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Jose Valverde Rumors
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he is "shocked" and "broken-hearted" that reliever Jose Valverde hasn’t signed yet, according to the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Valverde and Kyle Lohse are the only players from MLBTR’s list of top 50 free agents who have yet to sign. Here are some links from around MLB as we await their decisions…
- Mets owner Fred Wilpon insists that he's financially solvent and willing to spend. Less than a year from now he'll have the chance to prove it, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes.
- Jacoby Ellsbury said he loves playing for the Red Sox, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). However, the center fielder has decided to defer to agent Scott Boras when it comes to his contract status. Ellsbury, a free agent this coming offseason, ranks fourth on MLBTR's initial Free Agent Power Rankings.
- Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino suggested the team could discuss an extension with Ellsbury this spring, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. "We’d very much like to have him here," Lucchino said.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs believes the low-cost options built into the contracts of pitchers such as John Lackey and Felix Hernandez could represent the beginning of a positive trend for MLB as a whole.
- Trevor Bauer told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he doesn't have "hard feelings" toward his former team (Twitter link). The Diamondbacks traded Bauer to the Indians in December and Miguel Montero had some critical words for the right-hander earlier this week.
It was on this day in 1999 that Dennis Martinez announced his retirement from baseball. The first Major League player from Nicaragua, Martinez enjoyed a 23-year career with five teams, including spending his final season with Atlanta and eight years with Montreal from 1986-93. "El Presidente" is best remembered for throwing the 13th perfect game in Major League history, shutting down the Dodgers on July 28, 1991.
Here's the latest from around the NL East…
- Scott Boras has denied an accusation that he planted a rumor that the Marlins were close to signing Jose Valverde, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Spencer reported on Monday that the Marlins/Valverde rumor was false, with one source suspecting that Boras planted the rumor to generate interest in his client. Boras said he had "no motive" for creating the rumor since "what benefit would it be for me and my client to do that" when the false information could be so easily disproven.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has turned down several offers to buy the team in recent months, The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reports, including a group led by former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Loria has no intention to sell the team, though Jackson hears from an unnamed league official that Major League Baseball would prefer if Miami had an owner more willing to spend.
- The additions of Mike Adams and Chad Durbin will improve the Phillies bullpen, but the team also needs one of their young relievers to fill key roles in 2013, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.
- Chipper Jones discussed the Braves' offseason moves and his upcoming visit to the team's Spring Training camp with MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Though he accepted the Braves' invitation to spend five days at camp, Jones said he is enjoying retirement and has "not had the itch whatsoever" to play again.
11:43am: Valverde is talking with a number of teams, including the Marlins, but no deal is imminent, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
11:27am: The report that the sides are nearing a deal is "utterly false," Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. One of Spencer's sources suspects Boras is "trying to drum up attention when no market exists."
Valverde, who turns 35 next month, spent the past three years as the Tigers' closer. The right-hander converted all 49 of his save chances in 2011, but his performance dropped off last year, when he posted a 3.78 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 35 saves in 69 innings. He lost his closing job in the playoffs, with the Tigers turning to Phil Coke and others in high-leverage situations. Valverde posted a 34.0% ground ball rate in 2012 while averaging 93.4 mph with his fastball.
Valverde entered the offseason ranked 44th on MLBTR's list of top free agents available. The Mets had interest in Valverde, who was unsure if he would pitch in 2013 back in October. The Tigers made it clear that they were not going to bring him back to Detroit.
Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Wilson and Mark Lowe are among the other free agent relievers available, as MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows. Valverde could end up closing for the Marlins, who currently have internal options such as Steve Cishek and Ryan Webb. Follow @closernews on Twitter for closer-related fantasy baseball news and analysis.
The Mets' search for bullpen help has led them to some prominent free agent relievers. The Mets are pursuing Jose Valverde, and would even consider bringing Francisco Rodriguez back to New York, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. However, a deal with Brian Wilson is now considered “very unlikely.”
The Mets are interested in signing Valverde, but only on their terms. Rubin suggests the Mets might be prepared to guarantee Valverde $4MM on a deal with significant incentives. Though the Mets have some interest in Rodriguez, he is believed to be seeking about $7MM, according to Rubin. Both free agent right-handers are clients of the Boras Corporation.
The Mets visited Roy Oswalt to convince him to join the team as its closer, Rubin reports. Oswalt is not interested in becoming a closer, so he’s no longer an option for GM Sandy Alderson. The Mets have one serious offer out to a late-inning reliever who’s not a closer, Rubin adds. The team expects to hear back from the player shortly.
MLBTradeRumors readers will be sure to note that longtime MLBTR writer Mike Axisa has become the newest contributor to the Eye on Baseball blog at CBSSports.com. Congrats to Mike, who started things off today with a look at the Yankees’ core pieces. As always, Mike’s latest piece is worth your time. Mike’s by-line won’t be appearing at MLBTR anymore, but Zach Links has become a full-time writer and he’ll be taking over the site’s Baseball Blogs Weigh In feature from now on. You can reach Zach here with your submissions: ZachBBWI@gmail.com.
Here are some links from around MLB…
- Carlos Beltran's preference is to return to the Cardinals following the 2013 season, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. However, the presence of Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and top prospect Oscar Taveras might leave Beltran without a spot on St. Louis' roster.
- In a piece at River Ave. Blues, Mike previews a potential extension for Yankees right-hander David Robertson, suggesting a three-year, $15MM deal could work for both sides. That said, cost certainty isn't a huge priority for the Yankees, so "working out a multi-year contract with Robertson probably isn’t worth the hassle" from the standpoint of the club.
- The Marlins are hearing from the agents for several veteran free agents who would love to play in Miami, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Freddy Garcia and Bobby Abreu are among the players who would like to join the Marlins, Jackson writes.
- Agent Scott Boras expects increased interest in free agent right-hander Jose Valverde now that Rafael Soriano has signed with the Nationals, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. The Tigers, Valverde's most recent team, seem confident in the ability of 22-year-old Bruce Rondon.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
At the outset of the offseason, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes published his annual list of the top 50 free agents with predictions. So far 43 of those 50 players have signed (or agreed to sign) new contracts, though Mike Napoli's deal with the Red Sox is on hold due to a hip problem. Here's the latest on the seven remaining unsigned players.
- Michael Bourn (#3) – The 29-year-old center fielder has drawn recent interest from the Rangers, but not much else. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently looked at some potential suitors for Bourn, who will require draft pick compensation to sign.
- Kyle Lohse (#10) – Despite being the best starter left on the market, the 34-year-old Lohse hasn't drawn much public interest. The Red Sox and Angels had interest during the Winter Meetings, though they've since moved on. The Rangers have not discussed him. Like Bourn, Lohse is attached to draft pick compensation.
- Adam LaRoche (#15) – The Nationals and LaRoche were inching towards a new deal as of last week. The Orioles are not in the mix. The 33-year-old is also attached to draft pick compensation.
- Rafael Soriano (#17) – Teams don't love the idea of surrendering a draft pick for a reliever, so interest in the 33-year-old remains tepid. The Dodgers and Red Sox are not interested, and the Tigers downplay their chances of signing him.
- Shaun Marcum (#19) – There's a healthy market for the 31-year-old right-hander, with the Mets, Twins, Padres, and Cubs showing interest. The Brewers have not discussed a possible reunion, however.
- Joe Saunders (#25) – The Orioles, Mariners, Padres, and Mets have all talked to the 31-year-old Saunders recently. The Twins made an offer to the left-hander this offseason as well.
- Jose Valverde (#44) – Valverde, 34, said he was unsure if he would pitch in 2013 back in October. The Tigers will not bring him back and there has otherwise been zero interest this winter.
It's the middle of the night, but news rarely stops coming in over the course of baseball's Winter Meetings. Here are some links from around the baseball world for those who are still awake…
- One of the reasons that Sean Burnett's two-year, $8MM deal with the Angels was so affordable was because he had surgery to remove a bone spur this offseason, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. For comparison, Jeremy Affeldt signed for three years and $18MM.
- Danny Knobler of CBS Sports writes that the Phillies have a list of five center field targets that includes Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Dexter Fowler, Curtis Granderson and Ben Revere. This is the first they've been linked to Revere, who Knobler says the Twins will move for young pitching despite already having traded Denard Span.
- Scott Boras told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's spoken to Giants team president Larry Baer about established closers like Rafael Soriano and Jose Valverde (Twitter link). There doesn't seem to be a match there in my opinion, given Sergio Romo's excellence and reports that the Giants are at their payroll threshold.
- The Rays have hired former Astros scouting director Bobby Heck as as special assignment scout, tweets Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
It's been a busy morning for the Tigers, who announced today that they're bringing back Jhonny Peralta, Octavio Dotel and manager Jim Leyland. Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski recently addressed the media, discussing the 2012 team and the Tigers' offseason plans. George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press has the highlights from the briefing (all links go to Twitter):
- The Tigers won't bring back Delmon Young, since they expect Victor Martinez to DH in 2013. Jose Valverde won't return either, according to Dombrowski.
- The Tigers will tender Brennan Boesch a contract, but they're in the process of removing Don Kelly from the 40-man roster. Dombrowski wasn't prepared to discuss the future of non-tender candidate Ryan Raburn.
- The Tigers want to re-sign free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez, Dombrowski said.
- Free agent catcher Gerald Laird could return, but that's not a sure thing.
- Hard throwing relief prospect Bruce Rondon draws lots of trade interest, according to Dombrowski. "You would not believe the number of clubs that call me about Rondon," the GM said.
- Earlier today John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press took a position by position look at the upcoming offseason for the Tigers.
The Tigers’ season ended in disappointment, but that shouldn’t overshadow a tremendous season in Detroit. This team had its share of memorable moments in 2012, even if the Giants captured the championship. Here are some Tigers-related links…
- Anibal Sanchez said he's open to signing anywhere as a free agent this coming offseason, Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press reports. GM Dave Dombrowski has said re-signing the right-hander is a priority for the Tigers this winter.
- Jose Valverde said he's not yet sure where he'll be pitching next year, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. The free agent reliever said he'd like to re-sign in Detroit if possible. "I think everybody wants to play for the Tigers. Great teammates, great owner."
- There are indications that Tigers manager Jim Leyland will return for at least one more season, Chris Iott of MLive.com reports. "We're going to talk about some things in a day or so and I'm sure they'll have some type of an announcement," Leyland said, adding that the Tigers will be the final team he manages. Dombrowski has said Leyland would be welcome as the team's manager in 2013.
- However, Leyland spoke of his Tigers career as though it were already in the past, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes.
The Tigers, now just two wins away from advancing to the World Series, have the day off before hosting the Yankees in Detroit tomorrow night. Here are some links from the only division in baseball that did not feature a 90-win team in 2012…
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski built Detroit's starting rotation for the postseason and it's working, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes. "These four guys have the capability of shutting down anyone when they're throwing good," Dombrowski said of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez.
- John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press examines the dynamic between Jose Valverde, the closer who can no longer be relied upon, and Jim Leyland, the manager who must juggle egos and matchups as a result of Valverde's poor performances. In my opinion Valverde's free agent stock has diminished considerably this past month. If MLB executives share this view, agent Scott Boras could have difficulty finding serious interest in his new client.
- Twins senior director of minor league operations Jim Rantz announced that he will retire at the end of the year, the team announced. Rantz, 75, has been a member of the Twins' organization since its inception in 1961.