Joe Nathan Rumors
No team in the American League has a better record than the Rangers (80-55) or the Athletics (76-59, tied with Baltimore and New York). Here's the latest from MLB's only four-team division...
- Rangers closer Joe Nathan obtained a $300K bonus when he finished his 50th game of the season Monday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Nathan will earn $300K if he reaches 55 games finished and the same amount for completing 60 games.
- The Rangers signed Curacao native Juremi Profar, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. The 16-year-old third baseman is the younger brother of Jurickson Profar, who debuted with the Rangers over the weekend. The younger Profar has the tools to play third base and has shown some power from the right side, Badler writes.
- Angels right-hander Zack Greinke told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that he intends to wait until the offseason before talking too much about his next contract (Twitter link). “But I like it here,” Greinke said. “It's a great city, a great team." He is set to hit free agency after the season.
- The city of San Jose is toughening its stance toward those who oppose the possibility of the Athletics moving from Oakland, John Woolfolk of the San Jose Mercury News reports. The Giants have reason to oppose the possibility of the A’s moving to nearby San Jose and MLB has been slow to deliver a decision on the matter.
Twins assistant GM Rob Antony discussed the team's offseason moves, players who signed elsewhere over the winter, plans for 2012, and more in an interview with Jesse Lund of the Twinkie Town blog. Here are some of the highlights...
- Michael Cuddyer was the Twins' "number one priority all off-season" but moved on once it became clear that the team wouldn't be able to re-sign him. Antony "always believed he wanted to be a Twin for his entire career" and thinks Cuddyer was "disappointed" to ultimately leave the team for Colorado.
- Jason Kubel shared his concerns with Antony about how Target Field is a tough stadium for power hitters, and the assistant GM believes this was a factor in Kubel leaving the team.
- The Twins dealt Delmon Young to the Tigers last season simply because the team put a priority on re-signing Cuddyer and Kubel, so they wanted to get some return for Young rather than possibly non-tender him after the season.
- Joe Nathan didn't give the Twins a chance to match the $14.75MM contract he received from the Rangers. Antony said there were no hard feelings about Nathan leaving, since the veteran closer was focused on playing for a contender. We heard in November that Minnesota's best offer to Nathan was "a bit less" than Texas' offer.
- The Nationals were "definitely interested" in Denard Span at the trade deadline last summer, but Antony doesn't "think we were ever close to doing anything."
- Antony said that some internet rumors about players on the trade market often lead to exploratory conversations between GMs about said players. "There are a lot of names that pop up where we do a lot of that same thing. 'Look, if you're looking to move this guy, he could be a fit over here. I don’t know what’s fact and what’s rumor, but if you are serious in trading a player we’d like to be kept in mind, we have some interest,' " Antony said. He brought up this point in regards to a question about Martin Prado, which would seem to hint that the Twins and Braves perhaps had such a conversation about the utilityman.
- Antony thinks Tsuyoshi Nishioka will give Alexi Casilla a strong battle for the starting second base job and that Nishioka "deserves a mulligan" for his tough 2011 season. Nishioka suffered a broken leg in his first season in the Major Leagues.
- "We have had more meetings with our training and medical staff this season than in the ten years prior to," Antony said in regards to how the Twins responded to last year's injury-riddled season. Still, Antony doesn't lay blame on the training staff: "These are the guys who were in place the year before, and the year before, and the year before that, so it’s not like all of a sudden they don’t know how to do their job. And last year, it was a perfect storm of everything that could do wrong, did go wrong."
Now that this year's arbitration offers are officially in, the free agent market has become that much easier to read. Jon Heyman of SI.com examines some of last night’s decisions and provides more notes from around the league (all Twitter links):
- One agent predicts David Ortiz could get $16MM if he accepts Boston’s offer of arbitration. Heyman suggests a two-year deal in the $25-28MM range could also work for both sides.
- Though the Brewers took on some risk by offering Francisco Rodriguez arbitration, the right-hander seeks a multiyear deal and a closing job, so he’ll decline Milwaukee’s offer. The Brewers already have John Axford in place, so for Rodriguez to close games he’ll have to move on.
- The Twins offered Joe Nathan a two-year deal that would have guaranteed him a bit less than the $14.75MM contract he signed in Texas. However, one AL executive told Heyman that Nathan "wanted to go to Texas."
Closernews.com offers fantasy analysis of relievers all offseason long and we’ll also be keeping detailed tabs on the relief market here at MLBTR. Now for the latest hot stove notes regarding relievers...
- The Red Sox talked to Joe Nathan, but never made him an offer, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Boston was uncomfortable offering the closer a multiyear deal partly because he's 37.
- The Rockies are trying to move Huston Street because they believe Rafael Betancourt can close for them, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links). Renck expects the Rockies to attempt to acquire a starter such as Jeremy Guthrie or Carl Pavano for Street.
- The bullpen remains the Rangers’ top priority, GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox, Angels, Twins, Reds, Marlins, Blue Jays and Mets are among the teams with potential interest in closers, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
The Rangers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year, $14.5MM deal and announced that they’re moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation last night. Here’s the latest from the AL West, starting with some notes from Texas...
- The Rangers, who haven’t ruled out pursuing starters even after moving Feliz to the rotation, have shown interest in Matt Garza in the past, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains (Twitter links). The Cubs are willing to move Garza, so the Rangers may inquire on the right-hander.
- Some in the Rangers organization were concerned about Feliz’s ability to recover from his blown save in Game 6 of the World Series, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney.
- Though Nathan's deal may seem generous, two agents had pegged the 37-year-old for a two-year deal in the $14-15MM range, according to Rosenthal.
- A’s GM Billy Beane accompanied owner Lew Wolff to meet commissioner Bud Selig and discuss the team’s stadium situation earlier in the month, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The A's lost money for the first time this century, Beane told Slusser. Though they obtain tens of millions in revenue sharing each season, the A's are expected to lose several million dollars in 2011.
Angels GM Jerry Dipoto isn’t shying away from the free agent market in his first offseason on the job. Here’s the latest on the Angels from Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times:
- Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia will meet with free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson tonight. Another GM will meet with Wilson in L.A. this weekend and the 31-year-old starter will meet with multiple teams on the East Coast next week, according to DiGiovanna.
- Angels international scouting director Mark Russo watched Yoenis Cespedes work out in the Dominican Republic last week, according to DiGiovanna. However, 60-70 other scouts were also in attendance to evaluate the Cuban center fielder. It appears that Cespedes will cost more than $35MM.
- The Angels are believed to be interested in free agent relievers Scott Linebrink and Ryan Madson, according to DiGiovanna. They also appeared to have interest in Joe Nathan, who just agreed to terms with the Rangers. This is the first time we've heard of the Angels' interest in Linebrink and Madson.
- Relievers Francisco Cordero, Heath Bell, Octavio Dotel and Matt Capps also interest the Angels, as do starters Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt and Hiroki Kuroda.
The Rangers' 2012 pitching staff just took shape and so did the rest of their offseason. The defending American League champions agreed with Joe Nathan on a two-year deal that includes a team option for 2014. Dave Pepe of Pro Agents, Inc. negotiated a $14.75MM guarantee for the four-time All-Star. Nathan will earn $7MM in 2012 and 2013 and the club holds a $9MM option for 2014 ($750K buyout). Nathan can earn up to $1MM in incentives based on games finished, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and the 2014 option can vest based on games finished in '13.
The Rangers announced that Neftali Feliz is finally headed to Texas' rotation. After successfully converting C.J. Wilson and Alexi Ogando into starters, the Rangers will attempt to bolster their rotation with a converted reliever for a third consecutive spring. However, the Rangers aren't out on starters, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. There's less pressure for the Rangers to over-spend on Wilson or another free agent arm now that they have an established arm at the back of their bullpen and five starters in Feliz, Ogando, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison.
Nathan, who turns 37 tomorrow, missed the entire 2010 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Houston native posted a 4.84 ERA with 8.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 34.9% ground ball rate in 44 2/3 innings this past season, saving 14 games. His average fastball velocity dropped to 92.3 mph in 2011 after sitting in the 93-95 mph range from 2002-09.
Nathan, an unranked free agent, won't cost the Rangers a draft pick and his former team, the Twins, won't obtain a compensatory pick. The Twins declined a $12.5MM option for Nathan after the regular season, but maintained interest in their longtime closer.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com first reported the deal and added specifics. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Jon Heyman of SI.com and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram added detail. Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Some notes to pass along from the AL and NL East ...
- The Red Sox have contacted free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore, tweets Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald, and they are not thought to have spoken to free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. Both players remain a long shot for Boston, according to Silverman, until the Red Sox figure out whether they want to re-sign David Ortiz.
- The Mets will likely seek an affordable closer this offseason, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, who spoke to three stoppers who might fit that bill: Jonathan Broxton, Brad Lidge and Joe Nathan. Broxton's agent told Martino that Brox is seeking an incentive-laden one-year deal with perhaps a vesting option, and he's willing to pitch as a setup man or a closer. Lidge's agent said Lidge, too, is flexible with respect to his role, and Nathan said he is receptive to either a short- or long-term contract.
- Now that the Phillies' agreement on a four-year contract with Ryan Madson has either fallen through or never actually materialized in the first place, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald opines that Jonathan Papelbon, like Madson, is unlikely to secure a contract of four or more years from Philly. Just reading the tea leaves, it looks like the fourth year will be the primary haggling point for Madson and Papelbon in their respective negotiations.
The Tigers signed Jhonny Peralta to a two-year deal on this date in 2010. The shortstop responded with 21 homers and a .299/.345/.478 line in 2011 and the Tigers won their division. Here's the latest from baseball's central divisions, starting in Detroit...
- Jonathan Maurer, the agent for free agent second baseman Jamey Carroll, told Lynn Henning of the Detroit News that the Tigers would be viewed "enthusiastically" should they approach Carroll about a deal. Obtaining a second baseman is one of the Tigers' offseason challenges.
- It doesn’t appear that the Tigers will talk seriously with free agent reliever Joe Nathan, according to Henning.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he’s “got to give” Lorenzo Cain a chance to play. The Royals created space for Cain yesterday, shipping Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez.
- The Cubs will interview Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. for their managerial opening later this week, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Red Sox are also interviewing the former catcher.
- Astros GM Ed Wade re-stated his interest in bringing shortstop Clint Barmes back, but he’s not sure the free agent will re-sign in Houston. “I just don't know if it's going to work in our situation," Wade told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Agent Barry Meister expects a “significant market” for Barmes.
Terry Ryan returned to the role of Twins GM yesterday; here's the latest on the club.
- Ryan will be the GM for as long as he wants to be, a member of the Twins organization told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. "I don't know if it'll be for one year or 10 years," Ryan said yesterday, noting that if he likes the job he expects owner Jim Pohlad to let him stay.
- Ryan alluded to a $100MM payroll for 2012 yesterday, down from the $113-118MM range the Twins had in 2011. However, Twins president David St. Peter told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Terry and I, frankly, have not had one discussion about our payroll for next year. He’s been privy to it because nothing has changed from what we had been telling Bill [Smith]...I think it can be a fluid number. I’m hoping we can find a way to inch it forward." Christensen guesses the Twins will ultimately have a payroll in the $110MM range.
- If Kevin Slowey and Jose Mijares are not retained, I'd estimate the Twins' commitments in the $74MM range for 2012 before accounting for minimum salary players. That could mean as much as $30MM to spend on 2012 salaries.
- Ryan's said his first priority is to reach out to the agents for the team's own free agents: Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan, and Matt Capps.