Mike Pelfrey Rumors
SB Nation's Grant Brisbee examines the ups and downs of Joe Mauer's contract and wonders what Mauer would have signed for had he been a free agent this offseason. Mauer is owed $115MM over the remainder of his contract, and while Brisbee feels he'd fall a bit shy of that, he still predicts a healthy six-year, $101MM contract. Mauer would have been the second-best hitter in this year's free agent class, Brisbee notes, pointing out that among 2013-14 free agents, only Robinson Cano has a higher OPS+ than Mauer over the past two seasons. More Twins-related news and rumors...
- Mike Pelfrey's two-year, $11MM contract with the Twins includes $3.5MM in incentives based on innings thresholds, as broken down by Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- There isn't any change in negotiations between the Twins and Matt Garza, according to 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson (Twitter links). As Wolfson reported earlier this week, Minnesota is willing to meet Garza's price but only on a short-term deal, while Garza is looking for a longer commitment.
- The Twins are not one of the six teams that have expressed interest in a minor league deal for Nyjer Morgan, according to Darren Wolfson (Twitter link). Morgan recently switched agents and is weighing a return to the Majors after a strong season in Japan.
- Major League sources tell Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that a reunion between the Twins and Johan Santana is a real possibility. Minnesota has continued to discuss its former ace internally, has stayed in contact with Santana's agents and has some interest in a reunion.
- The Twins face an interesting battle for the fifth spot in their rotation, wrote MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger in his most recent Twins Inbox. Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond are all out of minor league options, but the rotation figures to have room for just one of the three with Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey all under control. That's to say nothing of top prospect Kyle Gibson, who struggled in 2013 but still projects to be in the rotation at some point. Bollinger feels that Deduno is the front-runner for the fifth spot but doesn't see a Worley or Diamond trade happening until at least midway through Spring Training, as each pitcher's value is at a low point.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The Twins have been uncharacteristically aggressive on the free agent market this offseason, and they continued the trend by officially announcing the signing of Mike Pelfrey to a two-year, $11MM contract today. Pelfrey can reportedly earn $3.5MM in performance bonuses.
The Twins have been linked frequently with 29-year-old this offseason. Though he posted a 5.19 ERA for Minnesota in 2013, it's perhaps a positive that Pelfrey managed 152 2/3 innings in returning from Tommy John surgery. ERA estimators also suggest he may have been the victim of some bad luck. SIERA projected a 4.63 ERA, while xFIP suggested Pelfrey was in line for a 4.54 mark, and FIP pegged him at 3.99.
The Twins have spent heavily on pitching this offseason, signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, but were rumored to be targeting further rotation help. GM Terry Ryan's push to revamp the rotation was no doubt brought on by the 5.26 ERA Twins starters coughed up in 2013, good for last in the majors. The 871 total innings the Twins got from their rotation in 2013 was also worst among big league teams.
While Pelfrey lacks the impact potential of Nolasco and Hughes, he's a good bet to provide innings. Prior to undergoing Tommy John in 2012, the 6'7", 250-pound right-hander was the picture of durability. He averaged 196 frames with the Mets from 2008 to 2011, posting a 4.27 ERA over that span. In 1,049 career big league innings, Pelfrey owns a 4.48 ERA and a 47.8 pecent ground-ball rate. If Pelfrey can improve on last season's 43.2 percent ground-ball rate and inch closer to his career mark, it should bode well for the right-hander. Minnesota deploys a strong defensive tandem up the middle in the form of Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon.
Between Pelfrey, Nolasco and Hughes, the Twins have now committed $84MM to three pitchers this winter. Those three will join Kevin Correia in the rotation, with Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond and Samuel Deduno fighting for the fifth and final spot. However, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com tweets that the team hasn't ruled out acquiring another starter. The Twins "definitely" still have money to spend, according to Wolfson.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Tigers have discussed trading Austin Jackson to the Yankees in exchange for Brett Gardner, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports. Both players have been above-average fielders in center over their careers and have comparable career batting lines, though Gardner is a better base-stealer and Jackson has more doubles pop. Jackson turns 27 in February, is projected to earn $5.3MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility and he'll hit free agency after the 2015 season; the 30-year-old Gardner is projected to earn $4MM and he'll be a free agent next winter. I'm not sure this deal makes sense for the Tigers unless they don't think they can sign Jackson (a Scott Boras client) to an extension, or if they aren't interested in extending Jackson. From the Yankees' side, they like Gardner enough that they probably wouldn't move him for a very similar player, albeit a younger one.
Here are some more items from all five AL Central franchises...
- The Twins have increased the value of their two-year offer to Mike Pelfrey from $10MM to $12MM, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The Rangers and Giants have also shown interest in Pelfrey, Neal reports.
- Also from Neal, the stumbling block between Matt Garza and the Twins seems to be Garza's demands for a four- or five-year contract, as Minnesota isn't willing to make that long a commitment due to injury concerns. That said, Neal isn't counting the Twins out of the Garza race yet as he hears the team is still in the hunt (Twitter links). You can read more about the Twins' hunt for pitching here.
- The Royals could continue to shop Billy Butler since "Before too long, the DH spot has to be a rotating position for us. It really does," a club official tells Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. For one, the Royals may use Salvador Perez at DH to keep his bat in the lineup when he isn't catching, plus added DH days would help keep Perez healthy. Even if Butler isn't dealt this offseason, Dutton doesn't believe the Royals will sign him to an extension once his current deal is up. It was reported earlier today that Butler's name had come up in trade talks with the Blue Jays.
- The Royals, Indians and Rangers are among the teams interested in Shaun Marcum, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets. Marcum underwent surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome in July and his agent updated MLBTR's Tim Dierkes on the recovery process last month.
- The White Sox are looking to cut their payroll from just under $119MM in 2013 to between $89MM-$99MM range for 2014, ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla writes, with the $99MM figure being the likelier of the two. Despite the cuts on the Major League side, GM Rick Hahn said the club will reinvest the saved money into extra spending on the draft and international signings.
- In other AL Central news from earlier today, the Tigers reached an agreement with Joba Chamberlain and the Indians were battling with the Padres over Joaquin Benoit.
10:33am: The Twins are "working hard" to add one more starting pitcher to the club after signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Bronson Arroyo and Mike Pelfrey are definitely among the names the Twins are pursuing. Earlier this morning, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweeted that while some teams and agents are packing up and heading home, Twins GM Terry Ryan isn't leaving Orlando yet. Said Ryan, "I'm open for business."
Minnesota has also been linked to Matt Garza recently, though it's unclear how serious their interest is, as the Angels and Diamondbacks are said to be the favorites in that race. The Twins know his asking price, however, and they know Garza himself better than many of his suitors. Minnesota drafted Garza in the first round of the 2005 draft but traded him in 2007.
Most agents and executives will be flying out of Orlando today, but that doesn't mean there's not still time for teams and players to strike a few deals. Here are the latest American League updates from the 2013 Winter Meetings:
- The Twins are making progress in talks with free agent starter Mike Pelfrey, reports La Velle Neal III of the Star Tribune. The Twins and agent Scott Boras have met since the team offered a two-year, $10MM deal, and appear to closing the gap, though GM Terry Ryan is in no rush to finalize an agreement today.
- Dan Duquette and the Orioles have done "a lot of work" to prepare for the Rule 5 draft, and are very likely to select a player later this morning, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports details.
- The Yankees have several needs on their roster that Brian Cashman is ready to address, but he's dealing with a thin pitching market and still determining which of the team's targets are attainable, writes Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. "I'd rather go the easier route, and pull something down and everybody's like 'That's a good move!'" Cashman said. "I don't know if that's going to happen. I might have to go the harder, longer route. But we'll see."
- As various reports continue to link the Royals to Omar Infante, the team continues to sing Emilio Bonifacio's praises. GM Dayton Moore indicated Wednesday that the club is "very pleased" with Bonifacio at second base, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
Since being ruled ineligible due to providing a false birthdate over the summer, Cuban shortstop prospect Aledmys Diaz has interest from a list of teams including the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, agent Jamie Torres tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. "There are some very good players out right now and more are coming," Torres said. "Let's put it this way: I can predict that a few of the Cuban players that sign between now and Spring Training are going to contribute in the big leagues in the 2014 season and their contribution is going to be significant." More from around baseball..
- Omar Infante has been looking for a four-year deal and is drawing some interest from clubs who see him as a left fielder or third baseman, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Yesterday it was reported that Infante is seeking a deal with an $8MM+ average annual value.
- Some agents and teams are convinced that the three-year, $30MM deal the Astros gave free agent pitcher Scott Feldman has been a wrench in talks for others since agents feel obligated to also shoot for that type of "lottery ticket" contract, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Free agent Raul Ibanez is considering offers from multiple contenders, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Earlier today, Stark reported that Ibanez could be headed to the Angels.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he'll hold on to Ike Davis if no one comes to the table with a strong enough offer, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. "Let me emphasize one thing: We're not in the business of giving players away," Alderson said. "We don't expect to get in that business."
- The Tigers are in on Ervin Santana, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). The Twins, meanwhile, aren't in the mix because of the draft pick compensation tied to him.
- Agent Scott Boras says he would talk to Orioles owner Peter Angelos about extensions for Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, writes CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff.
- The Twins continue to talk to free agent pitcher Mike Pelfrey, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It's unclear whether a deal with Pelfrey would preclude a signing of fellow free agent hurler Bronson Arroyo, but MInnesota has flexibility.
- One GM tells Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily (Twitter link) that he can't see Kendrys Morales signing until after the draft.
- White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn says his team still has several potential options ahead less than 24 hours after acquiring center fielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. One rival exec believes the White Sox would like to trade outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who is now part of a crowded house with the addition of Eaton. Another baseball source said the White Sox have looked into the possibility of trading away second baseman Gordon Beckham.
- The free agent market for second basemen seems to be impacted by the availability of Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips, and others, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.
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.
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.
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.