Jose Contreras Rumors
The Phillies and reliever Jose Contreras are close to reaching an agreement on a two-year deal worth $5MM, reports ESPNDeportes.com's Enrique Rojas. The deal also includes an option for a third year plus performance based incentives.
Contreras, 39 next month, was very good for the Phillies in 2010, pitching to a 3.34 ERA in 56.2 innings. He struck out 9.1 and walked just 2.5 batters for every nine innings pitched. Earlier this week we heard that the Phillies were "working aggressively" to re-sign him.
Tim Dierkes broke down Contreras' free agent stock back in May, saying that he could be in line for a two-year deal if his strong work as a reliever held up.
It's looking more and more likely that MLB will add a second wild card team to each league, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. He also has the latest rumblings from around the league; here they are:
- Clubs that have spoken to the Royals say Kansas City would only accept a bunch of front-line players for Zack Greinke. One of those players must be a pitcher with a Greinke-like ceiling, so GM Dayton Moore expects a lot for his ace.
- Clubs that have checked in with the Royals believe Greinke would veto a deal to any major market East Coast team. However, one official says the pitcher “would at least think about the L.A. clubs.”
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently suggested that the Yankees make Derek Jeter a Yankee for life with a 25-year contract that would keep him involved in the organization once his playing days end, but Stark hears that Jeter’s next deal will be “a baseball contract. Period.”
- A Phillies source summed up the chances of Jayson Werth returning to Philadelphia concisely: "No chance. None. Zero.
- "The Phillies are working aggressively to re-sign Jose Contreras, according to Stark.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Stark that he has been working the phones this week. "We've made contact with 40 free agents, predominantly bullpen guys." He said. "Left-handed relief is a priority for us."
- Teams that have contacted the Marlins about Dan Uggla see definite signs that if extension talks don’t go anywhere, the second baseman could soon become trade bait.
With their 2010 season officially in the books, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki examined the Phillies' decisions regarding both free agency and arbitration this offseason. Here are some highlights:
- The Phillies and Jayson Werth will both say they have interest in working something out, and while that's probably true, Zolecki agrees with the common belief that Werth will be playing elsewhere in 2011. The Phillies already have $145MM committed to 16 players in 2011, and Werth's probable $15MM+ salary will be too much to add on.
- J.C. Romero's option will probably be declined due to the left-hander's injury problems and control issues (7.1 BB/9 the past two seasons).
- Jose Contreras could be this season's Chan Ho Park. Both pitched well out of the Philadelphia bullpen, but in doing so significantly raised their stock. Contreras could be in line for more money than Philadelphia wants to offer. Zolecki does note that Contreras' best friend and fellow Cuban, Danys Baez, is under contract for 2011, so that may help sway Contreras.
- Chad Durbin is 50-50 on whether or not he'd take less money than he could get on the open market to stay with the Phils. As Zolecki points out, this could be Durbin's only chance to secure a decent multiyear deal.
- Jamie Moyer, Mike Sweeney, and Greg Dobbs are all unlikely to be brought back.
- Ben Francisco will almost certainly be tendered a contract, and could platoon with Domonic Brown. Kyle Kendrick is due a raise and could be non-tendered and then re-signed at a more affordable price.
Some Thursday notes from around the majors...
- Aroldis Chapman recorded seven strikeouts while allowing three hits and a walk over five shutout innings for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate in Louisville tonight, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Chapman is in the midst of a 10 2/3 inning scoreless streak.
- Fangraphs' Jack Moore looks at Alex Gordon's ongoing demolition of Triple-A pitching and says "there’s no excuse if he’s not back in Kansas City by June."
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that "many people believe" the Yankees will designate Randy Winn for assignment when Curtis Granderson returns from the DL. Feinsand believes the Yanks should keep Winn and instead send Kevin Russo back to the minors.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports (via Twitter) that the Brewers have signed right-hander Eduardo Morlan to a minor-league deal. The Brewers selected Morlan from Tampa Bay in the 2008 Rule 5 draft but he was designated for assignment and returned to the Rays during spring training of that year. The Rays just released Morlan two days ago.
- ESPN's Insider Rumors section (subscription required) speculates that Rickie Weeks could be a trade candidate if Milwaukee doesn't want to pay his likely arbitration raise in the winter. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explored the Brewers' trade options last week, and noted that Weekes' arbitration salary bump might also cause teams to shy away from acquiring him.
- John Schuerholz chatted on the air with Sirius XM Radio's Jim Bowden today. Bowden tweeted that Schuerholz feels the Braves have enough pop in their lineup and don't "need to make a Fred McGriff type trade." The Crime Dog was acquired by Atlanta in July 1993 for Donnie Elliott, Vince Moore and Melvin Nieves --- don't you always need to make a deal like that?
- Bowden also had Baltimore president Andy MacPhail on his show, and speculates (via Twitter) that the O's will look to draft Jameson Taillon based on MacPhail's description of his club's wants. Bowden also tweeted that MacPhail didn't offer an endorsement of manager Dave Trembley, and instead just noted that it's still early in the season.
- Omar Minaya said the Mets might look to trade for a starter later in the summer, reports Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Fanhouse's Ed Price explains how Philadelphia's unheralded signings of Jose Contreras and Danys Baez have bailed out their bullpen over the first two months of the season.
- Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com answers Cleveland-related fan questions in a mailbag about such topics as when Michael Brantley will return to the majors, the recent release of Scott Lewis, and how the Tribe passed on Jason Heyward in the 2007 amateur draft.
Astros scouts haven't been told to watch specific teams or players, so Roy Oswalt doesn't need to start preparing for life after Houston just yet. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has the details on Oswalt and more rumblings from around the major leagues:
- Oswalt has told friends he'd love to play in St. Louis and it's believed that he would be interested in joining the Dodgers and Braves.
- We've heard lots about the $29MM remaining on Oswalt's deal, but the Angels have some money, according to an official Stark spoke to. The Nationals may be "the one team that would pay the whole freight on the contract."
- GM Andrew Friedman says he wasn't sure how Rafael Soriano's National League experience would translate to the American League East when the Rays dealt for him last offseason. Needless to say, the Rays have been pleased with Soriano's dominant start to the season.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells Stark that other teams offered Jose Contreras "much more money" last winter.
- Braves GM Frank Wren says he's pleased with Eric Hinske's play and notes that teams probably don't pay enough attention to their benches.
- Wren says the Braves would not have interest in adding a starting pitcher. Besides their current rotation, they have the injured Jair Jurrjens and Triple A pitcher Chris Resop.
- GM Jon Daniels says the Rangers saw "a guy with major league ability and pedigree" when they scouted Colby Lewis in Japan last year.
- One scout says the Blue Jays are definitely tracking Fausto Carmona and have watched his last 12 starts.
- The Red Sox have tried trading Mike Lowell unsuccessfully, but they aren't eager to eat the $8MM-plus remaining on his salary.
- Rival clubs say the Yankees haven't decided what their trade deadline needs are, though they're showing some interest in versatile outfield bats.
After an ugly outing against the Yankees on August 29th of last year, Jose Contreras' record stood at 5-13. He had a 5.42 ERA on the season and was well overpaid at $10MM. At the August 31st deadline, the White Sox shipped Contreras to Colorado for minor league pitcher Brandon Hynick plus cash in a salary dump move. The 38-year-old Cuban pitched well in his Rockies debut but suffered a quad injury in his second start. Contreras returned from the injury as a reliever and did a good job in five appearances.
The Phillies signed Contreras in January to a $1.5MM deal. He's been lights-out this season, and has already ascended to second in line to close if Brad Lidge struggles or isn't available. Contreras' dominance is no fluke - as a reliever this year his average fastball has jumped up to 94.7 mph and he sports an 11.6 K/9 with a career-best 54.2% groundball rate. The relief sample is growing - since his Rockies role change Contreras has a 0.95 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9 in 19 innings.
Contreras appears to have found a second baseball life as a reliever. Admittedly, the 2010 season has just begun. But if Contreras' excellence continues until free agency, he'll be positioned for a two-year deal or even a closing job.
On this date back in 1983, Dodgers' hurler Fernando Valenzuela became the first player in baseball history to receive a seven-figure award through the arbitration process. During his first two-plus seasons as a big leaguer, Fernandomania had been named the Rookie of the Year, appeared in two All Star Games, and won a Cy Young Award. The arbitration panel awarded him a $1MM salary in his first year of eligibility, nearly tripling his 1982 salary.
As the last few present day arbitration cases wrap up, here are some links to check out from around the baseball blogiverse...
- Mets Paradise reviews the Amazin's offseason, and says they aren't a finished product even if the team believes they are.
- Capitol Avenue Club examines a potential Adrian Gonzalez-to-Atlanta trade, and notes that it's the same situation as the Mark Teixeira swap of 2007.
- Turn Two looks at some AL and NL position battles.
- The Sports Banter tries to find homes for the best remaining free agents.
- Phillies Nation grades the Jose Contreras pickup.
- Gear Up For Blue Jays Baseball breaks down Kevin Gregg and the rest of Toronto's bullpen.
- Tipi Talk wonders if Rafael Perez could contribute to the Indians as a starting pitcher.
- Dodgers Digital answers questions about how the Dodgers' roster decisions will affect their Triple-A affiliate.
- AdamAdkins.net ranks the top five catchers in the game today.
- Brew Crew Ball provides an easy-to-use guide for creating your own Spring Training story.
The Phillies acquired arguably the best pitcher in baseball earlier this offseason. As Spring Training approaches, Roy Halladay starts training every morning at 7 am and his team is considering some less formidable options in an attempt to add depth. Here are the details, from a pair of beat writers:
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes that the Phils would like to add a starter, noting that any additions would likely come on minor league deals.
- Scott Lauber of the News Journal tweets that Pedro Martinez interests the Phillies, though his current price asking price exceeds the team's budget. Pedro wants $5MM or more to pitch a full season.
- In another tweet, Lauber says Jose Contreras believes pitching in relief can lengthen his career.
The Phillies officially signed righty Jose Contreras to a one-year, $1.5MM deal today. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said he'll be stretched out in Spring Training as a starter but is best suited for the bullpen. Enrique Rojas of ESPN first reported the agreement on Friday.
Contreras, 38, posted a 5.42 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 21 starts for the White Sox before getting traded to the Rockies in late August. Contreras pitched well as a reliever in his brief stint for Colorado.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post looks at a number of Rockies-related items in his latest blog entry....
- Eric Goldschmidt, agent of veteran infielder Melvin Mora, says his free-agent client is "definitely interested" in playing for Colorado. Renck points out that Mora's versatility would make him a logical signing for the Rockies, given that their other recent bench signing (Jason Giambi) can only play first base. Mora could decide on his future by the end of the week as he picks from between "roughly" five interested teams.
- Speaking of Giambi, Renck said that his clubhouse presence was a big factor in his re-signing with the Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki credited Giambi with "helping...with the mental side" of baseball.
- Renck says the Rockies are "expected to sign" reliever Justin Speier to a minor-league contract. Released by the Angels in August, Speier pitched for Colorado from 2001 to 2003 and has a 2.55 K/BB ratio in 12 major league seasons.
- Eric Gagne is "becoming a more likely non-roster invite than Derrick Turnbow." We heard yesterday from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) that Arizona is also interested in Turnbow, so perhaps Colorado doesn't want to get into a bidding war with its divisional rival.
- Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd told Renck he was "surprised" when Jose Contreras signed with Philadelphia. O'Dowd said the Rockies wanted to use Contreras out of the bullpen while the Phillies offered him a chance to start. Interestingly, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said today (as reported by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com) that Contreras will only start during spring training and will be a reliever by Opening Day.