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Jeff Kent Rumors
Jose Reyes told Constantino Viloria at the Spanish-language New York paper La Opinion that he is open-minded about his future with the Mets. As in past interviews, Reyes dismissed the possibility that he would play anywhere but with the Mets, the organization that scouted and signed him as a teenager in the Dominican Republic. The team holds an $11MM option on Reyes for 2011, which seems a no-brainer given the options on the free agent market.
However, Reyes added a new twist by telling Viloria that while he would prefer to stay at short, he "hasn't ruled out" changing positions. More specifically, Reyes mentions that "I played several games at second base for the Mets," referring to the 43 games he logged at the keystone in 2004.
Reyes' preferences aside, there is an argument to be made for bumping the 27-year-old one slot to the right. First of all, one of the team's top position prospects (along with Fernando Martinez and others) is 18-year-old shortstop Wilmer Flores, who has been showing promise at the lower levels of the Mets system—though some see his future outside of the infield. In any event, once the Mets are free of their commitment to Luis Castillo at the end of 2011 (or sooner by trade), there is no ready replacement within the upper levels of the system save Ruben Tejada, a natural shortstop like Reyes but without his speed or offensive ceiling.
In terms of offense, Reyes' .735 OPS this season compares little better to other second basemen than it would have back in 2004, when the likes of Jeff Kent and Alfonso Soriano were setting the power bar. For now, his production puts him firmly on the Orlando Hudson watershed line (.729 OPS), well below boppers like Cano/Pedroia/Kinsler/Utley but still above the slappy types like Schumaker/Theriot/Barmes.
However, after a few more months of an injured Castillo, Alex Cora and fliers like Tejada, Reyes' willingness to switch could resurface as a topic of discussion, especially as it may give the team the flexibility to either finally trade Castillo or package one of the shortstop prospects for pitching, as has been bandied recently.
According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, Jeff Kent has retired after 17 seasons. Here’s a look at the career numbers. Kent finishes with a .290/.356/.500 line in 9537 plate appearances, racking up 377 home runs.
Henry Schulman’s reflection on Kent is a good read.
The Dodgers’ numerous arb decisions are in, courtesy of MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, and Casey Blake get offers. Joe Beimel, Brad Penny, Jeff Kent, and Greg Maddux (all Type Bs) don’t. The only real surprise here is Beimel, who earned less than $2MM this year and seemed worth the risk.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick looks at nine veteran players and estimates their chances of retiring. He assesses the situations of Jim Edmonds, Garret Anderson, Ken Griffey Jr., Cliff Floyd, Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez, Frank Thomas, and Moises Alou.
Crasnick feels Edmonds, Anderson, Griffey, and Floyd are likely to play, while the rest are not. Of the long shots, Thomas seems most intent on playing in ’09.
Alex Speier of WEEI has the latest Dodgers chatter, as GM Ned Colletti held court this evening. Ned wasn’t in a very revealing mood.
- Colletti reiterated that no offer has been made to Manny Ramirez. He hasn’t met with Scott Boras yet. Since the Dodgers have so many needs, Colletti would like to resolve the Manny situation quickly. In Jerry Crasnick’s survey of 15 executives, 10 chose the Dodgers as Manny’s destination. It’s unlikely that the Dodgers are able to sign Ramirez and C.C. Sabathia.
- Those other needs include shortstop, third base, the bullpen, and the rotation.
- Colletti was not sure whether Jeff Kent and/or Nomar Garciaparra will retire.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti talked to the media yesterday; here’s the latest.
- Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News believes Colletti will pursue a competent backup catcher to allow more rest for Russell Martin. A decision is due on Gary Bennett‘s $900K option within seven days.
- So far this offseason, Colletti and Scott Boras have exchanged two voicemails. They’ll meet in person to discuss Manny Ramirez and other Boras clients (Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, Andruw Jones, maybe Joe Crede) at next week’s GM meetings. Colletti will not put the other team needs on hold to deal with Manny.
- Colletti has had preliminary talks with the agents for Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, and Nomar Garciaparra, while Jeff Kent is expected to retire.
- Colletti intends to acquire a top of the line starting pitcher, but Jake Peavy is unlikely (the Dodgers would have to pay extra due to the same-division factor). Free agents Lowe and C.C. Sabathia may be considered. The Dodgers have seven days to decide on Brad Penny‘s $9.25MM option versus the $2MM buyout.
- The Dodgers would love to have Takashi Saito back, but the situation with his elbow injury is unclear.
- Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones have expressed a desire to be traded through the media, but not formally to the Dodgers.
- Nomar Garciaparra is undecided about playing next year. He hit .264/.326/.466 in 181 plate appearances in 2008 while earning $8.5MM.
- Manager Joe Torre seems to consider pitching the top offseason priority. Makes sense, with the statuses of Derek Lowe and Brad Penny in question. Hernandez’s sources say Lowe felt underappreciated during his time in L.A., and he is expected to leave. It’s unknown whether the Dodgers will choose Penny’s $9.25MM option or the $2MM buyout.
- Hernandez doesn’t see GM Ned Colletti breaking up his core group of young players to acquire Jake Peavy.
- The departure of Jeff Kent is near-certain Blake DeWitt can step in at second or third base.
- The Manny situation is difficult, because the Dodgers will take a lot of heat if they won’t meet his asking price (perhaps $100MM+). Former Dodgers GM Fred Claire suggests a more reasonable offer of three years, $60MM.
John Perrotto at Baseball Prospectus has his Every Given Sunday column up. Here’s the highlights from the Rumors and Rumblings section (with some added speculation here and there from yours truly):
- There’s a growing rumor that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa could step down after this season and pursue a job as a general manager. We all know Seattle’s looking…
- The Diamondbacks love Adam Dunn’s production so much that they are considering re-signing him and possibly having him play first base. Dunn’s racked up a .474 OBP since coming to Arizona… what’s not to like about that?
- The Padres seem willing to move Kevin Kouzmanoff once again. Perrotto doesn’t say, but it would make sense for young starting pitching to be the target for the Padres, and a move would allow Chase Headley to move back to his natural position, third base. The Giants are looking for help at third, but I doubt the Pads would trade him within the division. Minnesota, perhaps?
- The Marlins are considering playing Jorge Cantu at first next season, using Dallas McPherson at third, and trading Mike Jacobs in the offseason.
- The Royals will not re-sign Mark Grudzielanek this offseason, but will likely target both Rafael Furcal and Raul Ibanez. Given Mike Aviles‘ emergence at the plate, shifting him to second base and putting Furcal at shortstop would make for a very good middle of the infield in Kansas City. The Royals will also explore options for trading Jose Guillen. I personally didn’t like the contract they gave him at the time, and I doubt many clubs like it now either. Moving him could be difficult.
- The Rangers will try to trade Gerald Laird for pitching, given their surplus at catcher. The Yankees could use some help behind the plate if Jorge Posada is unable to catch…
- Jeff Kent, Frank Thomas, and Kent Mercker are all mentioned as possibilites for retirement this offseason, with Jeff Kent being almost a certainty, regardless of how his knee reacts to surgery.
A few notes from around the MLBiverse…
- Troy E. Renck says Willy Taveras prefers to stay with the Rockies, despite being claimed off waivers. Taveras speculates that he was claimed by either the Yankees or the Nationals. Renck says it is unlikely that Taveras will be traded during the season.
- Tom Haudricourt is reporting that the Brewers don’t expect to make any deals prior to tonight’s deadline to acquire players that would be eligible for the post-season.
- Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News is reporting that Jeff Kent’s knee injury could be career-ending. Kent is contemplating retirement following the season. He is not signed for ’09.