Matt Guerrier Rumors
3:46pm: Guerrier's agent informed Miller that his report was inaccurate (Twitter link). Guerrier is not looking for a Benoit-like contract.
3:15pm: Emboldened by Joaquin Benoit's $16.5MM deal with the Tigers, Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain are looking for similar contracts, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Like Benoit, Crain (a Type B free agent) and Guerrier (who wasn't offered arbitration) can be signed without surrendering a draft pick. The former Twins are durable and effective, so they're drawing interest from multiple teams.
Despite the Benoit deal, clubs are reluctant to hand middle relievers multiyear deals worth $5MM per season. One NL GM told Miller that there's "no way in hell" he'd endorse that kind of signing. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein recently told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that some deals are exceptions and don't necessarily represent the market.
"Sometimes when there’s a contract that exceeds expectations early, it can embolden players and agents within that subset of players who have a similar resume,” Epstein said. “Time will tell whether they get attached to that contract or it’s an outlier contract.”
Brandon Lyon signed a three-year, $15MM deal at the Winter Meetings last year before the market settled and comparable relievers signed for less guaranteed money.
As I get ready to settle in for more overnight coverage for our around-the-clock coverage of the 2010 Winter Meetings, here's some Twins info for you fellow creatures of the night, courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III:
- It will be up to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire whether or not Tsuyoshi Nishioka will play second base or shortstop if the Twins sign the Japanese batting champ. That decision, of course, will likely impact the club's plans for J.J. Hardy, who is known to be on the trading block. Earlier tonight we learned that the Twins offered Nishioka a multiyear deal.
- Twins GM Bill Smith wouldn't rule out the possibility of Hardy, Nishioka, and Alexi Casilla all being on the roster in 2011, but remember that Gardenhire did voice a desire for more speed (which Casilla has and Hardy does not).
- Neal wonders if the Twins would pursue Joel Hanrahan in a potential Hardy deal with Pittsburgh. It's a logical target, but we heard earlier today that any return for Hanrahan or Evan Meek would need to be "very significant." One year of Hardy doesn't fit that bill if you ask me.
- Smith told Neal that he doesn't think the ship on Carl Pavano has sailed. Pavano and agent Tom O'Connell are in no hurry to sign, though Neal mentions that Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony was supposed to meet with O'Connell today.
- Justin Morneau's doctor doesn't think there's any doubt that he'll be ready to take the field in Spring Training. Morneau was enjoying perhaps the best season in all of MLB prior to suffering a concussion just before the All-Star Break.
- Another injured Twins All-Star, Joe Nathan, is making strong progress in his return. The Twins tendered Matt Capps a contract this past week, likely as insurance for the ninth inning should Nathan not be ready early on in 2011. Even with a healthy Nathan, Minnesota's bullpen needs some work, as four of their relievers are hitting free agency.
- Neal doesn't think the Twins have a chance to bring back Jesse Crain or Matt Guerrier in 2011. Both relievers have been connected to multiple teams. Neither will cost a draft pick to sign.
- Neal heard that the Twins have some interest in Sean White, though he cautions that he's checking to see if that rumor is still current.
- Chris Tillman's name has been mentioned in connection with the Mark Reynolds trade rumors, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic thinks the D'Backs "seem to like" David Hernandez more, but Hernandez would be just one piece of what's likely to be a pitcher-centric package (Twitter links).
- The O's are one of three teams known to be exploring a Reynolds deal, but they're the ones with "the heaviest interest" in the third baseman according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The Blue Jays and Padres, in fact, "strongly deny" that they're even pursuing Reynolds.
- "Some progress has been made" between the Orioles and Koji Uehara, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The club has been keeping in touch with Uehara's agent and Zrebiec says team officials "feel pretty good" about their ability to re-sign the reliever.
- Zrebiec also notes that Baltimore has been in discussions about a number of free agent relievers and have contacted the representatives of Grant Balfour, Jesse Crain, Scott Downs, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier and Kerry Wood. The O's "have at least one offer out" to one of these pitchers, Zrebiec says.
- Baltimore has contacted Bobby Jenks' agent, reports Zrebiec in another piece.
- From that same article, Zrebiec writes "the next person I speak to in the organization who feels the O’s have a shot at Konerko would be the first." The Orioles' interest in Konerko is "largely overblown" and most insiders feel Konerko will re-sign with the White Sox.
The Blue Jays are showing interest in reliever Matt Guerrier, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The right-hander was not offered arbitration by Minnesota and therefore will not cost a top draft pick. Had he received an arbitration offer from the Twins, he would have been a Type A free agent.
Guerrier posted a 3.17 ERA in 2010 with 5.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 74 appearances. The 32-year-old earned $3.15MM this season and our own Ben Nicholson-Smith doesn't see him making more than $4-5MM in 2011.
Not only are the Dodgers interested in Johnny Damon and a number of catchers, they're attempting to sign one or two setup men, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Jesse Crain, Jason Frasor and Matt Guerrier are high on their shopping list.
Crain, a Type B free agent, declined arbitration from the Twins, but he won't cost the Dodgers or any other team a draft pick. Since Guerrier was not offered arbitration, he won't cost a top draft pick, either. Frasor, a former Dodger farmhand, would have cost a top pick, but he accepted arbitration from the Blue Jays.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has locked up Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland, Juan Uribe, Jay Gibbons and Dana Eveland since the regular season ended. Los Angeles also acquired Blake Hawksworth for Ryan Theriot today.
The Red Sox have shown interest in Matt Guerrier, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The reliever is a free agent for the first time this winter, after earning $3.15MM in 2010, his final year of arbitration eligibility.
Guerrier, who has spent his entire big league career in Minnesota, was not offered arbitration by the Twins this week. As a Type A free agent, the right-hander may have had trouble securing a deal with another team if he turned down arbitration. With no arb offer though, the 32-year-old is free to sign with any club without costing them a draft pick.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined Guerrier's free agent stock earlier this week, concluding that the righty may not receive multiyear offers due to some mediocre peripheral numbers and a deep free agent class. However, as a workhorse that has made at least 73 appearances in each of the last four seasons, Guerrier should draw plenty of interest on a short-term deal. For their part, the Red Sox are looking to improve a bullpen that ranked 12th in the AL in ERA (4.24) in 2010.
Matt Guerrier probably caught a break when the Twins decided not to offer him arbitration earlier this week. Fellow Type As Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor and Grant Balfour all got offers of arbitration and will cost picks, but teams can sign the 32-year-old Guerrier without having to surrender a draft choice. Here's a detailed look at his free agent stock:
- Guerrier led the league in appearances in 2008-09 and pitched in 74 games this past season.
- He induces more grounders than fly balls.
- His slider is excellent.
- Guerrier has a 2.7 K/BB ratio against right-handed hittters in his career.
- He has just a 1.5 K/BB ratio against left-handed hitters in his career, but he does induce more groundballs against them (55%).
- As mentioned earlier, it won't cost a pick to sign Guerrier.
- 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 5.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 last year. That's not spectacular and both rates were better in 2009.
- The free agent market is flush with right-handed relievers, so Guerrier won't have much leverage.
The Twins are one of many teams that could use a steady arm like Guerrier's. MLB.com's Kelly Thesier wrote last month that they seem more likely to retain Guerrier and Jesse Crain than their other free agent relievers.
The market has played out favorably for at least one reliever, but Guerrier doesn't have the gaudy numbers that Joaquin Benoit does. Teams will have interest in someone with a history of effectiveness and durability, but I will be surprised if Guerrier earns more than $4-5MM on a one-year deal.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Scott Downs (A) Jason Frasor (A) Kevin Gregg (B) Miguel Olivo (B), according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisolm (on Twitter).
- The Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano (A), Jesse Crain (B) and Orlando Hudson (B) and declined to offer arbitration to Matt Guerrier (A), Brian Fuentes (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays offered arbitration to Grant Balfour (A), Carl Crawford (A), Rafael Soriano (A), Randy Choate (B), Brad Hawpe (B) and Chad Qualls (B), according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. They did not offer Dan Wheeler (A) or Carlos Pena (B) arbitration. It seems possible that Hawpe has agreed in advance to turn down arbitration.
- The Orioles won't offer arbitration to Koji Uehara (B) or Kevin Millwood (B), according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
- The Angels declined to offer Hideki Matsui (B) arbitration, the team announced.
- The Rangers offered arbitration to Cliff Lee (A) and Frank Francisco (A), but not to Vladimir Guerrero (A) and Bengie Molina (A), according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The Yankees will offer arbitration to Javier Vazquez (B), but not to any of their other free agents, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday on Twitter. Andy Pettitte (A), Derek Jeter (A), Mariano Rivera (A), Lance Berkman (B) and Kerry Wood (B) were the team's other ranked free agents. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Yankees would offer Vazquez arbitration and noted that the right-hander has agreed to reject the offer, a common gentleman's agreement that can take place with Type B free agents. Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger first reported on Twitter that the Yankees would not offer Jeter arbitration.
- The Red Sox offered arbitration to Adrian Beltre (A), Victor Martinez (A) and Felipe Lopez (B), but not to Mike Lowell (B) or Jason Varitek (B), according to the team.
- The White Sox offered arbitration to Paul Konerko (A) and J.J. Putz (B), but not to A.J. Pierzynski (A) or Manny Ramirez (A) according to the team (on Twitter).
- As expected, the Tigers announced that they will not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, including Scott Boras clients Magglio Ordonez (A), Johnny Damon (B), and Gerald Laird (B).
It’s not easy to imagine a bullpen with more question marks than Minnesota’s. That's not to say the Twins don’t have quality relievers, it’s just hard to predict which ones will return in 2011. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com breaks down the team’s bullpen, which includes six free agents and a non-tender candidate.
Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Ron Mahay and Randy Flores all hit free agency but they won’t all return. Thesier says the Twins are not likely to keep Mahay or Flores and seem most likely to target Crain and Guerrier.
Crain, who ranks as a Type B free agent, says he loves Minnesota but would like the chance to close. That won’t happen if he stays put, since Joe Nathan should return from Tommy John surgery next year. Matt Capps, who saved 42 games in 2010, figures to be next in line for saves.
The Nathan-Capps duo promises to be effective, but it will definitely be expensive. Nathan earns $11.25MM next year and Capps will get a raise from his $3.5MM salary through arbitration.
If the Twins lose certain pitchers after offering arbitration, they could gain picks in next year’s draft. Crain, Rauch and Fuentes rank as Type B free agents and could each bring the Twins a supplementary first round pick. Guerrier is a Type A free agent, so the Twins would get two top picks if he leaves after declining arbitration.
Let's round up the highlights from Nick Cafardo's Sunday column for the Boston Globe....
- One AL executive tells Cafardo that he's never seen so many candidates interviewed for managerial openings: "It’s amazing to me that you wouldn’t know within, say, two or three candidates who you want. But I guess in some cases the GM’s job is also on the line if he picks the wrong guy."
- Matt Stairs would like to play for at least one more season. While he says he'd like to return to Boston, he concedes that he'd probably play "anywhere."
- An NL scout was positive about A.J. Pierzynski, suggesting that he'll be one of the most attractive catching options on the free agent market, behind Victor Martinez and John Buck. "With A.J., you know he’s not going to throw people out," said the scout. "But there’s nothing wrong with his receiving and he can still hit. I know the fire he has can rub people the wrong way, but I think that’s great for a team."
- Brandon Inge has a good chance of landing a starting role this winter, given the lack of free agent third base options after Adrian Beltre. However, Cafardo wonders if Inge could eventually become a Bill Hall-esque utility player, given his ability to play a few different positions.
- Possible bullpen targets for the Red Sox include Joaquin Benoit, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, and Brian Fuentes.
- A market appears to be developing for Lance Berkman. Teams like the Rockies, Orioles, Mets, Blue Jays, and Diamondbacks could have interest.
- Carlos Delgado underwent another hip procedure two and a half weeks ago, but is rehabbing the hip and feels like he'll be able to play in 2011.