Francisco Cordero Rumors
Jim Johnson is the current favorite to close games for manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles are open to trading Kevin Gregg and absorbing some of the $5.8MM he'll earn in 2012, Connolly reports. I find it hard to imagine a team taking on more than $1.5MM of Gregg's salary given the 53K/40BB ratio he posted in 2011 and the availability of other free agent relievers.
The Orioles discussed a Brandon League deal with the Mariners at the Winter Meetings and expressed interest in Seattle starter Jason Vargas at the time, according to Connolly. Jeremy Guthrie and Mark Reynolds also surfaced in the trade talks, Connolly reports. The Angels and Rays have also been linked to Cordero, who probably won't return to Cincinnati now that Ryan Madson is set to join the Reds.
Here's the latest from the Big A...
- With the closer market quickly shrinking, Francisco Cordero could "fall in [the] Angels' laps," reports ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon.
- Albert Pujols will have trouble living up to his massive contract on the field, but Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times examines how Pujols' arrival has impacted ticket sales, merchandise sales and the overall value of the franchise.
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez looks at what it might cost the Halos to lock up Dan Haren and Ervin Santana to contract extensions. The team has options on both pitchers ($15.5MM for Haren, $13MM for Santana) for 2013. Haren will be 32 in September and, as durable as Haren has been, I'd argue the Angels should wait until this season is through before exploring an extension. A source tells Gonzalez that the Angels haven't discussed a new contract with Santana yet.
- Also from Gonzalez, he reports that GM Jerry Dipoto declined to comment on the status of Erick Aybar's extension talks. LAA has already signed one infielder (Howie Kendrick) to a multiyear deal this week.
More than 100 free agents remain unsigned, as MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com offers updates on a handful of them; here are the details:
- Heyman could see the Phillies checking in on Francisco Cordero, but suggests Brad Lidge and Kerry Wood are more likely targets for Philadelphia.
- Casey Kotchman and Carlos Pena seem to be the most likely offensive options for the Indians and both are also in play for the Rays, Heyman tweets.
- Six or more teams are looking for infield depth, so Heyman examines the market for free agent infielders such as Eric Chavez, Aaron Miles and Jack Wilson.
- The Reds are looking for an infielder and an outfielder, Heyman tweets. He suggests Ryan Ludwick, who played under GM Walt Jocketty in St. Louis, would be a “perfect fit” in Cincinnati, where the Reds would like to add depth in left field. The Reds have some interest in Ludwick, Rick Ankiel and Cody Ross.
- The Red Sox remain interested in Joe Saunders, Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt, Heyman tweets.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty says he’s hopeful to have resolved things with Francisco Cordero "one way or another" this week and that the free agent closer is up against a "soft deadline," according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. If Cordero doesn’t re-sign with Cincinnati, the Reds could turn to Kerry Wood, depending on his asking price. The club would probably not sign both Cordero and Wood, according to Jocketty.
The Cubs maintain interest in re-signing Wood, who pitched for $1.5MM last year. They’ve offered the 34-year-old a substantial raise, GM Jed Hoyer said today. Wood posted a 3.35 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 35.8% ground ball rate in 51 innings for the Cubs in 2011 and has also drawn interest from the Phillies.
The Reds have maintained interest in re-signing Cordero throughout the offseason. The 36-year-old posted a 2.45 ERA with 5.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 50% ground ball rate in 69 2/3 innings for Cincinnati this past season and has drawn interest from other clubs, including the Angels.
Some links as Monday turns into Tuesday...
- Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says (on Twitter) Tony La Russa is seriously weighing his career options and hopes to have an answer soon, perhaps before Spring Training. It's been speculated that La Russa could join a team in a front office role after retiring from managing.
- The Angels have talked to Francisco Cordero's representatives recently according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. He says it's hard to gauge where the team is in the race for the right-hander given all the money they've already spent this offseason, among other things.
- The Yankees maintain interest in re-signing reliever Luis Ayala according to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith (on Twitter). Ayala posted a 2.09 ERA with a 50% ground ball rate in 56 IP for New York last season. Last month we learned that six teams were pursuing the righty.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that the Rangers didn't offer Darren Oliver anything close to the $4.5MM he got from the Blue Jays. He says they remain in the market for left-handed bullpen help, and Mike Gonzalez still fits.
- Omar Vizquel hinted at retirement on his Twitter account today, saying "[if] there is no contract [offer] there will be no other option but to start a new career, [as a] coach," according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (link in Spanish).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that Casey Blake will have to come to the plate 550 times this season to max out the $1MM in incentives in his contract with the Rockies. He'll earn the first $350K in bonuses at 350 plate appearances.
- Within the same piece, Renck says that Aaron Cook's minor league deal with the Red Sox will pay him $20K per month in the minors. He can make an additional $2MM by making 30 starts in the big leagues, and the escalators kick in at 15 starts. Cook can request his release if he's not on the 25-man roster on May 1st and again on June 1st.
Multiple teams remain interested in signing free agent closer Francisco Cordero and agent Bean Stringfellow is discussing multiyear deals at least one of them, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. The Reds remain interested, but Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty says he isn’t prepared to guarantee more than one year.
"We're looking at one year or one year with an option," Jocketty said. "That's all it could be, right now."
The Reds are in regular communication about Cordero and a couple of other teams are involved, Stringfellow said. The agent doesn’t expect Cordero to be a free agent for much longer and suggested a deal may occur within ten days.
The 36-year-old posted a 2.45 ERA with 5.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 50% ground ball rate in 69 2/3 innings for the Reds this past season. Cordero reached the 30-save plateau for the fifth consecutive season, saving 37 games. However, his average fastball velocity dropped to 93 mph and peripheral stats such as xFIP (4.14) and SIERA (3.91) suggest his 2.45 ERA may be artificially low. The three-time All-Star has also been linked to the Rays, Red Sox and Angels this offseason.
The Reds acquired Sean Marshall from the Cubs one week ago, but it doesn't sound like there are any other moves coming in the immediate future. “I’ve spoken to some agents and some clubs,” said GM Walt Jocketty to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer. “But everyone kind of shuts it down until after the first of the year.”
Here's the latest from Cincy, courtesy of Fay...
- “We’ve made an offer,” said Jocketty, referring to Francisco Cordero. “He’s deciding what to do. He’s got a couple of other offers.” Jocketty said it's a one-year offer, and Fay guesses it's for $7MM or less.
- The Reds have not talked to Ryan Madson's people, which would mean Scott Boras.
- “We decided to table it 'til January,” said Jocketty, referring to talks with Brandon Phillips about a contract extension. Earlier this month we heard the two sides had made some progress.
- The Reds have spoken to Ryan Theriot's representatives, but nothing is close. “We’re trying to get a hitter first,” Jocketty said, and that hitter would have to be an outfielder according to Fay.
Even on Christmas, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe delivers his usual Sunday Baseball Notes column. This week, he runs down the best available players remaining on the free agent and trade markets at each position. Here are a few highlights from those lists and the rest of Cafardo's piece:
- The Red Sox and Angels are "keeping the dialogue open" with Ryan Madson.
- While many reports have indicated Hiroki Kuroda's willingness to play on the East Coast, the right-hander still has some desire to stay out west.
- The Marlins are being aggressive on Yoenis Cespedes, with the Nationals right behind them. Earlier this weekend, we heard there's some divide within the Marlins' front office on Cespedes.
- An AL GM on Joel Zumaya: "Our doctors don't think he would pass the physical based on what they see."
- The Rays are among the clubs that have talked to Francisco Cordero.
- Cafardo gets the feeling Matt Garza will be dealt, and warns not to rule out the Tigers.
The Reds acquired shutdown lefty Sean Marshall from the Cubs for three young players earlier today, and they also claimed righty Josh Judy off waivers. GM Walt Jocketty spoke to reporters about the moves and more this afternoon, so let's recap...
- The two sides first talked about a potential Marshall trade during the GM meetings in November, reports Bruce Miles of The Daily Herald (Twitter links). Jocketty joked that his team couldn't figure out how to hit Marshall, so they decided to trade for him.
- "No guarantees, but we're going to try to sign him," said Jocketty when asked about a long-term contract for Marshall according to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). The southpaw can become a free agent after the 2012 season.
- Jocketty said if they don't sign a closer, it's a "possibility" that they'll use Marshall in that role according to Fay (on Twitter). He acknowledged that they are still talking to Francisco Cordero about a possible return.
- “After the first of the year, we’ll take a look at some things," said Jockett to reporters (including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon). "We still want to address our bench, maybe left field and see what we can do.”
- Within Sheldon's piece, he also reports that the Andrew Brackman signing is not yet official, but it should be done any day now. "I’m not sure what’s holding it up to be honest," said the GM.
WEDNESDAY: The Red Sox are backing off since they aren't eager to commit to an aging reliever who will require a multiyear deal, according to John Tomase of the Boston Herald. The Red Sox would have offered more than one year at a certain price, but the sides couldn't come to an agreement.
TUESDAY, 7:47pm: Cordero prefers to return to the Reds, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, who adds that the Rockies are not a suitor for the right-hander.
4:45pm: The Reds and Red Sox aren't the only clubs involved. The Angels and another team have been in dialogue with Cordero, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. "We’ve been exploring multiyear deals and we’re very confident that’s where we’re going to end up,” Stringfellow told Speier. “The teams that we’ve spoken to, none of them have balked at that of the four remaining clubs.” Cordero will only consider closing roles.
1:28pm: The Red Sox have had increased dialogue with Francisco Cordero this week, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The Reds have resumed talks with Cordero and remain interested in re-signing him.
The 36-year-old posted a 2.45 ERA with 5.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 50% ground ball rate in 69 2/3 innings for the Reds this past season. Cordero reached the 30-save plateau for the fifth consecutive season, saving 37 games. However, his average fastball velocity dropped to 93 mph and peripheral stats such as xFIP (4.14) and SIERA (3.91) suggest his 2.45 ERA may be artificially low. Agent Bean Stringfellow represents the three-time All-Star.