Mark Grudzielanek Rumors

Crasnick On Remaining Free Agents

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a new article up looking at a bunch of free agents.

  • Crasnick talked to one American League exec who views Pedro Martinez as "strictly a National League pitcher."  Coupled with his price tag and long layoff, the market isn't big for Pedro.
  • Ben Sheets is weeks away from a throwing program.  He's probably a ten-start guy this year, but interest figures to be strong.
  • Jim Edmonds hopes to sign by May.  He'll need two to three weeks to get ready.  Mark Grudzielanek also wants to play, and tells friends he only needs a week.  He'll look for a contender, and the Royals will hope he signs before June so they get that supplemental draft pick.  Jacque Jones is another guy who still hopes to play.
  • Geoff Jenkins is taking grounders at first base to increase his versatility.
  • Jay Payton suffered a shoulder injury lifting weights last month, but once he's healthy a few months from now he still wants to play.
  • Nothing appears to be cooking for Frank Thomas and Luis Gonzalez, who could be forced to retire.  Dave Roberts hasn't officially retired, but a comeback appears unlikely.
  • Paul Byrd's plan remains unchanged: sign with a contender around July.
  • Jon Lieber's agent says the pitcher has retired.  131 wins, including 20 in '01.  Lieber finishes with a 4.27 ERA in 2,198 innings for the Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, and Phillies.  He earned over $46MM, according to Baseball Reference.

The Remaining Free Agents: Who’s Left?

With little more than a week remaining before the regular season begins let's check the list of unsigned free agents..

  • Pedro Martinez is the biggest name out there.  The Dodgers don't like  his asking price of $5MM and Omar Minaya says Pedro's not coming back to the Mets.
  • Orlando HernandezMark Mulder and Will Ohman are still on the market.
  • And don't forget about Paul Byrd and Ben Sheets, who could return midseason.  
  • Richie SexsonMark Grudzielanek and Ray Durham are some of the more interesting free agent infielders 
  • Dave Roberts and Jim Edmonds could offer outfield depth, but haven't attracted a lot of reported interest. 
  • Luis Gonzalez is on the market too. Could he return to the Marlins? He could return to the D'Backs if he retires as a player.

Phillies Rumors: Nomar, Howard, Andruw

Kevin Roberts of the Philadelphia Inquirer has a few Phillies rumors:

  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says it’s "very likely" the Phillies will not make any more additions.
  • The Phillies have inquired on "almost every righthanded bat on the market." They’ve considerd Rich Aurilia, Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou and Mark Grudzielanek.
  • Amaro’s targeting Nomar.
  • Roberts agrees with Jon Heyman that the Phillies gave Andruw Jones a "tepid look."
  • However, they’re in no hurry to bring in a righty bench bat and could take their time adding one.
  • The $4MM gap between the Phillies’ arbitration offer to Ryan Howard and his demand will influence how much the Phillies can spend. Amaro called Howard’s case "the elephant in the middle of the room."


Heyman On Andruw, Pedro, Crede, Grudz

The latest from SI.com’s Jon Heyman

  • The Yankees offered a minor league deal to Andruw Jones, which he turned down.  Other teams "thought to have interest": the Rangers, Phillies, Braves, and Mets.
  • Heyman thinks Pedro Martinez makes a lot of sense for the Dodgers.  However, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times learned from Ned Colletti on January 6th that the Dodgers weren’t among the teams pursuing Pedro.
  • Jason Varitek‘s camp (ie, Scott Boras) apparently has no regrets about rejecting arbitration since it wouldn’t have been a guaranteed contract.
  • Chad Cordero‘s next showcase is scheduled for February 19th.
  • Heyman has the Twins as favorites over the Giants to sign Joe Crede.  More on Crede here.
  • Heyman says the Yankees feel they’re more likely to find a deal for Nick Swisher than Xavier Nady.
  • Add Mark Grudzielanek to the list of right-handed hitters the Phillies are considering (Nomar Garciaparra, Rich Aurilia, and Moises Alou being the others).

Odds and Ends: Sisco, Murton, Thigpen

Links for Thursday…


Phillies Still Eyeing Right-Handed Bats

8:18pm: Philadelphia’s search for a right-handed bat continues. Alden Gonzalez adds an update on MLB.com.

Names the Phillies have been linked to in that regard include Nomar Garciaparra, Ty Wigginton, Moises Alou, Rich Aurilia, Mark Grudzielanek and Kevin Millar, Gonzalez wrote.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Gonzalez that the addition does “not necessarily” need to be an infielder, though a little insurance while Pedro Feliz and Chase Utley recover from offseason surgeries wouldn’t hurt.

“We’re looking for a guy that has a bit of that versatility that’s needed in the National League,” Amaro told Gonzalez.

Jan. 23: Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the latest on the Phillies’ pursuit of a right-handed bench bat.  Names of interest: Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou, Mark Grudzielanek, Rich Aurilia, and Kevin Millar.

Salisbury says Garciaparra is the team’s first choice, but Ruben Amaro Jr. remarked, "We can’t be held hostage by Nomar, though he’d be a guy we’d like to bring in."  Salisbury’s source says the Phils are going "pretty hard" after Alou, who will attempt to re-establish his health in the World Baseball Classic.  Two issues there: Alou’s playing time expectations may be too high, and he reportedly prefers the AL where he can DH.


Perrotto’s Latest: Top 20 Remaining Free Agents

John Perrotto’s latest Every Given Sunday column at Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the top 20 remaining free agents (sorted by WARP3 – Wins Above Replacement Player) and offers destination predictions and top suitors (or lack thereof in some cases) for each one. For those without a BP subscription, here’s a quick summary:

  • Manny Ramirez – Dodgers
  • Orlando Cabrera – Athletics
  • Derek Lowe – Braves/Mets/Cubs
  • Adam Dunn – Nationals
  • Bobby Abreu – Reds
  • Ben Sheets – Rangers
  • Orlando Hudson – Nationals
  • Andy Pettitte – Astros (at less than $10MM)
  • Jason Varitek – Red Sox (at less than $10MM)
  • Ty Wigginton – Astros
  • Ivan Rodriguez – Not much of a market, may have to take a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training if he’s not signed soon. Could he end up involuntarily retired, a la Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza?
  • Kevin Millar – Orioles
  • Mark Grudzielanek – Padres
  • Braden Looper – Brewers
  • Garret Anderson, Eric Hinske, Ray Durham, Jim Edmonds, Paul Byrd, Odalis Perez – All of them (with the exception of Byrd, who may retire) are drawing little to no interest and may be without a club on Opening Day.

Padres Eyeing Vizquel, Eckstein, Grudz

Tom Krasovic talked to Padres GM Kevin Towers, who is looking for help in the middle infield via the free agent market.  Three players on the radar: Omar Vizquel, David Eckstein, and Mark Grudzielanek.  Towers is looking for bargains.  San Diego might be a tough sell for Grudzielanek, who left Kansas City to sign with a team with a better chance of reaching the World Series.


Jake Peavy Rumors: Tuesday

11:07pm: Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has Phillies sources saying the deal is in place if the Cubs will pull the trigger with the Padres.  Sullivan also talked to chairman Crane Kenney, who implied the Cubs included Peavy’s contract within projected budgets to bidders.

Sullivan adds that the Cubs have not had talks for Bobby Abreu yet.

9:17pm: Stark says there’s no way such a complicated trade will get done before the end of the Meetings.  He adds that extra teams are not necessarily requirements.  The Cubs will need to move a contract and get ownership approval, though.

8:39pm: Ruben Amaro Jr. came close to acknowledging the Phils are involved in the Peavy deal, says Jayson Stark.

8:31pm: Jeff Passan: the lone holdup in this complicated trade is the Cubs moving Marquis.  A deal is not imminent, though, according to Towers.

7:26pm: Brock talked to Towers, who met today with Hendry and said a trade seems more likely today than it did yesterday.  They’ll meet again tonight.  If a deal is reached, it’d be announced after Thursday’s Rule 5 draft.  Brock says the Phillies are believed to be the third team.

3:31pm: MLB.com’s Corey Brock says nothing is imminent and the Cubs appear reluctant.

2:25pm: The saga continues…Kevin Towers does not think this deal lost steam in the last 24 hours, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown and Gordon Edes.  However, they say the Cubs are having second thoughts about this four-team mess.  The Cubs source says the price is too steep for them right now and they’re looking at another short-term option for the rotation (Randy Johnson maybe).

2:02pm: Tom Krasovic says the Padres are not seeking J.A. Happ or Chris Coste as has been previously rumored.  Also, Ronny Cedeno is not the Padres’ first choice to replace Khalil Greene at short.  Krasovic adds that the Braves apparently are now happy the Padres didn’t take their offer for Peavy.

Kras adds that the Padres did some fact-finding with Mark Grudzielanek‘s agent.  Grudz wants to play for a winner though.

1:10pm: Roman Modrowski of the Chicago Sun-Times says Peavy sang "Go Cubs, Go" at a Vegas bar last night.  Good times.  But did Roy Oswalt sing along?  Also, Modrowski believes the Cubs would be willing to eat as much as $6MM of Marquis’ $9.875MM.

Jayson Stark says an Aaron Heilman-Marquis deal appears unlikely, as the sides cannot agree on what portion of Marquis’ contract the Cubs would assume.

12:08pm: Rosenthal says the Cubs maintain they’re not close on Peavy.  And they still need to identify their new owner before a deal can get done.  The Cubs are mulling Randy Johnson as a backup plan, and continue to prioritize the lefthanded bat.

10:36am: Phil Rogers says the key to this potential four-team Peavy trade would be the Phillies or Orioles taking on Marquis and some of his contract.  Rogers says "it will be a stunner if the Cubs don’t acquire Peavy."

1:00am: Chris De Luca says a source close to Jim Hendry characterized a Peavy deal as "very close."  De Luca’s sources say a Cubs-Orioles component is set (Felix Pie for Garrett Olson).  This runs counter to Roch Kubatko’s report below.  De Luca says the Cubs still want to trade Marquis and acquire a lefthanded hitter before closing the Peavy deal.

12:41am: Ken Rosenthal’s source says the Cubs’ attempts to bring in a third team have involved "probably 20 names with four to five clubs."  So it’s not necessarily DeRosa or the Phillies.  Rosenthal says an agreement is still not close.

12:30am: To summarize yesterday: Kevin Towers has facilitated an apparent three-team Jake Peavy trade that he will present to the Cubs.  I say three because Roch Kubatko says the Orioles don’t know of any agreement.  So the best guess right now (based on reports) is that the Cubs would send Mark DeRosa to the Phillies, and both teams would send young players to the Padres.  The Cubs could offload Jason Marquis in the deal, and the savings from Marquis and DeRosa would seem to neatly equal Peavy’s $11MM salary for ’09.


Grudzielanek Declines Arb Offer

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Type B free agent Mark Grudzielanek declined the Royals’ offer of arbitration as expected.  The Royals will get a supplemental pick if he signs elsewhere.  Grudz is looking to play for a contender.