Octavio Dotel Rumors
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.
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.
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."
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
MONDAY, 12:42pm: Dotel is "moving closer" to an agreement with the Jays, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He agrees that it would be in the $3.5MM range.
SUNDAY, 8:49pm: Heyman tweets that the deal with Toronto isn't done yet, and that the Pirates, Rays, and several other teams are still very much involved in the Dotel bidding.
8:21pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the deal will pay Dotel $3.5MM, or a bit above that.
6:15pm: The Blue Jays and Octavio Dotel are on the verge of agreeing to a one-year contract, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. The deal will be "almost identical" to the $3.2MM he earned in 2010, including another $500K in incentives.
Although Jason Frasor will return after accepting arbitration, the Jays still lost late-inning relievers Scott Downs and (presumably) Kevin Gregg to free agency. Dotel, 37, gives them a veteran arm with closing experience. He pitched to a 4.08 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 for the Pirates, Dodgers, and Rockies last season. Dotel's trademark velocity is declining but still well above 90 mph, and over the last four seasons he owns an impressive 11.4 K/9. Only Carlos Marmol, Jonathan Broxton, and Billy Wagner top that.
The Pirates and Rays also had interest in Dotel, who is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council. The Rockies will receive a supplemental first round draft pick as compensation for losing the right-hander, who was a Type-B free agent. Toronto will be Dotel's 11th big league team, amazingly enough.
The Rays find themselves in a difficult position as the 2011 season approaches. Forced to cut payroll, they've lost Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, (presumably) Rafael Soriano, and most of their bullpen to free agency, and traded Jason Bartlett as he approaches his final arbitration year.
Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times looks at some of the issues left to be addressed as the Rays begin bargain shopping this offseason:
- The Rays have added some bullpen pieces in Joel Peralta, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, J.P. Howell, and Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabrel, but they'll still need someone to pitch the ninth and probably the eighth, Topkin opines. He lists some potential candidates as Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, Kevin Gregg, Trevor Hoffman, Grant Balfour, and Chad Qualls as options. Remember, the Rays also have Jake McGee.
- There's not much in terms of affordable names for the Rays on the market. Some clarity will be brought to the issue once Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee sign. Topkin mentions Casey Kotchman as a speculative option. Dan Johnson is a fallback if the team can't find an upgrade.
- Johnson is also a backup plan at designated hitter, but the Rays have options at designated hitter, with Johnny Damon, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Jason Giambi on the market.
The Blue Jays, Pirates, and Rays are interested in free agent reliever Octavio Dotel, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Since all three clubs might be willing to offer closing jobs, Dotel ought to be intrigued. On December 8th, ESPN's Enrique Rojas reported that the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Pirates and Yankees had inquired on Dotel, though some of those clubs have since filled bullpen openings.
Dotel, 37, posted a 4.08 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9, and 31.7% groundball rate in 64 innings for the Pirates, Dodgers, and Rockies. He received a $3.5MM base salary when the Pirates first signed him in January of this year.