Joel Hanrahan Rumors
The Braves have signed Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel to long-term deals in recent weeks, but don't expect them to do the same with Jason Heyward, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Heyward recently signed a two-year deal with Atlanta that did not delay his free-agency eligilibility, and now it will be difficult for the Braves to get Heyward to commit to a deal that's worth less per year than the $20MM-$22MM Freeman will get at a comparable point in his service-time clock. Here's more from the East divisions.
- Homer Bailey's negotiations with the Reds could have an impact on Justin Masterson and the Indians, the Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes writes. Hoynes broke the news that Bailey and the Reds are in discussions about a six-year deal that could be worth $100MM, and a Bailey deal could set a precedent for an extension for Masterson, who was similarly valuable in 2013 and also is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
- The Yankees spent heavily this offseason, but they now have a injury-prone, top-heavy roster and little depth, Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues. That's especially true in their infield, although Sherman notes the situation might have been better if the Yankees had acquired Jhonny Peralta, Omar Infante or Logan Forsythe, all of whom they pursued this offseason (Peralta and Infante on the free-agent market, and Forsythe via trade).
- The Red Sox are making plans now that Ryan Dempster and his salary are out of the equation for 2014, writes CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam. McAdam writes that the Red Sox have known about Dempster's decision for the past two weeks and have been looking for a veteran free agent pitcher, but probably one who would start the season at Triple-A and provide depth. The Red Sox could also save Dempster's salary for a trade-deadline acquisition.
- Stephen Drew and the Mets still aren't close on a contract, Newsday's Marc Carig reports. Carig also notes that the Mets have interest in former Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, who is making his way back from Tommy John surgery. The Mets' level of interest may depend on how well the team does at the beginning of the season. Hanrahan is not expected to be ready to pitch until May.
- The Phillies still aren't interested in rebuilding, writes USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "We're committed to this core. We want to surround them with the best possible players. In time, hopefully we'll be able to transition to some of younger players," says Phillies president David Montgomery. "But now, we want to give this group every chance to win.'' GM Ruben Amaro Jr., meanwhile, repeats that he expects the Phillies to do better this season because of improved health. "Listen, if Ryan [Howard] is on the field, we are winning games," Amaro says.
Johan Santana will throw for interested teams at some point soon, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com tweets. When he does, the Twins will be in attendance. Yesterday, Santana himself indicated that he had begun throwing off a mound, the latest step in his recovery from shoulder surgery. Here are more notes on free agents, all of them pitchers.
- Brian Burres threw for teams on Thursday, and he will throw again on Monday in Florida, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned. Burres last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 with the Pirates. He spent 2012 in the Giants' system, and 2013 in Taiwan.
- The Red Sox continue to "check in on" reliever Joel Hanrahan, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports (via Twitter). Hanrahan's agent told MLBTR yesterday that Hanrahan would host a showcase for interested teams in March. Hanrahan is making his way back after a 2013 season mostly lost to elbow troubles.
- The Red Sox watched Ryan Madson on Friday in Arizona, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Like Hanrahan, Madson is a once-dominant reliever trying to make his way back after dealing with elbow problems. The Phillies are among the teams that have shown interest in Madson, who last appeared in the big leagues in 2011 as a Phillie.
Recent reports indicating that right-hander Joel Hanrahan will host a showcase for multiple teams today are not accurate, agent Mike Dillon of Reynolds Sports Management tells MLBTR:
"Reports of a showcase workout with Joel Hanrahan are inaccurate. Teams that have been interested in watching his light bullpens have been welcome and the Mets are watching him today. We do not anticipate Joel throwing for multiple clubs in a 'showcase' type of workout until early March when he will be closer to 100%. Having said that, we are excited and very encouraged with Joel's progress."
Hanrahan underwent Tommy John surgery last May and also had the flexor tendon in his right elbow repaired. The 32-year-old pitched just 7 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in his lone season with Boston, and the eight runs he allowed on 10 hits (four homers) and six walks were proof that something wasn't right with his health. The two-time All-Star had posted a 2.59 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 229 1/3 innings for the Pirates in three-and-a-half seasons leading up to 2013, saving 82 games along the way.
In addition to the Mets, Hanrahan has also been connected to the Orioles in recent weeks. Baltimore has been eyeing free agents with closing experience and recently watched as Fernando Rodney signed a two-year deal with the Mariners.
The last major free agent closer domino fell today when Fernando Rodney signed with the Mariners. That deal carries implications for his new club and for other teams that had interest in his services. Here are the latest rumors on the free agent market ...
- After inking Rodney, the Mariners are "all in" and are "cautiously optimistic" that they will land outfielder Nelson Cruz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. We heard recently that Seattle was talking with Cruz and was willing to give him multiple years.
- Though they had interest, the Orioles never pursued Rodney that aggressively, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). Connolly says that Baltimore never indicated a willingness to spend near the $14MM guarantee that Rodney will receive from Seattle. "They liked him a little bit more than us," executive VP Dan Duquette told WBAL Radio (via a tweet from MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko). Of course, the O's had a two-year, $15MM deal in place with Grant Balfour until the team blew up the deal over issues with his physical.
- With Rodney out of the picture, internal option Tommy Hunter appears to be the likeliest choice to close for Baltimore, notes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore (via Twitter). Nevertheless, the Orioles have kept tabs on other late-inning relief options from the scratch-and-dent market. As Kubatko tweets, the club has shown interest in Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey as options to provide a mid-season boost. Both pitchers are coming off of surgeries, but offer plenty of upside. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported in early January that Hanrahan was preparing to audition in the spring, and also reported in December that Bailey has received significant interest, and expects to be ready by the middle of May.
- Of course, three other relievers also came off the board today, with Carlos Marmol and Chaz Roe signing with the Marlins and Pat Neshek going to the Cardinals.
- Now that Rodney has signed, it is clear that no reliever will beat Joe Nathan's guarantee of $20MM, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. That represents a notable shift, as every one of the last six signing seasons has featured a reliever deal with at least $25MM in guaranteed money. The changing market has not only opened the door for smaller-market clubs to ink top bullpen arms, Nicholson-Smith notes, but also creates an opportunity for teams to limit the earnings of their younger arms by preventing them from picking up saves and increasing their arbitration earnings. It is worth noting that this year's market featured an ample supply of excellent-but-aging closers, which could help explain why no single arm garnered a huge guarantee.
7:23pm: While the Mets are indeed looking for a late-inning reliever, and could give out a MLB deal to get one, the club is unlikely to land Rodney, a source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter).
4:44pm: Though the Mets recently announced the signing of Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league deal, the team still has some money allotted for a "closer type" reliever, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin, citing a source that is not affiliated with the club.
Fernando Rodney is believed to be New York's top target, but Rubin's source wouldn't rule out Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan or Ryan Madson either. Other relievers on the market that come with closer experience include Carlos Marmol, Andrew Bailey and Brandon Lyon, though Lyon spent last season with the Mets with less than favorable results (4.98 ERA in 34 1/3 innings). Those next three names are just my speculation, not names that were mentioned by Rubin or his source.
Rubin writes that incumbent closer Bobby Parnell is confident that he will be healthy following surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. However, as Rubin points out, the Mets have little in terms of a fallback plan should Parnell go down with another injury. Hard-throwing Vic Black projects to be next in line for the closer's throne, and he has a total of 17 big league innings under his belt.
For some fascinating information on the Latin American market, be sure to read this interview with longtime baseball man Omar Minaya, courtesy of Teddy Klein of metsmerizedonline.com.
- Minaya's former club, the Mets, may still add options for the starting rotation even after signing John Lannan, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. "Lannan does not necessarily preclude us from signing another starter," said assistant GM John Ricco.
- Minaya's current team, the Padres, is probably not going to add a reliever "unless it's something small," a source told Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter link). Though the team has been said to be in the market for a lefty, it appears that the intent is to make a modest acquisition, if any.
Free-agent reliever Joel Hanrahan will work out for teams in spring training, a league source tells MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (via Twitter). Hanrahan is currently throwing off a mound, earlier than anticipated. He had season-ending surgery on his elbow in May.
The closer struggled in nine appearances with the Red Sox in 2013, though he still threw very hard, with his fastball averaging 96.6 MPH. He posted a 2.72 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 for the Pirates in 2012 before the Bucs traded him to Boston with infielder Brock Holt for four players, including Mark Melancon and pitching prospect Stolmy Pimentel.
We've heard the Orioles linked to several free agents already today, including Jason Hammel, whom the O's are interested in bringing back on a new contract. It's unlikely that Baltimore will be willing to meet the right-hander's reported asking price though, as ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) hears Hammel's reps are seeking a three- or four-year deal for their client. Here's more on the O's:
- The Orioles are one of many teams with some interest in Johan Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Speaking to reporters, including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter links), Orioles GM Dan Duquette suggested that finding a leadoff hitter will be a challenge for the club, and that he hasn't made any new offers to players since arriving in Orlando. However, Duquette believes Baltimore will add a player within the next couple days.
- Kubatko adds (via Twitter) that Baltimore hasn't ruled out rehabbing pitchers, meaning players like Gavin Floyd and Joel Hanrahan could be on the radar.
- Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com tweets that the Orioles' budget for a closer will likely max out at about $6MM, and that the club is also seeking a designated hitter who can play the field.
- The Orioles announced today in a press release that they've outrighted Cord Phelps to Triple-A Norfolk. Phelps was claimed off waivers from the Indians last month.
Even with the high cost of free agent pitching, Ervin Santana's hopes for a $100MM contract seemed a little far-fetched...or are they? Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looked at the binder of information that agents Bean Stringfellow and Joe White prepared about their client and saw a wealth of favorable statistics in Santana's favor, noting his durability, good health, and even comparisons to Zack Greinke. MLBTR's Steve Adams only predicted a five-year, $75MM deal for Santana on the open market but it only takes one team to make a leap.
Here's some news from around baseball...
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that the team has "real interest at different levels" in re-signing its six free agents, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Cherington has "had conversations" about bringing back Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joel Hanrahan and John McDonald, though Abraham reports that the team has most extensively discussed a new deal with Napoli.
- The Red Sox aren't expected to make acquisitions during the GM meetings this week, Cherington said.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman has "no idea" if Hiroki Kuroda is interested in returning to the club, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. “My conversations with his agent, the only information I’ve gotten from that is he hasn’t made any decisions, what he wants to do as far as next year’s concerned," Cashman said. Kuroda has been rumored to be weighing re-signing with the Yankees, pitching in Japan or retiring, though a return to southern California to be closer to his family probably isn't out of the question either.
- Robinson Cano's next contract might not meet his expectations simply because the Yankees are the only team with the need and finances to come close to his demands, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes.
- Jason Bay isn't sure if he will play in 2014, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi tweets. The 35-year-old Bay was released by the Mariners in August and only has a .688 OPS in 1361 PA over his last four seasons, most of which were shortened by injury.
- Agent Barry Praver said that his clients Manny Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano were hoping to again play in the Major Leagues, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links). Ramirez is staying in shape and would be open to playing in Japan, while Zambrano is pitching in the Venezuelan winter league.
- Wily Mo Pena is expected to re-sign in Japan, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (Twitter link). Pena signed a two-year, $5MM deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks following the 2011 season and enjoyed a big 2012 before suffering through an injury-plagued 2013 campaign. Nicholson-Smith notes that Pena had interested suitors in both Japan and North America. Pena turns 32 in January and hit .250/.303/.445 with 84 homers in 1845 career PA with the Reds, Red Sox, Nationals, Diamondbacks and Mariners from 2002-11.
Multiple reports indicate that the Red Sox are interested in Carlos Beltran, though the extent of that interest is somewhat up in the air. George A. King III of the New York Post reports that Boston is "aggressively" pursuing Beltran but are receiving early competition from the Yankees and Orioles. Elsewhere, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo tweets that the Red Sox do indeed have interest in the eight-time All-Star, but a team source tells him they haven't been very aggressive to this point. Here are some more BoSox items for your Friday morning...
- Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen appeared on WEEI's Hot Stove Show on Thursday to discuss David Ross and other internal catching options, how other teams may try to copy Boston's offseason strategy from last year and how the team could be more open to giving up their first round draft pick in order to sign a qualifying offer-rejecting free agent. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has a partial transcript of the interview.
- Another catching option could be Reds backstop Ryan Hanigan, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes. Hanigan is expected to be shopped now that Cincinnati has signed Brayan Pena, and Hanigan's defense and on-base ability would certainly be of interest to the Red Sox.
- Joel Hanrahanspoke with WEEI.com's Rob Bradford and discussed how difficult it was to watch from home in October this season -- the first time one of his teams had ever been to the playoffs: "...I didn’t want to take time away from the trainers who are trying to keep the guys on the field who are playing. I didn’t want to be in the way. It was tough for me, but it was a whole heck of a lot of fun watching at home and seeing the success they had." Hanrahan said he's received calls from multiple eams already to check in on his rehab and spoke highly of Boston's training staff and the organization as a whole. According to Bradford, Hanrahan is throwing from 120 feet and hopes to have a few bullpen sessions under his belt prior to the onset of Spring Training.
- The Sox may have six competent starters under contract for next season -- Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster -- but GM Ben Cherington told MLB.com's Ian Browne that he doesn't envision trading one of them this winter.
- Barring a trade of Dempster or Peavy, WEEI.com's Alex Speier figures that the Red Sox will have just over $32MM to spend and still successfully avoid this year's $189MM luxury tax threshold. That number, theorizes Speier, could be the reason that the Red Sox couldn't afford to gamble on making qualifying offers to all three of Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Saltalmacchia, of course, was the odd man out and didn't receive a qualifying offer.
- In a separate piece, Speier provides an excellent breakdown of the CBA's calculation of average annual value for luxury tax purposes, explaining how Lester's AAV next season will jump to $9.37MM now that his option has been exercised.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post