Jorge Julio Rumors

Jorge Julio Swapped For Byung-Hyun Kim

As you may have heard by now, a couple of down-and-out pitchers were swapped today as the Marlins sent Jorge Julio to the Rockies for Byung-Hyun Kim.

The hurlers have a lot in common – both are free agents after the season, and the Marlins and Rockies were each on the hook for $2.5MM in salary.  Plus, both had fallen out of favor with their respective teams.

The Rockies already have a strong duo for the eighth and ninth innings – Manny Corpas and Brian Fuentes.  Dan O’Dowd decided to buy low on Julio, a fairly young reliever whose results never seem to match his stuff.  From the gist of the MLB.com article, it sounds like O’Dowd worked the phones for months trying to get something interesting for Kim and Julio was the best he could do.

This could be one of those deals that works for both sides, as I’ve considered Kim a bit of a sleeper in recent years.  The sidearmer had a decent 7.5 K/9 last year, but still posted a 5.57 ERA in 27 starts.  If the Marlins can help him regain the control he had in ’02-03, he could be a pleasant surprise.  And what pitcher wouldn’t want to switch from Coors Field to Dolphins Stadium?  Coors inflates homers by 12%, while Dolphins Stadium deflates them by 9% (according to the Bill James Handbook).  While there are no public plans for it right now, Kim could end up closing for the Fish if current options don’t pan out.



The Benitez/Julio/Burgos Connection

It’s all connected in beautiful symmetry: First Armando Benitez pitched for the Orioles, Mets and Marlins, and now hurls for the elderly Giants. When Jorge Julio came to New York by way of Baltimore, it seemed that Benitez had never left.  Also a shaky, flame-throwing right-hander, Julio even looked like Benitez to Mets fans– many of them thought the two pitchers were the same man.  Now Julio occupies Benitez’s former role as Marlins’ closer.

What does this have to do with the Mets now? According to DNL from Armchair GM, the trade last year of Kris Benson and his wife Anna to the Baltimore Orioles for John Maine and Jorge Julio had a deeper meaning.  Perplexing on the surface– why trade away needed started pitching for an unnecessary, shaky reliever?– the trade was greatly redeemed when Julio was traded to the Diamondbacks for Orlando Hern├índez.

The armchair GM proposes that this was Omar Minaya’s plan all along- to showcase the young, high-upside fireman early in the year in order to trade him later for a good veteran pitcher.  This is what the team is now doing with Ambiorix Burgos, or so this speculation goes.  Acquired from Kansas City for Brian Bannister, Burgos seemed like an unlikely candidate for the Mets’ solid bullpen, and despite continuing his struggles during spring training, made the team and pitched with a one run lead yesterday afternoon against the Phillies.  Perplexingly, he was left in the game to face the lefty slugger Ryan Howard with a base open and the tying and lead runs in scoring position.  Why? Perhaps Omar Minaya told Willie Randolph to "give him some good spots," and the manager complied.

It’s possible that Burgos, the successor to the Benitez/Julio line (yes, he also looks like part), will be on the move some time this year for a starting pitcher.

John Peterson is a Mets fan and writes for the blog Blastings Thrilledge.



Marlins Acquire Jorge Julio

According to Baseball Digest Daily, the Diamondbacks traded reliever Jorge Julio and cash to the Marlins for Yusmeiro Petit today.  Fantasy leaguers, get on it.  The team confirmed that he’ll slide right into the closer role.

Pretty good return for Arizona; Petit was the main piece in the Carlos Delgado trade last winter.  Petit put up some excellent numbers in Double A in ’05 but scouts weren’t enamored with his stuff.  Sure enough, his deception wasn’t enough at Triple A last year and his strikeout rate dropped significantly.




Latest On Jorge Julio

Ken Rosenthal has a new column up.  Well, actually it went up 12 hours ago.  If it’s whispered, (or just written on FOXSports.com), we hear it (once we wake up, eat some Arby’s, and get situated).

Ken’s main rumor:

The current suitors for the relief ace known as Jorge Julio are the Cardinals and Marlins, with the Bucs and D-Rays on the fringes.  For the sake of my Al Reyes sleeper pick let’s keep him out of Tampa Bay.  I think the Cardinals could really use a guy like Julio.  The acquiring team will be on the hook for all $3.6MM, unless they pony up a top-notch prospect.  The Marlins get special treatment I guess.



Rays Interested In Jorge Julio

You can add another Florida team to the mix for Arizona reliever Jorge Julio – the Devil Rays.  Ken Rosenthal updated this article with the rumor. 

Rosenthal adds that Julio is not Tampa Bay’s first option, and that the goal could be to flip him for prospects.  Makes me wonder if they might try something similar with Al Reyes given the current market for relievers.

The Marlins, Cardinals, and Giants have expressed interest in Julio in the past.

Hat tip to DRays Bay for passing it along.



Yankees Won’t Renegotiate With A-Rod

In case you missed Jon Heyman’s scoop yesterday: Brian Cashman won’t renegotiate Alex Rodriguez‘s contract after this season.  I imagine he went public with it in attempt to put the onus back on A-Rod when he leaves after the season.  For once, Rodriguez is not biting and won’t discuss it further with the media.  Heyman reiterates that Rodriguez will not consent to a trade if the Yankees are in contention.  Other notes from the column:

  • Out of all the relievers on the market, Jorge Julio seems the most likely to be dealt.
  • Heyman thinks John Smoltz is done with team-friendly contracts and will leave the Braves after 2007.  Could the Red Sox replace Curt Schilling with him?
  • Devil Rays "second baseman" Jorge Cantu is on the block.  I think he has been for some time.  I believe there is a federal law mandating mention of his 117 RBI season in any Cantu trade rumor.  Ooh boy, look at all those ribbies!  Perhaps the Rays would shift Akinori Iwamura or B.J. Upton to second base.  In any case, I don’t think Cantu is part of the long-term plan.



Marlins Lean Toward Benitez Over Julio

The Marlins are still very much interested in acquiring Armando Benitez or Jorge Julio to front their bullpen, according to MLB.com. 

A Benitez deal is more likely because apparently the Giants will pick up most of Benitez’s contract.  Julio makes $3.6MM to Benitez’s $7.6MM, but the D’Backs may not want to chip in at all.

Can the Marlins continue their string of resurrected closers? The parade includes Joe Borowski, Todd Jones, and Benitez. They’ve also had twenty save seasons this decade from Braden Looper, Vladimir Nunez, and Antonio Alfonseca.



The Marlins are still very

The Marlins are still very much interested in acquiring Armando Benitez or Jorge Julio to front their bullpen, according to MLB.com. 

A Benitez deal is more likely because apparently the Giants will pick up most of Benitez’s contract.  Julio makes $3.6MM to Benitez’s $7.6MM, but the D’Backs may not want to chip in at all.

Can the Marlins continue their string of resurrected closers? The parade includes Joe Borowski, Todd Jones, and Benitez. They’ve also had twenty save seasons this decade from Braden Looper, Vladimir Nunez, and Antonio Alfonseca.



Cardinals Interested In Julio

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are interested in Diamondbacks reliever Jorge Julio.  Joe Strauss thinks the Cards would send a lefty reliever to Arizona. 

The Cardinals currently have five southpaws on the roster aside from Mark Mulder: Randy Flores, Tyler Johnson, Randy Keisler, Chris Narveson, and Ricardo RinconViva El Birdos wonders why the Cardinals don’t just keep Braden Looper in the pen.

Last time we checked in on Julio, the Marlins and Giants were battling for him.  Arizona apparently doesn’t want to pay much if any of his $3.6MM salary.  The Marlins might convince them to if they offer up Yusmeiro Petit.  Personally I think Florida should just use internal closing options. 



Latest On Jorge Julio

The latest word on $3.6MM reliever Jorge Julio is that the Diamondbacks don’t intend to pick up any of his salary.  Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel speculates that the Marlins are showing public interest in Julio "as a way of forcing the Giants’ hand in an Armando Benitez deal."  The Giants countered by inquiring on Julio as well.

Rodriguez also mentions that the Marlins and Larry Beinfest have some past history of trading or attempting to trade for Julio.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Giants would pay more of the $3.6MM than the Marlins, but the D’Backs covet Florida’s Yusmeiro Petit.

From the Arizona side, Nick Piecoro writes that more teams than just the Giants and Marlins are interested.  He believes Julio will start the season with Arizona, though.

That there is this much action on a guy who hasn’t had an impressive season since 2002 just shows how desperate teams are for relief help.