Jonathan Papelbon Rumors
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will implement some major changes to the draft, but Baseball America's Jim Callis says the spending limitations won't be as drastic as initially thought.
- Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports (on Twitter) that slots for the first four picks for the draft will be $7.2MM, $6.2MM, $5.2MM, and $4.2MM. Teams are not required to spend that much, however.
- In an Insider-only breakdown, ESPN's Keith Law analyzed the new CBA point-by-point. "The net result here is a big negative for the sport," he says. Click here for some more CBA reactions.
- The Rangers were not in on Jonathan Papelbon before he signed with the Phillies, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (on Twitter). Texas signed Joe Nathan to close yesterday.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian says (on Twitter) that the Indians will give Lonnie Chisenhall every chance to win their third base job in Spring Training, so don't expect their search for offense to result in an upgrade at the hot corner.
- In a second tweet, Bastian says the one-year deal between the Indians and Grady Sizemore should be announced soon, perhaps on Wednesday.
- The Diamondbacks announced their minor league coaching staffs in a press release. Former D'Backs Jay Bell and Robby Hammock have joined the club's player development staff.
- Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review passes along some changes the Pirates have made to their scouting department.
The latest on the Phillies...
- The Phillies are looking for a backup catcher, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They're talking to Brian Schneider and others.
- Jonathan Papelbon explained how his deal with the Phillies came about: "One day, I finally told [my agent] - I said, 'I want to play for the Phillies and let's make it happen.'" Asked Sunday by Jeff Skversky of WPVI Philadelphia about becoming the richest reliever in baseball, Papelbon said, "That doesn't really play a role. The biggest thing that plays a role is the ability to come here and win."
- The Phillies still have the flexibility to sign Jimmy Rollins, said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to reporters in response to a question about the shortstop.
- A Cole Hamels contract extension is "an agreement both sides want to forge," writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He doesn't see Papelbon's contract affecting Hamels.
- Michael Cuddyer visited the Phillies last week. Manager Charlie Manuel explained to Jeff Janiczek of the Philadelphia Daily News that Cuddyer told him, "Charlie, I'm a baseball player. I'll play anywhere you want me to play, and I'll do a good enough job that it will pass."
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday places Amaro tenth among all GMs in his annual rankings.
Jonathan Papelbon's desire to set the market for closers was never a secret -- it's now a reality. The Phillies have agreed to sign the 30-year-old to a precedent-setting four-year, $50,000,058 deal that establishes the record for guaranteed money for a reliever. The Phillies announced the deal today, noting that Papelbon will continue to wear #58.
The contract includes a $13MM option for 2016 that vests with 55 games finished in 2015 or 100 in 2014-15, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark. The Phillies appeared to have a deal with Ryan Madson earlier this week, but talks fell through and the sides didn't complete the rumored four-year, $44MM deal. Papelbon's agents at ACES stepped in and the Phillies have their closer.
Papelbon posted a 2.94 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 64 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2011, saving 31 games. He's a Type A free agent who will cost the Phillies their first round draft pick in 2012, assuming the upcoming collective bargaining agreement doesn't change draft pick compensation for this offseason. Boston will obtain the 31st overall pick in next June's draft unless the Phillies sign an additional Type A free agent with a higher ranking than Papelbon. If the Phillies lose Madson to another team after offering him arbitration, they'll surrender one pick and gain two.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Jonathan Papelbon became the first major free agent to change teams yesterday, agreeing to a four-year contract worth $50MM with the Phillies. Reactions to the contract were generally mixed, though almost everyone agreed that the size of the deal was staggering. Let's round up the latest from the relief pitcher market...
- Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has had preliminary talks with Kerry Wood, who is expected to return next season. The 34-year-old righty pitched to a 3.35 ERA in 51 IP after returning to Chicago's north side on a below-market one-year, $1.5MM contract last winter.
- Despite reports of a four-year, $44MM offer, MASN's Jen Royle hears from a source that the Phillies only offered Ryan Madson a three-year contract. They were unwilling to give him the extra year he wanted (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox, meanwhile, were not willing to give Papelbon a guaranteed fourth year according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- MLB.com's Peter Gammons reports (on Twitter) that the Red Sox offered Papelbon to the Braves in exchange for Javier Vazquez two offseasons ago. Atlanta rejected the offer, then traded Vazquez to the Yankees shortly thereafter.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports wrote about how the rest of the closers' market is shaping up and the impact of Papelbon's contract. Here is our look at the trade and free agent markets for right-handed relievers.
Jonathan Papelbon became the first major free agent of the 2011-12 offseason to switch teams, agreeing to a four-year, $50MM contract with the Phillies today that also includes a vesting option for a fifth year. Here is a sample of the reaction to the big signing...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link) says the Papelbon signing "is classic Philadelphia 21st century stuff: a quick strike, a big name and a lot of money." It's a major commitment to a closer, but Rosenthal points out that Papelbon's numbers are comparable to the first six years of Mariano Rivera's career.
- Rosenthal also notes that it hurts other free agent closers that the free-spending Phillies are no longer in the market for a stopper.
- ESPN's Keith Law trashed the signing, citing the poor history of relievers in multiyear contracts, the fact that the Phils deprived their "depleted" farm system of a first-round draft pick as compensation for Papelbon and his belief that Ryan Madson is the better reliever on the market. Law also projects that Papelbon will allow more home runs pitching at Citizens Bank Park.
- "Papelbon is a safer bet than Madson, basically the same age and with a much longer and better track record as a closer," writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. "Madson looked good in 2011, but in a role where success is often a year-to-year thing, it's very easy to say you'd rather have Papelbon."
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports thinks "it’s hard to find much fault with" the signing, given Papelbon's experience pitching in a big market and in important games. Morosi also looks at the rest of the offseason closer market.
- The amount of money the Phillies paid is "stunning," according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston (Twitter link). "If there was any year to lose your closer, this might be it," Edes writes. "Other options out there, none as good as [Papelbon]."
- The hefty contract and loss of a first round draft pick "seems steep" for Papelbon in the opinion of SI.com's Jon Heyman, but he likes how the Phillies are committed to contending every season. Heyman also thinks the Red Sox will look to sign one of the available closers, due to Daniel Bard's poor numbers during Boston's September collapse (both Twitter links).
- The Red Sox didn't make a formal offer to Jonathan Papelbon, who reached a four-year, $50MM agreement with the Phillies today. Cherington said he discussed "concepts" of a new contract with Papelbon's agents Sam and Seth Levinson, but didn't make an offer since Papelbon's asking price simply didn't fit into Boston's offseason plans.
- Cherington said he wasn't given the option of matching the Phillies' offer by Papelbon's representatives, but he didn't think such a step was necessary.
- Given the number of closing options on the market, Cherington didn't think his team would feel comfortable offering a four-year contract to a closer as the Phillies did with Papelbon.
- The Red Sox have been talking to David Ortiz's representatives and Cherington said he wants to re-sign the veteran slugger. "Because of what I feel, and I think he feels, is a little bit more of a defined market for that role it's been easier to engage sooner," Cherington said. "It's probably less likely to be a situation where he gets into the market and there's something that he's pushed into a corner on. David knows we want him to be here. We want him to be back with the Red Sox. We want him in our lineup. We've had a lot of dialogue to see if there's a way to do that and I think that will continue."
- Cherington feels that beyond the top free agent starters, there is "a lot of risk" in the pitching market this winter. "There are options, but riskier and would require some sort of bounce back from injury or bad luck or performance to some degree," the Boston GM said. "We're going to be exhaustive in looking at ways to build depth to the rotation an the bullpen. We do believe we have some internal options that will help us."
The Phillies are showing "serious" interest in Jonathan Papelbon, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The Phillies appeared to have a deal with Ryan Madson earlier this week, but talks aren't going anywhere at the moment. Yesterday GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Stark that rumors of an agreement on a four-year, $44MM deal were "unequivocally false."
It has become "increasingly clear" that Papelbon's price might not be much higher than what Scott Boras is seeking for Madson, Stark writes. The team has been debating the merits of keeping Madson versus signing Papelbon for quite some time. Stark adds that the Blue Jays and Marlins have also shown strong interest in signing the long-time Red Sox closer. The Phillies have had "extensive negotiations" with Papelbon's agents and though the talks have slowed down at times, Philadelphia's interest hasn't waned.
Papelbon, 30, posted a 2.94 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 64 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2011, saving 31 games. Like Madson, he's a Type A free agent who would cost a top pick in 2012. If the Phillies sign Papelbon and lose Madson to another team after offering him arbitration, they'd lose one pick and gain two.
10:19pm: Officials around the league are suggesting the Phillies' pact with Madson may have fallen through because the first big deal of the offseason "may harm the ongoing CBA negotiations, suggesting the owners believe an agreement is a formality," according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.
Another possibility is that MLB didn't like the terms of the deal, one that would set a relatively high bar for a free-agent class flush with closers, reports Brown.
4:18pm: Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the club never agreed to terms on a contract with closer Ryan Madson, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN. Amaro categorized the rumored four-year, $44MM contract as "unequivocally false," reports Stark (Twitter links).
The Phils' reported near-deal with Madson has unfolded curiously since the story broke on Tuesday afternoon. The holdup in it becoming official was apparently that Phillies president David Montgomery had not approved the terms. Heyman tweeted earlier this afternoon that there was little optimism that Montgomery would sign off on the pact, which had become a hot topic of discussion. There was a split among executives and agents regarding whether it would have been a good deal.
We've not yet heard rumors strongly tying Papelbon to any club, although we heard Tuesday that his name has come up during the Blue Jays' internal discussions. The right-hander, who has spent his entire career to date with the Red Sox, figures to command one of the two biggest free agent contracts for closers, along with Madson.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington suggested today that the Red Sox don't need wholesale changes. "This offseason is more about fixing what's under the hood than buying a new car," he told reporters. Here’s the latest on the team, starting with a note on their ongoing managerial search...
- Cherington doesn't expect to interview additional managerial candidates after he meets with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (all Twitter links).
- The Red Sox have asked the Brewers to extend their window to talk with hitting coach Dale Sveum, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a candidate for Boston's managerial opening, is "going to be a Major League manager, whether that's in 2012 or sometime after that," Cherington said, according to Speier.
- Cherington has exchanged messages with free agents David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links). However, he hasn't spoken with the representatives for Jonathan Papelbon recently.
- There's no resolution on compensation between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein, but the commissioner's office has given the sides more leeway, according to Lauber.
- Speier explains how Ryan Madson's possible deal with the Phillies affects Papelbon and suggests the likelihood that Papelbon has thrown his last pitch for the Red Sox would increase "if Papelbon wants to dig in for a contract that clears the bar set by Madson."