Matt Cain Rumors
The Giants extended the contracts of GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy through 2013 earlier today. Here's the latest from San Fran...
- Sabean told John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle that he will speak to Carlos Beltran's camp today (Twitter link). "It's a fluid situation as well as other conversations we're in," said the GM.
- "There won't be any big splashes," said Sabean to Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News (on Twitter). He added that there would be no "sticker shock" acquisitions.
- Sabean is "not sure" if the team will be able to re-sign Cody Ross, according to Baggarly (on Twitter).
- Bobby Evans, the Giants vice president of baseball operations, said the team has exchanged "broad numbers and ideas" with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain about contract extensions, reports Baggarly (on Twitter). Lincecum is reportedly seeking a one or two-year deal.
While we heard earlier today that the Giants are more focused on a long-term extension for Tim Lincecum than fellow starter Matt Cain, team president Larry Baer says the club is trying to lock up Matt Cain as well, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. Heyman adds that the Giants may prefer deals of approximately four years.
Here are a few other items of interest from the National League West:
- The Padres are preparing for the Rule 5 draft with some minor moves. They've requested waivers on Alberto Gonzalez, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (Twitter link), and will remove Jeremy Hermida from the roster later in the week, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (via Twitter).
- Rusty Ryal signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks after having spent a year in Japan, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter).
- The Rockies met with Milton Bradley's agents today, tweets Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The latest out of the NL West...
- Signing Tim Lincecum to a multiyear deal is at the top of the Giants' agenda, reports SI's Jon Heyman. The Giants are aiming for at least a four-year deal, which would buy out two years of free agency. Though Matt Cain is a year closer to free agency, Heyman says the focus is more on Lincecum. Heyman believes Lincecum's agents at Beverly Hills Sports Council could file as high as $25MM in arbitration this winter, in my opinion a risky move if the Giants come in around $20MM. For more on Lincecum's historic arbitration case, click here.
- The Rockies will not dabble financially in marginal players, explained GM Dan O'Dowd to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. They do have interest in Paul Maholm, Jeff Francis, and J.C. Romero, though, according to Renck, after bigger free agent targets such as Grady Sizemore and Roy Oswalt.
- The Dodgers will lower their payroll in 2012, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. The team's opening day payroll was about $120MM in 2011. So far this offseason they've added $6.5MM in 2012 salaries for Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera. Here's my offseason outlook for the club.
- Unlike Ellis' deal, Aaron Hill's new contract with the Diamondbacks is not backloaded. He'll earn $5.5MM in each of the '12 and '13 seasons, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Piecoro has an updated look at Arizona's payroll, and concludes that they'd need to non-tender Joe Saunders to be able to afford one of the better free agent pitchers on the market. MLBTR readers are split remarkably evenly as to whether Saunders will be tendered a contract on December 12th.
Despite their desperate need for offense, SI.com's Jon Heyman says (on Twitter) there's no evidence the Giants would trade either Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain this offseason. One GM went so far as to say there's "no point even asking."
Cain, 27, will earn $15MM in 2012 before becoming a free agent next winter. Lincecum, also 27, is in line for a historic arbitration payday and won't hit free agency until after the 2013 season. The two right-handers have thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons, and only once did they post an ERA higher than 3.45 (Cain in 2008). In terms of wins over replacement, Lincecum (24.7) and Cain (15.9) have been the 5th and 15th most valuable pitchers in baseball since the start of 2008, respectively.
Giants GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy discussed the 2011 season at a year-in-review press conference today and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the details:
- The Giants are going to focus on the pitching staff before addressing the offense this winter.
- There are strong indications that the Giants won’t push for free agents Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, according to Schulman.
- Sabean won’t rule out a long-term deal for Tim Lincecum, but negotiations with Matt Cain will be a higher priority, since Cain is eligible for free agency one year from now. Lincecum appears to prefer short-term deals anyway.
- Barry Zito and non-tender candidate Jonathan Sanchez will be in Spring Training competing for the rotation, according to Sabean. This is the strongest indication yet that Sanchez will be tendered a contract this offseason. His salary will likely surpass $6MM in 2012.
- Sabean and Bochy said Aubrey Huff didn’t do enough to get in shape last offseason and they have told him to do more this winter.
- The Giants have said they want to upgrade in center field and the leadoff spot. They don’t consider Justin Christian to be the solution, so Schulman wonders if Coco Crisp could be a fit.
- If the Giants don’t pick up Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option, they’ll renegotiate another deal with him. As I explained earlier in the month, Affeldt would be in position to command a multiyear deal in free agency if the Giants allow him to hit the open market.
- The Giants will look to add second base depth, though they may not be willing to meet Jeff Keppinger’s asking price.
- Sabean says the Giants will give Cody Ross "due consideration" as a free agent, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter).
The season started with nine vesting options to watch, but we're down to just five a little beyond the season's halfway point...
- Trever Miller, Cardinals. The southpaw's $2MM option vests with 45 appearances. He's appeared in 31 of the team's 85 games, so he's on pace for 59. He should get there easily.
- Alex Cora, Mets. Cora's $2MM option vests with 80 games (not necessarily starts), and he's already appeared in 48. He's on pace for 91 games. Luis Castillo's foot and Ruben Tejada's emergence could stand in Cora's way.
- Darren Oliver, Rangers. His $3.25MM option will lock in with 59 appearances. He's already appeared in 37 games, so he should get there without a problem.
- Ramon Hernandez, Reds. Hernandez must play in 120 games for his $3.25MM option to vest. He's appeared in just 57 of Cincinnati's first 86 contests, putting him on pace for 107 games.
- Magglio Ordonez, Tigers. Ordonez's $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances. He's on pace for 141 and 615, respectively, so it'll take a lengthy stint on the disabled list to knock him off track.
In today's blog post at ESPN (Insider req'd), Buster Olney says that even though the Yankees already have five good starters, the tight race in the AL East is enough to keep them engaged with the Mariners about Cliff Lee. They will probably make an offer at some point, but they're unlikely to land him because they've been philosophically opposed to trading prospects for a player they could just sign as a free agent after the season.
Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Olney's message to any team looking for bullpen help: Good luck with that. There are no difference-making relievers on the market, and guys like Kerry Wood, David Aardsma, and Jason Frasor are no sure things.
- Carlos Zambrano has some value as an innings eater, and the Cubs could probably get a team to absorb $10-15MM of the $45MM left on his deal. If he does get traded, Olney says it would likely be in the offseason.
- People in the Dodgers' organization say there is "little or no hope" that money will be available for the team to make moves.
- Olney doesn't see the Giants and Brewers matching up in a Prince Fielder trade. Matt Cain is a deal breaker given Tim Lincecum's recent struggles, and Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner won't be enough.
We entered the season with nine 2011 vesting option situations to watch. With one month in the books, several have already been pretty much decided. Let's take a look.
- Brian Fuentes, Angels. A back strain put Fuentes on the DL for a little while, making it unlikely he reaches 55 games finished. He'd need 51 in the team's remaining 136 games to cause his $9MM option to vest.
- Billy Wagner, Braves. Wagner's $6.5MM option vests with 50 games finished. He's finished eight games so far, and would have a shot at 50. However, the 38-year-old lefty recently told Braves manager Bobby Cox he'll retire after the season.
- Trever Miller, Cardinals. His $2MM option vests with 45 games, and he's appeared in seven so far. That's behind Miller's typical pace; he's averaged 71 the last three years. It's probably random, and Miller should still reach 45 games.
- Matt Cain, Giants. The $6.25MM option probably would've vested, but the Giants decided to guarantee Cain's 2011 salary at $7MM as part of an extension.
- Kerry Wood, Indians. His $11MM option vests with 55 games finished, but a back injury has Wood just now approaching his 2010 big league debut.
- Alex Cora, Mets. His $2MM option vests with 80 starts. He's started ten games so far. With Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes in the Mets' middle infield, we can't rule this one out yet.
- Darren Oliver, Rangers. His $3.25MM option vests with 59 appearances. He's already made a dozen, so this is looking likely.
- Ramon Hernandez, Reds. His $3.25MM option vests with 120 games played. Hernandez is at 16 so far, with the red-hot Ryan Hanigan getting more playing time recently.
- Magglio Ordonez, Tigers. His $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances. He's at 25 games started and 113 plate appearances, so he'll get there barring injury.
- We're down to five vesting options to monitor: Miller, Cora, Oliver, Hernandez, and Ordonez. Also keep an eye on Francisco Rodriguez, whose scary $17.5MM option for 2012 vests with 100 games finished in 2010-11, 55 games finished in '11, and a successful physical after the '11 season. K-Rod has finished nine games on the young season.
On this day ten years ago, Indians' starter Chuck Finley struck out Tom Evans, Royce Clayton, Chad Curtis, and Rafael Palmeiro in the same inning after Curtis reached base on a passed ball. There have been 50 instances in baseball history where a pitcher struck out four men in one inning, but Finley did it three times, the only guy to do it more than once. Scot Shields is the last pitcher to strike out four in one frame, doing it less than a week after Scott Baker accomplished the same feat in June of 2008.
Let's take a look at what's being written around the baseball blogosphere...
- Titletahn wrote about the experience of seeing Stephen Strasburg's first professional start in person.
- MLB Fan Nation wonders if teams are colluding against free agents, or if they're just getting smarter.
- Statistician Magician ranks all 30 organization, with the Red Sox coming in first and the Royals placing last.
- Ladies... looks at some old faces in new places.
- The Baseball Opinion thinks there might be a fallout from the Matt Cain extension.
- Gear Up For Reds Baseball reviews Cincinnati's draft history.
- Blogging Mets looks at some active players who may be on their way to the Hall of Fame.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports supplies his latest hot stove buzz...
- Rosenthal's source says the Rangers' interest in Mike Lowell is "light," and the Red Sox don't expect any team to make a suitable offer. Yesterday, ESPN's Jim Reeves said the Rangers keep coming back to Lowell in their search for a right-handed hitting role player. Rosenthal notes that the Red Sox will not release Lowell, who is owed $12MM.
- With Matt Cain locked up, Rosenthal sees a weak 2012 free agent class for starting pitching. Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, and Wandy Rodriguez appear to head the group, though C.C. Sabathia has the option of electing free agency and voiding the remaining four years and $92MM on his Yankees contract. Of course, a lot can change in two seasons. The larger point: there's a better selection of free agent starters after the 2010 season than after 2011.
- The Rangers looked into trading for Washington's Cristian Guzman before acquiring Andres Blanco from the Cubs. Guzman is currently projected to serve as an $8MM utility man for the Nationals.