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Joakim Soria Rumors
The latest out of the AL Central..
- The price for Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez could be going up, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Sanchez asked one team for $90MM across six years and another for $100MM over seven years, according to Heyman.
- Joakim Soria has received interest from the Red Sox, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Royals declined their $8MM option for Soria on Halloween, but the right-hander has said that re-signing with Kansas City would be good for him and his family.
- More from Morosi (via Twitter), who hears from sources that the Tigers have offered Jeremy Bonderman a contract. Bonderman hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010 but he says that his arm feels good following reconstructive surgery.
- The Royals announced that they have signed first baseman Ian Gac and outfielder Luis Durango to minor league contracts. Durango spent last season with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate, hitting .289/.352/.335 in 565 plate appearances.
Josh Hamilton's asking price of seven years and $175MM is too rich for the Mariners' blood, but if that price drops to $80-85MM over four or five years, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times feels the M's should make a play for the outfielder. We heard yesterday that the Mariners were interested in Hamilton, as the club continues to pursue free agent hitters for the less pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Some more news from around the AL West…
- Angels GM Jerry DiPoto said that his team is interested in Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa and that the feeling is apparently mutual, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. Fujikawa has been considered to be Japan's top closer for the better part of a decade and is available to be signed without a posting fee. The Dodgers and Red Sox have also been rumored to be interested in Fujikawa.
- The Rangers apparently made a posting bid on Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, reports Evan P. Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter), though he doesn't have full confirmation. Teams had until 4PM CT today to place a bid on Ryu, and if the KBO's Hanwha Eagles accepted the highest bid, Ryu and agent Scott Boras could then negotiate a contract with that MLB team.
- The Rangers are interested in right-hander Joakim Soria, reports FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link). At least eight teams have checked in on the former Royals closer thus far, and Soria has also said he would be happy to pitch for the Yankees as Mariano Rivera's set-up man.
- The Astros project to have a very low payroll in 2013, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Houston's payroll could be around $30MM, a big drop from the Padres' $55.2MM league-low payroll on Opening Day 2012, though Rosenthal notes that the MLBPA and Commissioner's Office aren't likely to object given that the Astros are in the first stages of a major rebuild.
Oscar Suarez, the agent for Joakim Soria, has received calls from eight contending teams expressing interest in his client, writes Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York. Suarez has yet to hear from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, but says that Soria would be more than willing to pitch in a setup role for his idol, Mariano Rivera:
"If the Yankees call, we will be all ears," Soria's agent, Oscar Suarez, said by phone Monday. "If there is a fit, Joakim would be elated to work with Mo. He would close everywhere except there."
Suarez tells Marchand that Soria is "not a greedy individual," and he could envision his client signing quickly if the right situation arises. Soria's preference is to sign with a contending team. According to Suarez, Soria will be able to participate in Spring Training but is unlikely to pitch in a Major League game until May next season.
The 28-year-old Soria underwent Tommy John surgery prior to Opening Day 2012. He stumbled to a 4.03 ERA in 2011 but still owns a career 2.40 mark with a 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 315 1/3 innings with the Royals. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Soria as the 37th-best free agent this offseason and predicted that he'll re-sign with the Royals. You can predict Soria's destination yourself in MLBTR's Free Agent Prediction Contest.
The Royals announced that they've declined their 2013 option for Joakim Soria. The reliever, who missed the entire 2012 season to undergo Tommy John surgery, is now a free agent. He obtains a $750K buyout instead of an $8MM salary.
Soria established himself as an elite reliever in the five seasons preceding 2012. Though he struggled in 2011, his career numbers are excellent — a 3.40 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 298 total appearances. If the Royals had exercised his 2013 option they would have kept the rights to a 2014 option valued at $8.75MM.
MLBTradeRumors is introducing a new series in which two comparable free agents are analyzed side by side. Each post will conclude with a reader vote on the value of the two players.
Coming into the season, Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria were two of baseball’s truly elite relievers. They combined to throw zero meaningful pitches in 2012. Both right-handers missed the season with Tommy John surgery and will hit the open market as free agents this winter. They figure to be in high demand despite their injuries, but is one preferable to the other?
Madson, 32, has just one season as a closer to his credit (2011), but from 2009-2011 he was a high-strikeout (9.6 K/9) and low-walk (2.4 BB/9) late-inning reliever for the Phillies. His best pitch is a low-to-mid-80s changeup, a pitch that generally puts less stress on the elbow than sliders or curveballs. In addition to the elbow reconstruction, Madson has missed time with a hand contusion (2011), a toe fracture (2010), and a shoulder strain (2007) in recent years.
Soria, 28, is actually recovering from his second Tommy John procedure. He’s been closing games since the middle of 2007, and owns a 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 for his career. Soria is the rare four-pitch reliever, using two breaking balls (slider and curveball) in addition to his changeup and low-90s fastball. He missed time with a shoulder strain in 2009 and an oblique strain in 2011.
The Royals intend to buy out Soria’s club option for next year and negotiate a new deal, but either way he and Madson will have little trouble landing work this offseason given their pedigrees. Almost every team will have interest in signing one or both guys to one-year, low base salary, incentive-laden contracts in the coming weeks.
Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney said we shouldn't be surprised if the Royals trade one of their core homegrown bats for starting pitching this offseason. Here's the latest on the club courtesy of The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton…
- “I think it’s pretty safe to say he’s going to explore free agency,” said GM Dayton Moore, acknowledging that they're unlikely to agree to a new contract with Jeremy Guthrie during the exclusive negotiating period. “We’ll continue to monitor how that goes. He’s going to explore his options, and it’s important that we do as well.”
- Talks about a new contract with Joakim Soria are ongoing. The Royals are expected to buy the right-hander out of his $8MM option following his second Tommy John surgery. Moore described the discussions as "moving at (their) own pace."
- Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times notes that the Royals have been heavily scouting Mariners left-handed pitching prospect James Paxton in the Arizona Fall League. Dutton wonders if the two teams could work out a trade involving one of Kansas City's bats given Seattle's need for offense.
As the Tigers prepare to face the A's in the deciding game of their ALDS series, here's the latest from the AL Central…
- The Tigers "had a de facto deal" with Yoenis Cespedes last winter, reports Peter Gammons for MLB.com, before the Tigers instead chose to sign Prince Fielder. Cespedes, of course, signed with the A's instead and now could play a role in the end of Detroit's season.
- Brennan Boesch wasn't on the Tigers' playoff roster and his "days likely are numbered in Detroit," writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press. Boesch hit a disappointing .240/.286/.372 last season and will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, so the Tigers might not tender him a contract. Sharp hints that Rick Porcello could also be non-tendered (Porcello is arb-eligible for the second time), though with so many pitching-needy teams in baseball, the Tigers might be better served by dealing Porcello than cutting him outright.
- The reported out clause in Terry Francona's Indians contract that allows the manager to leave if GM Chris Antonetti or president Mark Shapiro are fired is not a big deal, opines Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Shapiro and Antonetti owe their futures with the Tribe to Francona" already, Pluto argues, so if the team continues to struggle, a total change in front office and field management is the logical next step.
- The Indians are much more likely to pursue upgrades through the trade market than through free agency, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- “It’s better for me and my family (to stay with the Royals)," Joakim Soria tells Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. "My wife is pregnant. I’m just focusing on my rehab. The most important thing is for me to get healthy. After that, everything else will come together." Dutton says that Royals team officials "privately acknowledge" that Soria's $8MM option for 2013 will be bought out within three days of the World Series ending, though both sides are interested in reaching a new contract.
The Royals are expected to decline their $8MM team option on Joakim Soria for the 2013 season and instead buy the closer out for $750K, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Despite the buyout, the Royals are interested in bringing Soria back and "both sides have expressed interest in working out a new deal."
Soria has just begun throwing for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, the second time that he has undergone the procedure in his career. The right-hander was looking to rebound after a somewhat disappointing 2011 season by his standards, posting a 4.03 ERA with career-worsts in H/9 (9.0) and HR/9 (1.0) over 60 1/3 innings. The Royals also held an $8.75MM club option on Soria for the 2014 season.
A new contract with Soria would be the best-case scenario for Kansas City, as while Soria is still too valuable a commodity to let walk for nothing, $8MM is a large chunk of payroll to tie up in a closer coming off a second Tommy John surgery. Any deal that Soria signs this winter will be short-term and modestly-priced given his injury history, though Soria's track record would definitely earn him a lot of interest if he reaches free agency.
Last offseason's Hot Stove was notable for the hefty contracts signed by the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but the abundance of closers in free agency was an interesting secondary arc. A few stoppers signed for big bucks, and if there were any takeaway, it was that many teams have not necessarily adopted a frugal philosophy with respect to bullpen spending.
The upcoming offseason's class of free-agent closers is pretty interesting, too, and several of its potential members have options for 2013. Here's a list of those pitchers and a very preliminary look at whether their options figure to be picked up:
- Matt Capps (2013 age: 29), $6MM club option with a $250K buyout: Capps' signing this offseason was maligned after he pitched poorly in 2011, but the Twins' bullpen was pretty barren, so it may have been a devil-you-know situation. He's pitching roughly the same so far this year, but the guess here is that if they were willing to bring him back after last year, they'll be willing to do so again. He could be a trade candidate, but I'm not sure there will be takers.
- Ryan Madson (32), $11MM mutual option with a $2.5MM buyout: The Reds will be on the hook for at least $2.5MM, so will they want to gamble an extra $8.5MM on a guy coming off Tommy John surgery? With Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall in the back of the Reds' bullpen, I think they'll pass.
- J.J. Putz (36), $6.5MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout: Putz is getting on in years, and his health is always a concern (including a DL stint during his brilliant 2011), but the right-hander is really good when he's on the mound. If he can get through this year relatively unscathed in terms of injury, which is no sure thing, I think the Diamondbacks will roll the dice, seeing as the penalty for snake eyes is relatively low.
- Joakim Soria (29), $8MM club option with a $750K buyout: Similar to the Reds and Madson, the Royals will have a tough decision to make with Soria coming off (a second) Tommy John surgery. They've been very reluctant to part with him via trade previously, so I'm thinking they'll pick up the option just to save face and see what he can yield — either in terms of on-field contributions or perhaps a trade later in the season if he comes back healthy.
- Huston Street (29), $9MM mutual option with a $500K buyout if club declines: The Padres will likely look to trade Street before this year's deadline, so his recent injury development must make them a little nervous. He has plenty of time to get healthy before the deadline, though, and I'd expect the Friars to move hard to flip him. If they can't, they could always pick up the option and then look to trade him again next summer.
- Grant Balfour (35), $4.5MM club option with a $350K buyout: The A's will be shopping Balfour hard before the deadline, as he'll draw plenty of interest, as MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently noted. Wherever he is, his option will look pretty attractive, with his durability and effectiveness probably trumping any concerns over his age.
- Rafael Soriano (33), $14MM player option or a $1.5MM buyout: Soriano is very likely to exercise this option, meaning the Yankees will almost certainly be paying this hefty tab in 2013. The temptation may be there for Soriano to decline and rake in another two- or three-year deal elsewhere on the market, but he can get one of those after 2013, assuming for health.
We're less than 24 hours away from the first official game at Marlins Park, as the Fish show off their new ballpark in their season opener against the World Series champion Cardinals. Here are some news bits to tide us over in the meantime…
- The Giants' extension with Matt Cain is "a sound deal," several non-San Francisco team executives tell ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
- Roy Oswalt will likely need around 60 days of preparation time to be ready to pitch, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). This fits with Oswalt's previous statement about looking at a midseason return.
- Royals closer Joakim Soria underwent Tommy John surgery today and the medical team "couldn't have been more pleased" with the procedure, a club source tells MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. Soria will miss the entire 2012 season recovering from the surgery.
- Joey Votto's 10-year, $225MM extension with the Reds is "one of the crazier seeming contracts in baseball history," writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman talks to several anonymous team executives about the contract, with theories ranging from the Reds being worried about the Dodgers' aggressive new ownership to the Reds being able to afford Votto thanks to several years of collecting luxury tax payments. Then again, one competing GM says simply, "The Reds look like they have no plan."
- Attorneys for Major League Baseball made a court filing arguing that the Dodgers shouldn't be allowed to emerge from bankruptcy until the team pays back $8.3MM worth of bills from the league, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at how some recent big contracts around baseball could impact the Cardinals. Miklasz thinks that Cain's deal will make Adam Wainwright's next contract even more expensive, but I don't agree, given that Wainwright is three years older and has a more checkered injury history.
- Several Padres players, as well as several players from the entire NL West and AL West, are discussed by opposing scouts in a chat with Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres.