Freddy Garcia Rumors
Here's the latest from the AL East...
- "Gio Gonzalez has been a name widely discussed internally" by the Red Sox, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. The Sox are "extremely high" on the Athletics left-hander. We've also heard the Yankees and Marlins are interested in Gonzalez, though the A's haven't yet begun seriously discussing possible trades.
- The Orioles don't have to pursue an extension with Adam Jones this winter, opines MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. She believes if Baltimore's young pitchers don't show signs of improvement next season, the O's will have to enter yet another rebuilding process, and only then will the team decide if Jones is a long-term answer. If the Orioles rebuild, Jones would command a heavy price on the trade market. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes looked at Jones as an extension candidate in August.
- We recently heard from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the Red Sox asked the Blue Jays about Toronto manager (and former Sox pitching coach) John Farrell. According to David Waldstein of the New York Times (Twitter link), the Jays asked for Clay Buchholz in return. As Rosenthal wrote, "the Sox never considered it likely that the Jays would engage in serious discussions about Farrell, and the conversations failed to progress," which isn't at all surprising if Buchholz was the asking price.
- Freddy Garcia could have found a two-year deal elsewhere but wanted to return to the Yankees, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. The Red Sox were the only other team known to have an interest in Garcia, who agreed to terms today on a one-year, $5MM deal with New York.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day 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 Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
Garcia, 35, signed a minor league deal in February and delivered a surprisingly strong 3.62 ERA in 146 2/3 innings. The 13-year veteran posted 5.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 36.4% ground ball rate for the Yankees, spending part of August on the disabled list with an index finger injury.
Though the Yankees have locked up C.C. Sabathia, their search for starting pitching continues. Sabathia and Garcia will join A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes in the team's projected 2012 rotation.
Let's check in on the latest from Red Sox and new GM Ben Cherington....
- Boston has inquired on Freddy Garcia, a source tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
- The Red Sox will meet with David Ortiz's agent tonight, tweets Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Rob Bradford of WEEI (Twitter link) hears from a source that the Sox have already made Ortiz a contract offer.
- Ortiz continues to say that he'd like to return to Boston, and will give the Red Sox a chance to match any other offer he's considering, according to the Boston Herald.
- At least one more managerial candidate, in addition to Dale Sveum, is expected to get a second interview, tweets Silverman. Principal owner John Henry says the team is making sure not to rush the process, writes Scott Lauber of the Herald.
- In a separate tweet, Silverman says Cherington will travel to the Dominican Republic, at least in part to get a first-hand look at Yoenis Cespedes.
- Their current investment in other starting pitchers means the Red Sox will have less interest in Yu Darvish than they did in Daisuke Matsuzaka when he was posted, says Abraham (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox and Cubs touched base again on compensation talks today and will revisit the topic tonight, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston (via Twitter).
- Josh Reddick will have wrist surgery, but expects to be healthy in time for Spring Training, reports ESPNBoston's Joe McDonald.
Here's a look at some news out of the AL East..
- The Rays are concentrating on upgrading at first base, DH, and landing two relievers, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. They want to hang on to their pitching depth, but that would change if Joey Votto of the Reds became available.
- More from Sherman (via Twitter) on the Rays as he writes that the club is always open to anything, but have it in their budget to keep David Price at $4-$4.5MM as a Super Two. Price could earn $7-8MM in 2012 through arbitration according to MLBTR's projections. Sherman adds that it would take a gigantic return for them to move him.
- As expected, the Yankees intend to follow up with Freddy Garcia’s agents once more, a person with knowledge of the situation, told Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has already talked with Garcia’s representatives, even before the right-hander was a free agent.
- Dale Sveum is interviewing again Wednesday with the Red Sox and GM Ben Cherington is unsure if they will bring back anyone else for an interview, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- Talks between the Red Sox and Cubs over compensation for Theo Epstein will continue this week but Commissioner Bud Selig is likely to settle matter, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets. Cherington says that Selig hashing things out is probably what's best for both parties.
A few items of note from around the Northeast Corridor ...
- The Yankees have contacted the agent for free agent starters Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. Bombers GM Brian Cashman, however, cautioned that he's "in the process of talking to everybody." Oswalt and Wilson are both represented by Bob Garber of Select Sports Group, as our Agency Database shows.
- As well, Cashman has already communicated with free agent starter Freddy Garcia's representatives, according to Carig, and the parties are mutually interested in seeing the veteran right-hander in the Bronx again in 2012. Cashman also expressed interest in bringing back reserve infield Eric Chavez, backup outfielder Andruw Jones and right-hander Bartolo Colon.
- The Phillies have had discussions with free agent closer Ryan Madson, Madson's agent Scott Boras tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Boras termed the talks with the Phillies as "good dialogue" and said Madson is receiving a lot of interest - even from clubs that weren't thought to be in need of a closer.
- Newest Phillie Jim Thome is good friends with former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer, whom the Phillies are seriously pursuing, so Thome could help recruit Cuddyer to Philly, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "We've texted a little bit," Thome said. "We've talked." ... "I'm sure we will talk going forward."
- The Mets will refrain from doling out potentially crippling contracts under GM Sandy Alderson, but they shouldn't draw that line in dealing with their homegrown star Jose Reyes, opines Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Writes Rubin: "If the ultimate verdict with Reyes is a calculated baseball decision, so be it. But shame on the Mets if he departs and it is primarily payroll-constraint induced."
It's been a busy day for the Yankees. They've announced their extension with GM Brian Cashman and declined their option on Andrew Brackman, making the right-hander a free agent. Reactions to C.C. Sabathia's extension have continued streaming in and we have some more notes to pass along from Cashman's conversation with reporters. Most of the quotes below come via Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger:
- By signing Sabathia, the Yankees added "the most important piece" of the offseason, Cashman said.
- "Offense is not a problem with this club," Cashman said. He's right - the Yankees scored more runs than any MLB team but the Red Sox and their starting lineup returns in 2012, so pursuing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols doesn't seem likely.
- The focus of the winter is "pitching, pitching, pitching," Cashman said.
- Cashman said the organization is better-positioned to evaluate Japanese players than it was a few years ago. The Yankees could express interest in Yu Darvish, the Japanese right-hander who may be posted this offseason.
- Jesus Montero's role with the Yankees has yet to be determined: he could DH, catch on a semi-regular basis or be a bat off of the bench. Cashman expects Montero to contribute in the Major Leagues.
- Cashman said picking up Nick Swisher's $10.25MM option was an easy decision.
- Agent Peter Greenberg says there’s mutual interest between the Yankees and free agent Freddy Garcia in working out a new deal, according to Mark Hale, George A. King III and Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees would likely offer the Type B right-hander arbitration.
- I examined the Yankees' offseason last week.
With the general manager carousel moving at full speed and free agency approaching quickly, there are plenty of rumors in Major League Baseball. Jon Heyman weighed in today at SI.com; here are some highlights:
- Heyman’s sources doubt the Angels would waste Andrew Friedman’s time if they weren’t prepared to offer him a job. However, someone close to Friedman doubts he would leave the Rays. Friedman tops the Angels’ long list of GM candidates.
- One general manager expects C.J. Wilson to sign a deal worth $75MM over five years.
- Yu Darvish is undecided about making the jump to MLB, but he’ll be in line for lots of money if he does make the leap. One general manager suggested Darvish would cost about $100MM between his contract and his posting fee and another GM agrees that he’ll cost “big bucks.”
- The Yankees and GM Brian Cashman are making progress in their discussions about a new contract.
- Free agent starter Freddy Garcia is popular with the Yankees’ front office and could return in 2012. The right-hander barely qualifies as a Type B free agent, according to our rankings.
Among free agent starters with at least 100 innings pitched in 2011, C.J. Wilson, C.C. Sabathia, and Mark Buehrle unsurprisingly comprise the top three in ERA. Erik Bedard snags the fourth spot with a 3.62 ERA, the bigger surprise being the lefty's health rather than his performance. But just a hair behind Bedard in the free agent ERA rankings is a man who had to sign a minor league deal in late January: Freddy Garcia.
After the 2006 season Garcia had tallied 200+ innings in six consecutive years. Seeking a front-rotation arm, Phillies GM Pat Gillick acquired Garcia from the White Sox for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez at the Winter Meetings that year. Biceps soreness set in that spring for Garcia, who began the year on the DL. The big righty threw 56 innings for the '07 Phillies, at which point a serious shoulder injury was diagnosed. He had surgery in late August, and became a hot commodity as a free agent a year later. Garcia gave the '08 Tigers three September starts and planned to participate in the Venezuelan Winter League to further prove his health.
Garcia's shoulder flared up at that point, but he was healthy enough to land a $1.5MM base salary with $6.5MM in incentives from the Mets in January of '09. Mets GM Omar Minaya convinced Garcia to accept a minor league assignment to begin that season, but he was released by the end of April. It was a low point for Garcia, who signed back with the White Sox in June of that year on a minor league deal. Garcia closed out his season with nine starts for the Sox, pitching well enough to prompt the team to exercise a $1MM option in October.
In 2010 we saw a full season of the new Garcia. The results: a 4.64 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.32 HR/9, and 40.7% groundball rate in 157 innings. It wasn't enough to merit a big league deal, so the Yankees signed him to a minor league contract in January and he soon became the favorite to be the team's fourth starter. An August finger injury cost Garcia a few starts, but he ended up with similar numbers: a 5.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, and 36.4% groundball rate in 146 2/3 innings. If you count a minor league start and a postseason start, Garcia pitched 156 innings.
SIERA says Garcia's skills suggest an ERA around 4.28, rather than his actual 3.62 mark. That's still an improvement over 2010. Garcia slightly improved his strikeout rate, perhaps due to some changes in his mix of pitches. Garcia still profiles as a back-end starter, but his new level of performance should result in a guarantee at least matching the $3MM given to the likes of Brad Penny and Brandon Webb last winter.
Garcia appears to have earned over $4MM this year including incentives, and the Yankees must decide whether to offer arbitration if his fringe Type B status holds up. Perhaps the Yankees can convince him to decline arbitration, as otherwise the process could lead to a $5-6MM guarantee should the pitcher accept. Garcia has shown he can provide that amount of value, but despite the lower ERA this year the market perception would probably put him below a $5MM base salary as a free agent.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
With a month and a half remaining in the regular season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post takes a look at a few subplots facing the Yankees as they prepare for the playoffs and the subsequent offseason. Let's check out the highlights....
- Nick Swisher's OPS sat at .649 heading into June, but he's posted a .941 mark since then. Given his improved play, the Yankees will likely view his $10.25MM option for next year as reasonably priced, and bring him back.
- It's nearly a certainty that C.C. Sabathia exercises his opt-out at season's end. Sherman sees the 31-year-old asking for a raise, from the four years and $92MM he'll have left, to no less than the seven years and $161MM he originally signed for.
- Rafael Soriano has allowed one baserunner in six outings since coming off the DL, leading Sherman to wonder if the righty's opt-out could become a factor this winter. Considering how strong the relief market will be, I can't imagine even Scott Boras finding a deal better than the two years and $23MM Soriano has remaining on his current contract.
- There's no guarantee Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia are Yankees next season, but Garcia projects as a Type B free agent, meaning the club figures to at least offer him arbitration.
- Speaking of starters facing free agency, Jason Marquis tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he'd love to represent his hometown and pitch for the Yankees or Mets. Taking into account their divisions and home parks, the Mets may be more appealing for Marquis than the Yanks, but either way, Marquis suggests he'll "explore that avenue when the season is done."