Homer Bailey Rumors

NL Notes: Reds, Arroyo, Braves, Giants, Phillies

Homer Bailey is due to become a free agent after the season, but the Reds are telling other teams that they don't want to trade him, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter). The Reds are worried about their depth in starting pitching, and Heyman notes that the return of Bronson Arroyo might be able to help them. Heyman also tweets that the Reds are one of the finalists for Arroyo, along with the Twins and two other teams. Here are more notes from around the National League.

  • The Braves are not interested in Arroyo, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. They would prefer a starting pitcher with better stuff, O'Brien says.
  • One player the Braves do like is sidearmer Luis Vasquez, who they recently signed to a minor-league contract, O'Brien writes. "He’s [Peter] Moylan plus five miles an hour," says GM Frank Wren. "Moylan at his best was probably 92, and this is 94, 97 routinely. It’s definitely a different look." Vasquez, who will be 28 in April, posted a 2.52 ERA with 11.6 K/9 and 7.1 BB/9 in 35 2/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013. Clearly, he'll have to improve his control to make an impact in the Majors.
  • The Giants had interest in Omar Infante, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi tweets. Somewhat surprisingly, they were interested in using him as a left fielder in 2014, before eventually moving him to third base. Infante today agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Royals to be their second baseman.
  • The Phillies are neither rebuilding nor contending, and their plan is unclear, argues Matt Gelb of the Inquirer. Since late July, for example, the Phillies have spent $69MM signing or re-signing aging veterans Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd, and yet they are trying to trade veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon. Meanwhile, Gelb argues, they agreed to sign Roberto Hernandez because they hadn't developed enough pitching on their own.

NL Central Notes: Bailey, Marmol, Brewers, Tanaka

Despite the fact that Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters the team won't be trading Homer Bailey, some within the organization feel they'll have to overpay to sign him to an extension at this point, which could eventually change Jocketty's stance, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that the Reds would only move Bailey if they felt it improved their 2014 club (All Twitter links). More from the NL Central…

  • The Brewers are one of a few teams to have shown interest in Carlos Marmol, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Brewers could get jump back into the Ike Davis market, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Much like their interest in Logan Morrison, Milwaukee's interest is contingent upon Corey Hart's decision, says Martino.
  • The Cubs will be in on Masahiro Tanaka, tweets Bruce Levine of WSCR. As he notes, the potential ace could greatly accelerate their timeline to compete.

Twins Rumors: Pelfrey, Nolasco, Arroyo, Bailey

A look at the latest on the Twins..

  • The Twins have made a two-year offer to Mike Pelfrey, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  However, there's still a gap in salary that needs to be bridged.  Pelfrey returned from Tommy John surgery in 2012 to post a 5.19 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a career-low 43.2 percent ground-ball rate in 152 2/3 innings.  Pelfrey's FIP (3.99) and xFIP (4.54) both suggest that his ERA could have been lower were it not for a .337 BABIP and 67.2 percent strand rate.
  • More from Heyman, who writes that the Twins have inquired on top starters like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez as well as several others lower on the free agent list, including Phil Hughes and Scott Feldman.  The club has been most heavily linked to guys like Bronson Arroyo, Ricky Nolasco, and Matt Garza to date.  Minnesota starting pitchers combined for a league worst 5.26 ERA in 2013.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN previews the Winter Meetings agenda for the Twins.  Minnesota has Nolasco atop their free agent wish list, but they'll move on if it's not at the right price.  They also like Arroyo and a source says he's seeking a three-year deal in the $27-$30MM range.
  • The Twins have told agents that they don't plan on sacrificing their second-round pick in June's amateur draft to sign a free agent, despite a public declaration stating otherwise, Wolfson writes. That would mean that Santana and Jimenez aren't in their plans. Santana's reps already have meetings set up with teams in Orlando and the Twins, as of this morning, are not on that list.
  • On the trade front, the Twins are fond of Homer Bailey, according to Wolfson. Wayne Krivsky, special assistant to GM, knows Bailey well from his days with the Reds. Krivsky took over as Cincinnati's GM two years after Bailey was drafted and was in that role when Bailey made his big league debut.
  • A Twins official "scoffed at" the idea of trading for Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello but was more receptive to the idea of a Jeremy Hellickson acquisition when asked by Wolfson about both each right-hander.


Arbitration Breakdown: Bailey and Masterson

Over the next few months, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I will rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong.

Both Justin Masterson (pictured) and Homer Bailey enter their third year of arbitration with relatively similar credentials this year, and both are projected to get very similar raises around $4MM. Masterson-JustinSince both players are not first-time eligible players, the rules of arbitration generally dictate that pre-platform year performances are not very importance. Rather, the current salaries on top of which they will receive raises suffice as summaries of their pre-platform year performance.

Masterson and Bailey had pretty similar pre-platform salaries too: $5.35MM for Bailey and $5.6875MM for Masterson. In 2013, Masterson went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA in 193 innings with 195 strikeouts, while Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 209 innings with 199 strikeouts. Obviously the ERA and strikeout numbers are almost identical, and the model seems to think that Masteron’s three extra wins only help him a tiny bit more than Bailey’s 16 extra innings. Playing time is extremely important in arbitration hearings, so it is not too surprising that they are still seen as similar by the model. At the same time, Masterson will definitely get some benefit from his wins. We project him to get a $4.0125MM raise as compared with Bailey’s $3.95MM raise, leaving them with $9.7MM and $9.3MM projected salaries respectively.

The comparable starting pitchers in the last few years seem to reinforce these raise approximations. In the last seven years, I looked for third-time arbitration eligible starting pitchers with ERAs in the 3.00-4.00 range, between 10-20 wins, and within 175-225 innings, and found nine guys who met those criteria. They received raises ranging from $2.5-5.9MM, which is obviously a pretty big window, but other than Zambrano’s $5.9MM raise in 2007 (which is largely viewed as an anomaly), the raises fall in the $2.5MM-$4.075MM range. Of course, the lowest raise in there was Wandy Rodriguez’s $2.5MM, but that came as part of a multi-year deal in which he was initially offered $3MM, so maybe the real range is from Kevin Correia’s $2.85MM in 2010 to Oliver Perez’s $4.075MM in 2008. In general, these seven guys are all pretty similar to Masterson and Bailey but I suspect that both inflation and slightly better performances will push them both to the high end of this spectrum.

The limitation on Bailey’s performance is definitely his win total. With just 11 wins in 2013, his team’s poor run support will cost him. A few pitchers in the aforementioned group seem to meet these criteria pretty well. One is Matt Garza, who in 2012 was coming off a 10-10 record to go with a 3.32 ERA in 198 innings. He also had 197 strikeouts, very similar to Bailey’s 199. Of course Bailey had a slightly worse ERA at 3.45, but he also had eleven extra innings pitched. Given the similarity of their numbers but with the extra win and eleven innings, it seems likely that Bailey could argue that Garza’s $3.55MM raise could be a floor for his 2014 raise.

Another possibility that Bailey could use to justify a raise closer to $4MM is the $4.3MM raise that Anibal Sanchez won in a hearing in 2012. He had even fewer wins than Bailey that year, amassing only an 8-9 record, and his 3.67 ERA was worse than Bailey’s too. He did have 202 strikeouts, but had under 200 innings (196 1/3, to be exact) which could give Bailey a leg up on him. Arbitration cases that go to hearings are often tough to use in newer hearings because obviously $4.3MM was seen by the Marlins at the time as too high and chances are a settlement would have come in below $4.3MM (the Marlins offered Sanchez a $3.2MM raise). But nonetheless, both Sanchez and Garza could help Bailey argue for the $3.95MM raise that I’m projecting for him.

This is not very different from the $4.0125MM that I have down for Masterson, even though Masterson had 14 wins. To try to find a good set of comparables for Masterson, I honed the win range to 13-15 wins, and looked for guys with ERAs in the 3.00-4.00 range who also had 175-225 innings. Perez got a $4.075MM raise from the Mets in 2008 when he won his arbitration hearing. Like Sanchez’s raise, Perez’s raise needs to be taken with a grain of salt because it was the result of a hearing, not a settlement, but the fact that Perez’s 15-10 record and 3.56 ERA looks so similar to Masterson’s 14-10 ERA with his 3.45 ERA, that it does warrant a comparison. Perez also only had 177 innings, compared with Masterson’s 193.

Another good, more recent comparable for Masterson is Jason Vargas' raise last year. Vargas got a $3.65MM raise after going 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA in 217 1/3 innings. Of course, Vargas only had 141 strikeouts which puts him well below Masterson’s 195. The extra innings and equal number of wins are a good starting point for the Indians to try to argue that Masterson shouldn’t top the $3.65MM number. Masterson would be better off trying to argue similarity to Sanchez and Perez, whose raises exceeded $4MM after winning cases, but it remains to be seen how much weight those will carry.

Overall, it’s not hard to see that both pitchers will fall reasonably close to a $4MM raise. Some of this is going to come down to how inflation is treated this year, and that is always a bit of a wild card. I suspect that if I’m off in my projections, I’m probably more like to be a few hundred thousand low for both pitchers than high, but if either one of these pitchers settles first and beats $4MM, I suspect the second player to settle to use the first as justification for a larger raise himself.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Rosenthal On Wieters, Butler, Choo, Davis

Here's a look at the latest news from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..  

  • Major league sources say it's not a surprise that the Orioles are willing to deal Matt Wieters.  The bigger question is how Baltimore would reshape the roster if they made such a move.  The O's don't have much breathing room to spend, but Rosenthal suggests the Orioles could gain flexibility by moving the catcher and also closer Jim Johnson, who projects to earn $10.8MM through arbitration. The O's could then find cheaper alternatives at both positions and be aggressive on the open market. 
  • If the Royals sign Carlos Beltran or another right-handed slugger, they could afford to trade designated hitter Billy Butler, who is signed for $8MM in 2014 with a $12.5MM club option for ’15.  The Mariners are among the teams that covet Butler, a major league source tells Rosenthal.
  • The Reds haven’t given up on re-signing Shin-Soo Choo, but they probably would need to trade Brandon Phillips and possibly Homer Bailey to create the necessary room, sources say.  We've heard that Phillips is a likely a goner, but Bailey a more difficult call since losing him would require the Reds to move Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, unless they acquired another starter. All that might be too much to ask to accommodate the signing of a $100MM+ free agent, but they'd ideally like to have Choo back to give them another year before putting Billy Hamilton in center field. If they lose Choo, they likely would go with Hamilton and seek out a veteran complement in center.
  • The Mets appear likely to trade Ike Davis, who is drawing interest from a number of clubs.  Rosenthal also cautions not to be surprised if they move Daniel Murphy as well.
  • Opinions are split on Jacoby Ellsbury's value.  One rival exec's statistical analysis rated Ellsbury as the top Red Sox player last season, ahead of Dustin Pedroia.  Others in the industry, however, are wary of Ellsbury’s diminished power since he has hit only 13 home runs over the past two seasons.
  • One rival exec described the Rangers' infield logjam as an untenable situation.

Quick Hits: Magic, Girardi, Pirates, Bailey

Magic Johnson's candor about the Dodgers likely not pursuing Robinson Cano this offseason has led Major League Baseball to look into Johnson's comments, ESPN's Buster Olney reports.  Officials on other teams aren't allowed to publicly discuss players who haven't officially become free agents yet, especially in cases where a player's market value could be affected.  General managers around the league told Olney that "their comments were watched more closely over the last year than in any time in recent memory," so Johnson could face some type of penalty for his remarks.

Here are some news items as we end another exciting day of four playoff games…

  • Joe Girardi "apparently remains torn" if he's going to accept the Yankees' extension offer or explore other manager jobs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.  The Yankees "have made it clear" that they could pull back their offer if Girardi talks to other clubs, something he's not allowed to do until the end of the month since the Yankees aren't granting other teams permission to negotiate with their manager.  One such team, the Cubs, expect to learn by tomorrow if Girardi is staying in New York, a source tells Wittenmyer.
  • The Pirates want to keep Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez over the long term, team president Frank Coonelly tells MLB.com's Tom Singer.  Coonelly also discusses the Francisco Liriano signing, the farm system and other topics during the interview.
  • "It wouldn't be shocking" if the Reds traded Homer Bailey to create some payroll space, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon opines.  Bailey earned $5.3MM last season and MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects that he could earn $9.3MM in arbitration.  Though Bailey has been one of the Reds' best pitchers over the last two years, he "has shown little interest in signing" a multiyear deal with the team, Sheldon writes, so the Reds could move him now before possibly losing him in free agency after next season.
  • Major League Baseball has filed a motion requesting that Alex Rodriguez's lawsuit against the league be moved to a federal court, and if the move is granted, MLB will likely file a motion to dismiss the suit, Newsday's Steven Marcus reports.
  • The Indians have a number of things to do before Opening Day 2014, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Hoynes' list includes adding an impact bat, adding at least one quality starter, bolstering the relief corps and locking up Justin Masterson to a long-term deal.
  • It once seemed unusual, but now its the norm for playoff teams to turn to inexperienced pre-arbitration eligible players, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes.  Among the 24 pre-arb hurlers in this year's postseason are Michael Wacha, Jarrod Parker and Alex Cobb, all of whom started today for their respective teams.

MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post


Reds, Bailey Agree To One-Year Deal

The Reds and Homer Bailey have reached agreement on a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter).  Bailey will earn $5.35MM in 2013, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

There was speculation that the club was working on a multi-year deal with Bailey given the amount of time they were spending on their deal.  Jocketty tells Fay (Twitter link) that he'll revisit a multi-year deal with the right-hander at some point.

Bailey filed for $5.8MM this winter while the Reds countered with $4.75MM, making the midpoint $5.275MM.  The 26-year-old enjoyed his best season to date in 2012, posting a 3.68 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 across 33 starts.


Quick Hits: Heyward, Marmol, Arroyo, Lohse

For that special baseball fan in your life, Valentine's Day means dressing up in an Expos throwback jersey and a fake mustache and glasses before hitting the town.  Here's the latest from around the majors as Spring Training is almost in full swing…

  • The Braves haven't talked to Jason Heyward about a long-term extension, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports.  Heyward was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and agreed to a one-year, $3.65MM deal for 2013.  Heyward is under team control through the 2015 season.  Bowman thinks the Braves could also talk to Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman about multiyear deals before the season begins.
  • Also from Bowman's story, Braves CEO and chairman Terry McGuirk said the organization is willing to spend to keep the team in contention for years to come.  "Money is not going to stand between us and getting it done at this point because we are that close," McGuirk said.  "I'm talking about [the] long term and short term. I'm talking about talent that is here and talent that isn't here."
  • Carlos Marmol said he "was a little sad" when the Cubs tried to deal him to the Angels earlier this offseason, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine writes.  Marmol's contract expires after this season and the reliever said he wants to stay with the Cubs.  Levine speculates that the Angels could revisit a Marmol deal since Ryan Madson will likely start the year on the disabled list.
  • Bronson Arroyo is entering the final year of his Reds contract and the veteran realizes it could be his last year in Cincinnati, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports.  "When you have a team as we do, where everyone is coming into their own kind of at the same time, and add the fact we have a couple of monster deals already in place, it's going to be tough for me to stick around here if I have [a] successful season," Arroyo said.
  • Given the time Reds GM Walt Jocketty is spending on Homer Bailey's contract, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer figures Bailey could be in line for a multiyear deal.  The Reds have already signed two other arbitration-eligible pitchers (Mat Latos and Logan Ondrusek) to two-year extensions this offseason.  Bailey is in his second year of arb eligibility.
  • Kyle Lohse's landing spot is debated by Jeff Sullivan and Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.  Lohse is expected to find a contact soon, though a number of teams linked to the right-hander are seemingly distancing themselves.  Sullivan and Cameron suggest the Rangers, Mariners, Padres and Indians could all be fits for Lohse and the two weigh the costs of Lohse's projected value against the value of the draft pick that most teams would have to give up to sign him.
  • Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists John Mozeliak's 10 best moves as Cardinals general manager.  Mozeliak signed a new extension with the Cards today that will keep him with the team through the 2016 season.

Quick Hits: Indians, Yankees, Bailey

The latest links from around MLB…

  • The Indians are getting calls on Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs following their four-year deal with Michael Bourn, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Though the Indians currently plan to keep both Brantley and Stubbs, some people suspect Stubbs will be dealt.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka said part of the reason he signed with the Indians was the chance to compete against his former team, the Red Sox, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
  • Andrew Bailey told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he loves playing with the Red Sox, even if he's not the team's closer.
  • Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn't sure if Andy Pettitte will retire after 2013, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports (Twitter links). "I think Andy still loves to compete," Girardi said, acknowledging that it’ll ultimately be up to the left-hander himself.  Pettitte will celebrate his 41st birthday this summer and while he doesn’t seem ready to retire, he said he doesn’t intend to decide until after the 2013 season.
  • Mariano Rivera said he has decided whether 2013 will be his final season, according to Curry (Twitter links). The Yankees closer won’t reveal his decision just yet, but will do so before the regular season begins.
  • Homer Bailey said he and the Reds would prefer to avoid an arbitration hearing if possible, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. “It’s kind of a slow process. We’ll see how it goes and go from there,” Bailey said. The right-hander has a hearing scheduled for Monday after filing for $5.8MM. The Reds, who recently avoided arbitration with Mat Latos and Shin-Soo Choo, offered $4.75MM.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


NL Notes: Cubs, Bailey, Rolen, Braves, Nats Bullpen

Thirty-one years ago today, the Cubs and Phillies swapped shortstops with Ivan DeJesus heading to Philadelphia and Larry Bowa going to Chicago. The Cubs also acquired a 22-year-old prospect by the name of Ryne Sandberg. This prospect managed to be named the 1984 National League MVP, played 16 years, finished with a career slash line of .285/.344/.452, and was enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. Let's take a look at the news and notes involving the Cubs and the rest of the Senior Circuit:

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio "never say never…but likely this is the team we go to Spring Training with," Bowden tweeted.
  • Regarding Matt Garza, Hoyer told Bowden and Duquette the focus is to get him healthy and into the Cubs' rotation; but, that could change since Garza will become a free agent after the 2013 season and the team needs to collect talent (Twitter link).
  • Homer Bailey says "nothing has been mentioned at all" about a long-term contract with the Reds, but "it would be something to consider," reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The arbitration eligible right-hander says the arb process has been slower this year because of the Reds' large arbitration class, but "it will all work itself out." You can follow all arbitration cases by using the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker
  • Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has reached out to Scott Rolen to express the team's interest in him, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Mattingly said he spoke to Rolen about what the Dodgers envision his role would be, but did not ask Rolen specifically about his decision making or timing. The Dodgers see the 37-year-old as insurance if Luis Cruz fails at third base, as well as a potential right-handed-hitting backup to Adrian Gonzalez at first base.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren sat down for an interview with Bill Shanks of the Macon Telegraph and spoke in great detail about the Justin Upton trade, the financial flexibility the deal gives the Braves, and whether future payrolls will be increased from the current $98MM.
  • Nationals relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard were both surprised by the signing of Rafael Soriano, but believe he makes the team better, writes Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. GM Mike Rizzo met with Storen and Clippard this weekend to reassure them that acquiring Soriano was not a reflection on their abilities, Comak added.