Mike Fontenot Rumors

Giants Acquire Mike Fontenot

San Francisco is 2,100 miles away from Chicago, but Mike Fontenot didn't have to go far at all when the Giants acquired him today. The Cubs are in San Francisco, so all Fontenot had to do was walk from the visitors clubhouse to the home clubhouse. The Cubs obtain minor league center fielder Evan Crawford in the deal.

Fontenot has a .284/.332/.402 line in 185 plate appearances this year. Edgar Renteria is going on the disabled list, so Fontenot restores San Francisco's infield depth. The 30-year-old has played second, third and short. 

The Giants control Fontenot's rights through 2013. He makes $1MM this year as a super two player and will go to arbitration for the second time this winter. The deal shows that every NL team with a worse record than the Giants let Fontenot through waivers. For more on trading in August, click here.

Crawford, who turned 22 last week, is hitting .255/.319/.366 in A ball. The 2009 draftee has 24 steals in 33 attempts. 

Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea reported (on Twitter) that a trade was in the works, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reported more specifics on the deal (on Twitter) and Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reported the specific players (Twitter links). The Cubs and Giants have since confirmed the deal.

Olney’s Latest: Sabean, Dunn, Red Sox

ESPN.com's Buster Olney has a new Insider-only blog entry up, so let's dive in and take a look at the highlights….

  • One American League general manager says that many of the trades we see this July will look like the Bengie Molina deal, in which the Giants picked up the remaining cost of Molina's salary. "There's going to be a lot of salary relief," the GM predicted.
  • Expanding on a point from an earlier column, Olney writes that rival general managers consider Brian Sabean the most difficult GM to trade with simply because they can't get him on the phone. According to Olney, many GMs contact assistant Bobby Evans rather than Sabean, since the Giants GM doesn't return calls.
  • Sometime this month, the Nationals will have to decide whether to trade Adam Dunn or to fully commit to locking him up with an extension. Olney speculates that four years for about $48MM would get it done.
  • Replying to a Nick Cafardo piece for the Boston Globe in which Theo Epstein addresses how the Red Sox will replace Dustin Pedroia, Olney says Mike Aviles, Mike Fontenot, or Ty Wigginton might be good fits for the Sox. If Epstein makes a move, he'll be looking for a player who will have value elsewhere on the field when Pedroia returns to second base.

Red Sox, Cubs Discussed Fontenot Trade

Before the Eric Patterson trade, the Red Sox and Cubs discussed a possible deal that would have sent Mike Fontenot to Boston, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Red Sox are down an infielder now that Dustin Pedroia's fractured foot has sent him to the DL. The Cubs could deal Fontenot, who doesn't play every day, and keep their starting lineup together.

Fontenot, 30, makes $1MM this year and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season. He is hitting .286/.331/.414 in 145 plate appearances and has been an average defender in recent years according to UZR/150. So far in 2010, he has played second, third and short, so his versatility no doubt appeals to the Red Sox.

The Cubs' recent trade talks don't mean they are willing to start selling. Two sources told Morosi that the 33-43 Cubs are "halfway" to sell mode (Twitter link). If Fontenot is available, the Phillies and Angels could also have interest given injuries to their infielders.

Will Fontenot Become Trade Bait For Cubs?

Second baseman Mike Fontenot may not fit in with the Cubs' long-term plans if Starlin Castro lives up to expectations, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  Castro has knocked Fontenot out of the starting lineup as he has taken over at shortstop with Ryan Theriot taking over at second.

Even though Fontenot has been sent to the bench, he has been decent offensively with an OPS+ of 96.  In 80 plate appearances, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is hitting .315/.363/.397, a slash line that is a significant step-up from his posting in 2009.   For his career, he has a 10.7 UZR/150 at his preferred position.

Fontenot is set to earn $1MM this season after avoiding arbitration with the Cubs this winter.  He became arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career when he was awarded Super Two status in November of 2009.

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.


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Players Tendered Contracts

Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.

Twitter Rumors: Doumit, Mahay, Wolf, Jenkins

Collecting some tweets I couldn't quite turn into posts…

  • Four unknown teams are in on Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit, says Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • The Nationals have interest in free agent catcher Brad Ausmus, says MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
  • The Red Sox have interest in free agent lefty Ron Mahay, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. The 38-year-old posted a 4.29 ERA, 7.5 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9 in 50.3 innings for the Royals and Twins this year.  Two years ago he was quite a hot commodity on the free agent market.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says Brett Myers is seeking a two-year deal.  The Rangers and other teams are interested at one year.  Crasnick wrote a few days ago that the Astros are also interested, while Andrew Baggarly named the Giants as a suitor today.
  • Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times shoots down Danny Knobler's rumor that the Pirates have interest in Juan Pierre.  Nonetheless, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro tweets of interest from the Pirates, White Sox, and a third team.
  • ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees want to resolve the Andy Pettitte/Johnny Damon situations before moving on to Hideki Matsui and other starting pitcher options.
  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune that the Sox are not in the market for a pure DH.
  • The Brewers are making a "strong run" at Randy Wolf, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
  • Ruben Amaro Jr.'s comment that "those are guys we will probably count on" implies relievers Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey will be tendered contracts by the Phillies (Andy Martino reporting).
  • Crasnick says Geoff Jenkins wants to make a comeback in 2010 and has been working out at first base and outfield in hopes of landing a bench role.
  • Crasnick says to expect the Cubs to tender a contract to Mike Fontenot on Saturday.
  • Bill Shanks quoting Braves manager Bobby Cox: "clubs are knocking on the door for Kelly Johnson."  I imagine Johnson will be dealt by Saturday.
  • ESPN's Gordon Edes says that while Red Sox owner John Henry is a big fan of Miguel Cabrera from their Marlins days, the Red Sox "don't have the Major League-ready position players Detroit wants in return."
  • Crasnick expects Elmer Dessens to re-sign with the Mets, though the pitcher has talked to the Dodgers and Padres.
  • Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Braves want to move Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez, but not Kenshin Kawakami.
  • Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies will meet with Chan Ho Park's agent today "and attempt to resolve their differences over Park's value."  The Phils did not offer arbitration to Park, a Type B free agent.  Park craves another shot at starting, which won't happen in Philly.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Phillies like Brandon Lyon, but aren't "willing to pay the price for him."  Lyon is said to be seeking a multiyear deal.  He is expected to turn down the Tigers' offer of arbitration today.  The Yankees have been named as another suitor.
  • Crasnick says the Astros "have very little money to spend, unless Drayton McLane suddenly has a change of heart."

Mike Fontenot Gets Super Two Status

Three players – Mike Fontenot, Adam Jones, and Micah Owings – have exactly two years and 139 days of service time.  According to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger, only one could be designated a Super Two player, and it will be Fontenot.  It might seem pretty minor, but once you refresh yourself on what Super Two means, check out these ripple effects from the tiebreaker decision…

  • Fontenot is arbitration-eligible now, so the Cubs can't just renew him for $430K.  He's coming off a poor season, but he'll still be more expensive in 2010.  The Cubs are tight on payroll, so you have to wonder if they'll now trade or non-tender Fontenot.  However, Jim Hendry's comments to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune imply the Cubs will retain Fontenot for 2010.
  • The Orioles save significant money on Jones, who might've made more than $5MM in 2010 but can now be renewed at less than a tenth of that.
  • Owings escapes a possible non-tender situation with the Reds.
  • The article names a slew of other Super Twos: Tim Lincecum, Matt Garza, Tom Gorzelanny, Alex Gordon, Matt Albers, Jeff Karstens, Hunter Pence, Dustin Nippert, and Carlos Gomez.

Nightengale On Holliday, Sheets, Yankees

USA's Today's Bob Nightengale is cranking out the tweets…put this stuff in a column, Bob!

  • He says the Red Sox met with Scott Boras about Matt Holliday, as a Jason Bay contingency.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Nightengale no one has heard from Ben Sheets or his agent.  Back in October, assistant GM Gord Ash told the AP, "There's been once and a while conversations with his agent to remind that we still have that ongoing interest."
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Nightengale he didn't sit down with a single agent.  Seems kind of weird.
  • Talking to Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, Nightengale learned that the team is still open to acquiring a DH despite re-signing Ken Griffey Jr.
  • D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes told Nightengale the Super Two cutoff is two years, 139 days, leaving Mark Reynolds one day shy.  That saves the team some bucks.  But it looks as though Adam Jones, Mike Fontenot, and Micah Owings will be arbitration-eligible.  Are Fontenot and Owings non-tender candidates?

Cubs Rumors: Marmol, Payroll, Theriot

Bruce Miles of The Daily Herald has a few tidbits of information about the Chicago Cubs in his latest blog post.

Miles notes that the Cubs have an unusually high number of arbitration-eligible players this offseason, and singles out Carlos Marmol as an important case. Miles figures that the Cubs and Marmol's agent Barry Praver could disagree about the reliever's value, since his holds total and opponents' average are so strong, while his control is so unpredictable. The Cubs haven't had an arbitration case go to a hearing since early in the 1990s, but this one is a candidate for it.

Miles also writes that the number of raises through arbitration could affect the Cubs' payroll flexibility. GM Jim Hendry points out that since most of the players are in the first year of arbitration eligibility, there shouldn't be many massive raises, but says, "You do have guys that certainly are going to command an increase in salary, and yeah, you have to factor that all in with your total payroll. We'll see what the numbers look like."

Hendry was also asked whether middle infield was a priority this winter, and replies: "Not necessarily. I'm very happy with Ryan [Theriot]." He adds that Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles had disappointing 2009 seasons, but that he expects them to bounce back next year.