Jeremy Affeldt Rumors
12:37pm: It'd be a fairly easy call for the Giants to non-tender Keppinger, reports Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Baggarly also notes that the Giants intend to work out a multiyear deal with starter Ryan Vogelsong, who would be eligible for free agency after 2012. For more on the Giants' huge arbitration class, read up here.
11:34am: The Giants are trying to trade infielder Jeff Keppinger, outfielder Andres Torres, and reliever Ramon Ramirez, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. They're planning to keep lefty Jeremy Affeldt. ESPN's Buster Olney says there's a strong feeling by other teams Torres will be non-tendered. If so, the Giants may not be able to get much for him. Torres was the second-most valuable center fielder in baseball in 2010, based on FanGraphs' wins above replacement.
Keppinger, Torres, and Ramirez are all arbitration eligible, and MLBTR projects salaries in the $2.3-2.7MM range for each.
The Giants have a ton of money tied up in the bullpen right now, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, so they're trying to move Jeremy Affeldt or Ramon Ramirez. Many teams seek bullpen help, including the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers, Twins, Angels, Mariners, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, and Reds.
Including Affeldt, Ramirez, Brian Wilson ($8.5MM), Javier Lopez ($4.25MM), Santiago Casilla ($1.9MM estimated), and Sergio Romo ($1.3MM estimated), the Giants project to have a $23.25MM bullpen in 2012. That doesn't seem too bad against a $130MM payroll, though it increases to over 23% of the team's spending once you remove the dead weight of Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand.
As Schulman notes, that's $9.25MM on a pair of left-handed relievers for the 2012 season given today's two-year extension for Javier Lopez. However, Schulman tweeted earlier today that he spoke with Affeldt via text message prior to the Lopez news, and Affeldt told him that he's spoken with the club about the possibility of the team exercising the option and then working out a new contract.
Affeldt put up a very strong season in 2011, posting a 2.63 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9 in 61 2/3 innings for the Giants. Perhaps most impressively, he kept the ball on the ground 62.1% of the time -- a mark that ranked seventh among all relievers in 2011 (Lopez ranked sixth at 62.6%).
Giants GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy discussed the 2011 season at a year-in-review press conference today and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the details:
- The Giants are going to focus on the pitching staff before addressing the offense this winter.
- There are strong indications that the Giants won’t push for free agents Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, according to Schulman.
- Sabean won’t rule out a long-term deal for Tim Lincecum, but negotiations with Matt Cain will be a higher priority, since Cain is eligible for free agency one year from now. Lincecum appears to prefer short-term deals anyway.
- Barry Zito and non-tender candidate Jonathan Sanchez will be in Spring Training competing for the rotation, according to Sabean. This is the strongest indication yet that Sanchez will be tendered a contract this offseason. His salary will likely surpass $6MM in 2012.
- Sabean and Bochy said Aubrey Huff didn’t do enough to get in shape last offseason and they have told him to do more this winter.
- The Giants have said they want to upgrade in center field and the leadoff spot. They don’t consider Justin Christian to be the solution, so Schulman wonders if Coco Crisp could be a fit.
- If the Giants don’t pick up Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option, they’ll renegotiate another deal with him. As I explained earlier in the month, Affeldt would be in position to command a multiyear deal in free agency if the Giants allow him to hit the open market.
- The Giants will look to add second base depth, though they may not be willing to meet Jeff Keppinger’s asking price.
- Sabean says the Giants will give Cody Ross "due consideration" as a free agent, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter).
If the Giants allow Jeremy Affeldt to hit free agency this offseason instead of picking up the veteran left-hander’s $5MM option for 2012, his job prospects will probably be promising. Teams are always looking for southpaws to use out of the bullpen, Affeldt’s numbers are strong and the competition is weak.
Affeldt, whose season ended with a kitchen-related injury to his non-pitching hand, finished the year with a 2.63 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 62.1% ground ball rate in 61 2/3 innings this year. Those numbers reminded me of Scott Downs, the Angels left-hander who posted a 2.64 ERA with 7.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 57.8% ground ball rate in 61 1/3 innings a year ago with the Blue Jays. The result for Downs: a three-year deal worth $15MM despite the Type A designation that hinders the earning potential of so many free agent relievers.
Even if San Francisco offers Affeldt arbitration, teams won’t have to surrender a draft pick to sign the projected Type B free agent. At 32 years of age, Affeldt remains relatively young - three years younger than Downs and markedly younger than most of the other free agent southpaws.
Peripheral stats such as xFIP (3.37), SIERA (2.88) and average fastball velocity (93.1 mph) all suggest that Affeldt’s impressive 2.63 ERA is no fluke. And while some lefty relievers post eye-catching stats because their managers barely let them face right-handers, Affeldt can hold off right-handed hitters, too (7.4 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, 57.1% ground ball rate).
The competition in terms of free agent left-handed relievers doesn’t figure to be strong. There’s Darren Oliver, a 40-year-old who could very well cost a draft pick. Affeldt’s teammate, Javier Lopez, is a capable pitcher who walks one batter per two innings. Mike Gonzalez of the Rangers will draw interest, though he has had an up and down season. And George Sherrill has impressive stats, but he can’t be trusted against right-handed hitters. In other words, the free agent market is unimpressive.
Affeldt is a veteran of multiyear contracts, having signed one two-year deal with the Giants in 2008 and another one in 2010. If San Francisco turns down its 2012 option, Affeldt’s representatives at Moye Sports Associates will have a strong case for a third multiyear deal in free agency. Affeldt, the Giants' 2011 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, would enter a market that won’t offer much in terms of free agent left-handers. Don’t be surprised if the Giants decline Affeldt’s option and he goes on to sign a multiyear deal for the third time in his career.
The Cardinals won and the Braves lost, so only 2.5 games separate the two clubs in the National League Wild Card race. Here's the latest news from around MLB...
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington didn't say whether he intends to offer arbitration to Ross Ohlendorf this offseason, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Ohlendorf would earn a raise from his current $2.025MM salary if the Pirates tender him a contract this winter.
- The Cubs told scouting director Tim Wilken that he'll be back in 2012, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. There had been some rumblings that Wilken would receive a four-year extension like the one director of player personnel Oneri Fleita obtained, but Wilken will return on a one-year deal.
- Giants officials acknowledged to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that it will be hard to bring back both Jeremy Affeldt ($5MM option) and Javier Lopez (free agent) next year. The two left-handers could hit free agency this offseason.
- Jayson Werth told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he still believes that the Nationals are headed for success. The outfielder hasn't lived up to his $126MM contract so far, but he says he has found his swing and regained his composure.
- Mike Mosa, the agent for Tim Byrdak, told MLBTR's Tim Dierkes that Byrdak's decision to sign an extension with the Mets had to do with the team's willingness to include an opt-out in his deal for 2011 (Twitter link).
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explains that serious analysts don't believe "that awards voting should be done according to an ordinal ranking" of the wins above replacement statistic. WAR is a tool that guides baseball fans, not an absolute statement about value or ability.
- In this week's edition of Ask BA, Jim Callis of Baseball America explains that he doubts we'll ever see an international draft because of all the logistics that would be involved. Commissioner Bud Selig has long supported a worldwide draft, which will come up during this round of collective bargaining.
The 2011 Giants closely resembled last year’s World Championship team, but change lies ahead for San Francisco. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle explains that health considerations and the rising cost of arbitration eligible players will shape next year’s Giants team. Here are some highlights from Schulman's piece:
- Pat Burrell could again sign a one-year deal when he hits free agency after the season (he earns $1MM this year), but he may have to retire because of a foot injury. Burrell says he’ll play as long as he’s healthy enough to take the field.
- Schulman says it’s hard to imagine the Giants offering Cody Ross a raise from $6.3MM or agreeing to a multiyear deal when the outfielder hits free agency.
- Mark DeRosa is hoping to sign closer to Atlanta, where he makes his home, and realizes he may be in line for a minor league deal.
- The Giants will probably decline Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option for 2012, but they’ll “almost certainly” pursue him in free agency, according to Schulman.
- Jonathan Sanchez and Andres Torres are non-tender candidates. When MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes identified Sanchez and Torres as non-tender candidates last month, he pointed out that Sanchez’s salary would rise over $6MM (he now earns $4.8MM) through arbitration.
- Eli Whiteside is another non-tender candidate, Schulman writes.
- Jeff Keppinger, who’s arbitration eligible, will likely return in 2012 and it’s hard to imagine the Giants cutting Nate Schierholtz after seeing him progress in 2011.
- The Giants may not have room on the roster for both Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burriss.
The Giants and Matt Cain have agreed to a three-year contract extension, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. The deal, which will cover Cain through the 2012 season, buys out one year of the hurler's free agency. On Friday, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle speculated (via Twitter) that the Giants could be close to an extension with the 25-year-old.
Baggarly tweets that Cain will still make $4.5MM in 2010, $8MM in 2011, and $15MM in 2012. The new agreement voids Cain's old contract, in which he would have earned $4.25MM in 2010 with a $6.25MM club option for the following year. The old contract also included escalators based on innings pitched and games started that could have tacked another $1.9MM onto the 2011 option.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that the Giants and reliever Jeremy Affeldt have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $9.5MM. Nightengale tweets that the deal should be announced tomorrow.
Affeldt was due to earn $4MM from San Francisco this season, which would have been the final year of the two-year, $8MM pact he signed after the 2008 season. Under the new contract, Affeldt will make a guaranteed $4.5MM in both 2010 and 2011. For the 2011 season, the Giants can either pick up an option on Affeldt that would pay the left-hander $5MM for the year, or the club can buy him out for $500K.
The 30-year-old enjoyed the best season of his eight-year career in 2009. He posted a career-low 1.73 ERA in 74 appearances with San Francisco, and tied Minnesota's Matt Guerrier for the major league lead in holds with 33.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal...
- Rosenthal recommends the Yankees sign Ben Sheets and Juan Cruz, partially because they'd pay less of a cost in draft picks than any other team. One exec predicted Sheets would require a $6-8MM base with the potential to earn at least $14MM, and possibly a "lucrative club option." Despite Rosenthal's recommendation, the Yanks remain focused on Andy Pettitte (who is not weighing an offer from the Astros).
- Industry sources tell Rosenthal that the Red Sox have kept their payroll flexible in case mid and low-revenue teams need to dump contracts.
- The A's probably cannot afford both Nick Johnson and Orlando Cabrera, so they'll wait to see what happens with Cabrera before pursuing the trade with Washington.
- Prince Fielder filed for $8MM against the Brewers' $6MM; Rosenthal indicates the team feared he'd file higher.
- One chatter mentioned yesterday that Cory Sullivan and Jeremy Reed are the exact same player; one GM said the same to Rosenthal.
- Dennys Reyes has backed off his demand for Jeremy Affeldt money (two years, $8MM). Affeldt seemed like a bargain at the time.
- Expected to be in attendance at Kris Benson's upcoming throwing session: the Dodgers, Rangers, Padres, Rockies, and D'Backs. Looks like an NL West affair.