Kiko Calero Rumors

Urban On Lewis, Dye, Calero, Suzuki's Mychael Urban had his weekly A's and Giants-centric chat with fans on Tuesday, and here are the hot stove highlights…

  • Urban thinks Giants outfielder Fred Lewis will be "cut loose near the end of camp."  Lewis is one of several players who are out of options for 2010.
  • Jermaine Dye isn't an option for the Giants.  Urban says the veteran slugger turned down an offer of $2MM from an unnamed team, and San Francisco wouldn't offer Dye anything more than that.  We already heard that Dye turned down a $3MM offer from the Cubs earlier this winter, so you have to wonder what kind of deal Dye thinks is still out there for him.
  • Urban predicts the Giants and Athletics will eventually settle their territorial rights dispute over San Jose and "the San Jose A's will exist within the next 5-10 years."  He also wonders why Sacramento has never been seriously considered as a possible new home for the A's.
  • The Giants made an offer to Kiko Calero over the winter but Calero signed with the Mets last week.  Urban agrees with a commenter that "the Giants did miss the boat" on not locking up the veteran reliever who posted a 1.95 ERA in 2009.

In a separate piece about Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki, Urban said that Suzuki and the A's have had "preliminary talks" about a contract extension.  Suzuki is under control through 2013, and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season.  Urban quotes an anonymous AL West executive who says, "Billy [Beane] is way too smart to not lock him up at least through his arbitration years.”  The deal might not run futher than that, however, since Urban points out that catching prospect Max Stassi could be ready to take over behind the plate by the time Suzuki is ready to hit free agency.

Odds & Ends: Grudzielanek, Royals, Fielder, Calero

Links for Sunday….

  • In his latest mailbag,'s Jim Street writes that he could see Chad Cordero hooking on with a major league club if he continues to stay healthy and perform well in Spring Training.  Cordero is in camp with the Mariners and competing for a job, but is unlikely to make the team as the bullpen is already stocked with quality right-handers.
  • Mark Grudzielanek is eager to hook on with the Indians, writes Anthony Castrovince of  The 39-year-old second baseman, who was absent from the majors in 2009, says he has his eye on the starting job.
  •'s Dick Kaegel reports that Royals shortstop prospect Jeff Bianchi will miss the 2010 season with elbow surgery. Danny Duffy, a left-handed pitcher and the organization's #8 prospect according to Baseball America, will be shut down as well for the time being due to elbow stiffness.
  • Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talks to Brewers GM Doug Melvin about Prince Fielder's future. Melvin reiterates that the team hopes to keep Fielder around for many years, and revisits an instance during his stint as the Rangers' GM when he had to trade a heavy hitter.
  • Questions about Kiko Calero's health might have kept him on the market longer than expected this winter, but Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News says that the righty has been throwing off a mound and looks okay for now. "Conditioning-wise he's pretty good," pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "He just hasn't seen hitters."
  • Newly-acquired Melvin Mora could end up playing nearly every position on the diamond for the Rockies this year, writes Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post.
  • WEEI's Alex Speier reports that Brian Shouse's minor league contract will earn him $800K if he makes the Red Sox' major league roster.

Mets Sign Kiko Calero

The Mets signed Kiko Calero to a minor league deal worth up to $1.5MM. He earns $850K if he makes the team, with another $650K available in incentives. There is no opt-out if the Mets send him to the minors.

Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News tweeted news of the deal, which was announced on SNY's broadcast of this afternoon's Mets game. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted the details.

Calero had been looking for a major league deal, so the Mets deserve credit for adding him on a minor league contract, especially since there's a good chance Kelvim Escobar will start the season injured.

The 35-year-old pitched 60 innings of 1.95 ERA ball last year for the Marlins, with 10.4 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9. But the Marlins had concerns about his health and they weren't the only ones. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe heard from two executives who said Calero's medicals didn't look good (Twitter link). That didn't prevent eight teams from offering the righty minor league deals, according to's Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter).

Cubs In No Rush To Add Bullpen Help

TUESDAY, 9:09am: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune says the Cubs "are not interested in any of the remaining free agent relievers."  They'll look within for their open bullpen spots, and manager Lou Piniella wouldn't rule out using '08 first rounder Andrew Cashner.

SUNDAY, 10:17am: Injury issues in the Cubs' bullpen won't prompt the club to rush out and acquire a veteran reliever, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cubs officials say they still intend to scout opposing players and consider possible trades through March, but that nagging injuries to Angel Guzman and Jeff Gray won't accelerate their pursuit of bullpen help.

Having lost Kevin Gregg via free agency and having handed Carlos Marmol the ninth-inning role, the Cubs are looking for someone to step up and take over as their primary setup man. Guzman and Gray are two candidates, but are suffering from a sore shoulder and strained groin, respectively.

In addition to exploring the trade market, the Cubs could still add a free agent pitcher. Kiko Calero remains the most intriguing right-handed arm available and has been linked to the team a few times this winter. The Cubs were concerned, however, that Calero could have health questions of his own, given his past shoulder injuries.

Odds & Ends: Calero, Beckett, Robles, Bay

Links to kick off the new month…

Discussion: Kiko Calero

A 1.95 ERA sure doesn't go as far as it once did.  Veteran reliever Kiko Calero posted that career-low mark in 67 appearances for the Marlins last year, as well as an impressive 10.4 K/9 ratio.  With those numbers, a career ERA+ of 132 and a history of dominance against right-handed hitting (RHB have hit just .202/.266/.312 against Calero in his career), you would've thought that the 35-year-old had set himself up for a decent free agent contract this winter.

Instead, teams have opened their spring training camps and Calero (a Type B free agent) is still without a new address.  He has been connected to a few clubs, but hasn't signed for a variety of reasons…

  • Florida, who signed Calero to a minor-league deal for $500K in January 2009, didn't offer salary arbitration to the right-hander and haven't pushed hard to bring him back.'s Joe Frisaro tweeted that the chances of Calero returning to the Marlins "are very slim" since the Fish are worried about Calero's injury history.  The reliever tore his right rotator cuff in 2008 and also missed a few weeks of action last season with shoulder problems.
  • These arm problems may have also scared off the Cubs, who were talking to Calero last month.  Chicago only wanted to give Calero a one-year contract, while the reliever was looking for two years.  The Cubs have been looking for bullpen help all winter and might be well served to revisit negotiations with Calero given right-hander Angel Guzman's most recent injury woes.
  • San Francisco made an offer to Calero that's Mychael Urban guessed was probably a one-year deal plus an option.  But that news broke over a month ago, and the Giants have since announced that they had finished their winter shopping.

So if these teams are out of the running, who's left?  One intriguing destination is St. Louis.  Calero broke into the majors with the Cardinals, posting a 2.80 ERA in 67 appearances with the Redbirds in 2003 and 2004 before being shipped to Oakland in the Mark Mulder trade.  Erik Manning of Fangraphs points out that the Cards' bullpen is the "one potential Achilles heel" on a team that should dominate the NL Central, and finds it "surprising" that there have been no whispers about the Cardinals bringing Calero back. 

If the righty performs as he did in 2009, he would provide a big boost to whatever team takes the plunge and signs him.  For Calero's part, he might have to recognize the reality of the market and accept a one-year deal or a contract similar to the Giants' reported offer rather than hold out for a multi-year commitment.  After all, not every reliever can be as lucky as Brandon Lyon.

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Odds & Ends: Blue Jays, Gomes, Lincecum

Links for Saturday…

Odds & Ends: Calero, Nats, Byrnes, Fogg, Timlin

Links for Thursday…

Giants Done Shopping; No Calero, No Byrnes

Two high-ranking Giants officials told Mychael Urban of that the club is done shopping. As Urban notes via Twitter, the Giants' decision not to hand out more major league contracts means we shouldn't expect a Kiko Calero signing. The door appears shut on the Eric Byrnes front and Johnny Damon appears to be an unlikely fit, also.

The Marlins and Cubs are interested in Calero, one of the winter's more intriguing free agent relievers. Meanwhile, the Giants have already signed Bengie Molina, Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa this offseason.

Cubs Rumors: Calero, Nady, Priorities

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports provide the latest Cubs rumblings…

  • Morosi reported Wednesday that the Cubs were "engaged in negotiations" with free agent reliever Kiko Calero.  However, he now says their interest has waned.  A right-handed setup man is still a primary item on the Cubs' shopping list.
  • Previous reports have connected the Cubs to outfielders Xavier Nady, Jonny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, and Reed Johnson.  The FOX writers say Nady is the Cubs' top choice unless Dye's contract demands come down.
  • The Cubs seek rotation insurance, but the FOX writers confirm ESPN's Jayson Stark Saturday suggestion that Ben Sheets is unlikely.  Perhaps Mark Mulder, linked to the Cubs Tuesday by Morosi, is more feasible.
  • Though the Cubs have looked into Adam Kennedy and Orlando Hudson, adding a second baseman is not a high priority.