Mike Lincoln Rumors

Reds Notes: Chapman, Harang, Arroyo, Owings

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com answered some Reds-related questions from fans in a mailbag today.  Here are a few of the more intriguing items….

  • With Aroldis Chapman looking like he might make the Cincinnati staff, a reader wondered how this quick entry into the majors might affect the six-year, $30.25MM deal Chapman signed in January.  Sheldon says that if the young hurler is eligible for arbitration after 2012, then the final three years of his contract would be voided and part of his remaining salary is converted into a bonus.  Sheldon notes that the Reds would still control Chapman for at least the full six years of the initial contract.
  • Chapman is one of several young pitchers whose 2010 performance may dictate what the Reds do with the options of Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang, Sheldon writes.  Cincinnati has $2MM buyouts on both Arroyo and Harang, but if the club chooses to bring one or both pitchers back, Arroyo will be owed at least $11MM and Harang will be owed at least $12.75MM.  (Both options could be worth as much as $13MM based based on innings pitched.)  If the youngsters step up, the Reds might be comfortable in letting both veterans go.
  • Sheldon says Micah Owings' primary value is still as a pitcher, and his strong pinch-hitting is just a bonus.  But Sheldon notes that since Mike Lincoln is out of options and on a guaranteed contract, he may squeeze Owings out of a bullpen spot.

Odds & Ends: Indians, Mets, Verlander

As Tommy John's long-lost brother Elton once said, Saturday night's alright for fighting…and also for posting news links.

  • The Tribe's quiet offseason is recapped by Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, who also looks at how busy the other AL Central teams have been in comparison.
  • MLB.com's Marty Noble outlines how he would have handled the Mets' offseason if he had been the GM, both if the team's goal was to contend or to rebuild (Noble's preference).
  • Steve Kornacki of MLive.com thinks Justin Verlander's reported five-year, $75MM offer from the Tigers "is too sweet a contract for Verlander to pass on," even without the sixth year that the pitcher wants.
  • Mark Sheldon of MLB.com passes along some tidbits from Dusty Baker on the Reds Winter Caravan.  Baker said that reliever Mike Lincoln (who last started a major league game in 2000) was a contender for the No. 5 spot in the Reds' rotation, and that the club had considered moving top prospect Yonder Alonso to catcher.  John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sums these ideas up as candidates for the "sometimes-managers-say-the-darnedest-things file."
  • MLB.com's Bryan Hoch believes the Yankees have finished their roster tinkering before spring training, and talks to Yankees manager Joe Girardi about New York's offseason moves.
  • Chuck Greenberg, the incoming general managing partner of the Texas Rangers, is profiled by Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. 
  • MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch was all over the Q&A sessions with Pirates management during the team's PirateFest event.  Here is her latest transcript of a similar sessions with various Pittsburgh players.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets his guesses about the destinations of some of the free agent infielders left on the market.  He sees Orlando Hudson in Washington, Orlando Cabrera in Cincinnati and Felipe Lopez in St. Louis.
  • Count the White Sox out of the running for Johnny Damon or Hank Blalock, says Scott Merkin of MLB.com, since both are too costly for the limited space left in the team's budget.  When asked about the possibility of Damon in Chicago, Sox GM Kenny Williams rhetorically asked, "Who is his agent?"

Reds Sign Mike Lincoln, Still Like Weathers

10:43pm: Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that even with the Lincoln signing he still hopes to sign David Weathers.  Four or five other teams are said to be in the mix for Stormy.  We’ll know by midnight Sunday whether Weathers will accept the Reds’ offer of arbitration.

3:49pm: La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says the Twins were "hot after" Lincoln and were "barely outbid" by the Reds.  The Twins weren’t in on Bob Howry though.

12:43pm: According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Reds re-signed reliever Mike Lincoln to a two-year deal worth $4MM plus incentives.  Lincoln, 34 in April, posted a 4.48 ERA in 70.1 innings this year.  His command was respectable, though he was prone to the longball. It was an impressive comeback from two Tommy John surgeries.

Reds Rumors: Gonzalez, Reyes, Beimel

Let’s gather up the latest on the Reds.

  • John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer figures the Reds would like to add a young shortstop.  Alex Gonzalez was supposed to play winter ball but the plan changed.  The Reds still hope he’s ready for spring training.
  • Kerry Wood is not likely, but the Reds have an offer out to Arthur Rhodes and maintain interest in David Weathers after offering him arbitration.
  • MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon throws a few new lefties into the mix: Dennys Reyes and Joe BeimelDarren Oliver is not under consideration since he’d cost the Reds their second-round pick.  I imagine Oliver’s agent is hearing that from most teams.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty also continues to talk to the agents for Mike Lincoln and Jerry Hairston Jr., according to Sheldon.

Reds Hope To Add Lefty Reliever

According to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Reds GM Walt Jocketty wants to add a lefty to the Reds bullpen. Jocketty says the Reds considered Trever Miller before it became apparent that he was close to a deal with the Cardinals.

To build the bullpen back up, Jocketty said the Reds would consider Arthur Rhodes, Will Ohman, Darren Oliver, Dennys Reyes and Joe Beimel. Cincinnati could use a reliever since ex-Red Jeremy Affeldt signed with the Giants earlier in the week.

The Reds have talked about bringing back two of their own free agents, David Weathers and Mike Lincoln.

Teams are more interested in talking about trades now that some free agent price tags seem so high, according to Jocketty.

Crisp Almost A Red, Says Jocketty

Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that his team nearly settled on a deal for Coco Crisp, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We were close," Jocketty said, although specific pieces aren’t mentioned in the article. It’d be interesting to know what the Reds were offering considering the Red Sox received pitching help in exchange for Crisp.

The same article lists upgrading the bullpen as a focus of the Reds’ offseason plans. Jocketty has been in touch with the agents of David Weathers and Mike Lincoln, but doesn’t expect to sign anyone soon.

Jocketty also talks about being surprised by how quickly reliever Jeremy Affeldt signed a deal. However, the article also points out that Affeldt wasn’t signed until January 23rd this past offseason.

Reds Rumors: Pitching, Greene, Hairston

Here’s the latest from John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

  • GM Walt Jocketty said he will not be trading young pitching for a quick fix.  Still, you have to think Homer Bailey is available in the right deal for another young player.
  • Despite an earlier report to the contrary, the Reds are not interested in San Diego shortstop Khalil Greene.  If Jocketty is to acquire a shortstop, it’ll be a pre-arbitration player.  The Reds are shaky at shortstop – Alex Gonzalez is penciled in for next year, but he missed all of ’08 with a compression fracture in his knee.
  • The Reds like young backstop Ryan Hanigan, but they are still in the market for catchers.  Fay says Jocketty chatted with the Rangers regarding their surplus, though a recent report didn’t have Cincinnati in the mix.  Joel Sherman seems to indicate the Reds have interest in the Mets’ Brian Schneider.
  • Jocketty made progress toward re-signing Jerry Hairston Jr. (also on Philly’s radar), and he plans to talk to the agents for David Weathers, Jeremy Affeldt, and Mike Lincoln this week.

Reds Will Consider Mulder

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer spoke to Reds GM Walt Jocketty recently.  A few nuggets from the conversation:

  • The Reds will "at least explore" signing free agent lefty Mark Mulder.  Jocketty, of course, has a history with Mulder from the Cardinals.  Mulder recently told MLB.com’s Mychael Urban he won’t consider signing until he’s healthy and throwing well.
  • Jocketty has spoken to the agents for free agents David Weathers, Mike Lincoln, Jeremy Affeldt, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Javier ValentinWeathers doesn’t seem interested in taking a discount, while Valentin said last month he’d love to return.
  • The Reds aren’t interested in signing Ken Griffey Jr.  The White Sox are expected to pass as well, but Mark Gonzales believes he could be considered in a lesser role if healthy.  At any rate, the two teams will split Junior’s $4MM buyout.

Reds Make Offers To Hairston, Weathers

5:00pm: Jocketty told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that he hasn’t heard back from Weathers’ or Hairston’s people in about a week since making the offers.

1:01pm: According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds made contract offers to David Weathers and Jerry Hairston Jr.  Both are eligible for free agency. Weathers would probably serve as the seventh inning guy, while Hairston might handle center field duties.  Weathers seems to profile as a Type B free agent, while Hairston is neither A nor B.

Fay believes GM Walt Jocketty will also attempt to re-sign relievers Mike Lincoln and Jeremy Affeldt.  Affeldt had pretty big demands at the outset of the last offseason (four or five years), but ended up signing for one year.

Odds And Ends: Cardinals, Astros, K-Rod

Links for Saturday…

  • It doesn’t sound like Jon Daniels has autonomy in Texas.
  • Ian Hunter of Country 103.9 in Ontario recently talked to MLBTR about the Blue Jays. Click here to download the mp3.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty has talked to three or four of the Reds’ nine free agents.  John Fay speculates those players are David Weathers, Jerry Hairston Jr., Mike Lincoln, and Jeremy Affeldt.
  • The Padres’ grievance against shortstop Khalil Greene won’t be heard until spring.  The case of Doyle Alexander may be a precedent; the Yankees were not able to recover any money after Alexander broke a knuckle by attacking a dugout wall in ’82.
  • Matthew Leach of MLB.com takes a look at the Redbirds’ upcoming offseason.  Leach estimates that after all the contract and arbitration items are settled, the Cards will have around $25MM to look for a middle infielder, a middle reliever, and perhaps a new closer or #4 or #5 type slugger.
  • Likewise, earlier this week Astros MLB.com beat writer Alyson Footer reported on GM Ed Wade’s offseason plans. Wade is expected to make some tweaks to the roster, but it’s unlikely he’ll make any major moves. Footer suggests the Astros could look for a couple of rotation arms, and speculates on the possibility of signing Ben Sheets.
  • The O.C. Register’s Mark Whicker doesn’t see Francisco Rodriguez coming back to the Angels.

Alejandro A. Leal writes for UmpBump.com and can be reached here: alexo05 {at} umpbump {dot} com.  Tim Dierkes also contributed to this post.