Jason Hammel Rumors

Orioles Rumors: Hammel, Santana, Floyd, Hanrahan

We've heard the Orioles linked to several free agents already today, including Jason Hammel, whom the O's are interested in bringing back on a new contract. It's unlikely that Baltimore will be willing to meet the right-hander's reported asking price though, as ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) hears Hammel's reps are seeking a three- or four-year deal for their client. Here's more on the O's:

  • The Orioles are one of many teams with some interest in Johan Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • Speaking to reporters, including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter links), Orioles GM Dan Duquette suggested that finding a leadoff hitter will be a challenge for the club, and that he hasn't made any new offers to players since arriving in Orlando. However, Duquette believes Baltimore will add a player within the next couple days.
  • Kubatko adds (via Twitter) that Baltimore hasn't ruled out rehabbing pitchers, meaning players like Gavin Floyd and Joel Hanrahan could be on the radar.
  • Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com tweets that the Orioles' budget for a closer will likely max out at about $6MM, and that the club is also seeking a designated hitter who can play the field.
  • The Orioles announced today in a press release that they've outrighted Cord Phelps to Triple-A Norfolk. Phelps was claimed off waivers from the Indians last month.

Indians, Orioles Have Shown Interest In Jason Hammel

The Orioles have interest in bringing back Jason Hammel on a new contract, but probably only on an incentive-laden deal, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Indians have also shown interest in Hammel. However, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Hammel's asking price recently went up, which has caused the Indians to move on for the time being. That would also seem to throw a wrench into the Orioles' interest.

Hammel, 31, struggled through a flexor strain in his throwing elbow last season en route to a 4.97 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 40.1 percent ground-ball rate in 139 1/3 innings. Hammel looked to have turned a corner in 2012 when he pitched to a 3.43 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and a 53.2 percent ground-ball rate in 118 innings for the O's. That flash of upside is likely the driving force behind most of the interest in him on this year's free agent market.


Morosi On Fister, Hammel, Giants, Fowler, Mariners

Here's the latest from FOX Sports' Jon Morosi:

  • The Tigers are "gauging interest" in starting pitcher Doug Fister as well as Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello (Twitter link). Morosi repeats a bit of trade speculation from a reader who suggests that Fister for Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick might be a good fit (link). That doesn't even rise to the level of a rumor at this point, but it's interesting, given the Tigers' need for a second baseman and the Angels' desires to add pitching while keeping payroll down.
  • The Giants are interested in free agent pitcher Jason Hammel and have asked to see his medical records (link). Hammel posted a 4.97 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in a down year with the Orioles in 2013.
  • The Mariners have Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler on their radar as a potential trade target (link). The Mariners have been connected to any number of outfielders already this offseason, so it's unsurprising that they would be interested in Fowler, who hit .263/.369/.407 in 2013. Fowler is set to earn $7.35MM in 2014.


Orioles Notes: Wieters, Machado, Hammel, Valencia

Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com feels that while there is a growing sentiment among some Orioles fans that Matt Wieters should be traded due to his declining offensive numbers, the backstop is part of the team's core and should instead be offered an extension. Melewski points out that Adam Jones was extended with two years of team control remaining — the same amount of team control the Orioles currently hold over Wieters. He adds that Wieters is a durable clubhouse leader that is entering his prime years, all of which should factor into the team's desire to retain him. The x-factor that isn't discussed by Melewski is Wieters' agent, Scott Boras. Few Boras clients sign extensions prior to free agency, though notable recent exceptions include Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gomez and Carlos Gonzalez. More on the O's…

  • Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Manny Machado's surgery to repair the medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee will take place today. The projected four-to-six-week timeframe for his recovery will have him ready sometime between the beginning of Spring Training and the early portion of April.
  • From within that same piece, Connolly writes that Jason Hammel is behind Scott Feldman, Nate McLouth and Brian Roberts on the Orioles' "priority to re-sign" list. Connolly's assumption is that Hammel will hook on with another team. I could envision him signing a similar contract to that of Feldman last offseason — one year at $5-6MM with additional incentives based on innings pitched and/or games started.
  • Lastly from Connolly, the out-of-options Danny Valencia figures to make the team in 2014 and could see more time in the field early on, depending on Machado's recovery. Connolly adds that despite Valencia's large numbers against left-handed pitching, a consistent DH who can get on base regularly will be an offseason priority for the Orioles.

AL East Notes: Girardi, Feldman, Hammel, McLouth, Jays

The Rays and Rangers will square off in a one-game playoff to determine the second American League Wild Card team tonight and finalize the postseason picture. Should the Rays come up short, it will mark the first time since 2006 in which the AL East has not been represented by two teams in the postseason (the Yankees, Twins, Tigers and A's were playoff teams that year). Here's more on the AL East…

  • There has been increasing speculation about whether or not Yankees manager Joe Girardi will return to the team in 2014 given his expiring contract, and ESPN's Buster Olney hears that the Yanks will have to significantly increase Girardi's $3MM salary in order to retain him (Twitter link).
  • There's mutual interest between Scott Feldman and the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Kubatko thinks the O's will re-sign their midseason acquisition unless another team vastly overpays for him on the free agent market.
  • Within that piece, Kubatko also notes that free agent Jason Hammel's tenure with the Orioles is likely finished. He adds that if our own Tim Dierkes' two-year, $10MM projection for Nate McLouth is accurate, then McLouth is as good as gone, too.
  • The Blue Jays' payroll won't be moving back in 2014, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters yesterday, including MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. Anthopoulos stated that the team was more likely to address its holes via trade than free agency, noting that this year's free agent crop is once again looking weak. Chisholm lists second base and starting catcher as areas of focus, and he also notes that Toronto is searching for at least one middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Orioles Avoid Arbitration With Jason Hammel

The Orioles announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jason Hammel by agreeing to a one-year deal.  The Octagon client will receive $6.75MM according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (on Twitter) while Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets that Hammel can earn an additional $300K through performance bonuses.

According to MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter), the right-hander will earn $100K for each of the following benchmarks: starting 25 games, 175 innings pitched, and 190 innings pitched.  Hammel will also get $50K for earning an All-Star selection, ALCS MVP, or World Series MVP, Connolly tweets.

Hammel filed for $8.25MM in arbitration while the Orioles countered with $5.7MM.  This one-year deal is slightly less than the the $6.975MM midpoint but through incentives he can go over that mark.  The 30-year-old is in his third and arbitration year and is eligible to hit the open market after the 2013 season.

Darren O'Day is the Orioles' only remaining arbitration-eligible player that has not yet signed a contract for 2013.


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…


Rosenthal On Hammel, Pirates, Tigers, Gomez

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that Jason Hammel has outperformed Jeremy Guthrie so far this season. The right-handers were traded for one another this offseason (with Matt Lindstrom also going to the Orioles) and Hammel has pitched well for Baltimore, while Guthrie is on Colorado’s disabled list. Here are more notes from Rosenthal:

  • Some considered Hammel a “passive competitor,” but Dan Duquette and the Orioles viewed him as a dependable innings eater. Hammel, 29, has a 1.73 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 through 26 innings for his new team.
  • Though Yankees GM Brian Cashman says his team did more background work than ever before acquiring Michael Pineda from Seattle, one rival executive says his club grew concerned. The right-hander showed diminished velocity in his final start of the 2011 season after struggling in the second half. Pineda will miss the 2012 season with a shoulder injury.
  • The Pirates aren’t scoring many runs, but rival executives like the trio of Alex Presley, Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen at the top of Pittsburgh's order, Rosenthal writes.
  • Tigers starters other than Justin Verlander and Drew Smyly have struggled so far this year, and rival executives expect Detroit to make a strong push for rotation help by the July trade deadline.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Rosenthal that Carlos Gomez would generate approximately as much interest as Yoenis Cespedes if you put him in a tryout camp. Gomez, who is two months younger than Cespedes, could be a late-bloomer, Melvin said.

Rockies To Acquire Guthrie For Hammel, Lindstrom

"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Baltimore anymore," tweeted righty Jeremy Guthrie this morning after learning he'd been traded from the Orioles to the Rockies.  The clubs reached an agreement that sends Guthrie to Colorado for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first reported the near-deal, which has now been officially announced. 

Guthrie's arbitration hearing against the Orioles was scheduled for this morning with a $7.25MM-$10.25MM spread, but his agent Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports tweeted today he reached an agreement on a one-year deal that fits "within the Rockies' payroll structure" and is "a showing of good faith."  Connolly says Guthrie settled with the Rockies at $8.2MM, which is $550K below the midpoint.  With the Orioles, a hearing had "seemed possible and even likely," tweeted Van Wagenen.

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Guthrie, 32, had been a regular in Baltimore's rotation since being claimed off waivers from the Indians five years ago.  Last year he posted a 4.33 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9, and 39.6% groundball rate in 208 innings for the Orioles.  His skills suggest a 200-inning, 4.50 ERA guy in the AL East.  Guthrie (pictured) will be a useful addition for a Rockies rotation long on options but short on stability, assuming his proclivity to surrender home runs doesn't worsen in Coors Field.  Guthrie will be eligible for free agency after the season, and I would not expect draft pick compensation.

Hammel, 29, posted a 4.76 ERA, 5.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, and 43.9% groundball rate in 170 1/3 innings last year.  Acquired from the Rays three years ago, Hammel has given the Rockies 170+ innings in each season since the trade.  Prior to 2011, Hammel's skills suggested a pitcher capable of a sub-4.00 ERA.  In 2011, however, he was demoted to the Rockies' bullpen in August.  He'll earn $4.75MM in 2012 and will be arbitration eligible for 2013.

Lindstrom, 31, posted a 3.00 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.50 HR/9, and 47.3% groundball rate in 54 innings last year for the Rockies.  His strikeout rates have always seemed low for someone averaging a 96 mile-per-hour fastball.  Lindstrom, who was acquired in December 2010 from the Astros, is owed $3.6MM for 2012 and has a $4MM club option for '13.  Interestingly, Guthrie and Lindstrom both put their baseball careers on hold for two-year Mormon missions in their lives.    

With the trade, Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has subtracted his rotation's one sure thing in favor of Hammel, who was demoted from the Rockies' rotation last summer.  He did acquire two pitchers for the price of one, as well as potential 2013 control for each.  Noted Duquette on today's conference call, "We didn't have any offers of young prospects for Jeremy."  Duquette has hooked up with Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd for trades twice before, when the former was at the helm of the Red Sox.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Rockies Close To Acquiring Jeremy Guthrie

The Rockies and Orioles are nearing an agreement that would send starter Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, most likely for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  Connolly believes a third piece for the Orioles was discussed, but the sides settled on Hammel and Lindstrom.  Guthrie's arbitration hearing was scheduled for this morning, but is believed to have been postponed.  With a $3MM gap, the righty's arbitration case has a sizeable spread.

Guthrie, 32, has been a regular in Baltimore's rotation since being claimed off waivers from the Indians five years ago.  Last year he posted a 4.33 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9, and 39.6% groundball rate in 208 innings for the Orioles.  His skills suggest a 200-inning, 4.50 ERA guy in the AL East.  Guthrie will be a useful addition for a Rockies rotation long on options but short on stability, assuming his proclivity to surrender home runs doesn't worsen.  Guthrie will be eligible for free agency after the season.

Hammel, 29, posted a 4.76 ERA, 5.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, and 43.9% groundball rate in 170 1/3 innings last year.  Acquired from the Rays three years ago, Hammel has given the Rockies 170+ innings in each of his seasons.  Prior to 2011, Hammel's skills suggested a pitcher capable of a sub-4.00 ERA.  In 2011, however, he was moved to the Rockies' bullpen in August.  He'll earn $4.75MM in 2012 and will be arbitration eligible for 2013.

Lindstrom, 31, posted a 3.00 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.50 HR/9, and 47.3% groundball rate in 54 innings last year for the Rockies.  His strikeout rates have always seemed low for someone averaging a 96 mile-per-hour fastball.  Lindstrom, who was acquired in December 2010 from the Astros, is owed $3.6MM for 2012 and has a $4MM club option for '13.    

With the trade, Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has subtracted his rotation's one sure thing in favor of Hammel, who was demoted from the Rockies' rotation last summer.  He did acquire two pitchers for the price of one, as well as potential 2013 control for each.

This post was first published the morning of February 6th.