Mike Pelfrey Rumors
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."
The Twins are "making progress" in their push to reunite with catcher A.J. Pierzynski, LaVelle 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.
Today's news out of the AL and NL Central..
- The Brewers are considering bringing back Corey Hart to fill their first-base need and it appears they may favor him over other first base options like Mets first baseman Ike Davis and free agent Justin Morneau, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A Brewers person didn't look overly enthused when asked about Davis or Morneau and added that the rumored trade of Norichika Aoki for Davis would not be happening.
- Agent Scott Boras says that he's gotten good interest from a "variety of teams" on client Mike Pelfrey and said the Twins are amongst those clubs, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. He also claims that Pelfrey holds a multi-year offer.
- The Cubs don’t plan to drop big bucks on a free agent catcher like Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia and sources tell Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com they have their eye on a cheaper target: Kurt Suzuki. The Cubs are seeking out a veteran backstop to complement Welington Castillo.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) there's been ongoing trade interest in Nate Schierholtz since mid-season.
- Justin Masterson will listen if the Indians want to approach him with a multi-year offer, writes Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
- 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.
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.
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.
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...
- Royals closer Greg Holland is thriving in a role that he never would have expected to have before becoming a pro, writes MLB.com's Kathleen Gier. Holland was a high school third baseman in North Carolina and anticipated a future as an infielder before changing his path.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times asks if Kris Bryant is the Cubs' third baseman of the future. Bryant also has experience in the outfield and the Cubs have other candidates within their system (Javier Baez, Christian Villanueva, and Mike Olt) for the third base position.
- Wittenmyer also chronicles the journey that C.J. Edwards has taken from the small town of Prosperity, S.C. to prized Cubs pitching prospect, losing his best friend in a car crash and falling to the 48th round of the draft along the way.
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters, including MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link), that Mike Pelfrey will not be shut down for the season and will continue to pitch. That's financially significant, as Pelfrey is 7 2/3 innings from reaching the first tier of incentives in his contract, as detailed by Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press earlier this month.
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.
As you've no doubt heard by now, Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit -- yes, that Yusmeiro Petit -- came within inches of recording 27-straight outs last night. As a youngster, Petit was twice a top-100 prospect as he moved quickly through the Mets system. When he became the headline piece of the deal shipping star first baseman Carlos Delgado to the Mets late in 2005, Marlins GM Larry Beinfest said that Petit would join the Marlins' "stable of outstanding young pitchers." Instead, the Fish quickly lost interest and shipped him to the Diamondbacks in a misguided bid to acquire a proven closer, Jorge Julio. After flaming out in Arizona, Petit's transactional history on MLBTR has provided a crash course on minor roster moves. While we can all celebrate this journeyman hurler's brush with history, does it mean anything for the 28-year-old's future as a ballplayer?
- According to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, Petit "sent a tremendous message that this is where he belongs and this is where he should be pitching," tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Petit has indeed performed in limited action this year for San Francisco, with a 2.05 ERA over 26 1/3 innings in which he has notched thirty strikeouts against just four walks. Though he hasn't suppressed runs quite as well in Triple-A, he does sport a nifty 7.62 K:BB rate in 92 2/3 innings there.
- It will be interesting to see how the Giants proceed with Petit. As Baggarly notes in another tweet, Petit will reach arbitration eligibility for the first time this offseason. While the Giants can therefore control him for three seasons, it remains to be seen whether the team will be interested in tendering him a contract to do so.
- There is some interesting precedent here. Another highly regarded young pitcher-turned-disappointment, Philip Humber, tossed a perfect game in 2012 but went on to post a 6.44 ERA in 102 innings on the year. When the White Sox released the first-time arb-eligible Humber, the Astros snapped him up and guaranteed him $1.3MM (including the buyout of a 2014 option) just before the tender deadline. Of course, unlike Petit, Humber had put up one full season of solid performance at the big league level, as he notched 163 innings of 3.75 ERA ball in 2011.
- Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey, set to become a free agent, hopes to stay in Minnesota, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, but agent Scott Boras will ask for more than $4.5MM per year to make that a reality. (Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Pelfrey signed with the Twins for one-year and $4MM.) This season, Pelfrey's first in a uniform other than the Mets', has seen him struggle to a 4.97 ERA in 26 starts. Pelfrey's ground-ball rate has dropped to a career-low 43.8%, and he continues to strike out less than six batters per nine while posting a below-average K:BB ratio (1.83 this season; 1.62 for his career). Nevertheless, Wolfson opines in another tweet that some club will give the 29-year-old that kind of money, though he believes the Twins would be best served to pass on another year of Pelfrey.
- The Astros are still working on finalizing the rest of the club's September call-ups, tweets Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle. As he notes in another tweet, fans pining for top prospects to taste the big leagues should bear in mind that players must be on the 40-man roster to be on the active MLB roster, and adding a player necessarily carries repercussions for managing the 40-man going forward.
- General managers around baseball seem to be coalescing around the idea that a rule change should be made that limits the September roster expansion, writes USA Today's Bob Nightengale. Among the GMs and managers that Nightengale cites, only Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers prefers to reward teams that have deep farms with a larger active roster, though he says an even better solution is to "expand in April" so teams "won't wear out [their] bullpen early, and guys won't get injured so easily coming out of spring training." Most importantly, several members of the league's committee for on-field matters -- including Tony LaRussa and Mike Scioscia -- seem to believe that a change is warranted to avoid the sudden and massive shift in the game's rules during its most strategically challenging month.
The first big move of trade season went down yesterday when the Orioles acquired starter Scott Feldman from the Cubs, along with catcher Steve Clevenger, for starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop and international bonus pool money. The move will obviously have an impact on the O's, but more broadly, it means that we've entered the period when trade talk becomes more than just talk, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Here's more from today's column..
- Scouts that have spoken with Martino expect the Phillies to be active sellers, but hold onto Cliff Lee since they want to contend next year. However, rival scouts and execs anticipate that, in addition to Michael Young and Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon will be dealt or at least heavily shopped. We've heard previously that the Phillies are expected to ask for an astronomical haul to part with Papelbon.
- Papelbon also fits the bill as someone who could be kept for next year, but rivals that have spoken with Martino see too much of a need for bullpen help amongst contenders like the Red Sox and Tigers and they expect GM Ruben Amaro to get a strong offer for the closer.
- One executive involved in the talks for the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco predicts that he will land with the Dodgers, with the Giants a possibility and the Padres still somewhat interested. Last night it was reported that the Rangers, Rockies, and Dodgers are in "heavy pursuit" of the Miami hurler.
- A major league source told Martino that the Twins will likely shop Mike Pelfrey later this month, if he makes a strong few starts. While the 29-year-old hasn't exactly been a world-beater this year - he has a 6.11 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 - he could perhaps get better as he moves further from last year's Tommy John surgery and appeal to a contender willing to throw starters against the wall like the Orioles.