Jeremy Hellickson Rumors
A look at the latest on the Twins..
- The Twins have made a two-year offer to Mike Pelfrey, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, there's still a gap in salary that needs to be bridged. Pelfrey returned from Tommy John surgery in 2012 to post a 5.19 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a career-low 43.2 percent ground-ball rate in 152 2/3 innings. Pelfrey's FIP (3.99) and xFIP (4.54) both suggest that his ERA could have been lower were it not for a .337 BABIP and 67.2 percent strand rate.
- More from Heyman, who writes that the Twins have inquired on top starters like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez as well as several others lower on the free agent list, including Phil Hughes and Scott Feldman. The club has been most heavily linked to guys like Bronson Arroyo, Ricky Nolasco, and Matt Garza to date. Minnesota starting pitchers combined for a league worst 5.26 ERA in 2013.
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN previews the Winter Meetings agenda for the Twins. Minnesota has Nolasco atop their free agent wish list, but they'll move on if it's not at the right price. They also like Arroyo and a source says he's seeking a three-year deal in the $27-$30MM range.
- The Twins have told agents that they don't plan on sacrificing their second-round pick in June's amateur draft to sign a free agent, despite a public declaration stating otherwise, Wolfson writes. That would mean that Santana and Jimenez aren't in their plans. Santana's reps already have meetings set up with teams in Orlando and the Twins, as of this morning, are not on that list.
- On the trade front, the Twins are fond of Homer Bailey, according to Wolfson. Wayne Krivsky, special assistant to GM, knows Bailey well from his days with the Reds. Krivsky took over as Cincinnati's GM two years after Bailey was drafted and was in that role when Bailey made his big league debut.
- A Twins official "scoffed at" the idea of trading for Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello but was more receptive to the idea of a Jeremy Hellickson acquisition when asked by Wolfson about both each right-hander.
Multiple teams remain involved in talks for R.A. Dickey, but it's still possible the Mets will extend the knuckleballer instead of trading him. The reigning National League Cy Young winner appears to seek two years and $26MM in addition to his $5MM salary for 2013. Here are the latest rumors about contract talks for Dickey and potential trades...
- GM Sandy Alderson repeated that the Mets might end up holding onto Dickey instead of trading or extending him, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Though that's not “necessarily the optimal result,” the Mets are prepared for that possibility. One competing NL official said it'd be a mistake not to trade or extend Dickey, however.
- The Royals seem "very interested" in Dickey, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (allTwitterlinks). However, they wouldn't be interested in sending top prospect Wil Myers to New York for the knuckleballer. Dickey, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson remain in play for the Royals, Dutton reports. However, it now seems unlikely that the Red Sox will move Jon Lester.
- The Mets view the Blue Jays, Royals and Rangers as the most likely trade suitors for Dickey, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). In Olney's view Dickey's contract demands may seem more reasonable based on some recent free agent contracts.
As the third day of the 2012 Winter Meetings gets underway, let's round up a few items out of the AL East...
- Keppinger was the Yankees' first choice as the right-handed part of a third base platoon, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. With Keppinger signing with Chicago, the Yankees are forced to move on to Plan B.
- Teams that have spoken to the Rays have come away thinking Tampa Bay is more likely to move James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson than David Price, says Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- With Darren Oliver still uncommitted to returning for the 2013 season, the Blue Jays continue to seek bullpen help, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- The Yankees are one of six teams vying for Jeff Keppinger's services, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Although we heard overnight that Keppinger could receive a three-year deal worth around $4MM annually, Sherman suggests that something in the two-year, $10MM range could work too
- Within the same column, Sherman writes that he's receiving "strong indications" the Yankees don't intend to pursue A.J. Pierzynski
- The Red Sox and Phillies haven't engaged in talks for Jacoby Ellsbury, a source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link)
- Despite agreeing to three-year deals for Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino already this week, the Red Sox still have plenty of room to spend, says Alex Speier of WEEI.com
- WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane believes the Victorino signing was a mistake by the Red Sox
- The Orioles met with Nick Swisher's agent in Nashville, and Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com wonders if there's a fit there.
- The Red Sox announced that they've signed 26-year-old right-hander Anthony Carter to a minor league deal, writes Speier at WEEI.com.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the buzz at the Winter Meetings suggests that Zack Greinke could be in line for a bigger payday than initially expected -- one competing agent thinks the right-hander could land a seven-year, $185MM deal. Given the high price tags on free agent starting pitchers, it's becoming increasingly likely that the Rays take advantage by dealing one of their starters, says Heyman.
James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson have been the names mentioned most in trade discussions and speculation, but the Rays will listen on anyone, including Cy Young winner David Price, says Heyman. Rays people view their chances of locking up Price beyond his current deal as "nil," according to Heyman, so if he isn't moved this winter, Price figures to be at the center of plenty more trade rumors down the road.
The Rays' arms are viewed as possible options for teams that miss out on the Greinke sweepstakes. The Dodgers, Nationals, and Rangers are among the clubs that been in contact with the Rays so far.
The Winter Meetings begin shortly at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. ESPN's Buster Olney, in an Insider-only post, writes past Winter Meetings have been dominated by free agent signings, but some GMs say there is more groundwork laid for possible trades this year than they can remember in the recent past. Here are some of the storylines that could play out this week, according to Olney:
- If Olney was Rangers' GM Jon Daniels, he would go all out to sign Zack Greinke and then trade some surplus pitching for offense.
- Some rival officials remain convinced the Diamondbacks will eventually trade Justin Upton, whose contract ($38.5MM due over the next three years) has become more attractive in the wake of his brother's deal with the Braves.
- The Indians have set the bar high in their demands for Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo. "Time will tell on whether they've lowered (the asking prices)," said a rival GM.
- The most likely of the Rays' established starting pitchers to be dealt is Jeremy Hellickson. On paper, the best matchup appears to be the Padres.
- The Reds are looking to acquire a leadoff hitter and could target Dexter Fowler.
- The Phillies continue to push on Angel Pagan. If Pagan signs with Philadelphia, the Giants could look to Shane Victorino, who is looking for $9-10MM annually.
- The Pirates have let other teams know that closer Joel Hanrahan is available and they are looking for starting pitching.
- In a separate tweet, Olney says the perception among rival executives is the signing of David Wright makes it much easier for the Mets to trade R.A. Dickey without fear of a PR backlash.
- Nate Schierholtz received calls from nine teams within the first 12 hours of being non-tendered with the Yankees in the mix and the Rays also a good fit (Twitter links).
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald that he was unsure if he'd be able to acquire Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis) in 2007. “A lot of clubs were involved and I didn’t think it was going to work for us for where we were financially,” said Dombrowski. “Once we sat down with the Marlins, it took us just a day to work out that deal. It happened very fast.”
Here are Silverman's rumors...
- The Dodgers are the favorite to sign Zack Greinke according to an insider. Both the Angels and Rangers are said to be "on the outside looking in."
- The Royals are listening to offers for Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and even Wil Myers. The Rays, meanwhile, are listening on James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.
- Despite their pending blockbuster, keep an eye on the Blue Jays and the pitching market. Silverman suggests that Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson could be in play for Toronto.
- The Blue Jays are shopping their three catchers (John Buck, J.P. Arencibia, and Travis d'Arnaud) but are leaning towards Arencibia or d'Arnaud.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that Royals GM Dayton Moore is "feeling the heat," in the sense that many want the team to use their prospect base to acquire veterans who can help them win now like the Blue Jays did with their recent blockbuster. Here's more from Rosenthal on Kansas City...
- Even after acquiring Ervin Santana, the Royals can still fit a free agent like Jeremy Guthrie into their payroll on a back-loaded, multiyear contract.
- The Mariners covet Billy Butler and would conceivably part with young, high-end pitching to acquire him. Butler is under contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015, though the Royals are unsure if they have enough offense to move him right now.
- The Rays like top prospect Wil Myers, though the Royals are conflicted about moving him even for a pitcher like Jeremy Hellickson or Matt Moore.
- The Astros could be another trade partner for Kansas City since the price to acquire Bud Norris or Lucas Harrell would be lower than it would be for Hellickson or Moore. The impact would be less too, however.
- Moore is under contract through 2014 and does not appear to be in danger of losing his job, says Rosenthal.
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.
Wednesday night linkage..
- Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens is drawing some trade interest, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM last season and could be a non-tender candidate for next season. While he finished the year healthy, he may not have a spot in Atlanta's deep rotation next year.
- Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey now sounds very optimistic about his future with the Mets, a marked change from his tone just a couple of months ago, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Twitter) hears that the Blue Jays may sign a second baseman in the next few days, though it's not clear who it might be.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says that he is “probably unlikely” to trade for a starting pitcher this winter and might instead address that need in the free agent market, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers are looking to add a No. 2 or 3 pitcher to put alongside ace Clayton Kershaw.
- Earlier today, the Dodgers formally announced that they have hired Mark McGwire as their hitting coach. McGwire previously served as the Cardinals' hitting coach but hooked on with the Dodgers as he can now work closer to his home in Irvine, California.
- Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has hired Praver Shapiro Sports Management to represent him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. You can keep track of every player's representation with MLBTR's Agency Database.
- Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson interests the Cubs, but they don't have the trade chips to land him, Heyman tweets.
- The Red Sox announced that they have named Juan Nieves as their new pitching coach. Nieves spent the last 14 seasons in the White Sox organization and most recently served as their bullpen coach.
- Agent Joe Urbon told Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter) that outfielder Grady Sizemore plans to play in 2013. Indians GM Chris Antonetti has said that he is open to bringing Sizemore back, but for less than the $5MM he received last year.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco says that the club won't rush to fill their void in the outfield, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Instead, the Mets plan to let the market define itself first.
Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is drawing more trade interest than any other member of the Tampa Bay rotation, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. There’s been lots of speculation surrounding James Shields, but it’s Hellickson who has been most popular in the early going of the offseason. Talks are expected to continue at the GM Meetings in California later this week, Heyman writes.
Hellickson, 25, just completed his second full season at the MLB level. He posted a 3.10 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 177 innings over the course of 31 starts. The 2011 Rookie of the Year won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season and he'll remain under team control through 2016. Agent Scott Boras represents Hellickson, an indication that agreeing to a long-term extension could be challenging.Both Hellickson and Shields drew interest at the 2012 trade deadline. The Padres, Angels, Dodgers, Twins, Royals and Blue Jays are among the many teams seeking starting pitching this offseason.