Pedro Feliciano Rumors

Odds & Ends: Iwakuma, Heisey, White Sox, Feliciano

One year ago today, the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks finalized the trade that sent Curtis Granderson to New York, Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy to Arizona and Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson to Detroit. As we await this year's answer to that 2009 blockbuster, here are some links to enjoy…

  • Phil Coke, who was also in that trade, is set to move to the Tigers' rotation, but Detroit isn't desperate for left-handed relief help. Daniel Schlereth, yet another product of the trade, could be a cog in the Tigers' 'pen, so they're showing limited interest in free agents like J.C. Romero and Ron Mahay, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.
  • The agent for Hisashi Iwakuma, Don Nomura, told the Associated Press (via ESPN) that the A's showed no respect for his client in their recent negotiations. The agent is clearly frustrated by what he perceives to be a lack of sincerity from Oakland.
  • The D'Backs have some interest in outfielder Chris Heisey, but have yet to approach the Reds about him, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
  • The Phillies are still interested in a potential deal with Chad Durbin, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • White Sox GM Kenny Williams tells Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that his team is "about tapped out" in terms of payroll flexibility (Twitter link).
  • The Indians officially announced their minor league deal with Paul Phillips today.
  • The Yankees met with Pedro Feliciano's representatives today, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).

Red Sox Like Rhodes, Downs, Guerrier, Feliciano

5:32pm: GM Theo Epstein told reporters, including Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox have made "a number" of offers to free agent relievers, some left-handed, some right-handed.

4:36pm: Like the Reds and Phillies, the Red Sox have some interest in Arthur Rhodes, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The lefty does not appear to be close to deciding on his next team.

11:23am: The Red Sox are also in on Pedro Feliciano, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Feliciano's other known suitors: the Yankees, Phillies, and Rockies.

2:24am: Signing Type A relievers and surrendering a draft pick is a risky proposition, as the swings in any reliever's performance from year-to-year can be wild, and they simply don't impact a large amount of innings over the course of a season.

WEEI.com's Alex Speier tells us that may not stop the Red Sox from pursuing Scott Downs, however, despite the fact that he'd cost Boston a first-round pick. Speier's source also says that the club wouldn't give up a pick to sign Grant Balfour to the multi-year deal he's seeking, and he cites multiple industry sources saying the club is interested in Matt Guerrier after the Twins declined to offer him arbitration.

As Speier points out, Downs has some of the most dominant numbers in history for a reliever during his age 31-34 seasons, and the Red Sox have taken note of the division rival's excellence. Since 2007, Downs has compiled a 2.36 ERA with a 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over 236 2/3 innings, while being a stickler for home runs (0.5 HR/9). He's been a menace to left-handed hitters, but it's worth noting that the highest OPS right-handers have managed off him in that timeframe is .643.

Guerrier, 32, has appeared in 70 or more innings every year since his first full season in 2005, with the exception of 2006 — when he came one out short of the mark. While his career peripherals (5.9 K/9, 45.7% GB%, 4.44 FIP) don't dazzle, Guerrier has managed to out-perform them year-in and year-out. He's led the league in appearances twice (2008 and 2009) and has a career ERA of 3.38 to his name to go along with solid control (2.8 BB/9).

Epstein said Monday that the Red Sox will acquire multiple relievers via trade or free agency, but as he points out in this quote relayed from Speier, teams may be waiting for some distance from the Joaquin Benoit signing:

“Sometimes when there’s a contract that exceeds expectations early, it can embolden players and agents within that subset of players who have a similar resume,” said Epstein. “Time will tell whether they get attached to that contract or it’s an outlier contract.”

The Red Sox haven't surrendered a draft pick to sign a reliever since 2004 with Keith Foulke, but Downs could change that trend, especially if the Red Sox end up receiving additional first-round and supplemental picks for the departures of Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre, and Felipe Lopez.


Rockies Interested In Cantu, Harden, Bullpen Help

We've heard that Ty Wigginton is the Rockies' top target for a right-handed bat, but the club has other targets for that role, as well as interest in several other players, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Let's go over some of them:

  • Jorge Cantu is one alternative to Wigginton, despite a miserable second half to the 2010 season. GM Dan O'Dowd acknowledged that they'd prefer someone who can play in the outfield, but that's not critical.
  • The Rockies have soured on Josh Willingham due to Washington's asking price and concerns over the 31-year-old's knee. They've also called about Jeff Francoeur, believing he could handle first base.
  • Colorado would have interest in Rich Harden in a bullpen role, if the righty would be willing to make the switch from starting pitching. There's also the question of whether or not the injury-prone Harden could hold up physically. Renck says the Rox have tried to acquire Harden numerous times in the past, but to no avail.
  • Colorado is also looking at Kevin Gregg, Bobby Jenks, Brian Fuentes, Jesse Crain, and Pedro Feliciano, though the first three prefer to close, which won't happen in Denver.
  • The Rockies also haven't closed the door on Joe Beimel, who tells Renck he'd love to come back to Colorado.


Yankees Notes: Feliciano, Wood, Pettitte

The Yankees met with Cliff Lee's agent today. Here are the rest of the updates on the team's quest for pitching:

  • The Yankees will meet with Pedro Feliciano's representatives this week, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. The Rockies have also expressed interest in the lefty, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link).
  • The Yankees are interested in re-signing Kerry Wood, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (Twitter link). GM Brian Cashman says he isn't interested in paying Wood "closer money."
  • When Cashman checked in with Andy Pettitte recently, he heard that the lefty was still leaning toward retirement, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter).

Stark On Soriano, Quentin, Phillies, Astros

As ESPN.com's Jayson Stark points out in this week's Rumblings & Grumblings, there's not much starting pitching available after Cliff Lee and Carl Pavano. Stark examines alternatives for pitching-starved teams and provides some rumors along the way. Here they are:

  • Though it appeared to some baseball people as though the Angels were trying to sign Rafael Soriano before the Winter Meetings, it now appears that their search for relief pitching is secondary to their pursuit of Carl Crawford.
  • Stark sees indications that the Angels are showing "very little" interest in Jayson Werth so far this offseason.
  • The White Sox still say they're not shopping Carlos Quentin, but rival teams say Chicago will listen to offers.
  • The Phillies don't plan on pursuing a trade for Quentin, according to Stark.
  • Arthur Rhodes appears to be one of Philadelphia's top left-handed relief targets, followed by Pedro Feliciano. Neither reliever would cost the Phillies a draft pick, which is their preference.
  • The Astros have quietly been shopping for an affordable outfielder who bats from the left side.

National League Free Agent Arbitration Decisions

12 National League free agents were offered arbitration on November 23rd.  Four of those – Jorge de la Rosa, Jon Garland, Yorvit Torrealba, and Juan Uribe – have new contract agreements.  Another three – Kevin Correia, Octavio Dotel, and Trevor Hoffman – have already decided to decline.  The remaining five NL free agents offered arbitration will have their decisions noted here and in our tracker.


Pedro Feliciano Considering Accepting Arbitration

Melvin Roman, the agent for lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano, says his client is "seriously considering" accepting the Mets' offer of arbitration according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (Twitter link). Players have until Tuesday to either accept or decline arbitration.

Feliciano, 34, is a Type-B free agent. He earned $2.9MM in 2010 and would likely see his salary climb north of $3.5MM through the arbitration process. The Yankees are one team known to have interest in Feliciano, but as a highly durable left-handed reliever with a good track record, the suitors are likely lining up behind-the-scenes.

I broke down Feliciano's free agent stock just two days ago.


Free Agent Stock Watch: Pedro Feliciano

Quality left-handed relievers are always a hot commodity (perhaps even over-valued) on the free agent market, and one of the best available this winter is former Fukuoka SoftBank Hawk Pedro Feliciano. Let's review his stock…

The Good

  • Feliciano's an absolute workhorse, leading the league in appearances in each of the last three seasons. He's also appeared in more games each successive year, topping out at 92 this year.
  • As you'd expect, he's been excellent against left-handed batters, holding them to a .212/.271/.310 batting line with 9.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 over the last three years.
  • Although he was offered arbitration, Feliciano is just a Type-B free agent, so it will not cost a draft pick to sign him. 

The Bad

  • Feliciano will turn 35 next summer, so all of those appearances could catch up to him in the not-too-distant future.
  • He's strictly a lefty specialist; right-handers have tagged him for a .325/.420/.474 batting line over the last three seasons with nearly as many walks (50) as strikeouts (55).
  • Feliciano has historically been homer prone. He allowed seven long balls in both 2008 and 2009 (1.1 HR/9) before surrendering just one in 2010 (0.1 HR/9).
  • Feliciano wanted a multiyear contract extension from the Mets in 2009, so chances are he's still seeking a deal that will guarantee him more than one year.

The Verdict

Feliciano is one of those free agents that you could see fitting with all 30 teams. He's been one of the best lefty relievers in baseball over the last few years, but he doesn't offer much flexibility and is no spring chicken. Feliciano represents a nice alternative to teams scared by the asking price of Scott Downs or Brian Fuentes, so he should have his pick from several offers.


National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

11 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.


Yankees Interested In Pedro Feliciano

The Yankees expressed interest in lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.  The rubber-armed 34-year-old figures to be popular this winter, with the Phillies, Angels, Mets, and others also seeking left-handed relief.  The question for the Yankees, notes Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues, is whether they're willing to commit multiple years and a $3MM+ salary to Feliciano or a similar veteran given the money they already owe to Damaso Marte and Boone Logan.

Feliciano led the National League in appearances in each of the last three seasons.  His detractors will suggest he's been overworked; his agents at MDR Sports Management will say it's proof of his durability.  One Feliciano trait that cannot be argued: he's very tough on lefties.