Homer Bailey Rumors

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. 


Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players will avoid arbitration today, and dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays and Braves are known for their 'file and trial' policies. For players on those teams this marks the last chance at negotiations before a hearing.

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Now for the details…


Jocketty: Reds Talking Extensions

The Reds have had preliminary extension talks with some of their arbitration eligible players, Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty acknowledged. "Nothing has gotten really serious yet,” the GM said, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. However, the Reds are interested in locking up Mat Latos and Homer Bailey to multiyear contracts.

"We've discussed that," Jocketty said. "We're taking a look to see if it works. If not, we'll go year to year. We'd prefer something long term eventually."

Mike Leake, Logan Ondrusek, Alfredo Simon, Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Heisey of the Reds are also arbitration eligible this offseason, as MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last month that the Reds had had some extension talks with Bailey and intended to discuss a deal with Latos.

Bailey, a Hendricks Sports client, projects to earn $5.1MM in 2013 as a second time eligible player, according to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. Meanwhile, Latos projects to earn $4.6MM as a first time eligible player. Bledsoe Brothers represents Latos.


Rockies, Reds Have Discussed Fowler

2:19pm: Talks between the Phillies and Rockies never got serious, Renck reports (on Twitter). Talks with the Reds could pick up, but Colorado's demands haven't changed.

1:18pm: The Phillies had some serious talks with the Rockies about Fowler before acquiring Ben Revere, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter links). The Mariners have also checked in on Fowler, who seems to be a backup plan for Seattle.

11:21pm: The Rockies and Reds have engaged in preliminary trade talks about Dexter Fowler, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Cincinnati could trade players from its MLB roster, but right-hander Homer Bailey will likely remain with the Reds, according to Rosenthal.

Any Reds package would start with Mike Leake and involve at least two more prospects, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported last night. The Reds maintain interest in Fowler and the Braves can't be ruled out, Renck adds.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty recently downplayed the chances of trading for Fowler, saying he hasn’t really talked to the Rockies. “I’m not sure Colorado is moving Fowler,” Jocketty said, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer suggested this week that the Reds could make a run at acquiring Fowler.

From a financial standpoint trading for Fowler would be more affordable than signing Michael Bourn. Fowler, a 26-year-old switch hitter, posted a .300/.389/.474 batting line in 530 plate appearances this past season. He's second time arbitration eligible with a projected salary of $4MM and will remain under team control through 2015.

Rosenthal suggests the Reds could trade MLB players such as Leake and outfielder Drew Stubbs


Latest On Reds, Ludwick

WEDNESDAY, 4:25pm: The Reds are "still a little ways apart" with Ludwick, GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.

9:59pm: Ludwick remains in discussions with the Reds and others, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

9:32pm: Ludwick and the Reds are getting close on a deal, hears Yahoo's Jeff Passan.

TUESDAY, 4:12pm: "We're in the ballpark," Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the team's offer to Ludwick.  The team is now waiting on Ludwick and Jocketty expects resolution this week (John Fay reporting).

MONDAY, 5:01pm: The Reds have an offer out to free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick, manager Dusty Baker tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).  Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters he's optimistic, and he'll meet with Ludwick's agent tomorrow morning.  A signing is possible this week. 

Meanwhile, the Mets have interest in the 34-year-old, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Jocketty also cleared up rumors about the Reds' interest in Dexter Fowler and Coco Crisp, telling reporters, "We really haven’t talked to either club if that’s any indication.  I’m not sure Colorado is moving Fowler."  Jocketty said the Rockies have not brought up Homer Bailey's name to him, either.


Reds Interested In Long-Term Deals For Bailey, Latos

The Reds have spoken with Homer Bailey about a contract extension, and they plan to do the same with Mat Latos, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter).

The 26-year-old Bailey enjoyed a breakout season for the NL Central Division champions in 2012, posting career bests in innings (208), ERA (3.68), strikeouts (168) and WHIP (1.24). His 44.9 percent ground-ball rate was also a full-season best, as was his 9.4 percent swinging-strike rate. The Hendricks Sports is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $5.1MM in his second go-around in arbitration.

Latos, who will turn 25 on Sunday, pitched to a 3.48 ERA in a career-high 209 1/3 innings with a strong 8.0 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. His regular season marks were virtually identical to his strong 2011 season despite moving from the spacious Petco Park to the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. A client of the Bledsoe Brothers, he's projected by Swartz to earn $4.6MM as a first-time arbitration-eligible player.

The Reds could look to do the same with Latos as they did with Johnny Cueto back in 2011, signing him to a four-year extension with a club option for a fifth year. At the time, Cueto was also eligible for arbitration for the first time. Latos has had more success to date than Cueto had, however, so it would likely require a greater financial commitment than the $27MM that Cueto secured.


Central Notes: Reds, Chicago, Brewers, Pirates, Twins

Here are the latest news and notes from the NL and AL Central divisions:


Reds Notes: Span, Latos, Bailey, Ludwick

With B.J. Upton now a Brave and Denard Span now a National, the Reds' outfield/leadoff hitter options are thinning out, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  The Reds tried to acquire Span from the Twins at last year's trade deadline, though Sheldon hadn't heard anything about the Reds continuing their pursuit for Span this winter.  Sheldon believes Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan are too expensive for the Reds and Shane Victorino may be as well, though Cincinnati is one of at least seven teams who have shown interest in Victorino's services.

Here are some more items about of the Queen City…

  • In a separate piece from Sheldon, the Reds' recent history of locking up young players before free agency makes Mat Latos and Homer Bailey seem like extension candidates this winter.  In his recent look at Cincinnati's arb-eligible players, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted that Bailey's injury history may keep the Reds from pursuing a multiyear deal with the righty, while Latos could receive a five-year, $60MM extension, though predicting a new Latos deal is difficult due to a lack of comparables.
  • Dustin Bledsoe, Latos' agent, tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds have yet to approach his client about an extension.
  • Also from Fay, he hears from agent Dan Horwits that the Reds have "been in contact" with his client Ryan Ludwick about a possible return to Cincinnati.  "There’s interest on both sides. Hopefully, we can [get] something done. We’re talking to other clubs. He has offers from other clubs,” Horwits said.