Octavio Dotel Rumors

Elias Rankings For Free Agents Who Switched Leagues

Every summer prospective free agents on non-contenders get traded to new teams and, sometimes, to different leagues. The Elias Rankings for free agents are separate for the American and National Leagues, so players who projected as Type Bs in the American League won't necessarily project as Type Bs if they are dealt to the NL. Here's an update on the Elias Rankings for the prospective free agents who were traded between leagues last week (current projections, last week's projections):

  • Edwin Jackson, Cardinals – A Type B in the American League, Jackson remains a Type B with St. Louis.
  • Octavio Dotel, Cardinals – He was a Type B with Toronto and his status hasn't changed.
  • Orlando Cabrera, Giants – He remains unranked in the NL. He's close to Type B status, however.
  • Derrek Lee, Pirates – Like Cabrera, Lee remains unranked, but within striking distance of Type B status.
  • Kosuke Fukudome, Indians – Though Fukudome cannot be offered arbitration, his projected ranking changed from a Type B to unranked.

Trade Reaction: Rasmus, Jackson, White Sox

On the off-chance you missed it, the Blue Jays, Cardinals and White Sox announced a pair of major trades today. The Blue Jays acquired center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters from the Cardinals for starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations. Before completing the deal with St. Louis, the Blue Jays acquired Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen from the White Sox for reliever Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart. Here’s reaction to the trades from around MLB. Be warned, Cardinals fans, you might not like what follows… 

  • The price the Cardinals paid to acquire Jackson and bullpen help was "just too high," according to ESPN.com's Keith Law, who suggests St. Louis' internal emphasis is on manager Tony La Russa, not the players. Law loves what Toronto did and doesn't understand Chicago's move.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN says the Cardinals had better win this year "or they will really regret this one." He calls St. Louis' move the "worst trade of the year" and gives the Blue Jays an 'A.'
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms that the Cardinals turned down the Rays' offer of Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell for Rasmus (Twitter link). Sherman suggests the Cardinals would have been better off accepting Tampa Bay's offer. 
  • The Giants showed how to go for it today and the Cardinals showed how not to go for it, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes.
  • A longtime scout tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that Rasmus has a chance to be a star. “I don't understand that deal at all," the scout said (Twitter link). 
  • Matthew Leach of MLB.com likes what the Cardinals got for 2011, but finds it hard to like the deal for St. Louis because of what it means for 2012-14 (Twitter link).
  • Now that Rasmus and Carlos Beltran are off of the market, the list of teams with possible interest in B.J. Upton is taking shape, as Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times explains. The Braves, Indians, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates and Reds are possible destinations for Upton.
  • As Matt Eddy of Baseball America explains, Walters should qualify for a fourth option year in 2012 and Rzepczynski "might be the prototype" pupil for Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan.
  • Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs explains that it's easiest to see the trade from the Blue Jays' perspective, since they gave up three relievers and a prospect for a player who can help them contend for 2012-14.
  • At CloserNews, Dan Mennella wonders if Kyle McClellan could be in line for some saves, now that he's back in the bullpen.
  • Tim Dierkes wrote earlier today that “it's hard to see this as anything but a win for the Blue Jays.”
  • I agree with Tim and many of the others above- it’s a win for the Blue Jays. Let’s not forget how much has to be in place for this kind of deal to happen: a creative GM who reads the market well, payroll flexibility (for Teahen’s contract), willingness from ownership to take on salary, enough appealing prospects to be able to part with Stewart and enough bullpen depth to send three quality relievers packing on the same day. This trade doesn’t seem simple and in some ways it may actually be more complicated that it appears.

Jays Acquire Rasmus From Cards For Jackson In Eight-Player Deal

An eight-player deal was struck today, as the Blue Jays announced they've acquired center fielder Colby Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters from the Cardinals for starter Edwin Jackson, relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and three players to be named later or cash considerations.  ESPN's Buster Olney first tweeted the full details.

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In Rasmus (pictured), Alex Anthopoulos acquired a good young player who had worn out his welcome with management, much like the Blue Jays GM did with Yunel Escobar last summer.  Rasmus, 24, is hitting .246/.332/.420 in 386 plate appearances, a down year compared to 2010.  He'll be arbitration eligible for the first time after this season, so he's under team control through 2014.  Cardinals GM John Mozeliak recently called a Rasmus trade "highly unlikely," but as Strauss notes, the center fielder has "fascinated and frustrated" the Cardinals over the last three years and made repeated trade requests.  Mozeliak shopped Rasmus to the Blue Jays, Rays, and Red Sox, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  He adds that prior to public criticism from manager Tony La Russa earlier this month, the Cardinals were in contract extension negotiations with Rasmus.

Miller, 38, has been used sparingly by the Cardinals this year, logging only 15 2/3 innings.  Most of them came against left-handed hitters, but Miller hasn't pitched well no matter how you slice it.  About $700K remains on his contract.  Tallet, 33, has been ineffective as well and currently resides on the DL for an intercostal strain.  He spent the previous five seasons with the Jays.  About $263K remains on his contract.

Walters, 26, has logged 50 innings in the bigs since 2009.  The righty has a 4.27 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, and 0.8 HR/9 in 103 1/3 Triple-A innings this year, his fourth stint at the level.  Baseball America ranked him 19th among Cardinals prospects prior to the season, praising his plus changeup but projecting a long relief/swingman role.

Jackson, 27, was traded for the fifth and sixth times in his career today.  The 27-year-old flourished in nearly 200 innings with the White Sox, and improves a Cardinals rotation that ranks seventh in the NL with a 3.84 ERA.  The acquisition gives the Cards the flexibility to move Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen, leaving a rotation of Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jackson, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse.  Jackson, a Scott Boras client, figures to test free agency after the season as a Type B.  About $2.9MM remains on his contract.

The Cardinals' bullpen gets a lift from Dotel, Rzepczynski, and McClellan.  Dotel, 37, has a 3.68 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.53 HR/9, and 28.6% groundball rate on the season; he excels against right-handed batters.  Should the Cardinals turn down his $3.5MM club option, Dotel projects as a Type B free agent in the AL at the moment.  If the option is declined, about $1.7MM remains on Dotel's contract.

Rzepczynski, 25, switched to full-time relief this year.  He has a 2.97 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.46 HR/9, and strong 65.7% groundball rate in 39 1/3 innings this year.  He complements Dotel nicely, having dominated lefties and struggled against righties.  Rzepczynski is under team control through 2015.  Dotel and Rzepczynski do not appear to be a threat to closer Fernando Salas, writes Dan Mennella of CloserNews.

Patterson, 31, is hitting .252/.287/.379 in 341 plate appearances for the Blue Jays this year.  He restores a little bit of outfield depth for St. Louis.

Though there are eight players in this deal, it mostly boils down to the Cardinals renting Jackson and Dotel and getting Rzepczynski long-term in exchange for Rasmus' three arbitration years.  It's hard to see this as anything but a win for the Blue Jays.  Ultimately Rasmus cost the Jays Zach Stewart, Jason Frasor, Dotel, Rzepczynski, and Teahen's contract.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.



Eight-Player Deal Sending Rasmus To Jays For Jackson Imminent

12:08pm: The Cardinals will send Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters to the Blue Jays for Jackson, Rzepczynski, Dotel, and Corey Patterson, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  Olney adds that Miller is then expected to be traded to the White Sox.

12:01pm: This trade is not yet official because of the money involved, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  He says that aspect may need to be reworked before it's approved.

11:35am: A trade of Rasmus to the Blue Jays for Jackson, Dotel, and Rzepczynski is imminent, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  He says an announcement could come early this afternoon.

11:22am: Edwin Jackson is definitely going to be traded by the Blue Jays, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  Heyman heard it's going to be for Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus.  Rasmus being under team control through 2014 and still highly-regarded, the Cards will require more than just two months of Jackson.  The two teams have talked about Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, notes Olney, and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Cards asked about outfielder Eric Thames.

Rasmus is a popular trade target.  ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Rays offered one of Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, and Alex Cobb, and the young center fielder is very much available.  The Indians have interest as well.


Blue Jays Have Inquired On Padres Relievers

The Blue Jays have inquired on the Padres’ available relievers, including Heath Bell, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It’s not clear whether the Blue Jays want to obtain a closer or are interested in flipping one of San Diego’s relievers to another team.

If they were to acquire Bell, they could offer arbitration and collect a pair of draft picks next season, presuming the free agent to be declines the offer and signs elsewhere. Mike Adams is under team control through 2012, but Padres owner Jeff Moorad told him he’s staying put.

Don’t count on the Blue Jays trading their own relievers, Rosenthal writes. Toronto has 2012 options for Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor and Octavio Dotel, who all project as Type B free agents, according to MLBTR’s reverse-engineered Elias Rankings.


D’Backs Looking At Izzy, Wood; Talking To Blue Jays

The Diamondbacks are known to be looking for a veteran reliever and to that end will consider Jason Isringhausen and Kerry Wood as trade options, tweets John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix.  The Mets are known to be shopping Isringhausen, who has had a successful comeback season in New York and now looks to get a share of the closing duties now that Francisco Rodriguez has been dealt to Milwaukee.

Wood could be a tougher get for the Snakes.  Wood has a no-trade clause and given both his personal and professional ties in Chicago, the right-hander has stated that it's unlikely that he would choose to leave the Cubs.  Wood has never played for a World Series winner, however, it's possible the D'Backs or another contender could convince Wood to take one last shot at a championship.

Gambadoro also notes that the D'Backs have "had some discussions" with the Blue Jays about acquiring a pitcher, presumably a reliever.  Toronto has several veterans in the bullpen but, as MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm notes, many of these arms (Shawn Camp, Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor and Jon Rauch) project as Type-B free agents this winter.  The Jays would want a return worth at least as much as the compensation draft pick they'd receive from any of those pitchers if they were trade them at the deadline.  Octavio Dotel also projects as a Type-B free agent but since Chisholm predicts he'd accept an offer of arbitration from the Jays, "Dotel is the likeliest Blue Jays reliever to be on the move before the end of the month."


Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Yankees, Ubaldo, Jays

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's recap…

  • Two GMs tell Rosenthal that the Yankees are more worried about Mariano Rivera's nagging triceps injury than they're letting on. If true, they could increase their efforts to acquire a setup man, though they're hopeful Rafael Soriano will be back from his elbow injury soon after the All-Star break.
  • The Mets have called the Yankees and offered Francisco Rodriguez according to one source, but they're only interested if the Mets call them at the deadline and offer K-Rod at a minimal price.
  • The starting pitching market could soon heat up. The Rockies are getting calls about Ubaldo Jimenez and several other players, though they're not shopping their ace right-hander. Rosenthal says they'll listen on anyone besides Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Jimenez is under contract through 2014 (though he can void that option if traded) and could return a significant package of the players, so the team would give a trade serious consideration.
  • Don't be surprised if the Marlins listen on Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez. Florida will try to get back into contention, though they'll likely entertain offers for both pitchers if that doesn't happen. Nolasco is under contract though 2013, Sanchez under team control through 2012.
  • The Blue Jays offer perhaps the best value on the bullpen market. Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel, and Jon Rauch aren't in the same class as Heath Bell, though all three could pitch better outside of the AL East and have club options for 2012. They all figure to qualify as Type-B free agents as well.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Werth, Pavano, Jays, Rays

Seven years ago today, the Yankees signed Eduardo Nunez as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Now 23, Nunez is in the mix to be New York's utility infielder in 2011 after hitting .280/.321/.360 with more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) in his brief big league debut last season (53 PA).

Here are some more notes that have to do with the Yanks and their fellow AL East clubs…

  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Yankees "have told their scouts to bear down on several teams they think could have starters available" in a trade this summer. The teams they are targeting include the Braves, Angels, A's, White Sox, and Cardinals according to Sherman.
  • Jayson Werth told SI.com's Jon Heyman that he had a "great" meeting with the Red Sox earlier this offseason, after which he figured they would offer six years (Twitter link). They only offered five, so he ended up with the Nationals.
  • Carl Pavano spoke to Kelsie Smith of The Pioneer Press about being pursued by the Yankees this offseason. "I don't think [the past] would be a hindrance, but there would have definitely been obstacles," said Pavano. "I'm not naïve enough to think that there wouldn't have been things I would have had to overcome, especially the trust of the fans and maybe some of the guys that were there. That's reality."
  • Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star notes (on Twitter) that four of the Blue Jays' ten highest paid players are former closers: Jason Frasor, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, and Octavio Dotel.
  • When asked about the payroll disparity between his Rays and other teams in the division, Joe Maddon told Ken Davidoff of Newsday that he's "never seen a dollar bill throw a strike, or hit a homer, or whatever." (Twitter link)

Blue Jays Aim For Bullpen Depth

San Diego's relievers combined to strike out more than a batter per inning over the course of the 2010 season, while limiting hits, walks and homers. Manager Bud Black saw five of his relievers appear in 30 or more games and emerge with ERAs under 2.00 at the end of the season and the Padres' NL West rivals weren't the only ones to notice.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says he'd like to have a deep bullpen in 2011, like the Padres did last year. He says he's happy to keep more relievers than usual on his roster this year and that the acquisition of Frank Francisco doesn't mean a trade is imminent. The Blue Jays' plans for their relievers haven't changed.

"No impact at all," Anthopoulos said yesterday on a conference call to announce the acquisition of Francisco from the Rangers. "They're all quality relievers and we love having depth in the bullpen one through seven."

Or maybe one through eight. The Blue Jays have discussed the possibility of opening the season with an eight-man bullpen to accomodate their arms and provide manager John Farrell with a variety of options. Though the Jays could open the year with an extra arm in the 'pen, Anthopoulos said a traditional seven-man ensemble is more likely at this point. The Blue Jays' rotation is relatively young and inexperienced, so the team's front office would like to support starters like Brett Cecil and, possibly, Kyle Drabek with steady relief pitching.

"It's certainly part of it," Anthopoulos said. "We don't want to overtax our young starters."

The Blue Jays don't want to overtax their relievers, either. Anthopoulos says there can be a ripple effect when teams have deep bullpens. If every reliever is capable of performing in meaningful situations, no pitcher gets overused. But Anthopoulos has no illusions; even qualified, well-rested relievers struggle and the 2011 Blue Jays won't be any different.

"We all know that they will get hurt," he said. "Some of them won't perform. They'll have bad months."

Take Jason Frasor (pictured), one of the holdovers in the team's new-look bullpen. He walked nearly a batter per inning in April, 2010 and posted an 8.38 ERA through the season’s first month, but recovered from his turbulent start and put together a fine year. He'll join Francisco and free agent signings Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel, the relievers Anthopoulos expects to compete for the Jays' closing job.

Frasor

Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen and Carlos Villanueva are also right-handed relievers under team control for $1MM-plus in 2011, so the Blue Jays have a surplus of big league arms and could hear from pitching-starved teams before the season begins.

The Jays have seven established right-handed relievers, but Toronto's left-handers have considerably less experience. David Purcey, an out-of-options 28-year-old, was reasonably effective in 2010. He's a leading candidate to make the club, though his walk rate and fly ball rate have been high throughout his brief MLB career. Jo-Jo Reyes is also out of options, but he has made just 11 relief appearances as a pro. Jesse Carlson, who was a mainstay in 2009, could also crack the team's roster.

While their AL East rivals to the south, the Rays, had to lower payroll this offseason and rebuild their bullpen on a budget, Anthopoulos reaffirmed that he has the flexibility to ask for more money if necessary. The Blue Jays can continue spending on their bullpen, even as their young starters become more expensive.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Blue Jays Sign Octavio Dotel

The Blue Jays' deal with Octavio Dotel is official, the team announced. The sides agreed on a $3MM contract for 2011 plus a $3.5MM club option for 2012, according to the team. Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Twitter links) first reported the deal. 

Dotel will be the frontrunner for Toronto's closer job this spring, though he'll have to earn it, according to Morosi. 

The Blue Jays lost Scott Downs to the Angels and Kevin Gregg also seems likely to depart via free agency. To a certain extent, Dotel actually resembles Gregg statistically. Both walked about one batter per two innings last year, while Dotel (10.5 K/9) struck out more opponents than Gregg (8.8 K/9). Gregg picked up 37 saves to Dotel's 22 and posted a lower ERA (Gregg: 3.51 ERA, Dotel: 4.08 ERA). Gregg also throws slightly harder, is five years younger and induces more ground balls. The two pitchers are both represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council.

The Blue Jays could have exercised Gregg's $4.5MM option for 2011 after the season, but chose to decline. Assuming Gregg signs a major league deal elsewhere, they'll end up with an extra supplementary first round draft choice and a bullpen that costs $1MM less (the difference between Dotel's guarantee and Gregg's option).

The Pirates – the first of the three teams Dotel played for last year – and the Rays were among Dotel's suitors this offseason. The Rockies – the third of the three teams he played for – will obtain a supplementary first round pick in next year's draft since they offered the Type B reliever arbitraiton.

It's worth noting that Colorado will get a compensation pick for a player who appeared in eight games as a Rockie. Even more remarkably, the Blue Jays gained a supplementary first round pick for losing former Rockie Miguel Olivo, a player who never once suited up for them.