Jeff Baker Rumors
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
The Red Sox and Cubs began negotiations today about the compensation package required to finalize Theo Epstein's move to Chicago, and WEEI's John Dennis reports that the talks have gotten off to a slow start. The Cubs just want to send money as compensation, while the Red Sox are looking for prospects instead. This seemingly represents a shift in Boston's stance from just yesterday, when SI's Jon Heyman reported the Sox preferred cash.
Here's the latest on those talks and a few other Theo-related items...
- Negotiations between the Cubs and Red Sox "are moving along at a snail's pace," according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. "There's no such thing as a timetable for these transactions," but there doesn't appear to be anything major that would keep Epstein from eventually joining the Cubs.
- Also from Levine, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has presented a list of players to interim GM Randy Bush, scouting director Tim Wilken and director of player personnel Oneri Fleita. The front office members will report back to Ricketts indicating which of the players they would be comfortable trading to Boston as compensation.
- "The Red Sox like utilityman Jeff Baker," writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, though Baker alone wouldn't be suitable compensation. Cafardo says the Sox would also "love" to send John Lackey to the Cubs but unsurprisingly, "that is also a long shot." Cafardo lists a few of the Cubs' notable prospects who could conceivably go to the Sox, though I'd personally be surprised if Chicago would part with top minor leaguers like Brett Jackson or Matt Szczur.
- In addition to taking some Boston front office members with him to Chicago, Epstein may also take some of the Red Sox medical staff, tweets Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe.
- Mike Quade says he wasn't consulted about the Cubs' pursuit of Epstein, the incumbent manager tells ESPN Chicago, though he has no hard feelings about not being a part of the GM search.
- With no deal finalized yet, it was "business as usual" for Epstein, pending new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and other front office staffers today, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.
- Edes notes that the Red Sox gave Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes permission to take two front office members each when Hoyer and Byrnes left Boston for the GM jobs in San Diego and Arizona, respectively. Edes believes Mike Hazen, Boston's vice president of player development and amateur scouting, is "untouchable" both because the Red Sox brass his contribution to the club's minor league system and because the Cubs already have Wilken performing similar duties.
The Red Sox are "not pursuing anyone aggressively right now," a source familiar with the team's thinking told WEEI's Alex Speier. Instead, the team is currently trying to determine which internal solutions will work. We've heard the Red Sox named as one of the most aggressive suitors for Carlos Beltran, but that may not be the case.
The Sox are still taking their normal approach of "inquiring about anyone who may make an appreciable difference to the team," in the words of the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. Cafardo says the Red Sox have inquired on Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Baker, Michael Cuddyer, Ty Wigginton, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson, Ryan Spilborghs, Mike Adams, and others. The team needs include starting pitching, a reliever, an outfielder, and a shortstop, but the Red Sox may prefer internal options in many cases.
Despite being "open for business," the Cubs will not trade utility man Jeff Baker according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Rival executives are saying Chicago envisions him as part of their team next season.
Baker, 30, is hitting .304/.324/.422 in 139 plate appearances this year, and he's played the three non-shortstop infield positions as well as the corner outfield spots. The FOX scribes say the Cubs are under no pressure to shed payroll, and Baker is making just $1.175MM this year and will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player next season. The Red Sox and Indians have reportedly shown interest in him.
The trade market is still developing at this point in the season, but it’s starting to take shape. Buster Olney outlines the plans for National League teams in a highly recommended insider-only piece at ESPN.com. Here are the details:
- The Dodgers can’t make long-term investments in young stars like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw because of their uncertain financial status. The Los Angeles front office is now gathering information about some of their trade candidates and taking calls on some players. No teams have called on Jamey Carroll yet, though the Rockies are interested.
- James Loney and Casey Blake have next to no trade value, as Olney explains.
- No team has called about Jose Reyes, who won’t be traded for anything less than a top prospect and a solid secondary prospect.
- Rival executives expect the Phillies to acquire proven veterans this summer.
- Though the Astros will listen to offers on Hunter Pence and Wandy Rodriguez, they will be asking a lot for them.
- The Braves are checking out available hitters. Some rival executives have speculated on the possibility that the Braves will consider trading Jair Jurrjens, whose stock has never been higher.
- Some rival executives think B.J. Upton will be a borderline non-tender candidate this offseason. Upton will earn a raise from $4.825MM next year and he currently has a .223/.308/.396 line with 20 steals. I can’t envision the Rays non-tendering Upton, who would presumably have trade value if Tampa made him available.
- The Padres have told teams that they’re ready to take offers for Heath Bell and Mike Adams. Rival clubs believe Adams will be harder to obtain than Ryan Ludwick.
- The Rockies will wait a few weeks before deciding whether to buy or sell.
- The Giants are looking for catching help and Ramon Hernandez is a possible upgrade, as I explained earlier in the week.
- The Reds are concerned about starting pitching and will consider making moves for upgrades at left field or shortstop. Though rival teams don’t expect Reyes to end up in Cincinnati, GM Walt Jocketty may be aggressive enough to make a deal happen.
- GM Jim Hendry says there won’t be a fire sale, but the Cubs are “open for business,” Olney reports. Jeff Baker and Kerry Wood are “among the most coveted players in the trade market,” since they’re cheap and useful. Rival executives have mixed opinions about Carlos Pena, who is powerful but streaky.
- Wood is near the top of Arizona’s list of targets.
- The 40-39 Pirates will look for modest ways to improve and won’t be selling.
Despite today’s loss, the 44-30 Red Sox have proven that they’re one of baseball’s top teams. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox from Peter Gammons of MLB Network, who joined WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show today (Audio here, Ryan Hannable has the highlights):
- The Red Sox may consider pursuing a right-handed hitting outfielder, since there’s some concern about Mike Cameron. Gammons mentions Jeff Baker of the Cubs and Ryan Spilborghs of the Rockies as possible targets for Boston.
- Minor league infielder Yamaico Navarro is recovering from an oblique injury, but the Red Sox could call on the versatile prospect if they need depth later in the summer. "I know they think that he’s going to be a really important guy to this team, because he’s got so much versatility,” Gammons said. “He’s so young. And he’s grown up a lot in the last year.” Navarro has a .283/.387/.538 line at Triple-A this year.
- The Red Sox envision Andrew Miller as someone who has “the potential of being a big-time power starter” rather than a reliever, Gammons said. The left-hander made his Red Sox debut this week, tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowing seven hits, three walks and three runs while stiking out six.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in...
- If the Red Sox have one need, it's a right-handed hitter that can play multiple positions and come off the bench. Jeff Baker of the Cubs fits the bill, but Yamaico Navarro could be an in-house solution. He's on the minor league disabled list with an oblique issue, however.
- The Twins usage of Matt Capps could impact the way teams view him at the trade deadline and as a free agent after the season. The righty has thrown multiple innings six times already, and is dealing with some forearm issues.
- Team are calling the Padres about not just Heath Bell, but also Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson. They will listen to offers for all of their relievers, but they have to get the right bats in return to move them.
- Mitch Talbot will get a few more starts for the Indians following his elbow issue, but righty Zach McAllister represents an alternative. They acquired him from the Yankees for Austin Kearns last year.
The Cubs avoided arbitration with infielder Jeff Baker, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, agreeing to a one-year, $1.175MM deal. Baker, 29, hit .272/.326/.413 in 224 plate appearances for the Cubs this year while playing mainly second and third base. Arbitration eligible for the second time, he receives a $200K raise for 2011.
''It's hard to say if it'll be the last one,'' assistant GM Randy Bush told the Chicago Sun-Times. ''Anything that we can do that we feel is to the betterment of the organization we're going to continue to look at.''
Jeff Baker, Kosuke Fukudome and Xavier Nady could be traded this month. Fukudome makes $13.5MM next year, so his contract would clear waivers. Nady, who has just under $1MM remaining on his contract this year, could also be traded. He drew some interest from the Rangers back in July.
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.