Mike Pelfrey Rumors

Twins Eyeing Garza, Arroyo, Colon, Pelfrey

The Twins' list of pitching targets currently consists of Matt Garza, Bronson Arroyo, Bartolo Colon and Mike Pelfrey, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).

Minnesota has been uncharacteristically aggressive on the free agent market, already landing Ricky Nolasco (four years, $49MM) and Phil Hughes (three years, $24MM) to shore up a rotation that posted an MLB-worst 5.26 ERA and 4.9 K/9 in 2013. Previous reports have indicated that despite being shipped off by the Twins years ago in a trade for Delmon Young, Garza would be open to returning to the team that drafted him.

The Twins' interest in Arroyo has been ongoing, and they're currently in the mix for the veteran innings eater along with the Reds and Mets. The Pirates are said to have dropped out of the Arroyo market, but the Reds could be preparing an offer. We've also heard of their interest in a reunion with Pelfrey a number of times, and they've reportedly extended an offer in the two-year, $10MM range that Pelfrey and agent Scott Boras have declined.

Minnesota's connection to Colon is new and would seem to be a dificult fit, as the aging Colon likely would prefer to sign with a team that's more likely to contend in 2013. However, the Twins could try to sell Colon on the fact that his addition would give them a fairly competitive rotation, or they could guarantee Colon a second year if other teams are reluctant to do so.


Central Notes: Arroyo, Twins, Cards, De Aza, Indians

Here are some quick notes from around the Central divisions.

  • Bronson Arroyo's agent, Terry Bross, says he expects the Reds to make an offer to re-sign his client, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. That leads Rosenthal to wonder whether the Reds might deal a starter, even though GM Walt Jocketty has said they would not trade Homer Bailey, who will be a free agent after the season (Twitter links).
  • The Twins do not have a pending offer to Arroyo or Johan Santana, tweets 1500ESPN's Darren Wolfson. They have made an offer to re-sign starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger tweets. Pelfrey posted a 5.19 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for the Twins in 2013.
  • The Cardinals, who have already acquired Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos, aren't likely to be big players in the Winter Meetings, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tweets. "We’re fishing is in the shallow end," GM John Mozeliak says.
  • Now that they've acquired Adam Eaton, the White Sox will listen to offers on fellow outfielder Alejandro De Aza, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). The Giants have already asked about De Aza, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • The Indians would like to re-sign pitcher Tyler Cloyd to a minor-league deal, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets.

New York Notes: Cashman, Santana, Pelfrey, Ibanez

It has been a busy week in the Big Apple with the Yankees losing Robinson Cano to the Mariners and coming to terms with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Hiroki Kuroda. The Mets meanwhile were able to sign Curtis Granderson away from the Pinstripes. Here's the latest on the New York teams:

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News, he's not done making moves. "I've got work to do," Cashman said. "I need a starter, bullpen, second base. We’ve still got work." Cashman also addressed a report Cano had reservations about playing for manager Joe Girardi. "I'm not aware of that. You'd have to ask Robbie, I guess. It's never been an issue that I'm aware of."
  • The Mets are one of seven or eight teams who have inquired about Johan Santana, sources tell The Star-Ledger's Jorge Castillo. Michael Baron of Metsblog.com doubts any team will offer Santana more than a minor league deal because of his shoulder issues. The Mets opted for a $5.5MM buyout of Santana's $25MM club option in November making the 34-year-old left-hander a free agent.
  • The Yankees have checked on free agent right-hander Mike Pelfrey, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
  • The Yankees are interested in a reunion with Raul Ibanez but he isn't a top priority for them, tweets the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Ibanez, despite being 41, is being courted by teams in both leagues including the Rockies, Braves, Mariners, and Rangers, Sherman tweets
  • The focus of both the Yankees and Mets will be on the trade market rather than free agents during the Winter Meetings, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
  • Martino adds, in a separate tweet, the Mets were never in on Scott Feldman and don't seem to be in play for mid-rotation help. 
  • CC Sabathia was surprised by Cano's decision because he did not expect the Yankees to allow Cano to leave, and he did not expect Cano to actually go, reports Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger. "Just a player like that, putting on the pinstripes, and being able to play your whole career in New York means something – to me, obviously," Sabathia said. "It didn't mean that much to him. It's a difficult choice being a free agent. And he made a tough choice. I know he's happy with his decision, and his family's happy. So that's good."


Twins ‘Making Progress’ On Pierzynski, Targeting Pelfrey

The Twins are "making progress" in their push to reunite with catcher A.J. PierzynskiLaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports, citing an anonymous source. Neal reported the news in his article on the Twins' three-year, $24MM deal agreement with Phil Hughes.

Pierzynski hit .272/.297/.425 in 2013 with the Rangers, a line that featured his typical solid power but a career-low in OBP. The Twins, however, are said to value the catcher for his winning background and the edge he'd bring to a team that has lost an average of 97 games over the past three seasons. Perzynski's also durable, appearing in at least 128 games every year since 2002.

In the same article, Neal relates that the Twins may also try to re-sign Mike Pelfrey, who struggled to the tune of a 5.19 ERA in 152 2/3 innings in 2013 in his first campaign after Tommy John surgery. The club reportedly offered a two-year deal in the $10MM range to the 29-year-old righty, who's previously indicated interest in re-upping with Minnesota, though Neal says it's not clear if that deal is still on offer.


Central Rumors: Hart, Pelfrey, Suzuki, Cubs, Indians

Today's news out of the AL and NL Central..


Mets Notes: Murphy, Davis, Duda, Hart, Granderson

The Mets are listening to offers on Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, but are not aggressively shopping them at this point, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter).  Here's more on the Mets…

  • Five or six teams have inquired about Davis and/or Lucas Duda, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports.  Duda is considered by some AL teams to be a fit as a designated hitter, Carig tweets.
  • Peralta appears to be the Mets' top free agent target, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes.  The club "really likes" Peralta but they don't know if he intends to sign soon or later in the offseason.
  • The Mets have talked to free agent Corey Hart, but Martino gets the sense that they either don't identify him as a top target or aren't that eager to get a deal done with him.  Carig (link) also hears from a source that the Mets aren't close to a deal with the Brewers first baseman.  "We haven't discussed him in depth enough to say where we'd put him if we got him," the source said.
  • The Mets have plans to meet with Curtis Granderson's agent this week, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter).  The outfielder is turning down the Yankees' $14.1MM qualifying offer.
  • The Mets have touched base with Marlon Byrd's representatives in the last few days, according to Carig (link).  Recently, Steve Adams examined the market for Byrd and concluded that he could fetch a deal in the neighborhood of $16MM over two years.
  • A source suggested to Carig (link) that it would make sense for the Mets to take their time in trading Davis and take advantage of a market that is starved for power.  Carig (link) hears that the Mets might do just that and hang on to him until later in the offseason when teams will be seeking out less costly alternatives to add power.
  • The Mets aren't actively talking to Mike Pelfrey about a possible reunion, but they are open to it, a team official tells Adam Rubin.  "I know he is on a long list of guys just like him," the team insider said.  The Mets non-tendered the hurler after he earned $5.7MM in 2012.
  • The Mets' top priority is shortstop, but they're hardly alone in that, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Possible options for the Mets include Peralta, Erick Aybar, Didi Gregorius, Rafael Furcal, and Jed Lowrie.

Ryan On Free Agents, Tenders, Pelfrey, Pitching

Twins GM Terry Ryan discussed a number of topics with 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson on Wednesday, including the following hot stove-related items…

  • The Twins have a protected first round draft pick but Ryan said he'd be comfortable in surrendering the club's second round selection to sign a free agent who had declined a qualifying offer, provided that he felt the free agent was a good fit.
  • Likewise, if the Twins identify a player on the trade market that would upgrade their club and could be had at the right price, Ryan would be open to dealing prospects to make a big splash like the Royals did last offseason to acquire James Shields.  "If you find some of that pitching, it makes you look a lot better in a hurry. So, you'd have to give it some consideration. But it'd have to make a lot of sense. No doubt," Ryan said.
  • Ryan has "flexibility with payroll" and isn't afraid to spend on a player his front office thinks is the right guy.  "We have people who put their neck out and are committed to whoever the player is or the pitcher is, you move forward. If it costs you some money, we go to where we're comfortable," Ryan said.
  • Trevor Plouffe will be tendered a contract, Ryan confirmed.  He declined to comment on Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing (both of whom are also eligible for arbitration), but Wolfson reports that "league sources are convinced" that both pitchers will be tendered contracts.
  • There is "probably not" any chance of the Twins re-signing Mike Pelfrey before he hits the free agent market, as Ryan suggested Pelfrey and agent Scott Boras will want to test the market.  Pelfrey returned from Tommy John surgery in 2012 to throw 152 2/3 innings for the Twins last season and he posted a 5.19 ERA that peripherals stats indicated should've been lower.  Pelfrey has said he would be interested in returning to Minnesota and MLBTR's Steve Adams suggests Pelfrey could be had on another one-year contract.

Pelfrey Interested In Returning To Twins In 2014

Right-hander Mike Pelfrey earned a $100K bonus last night by crossing the 150-inning threshold, as pointed out by Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Pelfrey told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that Monday was his final start of 2013 and expressed interest in returning to Minnesota for a second season (Twitter link).

Pelfrey sits 7 1/3 innings shy of earning another $150K of incentives, but as Miller points out, he's yet to last that long in a start all season, so he would have been unlikely to reach that plateau anyway. As it stands, it seems that Pelfrey will earn just $100K of the $1.5MM worth of incentives that were built into the one-year, $4MM contract he signed with the Twins this offseason.

Pelfrey spent his entire career with the Mets prior to 2013, but his New York tenure came to an end when he was non-tendered last offseason. He made a remarkably quick recovery from Tommy John surgery in May 2012 in order to be ready for Opening Day for the Twins. He'll turn 30 years old in January and could likely be had on another one-year deal after posting a 5.19 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a career-low 43.2 percent ground-ball rate in 152 2/3 innings this season. Pelfrey's FIP (3.99) and xFIP (4.54) both suggest that his ERA could have been lower were it not for a .337 BABIP and 67.2 percent strand rate.

The Twins will undoubtedly be on the lookout for pitching this offseason, as owner Jim Pohlad recently lamented the team's "embarrassing" play and said that he would provide GM Terry Ryan with the financial resources to be active on the free agent market. Pohlad said he wouldn't shy away from three- and four-year free agent deals, which the Twins have typically avoided in the past. Josh Willingham's three-year, $21MM contract is the largest free agent signing in Twins' franchise history.


Central Links: Peralta, Holland, Cubs, Pelfrey

Yesterday it was reported that Jhonny Peralta has left ACES for SFX as he prepares to hit free agency this offseason. Regarding his departure, Sam and Seth Levinson of ACES offered the following statement (via MLB.com's Jason Beck):

"ACES takes great pride in standing by our players during difficult times in their lives. Thankfully, the darkest chapter in Jhonny’s professional career has concluded. We wish him the best in all that he does moving forward, and fully understand that Jhonny is more comfortable with a Latin agent.  ACES is proud to represent great players who are quality people for over three decades and we will continue to defend and assert our players’ rights under the rules of the game."

Here's more out of baseball's Central divisions…


Quick Hits: Red Sox, Stanton, Collins, A-Rod

For the Red Sox, 2013 has increasingly taken on the feel of a triumphant return to glory. Now enjoying a seemingly insurmountable division lead, the Sox have engineered one of the greatest season-to-season turnarounds ever. Jonah Keri of Grantland looks back on each of the key free agent signings made by GM Ben Cherington, arguing that the team's "passel of midlevel free agents" were hardly the overpays that they were labeled.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • The Phillies are still interested in Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that he's tried to trade for him "at least ten times," writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Unfortunately for the Phils, Marlins president Larry Beinfest has rebuffed them each time and made it clear that they're not moving him.
  • A Mets source told Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter) that manager Terry Collins isn't being evaluated by wins and losses in September.  "There's different criteria at different times of the year," the offical said.
  • Alex Rodriguez's attorneys fear that the MLBPA won't fight hard for their client as he fights a 211-game ban, writes Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News.  Sources say that the relationship between team A-Rod and the union is rather uneasy at this point.
  • Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey needs 10.2 innings to reach a $100K bonus and manager Ron Gardenhire won't get in his way as he says that he never lets bonuses affect his decisions, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
  • Regardless of his light-hitting, Brendan Ryan left his mark on Mariners baseball, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  The shortstop was traded to the Yankees earlier this week for a player to be named later.
  • Three years after signing Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126MM deal, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner says that he's still pleased about the deal, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.