Francisco Rodriguez Rumors
The Mets are interested in right-handed relievers Jonathan Broxton and Grant Balfour, but they aren't close on any deals, according to reports yesterday. Here are the latest Mets-related rumors, as GM Sandy Alderson considers ways of adding to his bullpen:
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears that Brewers president of baseball operations Doug Melvin told Alderson that Milwaukee isn’t selling yet (Twitter link). Martino suggests Francisco Rodriguez -- the former Mets closer who continues to intrigue the team -- would already be on the Mets if the Brewers had a worse record.
- The Mets haven’t been very aggressive in pursuing Brett Myers, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports (on Twitter). The trade candidate has 19 saves and a 3.52 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros this year.
- Assistant GM John Ricco told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the team won't overpay for help.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he's always looking to upgrade, but don't expect Washington to trade long-term assets for a short-term piece. “We’re never going to do a knee-jerk reaction to win now," Rizzo said. The GM added that he's comfortable with his team's bullpen and lineup. Here are the latest NL East notes...
- One prominent Mets player told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that the team could use a right-handed bat. “We can’t hit lefties,” the player said. The NL East features some elite left-handed pitchers so a hitter like Carlos Quentin might appeal to Mets GM Sandy Alderson.
- Martino hears the Mets won’t trade their best prospects for a bat or a reliever.
- One veteran player suggested to Martino that the Mets should stay away from Francisco Rodriguez because the reliever has “too much baggage.” The Mets traded Rodriguez to the Brewers last year and appear to have some interest in bringing him back to Queens.
One year after trading Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee, the Mets have some interest in re-acquiring the right-hander, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. Rodriguez is on the list of trade targets the Mets will consider as they look to improve their bullpen.
Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio recently met with the team’s front office executives to determine how to approach the upcoming trade deadline. The Brewers won’t act until after the All-Star break and Attanasio will make the final decision, Davidoff writes.
Rodriguez, who was arrested at Citi Field in 2010, could appeal to the Mets because of his experience pitching in New York. The 30-year-old is in the midst of a solid season -- a 4.00 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 36 innings -- but the Brewers couldn't demand top prospects in return given his $8MM salary. The Mets might be able to acquire Rodriguez by adding payroll and surrendering lower-level prospects, Davidoff notes.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's round up the rumors...
- The chances of the Phillies trading Shane Victorino may be greater than the chances of them trading Cole Hamels. The Dodgers, Reds, and possibly the Yankees could be fits for the outfielder, who originally asked Philadelphia for a five-year extension. They're unwilling to give him a contract that long.
- The Red Sox are likely to be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline. If they keep Franklin Morales in the rotation, they're likely to seek another left-hander for the bullpen. They could also acquire a starter and shift Morales back into a relief role.
- The Braves are not as adamant about not trading their top young pitchers as they were at this time last year mostly because there are more appealing choices on the market. They're looking for consistency and could part with one of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, or Randall Delgado if they view someone like Matt Garza as a difference-maker.
- The Brewers remain more likely to sell than not, but they would still like to return to contention quickly. They could ask for big league pitching instead of prospects for Zack Greinke, plus Francisco Rodriguez figures to have value on the trade market. GM Doug Melvin is getting calls about John Axford and Jose Veras, and the trio of Randy Wolf, George Kottaras, and Shaun Marcum (if healthy) remain trade bait.
Here's the latest news and headlines from around the league on the day Chase Utley told the world he was back with a home run in his first at-bat since the end of the 2011 season...
- There are very few viable options for the Dodgers as they look to add a middle-of-the-order bat, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Many of the players currently available are either fringe types or vastly overpaid for their services (like this one).
- Olney tweets that Cubs first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair has been scouted by the Dodgers, among other teams, but Los Angeles has reservations about his defense. Nonetheless, the Dodgers' need for a quality bat could lead to them overlooking LaHair's shortcomings and acquiring the power hitter before the trade deadline.
- Mariners manager Eric Wedge doesn't like the progress his young team has made this season, but he's not ready to start sending players to Triple-A, writes Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times. "It's frustrating because I know these guys are a much better offensive club than what we're seeing them do here at home,'' Wedge said. "I don't want to hear anything about the fences, or this, that and the other. It's about what they're doing at home plate and putting up good at-bats and hitting the ball hard."
- The Angels have a special assignment scout watching the Reds-Brewers series to check up on a few players including Francisco Rodriguez, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. The Angels entered Wednesday night's action four and a half games behind the Rangers for first place in the American League West.
Someone finally got to Aroldis Chapman and, of all teams, it was the light-hitting Pirates. Chapman allowed back-to-back doubles to lead off the 10th inning, allowing his first earned run of the 2012 season and first since September 10, 2011 --- a stretch of 35 straight scoreless innings. Pittsburgh won the game by a 5-4 score.
Here's the latest from the NL Central...
- Joel Hanrahan doesn't think the Pirates will trade him this summer, the closer tells Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Cook opines that Pirates ownership's commitment to re-signing top players will be questioned if Hanrahan doesn't receive a long-term extension. Hanrahan told Cook he didn't think much about trade rumors, though we know he at least reads them on this very website.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow confirmed that his team still has an interest in Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, reports MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Luhnow wouldn't say if the Astros had submitted a contract offer by today, the reported deadline set by Soler's agents.
- A.J. Pierzynski tells CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien about how he was almost dealt to the Cubs in 2003, as the Cubs offered the Twins a package of Juan Cruz and Todd Wellemeyer for the catcher. Pierzynski said that he'd like to remain with the White Sox when he hits free agency this winter but if the Southsiders' local rivals from Wrigleyville were to contact him, “if they were the only team that came after me and I wanted to continue to play, how could I say no?"
- Francisco Rodriguez wants to remain with the Brewers through the rest of this season, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, though the reliever said he'd like to close again, in all likelihood for a new team since John Axford is ensconced as Milwaukee's stopper.
Happy birthday to Kevin Youkilis (33), Jon Jay (27) and Leo Nun...er, make that Juan Oviedo (30). This is the first time Oviedo has been able to publicly celebrate his actual birthday in several years, as he kept a listed birthday of August 14, 1983 while living under the Leo Nunez identity.
Here's some news from around the major leagues as we head into Friday...
- Matt Cain's agent Rick Landrum tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that "we'll never give up hope" that Cain and the Giants can work out a contract extension before Opening Day. There hasn't been much progress in recent negotiations but the two sides "remain open for business," as Shea writes.
- In addition to Cain, there have been no new developments over the last week in Cole Hamels' extension talks with the Phillies, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- Also from Olney (via Twitter), he hears from evaluators that there isn't much trade talk overall around the majors. Olney predicts things will probably pick up in 10 days or so, once teams start to sort out their needs for their Opening Day rosters.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has had at least two face-to-face meetings since Monday with Erick Aybar's representatives, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. Aybar is believed to be looking for an extension of at least five years. Dipoto recently said that he thought an extension with Aybar was possible, if not necessarily by Opening Day.
- The Padres were discussing a one-year, $9MM contract with Francisco Rodriguez over the winter before the club saw an opportunity to acquire Huston Street, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports. San Diego also talked to free agent Frank Francisco and asked the Athletics about Andrew Bailey.
- The Royals' extension with Alcides Escobar is the team's latest step in locking up its young talent, reports MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. "[Owners] Dan and David Glass are determined to keep as many of these young players together as we can, knowing full well that it has to fit within our salary structure and our payroll going forward," Moore said. "It's going to get a little sticky for us, it's going to get a little hairy as we get into 2014-15-16." Moore declined to comment on the progress of contract talks with another of Kansas City's young stars, Alex Gordon.
- The well-traveled Octavio Dotel shares some of his road stories with ESPN's Jayson Stark. Dotel will set a new Major League record once he plays his first game for the Tigers this season by becoming the first player to suit up for 13 different teams.
- "I feel comfortable we finally got to a level [where we] can be competitive every single year," Tigers owner Mike Ilitch told media (including MLB.com's Jason Beck) during a visit to Spring Training today. "That's always been my goal. I feel good about that. It would be hard to screw that up once you get there. You tell yourself you want to stay there now."
- The Orioles could be looking for backup catching help if Taylor Teagarden's back injury lingers into the season, reports CSN Baltimore's Rich Dubroff. Veteran Ronny Paulino is Matt Wieters' backup for now, but Paulino only just arrived in camp due to a visa issue.
In the final year of his deal with the Mets, the hurler believed that he had a limited no-trade clause in which he could block deals to ten teams, including Milwaukee. However, a no-trade provision was never filed on his behalf and the closer fired Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem in favor of Scott Boras. A few days later, Rodriguez was traded to the Brewers.
"They did something atrocious,'' the attorney said. "Their utter arrogance makes this so evil. It's like rear-ending somebody, but instead of stopping your car and trading insurance information, these guys blew up the car, took off, and ran away. They committed negligence, and turned it into a fraud case."
Boras later negotiated a $500K payout to eliminate a $17.5MM vesting option in hopes that Rodriguez would still be used as a part-time closer, which never materialized. The Brewers' subsequent use of Rodriguez as a set-up man likely diminished his value on the free agent market entering this season, Nightengale writes.
Johnson said that Rodriguez is upset at the circumstances that led to his trade to Milwaukee, but not with the organization itself. The attorney also says that If Rodriguez had been aware a no-trade provision was never filed during his career, he would have been much more open to signing an extension with the Mets. Johnson says that the Wasserman Group promised to pay Rodriguez at least $1MM prior to a mediation session last week but reneged.
The Brewers announced they've avoided arbitration with reliever Francisco Rodriguez, signing the Scott Boras client to a one-year deal. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the value at $8MM, well below my expectation after he earned $11.5MM in 2011. K-Rod had accepted the team's arbitration offer rather than continue as a free agent.
Free agents David Ortiz, Francisco Rodriguez, and Kelly Johnson accepted their teams' offers of arbitration last week, making them signed players for 2012. In recent years we've seen the occasional setup-type free agent reliever accept arbitration, but not position player regulars or a closer. Without much recent precedent, determining the salaries of Ortiz, Rodriguez, and Johnson will be tricky.
The players have incentive to avoid hearings. If a deal is agreed upon, the player asks for a Signing Guaranteed Provision, guaranteeing the contract. A hearing, however, opens up the small chance of the player being released in spring training. The team would have to prove the player "failed to to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability" during spring training. The Padres pulled this off with Todd Walker in 2007, but it's rare. The Red Sox are happy to have Ortiz next year, and the Blue Jays have use for Johnson. While I imagine the Brewers would like a do-over on offering K-Rod arbitration, I don't think they'll try to release him in spring training and then go toe-to-toe with Scott Boras.
I talked to a team executive, a former agency employee, and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz about the salaries Ortiz, Rodriguez, and Johnson might receive. The details:
- Estimates ranged from $13-15MM on Ortiz. He's working from a $12.5MM salary, and his raise will probably be relatively small. The Red Sox could point to Travis Hafner as a $13MM comparable, while Ortiz's agents at SFX could look to top Adam Dunn's $14MM by virtue of Ortiz's higher batting average. A two-year deal is possible for Ortiz, but if the Red Sox are at $18MM, Big Papi might as well stop worrying about multiyear security since he can easily get more than $4-5MM in 2013 with a passable 2012.
- K-Rod should be an interesting case. On the high end, Boras could argue for Mariano Rivera's $15MM salary. If they're feeling adventurous, the Brewers could actually try to cut Rodriguez's $11.5MM salary, citing Jonathan Papelbon's $11MM salary for 2012 or Rafael Soriano's $10MM salary. Rest assured that trying to cut Rodriguez's salary would lead to a hearing, so a settlement closer to Rivera's figure seems possible.
- Johnson's case might involve bringing in a third baseman such as Miguel Tejada, who signed at $6.5MM for 2011. Johnson earned $5.85MM in an off-2011, so $7MM is probably his ceiling. A multiyear deal is possible here.