Rafael Betancourt Rumors
4:10pm: Manager Mike Scioscia said he and GM Tony Reagins haven't discussed Betancourt as a possible solution, according to Kevin Baxter of the LA Times. Scioscia said Reagins always runs players past him before acquiring them.
1:34pm: The Angels seek a right-handed sixth-or-seventh-inning kind of arm in the Chad Qualls mold, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times has similar feelings, tweeting that their best chance is to get a non-closer along the lines of Qualls, Rafael Betancourt, or Koji Uehara. Earlier, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweeted that the Angels are "working hard on Uehara trade talks" with the Orioles. Of course, Uehara has better numbers than just about any available reliever.
The Rockies are 11 games back in the NL West, so it's time to consider selling various pieces. The latest:
- The Red Sox, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Reds scouted Ubaldo Jimenez's start yesterday in Arizona, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post tweets that nothing has changed since his column yesterday - the Reds and Yankees make the most sense, with the Rangers, Red Sox, and Tigers lurking. At that point, Renck wrote that the price is huge - at least three players - but the Rockies "haven't pulled Jimenez off the showroom floor."
- The Pirates have interest in Ty Wigginton, tweets Renck. Wigginton, who played for the Bucs from 2004-05, is a good source of righthanded pop at the corners.
- Right-handed relievers Rafael Betancourt and Matt Lindstrom are also trade candidates, tweets Renck.
The Rockies are currently 9.5 games out in the NL West. They don't have any crucial players heading to free agency after the season, but they may still have some expendable veterans. In particular, MLB.com's Thomas Harding says "information is surfacing that the Rockies could be willing to deal any of three key right-handed relievers" - Huston Street, Rafael Betancourt, and Matt Belisle.
Street, 28 in August, has a 3.56 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 1.67 HR/9, and 39.0% groundball rate in 43 innings this year. At the deadline he'll have $2.37MM left on his contract this year, plus $7.5MM in '12 and a $500K buyout after that season for a total of $10.37MM. Yesterday, Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports wrote that there have been "recent inquiries" on Street. However, keep in mind that GM Dan O'Dowd has no directive to shed salary. If Street is dealt, Matt Lindstrom would probably close, as indicated on our depth chart at CloserNews.
Betancourt, 36, has a 4.66 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 1.47 HR/9, and 30.6% groundball rate in 36 2/3 innings. His numbers are similar to Street's in that he limits free passes but is prone to the longball. Betancourt will have $1.22MM left this year at the deadline, plus $4MM in '12 and a $250K buyout after that season for a total of $5.47MM. Since he doesn't have saves on his resume, he earns half as much as Street.
Belisle, 31, has a 3.46 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.86 HR/9, and 46.8% groundball rate in 41 2/3 innings. He will have $1.05MM left this year at the deadline and $3.775MM in '12 for a total of $4.825MM. This is the first time his name has been mentioned as a potential trade target.
The Yankees, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Phillies, and Rangers are contenders who are in the hunt for relief help.
Here's some late-night linkage as the Rays and Red Sox head to extras in Tampa ...
- The Rockies are drawing interest from trade suitors on outfielder Ryan Spilborghs and reliever Rafael Betancourt, and some teams have recently inquired about closer Huston Street, writes Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com. Spilborghs is a free agent at season's end, while Betancourt and Street are both under contract through 2012 with options for 2013.
- The Pirates are looking for bats and have checked with the Athletics on Josh Willingham and Conor Jackson, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
- The Dodgers are getting "a lot of play" on right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Kuroda, however, has a full no-trade clause, and as we found out earlier today, some execs think he won't accept a trade to an East Coast team.
The Rockies have signed Rafael Betancourt to an extension that will keep him in Denver through 2012 according to ESPN's Enrique Rojas (Spanish link). Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds that the one-year extension carries a mutual $4.25MM option with it.
Betancourt, 36 in April, was already under contract for 2011 at $3.77MM. The new deal guarantees him $4MM in 2012, and there's a $250K buyout on Colorado's half of the mutual option. If Betancourt declines his half of the deal, there's no buyout. If he's traded, the buyout becomes guaranteed.
The Rockies acquired Betancourt prior to the 2009 trade deadline in exchange for minor leaguer Connor Graham, and he's been nothing short of oustanding in their bullpen. Since the trade, the right-hander owns a 3.08 ERA and has fanned more than 12 hitters per nine innings while walking less than two per nine.
A handful of teams have scouted the Rockies' bullpen to check in on Joe Beimel and Rafael Betancourt, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter). The Red Sox are among the teams that have considered the Rockies relievers, but they aren't the only interested team. The Phillies and three or four other clubs have shown interest in Beimel, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).
Renck gets the impression from GM Dan O'Dowd that the Rockies will be open to making deals in August (Twitter link). So far, the Rockies haven't decided whether to buy, sell or tinker before Saturday's trade deadline. It's important to note that Huston Street, one of the team's best relievers, was taken to the hospital after getting struck by a line drive in batting practice yesterday.
2:54pm: The Rockies had feelers out a week ago on names ranging from Adam Dunn to Dan Haren, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman says the Rockies are now "quietly shopping" Aaron Cook and are willing to help make the financial aspect work. Cook is still owed $3.75MM this year if traded, plus $10.25MM for 2011, a $500K buyout for '12, and $125K per year if he reaches 200 innings.
7:51am: The Rockies are preparing for the possibility of becoming sellers, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They've not yet committed to that course, but they're eight games back in the NL West. But at 4.5 games out of the wild card, the Rockies still appear to have a legitimate playoff shot. Baseball Prospectus' postseason odds report puts their chances at a healthy 23.4% despite a recent losing streak.
Rosenthal says the Rockies are still eyeing Jorge Cantu and could move Melvin Mora, Ryan Spilborghs, and/or Brad Hawpe regardless of their direction. If the team's rough week continues and they start thinking about 2011, Jorge de la Rosa would be an interesting addition to the trade block. Rosenthal names Aaron Cook, Rafael Betancourt, and Joe Beimel as other possibilities.
De La Rosa has made three starts since returning from the DL for a finger injury. His last effort was solid, and he takes on the Pirates tonight. He'll be a free agent after the season and currently profiles as a Type B.
MONDAY, 6:40pm: Troy Renck of the Denver Post has some updated incentive details on the Betancourt deal. He receives $50K for 40 games finished, another $50K at 45 and $100K at 50, 55 and 60 games finished.
TUESDAY, 12:50pm: The Rockies have agreed to multi-year contracts with righty relievers Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt, reports FoxSports.com's Tracy Ringolsby.
Street, who was arbitration eligible for the third and final time, agreed to a three year deal worth $22.5MM with an option for a fourth year. The deal is still pending a physical, which Street will take this coming weekend. The former AL Rookie of the Year came over in the Matt Holliday deal last offseason, then saved 35 games and posted a 3.06 ERA in 61.2 innings while making $4.5MM during his first season in Colorado.
Betancourt agreed to a two year deal worth $3.775M per season. He accepted the team's offer of arbitration earlier this offseason after being designated as a Type-A free agent, though the Rockies first declined his $5.4MM option for 2010. The Rockies acquired him at mid-season from the Indians, and watched as he put up a 1.78 ERA with a 29-5 K/BB ratio in 25.1 innings down the stretch. He earned $3.35MM in 2009.
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.