handle four impending free agents this offseason:
- Placido Polanco "will likely be allowed to chase free agency" as the Tigers look for another second baseman.
- The Tigers are thinking about Joel Zumaya as their 2010 closer, but they'll likely offer Fernando Rodney arbitration anyways. Henning says Rodney's a good bet to sign a multi-year deal elsewhere.
- Henning expects Brandon Lyon to receive an offer of arbitration.
The Tigers love Adam Everett and want him back, so much so that they may offer him a contract before he hits free agency.