Keith Foulke Rumors
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer checks in with various Tribe updates.
Keith Foulke still has to take his physical; the Indians probably won't reach an agreement until next week. Foulke would team with Joe Borowski to take the eighth and ninth innings, which neither pitching three days in a row.
The Indians are waiting to hear back from Mark Mulder's agent on their reported two-year offer. Should Mulder be signed and ready in May or June, it might allow for a trade. Paul Byrd, Cliff Lee, or Jake Westbrook could be dealt to clear space.
There's also a chance the Indians sign Westbrook to an extension; they may speak on the topic before the season starts. Westbrook will be a 30 year-old with probably four consecutive seasons of 210 innings; that should command $11-12MM and four or five years on the open market.
Fantasy leaguers, take note - reliever Keith Foulke is close to signing a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2008 with the Indians. It's still not too late for another team to jump in with a better offer, however.
Foulke would join Joe Borowski as candidates for save opportunities. Foulke, a 34 year-old changeup artist, posted an excellent 5.1 K/BB in 2006. He would join free agent additions Borowski, Roberto Hernandez, and Aaron Fultz in a revamped Cleveland bullpen. Revamped and more expensive, but is it actually better? That's an open question. All four of the new relievers are shaky bets; I guess Mark Shapiro is going for safety in numbers.
In a note at the bottom of his column, Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe mentions that Keith Foulke is expected to sign today. Edes thinks it could be the Tribe.
The Indians, having tried going young last year, are stocking up on veteran relievers this winter. They've already added Joe Borowski, Aaron Fultz, and Roberto Hernandez.
These MLB.com reporters are filing their stories all at once. Good times. Steve Gilbert has the Winter Meetings from a Diamondback point of view.
Josh Byrnes met with Keith Foulke's agent, who is also the agent for Octavio Dotel. What's this? Foulke is as healthy as he's been in a long time? How convenient. I tried telling my employer the same and also that it's between them and the Yankees. They didn't give me a raise.
Gregg Clifton is trying to get Mark Mulder's medical records over to the D'Backs. Why's this taking so long?
MLB.com's Jim Molony has some Winter Meeting info to pass along:
Keith Foulke has five interested teams, and the Red Sox are still an option. The Sox will also talk to Octavio Dotel.
Molony also mentions that the lack of potent free agent sluggers has led teams to inquire about Kevin Mench, Geoff Jenkins, and Reggie Sanders. The Royals would probably trade Sanders for a good turkey sandwich. Which is not a liquid, even if you use a lot of mustard.
33 year-old closer Keith Foulke was battered around in 45 innings in 2005. He's undergone surgeries on both knees and was said to have lost some velocity near season's end. Adding insult to injury, the Red Sox are now thinking about trading him.
My Boston source is telling me Foulke will get some attention as a setup man this offseason after the free agent market runs dry. Despite the surgeries, several teams feel that Foulke's problems in 2005 were largely mechanical and can be fixed. The Sox are looking to shed Foulke, and may be willing to pay half of his $7.25MM 2006 salary. Foulke has a $7.5MM option for 2007 that could vest with a strong 2006 performance (53 games finished would do the trick). The recent of Guillermo Mota makes Foulke slightly more expendable.
Despite the signings of Scott Eyre and Bob Howry by the Cubs, there are still a handful of set-up men on the free agent market. Al Reyes, Hector Carrasco, and Julian Tavarez all had decent seasons in '05.
On a related note, the Padres are looking at 39 year-old Japanese left-handed specialist Toyohiko Yoshida. Yoshida limited lefties to a .218 average in '05. However, the real prize among Japanese relievers may be 28 year-old lefty closer Hirotoshi Ishii. Ishii saved 37 games for the Yakult Swallows this year with over 11 strikeouts per nine innings. If not this winter, Ishii should become available following the 2006 season.
Thanks to Gary Garland of Japan Baseball Daily.