Huston Street Rumors
The Mets' deadline discussions with other clubs have not started "in earnest" and have been limited to cursory conversations so far, a baseball source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Apparently, teams that might be sellers were largely unwilling to concede they were ready for that position yet. The official also projected that trades across baseball will likely be more about absorbing salary than parting with prospects. Here's a look at the Mets tonight..
- A team insider told Rubin that the players available now might not be worth acquiring for the Mets. Players available now such as Chad Qualls and Brad Lidge likely wouldn't be gamechangers for the Mets.
- The Mets are already actively working to get bullpen help and called the Padres to ask about Huston Street, a source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Street's prior issues with bench coach Bob Geren would also not be a factor if there is a fit.
At 5.21, the Mets have the worst bullpen ERA in baseball by three-tenths of a run. Closer Frank Francisco is out with an oblique injury and Bobby Parnell has taken over ninth inning responsibilities, leaving the setup work to Jon Rauch and Miguel Batista. Ken Davidoff of The New York Post writes that the club is looking for bullpen help outside the organization.
“It’s not too early to do the research,” said assistant GM John Ricco. “It’s probably too early to make a move, although each year there is several pre-emptive ones. For the seller more than the buyer.”
Ricco also indicated that sometimes “you try to catch lightning in a bottle,” using the team's 2006 acquisition of Guillermo Mota as an example. Mota pitched to 6.21 ERA in 34 games for the Indians before being sent to New York and posting a 1.00 ERA in 18 appearances that year.
GM Sandy Alderson told Davidoff that the club hasn't ruled out the possibility of adding payroll, but they are weary of trading top-shelf prospects for volatile relievers. Davidoff mentions that the Mets are likely to get involved in any trade talks for Brett Myers and Huston Street, and not to rule out Grant Balfour as well.
We'll keep track of the day's minor moves here...
- The Padres will designate right-hander Matt Palmer for assignment prior to Tuesday's game against the Giants, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times. The move will allow the club to activate Huston Street off the disabled list on Tuesday. Palmer, 33, had struggled in three relief appearances with San Diego after having his contract selected from Triple-A Tucson on May 20.
Last offseason's Hot Stove was notable for the hefty contracts signed by the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but the abundance of closers in free agency was an interesting secondary arc. A few stoppers signed for big bucks, and if there were any takeaway, it was that many teams have not necessarily adopted a frugal philosophy with respect to bullpen spending.
The upcoming offseason's class of free-agent closers is pretty interesting, too, and several of its potential members have options for 2013. Here's a list of those pitchers and a very preliminary look at whether their options figure to be picked up:
- Matt Capps (2013 age: 29), $6MM club option with a $250K buyout: Capps' signing this offseason was maligned after he pitched poorly in 2011, but the Twins' bullpen was pretty barren, so it may have been a devil-you-know situation. He's pitching roughly the same so far this year, but the guess here is that if they were willing to bring him back after last year, they'll be willing to do so again. He could be a trade candidate, but I'm not sure there will be takers.
- Ryan Madson (32), $11MM mutual option with a $2.5MM buyout: The Reds will be on the hook for at least $2.5MM, so will they want to gamble an extra $8.5MM on a guy coming off Tommy John surgery? With Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall in the back of the Reds' bullpen, I think they'll pass.
- J.J. Putz (36), $6.5MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout: Putz is getting on in years, and his health is always a concern (including a DL stint during his brilliant 2011), but the right-hander is really good when he's on the mound. If he can get through this year relatively unscathed in terms of injury, which is no sure thing, I think the Diamondbacks will roll the dice, seeing as the penalty for snake eyes is relatively low.
- Joakim Soria (29), $8MM club option with a $750K buyout: Similar to the Reds and Madson, the Royals will have a tough decision to make with Soria coming off (a second) Tommy John surgery. They've been very reluctant to part with him via trade previously, so I'm thinking they'll pick up the option just to save face and see what he can yield -- either in terms of on-field contributions or perhaps a trade later in the season if he comes back healthy.
- Huston Street (29), $9MM mutual option with a $500K buyout if club declines: The Padres will likely look to trade Street before this year's deadline, so his recent injury development must make them a little nervous. He has plenty of time to get healthy before the deadline, though, and I'd expect the Friars to move hard to flip him. If they can't, they could always pick up the option and then look to trade him again next summer.
- Grant Balfour (35), $4.5MM club option with a $350K buyout: The A's will be shopping Balfour hard before the deadline, as he'll draw plenty of interest, as MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently noted. Wherever he is, his option will look pretty attractive, with his durability and effectiveness probably trumping any concerns over his age.
- Rafael Soriano (33), $14MM player option or a $1.5MM buyout: Soriano is very likely to exercise this option, meaning the Yankees will almost certainly be paying this hefty tab in 2013. The temptation may be there for Soriano to decline and rake in another two- or three-year deal elsewhere on the market, but he can get one of those after 2013, assuming for health.
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.