Rafael Perez Rumors

Indians Designate Rafael Perez For Assignment

The Indians designated left-handed reliever Rafael Perez for assignment, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (on Twitter). The team added Nick Hagadone to the 40-man roster in a related move.

Perez, 30, had been a non-tender candidate with a projected salary of $2MM. The Indians can still trade Perez, though a release seems more likely. He appeared in just eight games this past season, spending considerable time on the disabled list with a strained lat. In seven years at the MLB level, Perez has a 3.64 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.


Indians, Rafael Perez Avoid Arbitration

The Indians announced that they avoided arbitration with left-handed reliever Rafael Perez, agreeing to a one-year contract for 2012. Perez will earn $2.005MM plus incentives this year, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets. Drew Seccafico represents the lefty.

As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Perez filed for a $2.4MM salary and the Indians countered with an offer of $1.6MM. Asdrubal Cabrera is Cleveland's lone unsigned arbitration eligible player.


Indians Notes: Lugo, Cabrera, Perez

Before Spring Training begins, the Indians will work to settle two unresolved arbitration cases and the uncertainty that surrounds Fausto Carmona/Roberto (Heredia) Hernandez. Here are some notes from Cleveland…

  • Talks between the Indians and Julio Lugo have fallen apart, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. The sides agreed to terms earlier this month, but it no longer appears that the move will become official. Bastian suggests a physical issue may have surfaced.
  • The arbitration hearing dates for Asdrubal Cabrera and Rafael Perez have been set, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. The Indians haven’t had an arbitration hearing since 1991, Hoynes writes.
  • No one is sure how long it will be before Carmona/Hernandez can join the team, Bastian explains. It seems unlikely that the Indians will have him by Opening Day since obtaining a visa and sorting through legal issues will take time.


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

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Cafardo On Blanton, Beltre, Indians, LaRoche

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe names ten teams who might reap the benefits of bargain shopping as the winter winds down. The Rays, Mets, Yankees, and Angels top the list of clubs Cafardo thinks could make discounted moves in the coming weeks. Here are the rest of his hot stove notes:

  • While the Mets will be hunting for affordable starting pitching options, don't expect the Phillies to trade Joe Blanton within the division.
  • The Angels are making sure they don't bid against themselves on Adrian Beltre, and could eventually land the third baseman for a lesser price than Scott Boras is seeking.
  • The Indians could make some more moves if they want to continue stockpiling prospects. Other teams would have interest in players like Chris Perez, Rafael Perez, Joe Smith, and Fausto Carmona, while Cleveland would "love to trade" Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner.
  • The Nationals "know it’s tough to get players to buy into the future of the team," writes Cafardo. As such, they may eventually commit to Adam LaRoche for the three years he's looking for.
  • Jim Masteralexis, Manny Delcarmen's agent, says several teams are interested in his client, and Cafardo warns not to bet against the Rays.
  • Carl Pavano may make a decision this week, and it appears that while he'd prefer to return to Minnesota, the Nationals will offer the better contract. Of course, we already saw one top free agent pitcher choose comfort over more guaranteed money, when Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies.

Relievers On Boston’s Radar

4:23pm: The Red Sox are having ongoing discussions with Dan Wheeler about a possible deal, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. One of Speier's sources is optimistic about the negotiations.

1:16pm: The Red Sox liked Matt Guerrier well enough to offer him a two-year deal, but the Dodgers offered a third guaranteed year and the right-hander has agreed to play for Los Angeles. The Red Sox will have to move on to other targets as they look to round out their 'pen. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the details on what he says is the biggest challenge of the offseason for GM Theo Epstein.

Two former Twins, right-hander Jesse Crain and left-hander Brian Fuentes are the team’s priorities now. The Red Sox are also considering trades and would “love” to reacquire Justin Masterson, according to Cafardo. The Indians have been reluctant to part with Masterson, whom they acquired in the 2009 Victor Martinez trade.

There are a number of alternatives for Epstein to pursue, including Indians relievers Joe Smith and Rafael Perez, who “could be on Boston’s radar.” The A’s are likely willing to listen on their relievers and the Mariners would listen on David Aardsma, Cafardo writes.


Red Sox Have Explored Trades For Many Relievers

FRIDAY, 1:03am: Theo Epstein has discussed multiple possible trades with former Red Sox assistant GM and current Padres GM Jed Hoyer, according to Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Globe duo believes Boston could have interest in a reliever like Joe Thatcher, and, given the team's excess of outfielders when Jacoby Ellsbury returns, they may match up with San Diego.

THURSDAY, 12:59pm: Though they're on his no-trade list, the Red Sox asked the Brewers about Trevor Hoffman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX SportsRosenthal adds that the Brewers are not inclined to move Hoffman.  Meanwhile they're getting calls on Carlos Villanueva and Todd Coffey.

12:05pm: The Red Sox are leaving no rock unturned in their search for relief help.  They've explored Rafael Perez, Will Ohman, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Capps, Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, David Aardsma, and Kyle Farnsworth, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.  Cafardo says Scott Downs looks unlikely unless the Blue Jays back down from their top prospect requests.  On a related note, SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays asked the Mets for outfield prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis and one other player for Downs and were denied. 

Marshall is the interesting name here.  The 27-year-old lefty has had a dominant year in relief, posting a 1.71 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 52.6 innings with one home run allowed.  He's been especially strong against lefties.  Marshall is under team control through 2012 and would presumably be very difficult to pry loose from the Cubs.  Gonzalez is another surprising name, since he's spent most of the season on the shelf with a shoulder injury and is still owed good money.

Cafardo adds that the Red Sox have been shopping reliever Ramon Ramirez, and offers the opinion that a National League team might want to take a look at him.  Ramirez has a 4.57 ERA, 6.5 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 41.3 innings with six home runs allowed and is a potential non-tender candidate after the season.


Lefty Reliever Rumors

Scott Downs, Will Ohman, Javier Lopez, Craig Breslow, George Sherrill, Doug Slaten, Brian Tallet, Mark Hendrickson, and Bruce Chen make up most of the trade market for left-handed relievers.  Today's rumors…

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that he feels the Giants, Phillies, Red Sox, Twins, and Rays could use a left-handed reliever.
  • Morosi tweets that the Pirates are getting calls on Lopez, who is affordable now and under team control for 2011.  Lopez has surrendered too many walks to both lefties and righties, but his groundball rate is 59.6% and he's whiffed southpaws at a strong rate.
  • The Indians are getting hits on Rafael Perez, tweets Morosi's colleague Ken Rosenthal, but they aren't motivated to trade him.  Perez is technically under team control through 2013.  With a 5.6 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9, Perez's best asset is his 57.4% groundball rate – much like Lopez.

Relievers Headed For Non-Tenders

Often due to the save statistic, decent relievers are non-tendered every year because of their expected salaries.  It happened to Matt Capps last year.  Which relievers might get the axe on this year's December non-tender deadline and join the free agent market?

  • Bobby Jenks, White Sox.  Jenks has only blown one save this year, but Ozzie Guillen is already looking at other closer options.  Jenks has racked up strikeouts, but his control is off and he's given up a slew of hits.  I felt he was a longshot non-tender candidate last time around.  Tendering him a contract and giving a raise on his $7.5MM salary this time probably won't be appealing.
  • George Sherrill, Dodgers.  Giving Sherrill a bump from $4.5MM might not make sense for the Dodgers even if he was pitching well.  However, the lefty has completely lost it in the early going with 12 walks and 14 hits in 11.3 innings. 
  • Brian Bruney, Nationals.  Bruney would earn more than $1.5MM in 2011 as a fourth-time arbitration-eligible player.  With the walks spiraling out of control, there's a good chance the Nats cut him loose as they did with Mike MacDougal last year. 
  • Tony Pena, White Sox.  Pena has time to turn things around; he's only tossed 15.6 innings this year.  He's earning $1.2MM on the season and would go to arbitration for a second time.
  • Rafael Perez, Indians.  Perez is only earning $795K this year, but even the idea of a guaranteed contract might not work for the Tribe if he repeats his '09 season. 
  • The 2011 free agent list already contains a full slate of relievers, but keep these names in mind as potential additions.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Mets, Gonzalez, Contreras

On this date back in 1983, Dodgers' hurler Fernando Valenzuela became the first player in baseball history to receive a seven-figure award through the arbitration process. During his first two-plus seasons as a big leaguer, Fernandomania had been named the Rookie of the Year, appeared in two All Star Games, and won a Cy Young Award. The arbitration panel awarded him a $1MM salary in his first year of eligibility, nearly tripling his 1982 salary. 

As the last few present day arbitration cases wrap up, here are some links to check out from around the baseball blogiverse…

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