Johnny Estrada Rumors
MLB.com's Bill Ladson has a handful of Nationals rumors tonight.
- As you know, Damian Miller, Johnny Estrada, and Miguel Montero have been targeted at the catcher position.
- The Nats want to sign Bartolo Colon to a one-year deal, but it appears he craves multiple years.
- As mentioned earlier, the Nats like Kazuo Fukumori. What we didn't mention earlier was the idea that Fukumori could start. The notion seems questionable, as the 31 year-old hasn't started a game since 2002.
- The Nationals have no interest in David Eckstein or Kenny Lofton, despite their desire for a leadoff hitter. They certainly don't need an outfielder, anyway.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 5:49pm: Jayson Stark says the Mets haven't talked to the the A's or Orioles at all in Nashville, meaning no talks for Haren or Bedard as of yet.
FROM 12-4-07 at 8:05am:
What's cooking with the Mets? Let's round 'em up.
- Mark Hale reports that the Mets have advanced to "Round 2" of the bidding process for Hiroki Kuroda. They did this by indicating a ballpark of what they might offer but without actually making an offer. Hale says 8-10 teams are in on Kuroda, including the Royals, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners. The Ms reportedly have some kind of offer out to him, either 3/30 or 4/44. The Phils are said to have an offer out as well. Hale doesn't name the Dodgers but it's been said they're getting aggressive on him too. The Cubs and Rangers are other teams that have been connected to Kuroda.
- The Mets appear to have mild interest in Livan Hernandez, perhaps as a fallback innings-eater option. The Phillies, Cardinals, Nationals, and Astros are other known suitors for Livan.
- The big fish are still out there in Johan Santana, Erik Bedard, and Dan Haren. The Mets won't include Jose Reyes, David Wright, or Carlos Beltran in any deal. It's been said that a Carlos Gomez/Aaron Heilman/Philip Humber package was offered for Bedard and rejected.
- Dan Graziano says the Mets also inquired on Dontrelle Willis, Ben Sheets, and Roy Oswalt and were told none of the three are available. Graziano adds that the Mets are looking into signing Bartolo Colon.
- Omar Minaya will meet with the agents for Octavio Dotel and Shawn Chacon today.
- Minaya disputes Ken Rosenthal's report that he sought an extension from the Mets and didn't get one. Ownership told him he'll be there "a long time."
- Though they didn't want him in the Lastings Milledge deal, the Nationals are interested in acquiring Johnny Estrada for their catcher vacancy. Damian Miller is also known to be a target of Jim Bowden's.
Jon Heyman checks in with a couple of notable points.
- Heyman sets odds for Johan Santana, going with the Yankees and then Red Sox. I'll let you click through for the rest.
- While we'd recently heard from Ken Rosenthal that the A's had cooled on certain young Mets, perhaps Omar Minaya and Billy Beane can still work something out. Heyman indicates that Beane still covets Lastings Milledge and Mike Pelfrey. He also likes Kevin Mulvey, Carlos Gomez, and Fernando Martinez. So maybe Keith Law was right today in his chat - the Mets can pull off a deal with the A's despite popular belief.
- The Mets are shopping Johnny Estrada, but it's not known who's on the receiving end of those calls. Along with Estrada, the Mets aren't jazzed about Bengie Molina. Though he has been discussed.
UPDATE: Non-tendering Estrada is still an option for the Mets, but they've unloaded Mota's contract. The Mets may shop around for better options, knowing they have an adequate fallback. According to Jamey Newberg, the Mets found the asking prices for trade targets Gerald Laird and Ramon Hernandez to be unacceptable.
The Mets found their catcher today in the person of Johnny Estrada. To get him from the Brewers, Omar Minaya only had to surrender Guillermo Mota.
It was a swap of a couple of unwanted guys. The Brewers would've non-tendered Estrada rather than pony up $4MM+ for him. However they'll probably plop down something close to that for Jason Kendall, who is superior to Estrada only in the intangibles department. Doug Melvin offered Estrada to the Mets while naming six different players he'd accept in return.
Mota was actually decent in terms of his 2.6 K/BB ratio this year, but he was hittable and home run prone. Maybe the Brewers can make something of him, though at $3.2MM it's a slightly pricey gamble. Mota of course brings more steroid stigma to Milwaukee's pen, which already has Derrick Turnbow.
Here are some non A-Rod/Lowell rumors from today...
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says the Brewers are interested in Jason Kendall. Kendall is somehow seeking a two-year deal. The Rockies are in on him as well. The Brewers still have Johnny Estrada, but they're not happy with him. He could be traded or non-tendered.
- WGN Radio's Dave Kaplan reported that the Cubs could complete a contract with second baseman Kaz Matsui this week. It'd be a multiyear deal; not sure if the Cubs would have to go three years on it. This would be an indefensible signing. UPDATE: A source of Troy E. Renck's believes the Cubs may have offered something close to three years, $14.4MM.
- East Windup Chronicle profiles free agent reliever Kazuo Fukumori. The Rockies, Royals, Rays, and Red Sox are said to be interested in him.
Anyone else ready for the Winter Meetings? It's going to be a crazy four days. I'll be blogging all of it nonstop. Here are some links to consider in the meantime.
- Play MLBTR's Hot Stove Hysteria contest! Right now the prizes in my holding include a Carlos Zambrano biography and a Big Dawg Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. If your company would like to join in on the sponsorship of the contest, email me. The deadline to enter in the contest is midnight CST tonight. If you've already entered but want to change yours, just make another comment with the updated list. (Please don't email me your entry - put it in the comments of the Hot Stove Hysteria post linked above).
- U.S.S Mariner gives its take on some of the early hot stove moves.
- Yorvit Torrealba plans to test the market, with the Marlins, Mets, Brewers, and Devil Rays as possible suitors. Torrealba will give the Rockies the chance to match any offer though.
- Phil Rogers thinks Johnny Estrada might be non-tendered.
Doug Davis was known to be on the trading block...Johnny Estrada was known to be on the trading block...but I don't think anybody expected the two of them to switch places.
The Brewers traded Davis, lefty starter Dana Eveland, and center fielder-with-an-attitude Dave Krynzel to the Diamondbacks for Estrada, starter Claudio Vargas, and reliever Greg Aquino. It's an interesting move for the Crew: apparently Doug Melvin wasn't comfortable going into spring training with Damian Miller as his starter and Mike Rivera and JD Closser as possible backups. Estrada will, presumably, split time with Miller.
The fascinating part of the deal to me is the pitching swap. Melvin likes to build his bullpens creatively, and it would've shocked me if he didn't pick up at least one high-upside arm like Aquino before March. And both teams gain some years of cheap pitching: the Brewers replace Davis with Vargas, who they'll have under their control for three more years. Vargas slides into Davis's rotation spot. Eveland only has about a year of service time, so if he pans out, the D-Backs get him for five more years.
UPDATE: I've posted a little more analysis of the deal at my Brewers blog, along with some quotes from Doug Melvin on his three new acquisitions.
By Jeff Sackmann
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports continues to scoop the vast majority of trades going on at the Winter Meetings. This time, he's telling us that the Braves sent Johnny Estrada to the Diamondbacks for Lance Cormier and Oscar Villarreal.
The Braves were dealing from a position of strength since Brian McCann is more than ready to take over full-time catching duty. The 21 year-old skipped Triple A and held up nicely in 180 Major League at-bats this year. He's not the defensive catcher that Estrada is, but he's not bad with the glove. Estrada won a Silver Slugger award for catchers and was named to the All-Star team after his 2004, but is unlikely to approach that level offensively again.
Lance Cormier is a 25 year-old right-handed reliever. He's been lousy through 124 Major League innings - 6.21 ERA, lots of homers, weak strikeout rate, and tons of baserunners allowed. He showed potential with a nice run at Triple A Tucson in 2004.
Born in Mexico, Oscar Villarreal is a 24 year-old righty reliever. Despite high walk totals, Villarreal had a spectacular 2003 in relief for the Diamondbacks, pitching 98 innings of 2.57 ERA ball. He'll be representing Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in March if the Braves allow it. Villarreal has suffered some major injuries in his career, undergoing nerve transposition surgery in his arm as well as suffering through rotator cuff problems and a strained hip flexor.
It'd be a stretch to say that this deal improves the Braves' bullpen, especially without Leo Mazzone there to work his magic on the two relievers.
Today the Tampa Tribune's Scott Carter again brought up the idea of the Rays trading Julio Lugo. This time, he named names:
"While it remains too early to determine whether any of those players will be traded, Atlanta's interest in Lugo appears real. Atlanta catcher Johnny Estrada, third baseman Andy Marte and pitcher John Thomson, who had his $4.75 million option for next season picked up recently, are all believed to be available. Meanwhile, Baez and Huff continue to surface in trade rumors with the Mets and Red Sox that erupted at last year's trade deadline."
RotoAuthority has already busted out 2006 projections for Lugo, so we won't go into detail about that here. But is the availability of Andy Marte legitimate? Marte was ranked the #1 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball Prospectus in 2005. I asked Scott Carter, the perpetrator of the rumor, to elaborate. He told me:
"I don’t think you would see any kind of trade straight-up for those two. I’m sure for Braves to depart with Marte, they would want Lugo and possibly Gathright/Gomes or more."
If I'm the Rays, I'm speed-dialing Schuerholz to offer Gathright and Lugo for Marte. Mark my words, the Devil Rays will be a contender by 2007.