Mike Jacobs Rumors

Royals Release Mike Jacobs, John Bale

9:43am: The release of Jacobs and Bale was confirmed by the Royals.

7:10am: Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals will release first baseman Mike Jacobs and lefty reliever John Bale this morning. The moves will give Kansas City two open 40-man roster spots, meaning they can make two picks in the Rule 5 Draft if they choose.

The 29-year-old Jacobs hit just .228/.297/.401 with 19 homers in 478 plate appearances after being acquired for Leo Nunez last offseason. Bale, 35, had a 5.72 ERA in 28.1 innings last year, and was only able to hold lefties to a .271 batting average. Both players made MLBTR's list of non-tender candidates.

Royals Slightly Reducing Payroll

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that the Royals would like to leave themselves some wiggle room for in-season financial flexibility. As such, they're likely to enter the 2010 season with a payroll in the $66MM-$67MM range, as opposed to last season's $70.5MM payroll. Dutton quotes general manager Dayton Moore:

“I think we can be better positioned to improve our team for 2010 and into the future if we have more flexibility… That may be as simple as being more aggressive in the draft or being more aggressive internationally to build our farm system. And, certainly, it allows us the flexibility to make a deal to take on some money when necessary. I just think it makes more sense right now.”

The Royals currently have $50.4MM allocated to Jose Guillen, Gil Meche, Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz, Joakim Soria, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Willie Bloomquist. They have eight more players eligible for arbitration, although Mike Jacobs, John Buck, and John Bale are all non-tender candidates after disappointing 2009 campaigns. All of this projects to about $63MM before the Royals can even think about making moves.

They'd obviously love to be free of Guillen's $12MM owed in 2010, but much like Farnsworth ($4.5MM) and Cruz ($3.25MM), he'll be tough to move after a poor 2009. Meche could be moved as well – he's owed $24MM over the next two seasons – but his salary and injuries in 2009 will likely mean a poor return in any trade. They'll listen on DeJesus, but the Royals would miss his strong defense and solid bat and would like a replacement in any deal..

Alberto Callaspo may be the club's sole appealing trade chip. Kansas City hopes that Callaspo's strong offensive skills and the fact that he's not even eligible for arbitration will outweigh his defensive woes and yield a catcher or center fielder.

The Royals remain interested in Erik Bedard, Ivan Rodriguez, and Scott Podsednik, but it's tough to imagine them having the cash for those three without making some moves first. Any future GMs out there have some insight as to how Dayton Moore could free up the payroll to make it happen?

Royals Face Options On Crisp, Olivo

MLB.com's Dick Kaegel takes a look at the Royals' two contract option decisions, which are due ten days after the World Series.

Kaegel believes the Royals will consider Coco Crisp's $500K buyout an easy choice over his $8MM option.  However, Kaegel wonders if the Royals will then offer Crisp a new incentive-laden deal.  Crisp said in August, "I don't know.  It'd be nice to stay for a while.  I like it here."  The 29-year-old center fielder had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders this summer.  The weak free agent market for center fielders should work in his favor.

Catcher Miguel Olivo has a $3.3MM mutual option; both Kaegel and Royals GM Dayton Moore believe he'll test the free agent market.  Catchers are also in short supply this year.  While Olivo slugged 23 home runs this year, his OBP was just .292.

Don't forget the Royals' two primary non-tender candidates: first baseman Mike Jacobs and catcher John Buck.  Kaegel says the Royals intend to "re-cast" their catching situation, so Buck is probably destined for free agency.  It doesn't make sense to tender a contract to Jacobs, who earned $3.25MM this year and hit just .228/.297/.401 in 478 plate appearances.  Between Jacobs, Buck, and Olivo, the Royals had 1,096 plate appearances of sub-.300 OBP.

Royals Rumors: Jacobs, Buck, Olivo, Teahen

Royals GM Dayton Moore tells Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star that he plans on improving his team's defense this offseason. Moore expects to have about $70MM to work with this winter, but, as Mellinger points out, that doesn't leave the Royals with much flexibility. Here are the details:

  • The Royals figure to look for an everyday outfielder, a catcher and relief help.
  • They will probably have to non-tender some players to stay within their budget.
  • Mellinger assumes the Royals will buy Coco Crisp out for $500k, rather than pick up his $8MM option.
  • Mike Jacobs is a prime non-tender candidate. He has a .692 OPS, but he's making $3.275MM this year and would be in line for at least $2.6MM if the Royals offer him arbitration.
  • Miguel Olivo is likely to pursue free agency. The Royals may need another catcher if they decide that the $3MM or so John Buck would earn through arbitration is too much.
  • Club officials say there's "no chance" they non-tender Mark Teahen.

Odds & Ends: Uggla, Royals, New Blood

Here's some links to start off a gorgeous Sunday (at least around these parts)…

  • After calling out teammate Hanley Ramirez, Bill Shaikin of The LA Times wonders if Dan Uggla might get a ticket out of Florida. If so, he says Uggla could be a fit for the Dodgers, who he says "are not expected to engage in a bidding war to retain second baseman Orlando Hudson."
  • Sam Mellinger of The KC Star presents a few ways to improve the Royals for 2010. In addition to not handing out albatross contracts to players like Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Guillen, Mellinger suggests the team trade Alberto Callaspo, nontender Mike Jacobs, and resign Coco Crisp.
  • Joel Sherman of The NY Post rates which teams "succeeded and failed in bringing new blood to their organizations" over the last year. The Yankees take home top honors thanks to additions of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher. The Mets … well they come in last.
  • Make sure you follow MLBTR on Twitter for the fastest rumor updates around.

Royals Rumors: Soria, Gordon, Buck, Jacobs

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick explores many of the disappointing elements of the Royals' 2009 season and turns up some rumors along the way. Here they are: 

  • GM Dayton Moore says he tried to build a winner and holds himself accountable for the team's failure.
  • Now he wants to build through scouting and player development. The Royals' system has improved as the team has spent more, but there's not an abundance of talent in the upper minors.
  • Crasnick says the Royals need a "major overhaul" but suggests no one on the team's roster other than Zack Greinke or Joakim Soria would fetch much in a trade.
  • Some believe the Royals would be better off shopping Soria for two or three young players. Moore says he'll be open-minded to that sort of deal if it helps the Royals long-term.
  • One AL scout says the Royals rushed Alex Gordon and prevented him from developing fully.
  • The Royals may not offer contracts to John Buck and Mike Jacobs after the season.

Odds And Ends: Padres, Takatsu, Sano

Links for Friday afternoon…

  • SI.com's Tom Verducci heard one GM argue that the Padres should trade Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez to re-stock the farm system.
  • MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo breaks down what will happen after Stephen Strasburg's drafted by the Nationals. He predicts that eight or nine college arms could go in the first 20 picks, if you count redrafts like Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers
  • According to Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, Travis Snider was sent to Triple A by the Blue Jays. Snider was hitting .242/.292/.394, with 25 strikeouts in 99 at bats.
  • According to Patrick Newman of NPB TrackerShingo Takatsu auditioned in front of the D'Backs and Giants. He threw as hard as 86 mph and impressed scouts with his breaking balls. If the name sounds familiar it's because the 40-year-old sidearmer used to close for the White Sox.
  • Steve Melewski of MASN wonders if Nolan Reimold has seen the last of the minor leagues. After a slow start, the left fielder is seven for his last 18, including a homer off Mariano Rviera.
  • Via Twitter, Keith Law suggests pitcher Sonny Gray would go in the top three picks of this year's draft if he were eligible.
  • Live to Play suggests the list of suitors for Miguel Angel Sano will soon "thin out to the very serious contenders" for the 16-year-old shortstop prospect.
  • Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes that the ideal trade for the Royals might be Mike Jacobs or Jose Guillen for a "capable shortstop."

Royals Avoid Arb With Mike Jacobs

According to the Denver Post’s Troy Renck, the Royals have agreed to a one-year, $3.25MM deal with first baseman Mike Jacobs.

Jacobs can make an additional $25K if he lands on the American League All-Star team.  The 28-year-old hit .247/.299/.514 last season with 32 home runs and 93 RBI.  He was acquired this offseason from the Marlins for reliever Leo Nunez.

Royals Avoid Arb With John Buck, Joel Peralta

According to Sam Mellinger, the Royals avoided arbitration with John Buck and Joel Peralta ($640K) by signing both for 2009.  The cases of Brian Bannister, Zack Greinke, Mike Jacobs, and Mark Teahen remain unresolved.  Dayton Moore has yet to go to a hearing as Royals GM.

Odds and Ends: Holliday, Takahashi, Lincecum

Links for Wednesday…