Freddy Garcia Rumors
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."
A few items from the Bronx Bombers' camp...
- Bartolo Colon has looked very good this spring, but lingering doubts about his conditioning and his durability are the only reason the Yankees haven't officially given him a rotation job, writes Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The other veteran contender for that open rotation spot, Freddy Garcia, has offered to be a long reliever if it will get him on the Yankees' roster, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- Also from Carig, he thinks Gustavo Molina could be a legitimate contender to start the season as New York's backup catcher while Francisco Cervelli is on the DL. Molina, signed to a minor league deal in December may get the nod given that the Yankees' more vaunted catching prospects (Jesus Montero and Austin Romine) haven't stood out this spring.
- Brian Cashman tells Chad Jennings of the LoHud blog that he's received a few calls from other general managers in regards to the extra pitchers in New York's camp. "It’s been very quiet for the most part....Everybody’s just picking the phone up and checking in with each other, myself included," Cashman said.
Rotation battles are being decided left and right. Here's the latest.
- Scott Baker will serve as the Twins' fifth starter and Kevin Slowey will work out of the bullpen, tweets Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Slowey was highlighted by MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith as a potentially available starter, and the Twins appear willing to listen. With Kyle Gibson on the horizon, can the Twins spare the depth?
- Barry Enright made the Diamondbacks' rotation, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Assuming Joe Saunders makes the cut, that leaves Armando Galarraga and Aaron Heilman duking it out for the right to fill in for Zach Duke. If Heilman sneaks into the rotation, the D'Backs have to decide by March 28th whether they want to pay Galarraga $2.3MM as their long man. If they cut him by then they'd only owe him about $569K.
- Bartolo Colon went six strong innings for the Yankees last night, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports figures this means he'll make the team somehow. Colon and Freddy Garcia have opt-out dates of March 31st and March 29th, respectively. Ivan Nova probably has the fourth starter job, leaving Colon, Garcia, and Sergio Mitre for two spots.
- The Cubs are meeting today and could decide on their fifth starter, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. If Andrew Cashner gets the nod, I can see the Cubs trying to dump Carlos Silva.
The Yankees discussed ways of strengthening their pitching staff this offseason, but now that we're just weeks away from Opening Day, the team is no longer exploring potential deals. GM Brian Cashman told Marc Carig of the Star- Ledger that "there's nothing hot. I've got nothing going on. Zero" (Twitter links).
That's not particularly surprising since the challengers for the two jobs at the back of the club's rotation have been progressing well. Cashman declared that no pitchers were available late last month and the market figures to remain barren for months (you can forget about Felix Hernandez and Francisco Liriano for now).
Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, two of the pitchers in competition for the available rotation spots, have clauses in their contracts that allow them to opt out at the end of the spring. However, Colon is willing to pitch in long relief, according to Carig.