Juan Rincon Rumors

Odds and Ends: Viciedo, Broussard, Rincon, Threets

Time to round ’em up.

  • The A’s are leading the charge for international free agent pitcher Michael Inoa; they could offer him $4MM.  All teams have scouted him.
  • MLB.com’s Jim Molony names the Astros, Yankees, Cardinals, Angels, Mets, and Pirates as teams considering Cuban defector Dayan Viciedo (assuming he becomes a free agent).
  • The Orioles would like to sign Ben Broussard, if he’ll accept a minor league assignment.  Broussard if mulling his options and should sign within 24 hours.  He could step in if the Orioles trade Kevin Millar.
  • Jeff Weaver has been released by the Brewers.  Weaver’s lost it; he has a 6.22 ERA in nine Triple A starts.
  • The Twins have asked Juan Rincon to accept a minor league assignment.  If he refuses, the Twins will be on the hook for his salary and he’ll become a free agent.  Rincon’s last decent year was 2006.
  • No team was willing to keep lefty reliever Erick Threets in the Majors.  He cleared waivers and will head to Triple A as a member of the Giants organization.
  • Andy Pettitte wouldn’t commit, but admitted it’d be a "joy and an honor" to pitch at the new Yankee Stadium next year.
  • Tigers backup catcher Vance Wilson may retire after a setback in his elbow recovery.

Rincon On His Way Out?

Long time Twin reliever Juan Rincon may be the odd man out when the Twins reduce their pitching staff from 13 to 12 – this from Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Rincon is sporting a 5.19 ERA through 23 games, comparable to last years 5.13 ERA and a far cry from his career 3.63. 

Rincon could still finish strong and hit his PECOTA projected ERA of 3.92.  After being busted for steroids in 2006, Rincon went on to post a 2.91 ERA; however, he became hittable in 2007 and that trend continues.  His H/9, BB/9, and K/9 have all been declining.  Still, Rincon is only 29 so he may just need a change of scenery, not uncommon for relievers and setup men.

Says Manager Ron Gardenhire,  "All we can do is keep running them out there until some other decision is made where we can’t."  If they can’t, Rincon will most likely be designated for assignment.  The righty is making $2.475MM on a 1-year contract this season and his stock is at an all time low. There should be interest abound.

By Nat Boyle

Matt Garza Traded For Delmon Young In Blockbuster

UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 9pm: It’s now a done deal.  The Twins substituted 21 year-old reliever Eduardo Morlan instead of Rincon.

UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 7:30pm: This thing hasn’t gone through yet because of concerns over Rincon’s elbow.  The deal will either be finalized or killed by Thursday, according to Scott Miller.  The trade has been in the works for a few days.

UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 4pm: Neal reports that the Twins have interest in Aaron Rowand, which is really surprising given his reported demands.  I don’t see it.  Neal adds that Craig Monroe may now be non-tendered and the Garza trade will not stop Bill Smith from shopping Johan Santana.  By the way, talks for Coco Crisp persist.

FROM 11-28-07 at 2pm:

Wow!  That rumor really didn’t die!  La Velle E. Neal III says the Twins are close to a multiplayer deal.  They’ll send Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Juan Rincon to the Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie.  I can’t remember any kind of young player blockbuster like this recently. 

It’s exciting to see Bill Smith pull the trigger on a deal to get that possible elite slugger.  Will he be more hesitant to trade Johan Santana now?  Or maybe it doesn’t matter since he’d require an elite young hurler like Phil Hughes in return.  Beyond Young, you also have to applaud Smith for getting Pridie, who immediately becomes the Twins’ center fielder of the future.  The 24 year-old came back from injuries this year to rake in Triple A.  Just like that, the Twins have an outfield.   

Meanwhile the Rays suddenly have an awesome young trio fronting their rotation in Scott Kazmir, Jamie Shields, and Garza.  Rincon’s ability is questionable at this point but he could be the setup man the Rays are craving.

I’ll give the advantage to the Twins but I like this deal for both teams.

Twins Pursued Garrett Atkins

According to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Twins went after Rockies’ third baseman Garrett Atkins with a package that included Juan Rincon.

Given the way Rincon has pitched this year, I would guess he has little trade value.  The Twins would’ve had to offer a good young player like Scott Baker to be taken seriously.

Mets Hunting For Reliever, Second Baseman

Pretty much the same old story with the Mets, though Joel Sherman and Mark Hale of the New York Post do have some new tidbits.

  • The authors name Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, and Eric Gagne as relievers on the radar.  However it seems the asking price is too high for Gagne and the Indians have become the frontrunner for Dotel (they may have passed the Dodgers).  Shawn Chacon doesn’t catch the Mets’ eye, and they don’t want Chad Bradford‘s three-year commitment.  They had that option with Bradford this winter.  I think that logic is silly – Bradford’s pitched well this year, and acquiring him now would be akin to a two-year contract.  Sometimes it seems GMs pass over certain players because they simply want to add a fresh name.
  • You can add Al Reyes to the mix for the Mets, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
  • The Mets think many of the available starting pitchers could be traded in August – Jose Contreras, Kyle Lohse, and Steve Trachsel for example.  I don’t agree on Lohse – he’ll be traded today or tomorrow.  But Contreras’s contract would probably get through waivers without a claim.
  • The Post reports no substantive talks to the Royals about Mark Grudzielanek.  An inquiry has been made on Mark Loretta
  • Meanwhile, Newsday says the Twins are open to trading Luis Castillo but don’t want any of the current Major League Mets.  Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger seems to disagree, citing a Twins scout at Shea yesterday.  Graziano does not believe Castillo would get through waivers unclaimed.  He believes the Twins want Double A starter Kevin Mulvey and then some (perhaps Ruben Gotay).
  • Graziano says a deal for Castillo could be expanded to include 28 year-old righty reliever Juan Rincon.  Rincon had been consistently solid for three years (perhaps aided by steroids) but has seen his strikeout rate and overall performance plummet in 2007.  Rincon is under control next year and will make at least $2MM again.
  • Graziano notes that the Mets have talked to the A’s about Joe Blanton, but Billy Beane wants Lastings Milledge.  The Mets can’t do that without damaging the current team.  The Mets could actually add an outfielder in Jay Payton; the Cubs’ interest has waned.  The Sammy Sosa rumor also has some legs, as the Mets could bring him in to platoon with Shawn Green if they decide they can tolerate the sideshow.

Astros, Rockies Interested In Juan Rincon

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press writes that the Astros and Rockies are talking to the Twins about righty reliever Juan Rincon.  The Venezuelan will be 28 this January.  Rincon has always shown good command and kept the ball in the park; he’s seemingly a lock for 75 innings and an ERA around 3.

Struggling with a groin injury, Rincon posted a 1.60 WHIP in the second half and lost his job as the eighth inning setup man in September.  Also, he had surgery to remove bone chips in his pitching elbow in October of 2005 and soreness lingered into the start of the season.  Back in May of ’05, Rincon earned a 10 game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.  He lost an appeal of the suspension.

Rincon made about $700,000 in 2006; he’ll be a free agent after the 2008 season.  As RotoWorld mentioned, a fine fit would be third baseman Morgan Ensberg