Kevin Kouzmanoff Rumors
On November 2nd of last year I listed 85 non-tender candidates, most of whom were indeed cut loose. Almost five months have passed since the December non-tender deadline, and I'd like to revisit five of those decisions.
- Kevin Kouzmanoff, tendered a contract by the Athletics. The A's certainly shopped around for third base alternatives after tendering a contract to Kouzmanoff, which ended up being for $4.75MM. So far the third baseman has again been part of the problem, though he's not alone as the team ranks 11th in the AL with 3.63 runs scored per game. There weren't many alternatives for the A's this offseason, but they probably should have saved Kouzmanoff's money for a trade deadline addition. They'll still be able to pursue someone, though.
- James Loney, tendered a contract by the Dodgers. Loney is already on notice with the Dodgers given the arrival of Jerry Sands. Loney settled for a predictable $4.875MM salary for 2011. Sands doesn't actually project to do any better than Loney, but the two are close enough that the Dodgers probably should have traded Loney and used the money elsewhere.
- Russell Martin, non-tendered by the Dodgers. According to Yahoo's Steve Henson, Martin wanted a guaranteed $5.5MM rather than the Dodgers' offer of $4.2MM. GM Ned Colletti made the difficult decision to non-tender Martin, but kept the offer on the table while suggesting a possible super-utility role. Martin ended up taking less guaranteed money to start at catcher for the Yankees, and he's off to a great start. The Dodgers could have forced Martin's hand by tendering a contract and arguing for a pay cut through arbitration. That would have been a risky choice, and Martin's health was a concern at the time, so I can't fault the Dodgers for non-tendering him.
- Bobby Jenks, non-tendered by the White Sox. Non-tendering Jenks was the right move given his $7.5MM salary, and the pitcher understood that decision according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. However, Jenks and the Sox were not on the same page about the team's desire to retain him and confidence in his abilities, so he signed with Boston. The White Sox lead baseball with six blown saves, but it was still best for them to part ways with Jenks.
- Brandon McCarthy, outrighted by the Rangers in November. If they had retained McCarthy, the Rangers probably would have had to pay him something similar to last year's $1.3MM salary rather than the $1MM he received from the A's. McCarthy has looked good so far, though it's only been three starts. The Rangers are second in the AL in starter ERA without McCarthy. Still, given the strong offseason interest in him I think it would have been best to tender a contract and shop him around.
Happy 51st birthday to Steve Sax! Sax was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1982, played on two World Series champions, made five All-Star teams, and holds a special bit of pop culture history as one of Mr. Burns' softball ringers on The Simpsons.
Today's news tidbits...
- As part of a Dodgers-related mailbag, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick cites the Blue Jays, Marlins and Indians as teams that could offer Eric Chavez more playing time than the Dodgers could. Toronto's interest in Chavez is well-known, but Florida and Cleveland are new to the mix. Other teams known to be looking are Chavez include the Yankees, White Sox and Mariners.
- The Angels are looking for a leadoff man and bench help, and don't seem to be interested in Vladimir Guerrero, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. The Orioles look like they're Guerrero's most ardent suitors at this point.
- A.J. Pierzynski tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he was all but officially signed by the Dodgers before the White Sox swooped in with an offer to bring the catcher back to Chicago. "It all came together in a 15-minute span," Pierzynski said. "I was pretty much resigned to the fact I wasn't coming back." Had Pierzynski not returned, the White Sox would have focused on Miguel Olivo as a replacement behind the plate.
- The Chone Figgins-to-Oakland rumor looks to be dead, which Joe Pawlikowski of Fangraphs thinks may be a good thing for the A's.
- The Royals are converting prospect Wil Myers from catcher to outfielder, reports Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
6:29pm: Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told MLB.com's Jane Lee and Greg Johns that the team's plan is to have Figgins at third base on Opening Day. "I'm looking forward to Figgins being our starting third baseman ... He'll be here tomorrow [for the Mariners' FanFest]. He's been agreeable to moving back to third base and that's our plan, to have Chone be our Opening Day third baseman."
1:17pm: The A's are on Figgins' limited no-trade list and he hasn't yet been asked to waive it, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
12:50pm: There could be a third team involved in trade talks, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link). Olney suggests the Blue Jays could be the third team. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged last night that the team has toyed with the idea of adding a third baseman, so the Blue Jays could have interest in Kouzmanoff.
8:47am: The A’s are trying to acquire Chone Figgins for Kevin Kouzmanoff and perhaps a pitcher, according to Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times. Figgins, 33, could play third base for the A's, who missed out on free agent Adrian Beltre.
The Mariners owe Figgins $26MM through 2013 and the infielder's contract includes a vesting option for 2014. Figgins hit .259/.340/.306 last year with 42 stolen bases and 74 walks. He led the league with 101 walks in 2009, stealing 42 bases and posting a .298/.395/.393 line for another AL West team, the Angels.
The Braves inquired on Figgins last July, but there hasn't been reported interest in him since.
Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them - it's a question of how much the players will earn.
Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:
- The Angels have agreed to terms with Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick, tweets Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times. Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register tweets that Kendrick will earn $3.3MM, Willits $775K (on Twitter).
- The Giants agreed to terms with Santiago Casilla on a one-year deal worth $1.3MM with incentives, according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas (on Twitter). The team also announced that they avoided arb with Jonathan Sanchez and Ramon Ramirez (on Twitter). Sanchez will earn $4.8MM with incentives tweets Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle while Ramirez will earn $1.65MM according to Janie McCauley of The Canadian Press.
- The Braves agreed to terms with Peter Moylan and Eric O'Flaherty, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman (on Twitter). Moylan gets $2MM, O'Flaherty gets $895K according to Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).
- The Mariners agreed to terms with Brandon League, David Aardsma and Jason Vargas, the team announced. Aardsma will earn $4.5MM with plenty of incentives, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (plus Twitter link).
- The Rangers agreed to terms with C.J. Wilson and Nelson Cruz, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan (Twitter links). Cruz gets $3.65MM, and Wilson gets $7.05MM with a chance to earn another $100K according to his agent Bob Garber, via email.
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Chase Headley (2.535MM) and Tim Stauffer ($1.075MM), according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter).
- The Phillies and Kyle Kendrick avoided arbitration with a $2.45MM deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The team has confirmed the deal.
- The Pirates announced that they agreed to terms with Joel Hanrahan. It's a $1.4MM deal, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
- The Cubs agreed to a one-year deal with Tom Gorzelanny, despite reports that a trade to Washington is imminent. Gorzelanny will earn $2.1MM next year, according to Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com (on Twitter). They also announced a two-year, $4.7MM deal with Sean Marshall.
- The Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year deal with Joe Saunders.
- The Padres agreed to a $2.535MM deal with Mike Adams, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).
- The Angels agreed to a $3MM deal with Erick Aybar and a $2.975MM deal with Kendry Morales.
- The White Sox agreed to a $5.05MM deal with Carlos Quentin, according to Rosenthal.
- The Braves agreed to a $3.1MM deal with Martin Prado and a $3.25MM deal with Jair Jurrjens according to Rosenthal.
- The Orioles agreed to a $5.85MM deal with J.J. Hardy, according to Rosenthal.
- The Athletics agreed to a $4.75MM deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, according to Slusser (Twitter link).
- The Giants avoided arbitration with Cody Ross, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Ross will earn $6.3MM in 2011.
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Jonathan Papelbon ($12MM) and Jacoby Ellsbury ($2.4MM).
- The Yankees avoided arbitration with Joba Chamberlain ($1.4MM), Phil Hughes ($2.7MM) and Boone Logan ($1.2MM), according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (all Twitter links).
- The Dodgers agreed to a $6.275MM deal with Chad Billingsley, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- The White Sox agreed to a $6MM deal with John Danks, according to Heyman (on Twitter).The Cubs avoided arbitration with Matt Garza and agreed to a $5.95MM deal, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- The Indians avoided arbitration with Shin-Soo Choo, the team announced. The deal is worth $3.975MM, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
- The Twins avoided arbitration with Matt Capps ($7.15MM) and Glen Perkins ($700K), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Andy Sonnanstine, agreeing to a deal worth $913K plus incentives, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter).
- The Mets avoided arbitration with Mike Pelfrey, agreeing on a deal worth close to $4MM, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Brewers avoided arbitration with Prince Fielder and Manny Parra, signing the players to one-year deals, the team announced. Parra will earn $1.2MM, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (on Twitter).
- The Athletics avoided arbitration with Dallas Braden ($3.35MM) and Conor Jackson ($3.32MM), according to MLB.com's Jane Lee (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays agreed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal with Brandon Morrow, the team announced.
- The Indians announced that they agreed to a one-year deal with Rafael Perez (Twitter link). It's worth $1.33MM, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
- The Athletics avoided arbitration with Josh Willingham, agreeing to a $6MM deal, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
- The Astros signed Michael Bourn to a one-year, $4.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced (on Twitter) that they avoided arbitration with Michael Morse.
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Anibal Sanchez, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter). They agreed to a $3.7MM deal, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Twitter link).
- The Orioles avoided arbitration with Felix Pie, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). The deal is for $985K.
- The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Rajai Davis, agreeing to a two-year, $5.25MM deal with the outfielder.
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Clay Hensley and agreed to a $1.4MM deal, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter).
- The Astros agreed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal with Jeff Keppinger, avoiding arbitration, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Astros confirmed the deal.
- The White Sox agreed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal with Tony Pena, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick with a $6.775MM deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Clint Barmes, signing the infielder to a one-year, $3.925MM deal, according to Rosenthal. The Astros confirmed the deal.
- The Rockies avoided arb with Felipe Paulino and agreed to a one-year, $790K deal, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they have agreed to terms with Yunel Escobar on a $2.9MM deal for 2011.
- The Indians signed Chris Perez for 2011, avoiding arbitration, the team announced (on Twitter). It's a $2.225MM deal, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they agreed to terms with Kyle Davies on a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. It's a $3.2MM deal, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel (on Twitter).
- The Reds avoided arbitration will Bill Bray, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). The AP says the deal is for $645K.
- The Nationals avoided arbitration with Doug Slaten, and agreed to a one-year, $695K deal according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Padres avoided arbitration with Heath Bell and agreed to a one-year, $7.5MM deal.
Links for Tuesday night..
- Steve Foster of Inside The Rockies takes a look into his crystal ball and predicts what the Rockies might look like in 2017.
- Carlos Gonzalez never wanted to leave Colorado, writes Jim Armstrong of The Denver Post.
- The talk of Adrian Beltre coming to the Athletics made third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff a little uneasy, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com.
- Adam Kennedy is happy to be back in the AL West, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. Kennedy inked a minor league deal with the Mariners yesterday.
- The Rockies are interested in Troy Glaus, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). Glaus could be a right-handed version of Jason Giambi, who wasn't a natural complement to Todd Helton since both bat from the left side.
- The Rockies are still "in the mix" for David Bush, but probably not for Aaron Harang, according to Renck (on Twitter). Both pitchers appeared on Renck's recent list of pitching targets for the Rockies.
- Renck reminds us that Jorge Cantu, Jose Lopez and Kevin Kouzmanoff are options for the team (Twitter link). Only Cantu is a free agent; Kouzmanoff and Lopez are non-tender candidates.
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd says he has told Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez that he wants to lock them up long-term, according to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post. O'Dowd has discussed a long-term deal with Gonzalez's agent, Scott Boras, but he doesn't have to worry about locking Jimenez up. The right-hander is under team control through 2014.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears (on Twitter) that De La Rosa turned down multiple offers for more money to re-sign in Colorado.
The Rockies have expressed interest in Athletics' third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. He adds that Jose Lopez, Jorge Cantu, and Ty Wigginton are also on Colorado's radar in a second tweet, calling the team "quietly aggressive" during the GM Meetings.
Kouzmanoff is a non-tender candidate, even moreso now that the A's have brought in Edwin Encarnacion and are aggressively bidding on Adrian Beltre. Renck adds that he would fill the role of Melvin Mora for Colorado, pushing Ian Stewart at third base and potentially platooning with him. Cantu, Lopez, and Wiggington could all do the same as well. Earlier today we learned that the Rockies also have interest in Alex Gordon.
Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse hears that Arizona’s payroll will sit between $50-60MM next year. The Diamondbacks started the season with a $75MM payroll, but shed considerable salary with a flurry of midseason trades. They now have just shy of $20MM committed to the 2011 team (not including potential free agents or arbitration-eligible players). Here’s the latest on the Diamondbacks:
- Krasovic hears that the D’Backs considered offering Mark Reynolds to the A’s for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Vin Mazzaro before Kevin Towers took over as the team’s GM.
- The club also talked to the Tigers about exchanging Rick Porcello for Stephen Drew earlier in the summer, but Detroit wasn’t interested.
- Krasovic wouldn’t be surprised to see the Diamondbacks sell high on Kelly Johnson, who is heading into his final season of arbitration.
At first glance, Kevin Kouzmanoff's 2010 numbers look like exactly what the Athletics must have expected when they acquired him from the Padres in January. His .256/.291/.404 slash line is nearly identical to 2009's .255/.302/.420, and his power numbers have remained fairly consistent for his entire career; in his three years in San Diego, Kouzmanoff hit 18, 23, and 18 homers, along with 30, 31, and 31 doubles. His totals in Oakland so far this year? 14 and 31. Throw in his best defensive season, according to UZR, and it would seem that the 29-year-old should have no worries about being tendered a contract this winter.
There are a few areas of concern though, that the Athletics will undoubtedly take into account. For one, Kouzmanoff has seen his OPS gradually decline since his rookie year, down to .696 this year from .786 in 2007. And while Oakland's Coliseum is hardly a hitter's park, presumably the team was hoping that getting away from Petco would help Kouzmanoff's offense a little. During his Padres years, Kouzmanoff's OPS was typically about 100 points higher on the road - this year, his home and road marks are both below .700.
The Athletics were willing to trade for Kouzmanoff and pay him $3.1MM for his first arbitration-eligible season. Given his impressive defensive performance and only a slight dip in offensive production, perhaps the A's will be happy to tender the third baseman a contract, even taking into account an arbitration raise. But as a starting corner infielder with a sub-.700 OPS, Kouzmanoff has to be considered a non-tender candidate heading into the offseason.
Let's face it: if the Royals aren't going to give Alex Gordon a chance to play regularly when they are 11-21, 10 games out of first, and weeks shy of Memorial Day, he has fallen out of favor with the club. After just 38 plate appearances, the Royals sent Gordon - the player they once selected him second overall - to Triple-A to make way for... Alberto Callaspo.
But Gordon, still just 26, is a career .320/.433/.577 hitter in the minor leagues. Clearly, some team should take a flier on Gordon as a possible long-term answer at third base. Which teams are best suited to do so, and how much is it likely to cost?
- The Phillies seem like an interesting landing spot for Gordon, though not at first blush. Placido Polanco, after all, is signed through 2012. But Gordon could be an upgrade from Greg Dobbs at the very least. If Gordon fulfills his promise, the Phils could attempt to deal Polanco. More to the point, Gordon seems to fit the Phillies' template- his acquisition would be akin to the buy-low on Jayson Werth- and Philadelphia has depth in the farm system. A couple of their secondary pitching prospects could get it done.
- The Orioles have a combined zero homers from Rhyne Hughes and Garrett Atkins, so Gordon could appeal to them as an option at first. Corner infield prospects Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell lurk in the minors, but with Miguel Tejada locked up for just one year, Gordon would provide the O's with depth and upside.
- The Athletics don't have a ton in the way of a present or future player blocking Gordon. Kevin Kouzmanoff is a decent option, but he hardly has Gordon's upside at this point. With a number of nearly-ready pitching prospects to integrate into a young staff, the Athletics could well deal from pitching depth for Gordon, too.
- The Padres are another possible landing spot, with Chase Headley unlikely to keep up his batting average-fueled start. San Diego has several third base prospects, including James Darnell, who Baseball America ranked as the organization's third-best prospect heading into the season. Still, none of the Padres prospects have even proven themselves at Double-A, so acquiring Gordon and giving him the chance to win the third base job wouldn't impact any of them in the short-term. It would also echo the acquisition of another buy-low, former top draft pick: Adrian Gonzalez. A package of one of the Padres' third base prospects and a pitcher should be enough to pry Gordon loose.