Matt Lindstrom Rumors

Rockies, Lindstrom Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Rockies agreed to a two-year deal with Matt Lindstrom, avoiding arbitration, according to the team (on Twitter). The $6.6MM deal includes a club option for a third year, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links). Lindstrom will earn $2.8MM in 2011 and $3.6MM in 2012 with a club option for $4MM in 2013, according to Renck.

Lindstrom was arbitration eligible for the second time after earning $1.63MM in 2010. This extension covers his two remaining seasons as an arbitraiton eligible player and the option covers his first season of free agency.

The Rockies acquired the right-hander from the Astros this winter after he posted a 4.39 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 53 1/3 innings. Along with Lindstrom, Matt Belisle (who also avoided arbitration with the Rockies), Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt provide manager Jim Tracy with a number of proven late-inning options.

Ian Stewart, Felipe Paulino and Jason Hammel are the team's remaining unsigned arbitration eligible players, as MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows.


Odds & Ends: Diamondbacks, Lindstrom, Lee, Ramirez

Merry Christmas everyone!  Let's see what tidbits of information Santa has for us under the tree..


Rockies Acquire Matt Lindstrom

The Rockies have acquired Matt Lindstrom from the Astros in exchange for minor league pitchers Jonnathan Aristil and Wes Musick, according to a Houston team press release. 

Lindstrom, 31 in February, posted a 4.39 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 23 saves in his first season as an Astro. He logged 53 1/3 innings and posted a 48.9 % ground ball rate.  This marks the second consecutive offseason (third time overall) that Lindstrom has been traded; the Mets sent him to the Marlins in 2006 and the Marlins sent him to the Astros just over a year ago. 

Lindstrom earned $1.625MM in 2010 and will make over $2MM through arbitration next year. He's under team control through 2012.  The right-hander joins Huston Street, Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt at the back of the Rockies' 'pen. This addition could limit the Rockies' interest in David Aardsma, Jon Rauch, Chad Qualls, Todd Coffey and Matt Guerrier.

Aristil, 24, was an infielder when he signed a free agent contract with Colorado in 2003.  Since converting to pitching in 2006, the right-hander has posted a 4.47 ERA in 113 appearances, 53 of them starts and just 12 of which came above the Single-A level.

Musick, 23, is a left-hander whom the Astros originally drafted in the 46th round of the 2005 draft, but Musick chose to attend the University of Houston instead.  Picked by the Rockies in the ninth round of the 2009 draft, Musick has posted impressive numbers in his first two pro seasons — a 3.78 ERA, 8.5 K/9 rate, a 2.1 BB/9 rate and an even 4.00 K/BB ratio in 30 games (28 of them starts).

MLB.com's Thomas Harding was the first to report that Lindstrom was on his way to Colorado, while ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported earlier this afternoon that the Astros were nearing a deal for the reliever.  Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle was the first to report Musick's inclusion in the deal, while Astros director of social media Alyson Footer tweeted the news about Aristil.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk contributed to this post



Astros Working On Potential Matt Lindstrom Deal

The Astros are working hard on a possible trade involving Matt Lindstrom, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The Rockies are looking for relief help and appeared interested when Lindstrom became available earlier this month. They are one possible suitor for Lindstrom, but there's a long list of teams with potential interest in right-handed middle relievers.

Lindstrom, 31 in February, posted a 4.39 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 23 saves in his first season as an Astro. He logged 53 1/3 innings and posted a 48.9 % ground ball rate. Lindstrom earned $1.625MM in 2010 and will make over $2MM through arbitration next year. He's under team control through 2012.


Cafardo’s Latest: Red Sox, Pavano, Buehrle, Millwood

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.

Astros Make Lindstrom, Keppinger Available

5:03pm: The Rockies are interested in Lindstrom, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).

10:03am: The Astros are looking to trade reliever Matt Lindstrom and infielder Jeff Keppinger as a means of cutting payroll, reports Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.  Both players are arbitration eligible for the second time and should pass the $2MM salary mark in 2011.

Keppinger should draw interest in a weak middle infield market, but Lindstrom's stock is hurt by the strong supply of righty relievers and the back problems that caused him to end the season on a sour note.


Crasnick On The Bullpen Market

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick does a nice job profiling the underwhelming market for relievers.  The Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Rays, Phillies, and Twins could be looking to make an acquisition.  A few tidbits…

  • The Astros "will gladly talk about Brandon Lyon, but aren't so interested in discussing Matt Lindstrom."  Lyon is still owed $12.48MM through 2012.
  • Crasnick points out that Octavio Dotel is not a pitcher you want facing lefties.  How about D.J. Carrasco?  He's quietly having another decent year, he's cheap, and he's under team control through 2012.  Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted yesterday that at least five teams have inquired.
  • Crasnick finds "the consensus" to be that Mariners closer David Aardsma will be dealt before the deadline.  The Tigers have been linked to the hard-throwing righty, whose ERA is up several runs this year despite his strikeout and walk rates remaining stable.  Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times feels the Mariners would need their socks knocked off to move Aardsma. 
  • Chad Qualls, Clay Hensley, and most of the Brewers' and Royals' pens also merit consideration as trade bait.

Odds & Ends: Royals, Fielder, Cameron, Park

Some Sunday links to browse….


Discussion: Carlos Lee

Since their team won the NL pennant in 2005, Astros fans have had reason to feel frustrated.  A roster that has included the likes of Lance Berkman, Wandy Rodriguez, Roy Oswalt and future Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio has averaged just under 79 wins per year since that World Series appearance. 

This unimpressive stretch of play has led some fans to argue that club should give up on its hopes of contending over the next few seasons and focus on re-stocking its minor-league system.  However, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes pointed out in his Offseason Outlook piece last October, this is a team that "could contend with the right free agent additions."  In the wide-open NL Central, the Astros seem to be perpetually just a player away from a playoff berth.  Even in 2006, when the club finished 82-80, they still finished just 1.5 games behind the eventual World Series-champion Cardinals.

This winter has provided the same mixed message from Houston, following its 74-88 record in 2009.  Owner Drayton McLane spoke about the importance of developing young talent in an interview with The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice last June, but the Astros' offseason moves (trading for reliever Matt Lindstrom and signing free agents Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon and Pedro Feliz) make it seem like Houston is once again reloading rather than rebuilding.

If the Astros ever did commit to a rebuild, however, the most obvious candidates for a deal would be their three biggest contracts: Berkman, Oswalt and Carlos Lee.  Houston has $2MM buyouts on Berkman's contract in 2011 and Oswalt's contract in 2012, but most people agree that these two iconic Astros seem destined to retire with the franchise. 

That leaves Lee, who is owed $18.5MM per season through 2012.  The outfielder has performed well in his three years in Houston (.305/.354/.524) but may be showing signs of a decline.  His 26 homers and .831 OPS last season were his lowest totals in each category since 2002 and 2005, respectively.  MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says that between Lee's big contract, poor defense (a -4.6 UZR/150 according to Fangraphs), full no-trade clause and a desire to stay in Texas due to his ranch business, Lee is "about as untradeable as they come."

Let's speculate, for a moment, that Lee could be persuaded (probably through a cash bonus) to leave the ranch behind and agree to a deal.  Houston would almost surely have to eat at least half of Lee's remaining contract in any trade, but for a big-market AL team that could afford to pick up the other half, Lee would be an intriguing DH option.

Perhaps the best fit is Chicago.  Much has been written about Ozzie Guillen's DH-by-committee plan for the upcoming season, and the White Sox seem committed enough to the idea to pass on signing Jim Thome.  But if the Sox find themselves in a pennant race and their platoon of designated hitting options (Omar Vizquel?  Really?) isn't working out, then they could make a play for an everyday DH.  Lee would fit that bill and, since he spent the first six seasons of his career with the White Sox, might be amenable to waive his no-trade clause to return to a familiar location.

This scenario is, admittedly, a longshot.  It's much more likely that, no matter if the Astros choose to keep aiming for contention or commit to a proper rebuilding process, Lee will be a constant in the Astros' outfield.  You could say that Lee is Houston's answer to Vernon Wells — an unwieldly contract that is too big to trade and also takes up enough of the payroll to hamstring the team from making other moves.


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.

(more…)


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