Jason Hammel Rumors
- Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post wants to see Davey Johnson return as the Nationals' skipper in 2012. Earlier this week, GM Mike Rizzo raved about Johnson's ability to connect with his players.
- The Mets haven't yet had internal discussions about picking up the 2013 option for manager Terry Collins, but they'll likely discuss the possibility within the next month, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from someone connected to baseball management who wonders why MLB players don't insist on slotting. Capping bonuses does have potential benefits, but as Rosenthal explains, it's far from an ideal system.
- The Astros wanted Wilin Rosario or Drew Pomeranz for Wandy Rodriguez, but the Rockies were only offering Jason Hammel, Casey Weathers or Christian Friedrich, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Talks between the two teams reached a standstill yesterday, after the Rockies claimed Rodriguez earlier in the week.
- The Blue Jays announced that they signed non-drafted free agent Luke Willson, a left-handed hitter who also plays tight end for the Rice University Owls.
The Rockies were one of the most aggressive teams in baseball in terms of extensions last offseason. They locked six of their players up on multiyear deals, including two contracts worth $80MM or more.
It’s still too early to say with much authority that the deals failed or succeeded, but Troy Tulowitzki’s contract doesn’t expire until 2020 at the earliest and that’s a long wait, so let's check in on the deals now. The early verdict? Nearly five months into the season, the Rockies’ new deals are going well, largely because their biggest investments are looking good. That in itself doesn't justify the moves, but it's certainly better than the alternative.
Tulowitzki (ten years, $157.75MM), Carlos Gonzalez (seven years, $80MM), Matt Lindstrom (two years, $6.6MM), Jason Hammel (two years, $7.75MM), Rafael Betancourt (two years, $8.02MM) and Matt Belisle (two years, $6.125MM) all signed long-term last winter. Conventional wisdom says multiyear deals for relievers and megadeals for players already under long-term control aren’t the most prudent ways of spending money, especially for a mid-market team. Nevertheless, the Rockies went ahead with the moves and they’re going well so far this year.
It would be hard to argue that Tulowitzki isn’t the best shortstop in the game. Gonzalez has boosted his walk rate, lowered his strikeout rate and, thanks to a recent hot streak that has included seven home runs in 12 days, raised his season line to .289/.360/.523. Betancourt, Belisle and Lindstrom (now on the DL) have each pitched at least 43 2/3 innings with at least 6.2 K/9, no more than 2.3 BB/9 and an ERA of 3.41 or below. Even Hammel, who just lost his rotation spot to Alex White, provided Colorado with three months’ worth of solid starts before faltering in July and August.
The extensions look good so far, despite the Rockies’ disappointing 63-68 record. At this point, that’s all Colorado could hope for. But every player they locked up could have been on the team this year even if GM Dan O’Dowd hadn’t inked them to long-term deals, so the final verdict on the 2010-11 offseason deals will have to wait for another decade or so.
Jason Hammel has lost his rotation job to Alex White, and now Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the right-hander's days in Colorado may be coming to a close. "Hammel’s future with the organization beyond this season is in doubt," Renck writes. "It’s likely the Rockies will attempt to trade him over the winter."
It's quite a drop in stature for Hammel, who signed a two-year, $7.75MM contract with the Rockies in January and looked to be becoming a fixture in Colorado's rotation. He got off to a very solid start this year (a 2.63 ERA after his first six starts) but has struggled since, with his ERA ballooning to 5.24. Hammel has struggled to miss bats, posting a 4.7 K/9 rate that is well below the career 6.6 K/9 he carried into 2011. Hammel's ground ball rate has dropped to 43.7% from the 46.4% rate he posted in 2009-10 and his HR/FB rate is up a full point (to 10.7%) over the previous two seasons as well -- a dangerous bump for a Coors Field pitcher.
Hammel is owed $4.75MM next season and still has a fourth year of arbitration eligibility left as a Super Two before being eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. Given his young age (Hammel turns 29 in September) and his home/road splits (a career 5.17 ERA at Coors), the Rockies would surely find some interested takers for Hammel on the trade market. Still, given the number of question marks in Colorado's 2012 rotation, it's hard to imagine the Rockies wouldn't give Hammel one more try to see if he can stick as a starter.
The Rays roster is dotted with the spoils of trades involving excess starting pitchers. Matt Joyce arrived in the Edwin Jackson deal; the Rays obtained Sean Rodriguez when they sent Scott Kazmir to Anaheim and Chris Archer and others could soon join Sam Fuld on the roster and make Matt Garza’s departure easier to bear. But no matter how hard you look, you won’t see anyone from the trade that sent Jason Hammel to the Rockies exactly two years ago.
The Rays acquired Aneury Rodriguez for Hammel on this date in 2009 and the right-handed prospect spent two years in the Rays’ system, making it to Triple-A, where he spent most of last season. He pitched well in 2010, posting a 3.71 ERA in 123 2/3 innings with 7.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9. The 23-year-old became a reliable starter with four pitches that peak at average and are often fringy, according to Baseball America.
It wasn’t enough for the Rays to protect him in the Rule 5 draft, but it was enough for the Astros to select him. Now a member of Houston’s bullpen, Rodriguez currently ranks 11th among top Astros prospects, according to Baseball America. Houston will have to offer Rodriguez back to the Rays if they determine that he isn’t worthy of a roster spot all season, so the Rays could still profit from the Hammel deal. As it stands now, however, the return they obtained has had zero impact on their MLB team.
It’s easy to see why the Rays didn’t get much for Hammel. He was out of options at the time and had just lost a springtime battle with Jeff Niemann for a spot in the rotation. Hammel had a career ERA of 5.90 at the time and had started just 28 MLB games, so he was far from the established starter he has since become. Executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman made Hammel available, eventually trading him to obtain something of value instead of exposing him to waivers and losing him for nothing.
In the two years that have passed since the deal, Hammel has a 4.57 ERA in 354 1/3 innings with 7.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. That was good for 7.5 wins above replacement in 2009-10, more than any starter on the Rays or Rockies other than Ubaldo Jimenez.
The deal, which attracted little fanfare at the time, has turned into a steal for the Rockies. It may not be a franchise-altering trade like the one that saw the Rockies acquire Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street, but Colorado obtained an inexpensive and effective starter for an unproven prospect who has yet to materialize at the Major League level - a definite coup for GM Dan O’Dowd.
3:51pm: Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that Hammel will earn $3MM in 2011 and $4.75MM in 2012.
11:42am: The Rockies and Jason Hammel have agreed to a two-year deal according to the team (on Twitter). The deal buys out Hammel's next two years of arbitration-eligibility, though he will still be eligible for arbitration in 2013 as a Super Two. He is represented by Octagon.
MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows that Hammel filed for $3.7MM in arbitration earlier this week while the team countered with $3.1MM. He earned $1.9MM in 2010. Colorado has already signed Matt Lindstrom, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki to multiyear contract extensions this offseason.
Hammel, 28, was acquired from the Rays for minor leaguer Aneury Rodriguez before the 2009 season. In his two years with the Rockies, he's pitched to a 4.57 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 354 1/3 innings, though he battled a groin strain and arm fatigue in 2010. His 46.4% ground ball rate over the last two years ranks 35th among the 78 pitchers with at least 350 innings.
Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.
We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements. Yesterday's list can be found here.
- Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals. Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts. Willits' contract is worth $625K.
- Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter). Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players. In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
- Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter). The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
- The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press. MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
- Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
- The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
- Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
- Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.
- Pat Neshek agreed to a one year deal with $625K with another $75K in incentives, avoiding arbitration with the Twins according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier (via Twitter).
- The Nationals have agreed to terms with Jason Bergmann, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, and Josh Willingham according to a team press release. All four players avoided arbitration. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that Willingham will make $4.6MM next season, while Bergmann will make $750K according to a tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves and Peter Moylan have agreed to a deal, avoiding arbitration. He gets $1.15MM.
- Matt Garza avoided arbitration with the Rays, tweets Topkin. The two sides agreed to a one year deal worth $3.35MM,
- MLB.com's Jim Street tweets that the Mariners and David Aardsma have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.75MM.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, and Humberto Quintero according to a tweet from MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Bourn gets $2.4MM, Lindstrom $1.625MM, and Quintero $750K (via McTaggart's Twitter).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that the Rockies and Jason Hammel have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $1.9MM.
- The A's agreed to a one year deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, reports The Oakland Tribune. Oakland acquired Kouzmanoff from the Padres over the weekend.
- Jered Weaver agreed to a one year deal worth $4.265MM with the Angels to avoid arbitration, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman.
- Topkin tweets that J.P. Howell agreed to a one year deal worth $1.8MM, avoiding arbitration with the Rays.
- According to the team's official Twitter feed, the Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor ($2.65MM) and Brian Tallet ($2MM) by agreeing to one year deals.
- Delmon Young avoided arbitration with the Twins by agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.6MM, according to a tweet by Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com tweets that Young will get $25K each for 575 and 600 plate appearances.
- According to a team press release, the Royals have avoided arbitration with Alex Gordon and Robinson Tejeda. Terms of either deal was not disclosed.
- Heyman tweets that Stephen Drew and the Diamondbacks agreed to a one year deal worth $3.4MM, avoiding arbitration.
- The White Sox and John Danks avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal worth $3.45M, according to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Mets and Pedro Feliciano have agreed to a one year deal worth $2.9MM, avoiding arbitration. There's another $100K in performance bonuses.
- The Star Telegram's Anthony Andro reports that the Rangers and Chris Ray have avoided arbitration. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says it's a one year deal worth $975K.
- Russell Martin has agreed to a one year contract worth $5.05MM, avoiding arbitration with the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter)
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that the Blue Jays and reliever Jeremy Accardo have agreed to a one year deal worth $1.08MM, avoiding arbitration.
- Rafael Perez agreed to a one year deal with the Indians to avoid arbitration according to a team press release. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince tweets that Perez will make $795K in 2010.
- The Orioles and Luke Scott avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $4.05MM according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. He earned $2.4MM last season, hitting .258/.340/.488 with a career high 25 homers.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets that the Cubs have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($975K). Mike Fontenot ($1MM,) Koyie Hill ($700K), Angel Guzman ($825K), and Tom Gorzelanny ($800K). Terms of the deals came from Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times (via Twitter).
- Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates and Zach Duke have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal.
- Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Radio reports that Mark Lowe and the Mariners have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $1.15MM salary for next season.
- LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune tweets that the Twins and J.J. Hardy have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $5MM. He gets a small raise over last year's $4.65MM salary after hitting .229/.302/.357.
- According to the Cardinals' official Twitter feed, the team has avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick by agreeing to a one year deal. Heyman tweets that he'll receive $5.45MM next year after earning $3.7MM in 2009.
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Josh Hamilton, giving him $3.25MM plus awards-based bonuses according to a tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman. It was his first time eligible. Hamilton hit .268/.315/.426 in 2009, missing time with back trouble and a sports hernia.
- Mark Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times tweets that the Rays and Jason Bartlett have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $4MM salary for 2010. He earned just under $2MM in 2009, hitting .320/.389/.490 with a career high 14 homers.
- Casey Janssen agreed to a $700K deal for 2010 to avoid arbitration, according to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed. It was his first time up for arbitration.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter) that the Marlins and Jorge Cantu have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $6MM. Cantu hit .289/.345/.443 while making $3.5MM in 2009, his first year of arb eligibility.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that both Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks have agreed to one year deals to avoid arbitration. Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel tweets that Weeks will earn $2.75MM next year, while Gomez will earn $1.1MM as a Super Two.
- Heyman tweets that the Dodgers have avoided arbitration with both George Sherrill and James Loney. Sherrill gets $4.5MM plus incentives in his third year eligible, Loney $3.1MM in his first go around.
- According to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed, reliever Shawn Camp has agreed to a $1.15MM deal for 2010, avoiding arb. He was eligible for the second time after posting a 3.50 ERA in 79.2 innings last season.
- Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Leo Nunez and the Marlins have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2MM salary for 2010. Sticking with the theme of the day, it was his first time eligible for salary arbitration.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets that the Dodgers and Hong Chih-Kuo have agreed to a one-year deal worth $950K, avoiding arb. It was Kuo's first time eligible.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Mets and Jeff Francoeur have avoided arb by agreeing to a $5MM deal. Francoeur earned $3.375MM in 2009 and hit .280/.309/.423 for the Mets and Braves.
- Heyman tweets that Howie Kendrick and the Angels have agreed to a $1.75MM deal with incentives. This was Kendrick's first crack at arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that the A's and Rajai Davis agreed to a $1.35MM salary for 2010, plus incentives. This was Davis' first year eligible for arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that Jonathan Sanchez avoided arb with the Giants by agreeing to a $2.1MM deal, plus incentives. He posted a 4.24 ERA in 163.1 innings last year, and was up for arbitration for the first time in his career.
Links for Wednesday...
- The Mets favor Matt Holliday over Jason Bay, according to SI's Jon Heyman.
- Adam Guttridge of The Hardball Times explains why J.J. Hardy is a prime buy-low opportunity.
- Tyler Hissey of Around the Majors notes that Jason Hammel has been a great pickup for the Rockies.
- Tommy Rancel of DRays Bay says the Rays should pursue free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from one GM who believes Billy Wagner's best financial move may be to accept arbitration after the season. The Red Sox have the right to offer Wagner arbitration, but they'd have to offer over $8MM, so they could choose not to. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:
- Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel have performed well for their respective clubs, so the Rays' decision to trade Hammel worked out for everyone.
- A number of teams are sure to claim LaTroy Hawkins by noon CST today, when his waivers expire, but it's likely the Astros will pull him back. Rosenthal hears that Hawkins is open to returning to the Astros after the season.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels estimates that three quarters of MLB players hit waivers in August, so don't fret about this news if you're a Brewers fan, but Trevor Hoffman, Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell, Jason Kendall, Braden Looper and Felipe Lopez have all been placed on waivers, according to Rosenthal's source. The Brewers say they don't intend on becoming sellers.
The tireless Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has a new Full Count video up. Let's dive in...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Rosenthal that he was "very aggressive" going after pitching help, whether it be high-end starters, low-end starters, or relievers. "I was on all of it," Cashman said.
- Cashman specifically targeted Jarrod Washburn, but the Mariners asked for top prospect Austin Jackson in return. The Yankees were also "one of several clubs" to inquire about Felix Hernandez.
- Rosenthal says Heath Bell was their primary target among relievers, as the idea was to make him the primary setup man for Mariano Rivera, and possibly put Phil Hughes or Alfredo Aceves back into the rotation.
- The Dodgers "never got close" in their attempted blockbuster for Adrian Gonzalez and Bell. The deal would have helped Los Angeles' rotation by shortening the game from the back end with another elite reliever.
- They still have issues in the rotation however, as Jason Schmidt topped out at 87 last night. Only two National League clubs have gotten fewer innings out of their starters than the Dodgers.
- We won't know the true result of the Pirates' firesale until 2011 or 2012, but the early returns on the Jason Bay trade are not good. Rosenthal says the Rays may have been willing to pay more for Bay at the time, possibly including the since-traded Jason Hammel and/or Edwin Jackson in a package.
- Hitters and relievers will be in "ample supply" during the August waiver period, but quality starting pitchers ... not so much. Doug Davis might be one of the best available starters, and the Diamondbacks will need to be realistic about a return since they are unlikely to offer him arbitration after the year.
- There was "precious little action" on Davis in July. When Rosenthal mentioned to a club official that the offers for Davis might not be much better in August, the official responded "they can't be much worse."
While many of baseball's contenders are set to stock up on talent, the Rays and Rangers may not be among them. Oh, they're contenders, all right. They just may not add to what they have.
In Tampa Bay's case, MLB.com's Bill Chastain points out that the Rays have already dealt Jason Hammel and Edwin Jackson within the past year, making any further pitching depletion a risky move. He adds:
"Ben Zobrist's improvement has made the right field and second base situations look better, while the double-dose of Gabes in right field -- Gross and Kapler -- has begun to look like what the Rays hoped it would prior to the season. Both are producing when facing either a right-hander in Gross' case or a left-hander in Kapler's. Finally, a proven closer would be nice, but, again, look at what the bullpen is doing without one and you wonder how much better could the bullpen be with such an addition. Meanwhile, J.P. Howell appears to be taking charge of the closing role."
As for the Rangers, it simply comes down to money, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, though Texas would like to add starting pitching.
"The Rangers are also limited in their ability to take on significant payroll with a possible sale of the club by owner Tom Hicks still pending," Sullivan writes.
Of course, it also hurts Texas that Roy Halladay won't approve a trade to Texas, and Cleveland won't trade Cliff Lee, according to Sullivan.