Nate Robertson Rumors
Tuesday night linkage..
- The Dodgers' ownership issue won't be resolved until the end of the season, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The trial to determine the owner of the club will begin on August 30th.
- Sergio Santos - formerly a shortstop in the Diamondbacks organization - has made it to the major leagues as a pitcher for the White Sox, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Todd Wellemeyer isn't sure that the Giants' rotation is better than the Cardinals starting five that he was a part of, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. While it has yet to be announced, Wellemeyer will likely be crowned the fifth starter in San Francisco's rotation.
- Rockies catcher Paul Lo Duca will accept his reassignment to the minors, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
- Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times supports the Dodgers' sale of Eric Stults to the Hiroshima Carp. This year marked Stults' ninth with the organization.
- Dontrelle Willis is sad to see Nate Robertson go to Florida, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. Willis' inclusion in Detroit's rotation was a big reason why the Tigers were able to part with Robertson.
The Marlins acquired lefty Nate Robertson and cash considerations from the Tigers for minor league reliever Jay Voss, according to a Tigers press release. The Tigers are paying $9.6MM of the $10MM owed to Robertson, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Robertson originally came up through the Marlins' system, and was traded to the Tigers in the Mark Redman deal in January of '03. The 32-year-old posted a 5.44 ERA, 6.3 K/9, and 5.1 BB/9 in 49.6 innings last year. He started the '09 season in the Tigers' bullpen and hit the DL in May with a back strain. In June, he had surgery to remove four masses in his elbow. He rejoined the rotation in September, but strained his groin shortly thereafter. Robertson had November surgery to repair that tear. With a fresh start in Florida, perhaps Robertson can chew up 175 innings with an ERA around 4.50. The trade opens the Tigers' fifth starter spot for Dontrelle Willis.
Voss, also a southpaw, turns 23 in April. He spent '09 as a reliever, posting a 2.72 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 at High A and Double A. Baseball America ranked Voss 23rd among Marlins prospects, seemingly projecting a future as a lefty specialist.
SUNDAY, 11:50am: The Mariners have intensified their search for starting pitching, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The duo names Nate Robertson, Brian Tallet, and Manny Parra as a few left-handers who may be available while the M's wait for their own lefties (Lee and Erik Bedard) to return from injuries. FOX's Tracy Ringolsby adds (via Twitter) that the team had a scout on hand to watch Tim Redding pitch yesterday.
SATURDAY, 4:16pm: Fanhouse's Ed Price tweets that the Mariners are now strongly considering adding a starting pitcher due to Lee's injury. Price suggests that the addition would be a free agent or someone who was released from another organization.
THURSDAY, 12:12pm: The Mariners are "now again seriously considering Jarrod Washburn," tweets SI's Jon Heyman, even though he says the team is hoping to have Cliff Lee back by the third week of the season.
On Sunday, Washburn told ESPN's Mike Salk there have been "no recent conversations" between the Mariners and his agent Scott Boras. The added wrinkle is that Salk feels Washburn would need about four weeks to be game-ready.
The Detroit Tigers are looking for a suitor for Nate Robertson, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi tweets that three different sources have told him the Tigers are shopping the left-hander.
Robertson is entering the last year of a three-year $21.25MM contract, and will earn $10MM this season. While the 32-year-old has struggled over the last few seasons, he posted a 3.84 ERA over 208.2 IP in 2006. It's possible that there are teams out there willing to roll the dice that Robertson could regain that form, but as Morosi suggests, the Tigers would have to take on a significant chunk of his 2010 salary.
Once the Tigers traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson for four pre-arbitration eligible players, the thought was that owner Mike Ilitch was trimming payroll after the recession hit Detroit especially hard. However, he then approved a massive extension for ace Justin Verlander as well as the signing of Johnny Damon, and now his team's Opening Day payroll is expected to be somewhere around $130MM, up from $115MM last year.
Lynn Henning of The Detroit News wrote about the payroll savings GM Dave Dombrowski will enjoy after the season, which are pretty significant. Here's a look at the money the Tigers have coming off the books after the 2010 season...
- Jeremy Bonderman, $12.5MM salary in 2010
- Dontrelle Willis, $12MM
- Nate Robertson, $10MM
- Johnny Damon, $8MM
- Brandon Inge, $6.6MM
- Gerald Laird, $3.95MM
- Bobby Seay, $2.475MM
- Adam Everett, $1.5MM
That's $57.025MM in savings right there, and the team would be wise to avoid letting Magglio Ordonez reach the 540 plate appearances needed for his $15MM option to vest.
Ilitch isn't shy about spending big on the free agent market, and he'll have the money available to add a big bat to complement Miguel Cabrera (Jayson Werth, Aramis Ramirez if he declines his option?) as well as another elite starter to a rotation that already includes Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer (Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee?) after the season. Keep in mind that I was just throwing some names out there off our 2011 free agents list, and that the Tigers have not been linked to any of those players in any rumors we've seen.
The Tigers are already in a position to compete in the AL Central, and once they shed some dead money after the season, they'll have a chance to jump ahead of the pack if they spend wisely.
Friday night linkage..
- B.J. Upton and the Rays had their arbitration hearing today and the decision from that hearing is expected tomorrow, writes Bill Chastain of MLB.com. Tampa Bay is offering $3MM while Upton wants $3.3MM.
- Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets that there is still no movement in talks between the D-Backs and Edwin Jackson. Jackson is seeking $6.25MM while Arizona is offering $4.6MM.
- If the Tigers ink Johnny Damon, the club may look make a trade to free up their glut in the outfield, writes James Schmehl of MLive.com. Ryan Raburn and Clete Thomas could be shipped elsewhere in order to make room for Damon in the lineup. Schmehl also writes that GM Dave Dombrowski may try to move Nate Robertson and Carlos Guillen, though their hefty contracts will be an impediment.
- Phil Wood of MASNSports.com fails to understand the Nats' interest in pitcher Kris Benson. The 35-year-old has not pitched a full season since 2006, when he posted a 4.82 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 for the Orioles.
- Australian catcher Guy Edmonds has signed with the Texas Rangers, according to Christian Nicolussi of The Daily Telegraph. Nicolussi writes that the 16-year-old has the potential to outperform the country's greatest baseball export, Dave Nilsson.
- ESPN's Rob Neyer defends Tim Lincecum's signing of a two-year deal with the Giants. Tiny Tim was seeking $13MM in arbitration with the club.
- Rangers pitchers Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando - banned for the past five years due to their involvement in a visa fraud scandal - have received their visas and are expected in Spring Training, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. In total, the Rangers are expecting 56 players in camp.
- On his website, MetsBlog.com founder Matthew Cerrone was asked by a reader if reporters in the mainstream media "make up" hot stove rumors. While he says that this is not the case, the seriousness of talks between clubs are, at times, not communicated effectively. Because of the strange nature of the baseball rumor mill, Cerrone says that he and Tim Dierkes provide an important service to fans by adding context to hot stove rumblings.
Some links to look through on the day Eric Munson returns to the big leagues...
- Joel Sherman of The NY Post wonders if a Luis Castillo for Jeremy Bonderman or Nate Robertson deal makes sense. Placido Polanco will be a free agent after the season, and both pitchers are expendable to Detroit. Castillo is owed $12MM over the next two years, while Bonderman and Robertson will take in $12.5MM and $10MM, respectively, in the final season of their contracts next year.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets that the best possibilities for Billy Wagner next year are the Braves, Astros, Cubs, Tigers, and maybe even the Nationals.
- In a piece at ESPN, Baseball Prospectus' Shawn Hoffman looks at who could be the best pitching bargains of the offseason. Carl Pavano, Erik Bedard, and John Smoltz might be the best of the lot. You need Insider to read the article, but it comes recommended.
Upon learning that he'll begin the 2009 season in the bullpen, left-hander Nate Robertson wondered aloud Thursday whether his time has run out in Detroit. "The cycle of a player's time in an organization comes and goes, and maybe my time is nearing its end," he said. (Quote is courtesy of MLive.com's Steve Kornacki).
Robertson, 31, has gone 49-65 with a 4.90 ERA since showing up on the scene in 2003. His '08 season was a disaster, however, and probably nullified any trade value that he once had. (He finished with a 7-11 record and a 6.35 ERA).
Tigers manger Jim Leyland spoke briefly about Nate's fall from grace on Thursday morning: "If someone had told me in 2006 that Robertson would be in the bullpen, I'd have told him, 'You are crazy.'"
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes about the tough decisions faced by the Tigers this spring.
First, they have to decide whether to let 20 year-old phenom Rick Porcello break camp with the team, even though he has yet to pitch above A ball. GM Dave Dombrowski seems open to it. He says the issue of delaying Porcello's arbitration will not come into play.
The Tigers also have to decide what to do with veterans Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, and Gary Sheffield. Will their contracts lead to roster spots? Robertson (4 ER in 4 IP) is owed $17MM through 2010. Willis (4 ER in 3 IP) will make $22MM in that time. And Sheffield (.167/.423/.500 in 18 ABs) earns $14MM in '09. Spring Training stats don't mean much anyway, but these samples are especially small. And Rosenthal says Willis and/or Robertson could be sent to the minors or bullpen if necessary.
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News expects the Tigers to make a trade before the regular season, "perhaps a big one." Henning writes that the team could trade away starting pitching if Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis are healthy. Henning also mentions Marcus Thames and Ryan Raburn as possible trade candidates.
Willis and Robertson each have considerable negative trade value, as they'll both make at least $7MM in 2009 and 2010. Unless the Tigers are willing to pay most of that, they'd have to trade one of their other starters: Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson or Zach Miner. Trading one of those starters would leave the Tigers with a thin rotation.
The Tigers don't have a starting spot for Thames if Gary Sheffield stays healthy.