Joel Pineiro Rumors
Free agent catcher Bengie Molina has rejected the latest offer from the Mets, according to a tweet by ESPN's Buster Olney. The team is now beginning to focus it's attention on Joel Pineiro.
We heard that the Mets were close to landing Molina earlier in the week, but apparently he had a change of heart. The two sides have been haggling over the length of a potential deal seemingly all offseason. The Mets are one of several teams interested in Pineiro, and they'll also be on hand to watch Ben Sheets throw today.
Earlier today we learned that GM Omar Minaya was never given a budget this offseason, and instead must seek approve from COO Jeff Wilpon on a case-by-case basis.
WEDNESDAY, 11:22pm: Dylan Hernandez tweets that in addition to Pineiro and Padilla, the Dodgers have recently contacted the agents for Braden Looper and Garland.
WEDNESDAY, 7:06pm: The Dodgers are open to bringing back Padilla if they are unable to land Pineiro, a major league source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
9:55am: It's been a quiet offseason for the Dodgers, as they've unloaded Juan Pierre while adding Jamey Carroll and a cast of minor league signings. With Randy Wolf joining the Brewers, there's still a strong need to add a veteran starting pitcher.
The Dodgers' search is focused on Joel Pineiro and Vicente Padilla, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Gurnick indicates they've backed off on Jon Garland. The Dodgers are aiming for a one-year deal, which might put Pineiro out of reach. Still, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote today that the Dodgers "are going through the process of getting approval for the funds necessary to make a Pineiro deal." Ed Price of AOL FanHouse tweeted Monday that the Mets were talking to Pineiro about a two-year deal in the $15MM range, so it's probably a two-horse race.
A reunion with Padilla seems likely, especially if his price starts to plummet. Early in the offseason, interest was mutual. The Dodgers' main competition appears to be the Cardinals, who are trying to stretch $6-7MM across several needs.
7:37pm: According to Tim Brown's Twitter feed, "In the face of economic limitations, Dodgers working on a way to sign Joel Pineiro."
7:09pm: According to Ed Price's Twitter feed, the Mets and Joel Pineiro are talking, with the money somewhere around two years, $15MM.
At that price, you'd have to think a deal could get done quickly. The Mets have been interested in Pineiro all offseason, though Pineiro has seemed to be looking for a deal that rivals or exceeds the three-year, $29.75MM contract Randy Wolf signed with the Brewers.
Two years, $15MM is exactly what Jason Marquis signed for earlier this offseason with the Nationals. Despite the concerns over whether Pineiro can repeat his successful 2009 without Dave Duncan, his pitching coach with the Cardinals, the Mets would be taking a worthwhile risk at that price and length.
Pineiro was 15-12 in 2009 with a 3.49 ERA and just 27 walks in 214 innings pitched.
The latest from SI's Jon Heyman...
- Heyman believes the Yankees would not go beyond one year and $6MM to re-sign Johnny Damon. On MLB Home Plate Boras said Damon "would just have to move forward," while not faulting the Yankees for sticking to a budget. Heyman suggests four alternatives for Damon: the Giants, Mariners, Braves, and Angels. The Angels would be a tough fit barring a Juan Rivera trade, as their outfield and DH spots are full. The problem with the Braves is that they're approaching their payroll limit.
- Despite a report that the Cardinals probably can't afford Miguel Tejada, Heyman sees them as the best fit. Heyman's $8MM idea seems too pricey though.
- The Mets debated offering Joel Pineiro a two-year, $15MM Jason Marquis special, but at this point Pineiro seems to be seeking Randy Wolf's three-year, $29.75MM deal. MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone sees the team landing Jon Garland instead.
- Heymans says the Mets "seem serious about sticking with an offer of one year and a vesting option" for Bengie Molina. However, Cerrone "gets the feeling the Mets might have a two-year deal on the table."
Here's a round-up of a few news items floating around the baseball world tonight....
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports that Detroit might sit out the bidding for the few remaining closers on the market and instead hope that youngsters Ryan Perry, Daniel Schlereth or a healthy Joel Zumaya are able to pick up some saves.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports (via Twitter) that the Mets "have debated" the merits of offering Joel Pineiro a two-year contract, but Pineiro wants a deal akin to the three-year, $29.75MM contract that Randy Wolf signed with Milwaukee.
- Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that the Padres will sign an experienced backup catcher "within a few weeks."
- Dave Cameron of the U.S.S. Mariner blog isn't a big fan of Seattle's trade for Casey Kotchman.
- The apparent lack of interest in free agent Jason Giambi means that there's a greater chance he ends up back in Colorado, reports MLB.com's Thomas Harding.
- With Boston's signing of Adrian Beltre, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas thinks that the Rangers might have leverage to get a more favorable trade for Mike Lowell, should Texas still be interested.
Erik Boland and David Lennon over at Newsday have a piece up reporting that the Mets are "very interested" in bringing back Carlos Delgado.
Delgado, who played in the Puerto Rican Winter League Sunday for the first time since surgery on his hip in May, went 1-for-4 as a designated hitter. As befitting a player who managed to play in just 26 games in 2009, the Mets are interested in Delgado on an incentive-laden deal.
Still, it is easy to understand New York's interest. Delgado was hitting .298/.393/.521 in 2009, one year after putting up a 2008 batting line of .271/.353/.518, including a tremendous second half.
Just for fun, let's combine rumors for a Delgado platoon with Mike Lowell, who was rumored to be in discussions to come to New York in exchange for Luis Castillo early this evening in a tweet by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
Delgado, against righties, had a .912 OPS in 2008, .902 in 2009. Lowell had a .961 OPS against lefties in 2008, an .867 OPS against them in 2009.
In other words, it would be an offensive option that would likely leave Daniel Murphy in the dust.
The piece also reports that the Mets are interested in starting pitching, with Joel Pineiro their preferred choice.
Sean Casey tells Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News that he likes the Jason Bay deal for the Mets. Casey, who played with Bay in Pittsburgh and Boston, expects the left fielder to adjust well to New York. Here are some more Mets-related rumors:
- The Mets aren't nearing an agreement with Bengie Molina, who is looking for a three-year deal. We've been hearing for a while now that the Mets aren't interested in committing to Molina for that long. They're comfortable with a one-year deal that includes a vesting option, according to McCarron's source.
- As ESPN.com notes, Yorvit Torrealba could be a solution for the Mets if there are no hard feelings between the two sides. The Rockies don't appear to have room for Torrealba now that they're reportedly close to signing Miguel Olivo.
- The Mets are still interested in Carlos Delgado, who could start playing winter ball this weekend.
- Joel Pineiro is still on the team's radar, but the Mets haven't spoken to his representatives this week.
Ever since the news of Frank and Jamie McCourt's divorce proceedings broke last October, Dodgers fans have been wondering (and dreading) if the ownership dispute would impact the team's operations. The first two months of the offseason have been quiet enough in L.A. to make it look like the Dodgers are themselves also still waiting to see how things will play out with the McCourts and have thus been in a holding pattern in regards to next season's payroll.
This isn't to say that Los Angeles hasn't been active. The Dodgers traded Juan Pierre to the White Sox, were involved in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, tried to acquire Aaron Harang from Cincinnati and signed utilityman Jamey Carroll. But, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports pointed out today, the club is playing even-steven with its offseason moves in order to steady the budget. For instance, the Dodgers saved $8MM over the next two seasons by dealing Pierre, and spent $3.85MM of those savings to sign Carroll. Acquiring another notable free agent (such as Rosenthal's example of Joel Pineiro) would require L.A. to make another move to free up the cash to sign the right-hander.
We've already seen a bit of penny-pinching from the team this winter when they didn't offer arbitration to any of their free agents, passing on the chance to acquire compensatory draft picks for Type A free agents Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf out of fear that Hudson or Wolf might accept the offer. The bright side for Dodgers fans is that the team is at least keeping the payroll stable, rather than shifting into outright cost-cutting mode. Rosenthal notes that there are no plans to deal any of L.A.'s young stars before their arbitration years --- trading the likes of Andre Ethier, for example, would be "counter-productive" given Ethier's reasonable arbitration number and Manny Ramirez's slight decline.
This stand-pat strategy will force Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti to be creative in filling the holes on a club that has lost the NLCS to Philadelphia in each of the last two seasons. Rosenthal said that George Sherrill is "a candidate to be traded," but L.A. wouldn't save much money from the deal and getting rid of Sherrill would weaken their bullpen. There is also a need to sign a veteran like Pineiro to anchor the otherwise young starting rotation.
The latest from Buster Olney's ESPN blog...
- Despite preliminary talks, Olney finds a Padres extension for Adrian Gonzalez to be "very, very unlikely."
- The Dodgers "are in the chase" for free agent starter Joel Pineiro, with the Angels and Mets other suitors. The Dodgers were first linked to Pineiro by MLB.com's Ken Gurnick on December 8th. With a chunk of the Juan Pierre savings already spent on Jamey Carroll, Pineiro seems out of their price range.
- Olney guesses that Matt Holliday will ultimately sign for five years and $82.5-85MM, with options and/or incentives that could "dress it up as a deal that could be worth over $100MM."
- The Orioles continue to hunt for a pitcher and corner infielder. I should note that they were initially linked to Pineiro, but maybe the $9MM committed to Kevin Millwood takes them out of the mix. An Erik Bedard reunion could be a possibility.
With an agreement in place between Jason Bay and the New York Mets, reactions to the deal are already starting to pour in....
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post feels that the Mets will regret signing Bay within a few years.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan feels that Bay's money would've been better spent on John Lackey.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law says that Bay's defense will dictate whether the contract is a good one or not, and argues that the Mets will need to make a few more moves to contend.
- It may have taken a while to get done, but "all's well that ends well," writes Rob Neyer of ESPN.com.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff is on board with the deal, and hopes the Mets continue to stay financially responsible for the rest of the winter. This means going "nowhere near" Joel Pineiro at his current asking price, and not guaranteeing Bengie Molina two years (Davidoff suggests that reports of an imminent two-year deal for Molina are inaccurate).
- Scott Lauber of The News Journal looks at what the move means for the Phillies, both as a division rival and as a club that will have their own free agent outfielder (Jayson Werth) next year.
- Articles from Ian Browne of MLB.com and Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune examine the signing from Boston's and Seattle's perspectives, respectively.
- R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs explains why, even if it's heavily backloaded, the Mets' offer was more financially appealing than one the Red Sox made earlier.