Mike Fontenot Rumors
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.
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.
- Pat Neshek agreed to a one year deal with $625K with another $75K in incentives, avoiding arbitration with the Twins according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier (via Twitter).
- The Nationals have agreed to terms with Jason Bergmann, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, and Josh Willingham according to a team press release. All four players avoided arbitration. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that Willingham will make $4.6MM next season, while Bergmann will make $750K according to a tweet from MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves and Peter Moylan have agreed to a deal, avoiding arbitration. He gets $1.15MM.
- Matt Garza avoided arbitration with the Rays, tweets Topkin. The two sides agreed to a one year deal worth $3.35MM,
- MLB.com's Jim Street tweets that the Mariners and David Aardsma have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.75MM.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, and Humberto Quintero according to a tweet from MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Bourn gets $2.4MM, Lindstrom $1.625MM, and Quintero $750K (via McTaggart's Twitter).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that the Rockies and Jason Hammel have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $1.9MM.
- The A's agreed to a one year deal with Kevin Kouzmanoff, reports The Oakland Tribune. Oakland acquired Kouzmanoff from the Padres over the weekend.
- Jered Weaver agreed to a one year deal worth $4.265MM with the Angels to avoid arbitration, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman.
- Topkin tweets that J.P. Howell agreed to a one year deal worth $1.8MM, avoiding arbitration with the Rays.
- According to the team's official Twitter feed, the Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Jason Frasor ($2.65MM) and Brian Tallet ($2MM) by agreeing to one year deals.
- Delmon Young avoided arbitration with the Twins by agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.6MM, according to a tweet by Joe Christensen of The Star Tribune. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com tweets that Young will get $25K each for 575 and 600 plate appearances.
- According to a team press release, the Royals have avoided arbitration with Alex Gordon and Robinson Tejeda. Terms of either deal was not disclosed.
- Heyman tweets that Stephen Drew and the Diamondbacks agreed to a one year deal worth $3.4MM, avoiding arbitration.
- The White Sox and John Danks avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal worth $3.45M, according to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Mets and Pedro Feliciano have agreed to a one year deal worth $2.9MM, avoiding arbitration. There's another $100K in performance bonuses.
- The Star Telegram's Anthony Andro reports that the Rangers and Chris Ray have avoided arbitration. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says it's a one year deal worth $975K.
- Russell Martin has agreed to a one year contract worth $5.05MM, avoiding arbitration with the Dodgers according to Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter)
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that the Blue Jays and reliever Jeremy Accardo have agreed to a one year deal worth $1.08MM, avoiding arbitration.
- Rafael Perez agreed to a one year deal with the Indians to avoid arbitration according to a team press release. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince tweets that Perez will make $795K in 2010.
- The Orioles and Luke Scott avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $4.05MM according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. He earned $2.4MM last season, hitting .258/.340/.488 with a career high 25 homers.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets that the Cubs have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($975K). Mike Fontenot ($1MM,) Koyie Hill ($700K), Angel Guzman ($825K), and Tom Gorzelanny ($800K). Terms of the deals came from Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times (via Twitter).
- Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates and Zach Duke have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal.
- Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Radio reports that Mark Lowe and the Mariners have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $1.15MM salary for next season.
- LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune tweets that the Twins and J.J. Hardy have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $5MM. He gets a small raise over last year's $4.65MM salary after hitting .229/.302/.357.
- According to the Cardinals' official Twitter feed, the team has avoided arbitration with Ryan Ludwick by agreeing to a one year deal. Heyman tweets that he'll receive $5.45MM next year after earning $3.7MM in 2009.
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Josh Hamilton, giving him $3.25MM plus awards-based bonuses according to a tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman. It was his first time eligible. Hamilton hit .268/.315/.426 in 2009, missing time with back trouble and a sports hernia.
- Mark Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times tweets that the Rays and Jason Bartlett have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $4MM salary for 2010. He earned just under $2MM in 2009, hitting .320/.389/.490 with a career high 14 homers.
- Casey Janssen agreed to a $700K deal for 2010 to avoid arbitration, according to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed. It was his first time up for arbitration.
- Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter) that the Marlins and Jorge Cantu have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one year deal worth $6MM. Cantu hit .289/.345/.443 while making $3.5MM in 2009, his first year of arb eligibility.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy tweets that both Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks have agreed to one year deals to avoid arbitration. Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel tweets that Weeks will earn $2.75MM next year, while Gomez will earn $1.1MM as a Super Two.
- Heyman tweets that the Dodgers have avoided arbitration with both George Sherrill and James Loney. Sherrill gets $4.5MM plus incentives in his third year eligible, Loney $3.1MM in his first go around.
- According to the Blue Jays official Twitter feed, reliever Shawn Camp has agreed to a $1.15MM deal for 2010, avoiding arb. He was eligible for the second time after posting a 3.50 ERA in 79.2 innings last season.
- Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald reports (via Twitter) that Leo Nunez and the Marlins have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $2MM salary for 2010. Sticking with the theme of the day, it was his first time eligible for salary arbitration.
- MLB.com's Ken Gurnick tweets that the Dodgers and Hong Chih-Kuo have agreed to a one-year deal worth $950K, avoiding arb. It was Kuo's first time eligible.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the Mets and Jeff Francoeur have avoided arb by agreeing to a $5MM deal. Francoeur earned $3.375MM in 2009 and hit .280/.309/.423 for the Mets and Braves.
- Heyman tweets that Howie Kendrick and the Angels have agreed to a $1.75MM deal with incentives. This was Kendrick's first crack at arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that the A's and Rajai Davis agreed to a $1.35MM salary for 2010, plus incentives. This was Davis' first year eligible for arbitration.
- Heyman tweets that Jonathan Sanchez avoided arb with the Giants by agreeing to a $2.1MM deal, plus incentives. He posted a 4.24 ERA in 163.1 innings last year, and was up for arbitration for the first time in his career.
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.
- Washington tendered contracts to Josh Willingham, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, Jason Bergmann, and Sean Burnett.
- Zach Duke was tendered an offer by the Pirates.
- The Marlins reached an agreement with Ronny Paulino. The deal will be for one-year, $1.1MM.
- The Royals avoided arbitration by reaching one year deals with Brian Bannister ($2.3MM) Roman Colon ($660K), and Kyle Davies ($1.8MM).
- Dioner Navarro will remain with the Rays on a one-year deal worth $2.1MM.
- The White Sox will offer contracts to Bobby Jenks, John Danks, Carlos Quentin, and Tony Pena.
- Milwaukee will tender offers to six players: Dave Bush, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, Jody Gerut, Corey Hart, and Carlos Gomez.
- Toronto will tender an offer to Jeremy Accardo.
- Kevin Correia will remain with the Padres for one-year, $3.6MM.
- The Rangers have signed Esteban German to a 2010 contract. He'll earn $600K in the majors and $200K in the minors. They offered contracts to their other arbitration-eligible players including Scott Feldman, Chris Ray, Frank Francisco, C.J. Wilson, Dustin Nippert, Brandon McCarthy, and Josh Hamilton.
- Tampa Bay avoided arbitration with Lance Cormier by inking him to a one-year deal. The contract will pay Cormier $1.2MM.
- The Twins will tender contracts to all 30 unsigned players on their 40-man roster. That means Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris, Francisco Liriano, Pat Neshek, Delmon Young, and many more figure to be in the Twins' plans in 2010.
- The following eight Cubs will receive offers from the team: Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, and Mike Fontenot.
- Atlanta tendered offers to relievers Peter Moylan and Boone Logan.
- The Marlins will tender offers to almost all of their arbitration-eligible players - Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Cody Ross, Josh Johnson, Leo Nunez, and Renyel Pinto.
- The Astros will tender offers to all remaining arbitration-eligible players. This means Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, Jeff Keppinger, and Humberto Quintero are invited back.
- Matt Albers and Cla Meredith have agreed to terms with the Orioles. Albers' deal is worth $.68MM for one-year. Meanwhile, Meredith will recieve $.85MM in 2010.
- Randy Choate agreed to a one year deal. Terms of the deal are one-year, $700K.
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."
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.
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?
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.
- Both writers agree that unloading right fielder Milton Bradley (owed $21MM) is at the top of GM Jim Hendry's to-do list. Wittenmyer's sources suggest the Cubs might be able to move Bradley without eating 80% of his contract. Sullivan believes the Cubs could kill two birds with one stone by trading Bradley for their desired "RBI guy," one who carries an equally poor contract. Magglio Ordonez and Jose Guillen come to mind for me. However, the Tigers would have no motivation to make the swap and the Royals are not interested (it's a poor match on money and handedness anyway).
- Sullivan says lefty reliever John Grabow wants a three-year deal, and the Cubs "are likely to give it to him." That'd be overpaying, based on last year's market for lefty relievers.
- Sullivan believes Jake Fox and Mike Fontenot are trade candidates. Fox might be a good fit with an American League club.
- Will the Cubs opt for a cheap backup outfielder in Sam Fuld, or will they re-sign Reed Johnson?
- Neither writer expects the Cubs to trade Carlos Zambrano.
Your Saturday evening links, with more to come...
- ESPN's Keith Law has made some significant changes to his Top 100 MLB Draft Rankings. It's subscriber-only, but a great read for those looking to catch draft fever.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times asks (and attempts to answer) a popular question: "What is going on with Raul Ibanez in Philadelphia?"
- Benjamin Kabak of River Ave. Blues takes another look at Andy Pettitte's incentive-laden deal with the Yankees.
- Cubs manager Lou Piniella is high on Mike Fontenot at third base. "Fontenot is honestly our best option there," Piniella told the Chicago Sun-Times. "When we get Aaron Miles back [from the disabled list] it will help the situation too. But we feel very comfortable with Fontenot at third, and we can use [Bobby] Scales and [Andres] Blanco at second."
8:22pm: John Mozeliak said tonight the Cardinals never engaged with Burnett's agent. A commitment of more than two years to a free agent starter is extremely unlikely.
3:40pm: Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it's "not true" that the Cardinals are players for Burnett.
8:30am: The latest from Ken Rosenthal:
- The Cardinals are a serious bidder for A.J. Burnett. They also pursued him back in 2005. The Blue Jays would get the Cardinals' #19 pick next June if they sign him. However, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently wrote that the Cards "are not expected to pursue the free agent pool's bigger fish: C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe."
- The Mets have Jon Garland on the radar. Jerry Crasnick likes Garland as a fit for the Cards.
- The Brewers haven't decided to increase their offer to C.C. Sabathia at this time, and won't consider it until they meet with the big lefty. A meeting is scheduled; Sabathia may grill the Brewers about their other offseason plans. Rosenthal thinks Kerry Wood might make the most sense among free agent closers.
- The Mets, Indians, and Cardinals are interested in J.J. Putz.
- The Cubs are eyeing Rich Aurilia, but only if they happen to move Ronny Cedeno or Mike Fontenot.
- The Nationals "aren't terribly enamored" of Willy Taveras, contrary to previous reports. The Nats instead have Carlos Gonzalez in their sights.