Leo Nunez Rumors

Marlins Notes: Relievers, Nunez, Payroll, Ross

MLB.com's Joe Frisaro answered some Fish-centric topics in a fan mailbag that dealt with a few hot stove rumors.  Here are the highlights…

  • It's unlikely that Florida will go after big-name free agent relievers like Matt Capps or Brian Fuentes this winter.  The club is more likely to explore "a trade or two for some young, emerging arms" to form their bullpen.
  • "It's not guaranteed" that Leo Nunez will be a Marlin next season.  Nunez is headed to arbitration for the second time, and Frisaro predicts the right-hander is due to earn approximately $4MM.  Nunez was terrific in the first four months of the season before a horrific August (a 9.31 ERA and three blown saves in 10 appearances) cost him the closer's job to Clay Hensley, though Nunez did pitch well in September.  Nunez would draw a lot of interest on the trade market if the Marlins decide that he's too expensive.
  • Frisaro predicts the Marlins' 2011 payroll to be around $48-$50MM, with a bit of leeway to bump it up a couple million dollars.  He thinks the club's payroll for 2012 (when the Marlins move into their new ballpark) will be bumped up to the $70MM-range.  Frisaro notes that Florida's season-ticket sales for their new stadium are already better than expected.
  • Even if the Giants hadn't planned on retaining Cody Ross, Frisaro shoots down any chance that the Marlins would've been interested in bringing Ross back.

Rangers Among Teams Interested In Chris Volstad

Teams are asking the Marlins about Chris Volstad's availability, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. The Marlins appear undecided about the approach they'll take at the deadline, but they are reluctant to deal Volstad, Ricky Nolasco or Leo Nunez. The Rangers inquired on Volstad, but were turned away, according to Capozzi.

Volstad, 24 in September, has a 4.76 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 so far this season. The 6'8" righty is under team control through the 2014 season, and won't hit arbitration until after next year, so it's no surprise that the Marlins prefer to keep him.

Volstad has logged 104 innings so far this season and is on track to surpass his career-high of 159. Unlike many of his teammates, Volstad had not been mentioned in trade rumors this summer before today.

Marlins Unlikely To Move Uggla, Ross

Although they've been the subject of frequent trade rumors this year, Dan Uggla and Cody Ross may remain in Florida past July 31st, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal says while the Marlins have not ruled out trading Uggla and Ross, it looks unlikely that the pair will be dealt.

According to Rosenthal, Leo Nunez and Ricky Nolasco appear unavailable, though Jorge Cantu could be on the move this week. In another tweet, Rosenthal confirms the Rangers are making an aggressive play for Cantu, but notes that the Marlins are unconvinced Logan Morrison could adequately replace Cantu's production.

Uggla and Ross will each enter their final year of arbitration in 2011, while Cantu becomes a free agent after this season. Nolasco and Nunez each have two more arbitration seasons, and are under team control through 2012.

Red Sox Rumors: Relievers, Beltre

Red Sox rumors from those covering the team…

Red Sox Inquired On Leo Nunez, Cody Ross

The Red Sox inquired about Marlins players Leo Nunez and Cody Ross, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.  Spencer adds that the Rangers asked about Jorge Cantu.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Saturday that the Yankees are talking to the Marlins as well.  Rosenthal speculated that Nunez and Ross would make sense for the Yanks.  Brian Cashman's actual level of interest in the pair is unknown, but perhaps the AL East foes are targeting the same players.  Nunez is in the midst of his best season, with a 2.87 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 50.5% groundball rate.  About $837K remains on his contract, and he's under team control through 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player.

Ross' power has taken a dip, as his line stands at .279/.331/.409.  ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Marlins' asking price is "very, very high, despite the fact that some teams view him as a non-tender candidate."  Ross is earning $4.45MM this year after beating the Marlins in arbitration in February.  He's under team control for next year, but as Olney suggests, the Marlins might be unwilling to give him that final arbitration raise.  The Braves are known to have interest in Ross, while Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse reports today that the Padres are not a fit.

Cantu would be a two-month rental, as he's a free agent after the season.  Surely the Marlins would like to clear some of his remaining $2.5MM.  Despite a .258/.309/.416 line, Cantu has 52 RBIs.  Aside from the Rangers, the Rockies are known to have an eye on him.  Both teams might prefer a cheaper player like Ty Wigginton, however.

Rosenthal On Yankees, Hart, Haren, Werth

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new installment of Full Count up.  Let's dive in and see what he has for us..

  • The Yankees are talking to the Marlins and the two teams could match up in a few different ways.  Cody Ross, a right-handed hitting outfielder, would be a perfect fit for the Pinstripes.  Trouble is, Ross is a regular for Florida and the Yanks may not want to pay that price for a player they'd only use part-time.  Leo Nunez would also make sense for the Yankees in a set-up role but they'll want a lot for him as well.  The closer is under team control for two seasons after this one.
  • The Braves like Ross as well but their opinions on Corey Hart are mixed.  Some Atlanta officials are rather fond of Hart, but others see him as a slightly better version of Jeff Francoeur.  If Matt Diaz hits well and Nate McLouth comes back strong, they may not even need the Brewers outfielder.  If their guy ultimately is Hart though, it'll be at their price.
  • Two of the top starters on the trading block hold no-trade clauses, though they may not be much of a factor.  Ted Lilly can reject trades to ten teams, though the  only contenders on his list are the Twins and Phillies, who may not even be interested in him.  Arizona's Dan Haren can reject deals to twelve clubs, including the Reds.  However, a source says that his list is not a factor as he has not been pitching well.
  • The Phillies, at the moment, are not playing well enough to make a run at Roy Oswalt.  However, they don't expect to fall far enough out of contention to sell.  Jayson Werth, Rosenthal says, could be moved in order to improve the team in the short-term and long-term.  A Werth-for-Javier Vazquez swap could make sense if the Yankees could acquire another starting pitcher.  Cliff Lee, in theory, would have been that guy. 

Could The Marlins Shop Leo Nunez?

The Marlins have been looking for relief help all season, going so far as to sign Armando Benitez to a minor league deal, but MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says to keep an eye for Leo Nunez in future trade talk. 

There's no denying that Nunez has been outstanding this season (3.12 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 18-for-23 in save opportunities), but a team may be willing to overpay for the Marlins' closer in a trade given the dearth of quality relievers on the market. As Frisaro notes, the goal isn't just to improve this year, but in 2011 and beyond.

Money, unsurprisingly, would be a driving force behind any Nunez deal. The 26-year-old will earn a total of $2MM this season, his first time eligible for arbitration. He might be able to double that salary the second time through next year, and the Marlins traditionally don't pay their bullpen workers more than $2.5MM per season. 

Considering the number of contenders looking for relief help – the Red Sox, Phillies, and Tigers, just to name a few – the Marlins would have no trouble finding a suitor for the hard throwing, high strikeout Nunez. It's just a question of whether or not Florida will make their closer available in a trade.

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Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.

We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements.  Yesterday's list can be found here.

  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals.  Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts.  Willits' contract is worth $625K. 
  • Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).  Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players.  In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
  • Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter).  The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
  • The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press.  MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
  • Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
  • The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
  • Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
  • Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.


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Players Tendered Contracts

Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.

Marlins Rumors: Pinto, Lindstrom, Nunez

MLB.com's Joe Frisaro has a few Marlins rumblings…

  • The Marlins are prepared to pay Cody Ross and Jorge Cantu in 2010, although both players will receive raises through arbitration.
  • Frisaro feels that two of Renyel Pinto, Matt Lindstrom, and Leo Nunez will be traded.  All three relievers are eligible for arbitration for the first time.
  • Frisaro feels that Vladimir Guerrero is not a fit for the Marlins, given his inability to play the field.