Homer Bailey Rumors
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.
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.
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.
Here are the latest news and notes from the NL and AL Central divisions:
- Sources tell FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal the Reds like Dexter Fowler and the Rockies like Homer Bailey. Now the question is whether their mutual interest crystallizes into trade discussions during the Winter Meetings.
- The Brewers are prioritizing a left-handed reliever with the available free agent possibilities including Sean Burnett, Randy Choate, Mike Gonzalez, J.P. Howell, and Tom Gorzelanny, tweets Morosi.
- Cubs officials have yet to confirm or comment on reports of their signing of Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. The Cubs, however, are willing to talk about their need for a third baseman, an outfielder, and pitching depth. Muskat adds the Cubs could re-sign third baseman Ian Stewart after non-tendering him on Friday.
- The White Sox and Phillies are the two most aggressive teams in pursuit of a third baseman, a source tells Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Kevin Youkilis is the object of both team's pursuit. Hayes writes the Sox may have to move another high salary in order to afford Youkilis and floats the names of Jeff Keppinger, Mark Reynolds, and Eric Chavez as alternatives.
- The Pirates feel they are better equipped to restock their bullpen, despite the free agency of Jason Grilli and the recent trade of Chris Resop, and may be interested in turning closer Joel Hanrahan into a much needed starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's Tom Singer.
- The Twins plan to focus more on free agents than trades during the Winter Meetings, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. The Twins have already dealt their best trade chip in Denard Span and plan on keeping Josh Willingham, writes Mackey in a separate piece.
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.
10:45pm: The Reds continue talking to Oswalt, though he'd prefer to pitch for the Cardinals or Rangers, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report. Cincinnati would have to clear payroll to add Oswalt and Homer Bailey would be the most likely candidate to be dealt.
9:33pm: Cardinals GM John Mozeliak acknowledges he’ll be ‘opportunistic’ about potential deals, but says he’s not expecting significant moves before Spring Training, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Though the Cardinals and Roy Oswalt had mutual interest in a deal, they couldn’t reach an agreement.
Oswalt was asking for a significant guarantee in terms of role and salary, but the Cardinals aren’t looking to add payroll. The Cardinals haven’t spoken to Oswalt’s agent in the past week or so, Goold writes. The Reds appear to be kicking the tires on the right-hander, but the Rangers aren’t likely to sign him.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
Yesterday, a Major League source close to the Ubaldo Jimenez trade talks told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the chances of a deal are "around 50/50." Here's the latest on the Rockies' ace, with the newest info up top...
- The Yankees and Red Sox called the Rockies about Jimenez today, according to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Talks with the Reds appear to be further along, though the Rockies appear to be asking for Travis Wood, Bailey and either Chapman or Mesoraco. The Rockies won’t lower their asking price, Harding reports. The Reds haven't said no yet, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). Until they do, there's a slim chance a deal will occur.
- Sources tell Dan Knobler of CBSSports.com that the team with the best chance to trade for Jimenez is the Yankees (Twitter link). The Blue Jays are considered a "real longshot at best."
- About seven teams are interested in Jimenez, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com who names the Reds, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Indians and Blue Jays (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays "legitimately want" Jimenez, according an executive who spoke to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter).
- The Rockies have asked the Reds about Homer Bailey, tweets Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Earlier, Renck wrote that "chances remain slim" of a Jimenez trade. He said the Rockies "continue to listen and negotiate with multiple teams regarding Jimenez, with the Reds receiving the most attention," but in general Colorado's demands are so high that no team is expected to bite. Renck said the Rockies have asked the Reds for Devin Mesoraco, Aroldis Chapman, and Chris Heisey, among others. In an email exchange with MLBTR, Renck clarified that the Rockies asked for Mesoraco and Chapman together while Heisey is simply another name that has come up in talks. Both Mesoraco and Chapman appear to be untouchable.
- The feeling from executives is that the Rockies want to find a trade for Jimenez, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Reds are calling, and the Blue Jays kicked the tires.
- The price on Jimenez hasn't dropped at all, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark. He says the Rockies require "three sure-thing young players, including one pitcher who goes into their rotation immediately." One executive who spoke with the Rockies pegs the chances of a deal at no more than 25 percent.
- The Rockies "recently held a two-hour internal conference call to go over the trade alternatives" for Jimenez, writes SI's Jon Heyman.
To put it mildly, this has been a rough year for Reds fans. Edinson Volquez had the Cincinnati faithful buzzing after posting a 3.21 ERA with 9.5 K/9 in his first full season in 2008. After logging just nine starts in the 2009 campaign, Volquez needed surgery to repair damage in his right elbow. The Reds faded fast as their depleted staff wasn't getting much of a lift from their sagging offense. Injuries to Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion (prior to being dealt to Toronto) certainly didn't do them any favors.
However, if the team's recent performance is any indication of what lies ahead, Reds fans might have something to cheer about in 2010. Dusty Baker's squad has gone 19-11 since September 1st, thanks in part to stronger pitching (3.39 team ERA) and the return of Jay Bruce, who missed two months with a broken wrist.
Buster Olney, Baseball Prospectus and the ESPN Insider staff compiled a glance at this past season and what to expect next year in Cincy. An ESPN Insider account is needed to read the article, but here are the brass tacks for those without:
- It's no secret that the Reds don't have a top-flight budget. They opened this season with a payroll of $73MM and owner Bob Castellini isn't going to "go all Steinbrenner" and tack-on much more.
- Further exacerbating their financial woes are their pricey commitments to Bronson Arroyo, Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang and Scott Rolen. Combined, these four players are owed $46.5 million next season.
- Olney says that considering their lack of flexibility this offseason, Homer Bailey might be their best chance for improvement as he recorded a 2.41 ERA in September. The velocity that made Bailey such a highly-coveted prospect has returned, with his fastball being clocked at an average of 94.5 MPH this year. This is a big step-up from his previous big league work and could spell an even bigger jump in 2010.
- Baseball Prospectus says that their "acceptable" rate of 4.5 runs allowed per game is due in part to their much-improved defense. It will be interesting to see if defensive-minded yet weak-hitting shortstop Paul Janish will be the Reds' starter next season. Manager Dusty Baker said on Friday that a "definitive decision" hasn't been made yet.
- Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus notes that the combined efforts of all Reds batting in the top two lineup spots resulted in a slash line of .245/.301/.354. When Willy Taveras hit the DL in August, Dusty Baker put rookie Drew Stubbs and the aforementioned Janish at the top of the order. The team has gone 27-15 since then, but Jaffe attributes most of the credit for that to the improved performance of the pitching staff.
- The "Rumor Central" portion of the piece encourages Reds fans that are anxious to see the team acquire a big bat to consider what the offense is capable of if they are healthy. Injury-free seasons from Bruce and Votto should give Cincinnati a major boost.
- The report says to expect the Reds to tender Jonny Gomes an offer as he is arbitration-eligible. This should come as no surprise as Gomes has belted 20 HRs in 311 plate appearances while posting .266/.338/.540.
- Jaffe says that Jocketty could deal Arroyo or Harang to give the team room to make a mid-level signing this winter. He adds, "...It's difficult to envision this team breaking out of the middle of the pack without keen vision and bold steps."
1:21pm: Danny Knobler believes the White Sox want to see whether they can move Dye for pitching before entering the free agent market.
WEDNESDAY, 12:23pm: Ken Rosenthal says the Dye-Reds discussions continue at a moderate level, but for now the Sox expect Dye to be their Opening Day right fielder. A deal was close at one point, but Dye's salary became an issue for the Reds. Rosenthal specualates that the Reds could now just try to get a bargain on Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell.
TUESDAY, 10:37pm: MLB.com's Scott Merkin says the White Sox have not talked to the Braves since the Javier Vazquez deal. It's been a quiet Winter Meetings for the Sox so far.
11:11am: From SI.com's Jon Heyman:
A person familiar with the White Sox's thinking said late Monday night, "The Jermaine Dye trades are dead ... for tonight, anyway.''
Heyman says the Rays, Braves, and Reds were among ten teams to to express interest. He adds that Homer Bailey alone would not have been enough.
9:06pm: Ken Williams speaks. No Dye trade, but plenty of interest.
6:26pm: Dusty Baker spoke about the Dye trade talks today, saying he thought they were "kind of off because of economics and because everybody wants your young players."
MONDAY, 4:24pm: McCoy talks more about the rumor he originated. He said a reliable White Sox insider told him the Dye deal was in place and wonders if Ken Williams changed his mind.
SUNDAY, 10:06pm: Walt Jocketty on the report: "Wrong. It's not even close." The Reds haven't had talks with the Sox since before Thanksgiving.
9:32pm: ESPN's Jerry Crasnick adds that Dye and his agent "haven't heard a word" about a trade. Reds assistant GM Bob Miller rejected the report, adding, "We haven't talked to White Sox since we got here."
8:51pm: Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune says "a source familiar with the talks" rejected the report below. The Sox want more than just Bailey. Gonzales' source adds that talks with the Mets for Bobby Jenks fell apart over Omar Minaya's unwillingness to include Bobby Parnell.
7:46pm: According to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, a Major League source told him a Homer Bailey for Jermaine Dye trade "is done and will be announced this week."
It'd essentially be six years of Bailey for one of Dye (plus possible draft pick compensation), as Dye has a mutual option for 2010 at $12MM. Those almost never get fully exercised - if one side wants it, the other doesn't. It would be interesting to see what the White Sox could do with Bailey given their recent success developing young pitchers.