Jermaine Dye Rumors
After recapping the most recent news on some remaining free agent starting pitchers yesterday, let's focus on the bats today. Here are the latest updates on a few of the notable unsigned position players:
- Jermaine Dye: Dye had the Mariners on his wish list, but Seattle didn't have much interest in the 36-year-old. Another team out west, the Giants, also had no interest in signing Dye. Washington was in the mix for the right-handed slugger at one point, though they've since backed off. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks Dye will sign somewhere soon, and an American League club where Dye could DH would make sense. Like Jarrod Washburn though, he'll likely need to reduce his asking price.
- Gary Sheffield: Cafardo also believes Sheffield should sign soon, and tweeted that the veteran had "something on the table" a couple weeks ago. The Nationals also had discussions with Sheff, but the club seems happy with their current selection of outfielders for now. Even though he's 41, Sheffield could have value to a National League team as a pinch-hitter and part-time player, like he did for the Mets last year (.276/.372/.451 in 312 PAs).
- Carlos Delgado: Delgado might end up being the offensive equivalent of Pedro Martinez: a hired gun that could contribute to a contending team in the second half of the season. The Mets were considered a possibility prior to their promotion of Ike Davis. Before Delgado catches on with any club, the 37-year-old will have to show that he's fully healthy following his second hip surgery in February.
- Joe Crede: Considering Crede is a Scott Boras client, it's somewhat surprising that we've heard next to nothing regarding his status. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported in early March that Crede was hitting and throwing while he waited for an offer, but there has been very little news since then. Crede has homered 32 times over the past two seasons and plays an above-average third base, so it may be health questions that are keeping him on the free agent market. As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested earlier this month, a healthy Crede "could become an attractive mid-season option for risk-taking GMs."
- Elijah Dukes: Shortly after Dukes' surprising release by the Nationals, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that a few teams were interested in the 25-year-old. Since then though, we haven't heard anything concrete. Perhaps clubs are still hesitant to invest in Dukes, given his off-field history.
- Rocco Baldelli: There was some speculation earlier in April that Baldelli could be an option for the Rays if they gave up on Pat Burrell, since Baldelli has been working out at Tropicana Field and wants to play. Burrell has played better since that point, hitting .275/.318/.500 in his last 11 games, silencing those rumors somewhat. For the time being, Baldelli will continue to serve as a special assistant for the Rays.
FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's see what he has for us...
- The Orioles will almost certainly be the first team to fire their manager this season, and both Bob Melvin and Bobby Valentine came up in past internal discussions. Bigger jobs are in store for Valentine, but Buck Showalter might also be a candidate. Rosenthal reminds us that the team doesn't have anyone in-house with prior big league managing experience.
- The Mariners expect Cliff Lee back on Friday and Erik Bedard back in four weeks, but the focus will remain on the offense and Ken Griffey Jr.'s .238/.289/.262 performance. Rosenthal says not to expect anything to happen with him anytime soon; Seattle has five Griffey-centric promotions scheduled for the first half.
- The Braves are a logical landing spot for Adrian Gonzalez, but they're also very high on first base prospect Freddie Freeman. The last time they traded for a first baseman with a year-plus left on his contract, they basically rebuilt the Texas Rangers.
- The Nationals made a run at Jermaine Dye and had more than one conversation with Gary Sheffield's agent, but GM Mike Rizzo said those talks were just to gauge interest. For now, they're happy with the a platoon of Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell because of their defensive abilities, and Rizzo says that will remain a point of emphasis as the team moves forward.
- Rosenthal expects the Nats to get better as the season progresses. They'll be adding Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler, and Jordan Zimmermann to their pitching staff at various points this year.
Links for Monday...
- The MLBTR Forums are rocking with over 3,600 members. Join the discussion today! Just added a prospects section; we've also got areas to discuss trade rumors, free agents, the draft, general baseball, fantasy baseball, and every team.
- Tom Krasovic tweets that the Twins have a scout at tonight's Padres-Giants game, but it's just a routine visit. He adds that Heath Bell remains on Minnesota's radar, but the two sides haven't talked since Spring Training.
- The Giants have no interest in Jermaine Dye, tweets Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle. The reasons are the same as they've been all winter: defense and asking price.
- More changes could be coming to the Dodgers' bullpen, says Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times. Russ Ortiz was designated for assignment yesterday, and Hernandez thinks Ramon Ortiz could be next.
- Talking to MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith, I learned that teams can now safely promote minor leaguers for their MLB debuts with no chance of the player amassing 172 days of service in 2010. By promoting '08 first-rounder Ike Davis today, the Mets ensured that he will be under team control through 2016 instead of 2015. In contrast, the Braves have Jason Heyward through '15.
- On that same topic, agent Scott Boras told MLB.com's Peter Gammons that Stephen Strasburg starting in the minors "had nothing to do with money."
- Joe Posnanski digs into Forbes' team revenue numbers, noting that the Yankees made $173MM more than any other team.
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tells us Hayden Penn has accepted the Pirates' Triple A assignment in lieu of electing free agency.
- In a statement, Cal Ripken said he looks forward to continued talks with the Orioles about a position in the organization.
In his newest piece for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo discusses Manny Ramirez's Hall of Fame chances, concluding that the slugger's positive test for a banned substance last season may keep him out of Cooperstown. Here are a few other topics that Cafardo's column explores:
- The Phillies would love to add a left-hander to their bullpen, particularly while J.C. Romero remains on the shelf. They're looking at Scott Downs, but given the Blue Jays' solid start, the team may hang on to him for the time being. When the Jays are ready to sell, Downs should provide a decent return.
- Juan Cruz is another reliever on the trade market, albeit a less impressive one. He'll earn $3.75MM this year for the Royals, who may have to eat most of that salary to pull off a deal.
- Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield should sign somewhere soon. When asked his thoughts on Orlando Hudson's insinuation that racism factored into Dye's and Sheffield's unemployment, Sheffield said he appreciated Hudson's concern, but "I'm not going to comment."
- Cafardo names Jerry Manuel and Dave Trembley as two managers who could be on the hot seat and speculates about who would be next in line to replace the skippers. Cafardo points out that there are plenty of ex-managers available who have history with Orioles president Andy MacPhail, while for the Mets, Bob Melvin might be "the logical successor."
Buster Olney's ESPN blog is always a good read; here are a few hot stove nuggets to ponder...
- Olney reminds us that Nelson Cruz cleared waivers in the spring of '08. That's always a good time of year to sneak a guy through. At 26, Cruz had struggled in the Majors in '07 but raked in 187 Triple A plate appearances. Because he figured things out later in his career, he won't reach arbitration until after this season at age 30.
- Olney notes that Jonathan Sanchez "seemed to come off the board" as a trade candidate after his July 10th no-hitter last year. The Giants have Sanchez under team control through 2012. Matt Cain is under contract through '12, and Tim Lincecum is under team control through '13.
- Olney on the Jermaine Dye-racism suggestion: "To suggest that there is a general reluctance, across a 30-team landscape, to sign Dye because he is black is completely absurd." Talking to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe, Bill Hall asks more nuanced questions.
"Seattle is a team he focused on this off-season. He was disappointed that there was not more interest from the club."
Salk says Dye would be willing to take less than a full-time role with the Mariners, and guesses that he'd sign for $3-4MM. Dye turned down a $3MM offer from the Cubs a few months ago and recently rejected an unknown offer from the Nationals. He also had talks with the Brewers in late March. Dye suggested to MLB.com's Bill Ladson that many of his offers were in the $1MM range, which he seemed to find insulting.
Rather than sign Dye, the Mariners brought in Milton Bradley, Eric Byrnes, Casey Kotchman, Ken Griffey Jr., and Mike Sweeney for offensive spots. I wasn't a fan of the approach, but the Ms figure to give the group more than eight games before turning to someone like Dye.
"You see guys like Dye without a job. Guy with [27 home runs and 81 RBIs] and can't get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You've got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get $5, $6 million, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can't get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can't get a job. We both know what it is. You'll get it right. You'll figure it out. I'm not gonna say it because then I'll be in [trouble]."
Passan is correct in that the perception of racism in the free agent market is a problem. But let's look at individual cases referenced in the article:
- Gary Sheffield hit well in 312 plate appearances for the Mets last year, but was lousy the year prior. The 41-year-old is a big negative on defense. He battled knee, back, and hamstring injuries, and sat out a game in August when the Mets declined his request for a contract extension.
- Passan provides good examples in Kenny Lofton and Ray Durham. But Lofton was said to be asking for $2.5-3MM by some, $6MM by others. In the spring of '08 Lofton was a near 41-year-old part-time player with suspect defense. Durham, 37 at the time, turned down an $850K offer from the Nationals. He was still able to hit, but his defense was questionable. Isn't it possible that the common thread here is age and defense rather than race? Luis Gonzalez and Jim Edmonds couldn't find anything after the '08 season either.
- Passan names three white players who did get paid this winter: Aubrey Huff, Garrett Atkins, and Xavier Nady. Presumably Passan is implying that if these three got $3-4.5MM, Dye should've too. However, Huff and Atkins were both named by team execs are two of the worst signings of the offseason. It's very possible that the Giants and Orioles just made bad signings. One exec told me he preferred Hank Blalock, who signed a $925K minor league deal, to Huff. And the Cubs made similar offers to both Dye and Nady. Nady was coming off a lost season, but he's younger and had more first base experience.
- Dye has been picky; he said yesterday that to move his family to Washington, D.C. he'd require "a little bit more." When the Rangers were interested, there was word that Dye did not want a full-time DH job. Dye appears unwilling to settle for the $1.5-2MM players like Jim Thome and Russell Branyan received.
- Hudson referred to players who missed a year and got $5-6MM. Presumably he's talking about Ben Sheets, but the situation isn't comparable to Dye. Coco Crisp snagged $5.5MM (also from the A's) coming off a 49-game season cut short by surgeries on both shoulders. The pair of moves was about the A's making injury upside plays. Unlike the older free agents forced out of the game, Crisp is known for his defense.
- Hudson's point deserves consideration, but he has to acknowledge the shift toward defense and youth as well.
11:01pm: One Ladson source theorized that the Nationals considered $4MM a fair price for Dye, though the amount of their actual offer is unknown. Dye told Ladson that he's received offers in the $1MM range, which is "a negative in itself, no matter what."
1:26pm: The Nationals made an offer to free agent outfielder Jermaine Dye according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (via Twitter), however it wasn't enough for him to uproot his family. Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com says the two sides haven't had any discussions in some time, while Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post says that any future conversations appear unlikely.
Tim took a look at why Dye was still a free agent a few weeks ago, as well as what he could do to change that.
We've seen them connected to Jermaine Dye and heard that they've discussed trading for various outfielders, but the Nationals are in no rush to add a right fielder, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The Nationals expect to rely on players in the organization if the Willie Harris-Willy Taveras platoon doesn't work out. Utility player Cristian Guzman, who has been playing in right, and Mike Morse are among the players GM Mike Rizzo could turn to.
The Nationals haven't had any talks with Dye, though the Brewers had interest. Ladson reports that the Nationals would not be willing to offer Dye much money.
A few Thursday evening links....
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that, with all their spring acquisitions, the Rangers have potentially turned their bench from a weakness into a strength.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Twitter) hears that the Pirates are engaged in "very minor" trade talks with the Rays. Kovacevic says that right-hander Virgil Vasquez could be involved.
- Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel speaks to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, who does not deny that the team has or had interest in Jermaine Dye.
- Scott Schoeneweis has earned the final spot in the Red Sox bullpen, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Schoeneweis signed with Boston on a minor league deal, and will earn $500K for making the big league roster.
- Despite not spending a single dollar on a major league free agent this year, the Marlins' use of revenue sharing money has satisfied league officials, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.