Jeff Niemann Rumors
Niemann, 31 in February, missed the entire 2013 season as he recovered from right shoulder surgery to repair his rotator cuff and labrum. It was the second shoulder surgery he's undergone since being selected fourth overall out of Rice University by the Rays in the 2004 draft, though the other operation occurred in 2005. Niemann has missed chunks of six Major League and Minor League seasons due to shoulder woes. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected him to earn $3.4MM in 2014, so it's not a surprise to see the cost-conscious Rays cut ties with such a wild card.
The 6'9" right-hander last pitched in 2012, totaling just 38 innings but posting a strong 3.08 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 51.4 percent ground-ball rate. In 544 1/3 career innings, Niemann has produced a 4.08 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 43.9 percent ground-ball rate. His recent rash of injuries likely leave him destined for a minor league deal this winter, but plenty of teams are probably interested in buying low on Niemann's services.
The Rockies are in search of starting pitching and have checked in with the Rays about Jeff Niemann and others, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. However, the talks have yet to reach an advanced stage.
Niemann missed the bulk of 2012 after he was struck by a comebacker off of the mound against the Blue Jays in May. The soon-to-be 30-year-old won't be eligible for free agency until 2014 and will earn a reasonable $3MM this season after avoiding arbitration with Tampa Bay. Across five big league seasons, Niemann owns a career 4.08 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
The Rays, of course, aren't short on pitching and could afford to part with Niemann. The Rockies, meanwhile, hope to improve upon their current group of starters which includes Jhoulys Chacin, Jeff Francis, Jorge De La Rosa, Drew Pomeranz, and Juan Nicasio.
Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements -- those worth less than $4MM -- right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.
Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB...
- The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM). Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
- The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
- Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
- The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
- The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
- The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
- The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
- The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter). Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
- The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
- The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter.
- The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
- The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
- The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
- The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).
Of the nine players who received qualifying offers this offseason, Rafael Soriano is viewed within the game as having taken the biggest financial risk by declining according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post. Teams don't want to invest big in closers because of their volatility now more than ever, especially after year one of the Heath Bell contract. Here are the rest of Sherman's rumors...
- The Yankees are privately pleased that Soriano opted out of his $14MM salary for next season. They'll allocate those dollars elsewhere and could use a portion of it on a reliever to replace Soriano.
- The feeling at the GM Meetings was that the Rays are much more open to trading a starting pitcher for offense than they have been in the past. They would talk about James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Niemann, and even Matt Moore in the right deal.
- In the wake of Jason Bay's departure from the Mets, Sherman points out that Tyler Colvin (.150 AVG in 2011) and Andruw Jones (.158 AVG in 2008) are two recent examples of outfielders who turned things around following dreadful seasons. Bay hit .158 this year.
With so many teams now in Florida for Spring Training, let's check on one of the teams that calls the Sunshine State home year-round...
- Wade Davis wasn't pleased about the possibility of pitching out of the bullpen this season, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. "I don't see any reason for me to be in the bullpen," Davis said. "I understand they've got to do certain things, but we'll see. … I definitely want to be a starter and stay a starter forever. And that'll be my mentality." Davis and Jeff Niemann will be battling to be Tampa Bay's fifth starter, with the other becoming a reliever. As Topkin points out, there's little Davis could do if he is assigned a relief gig, as "he wouldn't have much leverage to force a trade."
- ESPN's Buster Olney hears from some scouts that Davis is "much better suited" as a relief pitcher and "could actually be pretty good at that job."
- Between Davis, Niemann and prospects Alex Torres and Alex Cobb, the Rays like their pitching depth and want to hang onto it, executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told media (including Topkin) on Monday. Friedman did say that the Rays would "be aggressive in trying to improve [the] roster."
- Niemann didn't seem too upset over losing his arbitration case to the Rays earlier this month. “I considered it a win-win situation going in,” Niemann told Roger Mooney of TBO.com. “Certain circumstances got us to that point. We did it, went through it, got the experience. Now I’m ready to go out there and play."
The Rays beat Jeff Niemann in yesterday's arbitration hearing, so the right-hander will earn a salary of $2.75MM in 2012, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Niemann and his agents at Hendricks Sports had filed for $3.2MM, while the Rays had countered with $2.75MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.
All of the Rays' arbitration eligible players now have 2012 contracts. The team is now 6-0 in arbitration and has a 5-0 mark under executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Arbitrators James Oldham, Howard Edelman and Mark Irvings heard Niemann's case yesterday. The Nationals beat John Lannan earlier in the week, so teams are 2-0 so far this offseason.
Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann had his arbitration hearing today, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported. Niemann and his agents at Hendricks Sports asked for $3.2MM, while the Rays countered with $2.75MM. Arbitrators James Oldham, Howard Edelman and Mark Irvings heard the case today and a decision is expected tomorrow morning, the Associated Press reports (via ESPN).
The Rays are 5-0 in arbitration and have a 4-0 mark under executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Niemann is the team's lone unsigned arbitration eligible player, as our Arbitration Tracker shows. The Nationals beat John Lannan in yesterday's hearing, which makes teams 1-0 so far this year.
A few items on the Rays courtesy of Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times..
- A few months ago it would have seemed unlikely that the Rays would have been able to fill their primary holes without dealing Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann, but the club has done just that. They say they are willing to go into the season with an extra starter, but team president Matt Silverman says that the club continues to look for a deal.
- Topkin suggests that the club could deal Niemann in order to land an experienced catcher. Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki, and Nick Hundley are possibilities on the trade market while Ivan Rodriguez and Bengie Molina remain free agents.
- The Rays and manager Joe Maddon are expected to announce a three-year contract extension before the February 20th opening of Spring Training.
- There's an interesting theory floating about that suggests that the Rays raising their offer to $7.25MM to sign Carlos Peña helped lead the Tigers to spend $214MM on Prince Fielder.
Let's round up the latest from the AL East...
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said there was nothing new to report as far as their pursuit of pitching, reports Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Jacoby Ellsbury by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8.05MM today, and WEEI.com's Rob Bradford says that Cherington confirmed the two sides did not discuss a multiyear contract.
- Cherington confirmed that Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist and may not be ready for Opening Day, reports Bradford.
- Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times that being unable to avoid arbitration with Jeff Niemann is "definitely a sub-optimal outcome." (Twitter link)
- Rays owner Stuart Sternberg met with St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster for two hours today to discuss the future of baseball in the city, reports The Tampa Bay Times. The team asked the city to allow them to speak to Hillsborough officials about a new stadium in the county.
Rockies outfielder Seth Smith remains a coveted trade chip, though the Braves’ interest in him has cooled, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported yesterday. The Rockies would like to trade Smith for a back-of-the-rotation starter or a second baseman, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes.
The Rays are not in the hunt for Smith, though the Rockies covet Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann, Renck reported. The Athletics and Mariners have interest in Smith, according to Rosenthal, who reported along with Jon Paul Morosi last month that the Mets have expressed interest as well. Rosenthal now adds the Indians and Red Sox to the list of teams that have shown at least some interest in Smith.
Smith, a left-handed hitter, posted a .284/.347/.483 line with 15 homers in 533 plate appearances this past season, playing left and right field. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz estimates a 2012 salary of $2.6MM for the 29-year-old via the arbitration process. He’ll remain under team control through 2014.