Huston Street Rumors
At first glance, the Padres' acquisition of closer Huston Street from the Rockies last offseason didn't make a whole lot of sense. After all, San Diego wasn't expected to contend in 2012, and Street didn't come cheaply -- at a 2012 salary of $7.5MM -- for a team that operates on a modest budget.
But new GM Josh Byrnes probably valued Street more as an asset in future trade talks than as someone who could contribute to a rebuilding team on the field, and considering the Friars merely gave up an underwhelming prospect to acquire the right-hander, it's a sound strategy.
Now, several projected contenders are already dealing with injuries at the back end of their respective bullpens, and it seems even more likely that trade suitors will be checking in with the Padres on Street.
The right-hander, 29 in August, has earned his keep as a high-strikeout control specialist with a knack for producing fly balls, a formula that has produced an excellent 2.91 career SIERA. Those skills should play especially well for Street in his new home ballpark in San Diego's Petco Park, where fly balls go to die. And if he's cruising along with stats that are inflated by his home digs in a couple months, it'll only serve to intensify interest among bullpen-needy contenders.
The catch here is Street's contract. He holds a $9MM player option for 2013, but that can be declined for a digestible $500K buyout -- for which the Rockies are on the hook. In other words, Street can be had as a half-season rental, or he can contribute down the stretch and then come back the following year at a pricey, but not off-the-charts, salary.
Will some team bite? It's hard to say that now, with a couple months' games to play out before trade talks really heat up, but if Byrnes can flip Street for even a decent prospect, he'll have turned a profit considering how little he paid for the closer.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire
The Padres found their Heath Bell replacement, acquiring closer Huston Street from the division-rival Rockies for minor league left-hander Nick Schmidt. The Rockies have officially announced the trade. The Rockies are eating $1MM on Street's $8MM salary, tweets Joel Sherman. MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweeted the agreement, Joel Sherman tweeted when it became official, and Danny Knobler, Scott Miller, and Buster Olney contributed to the breaking story.
Street, 28, posted a 3.86 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 1.4 BB/9, 1.54 HR/9, and 34.9% groundball rate in 58 1/3 innings for the Rockies this year, saving 29 games in 33 attempts. The move to Petco Park should help Street's home run rate, and if he has a big year he could decline his $9MM player option for 2013 and test the open market. Street had a DL stint for triceps soreness in August, during which the Rockies realized Rafael Betancourt could be an effective closer. The move appears to be mostly a salary dump for Colorado, and the team now has more money to pursue a starting pitcher such as Hiroki Kuroda. For fantasy analysis of the deal, check out Bryan Grosnick's latest at CloserNews.
Schmidt, 26, was drafted 23rd overall by San Diego in the 2007 draft. The southpaw has yet to pitch beyond the high Class A level, posting a 4.61 ERA and an 8.00 K/9 rate in four pro seasons. Schmidt underwent ligament replacement surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2008 season.
THURSDAY: The Twins acquired righty Daniel Turpen from the Rockies to complete the Slowey deal, they announced today. Turpen, 25, posted a 4.83 ERA in Double-A this year. He was taken by the Yankees from the Red Sox in last year's Rule 5 draft, then returned to Boston and later traded to Colorado.
Slowey, 27, was widely regarded as a non-tender candidate had he remained with the Twins until next week's deadline. He projects to earn $2.7MM through arbitration in 2012, and is under team control through 2013. One of the game's most extreme flyball pitchers, Slowey (pictured) doesn't seem a great fit for Coors Field. The other concern is that Slowey hasn't compiled big innings totals in the Majors. Still, he limits free passes as well as anyone and could be a useful back-end rotation addition for Colorado. The Rockies also added starter Tyler Chatwood last week in a trade with the Angels.
The Rockies may have other irons in the fire, as Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post reported earlier that they've discussed a deal with the Reds involving closer Huston Street for starter Edinson Volquez. It's unclear whether those talks are still active given the Slowey acquisition. Renck also wrote that the Rockies have interest in trading for the Phillies' Placido Polanco or the Braves' Martin Prado, and asked the Cubs about D.J. LeMahieu and Scott Maine in Ian Stewart talks that have since lost momentum.
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
Latest out of the NL West:
- The Padres seemed to be making progress on a multiyear contract with Francisco Rodriguez, but it fell apart, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney. Presumably, having added Huston Street, the Padres don't have any more interest in K-Rod.
- Speaking of Street, the Padres will receive $500K from the Rockies this year as a part of that deal, and another $500K if they don't pick up his 2013 option, tweets MLB.com's Corey Brock.
- Street described the trade to the Padres as "bittersweet," writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- The delay in finalizing the Street deal occurred because the Rockies were close to sending him to the Reds for Edinson Volquez, tweets Renck.
- The Giants appear set in the outfield, but are still seeking a right-handed bat in the infield, says Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Edgar Renteria seems to be a "pretty major longshot."
9:59am: The Padres are very close to getting Street from the Rockies, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. The Rockies will receive a player to be named later, he adds, and the Padres will pay Street's contract.
9:52am: The Rockies and Padres' talks for Huston Street are ongoing, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, and they've been extensive. Scott Miller of CBS Sports agrees that the teams are talking seriously about Street, and the Padres hope to close the deal today.
ESPN's Jayson Stark suggested this match yesterday, saying the Rockies are willing to eat all of Street's $8MM salary for prospects. However, Miller says the Rockies want to get rid of his salary and wouldn't pick up much. Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets that the Padres are working hard on landing a closer.
The Blue Jays, Twins, and Marlins added closers in recent days, and it's not clear whether the remaining teams with ninth inning openings are willing to spend big. The latest on several closers...
- There is "no interest" from Madson or Rodriguez in accepting arbitration, tweets Peter Gammons of MLB Network. However, one agent believes that if the Red Sox trade for Andrew Bailey, which is a "real possibility," Madson and K-Rod could be in trouble, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
- The Angels are interested in trading for Seattle's Brandon League, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Angels have also expressed interest in free agents Todd Coffey and Jason Isringhausen, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, but they probably won't move on a reliever until C.J. Wilson decides what to do.
- There's lots of buzz that Ryan Madson and Francisco Rodriguez could accept arbitration with the Phillies and Brewers, respectively, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark. I still think Scott Boras will advise both to decline tomorrow night.
- The Rockies are willing to eat all of Huston Street's $8MM salary for prospects, tweets Stark. He says the Padres are a possibility. Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link) hears the Rockies would take on some "but not all" of Street's salary.
- Stark confirms yesterday's rumor that the Royals will listen on Joakim Soria, but they want a front-line starter in return.
The latest on the Orioles:
- Baltimore has interest in Carlos Quentin and Gavin Floyd, but it's unclear if they match up with the White Sox, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Sox would like young pitching and the O's don't want to give that up, Connolly adds. Brad Bergesen was one name floated by Baltimore in trade talks, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- The Orioles are talking to the Rangers about re-acquiring Koji Uehara, according to Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
- A club official told Connolly that there's "no chance" the team wants Alfonso Soriano (Twitter link).
- The Orioles are telling other clubs that Adam Jones is off limits, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post hears that talks between the Orioles and Rockies about Huston Street have "no traction" (Twitter link).
- GM Dan Duquette says he has several offers out to free agent position players and pitchers, and adds that the club was in on Kevin Slowey before the Twins sent him to the Rockies, tweets Ghiroli.
- The O's have re-signed Brandon Erbe to a minor league contract, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
The Winter Meetings are here, and that means 24/7 coverage is here at MLBTR as well. I'll be doing overnight shifts throughout the duration of the Winter Meetings, so feel free to stay up late for your fix of Hot Stove news. Here's some overnight quick hits:
- ESPN's Buster Olney is of the opinion that the Mets should be entertaining offers for David Wright, since he won't be part of the organization by the time they turn things around (Twitter link).
- Astros manager Brad Mills is excited to see what some of the non-roster invitees they've signed will bring to Spring Training, writes Stephen Goff of Examiner.com.
- The Cardinals are somewhat comfortable with Tyler Greene as their starting shortstop in 2012, but are also aware of the long list of free agent options writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. New manager Mike Matheny had plenty of praise for Greene who, despite poor offensive output in the Majors, owns an .857 career OPS in 1,204 Triple-A plate appearances.
- The Denver Post's Troy Renck expects the Rockies to trade both Ian Stewart and Huston Street this offseason (Twitter link).
- Juan C. Rodrgiuez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel tweets that he thinks Javier Vazquez is "done." Vazquez has been rumored to be leaning toward retirement for months now.
- The Marlins are "being silly" if they prioritize Albert Pujols over starting pitching at this point, in the opinion of Scott Miller from CBS Sports. Miller feels they already have a dynamic lineup, but with Josh Johnson's frailty and some underwhelming results from the rest of their rotation in 2011, the rotation needs to be the priority.
Some links to check out as we await tonight's 11pm central time arbitration deadline...
- Though teams are interested, there's nothing imminent regarding a trade of Huston Street, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. A source also tells Renck that the Rockies have not spoken with the Cubs about Matt Garza.
- The Red Sox won’t reach a decision on their new manager before tomorrow, a team source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti doesn't expect Grady Sizemore to play 150-160 games next year, but does think that the center fielder will play the "vast majority of games" in 2012, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
TUESDAY: The Marlins, Red Sox, Reds and Mets are also interested in Street, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
Jim Johnson replaced Kevin Gregg as the Orioles' closer late last season, but Rosenthal says the O's prefer Johnson in next year's rotation. There's no harm in inquiring on Street, but in my opinion an $8MM closer is a luxury the Orioles don't need. We'll see whether the Rockies are willing to cover a decent chunk of his contract. Rosenthal suggests Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie as a possible fit for Colorado, though I think Baltimore could trade Guthrie for better long-term assets than Street.