Joe Borowski Rumors

Indians Pick Up Options On Byrd, Borowski, Fultz

Mark Shapiro and the Indians had three option decisions to make, and today the team exercised all of them.  All of these were pretty much expected to be exercised.

  • Closer Joe Borowski gets $4MM rather than a $250K buyout. 
  • Starter Paul Byrd gets $8MM instead of a $250K buyout.
  • Southpaw reliever Aaron Fultz gets $1.5MM instead of a $0.15MM buyout. 

So, $13.5MM for the trio of pitchers.  Seems reasonable.  Of course there’s the HGH stigma with Byrd.  But as a baseball decision, it’s fair to expect him to pitch like a back-rotation guy worthy of a one-year, $7.75MM deal.   

Odds and Ends: Abreu, Beckett, Helton, Schilling

Friday afternoon rumor tidbits…

  • The Indians will probably let Kenny Lofton leave while exercising Joe Borowski’s $4MM option.  No big surprise there.
  • Nor is it a surprise that the Yankees are heavily leaning towards exercising Bobby Abreu‘s $16MM option.
  • From the what might’ve been department: Red Sox owner John Henry was in favor of signing A.J. Burnett instead of trading for Josh Beckett.  One could make a solid argument that the Red Sox would be better off if Henry had gotten his wish.  Beckett and Julio Lugo combined for 8.6 wins at $14MM this year while Burnett and Hanley Ramirez combined for 14.8 wins at $12.4MM (according to WARP).
  • From that same department – Tom Gage notes that the Tigers once nearly acquired Todd Helton for Tony Clark.  There were many Clark rumors from 1999-2001 before the Red Sox claimed him off waivers.  I heard Buck and McCarver talking recently about how Helton is not a product of his home park.  For the record Helton has hit .368/.474/.668 at home in his career and .304/.409/.515 on the road.  He probably belongs in the Hall but it would be a lot tighter if his career OPS was .924 instead of 1.014.
  • Nick Cafardo makes his case for the Red Sox to re-sign Curt Schilling.
  • A scouting look at Hiroki Kuroda, plus other Japanese pitchers who may come over (hat tip to MetsBlog).  Jason Churchill estimates a three-year deal for Kuroda at $9-11MM per.
  • How would you like to face a 125 mph fastball?

Indians Sign Joe Borowski

Baseball Digest Daily is reporting that the Indians have signed reliever Joe Borowski to a one-year deal with an option for ’08.  Fantasy leaguers, take note – he’ll remain a closer.

Looks like the Tribe has changed their bullpen philosophy after last year’s disaster.

Gammons On The Boston Closer

Peter Gammons, in his blog yesterday morning, mentioned a few options for the Red Sox’s closer vacancy:

"Would Seattle deal J.J. Putz for Manny? Dubious. Scott Boras would like to get Eric Gagne to Boston; problem is, are the medicals real or off the set of General Hospital? Joe Borowski has been calling now that his medicals were declined in Philly."

With Manny and Matsuzaka at the forefront, it’s easy to forget that Boston is also in the market for a closer.  No sleep for Theo.  Perhaps he’ll be speaking to Dave Littlefield in hopes of acquiring Matt Capps or Mike Gonzalez?

Phils Deal With JoBo Nixed

The Phillies were about to seal a multiyear deal with Joe Borowski, but they are reconsidering after giving him a physical.  That Borowski may have been pitching with some shoulder issues does not surprise me; he always seemed to have a "tough it out" mentality with the Cubs.

Borowski will be 36 next season.  A rotator cuff surfaced in his right shoulder way back in the summer of 2004, but Dr. Lewis Yocum suggested rehab at that time.  A three-year, $12MM deal or something similar could be bad news.

Speier and Stanton close to finding new homes

The big news this morning is that the Angels are close to a four-year deal with Justin Speier, who is very possibly the best reliever on the market this year.  Tim predicted that Speier would get a three-year deal worth $17M–my guess is that the money per year is right, just with that extra year, for a total of $21-$22M or so.

Speier was a possible closer for many teams, so it’s something of a surprise that the team that ponied up for him already has a great closer and a solid setup man in Frankie Rodriguez and Scot Shields.  It’s not cheap, and it’ll certainly be more expensive once Frankie gets deep into his arbitration years, but LA could have the best 1-2-3 bullpen punch in baseball for a couple of years.

The market for relievers wasn’t pretty in the first place; now the best guys out there are, uh, Danys Baez and David Weathers?  The price was already high for Scott Linebrink; it just went up again.

One of the possibilities for Boston (who was presumed to be a suitor for Speier) is Joe Borowski, who sounds more than generically interested in the Red Sox.  And who wouldn’t be?  Short of every fanboy’s dream of Roger Clemens pitching the ninth inning, Borowski could end up closing games in Boston.

Yesterday I said nice things about the Reds signing of Alex Gonzalez.  Today I can’t be so kind to Wayne Krivsky.  Apparently he’s about to sign Mike Stanton to a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third.   Stanton turns 40 in June.  He had a nice run in San Francisco last year, but let’s face it: the guy hasn’t put up a good full season for two years.  Sure, he might be worth more than the $1M he got for last year, but a vesting option for 2009?  I guess that if you’re worried David Weathers won’t come back, there’s only one choice: get older.

By Jeff Sackmann