Matt Clement Rumors
John Perrotto over at Baseball Prospectus has his weekly column up... let's take a look at what he has to say:
- Couple of notes about the Red Sox: Perrotto expects Theo Epstein to re-sign Jason Varitek to a two-year deal in the $16MM range. This seems like drastically overpaying for what Varitek has become, in my opinion, but as Perrotto points out, there's very little on the free agent market. Epstein will then look to trade for a young catcher who can become the starter in 2010 or 2011. Additionally, he'll try to move Mike Lowell to open up a spot for either Mark Teixeira or Garrett Atkins, but that won't be an easy task most likely. On a Manny-related note, Terry Francona said the last couple months of 2008 were the "most fun he's ever had" in Boston, calling them "tremendous." He didn't mention Manny specifically, but does he really have to?
- Perrotto says the Mets have decided to pass on Francisco Rodriguez, and will instead pursue Brian Fuentes, as well as Derek Lowe. The Red Sox may also make a strong pitch for Lowe.
- The Padres will likely take some gambles on rehabbing pitchers for 2009. Perrotto lists Mark Mulder, Matt Clement, and Mark Prior as candidates.
- Toronto's interim president Paul Beeston is making A.J. Burnett the organization's top priority, and Perrotto feels that Burnett wants to stay. Personally, I'm in the other camp and see Burnett opting out and cashing in on a big payday.
- The Rangers will almost certainly pick up Hank Blalock's $6.2MM option for 2009.
Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Petco Park remains the preferred choice of free agent pitchers returning from injury. In particular, the agents for Mark Mulder, Mark Prior, Matt Clement, and Kevin Correia admit their clients have San Diego at the top of their list. If the Padres trade Jake Peavy, they'll have all kinds of uncertainty in the rotation and some payroll to play with.
A few more names from the injury bargain bin: Kris Benson, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Mike Hampton, Jason Jennings, Pedro Martinez, Sergio Mitre, Carl Pavano, and Brad Penny.
We've got plenty of links today.
- There is speculation that Andruw Jones could be sent back to the minors.
- Joel Sherman wonders if MLB should've gotten involved when Manny Ramirez decided to orchestrate his own exit. Kind of reminds me of Gary Sheffield intentionally botching plays to force a trade out of Milwaukee in '92.
- Gordon Edes stands by his report that Manny pledged to give full effort if the Red Sox dropped his options. That phone call between Scott Boras and Theo Epstein occurred within an hour of his trade to the Dodgers.
- Jon Heyman takes us inside the Manny trade. He says Ramirez signed an agreement in advance that he'd accept a trade to any team if his options were dropped. Heyman believes Omar Minaya fibbed in saying he had failed trade discussions with Boston.
- The Red Sox are still waiting to hear whether Joe Borowski will accept their offer of a minor league deal.
- Dejan Kovacevic gives as inside look at the Jason Bay trade talks here and here. Did the Rays offer Reid Brignac and Jeff Niemann? Reports are conflicting.
- The Cardinals released Matt Clement on Saturday. Let this serve as another reminder of how hard it is to come back from shoulder surgery.
- The Cardinals weren't willing to trade catching prospect Bryan Anderson plus a pitching prospect for Brian Fuentes. Also, GM John Mozeliak confirmed failed talks for Bay.
- RotoAuthority takes a look at young pitchers who may face innings caps this year.
- Another failed deal: Orlando Cabrera to the Orioles in a Brian Roberts deal.
- Geoff Baker believes that when inside information related to the Blue Jays leaks out, GM J.P. Ricciardi is likely responsible.
- Please continue to email me if you see a pop-up or full-page ad on MLB Trade Rumors.
Ken Rosenthal is on the scene with some new rumors.
- Astros president Tal Smith arguing other teams' arbitration cases. Rosenthal finds it a bit awkward, while Keith Law finds it to be a hilarious conflict of interest.
- Possible trades of Matt Murton to the Padres or Rangers seem to have fizzled. The Padres may turn to the Brewers' Gabe Gross, a player who previously caught the eye of the A's, Indians, and Braves. Our good friend PECOTA sees a .267/.366/.467 line from Gross this year. With Gross and various veteran starters, the Brewers have some surpluses to work with.
- Rosenthal believes the Cardinals' interest in Jeff Weaver to be not especially serious. They've got in-house candidates to start, and Matt Clement needing some time is not a revelation.
- We've read about extension possibilities for Matt Capps and Alex Rios. To that mix, Rosenthal adds Edwin Encarnacion. The Reds might want to do it now; he seems primed for a big year.
With the price of free agent starting pitching dropping by the day and Matt Clement looking questionable, it's only natural that the Cardinals would explore the market. Indeed, John Mozeliak is looking at Jeff Weaver and Bartolo Colon. Seems that Impacto Deportivo may have been misinformed on the whole Colon-to-Chicago thing.
Weaver seems the smarter option for a team looking for healthy innings. If nothing else, Weaver can provide that. Something tells me he's not getting $8MM this time around. His most recent success was in St. Louis, so maybe Dave Duncan can guide him to a league average season.
Colon is a wild card. Even if his stuff isn't there, if he can take the ball he has value. He'll obviously find the NL more to his liking.
Another possibility for the Cards is David Wells, according to Peter Gammons. Gammons says Boomer "would like to come back for 20-something starts."
Every year some free agent unexpectedly finds himself without a job in late February. This year, that guy is Josh Fogg. To rejoin the Rockies, Fogg would have to take a pay cut from his '07 salary of $3.625MM, and he'd have to be open to bullpen work.
Will anyone take Fogg in for $4MM and give him a rotation spot? The Nationals, Reds, Astros, and Cardinals seem like viable options. Viva El Birdos isn't thrilled with the Cardinals' portrayal of Matt Clement's health. Since Clement won't be ready for the start of the season, maybe St. Louis will add some depth with Fogg. However, John Mozeliak implied a couple of days ago that he wasn't going to make anymore acquisitions.
UPDATE, 1-3-08 at 6:20pm: Clement gets a $1.25MM base with another $5.25MM in incentives for '08. The '09 option is for $8.75MM, an amount that can increase based on innings pitched. Seems a low-risk deal for the Cards.
UPDATE, 1-3-08 at 3:21pm: The deal includes a club option for '09 and as you'd expect is heavy on incentives. The base salary is not known yet.
FROM 1-3-08 at 2:27pm:
According to Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have signed Matt Clement to a Major League deal.
Clement, 33, jumps back to the NL Central after spending 2002-04 with the Cubs. He had rotator cuff surgery in September of '06, so he's a complete unknown at this point. He joins Adam Wainwright, Joel Pineiro, and Braden Looper in the Cards' rotation, with Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder due at various points during the season. They still might have money for one more starter.
FROM 12-31-07 at 11:20am: Wuerz says Clement balked at the idea of a minor league deal with the Cardinals.
FROM 12-30-07 at 12:26pm: John Perrotto believes Clement is leaning towards the Pirates or Indians, partly because of a new home he built in Butler, PA (same place he was born).
FROM 12-30-07 at 2:10am:
Here's a rumor I missed from a couple of days ago. Scott Wuerz of the Belleville News-Democrat, a Southern Illinois newspaper, indicated in his blog that the Cardinals were close to signing Matt Clement. Haven't seen recent buzz about this in the Post-Dispatch, but maybe Wuerz has the scoop.
Other teams previously linked to Clement: the Royals, Mariners, Blue Jays, Rockies, Pirates, Indians, and Phillies. The Astros pulled out and the Padres seem full. Clement underwent rotator cuff surgery in September of 2006, with his agent comparing the procedure to that of Drew Brees.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 11:19pm: Ah, the truth comes out. Sammy Sosa's people approached the Royals, but they weren't interested.
FROM 12-4-07 at 3:17pm:
ESPN has a huge team at the Meetings; here are some tidbits that haven't appeared elsewhere on MLBTR.
- Enrique Rojas says the Royals have interest in Sammy Sosa. Could that indicate a Mark Teahen trade is in the works also? Teahen is expected to move to first base to accomodate Jose Guillen, which would push Billy Butler to DH. But Sammy can only DH.
- Buster Olney says the Rangers and Padres are in on Mark Prior.
- The Padres also like lefties Glendon Rusch and Shawn Estes, and may sign both after the Rule 5 as a means of adding starting depth.
- Jayson Stark says the Mariners made an offer to Hiroki Kuroda in the range of four years, $45MM.
- Jerry Crasnick says Anthony Reyes is generating a lot of interest. The Cards, by the way, are open to trading Rick Ankiel, Chris Duncan, or Jim Edmonds.
- The Rockies have gotten in touch with Marcus Giles' agent.
- The Astros aren't interested in Jon Lieber, despite previous reports. They liked Matt Clement a bit among the injury guys but are over him now.
- Ryan Howard's agent and the Phillies will sit down soon to talk about a long-term deal.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 4:21pm: Debunked! David O'Brien says the Braves aren't in talks about DeJesus, and the Royals have a negative opinion of James anyway.
FROM 12-4-07 at 2:09pm:
According to the KC Star's Bob Dutton, the Jose Guillen signing puts the Royals in a better position to trade David DeJesus or Joey Gathright. The Rangers and Braves are on DeJesus' trail. Dutton believes the Braves offered up lefty Chuck James for him. It seems a little light, as I'm not sure James could be effective in the American League. Royals GM Dayton Moore, of course, came from the Atlanta organization.
Dutton says not only is Hiroki Kuroda looking for four years, he may want $48MM. The Royals could move on and spend the money on Andruw Jones instead, if he'll take a one or two-year deal. The money could also be diverted to Carlos Silva if he'll take 4/40. Otherwise the Royals will just chase rehab guys like Jason Jennings, Kris Benson, and Matt Clement.