Milwaukee Brewers Rumors
The Brewers and right-hander Francisco Rodriguez are in agreement on a one-year, Major League contract, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported not long ago that the two sides were making significant progress on a deal, and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy added that they were discussing a Major League pact (Twitter link). Rodriguez, who is represented by Scott Boras, will earn $3.25MM with another $550K available via incentives, according to McCalvy.
This marks the third one-year deal that K-Rod has inked with the Brewers. Milwaukee originally acquired him (and cash) from the Mets in July of 2011 for a pair of players to be named later that turned out to be Danny Herrera and Adrian Rosario. Rodriguez inked a one-year deal with the Brew Crew that offseason and agreed to a one-year contract with Milwaukee again in April of last season, joining the club midway through the year.
While it's surprising to some, Rodriguez is entering just his age-32 season. The longtime Angels closer broke into the league as a 20-year-old in 2002, and he's pitched at least 46 2/3 innings in each season dating back to 2003.
Last year, Rodriguez was outstanding for manager Ron Roenicke, firing 24 2/3 innings of 1.09 ERA ball to go along with a 26-to-9 K:BB ratio. Rodriguez picked up 10 saves for the Brewers -- including the 300th of his illustrious career -- before being flipped to the Orioles in a deadline deal for infield prospect Nick Delmonico. Rodriguez would struggle a bit in Baltimore, pitching to a 4.50 ERA in 22 innings for the Birds. However, he maintained his strong K:BB numbers, whiffing 28 batters against just five walks. He didn't have the consistent 94-96 mph heat he had in his heyday, but Rodriguez still averaged 91.4 mph on his heater last season.
In 767 1/3 career innings, K-Rod has authored a 2.70 ERA with 304 saves, 10.9 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 for the Angels, Mets, Brewers and Orioles. His 304 saves are tied for 21st all-time, and he trails only Joe Nathan among active pitchers in that department.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin drew some ire from fans for his lack of activity on the free agent market, as just a few weeks ago, the Brewers were the only team in the Majors not to have signed a free agent to a Major League deal this offseason. Since that time he's added Matt Garza on a four-year, $50MM contract with a vesting/club fifth-year option and brought K-Rod back to solidify the bullpen.
This post was originally published on Feb. 7.
Joey Votto is well known not only for his massive, ten-year contract, but also for being one of the game's most dedicated and thoughtful hitters. He is also known as a reserved presence, making his lengthy interview with Lance McAlister of Cincinnati's 700 WLW well worth a listen (hat tip to the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay.) Among other things, Votto dismissed the concept of lineup protection, but says that he did see noticeably better pitches when speedster Billy Hamilton got on base in front of him last year. His favorite stat? wRC+. Touching on roster construction and player evaluation, Votto said that he values all aspects of the game, and finds it is telling that both of last year's World Series contestants featured well-rounded rosters of well-rounded players. Here's more from the NL Central:
- After missing all of 2013 due to arm injuries, Pirates prospect Rinku Singh tells MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom that he is working on his arm strength and still plans to reach the Major Leagues. Singh, 25, famously won a pitching reality show in India in 2008 and subsequently signed a minor league deal with the Bucs. The story of Singh (and Dinesh Patel, the reality show runner-up) will be told in the upcoming film Million Dollar Arm.
- The Cardinals lost a number of notable relief arms and could be lacking some depth, Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Gordon lists several minor leaguers who could emerge in Spring Training and be in the bullpen on Opening Day.
- The Cubs are unlikely to participate in a "bidding war" for Korean hurler Suk-min Yoon, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Though Chicago saw Yoon pitch along with multiple other teams, it sounds as if the club's interest is heavily conditioned on price.
- The Brewers are "kicking tires" on several free agent relievers, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links). Milwaukee is waiting for the asking prices to come down. Two names that Haudricourt wouldn't be surprised to see added are ex-Brewer Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Marmol, who is a good friend of Aramis Ramirez.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
JAN. 28: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the complex details of Garza's fifth year option (all Twitter links). The Brewers hold a $5MM option on Garza for the fifth year that will drop to just $1MM if Garza spends more than 130 days on the DL in any 183-day period throughout the life of the deal (183 days is the length of one regular season). However, the option will vest for Garza at $13MM if he pitches 110 games over the first four years of the deal, is not on the disabled list at the end of the 2017 season and throws at least 115 innings in 2017.
Sherman adds that Garza will also receive an additional $500K for reaching 190 innings and 30 games in each year of the deal. Each year of the contract contains $2MM in deferred money without interest.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes (Twitter links) that the complex nature of the fifth-year option illustrates the Brewers' concerns over Garza's long-term health, and he adds that other teams shared those concerns.
JAN. 26: The Brewers drew plenty of criticism for not adding a single free agent on a Major League deal this winter, but that changed on Sunday when principal owner Mark Attanasio announced at the team's On Deck event that they've reached an agreement with right-hander Matt Garza. The Brewers have since announced the four-year deal with a fifth-year vesting option via press release.
The contract reportedly guarantees Garza $50MM and contains a $13MM vesting option for a fifth year plus $4MM worth of incentives, meaning the CAA Sports client can earn up to $67MM over five years in Milwaukee.
GM Doug Melvin told the crowd (as tweeted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Todd Rosiak), "I know we are a stronger team today." Melvin also said ironing out the contract details is what held up the announcement, Rosiak tweets.
This marks another late-offseason, impactful starting pitching signing from GM Doug Melvin and Milwaukee. Last year, the club nabbed Kyle Lohse on a three-year, $33MM deal after he languished on the market due to draft-pick compensation. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently examined, signing free agents late in the offseason is becoming a habit for Melvin and the Brewers. Dierkes noted that 40 percent of Major League free agent deals issued by the Brewers over the past five seasons have come in January or later, and this contract boosts that number to 42 percent (11 of 26). This instance is different than all others, however, as the club will give Garza the largest guarantee it has ever made to a free agent.
Garza will not cost the Brewers draft pick compensation, as will be the case for fellow top arms Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. Given the draft-pick drag on their value, Garza's deal could temper expectations for those two starters.
MLBTR's Steve Adams profiled Garza after the 2013 season, predicting that he would land four years and $64MM on the open market. While he got the years, Garza fell $3MM per year short of that salary target. In the end, Garza will receive only a $3MM greater guarantee than that given to Ricky Nolasco by the Twins for the same term. He lands an identical pact (in terms of dollars and years, at least) to the contract Edwin Jackson signed last year with the Cubs.
Garza's strong track record on the hill has been accompanied by injury questions that presumably limited his value on the open market. As Adams detailed, Garza suffered a stress fracture in his right elbow as well as a lat strain. All said, Garza has only pitched 259 innings over the last two years.
Previously, however, Garza had been a workhorse. Over the 2008-11 period, Garza made at least 30 starts and threw at least 184 2/3 innings a season. His cumulative ERA over that stretch was 3.72, and he averaged 7.6 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9. Since that time, though his innings are down, Garza has largely prevented runs at the same level. (He has a 3.86 ERA across the 2012-13 period.)
Garza will add to a Brewers rotation that already featured Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta. Each of those pitchers is controllable beyond the 2014 season (Gallardo's contract contains a $13MM option with a $600K buyout), meaning that Melvin and his staff may have effectively set the Brewers' rotation for the next two seasons by inking Garza. Though they'll face steep competition in the form of the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates, the Brewers figure to boast a solid rotation with full seasons from Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez, meaning they should fare significantly better in 2014 than they did in 2013.
MLB.com's Brewer Nation blog first reported Milwaukee's interest in Garza. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the agreement, pending a physical (via Twitter). The Brewers then issued a statement to say the deal was not quite finalized before Attanasio announced the sigining on Jan. 26. Rosiak relayed the info of Attanasio's announcement, and his colleague Tom Haudricourt tweeted the news of the fifth-year option and its role in delaying the deal. McCalvy tweeted the financial details, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that Garza will earn $12.5MM annually.
Steve Adams and Edward Creech contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
In his latest column over at FOXSports.com, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks' pursuit of top free agents Masahiro Tanaka, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran stemmed from the fact they'll soon be completing a new television deal with FOX Sports that will be worth at least $90MM per season for a span of 15 to 20 years (beginning in 2016). He notes that while comparing TV deals is difficult because of differing equity stakes negotiated by each team, but the contract should still top the Rangers' recent TV deal, which pays them $80MM per season. More highlights from Rosenthal...
- The Cubs' offer to Masahiro Tanaka did not include an opt-out clause, according to Rosenthal. Knowing that they might not compete until 2016, the Cubs were wary of including a clause that would allow him to opt out shortly after their next competitive club hit the field.
- Their recent signing of Matt Garza will allow the Brewers to move trade acquisition Will Smith (received in exchange for Norichika Aoki) to the bullpen. Milwaukee could still add another reliever this offseason, but they also want to take a look at Rule 5 lefty Wei-Chung Wang.
- After missing out on a Major League deal with the Orioles due to concerns over his back, Tyler Colvin is weighing a number of minor league offers.
- The Marlins and Rockies are both interested in former Reds right-hander Nick Masset, who has missed each of the past two seasons due to shoulder injuries.
Here are today's minor moves and outright assignments from around the league...
- 29-year-old righty Chris Leroux has inked a minor league deal with the Yankees, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. The Canadian hurler has 69 2/3 MLB innings under his belt, all in relief, over which he has maintained a 5.56 ERA and 8.1 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9.
- The Brewers announced that they've signed infielder Pete Orr to a minor league contract. Orr's deal does not contain an invite to Major League Spring Training, but he will report with the rest of the Major Leaguers and invitees on day one of camp, MLBTR has learned. The versatile 34-year-old has appeared in the Majors with the Phillies in each of the past three seasons and has a career .269/.321/.395 slash line at Triple-A. Orr can play shortstop, second base, third base and both corner outfield positions.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reports (via Twitter) that shortstop Blake Davis has inked a minor league deal with the Pirates. Now 30 years of age, Davis was a fourth-round selection of the Orioles in the 2006 draft and got a taste of the Majors in 2011 with Baltimore, batting .254/.323/.390 in 65 plate appearances. He spent 2013 with the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate, where he slashed .256/.297/.352 in 357 PAs.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio opened Brewers On Deck, the team's annual winter fan festival, earlier today by announcing the signing of right-hander Matt Garza (#7 on MLBTR's 2014 Top 50 Free Agents list). The four-year, $50MM contract also includes deferred money, $1MM per year in incentives, and a $13MM vesting option for 2018. The total take for Garza could total $67MM over five years. In other Brewers news and notes coming out of Milwaukee today:
- "I was expecting an open market, and that’s what I got. I’m really happy I’m a Milwaukee Brewer," Garza told reporters, including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy (Twitter link), in an impromptu news conference. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel provides a transcript of Garza's comments including this tidbit: Brewers fans heard about the deal before he did because he was attending his son's basketball game.
- GM Doug Melvin said the Brewers' interest in Garza dates back to the Winter Meetings and his addition provides rotation depth, but will wait until Spring Training to see how the starting five shakes out, Rosiak reports (Twitter links).
- Melvin told WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee the lack of draft pick compensation attached to Garza was a very important factor in the signing (h/t Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Twitter).
- Ryan Braun was in attendance at the fan event and continues to be apologetic for his actions which led to his 65-game suspension, writes Rosiak. "I don’t ever know if I could apologize enough for what’s occurred, you know?" said Braun. "I just continue to move forward and obviously I’ll be apologetic. I wish I could go back and do things differently, but I can’t. All I can do is move forward and make the best of the opportunities presented to me." Braun refused to divulge further details of why he was suspended saying he addressed everything last November at a team-sponsored food drive and "I think I addressed it pretty specifically in the statement that we gave (in August)."
- Braun also offered praise for his newest teammate, Garza, according to McCalvy. "I’m excited about it," Braun said. "I think he could be a difference-maker. Facing him over the last few years, I think he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. One of the toughest at-bats. Great stuff. Very competitive — a fiery competitor, which is something I think could benefit the whole pitching staff and our whole team."
- Mark Reynolds says he signed with the Brewers because of the starting opportunity at first base, playing in the NL, and the fan support in Milwaukee, Rosiak tweets.
- Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has yet to begin a throwing program, but he expects to be ready for Opening Day, tweets McCalvy.
- In response to a fan's question about payroll, Melvin said (as tweeted by Rosiak), "Ask Mark." To which the principal owner replied, "Wallet is a lot lighter now."
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets his approval of what Melvin and the Brewers have been able to accomplish this offseason: spent money on a starting pitcher, filled the hole at first base with a solid combinaton of Reynolds and Lyle Overbay, kept right-hander Tyler Thornburg (the Mets' reported price for Ike Davis), and their draft picks.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe checks in with GMs, players, writers, and scouts to help run down the best coaches in baseball. On his list of bench coaches who are managers in waiting: Brad Mills of the Indians, Torey Luvullo of the Red Sox, Larry Bowa of the Phillies, Tim Flannery of the Giants, and the Brewers' Jerry Narron. More from today's column..
- The Pirates probably won’t go after a pitcher if A.J. Burnett retires. Right now, Pittsburgh is looking for a full-time first baseman and would use the money that would have gone to the veteran toward that end. Cafardo also notes that the Orioles could be a "wild card" in the situation since Burnett lives in Baltimore.
- While the bids of the other teams are still unknown, one GM threw out the following figures in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes: Yankees $155MM, Cubs $120MM, Diamondbacks $120MM, Dodgers $119MM, White Sox $100MM, Astros $100MM.
- The Diamondbacks were head over heels for Tanaka, but the fact they weren’t on one of the coasts and they were in a smaller media market worked against them.
- Scott Boras doesn't represent David Ortiz, but he tells Cafardo that he feels for them. Boras sees some similarities between the Red Sox star and his own client Kendrys Morales. Morales is seen by most clubs as a DH rather than a first baseman which is hurting his value. Boras argues that Ortiz is the featured power hitter in Boston's lineup as a DH and believes that Morales can also provide value in that role.
- There had been some talk that Daisuke Matsuzaka might go back to Japan to pitch, but the possibility of breaking into the Mets’ rotation with Matt Harvey out intrigued Matsuzaka enough to fight for a spot.
- The Giants have been through a lot with Pablo Sandoval and even if he has a good season, this could be Pablo Sandoval's last in San Francisco. Sandoval will be a free agent following the 2014 season.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the latest on the Matt Garza-Brewers situation, reporting that it's still unclear what might have delayed things when the two sides appeared to be close to annoucing a deal. While some have posited that the club may be waiting to announce the contract until its On Deck fan fest on Sunday, nothing indicates that is the case, Haudricourt says, writing, "I'm not even sure that Garza is still in town." The situation appears to be little changed from Thursday, when MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reported that progress wasn't halted because of medical concerns. Here's more from baseball's Central divisions:
- Twins first baseman Chris Colabello discussed his decision to decline an offer to play baseball in South Korea with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "A lot of people have told me: 'This is an opportunity you can't pass up,'" the 30-year-old slugger said. "I don't think I've ever chased money in my life. Why start now?" Collabello reportedly turned down an offer that would have paid him nearly $1MM this season and will instead compete for a Twins bench job. Another Minnesota farmhand, Andrew Albers, accepted an offer to pitch for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization earlier this week.
- Jason Kubel, back with the Twins on a minor-league deal, is well-positioned to make the club as a DH and corner outfielder, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com writes. Jason Bartlett is another familar face who'll be competing for a Major League job, but he's seen as having less of a chance to make the team after missing all of 2013 with knee issues, according to Bollinger.
- The Indians have hired former Diamondbacks pitching coach Charlie Nagy, though they've yet to determine what his role will be, Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reports. The 46-year-old spent almost all of his 14-year career with the Tribe, throwing nearly 2,000 innings for Cleveland from 1990-2002 with a 4.51 ERA. Hoynes says Nagy is likely to serve as an instructor in the club's farm system.
Here are today's minor moves from around baseball:
- Left-hander Erick Hurtado has signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports. The 19-year-old has limited professional experience, logging just 12 1/3 innings in two seasons for Astros and Yankees affiliates, but stands an imposing 6' 4".
- The Pirates have brought in catcher Erick Fernandez on a minor-league deal, according to Eddy. The 25-year-old was released by the Nationals on July 22. He has a career .224/.294/.264 line in three seasons for Nationals affiliates.
- The A's inked catcher Dusty Brown to a minor-league contract, Eddy reports. Brown saw sporadic Major League playing time from 2009-2011, but hasn't reached the big leagues since and did not play at all in 2013.
- The Angels have signed catcher Anderson de la Rosa to a minor-league deal, per Eddy. The 29-year-old catcher has never reached the majors, spending his entire career in the Brewers system.
- The Brewers have signed outfielder Jeremy Hermida and infielder Joe Thurston to minor-league contracts, according to a team release. Hermida, formerly an everyday player with the Marlins, played the entire 2013 for Triple-A Columbus in the Indians organization, batting .247/.365/.416. Thurston collected 307 plate appearances for the Cardinals in 2009 and last appeared in the big leagues in 2010. He played in Mexico in 2013.
- Pitcher Barry Enright tweets that he has signed with the Phillies. Enright, who will be 28 in March, struggled in 2013, posting a 7.12 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 116 1/3 innings with Triple-A Salt Lake. He also appeared in four games with the Angels. The righty pitched in the Diamondbacks rotation for parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.