Frank Francisco Rumors
23 American League free agents were offered arbitration on November 23rd. Four of those - Joaquin Benoit, John Buck, Victor Martinez, and Javier Vazquez - already have new contract agreements. Current free agent Kevin Gregg has chosen to decline. The remaining 18 AL free agents offered arbitration will have their decisions noted here and in our tracker.
- Cliff Lee (A) declined the Rangers' offer, as expected.
- Miguel Olivo will decline the Blue Jays' offer, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jason Frasor (A) will accept the team's offer, according to Mike Wilner of the FAN 590. Scott Downs (A) will decline the Blue Jays' offer, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier that Jason Frasor would either sign a multiyear deal or accept arb (Twitter link).
- Adrian Beltre will decline arbitration from the Red Sox, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Felipe Lopez (B) will also decline an offer of arbitration, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.
- Carl Pavano (A) has officially turned down arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter). Orlando Hudson (B) will decline the Twins' offer of arbitration, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweets of "strong indications" Jesse Crain (B) will also decline.
- A source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that Paul Konerko (A) will decline arbitration (Twitter link). J.J. Putz (B) declined arbitration from the White Sox, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin (on Twitter).
- Chad Qualls (B) and Carl Crawford (A) have declined arbitration, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). Grant Balfour (A) turned down arbitration, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). As anticipated, Randy Choate (B) declined the Rays' offer, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. ESPN's Buster Olney predicted the decision earlier today. Rafael Soriano (A) will decline the Rays' arbitration offer, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Brad Hawpe (B) will decline the Rays' offer as well, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.
- Frank Francisco (A) will accept the Rangers' offer, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Free agent right-hander Frank Francisco is likely to accept the Rangers' offer of arbitration according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. As a Type-A free agent, a team would need to surrender a high draft pick to sign him, something many clubs won't be willing to do for a reliever.
To make matters worse, the 31-year-old Francisco missed the last month of the season (as well as Texas' playoff run) due to a strained rib cage. He's certainly a quality reliever, striking out 10.9 and walking just 2.9 batters unintentionally for every nine innings pitched over the last three seasons. He saved 25 games for the Rangers last season, but was usurped as closer by Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz early in 2010.
I examined Francisco's free agent stock late last month, noting that he could accept arbitration and receive a $4MM or so salary in 2011 (he earned $3.265MM in 2010). Earlier today we learned that the Rangers have explored the idea of signing a closer and moving Feliz into the rotation, a move Francisco could help facilitate.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Scott Downs (A) Jason Frasor (A) Kevin Gregg (B) Miguel Olivo (B), according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisolm (on Twitter).
- The Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano (A), Jesse Crain (B) and Orlando Hudson (B) and declined to offer arbitration to Matt Guerrier (A), Brian Fuentes (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays offered arbitration to Grant Balfour (A), Carl Crawford (A), Rafael Soriano (A), Randy Choate (B), Brad Hawpe (B) and Chad Qualls (B), according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. They did not offer Dan Wheeler (A) or Carlos Pena (B) arbitration. It seems possible that Hawpe has agreed in advance to turn down arbitration.
- The Orioles won't offer arbitration to Koji Uehara (B) or Kevin Millwood (B), according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
- The Angels declined to offer Hideki Matsui (B) arbitration, the team announced.
- The Rangers offered arbitration to Cliff Lee (A) and Frank Francisco (A), but not to Vladimir Guerrero (A) and Bengie Molina (A), according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The Yankees will offer arbitration to Javier Vazquez (B), but not to any of their other free agents, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday on Twitter. Andy Pettitte (A), Derek Jeter (A), Mariano Rivera (A), Lance Berkman (B) and Kerry Wood (B) were the team's other ranked free agents. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Yankees would offer Vazquez arbitration and noted that the right-hander has agreed to reject the offer, a common gentleman's agreement that can take place with Type B free agents. Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger first reported on Twitter that the Yankees would not offer Jeter arbitration.
- The Red Sox offered arbitration to Adrian Beltre (A), Victor Martinez (A) and Felipe Lopez (B), but not to Mike Lowell (B) or Jason Varitek (B), according to the team.
- The White Sox offered arbitration to Paul Konerko (A) and J.J. Putz (B), but not to A.J. Pierzynski (A) or Manny Ramirez (A) according to the team (on Twitter).
- As expected, the Tigers announced that they will not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, including Scott Boras clients Magglio Ordonez (A), Johnny Damon (B), and Gerald Laird (B).
- The Dodgers are open to re-signing Rod Barajas, Vicente Padilla and Scott Podsednik, though they didn’t offer the players arbitration. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports on Twitter that the team remains in contact with all three.
- Scott Boras' company provided families of poor Dominican prospects with tens of thousands of dollars, reports Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. Boras tells Yahoo's Tim Brown that he was helping prospects out when their careers were on the line, but MLB will investigate the issue.
- The Rangers expect Frank Francisco to accept their offer of arbitration, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).
- The Nationals are no longer pursuing Adam Dunn aggressively and they appear to be a fringe suitor for him, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Brian Moehler tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he intends to play in 2011 and has interest in returning to the Astros. But Moehler has never pitched in the playoffs, so he'd like to sign with a team that has a good chance of making a playoff run.
- The divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt is now final, according to the AP (on ESPN). The McCourts await a decision that will determine whether Frank has sole ownership of the Dodgers or whether he shares the club with his ex-wife.
- Don Nomura, the agent for Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he "deeply" hopes to complete a deal between his client and the A's. Oakland, who won the bidding for Iwakuma, broke off talks earlier in the week because the sides were too far apart.
Neftali Feliz is ready to close games in the World Series and is a strong candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, but it's easy to forget that he didn't even start the season as the Rangers' closer. That job belonged to Frank Francisco, who saved 25 games in 29 chances last season. He blew the save in his first two opportunities of the season and sported a double digit ERA in late-April, putting the ninth inning in Feliz's hands.
Francisco is set to hit the free agent market for the first time in his career in a few weeks, so let's break down his stock...
- After the rough start, Francisco was exceptionally strong as Feliz's setup man the rest of the way. After April 20th, he pitched to a 2.83 ERA with 56 strikeouts and just 13 unintentional walks in 47.2 innings.
- He's dominant, striking out 200 batters over the last three seasons (10.9 K/9) walking just 54 unintentionally (2.94 BB/9).
- As stated before, he has experience closing games, not mention familiarity with the setup role as well. Versatility is always a plus.
- Francisco finished the year on the disabled list due to a strained rib cage suffered in late August and hasn't been able to pitch in the playoffs. He also hit the disabled list twice in 2009 due to a shoulder strain, plus once more with a bout with walking pneumonia.
- He can be prone to the long ball, averaging one homer for just a touch over every nine innings pitched over the last three seasons. The Ballpark in Arlington has exacerbated that problem, his HR/9 on the road since 2008 is a much more managable 0.68.
- Francisco is projected to be a Type-A free agent, so if the Rangers offer him arbitration, a team would have to surrender a high pick to sign him.
Francisco's offseason is going to depend on whether or not the Rangers offer him arbitration. If they don't, his stock will be much higher because the stigma of forfeiting a high draft pick is gone. If they offer and he declines, he could find himself in a Juan Cruz circa 2008-2009 situation, where he's unemployed late into the offseason because no one feels he's worth giving up a pick. There's also a non-zero chance that Francisco would accept an arbitration offer, since an award would push him close to $4MM next year ($3.265MM salary in 2010). He might not be able to find that much money on the open market.
If Francisco does hit the market, perhaps his best course of action would be to take a one-year deal to serve as a non-contender's closer, building up his value so he could shoot for a multi-year guarantee next winter. He could also be a nice fallback option for a team breaking in a young and/or inexperienced closer.
Links to check out as we await Cliff Lee's Mariners debut...
- BoSox manager Terry Francona says that the upcoming player move to make room on the roster for Daisuke Matsuzaka will almost certainly involve a pitcher, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- If you play fantasy baseball, be sure to follow our @closernews feed on Twitter. We've got instant news on all closer situations, enabling you to conquer the save category.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Ryan Howard extension negotiations, speaking to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Howard's agent, Casey Close.
- In an MLB.com mailbag, T.R. Sullivan suggests that Frank Francisco could be a prime trade candidate in July, particularly if the Rangers are slipping from playoff contention.
- Luis Mendoza cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Omaha, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Mendoza was designated for assignment by the Royals last week.
- GM Jim Hendry says prospect Starlin Castro will join the Cubs at some point this season, but he won't say how soon, according to ESPNChicago. A source told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago earlier in the week that Castro's promotion could be right around the corner.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer doesn't think the White Sox have any need for Jermaine Dye. We heard earlier today that Dye believes he'd be a fit for the South Siders.
- Talking to Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse, Brewers outfielder Jody Gerut explained why the Padres should retain Adrian Gonzalez.
- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez answered questions from Denver Post readers, explaining that "it's a really bad feeling when you get traded" and he'd like to sign a contract "for a few years." Gonzalez is not arbitration-eligible until after the 2011 season, and he's represented by Scott Boras.
- The Yankees are not typically inclined to sign young players to long-term deals. It makes sense to maintain flexibility, as they did going year-to-year with Chien-Ming Wang. On the other hand, Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that Robinson Cano's extension has worked out quite well. Will the Yankees exercise his $14MM club option for 2012, or choose the $2MM buyout?
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald believes that the future of the Red Sox catching position points more toward Adalberto Ibarra than Victor Martinez.
Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News discussed a number of Rangers topics in a webchat this afternoon...
- Grant predicts Texas will let Frank Francisco and C.J. Wilson leave when they reach free agency after the
2010 and 2011 seasons, respectively.
- If Scott Feldman (who has two more arbitration years left) pitches well this season, Grant thinks the Rangers will try to negotiate a long-term deal with the starter.
- The out-of-options Luis Mendoza wouldn't be attractive trade bait to other teams, Grant says, though "a bad team might claim him on waivers. If so, the Rangers will be happy to pay his taxi fare to another camp. He's done nothing but go backwards."
- In regards to Brandon McCarthy, Grant thinks the right-hander will probably end up in the minors "unless somebody wants to make a deal based on projecting continued improvement with [his] sinker." Grant noted that a Nationals scout attended McCarthy's spring start on Wednesday.
- Grant doesn't think the Rangers will have any interest in the newly-released Chad Gaudin since they have plenty of starting options already.
We'll round up any and all players that agree to deals today to avoid arbitration in this post, so check back in for updates...
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports (via Twitter) that the Rangers have avoided arbitration with reliever Frank Francisco by agreeing to a one-year, $3.265MM contract.
- The official Brewers Twitter site is reporting that Carlos Villanueva has agreed to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $950K according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (via Twitter).
- The Red Sox and Jeremy Hermida have agreed to a one-year deal for 2010 to avoid arbitration according to a team press release. Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald reports (via Twitter) that Hermida will earn $3.345MM in 2010. Theo Epstein's streak of avoiding arbitration lasts another year.
Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.
- Washington tendered contracts to Josh Willingham, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, Jason Bergmann, and Sean Burnett.
- Zach Duke was tendered an offer by the Pirates.
- The Marlins reached an agreement with Ronny Paulino. The deal will be for one-year, $1.1MM.
- The Royals avoided arbitration by reaching one year deals with Brian Bannister ($2.3MM) Roman Colon ($660K), and Kyle Davies ($1.8MM).
- Dioner Navarro will remain with the Rays on a one-year deal worth $2.1MM.
- The White Sox will offer contracts to Bobby Jenks, John Danks, Carlos Quentin, and Tony Pena.
- Milwaukee will tender offers to six players: Dave Bush, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, Jody Gerut, Corey Hart, and Carlos Gomez.
- Toronto will tender an offer to Jeremy Accardo.
- Kevin Correia will remain with the Padres for one-year, $3.6MM.
- The Rangers have signed Esteban German to a 2010 contract. He'll earn $600K in the majors and $200K in the minors. They offered contracts to their other arbitration-eligible players including Scott Feldman, Chris Ray, Frank Francisco, C.J. Wilson, Dustin Nippert, Brandon McCarthy, and Josh Hamilton.
- Tampa Bay avoided arbitration with Lance Cormier by inking him to a one-year deal. The contract will pay Cormier $1.2MM.
- The Twins will tender contracts to all 30 unsigned players on their 40-man roster. That means Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris, Francisco Liriano, Pat Neshek, Delmon Young, and many more figure to be in the Twins' plans in 2010.
- The following eight Cubs will receive offers from the team: Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, and Mike Fontenot.
- Atlanta tendered offers to relievers Peter Moylan and Boone Logan.
- The Marlins will tender offers to almost all of their arbitration-eligible players - Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Cody Ross, Josh Johnson, Leo Nunez, and Renyel Pinto.
- The Astros will tender offers to all remaining arbitration-eligible players. This means Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, Jeff Keppinger, and Humberto Quintero are invited back.
- Matt Albers and Cla Meredith have agreed to terms with the Orioles. Albers' deal is worth $.68MM for one-year. Meanwhile, Meredith will recieve $.85MM in 2010.
- Randy Choate agreed to a one year deal. Terms of the deal are one-year, $700K.