Francisco Cordero Rumors
The Reds acquired Mat Latos over the weekend, but they continue to search for a closer and a left fielder, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. GM Walt Jocketty explained that he expects to add an arm before he adds a bat.
"First, we'll address the bullpen a little bit," he said. "Once I get pitching done and know what we have left to spend, we'll know more about left field."
The Reds have resumed talks with free agent closer Francisco Cordero, though Jocketty says nothing is close. Free agent outfielder Cody Ross is still "part of the mix" and the Reds were in touch with his agent last week. The Reds had some interest in Jason Kubel before he agreed to a two-year, $15MM deal with the Diamondbacks. "The level money-wise, we weren't going to get to that level," Jocketty said.
Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- The Red Sox have not yet made catcher and captain Jason Varitek a contract offer, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Boston added Kelly Shoppach to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway on Tuesday, a move that likely spelled the end of Varitek's time with the Sox.
- There are clubs with interest in trading for both Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey and others with interest in both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, but Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Athletics and Braves are likely to deal their players separately to maximize the return. Rosenthal and Morosi note that the Braves and Orioles have discussed a deal that included both Jurrjens and Prado.
- Interest in free agent closer Francisco Cordero has slowed down, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). His market could hinge on how clubs fill their other roster holes.
- The Pirates still have interest in first baseman Derrek Lee even after trading for Casey McGehee, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Bringing Lee back at first base would allow them to use McGehee at the hot corner with Pedro Alvarez.
- Heyman hears that the Angels put a deadline on their ten-year, $254MM offer to Albert Pujols (Twitter link). The deal did seem to come together very quickly Wednesday night into Thursday morning last week.
- The Rockies do have some money to spend according to Heyman (on Twitter). In addition to Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer, they also have interest in Hiroki Kuroda, Joe Saunders, and various trade targets.
- Morosi says (on Twitter) that Andruw Jones could also be an option for the Rockies if Beltran and Cuddyer sign elsewhere.
- The Cardinals' interest in pitching upgrades is "understated," reports Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Both Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook remain on the trade block.
- The Yokohama Bay Stars have released right-hander Hiroki Sanada so that he may pursue a deal in MLB according to a report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. No teams bid on Sanada when he was posted last week.
- The Astros and Rays are possibilities for Ivan Rodriguez, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Though the Mets have discussed Rodriguez, they’re leaning toward relying on Mike Nickeas as their backup to starter Josh Thole.
- MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner says the Joint Drug Agreement should provide Ryan Braun with privacy and fair proceedings. “I urge all to reserve judgment on this matter until the JDA's process has played itself out," Weiner said in a statement.
Here's a look at some Reds news..
- The Reds have made an offer to Jim Riggleman to manage their Double-A affiliate in Pensacola and he's likely to accept, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman.
- It sounds like the Brandon Phillips extension will get done, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. General Manager Walt Jocketty says that it’s a “complicated contract,” which will take time to be ironed out. That leads Fay to believe that the deal likely involves deferred money.
- More from Fay, as he has the impression that the Reds hold little hope of re-signing Francisco Cordero. Fay writes that the Reds might be able to get Cordero back at one-year deal in the $7MM range but would rather see the club turn to an in-house solution instead.
- Fay also writes that David Bell’s promotion to Triple-A manager could be a prelude of things to come. The former major league third baseman is probably the top candidate to replace Dusty Baker if the club decides to go in a different direction.
- Heyman (via Twitter) also hears that the Phillips extension talks are going well with the Reds, but doesn't know if the two sides are close to a deal. Phillips, who is set to make $12MM in 2012, tweeted on Tuesday that talks are moving in the right direction.
- The Reds have talked to Jim Riggleman about a possible job in their organization, Heyman tweets.
The Blue Jays are looking for a closer this offseason and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says the team has checked in on free agents Francisco Cordero and Matt Capps. Heath Bell is another option for the Blue Jays, who had interest in Jonathan Papelbon before he signed with the Phillies. Here are more notes on the Blue Jays, who have yet to make a major move so far this offseason...
- The Blue Jays would listen to offers on 24-year-old first baseman David Cooper, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Cooper, the Blue Jays' first round draft pick in 2008, debuted with the team in 2011 and posted a .678 OPS in 81 plate appearances. He won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .364/.439/.535 line this past season, adding nine home runs and 51 doubles.
- Blue Jays president Paul Beeston isn't a fan of the posting system and Elliott suggests Toronto's interest in Yu Darvish is "lukewarm."
- The Yankees are interested in Kyle Drabek, according to Elliott. Drabek started the season in the Blue Jays' rotation before being demoted to the minor leagues. He had a standout season in 2010, but struggled with command in the Majors (6.3 BB/9) and in the minors (4.9 BB/9) in 2011.
- The Royals have some interest in Colby Rasmus because of concerns that Lorenzo Cain may not be ready for an everyday role, Elliott reports.
- The Phillies have discussed ways of re-obtaining Travis d'Arnaud, the Double-A catcher who arrived with Drabek in the 2009 Roy Halladay trade. As Elliott points out, the Blue Jays would need a ton to part with this year's Eastern League MVP.
The Angels are one of five or five teams with "serious interest" in free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, agent Paul Kinzer told Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. DiGiovanna notes that earlier this month Angels GM Jerry Dipoto described his interest level in Ramirez as "lower, but I never close the door on anyone."
Ramirez is open to playing on the West Coast, Kinzer told DiGiovanna. With full no-trade rights this summer, Ramirez was not so flexible. DiGiovanna believes Ramirez could make a decision on his new team at next week's Winter Meetings. On November 14th, Kinzer told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports Ramirez seeks a four-year deal or three years with an option.
The Angels are interested in relievers Matt Capps, Heath Bell, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, and Scott Linebrink, adds DiGiovanna. They're also very interested in starter C.J. Wilson, who's touring the country meeting with suitors.
Francisco Cordero was already drawing interest from several teams this offseason, but the free agent closer became even more attractive on the open market when his Type A status was modified into a Type B by the new collective bargaining agreement. Now the team that signs Cordero doesn't have to give up a first-round draft pick as compensation, which is good news for the several teams with unprotected first-rounders that have targeted the 36-year-old.
Cordero has been one of the more effective and durable closers in the game, averaging 71 innings, an even 3.00 ERA and a 9.2 K/9 rate over the last nine seasons. Though he turns 37 next year, Cordero seems to be throwing as well as ever at first glance -- he posted a 2.45 ERA for the Reds in 2011, allowed a career-low 6.3 H/9, and approached career bests with a 2.8 BB/9 rate and a 1.019 WHIP.
A look at the advanced metrics, however, reveals some major red flags. Cordero also achieved his lowest K/9 rate in any full season, striking out just 5.4 batters per nine innings. His xFIP of 4.14 and his BABIP of .214 indicate that Cordero had some luck on his side last year, and the fact that his ground ball rate rose to a career-high 50% is another curious indicator. Generating grounders at the Great American Ballpark is a nice strategy, but it is more likely a sign that Cordero is starting to lose his strikeout prowess.
The Reds declined Cordero's $12MM option for 2012 but there was mutual interest in both parties in a new multiyear contract. Cordero told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that while the Reds were still in the "hunt," he would go elsewhere unless Cincinnati upped its offer.
Joe Nathan's two-year, $14.75MM deal with the Rangers would seem to be the baseline for a new Cordero contract. Both Cordero and Nathan will be pitching in their age-37 season in 2012, and while Nathan enjoyed more elite years than Cordero has, Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and only showed flashes of his old self in his return to the mound last yera. Cordero and his representatives at Proformance can credibly argue that Cordero is worth more given his track record of durability.
Of the nine contenders who have been linked to the right-hander, we can eliminate Texas since they've already got Nathan. Spending big on a closer seems like an unlikely move for the Mets, Blue Jays and Rays, the latter of whom already has Kyle Farnsworth under contract for 2012. Both L.A. teams could be interested in having a veteran presence at the end of games, but given how impressive Jordan Walden and Javy Guerra looked for the Angels and Dodgers last year, bringing Cordero into the fold would seem unnecessary.
This leaves the Red Sox, Marlins and Reds. Boston has a need at closer with Jonathan Papelbon gone to Philadelphia, but the Red Sox won't want to risk another expensive disaster on the free agent market if Cordero is really on a downward arc in his career and doesn't get any BABIP luck at Fenway. Miami already seem to have moved past Juan Carlos Oviedo and has been seemingly connected to every free agent this winter; signing an established veteran like Cordero would be one of those headline signings that the Marlins seem intent on making to prove that they're serious about contending in 2012.
As for Cincinnati, the amount of interest in Cordero would seem to preclude a hometown discount, but he could return if the Reds boost their offer at least into the ballpark of what Cordero's other offers. In Tim Dierkes' Offseason Outlook piece on the Reds, however, Tim warned that paying Cordero $5MM or more per year is "a market inefficiency the Reds should avoid." Nathan's deal might have priced the Reds out of Cordero's range if the team has similar reservations about its former stopper.
Another team to throw into the mix are the Twins, who are looking for a veteran closer. They haven't been connected to Cordero yet but the two sides would seem to be a decent match.
A three-year deal for Cordero would be ill-advised, but his decision might come down to which team offers him the most incentive-filled two-year pact or possibly even a vesting option for a third year. I'd expect Cordero to get a two-year deal worth around $16MM, with some type of club option for 2014 that could be tied to innings or appearances. I'd guess he ends up pitching in Miami or Minnesota next season, with a return to Cincinnati lurking as the upset possibility.
10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Hernandez and Darren Oliver were all Type A free agents under the Elias Rankings system, but they will now be treated as Type B free agents, the MLBPA announced. Teams won't have to surrender draft picks to sign them, but the players' former teams obtain a supplementary first round pick whether or not they offer arbitration tomorrow.
Meanwhile, clubs won't have to surrender a draft pick to sign one of the following six players: Heath Bell, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madson, Josh Willingham and Francisco Rodriguez. Teams that lose these players after offering arbitration will obtain first round picks in the slot before the signing team plus a supplementary draft pick for a total of two selections.
Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Roy Oswalt, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins were also Type A free agents this offseason. They will cost one draft pick to sign. Their teams will obtain two total picks if they decline offers of arbitration to sign elsewhere, as expected. Takashi Saito and Carlos Beltran, two other Type As, cannot be offered arbitration. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the changes.
In an interview with Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio, Francisco Cordero said that unless the Reds increase their most recent contract offer, he will leave Cincinnati. The Reds are still in the "hunt," however, along with other teams who have shown interest in the free agent closer: the Angels, Blue Jays, Rangers, Rays and Red Sox (all Twitter links).
The Rays and Rangers are new additions to a busy market for Cordero that also includes the Dodgers, Marlins and Mets. As a Type A free agent, Cordero would cost his new team a first round draft pick as compensation to the Reds if that new team didn't have a protected pick. This presumes, of course, that Cordero turns down the Reds' offer of arbitration and that the Type A compensation rules aren't changed by the new collective bargaining agreement.
Of Cordero's known suitors, the Angels, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Rangers, Rays and Red Sox all have unprotected picks, though the Jays and Sox each currently have two picks in the first round of next year's draft. Toronto's extra pick is compensation for not signing Tyler Beede last year, while Boston currently possesses the Phillies' first round pick (31st overall) as compensation for Philadelphia's signing of Jonathan Papelbon.
The latest from The Queen City, courtesy of MLB.com's Mark Sheldon ...
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty said the team and second baseman Brandon Phillips have "made progress, but we're not close" in negotiations for a contract extension. The Reds have already exercised Phillips' 2012 option, so he's in the fold for next season, but he has been vocal about wanting a multiyear extension beyond that for a while now. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculated recently that the Reds are probably hoping to extend Phillips, 30, for something like four years and $48MM, while Sheldon points out that the Dan Uggla's five-year, $62MM pact with the Braves last offseason is a recent high-water mark for second basemen.
- As well, there have been "no new developments" between the Reds and free agent closer Francisco Cordero, according to Sheldon. Jocketty did not meet with Cordero's agent during the General Manager Meetings earlier this week in Milwaukee. "If we did not sign Coco, we'd first look outside of the organization," Jocketty said.