Matt Guerrier Rumors
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe names the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings in his newest piece, with the Red Sox, Nationals, and White Sox topping his list of winners. Cafardo also shares a handful of hot stove notes. Here are the highlights:
- Before they signed Carl Crawford, the Red Sox "did a ton of work" on Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Beltran.
- Carl Pavano figures to wait for Cliff Lee to sign, so he can see the type of offers he receives as the top pitcher on the market. Cafardo thinks Pavano could be a backup plan for the Rangers if they don't land Lee, though the Twins still remain the favorites for the 34-year-old. Texas has also inquired on Matt Garza and James Shields.
- The White Sox will listen to offers for Mark Buehrle, whose contract expires after the 2011 season. Buehrle earned ten and five rights this year, so he'd have the option of vetoing any trade.
- Agent Scott Boras says a strong market is developing for Kevin Millwood.
- Team officials that spoke to Cafardo had mixed opinions on free agent backstop Russell Martin. One opined that Martin "can't call a game," while another raved about the enthusiasm the catcher brings each day.
- According to Cafardo, the Red Sox were the only team to discuss Justin Upton with the Diamondbacks, balking at Kevin Towers' insistence that Daniel Bard be included in a potential deal.
- The Astros would have interest in trading Matt Lindstrom and Jeff Keppinger.
- Grant Balfour is seeking a three-year contract. The Red Sox have looked into him, but are hoping Matt Guerrier will accept their offer. As Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston noted today (via Twitter), Guerrier is one of the top relief targets for Boston, along with Brian Fuentes and Jesse Crain.
- The Red Sox have made an offer to reliever Matt Guerrier, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier (as passed along in a tweet from WEEI.com's Rob Bradford).
- Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review looks at how Jay Bruce's extension might influence a future extension offer from the Pirates to Andrew McCutchen.
- Lyle Overbay would be a familiar solution to Toronto's search for a first base/DH partner for Adam Lind, but MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm thinks Overbay "does not appear to be a good fit" since Overbay wants an everyday job. Chisholm's piece also contains several quotes from Alex Anthopoulos from the winter meetings and what the Jays might look to do during the rest of the offseason.
- The Indians and Nick Punto had "meaningful negotiations" at the winter meetings, reports MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- Manny Ramirez will receive $15MM in deferred payments from the Dodgers over the next three years and $1.94MM for each of the next 16 years from the Red Sox, reports Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (with a tip of the cap to Cot's Baseball Contracts).
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looks back at the 11-year contract Dave Stieb signed with the Blue Jays before the 1985 season.
- Also from Stone, Jack Zduriencik says the Mariners could be in the market for an extra infielder.
4:34pm: The Pirates have inquired on Aaron Heilman as a reliever, MLBTR has learned. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter) that the Pirates are not targeting Matt Guerrier.
1:42pm: The Pirates are showing interest in and making offers to a number of free agent relievers, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He says they were in on J.J. Putz before he reached an agreement with Arizona and are looking at guys like Kevin Gregg. I'm told the Pirates showed lukewarm interest in Hiroyuki Kobayashi, only on a minor league deal.
The Pirates already have Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan as closer candidates, so it appears they're trying to once again build a late-inning reliever surplus. It worked well with Octavio Dotel this year.
5:32pm: GM Theo Epstein told reporters, including Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox have made "a number" of offers to free agent relievers, some left-handed, some right-handed.
4:36pm: Like the Reds and Phillies, the Red Sox have some interest in Arthur Rhodes, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The lefty does not appear to be close to deciding on his next team.
2:24am: Signing Type A relievers and surrendering a draft pick is a risky proposition, as the swings in any reliever's performance from year-to-year can be wild, and they simply don't impact a large amount of innings over the course of a season.
WEEI.com's Alex Speier tells us that may not stop the Red Sox from pursuing Scott Downs, however, despite the fact that he'd cost Boston a first-round pick. Speier's source also says that the club wouldn't give up a pick to sign Grant Balfour to the multi-year deal he's seeking, and he cites multiple industry sources saying the club is interested in Matt Guerrier after the Twins declined to offer him arbitration.
As Speier points out, Downs has some of the most dominant numbers in history for a reliever during his age 31-34 seasons, and the Red Sox have taken note of the division rival's excellence. Since 2007, Downs has compiled a 2.36 ERA with a 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over 236 2/3 innings, while being a stickler for home runs (0.5 HR/9). He's been a menace to left-handed hitters, but it's worth noting that the highest OPS right-handers have managed off him in that timeframe is .643.
Guerrier, 32, has appeared in 70 or more innings every year since his first full season in 2005, with the exception of 2006 -- when he came one out short of the mark. While his career peripherals (5.9 K/9, 45.7% GB%, 4.44 FIP) don't dazzle, Guerrier has managed to out-perform them year-in and year-out. He's led the league in appearances twice (2008 and 2009) and has a career ERA of 3.38 to his name to go along with solid control (2.8 BB/9).
Epstein said Monday that the Red Sox will acquire multiple relievers via trade or free agency, but as he points out in this quote relayed from Speier, teams may be waiting for some distance from the Joaquin Benoit signing:
“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,” said Epstein. “Time will tell whether they get attached to that contract or it’s an outlier contract.”
The Red Sox haven't surrendered a draft pick to sign a reliever since 2004 with Keith Foulke, but Downs could change that trend, especially if the Red Sox end up receiving additional first-round and supplemental picks for the departures of Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre, and Felipe Lopez.
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.