Matt Diaz Rumors
The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Ronny Cedeno and Jeff Karstens, signing both players to one-year contracts. MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch has the contract details. Cedeno will earn a $1.85MM base in 2011, and has a club option for '12 that includes significant incentives based on starts. Karstens will earn $1.1MM next year.
Cedeno is the incumbent starter at shortstop, though the Pirates are known to be looking for help at the position. The veteran has played mostly shortstop over the last two years, but has also played second, third and the outfield in his career. Cedeno has a .682 OPS in 672 plate appearances as a Pirate.
Karstens came to the Bucs in July 2008 as part of the trade that sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the Yankees. In 74 appearances (41 of them starts) for Pittsburgh, Karstens has posted a 4.95 ERA and a 1.73 K/BB ratio. As Biertempfel pointed out in his longer article, Karstens' $1.1MM salary for 2011 is almost triple what he earned last season.
Other news from Biertempfel...
- Infielder Argenis Diaz, outfielder Lastings Milledge and left-handers Brian Burres and Donald Veal were all non-tendered by the Bucs, but the club wants to re-sign Burres and Veal. Diaz "is unlikely to return."
- Milledge could be welcomed back "if we think it's the right fit for the team, and he thinks it's the right fit for him," said Neal Huntington. The Pirates GM said he couldn't work out a contract with Milledge before the non-tender deadline and "began to explore alternatives" to fill Milledge's corner outfield spot. Two options are Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, both of whom were non-tendered themselves by the A's and Braves, respectively.
This post will list all the National League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.
- Rockies: Manny Delcarmen
- Mets: Sean Green Chris Carter, John Maine
- Nationals: Joel Peralta, Wil Nieves, Chien-Ming Wang
- Dodgers: Russell Martin, George Sherrill, Trent Oeltjen
- Giants: Chris Ray, Eugenio Velez
- Pirates: Lastings Milledge, Argenis Diaz, Donnie Veal, Brian Burres
- Diamondbacks: Blaine Boyer, Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, D.J. Carrasco
- Marlins: Jose Veras, Ronny Paulino
- Padres: Tony Gwynn, Scott Hairston, Matt Antonelli, Luis Perdomo
- Brewers: Todd Coffey, Joe Inglett
- Astros: Sammy Gervacio
- Braves: Matt Diaz
Let's check out some Phillies news courtesy of MLB.com's Todd Zolecki..
- For some time we have heard that the Phillies are not serious about keeping Jayson Werth as he is said to be seeking something similar to the seven-year, $120MM that Matt Holliday secured last winter. However, the Phillies could be in position to bring Werth back if his market falls and he instead looks for a deal in the range of four years.
- If Werth does not return to Philadelphia in 2011, the club likely won't sign someone to replace him if it's not a clear upgrade. There are several right fielders who will be available via free agency and trade, and one player that reportedly interests the Phillies is Carlos Quentin of the White Sox. However, Zolecki feels that he's not the strong right-handed bat the club wants and we learned last week that Chicago is not shopping him.
- Of the names that have been mentioned, Zolecki feels that Josh Willingham, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Diaz make the most sense for the club as they are affordable and "ideal platoon players."
Dan Uggla is now officially a Brave and David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that both Uggla and the club are both interested in giving Uggla the extension he couldn't get from Florida. Atlanta GM Frank Wren said the Braves are willing to talk about a long-term contract but not immediately: “I don’t see any reason not to do [an extension]. I mean, we knew what we were getting when we made the deal, and he was the top guy on our list. But I just don’t think we need to jump into things right now.”
- The Marlins asked for Martin Prado in exchange for Uggla two weeks ago, but Braves GM Frank Wren said no. He offered Omar Infante, whom Larry Beinfest accepted, along with Mike Dunn, for Uggla.
- Uggla will wear the #26 jersey formerly worn by Brooks Conrad, but this doesn't mean the Braves will be getting rid of Conrad this winter.
- The Braves have offered free agent Eric Hinske a contract. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports the offer is a one-year contract worth $1.5MM.
- The club has not yet decided whether to tender Matt Diaz a contract. Arbitration eligible for the fourth time, the outfielder is a non-tender candidate.
- The Braves sent minor league outfielder Cody Johnson to the Yankees for cash considerations, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter). The 2006 first-rounder batted .189/.269/.343 in 260 plate appearances at Double-A this year. Johnson, 22, hit 32 homers in 2009 and 26 homers in 2008, so he has some pop.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post.
Nearly two weeks ago, when MLBTR's Mike Axisa examined Melky Cabrera's future, about two-thirds of you predicted the Braves would not tender the ex-Yankee a contract this winter. Cabrera isn't the only non-tender candidate in Atlanta's outfield, however; the Braves will also have to decide whether or not they want to retain Matt Diaz.
Like Cabrera, Diaz has suffered a decline in production in 2010 (.237/.284/.433) following a solid 2009 campaign (.313/.390/.488). After recording a career-high 371 plate appearances in 2009, Diaz has seen less action this year, due to a thumb injury, his decline in performance, and the arrivals of Cabrera, Jason Heyward, and Eric Hinske. Even Diaz's ability to mash left-handed pitching has wavered a little, as his .814 OPS vs. southpaws is a sizable step down from his .906 career mark.
Entering his final year of arbitration, Diaz shouldn't be expensive, since he'd earn no more than a modest raise on this year's $2.55MM salary. Still, he'll turn 33 before the 2011 season begins, and he doesn't have the same defensive flexibility that Cabrera does - UZR has ranked him as a below-average defender for the past three seasons. While Diaz could rebound and prove to be an affordable fourth outfielder with some pop for the '11 Braves, the club may decide to look in a different direction. If the Braves were to non-tender Diaz, they'd have the option of putting that $3MM or so in savings toward an impact free agent bat.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new installment of Full Count up. Let's dive in and see what he has for us..
- The Yankees are talking to the Marlins and the two teams could match up in a few different ways. Cody Ross, a right-handed hitting outfielder, would be a perfect fit for the Pinstripes. Trouble is, Ross is a regular for Florida and the Yanks may not want to pay that price for a player they'd only use part-time. Leo Nunez would also make sense for the Yankees in a set-up role but they'll want a lot for him as well. The closer is under team control for two seasons after this one.
- The Braves like Ross as well but their opinions on Corey Hart are mixed. Some Atlanta officials are rather fond of Hart, but others see him as a slightly better version of Jeff Francoeur. If Matt Diaz hits well and Nate McLouth comes back strong, they may not even need the Brewers outfielder. If their guy ultimately is Hart though, it'll be at their price.
- Two of the top starters on the trading block hold no-trade clauses, though they may not be much of a factor. Ted Lilly can reject trades to ten teams, though the only contenders on his list are the Twins and Phillies, who may not even be interested in him. Arizona's Dan Haren can reject deals to twelve clubs, including the Reds. However, a source says that his list is not a factor as he has not been pitching well.
- The Phillies, at the moment, are not playing well enough to make a run at Roy Oswalt. However, they don't expect to fall far enough out of contention to sell. Jayson Werth, Rosenthal says, could be moved in order to improve the team in the short-term and long-term. A Werth-for-Javier Vazquez swap could make sense if the Yankees could acquire another starting pitcher. Cliff Lee, in theory, would have been that guy.
A few tidbits from around the majors....
- Blue Jays reliever Jeremy Accardo hopes to be non-tendered tomorrow, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The righty, 28 this month, dealt with a groin injury and bounced up and down between Triple A and the Majors this year. He earned $900K.
- Cases of players avoiding arbitration and signing for 2010, according to the AP: Matt Diaz of the Braves at $2.55MM, Ronny Cedeno of the Pirates at $1.125MM, and Esteban German of the Rangers at $600K. Diaz gets a 106% raise, heading into his third arbitration year.
- The AP also notes that the Nationals signed pitcher Ryan Speier for $425K. The 30-year-old toiled at Triple A for the Rockies this year, mainly.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (via Twitter) reports that the Diamondbacks have avoided going to arbitration with Augie Ojeda by re-signing the veteran infielder to a one-year deal. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the contract is worth $825K. Ojeda, 34, has spent the last three seasons with Arizona and hit .246/.340/.345 in 309 plate appearances in 2009. The defensive specialist is a valuable utilityman, able to play second, third and shortstop.
- Twins GM Bill Smith tells Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his traditionally low-spending team has "substantial funds" to cover arbitration raises and potential signings that could raise Minnesota's payroll into the $90MM neighborhood for next season. The general manager was predictably non-committal when asked if "substantial" translated to "enough to extend Joe Mauer."
- NPB Tracker passes on news from Japanese site Sanspo.com that the Yakult Swallows will announce next week that they have signed Eulogio De La Cruz. The right-hander was released by the Padres on Wednesday. De La Cruz has an 11.84 ERA in 15 appearances over three seasons with San Diego, Florida and Detroit.
- The White Sox seem ready to stick with Randy Williams as the only left-handed reliever (besides, of course, set-up man Matt Thornton) next season, as Chicago GM Kenny Williams told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Gonzales notes that if the club changes its mind, a possible target could be former White Sox reliever Neal Cotts, who will be non-tendered by the Cubs tomorrow.
8:21pm: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times had a conversation with Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln on Saturday and Griffey was obviously a topic of discussion. Lincoln seemed less than enthused about the possibility of getting into a bidding war with the Braves.
"Everybody always wants more money, that's reality,'' he said. "It doesn't matter whether it's the baseball business or any other business. But you've got to go with what you've got.''
6:14pm: David O'Brien took to the comments section of his blog for a little more insight on the Griffey situation:
Atlanta is his first choice. He really wants to play for the Braves. Has a daughter on an Atlanta AAU team and a son who’s playing high school football this year in Orlando, and Griffey doesn’t want to be on the other side of the country at Seattle. Plus, he’s always wanted to play for Bobby Cox.
If I had to bet, I’d say this gets done early next week.
5:28pm: So much for the whole "agent leaking" theory. Braves GM Frank Wren just confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien that his club does indeed have interest in Griffey:
"We have interest in several available outfielders, including Griffey," said Wren.
5:22pm: The Tacoma News Tribune's Ryan Divish suggests that the Braves' reported interest in Griffey "could be another case of an agent leaking some info to the media to make it seem like his client is coveted to enhance his positions in negotiations."
It's just speculation, but it's definitely a possibility. With Griffey off playing in a Pro-Am tournament at Pebble Beach, his agent might as well stir the pot.
2:33pm: Jerry Crasnick at ESPN.com reports that the Atlanta Braves are looking to acquire Ken Griffey, Jr.. According to Crasnick's sources, "Griffey is Atlanta's prime target."
Crasnick says there is mutual interest between the two parties. Griffey lives in Orlando, where the Braves' spring training facilities are located. Also, Griffey may benefit from the ability to split time with Matt Diaz in left field.
If the Braves miss on Griffey, their next likely target would be Garrett Anderson.
According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post Ronny Cedeno of the Cubs and Matt Diaz of the Braves have reached deals with their respective teams to avoid arbitration.
Cedeno will make $822K in 2009. Diaz will earn at least $1.2375MM, but could earn $50K more if he makes 600 plate appearances.
The AJC's David O'Brien has a rumor update on his blog. Let's summarize.
- The White Sox are very reluctant to go after Andruw Jones, because of Scott Boras. They'd offer three years and less than $30MM, which would result in a dial tone. Unless it was a cell phone.
- The Braves need a lefty reliever, and might turn to the Pirates for Damaso Marte. That'd be easier to pull off if the Yankees opt to sign Ron Mahay or Jeremy Affeldt for their lefty reliever.
- O'Brien suggests the Braves have collected a starting pitching surplus, which is a dangerous thought. What do you want to bet there'd be no surplus six months from now, if the current group is maintained? O'Brien believes some team might push hard for Chuck James, anyway.
- Matt Diaz may be available, if Brandon Jones proves MLB-ready. First baseman Scott Thorman may also be on the market.