Matt Guerrier Rumors

Relief Rumors: Lefties, Axford, Papelbon, Benoit, Guerrier, Rays

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the top left-handed relievers on the market — J.P. Howell, Boone Logan, Eric O'Flaherty and Scott Downs — should begin to start coming off the board in the next 24 to 48 hours. It's already been reported that O'Flaherty is in talks with the Braves about a return to Atlanta. Here's the latest on the market for relievers…

  • Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweets that there's a sense that the Nationals will land a left-handed reliever today.
  • The Orioles have had talks with John Axford, tweets Morosi. They're also said to be the current favorites for Grant Balfour.
  • A rival executive estimated that the Phillies would have to eat about 40 to 50 percent of Jonathan Papelbon's remaining salary to trade him, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Papelbon is owed $13MM in each of the next two seasons and has a vesting option for a fifth year.
  • The Rockies have had discussions with Joaquin Benoit but are a ways apart in terms of salary, Morosi reports. Talks between the two sides are fading, as Benoit appears likely to seek a more lucrative deal elsewhere (Twitter links).
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted yesterday that when the dust settles from the Winter Meetings, Matt Guerrier's name could be a of interest to the Indians.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that even after re-signing Juan Carlos Oviedo and acquiring Heath Bell, the Rays are still looking to improve their bullpen. One option could be injured lefty Jordan Norberto, who underwent Tommy John surgery last season.

Cubs Notes: Guerrier, Arrieta, Strop, Offseason

Here's the latest from Wrigleyville….

  • Matt Guerrier will be sidelined for the next 6-8 months after undergoing flexor mass surgery on his throwing arm today, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports.  Guerrier posted a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 IP for the Cubs after being acquired from the Dodgers in July.  The 35-year-old righty will be a free agent this winter and has said he would like to re-sign with the Cubs.  Given his injury situation, one would think Guerrier will be limited to a minor league deal this offseason.
  • The Scott Feldman trade is looking like a win for the Cubs thus far, ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine notes, as Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop have both pitched well since coming to Chicago.  Arrieta allowed two hits over seven shutout innings in today's 7-0 Cubs win over the Cardinals, dropping Arrieta's ERA to 0.69 in two starts with his new club.  Strop, meanwhile, has a 2.41 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings as a Cub.
  • In a live chat with Cubs fans, ESPN's Jesse Rogers predicts a relatively quiet winter for the Cubs, with "more turnover in pitching than anywhere else," though he doesn't think the Cubs will make a big splash for someone like David Price.  Rogers thinks outfielders Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus will both stick with the team until at least the middle of next season

AL East Notes: Yankees, Red Sox, Young

Yesterday, the Orioles made the first significant splash of the trade season by acquiring Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger from the Cubs in exchange for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and additional international bonus money. Here's more from the AL East…

  • The Yankees' haven't gotten a lot of production out of their younger players, and that's a big problem, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman writes that the Bombers may have less 20-something talent than any AL East team.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com looks at how the Red Sox are getting ready for the trade deadline at the end of this month.  While they'll look to upgrade when a deal makes sense, they'll also try to keep things in-house where ever possible.  "We've had some turnover at [third base] and in [the bullpen]," GM Ben Cherington said, "but right now we believe there is a good chance the solutions are internal. We'll keep an eye out in these areas and any other that crops up between now and the deadline."
  • The entire baseball world is trying to guess what Phillies GM Ruben Amaro might do at the deadline, but rival scouts and execs expect him to at least move Yankees trade target Michael Young, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
  • The Red Sox weren't in the mix for Matt Guerrier despite lacking a ground ball-oriented reliever, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports via Twitter, citing an industry source.
  • Potential trade targets for the Yankees include Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd, and Matt Warden of River Ave. Blues breaks down what they could bring to the Bronx. Warden included Josh Willingham on his list as well, but that was before the news that the Twins' slugger will miss four to six weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Aaron Steen and Steve Adams contributed to this post.



Dodgers, Cubs Swap Guerrier, Marmol

In a swap of relievers who had been designated for assignment, the Cubs announced they have acquired Matt Guerrier from the Dodgers for Carlos Marmol and Chicago's fourth international signing bonus slot.  That slot is worth $209,700 in pool money, announced the Dodgers, who had a pool of $2,112,900.  Marmol

Of Marmol's $9.8MM salary this year, about $4.8MM remains.  The Cubs will pay nearly $2MM of his salary, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown, plus the aforementioned pool money.  Guerrier earns $3.75MM this year (plus a $750K installment of his signing bonus) in the final season of his three-year deal with Los Angeles. He has about $2.34MM remaining, so the Cubs will only save about $500K in the deal, as noted by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times (on Twitter).

ESPN's Jayson Stark adds that if the Dodgers end up releasing Marmol and he signs with another team, the Cubs will need to send additional money to the Dodgers (Twitter link).

Marmol had become a symbol for the Cubs' struggles this year, with a 5.86 ERA, 6.8 BB/9, and 1.95 HR/9 in 27 2/3 innings.  He began the season as the team's closer, apparently as a way of building trade value, but lost the job after allowing five runs in his first three outings.  Marmol, a converted catcher/outfielder, joined the team's bullpen in 2007, snagged an All-Star nod in '08, and ascended to the Cubs' closing job late in 2009.  He peaked in 2010, striking out nearly 42% of batters faced while racking up 38 saves.  That season earned him a three-year, $20MM extension in February 2011.  Marmol had always had major problems with walks, and now the team has finally moved him in a bad contract swap.  During November of last year, it seemed like Marmol was headed to the Angels for Dan Haren before the Cubs pulled the plug and the Halos declined Haren's club option. 

The Dodgers will send Marmol to the minors for a few outings, notes ESPN's Keith Law.  The Dodgers are second-to-last in bullpen ERA in the NL, with a 4.39 mark.  The club is eight games out in the wild card; should they pull closer to contention perhaps they'll acquire a more stable reliever.

Guerrier, 34, posted a 4.80 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.90 HR/9, and 42.6% groundball rate in 30 innings for the Dodgers this year before being designated for assignment.  The Dodgers signed him to a three-year, $12MM deal in December 2010, with that third year serving as the kicker.  The Cubs also added Pedro Strop to their bullpen earlier today; they may yet ship closer Kevin Gregg to a contender.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Dodgers Designate Matt Guerrier For Assignment

The Dodgers announced that they have designated right-handed pitcher Matt Guerrier for assignment.  The move will allow the club to recall right-handed pitcher Chris Withrow from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Guerrier posted a 4.80 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 34 games for the Dodgers this season.  In all three seasons for the Dodgers, Guerrier owns a a 4.24 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 across 120 appearances.  The right-hander came to the Dodgers as a free agent in December of 2010.


Dodgers Notes: Rotation, Uribe, Mattingly

Despite their rotation surplus, Ned Colletti and the Dodgers are "in no rush" to trade a starting pitcher, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with minor injuries, and Ted Lilly is coming back from shoulder surgery. Even if all the Dodgers' starting pitchers are healthy, one scenario might be for Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to begin the season in the bullpen.

Previous reports have indicated that other teams may be trying to force the Dodgers into a tough spot by lowballing them on trade offers until the need to set their 25-man roster forces L.A. to make a decision about how to handle its eight starting pitchers. If one of their starters isn't healthy or if the Dodgers are willing to use several of their starters in relief, that negotiation tactic might not work. Forcing a number of starters to the bullpen, though, would simply move the logjam from one part of the team to another, where it might affect pitchers like Matt Guerrier and a number of younger relievers. Here are more notes from the Dodgers.

  • The Dodgers may eat the remaining $8MM on Juan Uribe's contract, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports, but Uribe is trying to recast himself as a utilityman who can also back up Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Uribe's three-year, $21MM contract, signed after the 2010 season, almost immediately proved to be a poor investment, as Uribe hit .204/264/.293 in the first year of the deal, then .191/.258/.284 in 2012.
  • Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says his team should consider letting him go if the team does not make the playoffs, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. "If we can't get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice. There's a ton of talent here," Mattingly says. Mattingly is not under contract for 2014, and Shaikin reports that Mattingly does not expect to receive a contract extension before the season starts.

Dodgers ‘Open For Business’

The Dodgers are "open for business," according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The Los Angeles front office will consider trading potentially useful veterans including Hiroki Kuroda, Jamey Carroll, Ted Lilly, Juan Uribe, Matt Guerrier and others. 

Peter Gammons reported over the weekend that the Dodgers, now 42-55, are looking to shed salary. Kuroda is drawing interest and may require compensation to accept a deal, though he the Dodgers may decide to keep him. The Brewers, who are looking to acquire help on the left side of the infield, have checked in on Carroll.


Antony On Nishioka, Hardy, Pavano, Liriano, More

Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony recently sat down for a chat with Jesse Lund from Twinkie Town to discuss a variety of topics. Let's recap the hot stove talk…

  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka first popped up on the team's radar after Antony mentioned to his agent that the team was looking to get more athletic on the infield. This was long before they decided to trade J.J. Hardy.
  • The Twins believe Nishioka is a good player, but they understand there might be a bit of a transition period. Not just for the move to MLB, but the move to the United States. They've hired an interpreter for Nishioka, and don't believe the additional Japanese media will be an issue in the clubhouse.
  • The three-year, $9MM contract Nishioka signed was "exactly what we pretty much anticipated and were willing to give." They were trying to add speed and athleticism to the lineup, but no one on the free agent market jumped out at them, hence the pursuit of Nishioka.
  • Hardy was expected to make $5MM+ in 2011 (he eventually signed for $5.85MM), and the team "just decided that we wanted to put that money into other areas." Carl Pavano, Jim Thome, and most of the bullpen were free agents, so they had to prioritize. "Trying to fit all those guys into a budget was going to be impossible."
  • The Twins had conversations with other teams about Hardy, but there were never any real offers. The trade with Baltimore was "by far [their] best opportunity to make a deal." It became apparent that Brendan Harris wasn't a fit anymore, hence his inclusion in the trade.
  • Antony says the Twins like Rule 5 Draft pick Scott Diamond in long relief, and Dusty Hughes' success against Minnesota last year played a role in claiming him off waivers.
  • Although they would have liked to retain Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, and Brian Fuentes, the Twins just "couldn't compete" with the multyear offers they were receiving as free agents.
  • Thome decided that Minnesota was where he wanted to be after talking with his family, and the money didn't appear to be much of an issue.
  • Antony expected Pavano to get two or three years at $10-11MM per season, and he knows the Brewers had some interest in the right-hander. Pavano's agent basically told the Twins he wanted to play there, and he wasn't a guy that was "chasing the last dollar."
  • Rumors of Francisco Liriano being available in a trade were just that, rumors. As far as a multiyear deal with the lefty, Antony said there "can be many reasons why you don't consummate a multiyear deal, and sometimes the player doesn't want to, sometimes the club doesn't want to, sometimes you just don't agree on numbers, or whatever. So we're not going to talk about any of our negotiations with that or anything else, but he was a big part of our rotation. We're not talking to anybody right now on Francisco Liriano."
  • The team is at the "far reaches" of where they can go with payroll, so they tried to maintain flexibility for 2012 by not doing any multiyears deals this offseason (aside from Pavano).
  • "If the right deal arises and we can improve our ballclub, we could look at it from that point of view," said Antony, regarding a potential trade involving one of the team's excess starting pitchers. "I don't think we'd trade away one of our starting pitchers for a middle reliever or something. It would have to be something that would make sense for us. And a trade isn't even the most likely scenario, it's a possible scenario."

Antony also talked about Justin Morneau's health, Delmon Young's breakout, injury concerns, minor league prospects, and much, much more. Make sure you give it a read.


Twins Notes: Pavano, Liriano, Crain, Punto

Let's take a look at some Twins tidbits..

  • The Twins and Carl Pavano are still close to a deal but appear to be in a temporary holding pattern, writes Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.  The sides still have some details to work out but they've agreed to put the talks on hold through Tuesday. 
  • Tabling the talks with Pavano should allow the Twins to focus on their potential arbitration cases.  Matt Capps, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, and Delmon Young are all scheduled to swap figures with the Twins on Tuesday.  Christensen points out that the Twins settled all eight of their potential arbitration cases at the eleventh hour last year.
  • The Twins made some attempts to retain Jesse Crain but ultimately knew that relievers Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, and Jon Rauch would sign elsewhere, according to Christensen.
  • Nick Punto is still on the open market but the Twins don't have any plans to bring the infielder back, writes Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune.  Punto, 33, has spent the last seven years with the Twins, hitting .248/.323/.324.

Dodgers To Sign Matt Guerrier

The Dodgers signed Matt Guerrier to a three-year deal, the team announced today. The deal is for $12MM over three years, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Newsday's Erik Boland first reported the agreement (on Twitter). 

The right-hander joins Scott Downs and Joaquin Benoit as the setup relievers to agree to three-year contracts this winter. Guerrier will not cost a draft pick, since the Twins declined to offer him arbitration. 

Guerrier led the league in appearances in 2008-09 and pitched in 74 games this past season. Not only is he durable, he is a ground ball pitcher with a career 2.7 K/BB ratio against righties. That figure drops against lefties (1.5 K/BB), but he induces more ground balls against them.

However, defense independent pitching stats like FIP and xFIP suggest Guerrier's 3.17 ERA would have been higher if he had been less lucky in 2010. He posted solid ratios of 5.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 last year, but both rates were better in 2009.

The Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays also expressed interest in the 32-year-old this offseason. Boston offered a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2013, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The Rockies also bid on Guerrier, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).

When I examined Guerrier's free agent stock earlier in the offseason, I expected him to land a one-year deal, so agent Joe Bick deserves credit for taking advantage of a player-friendly market.