James Loney Rumors
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with James Loney, agreeing to a one-year, $4.875MM deal, according to CAA, the first baseman's agency on Twitter. As MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows, Loney had filed for $5.25MM while the Dodgers offered $4.7MM.
Loney posted a .267/.329/.395 line last year. He doesn't have much power for a first baseman - his career-high in homers is 15 - but the former first rounder has been durable enough to stay on the field for 158 games or more from 2008-10. That consistency, plus Loney's RBI totals (he has 88 or more in each of the past three seasons) no doubt helped him negotiate with the Dodgers.
The sides settled slightly below the midpoint, but Loney will earn more than comparable players Kevin Kouzmanoff, Corey Hart and B.J. Upton did for their second year of arbitration eligibility, as CAA points out. Loney's relatively high salary makes him a non-tender candidate for the 2011-12 offseason, though the Dodgers can retain him through arbitration if they so choose.
Hall-of-Famer and Cardinals legend Red Schoendienst celebrates his 88th birthday today. Let's celebrate by looking at some news from the league where Schoendienst spent his entire 33-year career as a player and manager.
- The Mets want to find a new minority owner by June, reports The Wall Street Journal's Matthew Futterman, Michael Rothfeld and Chad Bray. If the Wilpons can't sell a minority share of just the club, Futterman, Rothfeld and Brian Costa report that the Mets ownership group could look to add a share of the SNY cable network to the sale "if and when it became a necessity." Jeff Wilpon said last week that SNY wasn't for sale.
- Mark Cuban tells Newsday's Barbara Barker that after failed attempts to buy the Cubs and Rangers, he won't pursue another baseball ownership opportunity unless he's approached. Cuban thinks the Mets are "a great opportunity, but I'm not going to call their investment banker." Cuban also said it's "very unlikely" he would settle for a minority share in a franchise unless he was given the first chance at buying a majority share in the future.
- Shairon Martis has cleared waivers and been outrighted to the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, reports the team's official Twitter feed. Martis was designated for assignment by Washington on January 24.
- James Loney and the Dodgers "don't appear close to a settlement" of Loney's arbitration case, reports ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson. Loney is L.A.'s last arb-eligible player, now that Hong-Chih Kuo has come to an agreement with the club. You can keep track of all the outstanding and settled arbitration cases at the MLBTR ArbTracker.
- Joe Pawlikowski of Fangraphs looks at what the Diamondbacks have done to remake their bullpen after last year's disastrous performance.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tackles the subject of arbitration hearings in his latest column, pointing out that teams are far more willing to settle on salaries with their players than they used to be. After speaking to Astros president Tal Smith, who says hearings don't involve as much "mud-slinging" as you'd think, Cafardo wonders why more clubs aren't inclined to fight to keep their payroll down. Here are the rest of his notes:
- James Loney won't be traded for now, but the Nationals made a "good push" for him earlier this winter, before they signed Adam LaRoche.
- According to one of Cafardo's Red Sox sources, Jonathan Papelbon will be available throughout the season, regardless of where the Sox are in the standings.
- Cafardo indicates that before Carl Pavano agreed to a two-year deal with the Twins, the Yankees offered the right-hander a one-year pact worth $7MM.
- Ron Washington offers the latest on the Rangers' plan for Neftali Feliz, who could get a chance to start this year after winning Rookie of the Year honors as a closer: "We’re going to bring [Feliz] into camp and give him an opportunity to stretch himself out. And if he shows us he’s better fitted with our ball club to start, then we’ll go in that direction. If not, we know he can close ballgames and we’re very happy with that."
- Joaquin Benoit discussed former teammates Carl Crawford and Rafael Soriano with Cafardo, opining that Red Sox pitchers will love having Crawford behind them, and expressing some surprise that Soriano won't be closing in 2011. He also told Cafardo that he was "getting a lot of phone calls" this winter from fellow relievers who felt Benoit helped them by signing early to his three-year deal.
Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. Let's keep track of those figures here, with the latest updates on top. You can track all of the players that avoided arbitration today here.
- MLB.com's Jane Lee tweets that Craig Breslow filed for $1.55MM, but the Athletics countered with $1.15MM.
- Zachary Levine of The Houston Chronicle has some figures for the Astros. Wandy Rodriguez filed for $10.25MM, Hunter Pence for $6.9MM. The team countered with $8MM and $5.15MM, respectively.
- Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star tweets that Billy Butler filed for $4.3MM while the Royals countered with $3.4MM.
- Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Javier Lopez filed for $2.875MM and Andres Torres for $2.6MM (Twitter link). The Giants countered with $2MM and $1.8MM, respectively.
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Johnny Cueto filed for $3.9MM, but the Reds countered with $3MM. He adds that Edinson Volquez filed for $2MM, the team $1.3MM.
- Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times tweets Jered Weaver filed for $8.8MM, but the Angels countered with $7.365MM. He adds that Mike Napoli filed for $6.1MM, the team for $5.3MM.
- Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinal has the figures for some prominent Brewers (Twitter link). Rickie Weeks filed for $7.2MM, Shaun Marcum for $5MM, and Kameron Loe for $1.65MM. The team countered with $4.85MM, $3MM, and $1.055MM, respectively.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets that James Loney filed for $5.25MM, and the Dodgers for $4.7MM.
- Gurnick adds that Hong-Chih Kuo filed for $3.075MM, the Dodgers countered with $2.55MM (on Twitter).
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun has the skinny on two of the Orioles' key players (Twitter link). Luke Scott filed for $6.85MM and Jeremy Guthrie for $6.5MM. The team countered with $5.7MM and $5MM, respectively.
- Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune reports that Delmon Young filed for $6.25MM, the Twins $4.65MM (on Twitter).
- Christensen also reports that Francisco Liriano filed for $5MM and the Twins $3.6MM (on Twitter).
- Christensen adds that Kevin Slowey filed for $3.1MM, the Twins $2.3MM (on Twitter).
- Adam Rubin of ESPN New York tweets that R.A. Dickey filed for $4.7MM, the Mets $3.35MM.
- Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger reports that Angel Pagan filed for $4.2MM, and the Mets for a little over $3.06MM (on Twitter).
- SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that Josh Hamilton filed for $12MM, the Rangers $8.7MM.
- Anthony Andro of The Star Telgram reports that Darren O'Day filed for $1.4MM and the Rangers for $1.05MM (Twitter links).
- Frank Francisco filed for $4.875MM, the Rangers $3.5MM according to Andro.
- Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press tweets that Jose Bautista filed for $10.5MM, the Blue Jays $7.6MM. Michael Vlessides nailed both figures when he spoke to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith back in October.
- MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm tweets that Jason Frasor filed for $3.725MM, the Blue Jays $3.25MM.
We heard earlier today that the Brewers are likely to hold onto Prince Fielder, but that won't stop other teams from expressing interest in the former home run champ. Here are the details on Prince, with more updates to come throughout the evening:
- The Brewers are having internal meetings to discuss Fielder, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Brewers approached the Dodgers about their potential interest in Fielder, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter).
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti shot down the Fielder-Loney-Broxton rumor, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (Twitter link). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that the Brewers and Dodgers have not spoken at the meetings (Twitter link).
- The Dodgers have zero interest in Fielder, according to Yahoo's Steve Henson (on Twitter).
- The Dodgers are discussing a possible three-player deal that would send Fielder to Los Angeles for James Loney and Jonathan Broxton, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The Dodgers appear willing to listen to offers for Broxton and the Brewers are one of three teams that have inquired on Loney.
12:22pm: A Dodgers source tells Yahoo's Steve Henson Loney will not be traded because he'd be too expensive to replace on the open market (Twitter link). Rosenthal now agrees that Loney will not be traded.
11:39am: The Nationals, Cubs, and Brewers have inquired on Dodgers first baseman James Loney, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Loney is available, says Rosenthal. Rosenthal notes that the Brewers would only want him in the unlikely event of a Prince Fielder trade. The Cubs and Nationals appear to be focused on Carlos Pena, says Rosenthal.
Loney was tendered a contract on December 2nd, so he'll earn $4.5-5MM in 2011 after a disappointing '10 season. The Dodgers' asking price doesn't appear to be reasonable, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets that they wanted Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann from Washington.
The latest on the Dodgers, from Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times...
- GM Ned Colletti admitted the team will spend the most time debating what to do about catcher Russell Martin, who we've pegged as a non-tender candidate. The Dodgers could try to bring him back for less than this year's $5.05MM, writes Baxter. Martin was sidelined by a hip injury this year, though he expects to be ready for Spring Training. His agent recently told Baxter's colleague Dylan Hernandez that his client hopes to remain with the Dodgers.
- Another player I was willing to call a non-tender or at least trade candidate, James Loney, "is all but certain to return at first base" according to Baxter. He could earn around $5MM despite a disappointing 2010 season. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported recently that Loney is the position player the Dodgers are most willing to trade as they look to add power to the lineup.
- The Dodgers have uncertainty at left field and second base, but Baxter says they're not expected to bid on Adam Dunn or Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Instead, they could continue to add pitching.
Links for Monday evening...
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets that the Royals have signed reliever Steven Shell to a minor league deal. Shell, 27, had a 3.59 ERA in 72.2 innings with the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate last season.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post lists the Cardinals, Phillies, and Rockies as some of the teams that were interested in Hiroki Kuroda before he re-signed with the Dodgers (Twitter link). Kuroda, however, re-signed without fielding offers from other teams according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.
- Add the Rangers to the list of teams showing interest in Victor Martinez says SI.com's Jon Heyman (via Twitter).
- WEEI.com's Rob Bradford tweets that Hideki Okajima is subject to a normal arbitration calendar this offseason. In the past the Red Sox had to offer him a contract by November 20th.
- Non-tender candidate Kyle Davies hopes to remain with the Royals, says MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. Davies hasn't heard anything from the team regarding his future.
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that Cliff Lee's agent Darek Braunecker is still unsure if he will attend this week's GM Meetings.
- MLB.com's Jane Lee provides a list of power bat the Athletics could potentially pursue as free agents this offseason.
- The Yankees don't believe that Derek Jeter will ultimately leave New York, but they're prepared for a long negotiation according to Heyman (Twitter link).
- Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets that there is still no word whether or not Andy Pettitte will return to pitch in 2011.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak doesn't expect any roster moves at this week's meetings according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com says the team is growing more optimistic about re-signing Jake Westbrook, however (Twitter link).
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer that it's too early in the offseason to tell whether his team's needs will be filled through trades or free agency.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith is on location at this week's GM Meetings in Orlando, and you can follow him on Twitter at @mlbtrorlando for the latest breaking news and analysis.
- There is mutual interest between the Marlins and free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, reports Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. Capozzi says the team might not be able to afford him, though they could free up payroll space by dealing Dan Uggla.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says that the Dodgers are looking to add power to their lineup, and James Loney is the player they're most most willing to trade. They would then turn around and sign one of the many power-hitting first baseman available on the free agent market.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson said that the first round of manager interviews includes one or two more candidates while the second round will consist of three or four candidates according to Andy Martino of The New York Daily News (all Twitter links). The second set of interviews could begin in Orlando this week, and Alderson said his father's death on Sunday will not slow things down.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick profiles Giants GM Brian Sabean and the work that lies ahead following his team's World Series victory.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues looks at how signing Lee would impact the Yankees' future payroll. Meanwhile, Brian Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that he doesn't expect to get any deals done this week.
- Best of luck to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. He's trading in the Blue Jays' beat for the Indians' beat.
Dodgers first baseman James Loney does not intuitively strike me as a non-tender candidate - the team was reportedly unwilling to part with him in July in a Cliff Lee trade. However, Loney had a terrible final two months and finished with the worst numbers of his career. Let's examine his case.
Loney, 27 in May, agreed on a $3.1MM deal with the Dodgers for 2010. He was arbitration eligible for the first time after posting another 13 home run, 90 RBI season. This year Loney still managed ten home runs and 88 RBIs, but his batting average and walk rate slipped from '09. He finished at .267/.329/.395, disappointing rates for a first baseman.
Loney's basic career numbers: a .288 average, 55 home runs, 353 RBIs, 267 runs, and 25 steals in 2436 plate appearances across 624 games. Potential comparables Corey Hart, Adam LaRoche, Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, and Josh Willingham averaged a raise of about $1.8MM, which would put Loney at $4.9MM for 2011. These comparables aren't perfect; Loney bests them all in average and RBIs but falls short in home runs. Hart, coming off a lousy platform year himself after the '09 season, had to beat the Brewers to get his $1.55MM raise. The Brewers were rewarded for tendering Hart a contract, as he had a big 2010 season.
Chances are some team would be willing to give Loney a shot at $4.5-5MM next year even if the Dodgers prefer a change at first base. Loney's team will have the ability to retain him for 2012 if they're happy with his '11 results. MLB.com's Bill Ladson speculated on Friday that the Nationals would go after Loney hard if the Dodgers make him available.
We at MLBTR send our best wishes to Ernie Tyler, the Orioles' 86-year-old umpires attendant who has worked every Opening Day in Baltimore for the last 51 years. Tyler underwent brain surgery earlier this week to remove a benign tumor, and The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reports that Tyler is progressing well in the early stages of his recovery. We look forward to seeing Tyler at Camden Yards in April to extend his streak to 52 years.
Let's check out some news items from around the majors...
- Speaking of Dan Connolly, he thinks Baltimore "will go hard after Victor Martinez and/or Derrek Lee," with Lee being the likelier candidate to sign with the Orioles.
- ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes thinks the possibility of Martinez re-signing with the Red Sox "looks iffy at best," though three other ESPNBoston contributors predict the free agent will return to the Sox.
- Edes also notes that another free agent catcher, John Buck, has a big supporter in Boston assistant GM Allard Baird.
- If the Nationals don't re-sign Adam Dunn, MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes that Carlos Pena "is at the top of their list" of potential replacements. Ladson also notes that Washington will "go after [James Loney] hard" if the Dodgers put him on the trade market, and that the Nats could also pursue an outfielder like Jayson Werth and fill their first-base opening from within with Josh Willingham.
- Arizona assistant general manager Peter Woodfork and the D'Backs have reached a "mutual decision" to part ways, tweets FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi. It's not an unexpected move since, as Morosi noted in a follow-up tweet, Woodfork has long-term ties to former Arizona GM Josh Byrnes and new D'Backs GM Kevin Towers probably wants to hire his own assistant.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy has a recall-filled edition of the week's minor league transactions.
- With Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia all anchoring the staffs of World Series contenders this postseason, Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times bemoans how the Dodgers missed out on acquiring any of the three "true aces" over the last two seasons.
- Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covered a number of Brewers topics in a chat with readers.