Rafael Betancourt Rumors
News and notes from around the big leagues tonight...
- Derek Lowe tells MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he doesn't expect to be back in Atlanta in 2010 and feels rather disrespected by being put on the trade market just a year after signing with the Braves: "I would have never even considered going there if I knew that ultimately this was going to happen."
- The Providence Journal's Joe McDonald considers Theo Epstein's comments from the Mike Cameron press conference to be a virtual farewell to Jason Bay's time in Boston.
- As if the Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins signings weren't enough, the Orioles also "made a pretty good run" at trading for Adrian Gonzalez at the winter meetings, tweets ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes.
- Scott Merkin of MLB.com is reporting (via Twitter) that Jason Botts has been given an invitation to spring training by the White Sox. Botts played in Japan last season after posting a .230/.325/.344 line in 326 plate appearances with Texas from 2005 to 2008.
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (via Twitter) quoted Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as saying "Right now, it doesn't look good," in regards to Chan Ho Park re-signing with Philadelphia.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark talks with Baseball America's John Manuel about how the Phillies' farm system looks in the wake of the big Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee deal.
- Jose Contreras wanted a three-year contract from the Rockies, but the club "didn't bite," reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com. Harding notes that Colorado may have to wait to see what happens with Rafael Betancourt's possible arbitration case before they can make a move toward signing relievers like Contreras or Joe Beimel.
- If the Nationals can't sign any relief help, they will move a willing Collin Balester into the bullpen, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Jake Westbrook seems fit after his stint Puerto Rican Winter League, reports MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. It was rumored that the Tribe would have been in the market for a veteran starter (maybe Carl Pavano) to anchor their staff had Westbrook suffered a setback from his Tommy John surgery in 2008.
The deadline for free agents to accept arbitration has come and gone, so let's recap them all here for one easy reference point:
Type-A Free Agents
- Jason Bay declined arbitration from the Red Sox.
- Rafael Betancourt accepted arbitration from the Rockies.
- Chone Figgins declined arbitration from the Angels and is on the verge of signing with the Mariners.
- Mike Gonzalez declined arbitration from the Braves.
- Matt Holliday declined arbitration from the Cardinals.
- John Lackey declined arbitration from the Angels.
- Marco Scutaro declined arbitration from the Blue Jays and signed with the Red Sox.
- Rafael Soriano accepted arbitration from the Braves.
- Jose Valverde declined arbitration from the Astros.
- Billy Wagner declined arbitration from the Red Sox and signed with the Braves.
Type-B Free Agents
- Rod Barajas declined arbitration from the Blue Jays.
- Adrian Beltre declined arbitration from the Mariners.
- Marlon Byrd declined arbitration from the Rangers.
- Mark DeRosa declined arbitration from the Cardinals.
- Justin Duchscherer declined arbitration from the Athletics.
- Brandon Lyon declined arbitration from the Tigers.
- Jason Marquis declined arbitration from the Mets.
- Carl Pavano was the lone Type B to accept arbitration.
- Joel Pineiro declined arbitration from the Cardinals.
- Fernando Rodney declined arbitration from the Tigers.
- Ivan Rodriguez declined arbitration from the Rangers, and quickly after signed a two-year deal with Washington.
- Brian Shouse declined arbitration from the Rays.
- Gregg Zaun declined arbitration from the Rays and signed with the Brewers.
Rafael Betancourt accepted the Rockies' offer of arbitration, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The reliever was a Type A free agent, so he would have cost other teams a pair of top draft picks. Accepting arbitration is safer than testing a market that's saturated with trade chips and free agents. Had Betancourt rejected the Rockies' offer, he would have risked becoming this year's Juan Cruz - a player good enough to gain Type A status, but not good enough to give up top picks for.
The Rockies declined their $5.4MMM option for Betancourt earlier in the offseason. The righty should still be in line for a raise from the $3.35MM base salary he earned this year.
The Rockies have made multiyear offers to arbitration-eligible players Huston Street, Clint Barmes, and Chris Iannetta, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. The details:
- The Street negotiations are early, but the Rockies made a three-year offer. That'd buy out one arbitration year and two free agent years.
- Renck believes Barmes was offered "two years, with a club option for free agency." That is, Barmes is already under team control for 2010 and 2011.
- Iannetta's offer would "carry him to at least free agency." Iannetta has three years of team control left. That the Rockies are entertaining a multiyear deal is a vote of confidence despite their pursuit of various veteran free agent backstops. The agents for Iannetta and Barmes have made counteroffers.
- Renck says the Rockies will turn to LaTroy Hawkins (again) if Rafael Betancourt turns down their offer of arbitration tonight. They're backing off on Justin Duchscherer.
- Utility man targets include Fernando Tatis, Bobby Crosby, Jamey Carroll, and Nick Green.
Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post has the latest on the Rockies...
- Decision-time for free agents offered arbitration is about nine hours away. Rafael Betancourt will take that decision right down to the wire, says his agent Alan Nero.
- The Rockies have an eye on Rod Barajas in the event they can't re-sign Yorvit Torrealba. Barajas has been linked to the Mets and Giants recently; he too must decide on an arbitration offer tonight. He's expected to decline.
- The Rockies also like Nick Green for a utility role; he's been linked to the Dodgers already.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy doesn't "want to be the organization that pops up every three years or so," according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Renck offers up a look at the needs the Rockies will need to address at this year's Winter Meetings in order to strengthen the club's chances to be perennial contenders:
- General manager Dan O'Dowd will meet with Rafael Betancourt's representation today. We've heard that Betancourt may accept arbitration from the Rockies, but with the Red Sox and Phillies interested in his services, that may change. O'Dowd says he wants things to work out with Betancourt, but they've identified alternatives in the event that they don't.
- Colorado would be interested in bringing LaTroy Hawkins back to Coors Field. Hawkins is coming off a strong year with the Astros in which he posted a 2.13 ERA through 63.1 innings, fanning 45 and walking 17. His FIP checked in at a much more pedestrian 3.97, however.
- The Rockies have requested Justin Duchscherer's medical records and will meet with his agent today.
- They've inquired on free agent Chad Tracy in an attempt to add a left-handed bat off the bench. Even without Tracy, however, they could still find a suitable backup to Todd Helton in their own clubhouse, as Brad Hawpe is open to spelling Helton from time to time.
- O'Dowd will keep the team's struggles against left-handers in mind if teams inquire about names like Brad Hawpe and Jorge De La Rosa.
- O'Dowd says he'll remain open to anything, but the difference between this year and last year is that he's not specifically looking to move some players.
11:38pm: FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi says that the Brewers have interest in Betancourt, "but their offer is unlikely to be big enough to persuade him to refuse salary arbitration with the Rockies." Morosi adds that interest in Betancourt has declined sharply after he was offered arbitration, as teams are unwilling to give up a draft pick to sign him.
6:08pm: Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports.com reports that free agent reliever Rafael Betancourt is "ready to accept the [Rockies'] offer of arbitration." Betancourt is a Type-A free agent, so a team would have had to forfeit a high draft pick to sign him.
Tracy Ringolsby of FoxSports.com reports that the Rockies hope free agent reliever Rafael Betancourt accepts arbitration, even though he's a Type-A free agent and would net them two draft picks if he went elsewhere. Colorado declined their $4.5MM option for Betancourt last month, and he's since rejected their two year, $7MM offer.
The deadline for free agents to accept arbitration is Monday, and if Betancourt accepts, Colorado would get to keep him on a one year deal, though it might cost them somewhere in the neighborhood of $6M.
Meanwhile, Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post adds that Justin Duchscherer and LaTroy Hawkins have become "top targets," while the team has also expressed interest in Mark DeRosa.
Some links for Thursday...
- John Manuel of Baseball America ranks all 30 MLB farm systems at SI.com. The Rangers, Rays and Giants top the list.
- ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick lists nine potential free agent bargains.
- Keith Law, Dave Cameron and Tyler Hissey don't like the Placido Polanco deal from the Phillies' standpoint.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates have tentative interest in Xavier Nady and Ron Villone, who are both Scott Boras clients.
- Sam Borden of the Journal News wonders how many long-term contracts the Yanks can take on.
- The Yankees get the sense that Andy Pettitte isn't done yet, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
- They aren't expected to consider an extension for Joe Girardi this offseason.
- Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that the White Sox have begun preliminary talks with arbitration-eligible reliever Bobby Jenks.
- Placido Polanco appears to be nearing a three-year deal with the Phillies, but the Astros have some interest in the Gold Glover, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
- Curtis Granderson tells MLB.com's Jason Beck that he doesn't let the trade talk get to him.
- The Rockies have tentative plans to meet with Rafael Betancourt's representatives this coming Monday, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- As Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, Donavan Tate, the Padres' third overall selection in the June draft, was injured in an ATV accident. He broke his jaw, but should be ready for Spring Training.
- Jason Marquis had a falling out with the Rockies, so Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests he isn't likely to accept the team's offer of arbitration.
- MLB.com's Matthew Leach explains why long-term deals are becoming less frequent in MLB.
- Juan Castro passed his physical, so his deal with the Phils is now offiicial, according to Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Rockies' interest in Bobby Crosby might not amount to anything if there are teams interested in him a starter, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The Rockies would like to sign Crosby as a utilityman, but the Red Sox and other clubs that have been linked to the shortstop might be willing to give him a chance to start, which Crosby would prefer. Here are a few of Harding's other Rockies-related rumors....
- The team will likely have "internal discussions" about signing Chad Tracy as a bench player.
- The Rockies won't pursue any free-agent relievers until they see what happens with Rafael Betancourt, who has been offered arbitration and is their top bullpen priority.
- If they can't retain Betancourt, LaTroy Hawkins could be a target.
- The club would like to re-sign Yorvit Torrealba, but will have to wait for him to test the market.
- Long-term contracts for Huston Street and Clint Barmes are another priority. One Rockies official says that it's too early in talks with Street to see how far apart the two sides might be.