Joel Peralta Rumors

AL East Notes: Ross, Sox, Yanks, McCarthy, ARod, Rays

If he hangs up his spikes, as he is said to be weighingRed Sox catcher David Ross should have plenty of avenues for non-playing jobs in the game, tweets Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com. A former GM tells Mastrodonato that he considers Ross a close friend and would be more than happy to find a position for him.

Here’s more from Boston and the rest of the AL East:

  • As the offseason begins for the Red Sox, GM Ben Cherington reiterated that the team needs to add depth in the rotation and in the lineup, as MLB.com’s Ian Browne reports. In particular, the club will emphasize left-handed-hitting options around the diamond.
  • Apart from Brett Gardner, the Yankees generally lack attractive veteran contracts that could be dealt in a rebuilding scenario, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But while that makes little sense, neither would it be beneficial to spend top dollar on the high-end free agent market, argues Sherman. Instead, New York should continue to wield its financial muscle to make more incremental gains that maintain financial and roster flexibility — much as the team did on the trade deadline this year.
  • One player who could meet that description is starter Brandon McCarthy. As Roger Rubin of the New York Daily news reports, the big righty is very open to a return to New York but is not exactly waiting with bated breath. “When the phone rings we’ll find out for sure,” said McCarthy, who added that he is willing to be aggressive in selling his services. “You don’t have to be the biggest name to be the first domino to fall,” he said. “You could be at the beginning or the end and at some slot in the middle. I’ve been focused on what I am doing, but soon it could be time to weigh what’s going on. I feel if I got the right offer, I’d be willing to sign early in the process.”
  • Yankees manager Joe Girardi says that he needs to see how Alex Rodriguez looks on the field before determining his role next year, as George A. King III of the New York Post reports. But Girardi says that his expectation is that Rodriguez will take a regular role at third: “Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. In fairness you have to see where he is at. I can’t tell you what will happen, but we expect him to be our third baseman.”
  • For the Rays, manager Joe Maddon hopes to stay on past 2015 but is in no rush to add onto his contract, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain reports. Meanwhile, both utilityman Ben Zobrist and reliever Joel Peralta hope the team will exercise its options over them for the coming year, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. That is a foregone conclusion for Zobrist, of course, but Peralta ($2.5MM option with no buyout) is a more difficult call as he enters his age-39 season. His 4.41 ERA over 63 1/3 frames does not look very appealing, but Peralta did post a 3.40 FIP, 3.11 xFIP, and 2.54 SIERA on the back of 10.5 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9.

Mets Not Targeting Vinnie Pestano

11:58pm: Rubin was told by a Mets person there's nothing there regarding the team pursuing Pestano.

10:33am: In search of late-inning relief help, the Mets are targeting Indians right-hander Vinnie Pestano, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Though it's not clear whether the Mets have made an offer to Cleveland, New York has been pursuing Pestano at the Winter Meetings, says Rubin.

The Mets have also attempted to engage the Rays and Royals about bullpen pieces, but haven't made any progress on either front, according to Rubin. New York inquired about Joel Peralta, but found Tampa Bay's asking price too high. The Rays just re-signed Peralta to a multiyear deal a couple weeks ago.


Rays Sign Joel Peralta

The Rays announced that they have re-signed reliever Joel Peralta to a two-year contract. The deal guarantees the 36-year-old $6MM and includes a series of club options covering the 2015-17 seasons. Agent Mark Gilling represents the right-hander, who will be welcomed back to Tampa Bay.

“We love Joel’s competitiveness and the impact he has on the younger pitchers in our bullpen,” executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a team statement.

Peralta appeared in 76 games for the Rays this past season. He posted a 3.63 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 67 innings, setting career highs in strikeouts (84) and strikeout rate.

Peralta ranked 38th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents. At the end of the season he expressed interest in re-signing with Tampa Bay if possible. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the news, adding that the 2015 option was valued at $2.5MM.



AL East Notes: Ortiz, Peralta, Jackson

Some links from around the AL East for your Monday reading pleasure…

  • David Ortiz is still looking for two years and $25-30MM, according to the Boston Herald's John Tomase. Ortiz told Tomase that he expects the Red Sox to reach out to his representatives at SFX next week.
  • Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com cautions Orioles fans not to buy into any rumblings that Ortiz could end up in Baltimore if he doesn't re-sign with the Red Sox. Dubroff notes that manager Buck Showalter felt handicapped by Vladimir Guerrero's inability to play in the field the last time the team had a strict DH in 2011.
  • In his latest mailbag, MLB.com's Bill Chastain tells one reader that Joel Peralta is so intent on returning to the Rays that he will likely deal with them exclusively before talking to other teams. Chastain does opine that a multi-year deal from an outside team could sway Peralta's thinking.
  • Chastain also says he believes that the Rays will open the season with Ben Zobrist as the shortstop, as Hak-Ju Lee may not be ready from an offensive standpoint yet.
  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweets that the Blue Jays had nine different scouts in attendance for Edwin Jackson's final three regular season starts. Jackson will be a free agent this offseason, and while he'd like to return to the Nationals, he could end up elsewhere. The Jays are planning to shop aggressively this offseason.

Rays, Joel Peralta Avoid Arbitration

1:44pm: Peralta will earn $2.175MM, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). 

12:18pm: The Rays announced that they avoided arbitration with right-handed reliever Joel Peralta, and agreed to terms on a one-year, Major League contract for 2012. Mark Gilling represents Peralta, who had a projected $2MM salary for 2012, according to MLBTR's estimates.

Peralta, 35, posted a 2.93 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 27% ground ball rate in 67 2/3 innings of relief this past season. The Rays signed Peralta a year ago this week after the Nationals non-tendered him.


Players Claimed And Pulled Back

A player who is claimed on waivers can be pulled back by his original team, and it happens regularly.  It could be that the two sides just couldn't reach a deal, or it might be that the original team never intended to trade the player.  Technically a player can be placed on waivers a second time, but it's rare because in that case he cannot be pulled back.  Reportedly, at least 16 players have been claimed and pulled back this month: 

Many players were placed on waivers and were not traded, including John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko, Matt Thornton, Brett Myers, Clint Barmes, and Craig Breslow.  It's safe to assume several of these players were claimed and then pulled back.  Additionally, at least 23 players have cleared waivers and can be traded to any team.


Non-Tenders Contributing With New Teams

Every winter teams non-tender players when they would rather risk losing them to another team than go through the potentially expensive arbitration process. Most non-tenders don’t come back to haunt their former clubs, but they definitely have the potential to do so.

Teams non-tendered over 50 players last offseason and a handful of them have added value for new organizations. Here’s a breakdown of which 2010 non-tenders are contributing in 2011:

Outfielders

  • Tony Gwynn Jr., Dodgers (non-tendered by Padres) – Gwynn has a .255/.312/.333 line with 15 stolen bases in 252 plate appearances for the Dodgers and has played all three outfield positions.
  • Scott Hairston, Mets (non-tendered by Padres) – Hairston has a robust .264/.331/.527 line with seven homers in a part-time role for the Mets.

Infielders

  • Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays (technically non-tendered by Athletics) – Encarnacion has a .277/.326/.446 line this year, including an .894 OPS since June 1st.

Catchers

  • Ronny Paulino, Mets (non-tendered by Marlins) – Paulino has been a serviceable part-time backstop for the Mets, posting a .293/.328/.374 line in 187 trips to the plate.
  • Russell Martin, Yankees (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Martin has 12 homers and a .228/.324/.383 line in 349 plate appearances. He's tenth among all MLB catchers with 2.1 wins above replacement.

Right-Handed Relievers

  • Matt Albers, Red Sox (non-tendered by Orioles) – The right-hander has a 2.31 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 46 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. Albers is easily having his best season yet and all he cost was $875K. He's under team control through 2013.
  • Todd Coffey, Nationals (non-tendered by Brewers) – The big righty has a 4.40 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 45 innings so far in 2011. The numbers are solid, but not so good that the Brewers have much to second-guess themselves on.
  • Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox (non-tendered by Yankees) – Aceves has a 3.18 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings as a swingman for the Red Sox this year. Considering the injuries the Boston pitching staff has sustained, you could argue that Aceves has been one of their best offseason additions.
  • Jose Veras, Pirates (non-tendered by Marlins) – Veras has a 3.19 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 53 2/3 innings this year and has been a key weapon in Clint Hurdle's bullpen.
  • Dustin Moseley, Padres (non-tendered by Yankees) – Moseley has a 3.30 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 20 starts. Now on the DL, Moseley has completed a career-high 120 innings.
  • Taylor Buchholz, Mets (technically non-tendered by Red Sox) – When healthy, Buchholz has been effective, posting a 3.12 ERA with a 26K/7BB ratio in 26 innings. He has been on the disabled list since June.
  • Joel Peralta, Rays (non-tendered by Nationals) – The 35-year-old leads the American League in appearances (55) and has a 3.68 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 after 51 1/3 innings in Tampa Bay.

Left-Handed Relievers

  • George Sherrill, Braves (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Sherrill has a 3.38 ERA with a 36K/11BB ratio in 32 innings for his new club. He has mostly faced left-handed hitters.

Tigers Interested In Joel Peralta

The Tigers are still looking for bullpen help after acquiring David Pauley, and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets they're interested in Rays reliever Joel Peralta.

Peralta, 35, has a 3.75 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, and 26.7% groundball rate in 48 innings this year.  He leads the American League with 52 appearances.  Peralta will be under team control for 2012 as an arbitration eligible player.

Morosi says the Tigers also have Baltimore's Jim Johnson on the radar, but a deal is unlikely.


Non-Tenders Contributing With New Teams

Every winter teams non-tender players when they would rather risk losing them to another team than go through the potentially expensive arbitration process. In 2010, for example, Matt Capps and Kelly Johnson rewarded their new teams with standout years after being cut loose, though most non-tenders don’t make that kind of contribution.

Teams non-tendered over 50 players last offseason and a handful of them are already proving their worth with new organizations. Here’s a breakdown of which 2010 non-tenders are exceeding expectations in 2011:

Starting Pitchers

  • Dustin Moseley, Padres (non-tendered by Yankees) – The 29-year-old leads the league with six losses, but he's been much more effective than his record would indicate. Moseley has a 3.40 ERA with 4.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 through 53 frames.

Right-Handed Relievers

  • Joel Peralta, Rays (non-tendered by Nationals) – Unlike most non-tenders, Peralta was effective last year. After 22 1/3 innings in the Rays' revamped bullpen, he's looking like a smart, low-risk addition. Peralta has a 2.82 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
  • Taylor Buchholz, Mets (though Buchholz has never thrown a pitch for Boston, the Red Sox were technically the ones to non-tender him) – Buchholz is looking a lot like his 2008 self through 21 2/3 innings in the Mets' 'pen. The 29-year-old has a 1.66 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
  • Jose Veras, Pirates (non-tendered by Marlins) – Veras has 26 strikeouts and a 3.06 ERA through 17 2/3 innings. Veras' 13.2 K/9 is seventh-best among MLB relievers this year and few pitchers beat his 94 mph average fastball by much.
  • Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox (non-tendered by Yankees) – The Red Sox need him more than ever with two members of their Opening Day rotation on the shelf. So far, Aceves has a 2.60 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 17 1/3 innings.
  • Todd Coffey, Nationals (non-tendered by Brewers) – Coffey, who added value in 2009-10, has a 2.30 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 15 2/3 innings.
  • Matt Albers, Red Sox (non-tendered by Orioles) – Though Bobby Jenks was the most prominent non-tender who signed with Boston this winter, Albers may be the most impressive. He has a 1.65 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 52.3% ground ball rate through 16 1/3 innings.

Left-Handed Relievers

  • George Sherrill, Braves (non-tendered by Dodgers) – After a poor showing with the Dodgers in 2010, Sherrill is adding value again. He has raised his strikeout rate (10.2 K/9), lowered his walk rate (4.7 BB/9) and has allowed just seven hits and two earned runs in 9 2/3 innings, mostly against left-handed hitters.

Position Players

  • Russell Martin, Yankees (non-tendered by Dodgers) – Arguably the biggest success story of all, Martin drew interest from a number of AL East teams before signing with the Yankees. He has a .261/.362/.479 line and leads qualified MLB catchers in home runs (7), on-base percentage (.362), wOBA (.380) and WAR (1.5). It’s a win-win, as Martin got $4MM in guaranteed money and a fresh start, while the Yankees get a top catcher who’s under team control through 2012. With Jack Cust, Matt Diaz and others off to slow starts, Martin is the lone non-tendered position player making an impact so far this year.

Rays To Sign Joel Peralta

The Rays have agreed to sign Joel Peralta for about $900K, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Nationals non-tendered Peralta earlier in the month, after a strong 2010 campaign.

Peralta, 35 in March, posted a 2.02 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 49 innings of work for the Nationals in 2010. A late bloomer who didn't reach the major leagues until his age 29 season, Peralta has a 4.22 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 260 career relief appearances. He has always generated lots of fly balls and this year ranked fifth in fly ball rate (55.6%) among big league relievers with at least 40 innings pitched.

The Rays re-signed another 2010 non-tender, J.P. Howell, earlier in the week, but their bullpen figures to look considerably different next year. Joaquin Benoit and Randy Choate have already agreed to deals elsewhere and Rafael Soriano, Lance Cormier, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler and Chad Qualls and are all free agents.