Kyle Farnsworth Rumors
The San Francisco offense is heating up, but the Giants are still looking for outfield bats. The Royals are discussing Jose Guillen with San Francisco, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The potential deal would send the 34-year-old to San Francisco along with cash to cover some of the $4.5MM or so remaining on Guillen’s contract.
But Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears (via Twitter) from a rival official who believes the Royals have “no real options” to move Guillen, even if they ask for a modest return and take on salary. Stark’s source says (via Twitter) there’s very little action on some of Guillen’s teammates: Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies and Kyle Farnsworth.
Another one of Guillen’s teammates, Scott Podsednik, is drawing strong interest from NL West teams, including the Giants. For what it’s worth, the Giants have been scouting Guillen aggressively, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). For the season, Guillen has 16 homers and a .271/.333/.457 line.
The Giants are pursuing outfielders other than Guillen and Podsednik, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Like the Braves, Rays and Red Sox, the Giants have interest in Josh Willingham.
MONDAY, 3:09pm: A source tells ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Royals have "no interest" in Francoeur or Perez (Twitter link).
SUNDAY, 7:33pm: Talks between the Mets and Royals are fluid, though it doesn't appear that Guillen will be headed to Queens, says Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. It seems that if Guillen is dealt elsewhere, then Kansas City would be interested in Francoeur, Martino adds.
7:00pm: Francoeur and Perez are on the block, a source tells Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter). Another source tells Heyman that a trade with Kansas City "might happen" (Twitter link).
6:36pm: The Mets are in talks with the Royals and three names from each side are "in play," writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Those Royals players are Gil Meche, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Guillen while the Mets being discussed are Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Jeff Francoeur. It is unclear how advanced the talks are, cautions Rosenthal (via Twitter).
While the two sides aren't necessarily looking at a three-for-three swap, the two biggest contracts do match up well. Meche and Perez's contracts are identical over the next two seasons, with both pitchers earning $12MM in this year and next. The Mets made an attempt to swap the two just over a week ago.
Francoeur and Farnsworth also match up well, says Rosenthal. Farnsworth's contract has a club option for 2011 for $5.25MM, though he has the right to void it in favor of a $500K buyout if he is traded before the 2010 World Series. Francoeur will make $5MM this season before entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.
Links for Thursday, after somebody finally beat the Cardinals...
- Agent Scott Boras told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Jarrod Washburn has not yet decided whether to pitch in 2010.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that rival teams expect the Royals to trade Kyle Farnsworth and the Pirates to trade Octavio Dotel (Twitter links).
- The A’s agreed to sign two Venezuelan 16-year-olds, Argy Raga and Jesus Rivas, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.
- The Astros would need to be "overwhelmed" to move Brett Myers, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly definitely wants to manage in the major leagues, according to MLB.com's Evan Drellich.
- The Padres, who are interested in Miguel Tejada, believe he could potentially play some outfield once David Eckstein returns, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- The Padres won't rush to acquire middle infield help until they know more about Eckstein's injury, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock. GM Jed Hoyer told Brock the club had already been looking for infield depth.
- The Reds will discuss manager Dusty Baker's future this August, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Baker's contract expires after the season.
- At FanGraphs, Aaron Rowand and Carlos Lee make their way onto Dave Cameron's list of the MLB players with the least trade value.
- Baseball America lists the 15 biggest bonuses ever handed out to international amateurs.
Kyle Farnsworth isn't the same pitcher he was five years ago, though he may not be quite as effective as his numbers suggest. The 12-year MLB veteran has evolved into a more hittable pitcher - but not in a bad way. He has career-low walk and strikeout rates this year (2.4 BB/9 and 7.2 K/9) and when batters do put the ball in play, they're hitting more ground balls than fly balls (Farnsworth was a fly ball-strikeout pitcher earlier in his career).
The high ground ball rate is helping Farnsworth keep the ball in the park (two homers allowed) but he is probably going to give up more long balls in the second half since he has an unsustainably-low 5% home run per fly ball rate. The right-hander is stranding more runners than usual and allowing fewer hits on balls in play than he normally does, so his 2.41 ERA has probably been helped by some good fortune.
But lucky or not, there aren't a ton of available relievers who induce ground balls, strike out three times as many batters as they walk and have 95 mph fastballs. Farnsworth has about $2MM plus bonuses remaining on his 2010 contract. If he's traded, the 34-year-old can choose to void his team's $5.25MM option for 2011 and collect a $500K buyout.
Kerry Wood, David Aardsma, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel and Matt Capps are among the late-inning right-handers who could be traded this year. Some of those players (like Capps) would require better prospects than Farnsworth and others (like Wood) would require a bigger financial commitment, so the Royals should draw interest in Farnsworth this month.
The Red Sox' ability to plug holes in their roster following a slew of injuries can be attributed in large part to Allard Baird, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. After discussing Baird's importance to the Sox and listing his All-Star picks, Cafardo shares a few hot stove items....
- The Giants are "very interested" in Corey Hart, but with Milwaukee not entirely out of the NL Central race, the Brewers haven't yet elected to become sellers.
- Although it's unclear whether or not Boston would have any interest in Kyle Farnsworth, Cafardo thinks he could be an option for the Sox. Farnsworth's strikeout rate is down to 6.8 K/9 this season, but a National League scout opines that the right-hander's stuff is as strong as ever.
- Cafardo speculates that the White Sox would part with a promising prospect or two in exchange for Adam Dunn, and suggests that the Braves, Giants, and Rays could be fits for Jose Guillen.
- After being told by a couple potential suitors that they needed to see him play, Wily Mo Pena is attempting to earn another shot at the bigs by playing in the Atlantic League.
- A friend of D'Backs interim general manager Jerry DiPoto tells Cafardo that he thinks DiPoto may not have total freedom to make moves this month: "I get the feeling the major shots will be called above Jerry. If Jerry gets a chance, he’ll do some interesting things, but we’ll see whether he’ll have some reins on him."
The Giants and Red Sox are among the teams eyeing Royals players, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Royals GM Dayton Moore is willing to listen to offers, but anticipating the return for the likes of David DeJesus and Jose Guillen is difficult, even for those in the team’s front office.
“I can tell you this much,” one Royals official told Dutton, “nobody is willing to take on payroll. But teams don’t want to deal prospects, either. So it makes it tough to do anything.”
Dutton reports that the Giants have interest in Guillen on the condition that the Royals absorb most of the $6.3MM or so remaining on his contract. Earlier today, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported that the Royals are looking to move Guillen and are willing to pick up most of his salary in a trade, but Moore insists that the Royals are not actively looking to trade. Two rival scouts told Dutton that the Royals say they will take on a considerable amount of Guillen’s salary, so it doesn’t appear that Guillen would be tough to obtain.
If the Royals decide to start selling aggressively, they could discuss Mike Aviles and Willie Bloomquist with the Red Sox, who see the infielders as candidates to fill in while Dustin Pedroia's fractured left foot heals. The Red Sox are considering infielders and had some interest in Adam Everett before Pedroia's injury. One scout said Kyle Farnsworth could appeal to teams as a reliever if the Royals decide to part with him.
Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that the club has some "nice pieces" to market this summer. The 27-37 Royals have a number of players who might appeal to contenders and Moore is ready to listen, even though the Royals aren't actively looking to move players at this point.
"We'll evaluate what comes our way if anything does come our way," he said.
It wouldn't be surprising to see an offer or two for David DeJesus come the Royals' way. Dutton reports that clubs are already scouting the outfielder, who is hitting .314/.392/.479. DeJesus makes an affordable $4.7MM salary this year and there's a club option for $6MM in 2011 ($500K buyout).
If the Royals hold onto DeJesus, they could decline his option and offer him arbitration. If he turns down their offer to sign elsewhere, they would obtain at least one draft pick, possibly two. The promise of draft picks makes the Royals hesitant to deal him for a pedestrian return, but there are advantages to dealing now. DeJesus must climb into Type A territory under the Elias rankings system and decline arbitration for them to get two picks. Even if they get the picks, they would have to wait a year and pay each draftee about $1MM.
Perez is owed $20.2MM through 2011. He refused the Mets' minor league assignment and isn't helping the big league team. Not only is he a project, he's one that must be tinkered with in the Majors.
Gary Matthews Jr.'s contract qualifies as equally bad, but he's already on the Mets. A couple of Perez trade ideas:
- Perez and $8.8MM to the Brewers for Jeff Suppan. Suppan has $10.6MM left on his contract. The Mets save $800K here, about $500K beyond what they'd get back if they released Perez and he signed elsewhere. From the Brewers' point of view Perez at least has more upside than Suppan. The lefty would be reunited with pitching coach Rick Peterson, who was Perez's guide during the pitcher's initial Mets resurgence. The Brewers might require assurance that Perez would accept a minor league assignment in 2011 if necessary.
- Perez and $10.5MM to the Royals for Jose Guillen and Kyle Farnsworth. Guillen is owed $8.2MM, Farnsworth $3.6MM. This scenario has the Mets taking on $2.1MM to acquire Guillen and Farnsworth, about $550K of which covers what the Royals might get after releasing the two players.
Let's continue our look at each club's top trade chips today with the AL Central...
- Indians: The Tribe have dealt their Opening Day starter in each of the last two seasons, and there's a good chance they'll do it again with Jake Westbrook in 2010. The 32-year-old righty will earn $11MM this season, the last one on his contract. After dumping Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez in cost-cutting moves last year, expect them to shop Westbrook around for prospects this summer.
- Royals: All four of Kansas City's outfielders come off the books after this season (assuming some options are bought out for six figures), so Rick Ankiel, David DeJesus, Scott Podsednik, and even Jose Guillen could be moved in a deal for a young player. The team would obviously have to eat a lot of money to move Guillen. The contracts of relievers Juan Cruz and Kyle Farnsworth also expire after the season, so there might be some interest in them.
- Tigers: Detroit isn't going to move any of their young power arms, but if they eat a large chunk of salary like they did with Nate Robertson, there might be interest in Jeremy Bonderman and/or Dontrelle Willis. Young backstop Alex Avila could make Gerald Laird expendable as well. The Tigers have four lefty relievers on their 40-man roster (Phil Coke, Fu-Te Ni, Daniel Schlereth, and Brad Thomas), and that demographic is always in demand.
- Twins: Minnesota has one of the best trade chips in the league, blocked catching prospect Wilson Ramos. Lefty Glen Perkins is pitching in Triple-A and seems to have fallen out of favor with the club after filing a grievance, so he could be made available as well. He has four years of team control left.
- White Sox: GM Kenny Williams isn't shy about emptying out the farm system in a trade for an established big leaguer, which has left him with little minor league ammo. Their best young prospects are catcher Tyler Flowers and starter Daniel Hudson, who would seem to have a future with the club, but I'm not going to put anything past Williams. Flowers could make A.J. Pierzynski or Ramon Castro expendable, ditto Hudson and Freddy Garcia. Gordon Beckham should be untouchable, obviously.
Links for Tuesday...
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin tells MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that there's "no sense of urgency" to the Prince Fielder extension talks, since Fielder's "not going anywhere" for now.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that Chris Young (the Padres' version) could be a trade candidate this year, but that the right-hander would be better served staying in the National League.
- Morosi also lays out the decision facing the White Sox as A.J. Pierzynski's contract approaches its end. We discussed the catcher's next contract here.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka wants to play in the majors for at least another decade, according to WEEI's Rob Bradford.
- SI's Tom Verducci explains a radical floating realignment concept that was discussed by Bud Selig's "special committee for on-field matters."
- Joe Posnanski describes Aroldis Chapman's spring debut in this SI column.
- Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog reports that the Mets re-signed pitcher Kyle Snyder to a minor league deal. Snyder posted a 4.23 ERA, 6.4 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in 104.3 Triple A innings last year.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explores the recent pattern of the Cardinals acquiring rejected Red Sox players.
- ESPN's Keith Law opines that "if the season started this week, [Kyle Farnsworth would] have to be a candidate for unconditional release."
- MLB.com's Jason Beck caught up with Blue Jays pitcher Casey Fien, who bounced around between three clubs in a short span this winter.
- Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald says the 2007 Marlins-Tigers Miguel Cabrera blockbuster hasn't panned out as planned so far.