Rafael Betancourt Rumors
Links for Wednesday...
- The Reds signed pitcher Jon Adkins to a minor league deal, according to the pitcher's Twitter (hat tip to The Hall Of Very Good). Adkins spent 2009 pitching in Korea.
- The Giants were right not to offer arbitration to Bengie Molina, writes Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles.
- Chris Pummer as well as our own Howard Megdal from The Perpetual Post weigh in on Andruw Jones, who recently signed with the White Sox for $500K.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News discusses the chances of the Giants signing Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, or Hudson.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says the Mariners are interested in Orlando Hudson, at the right price. The lack of an arbitration offer helps.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs looks at Ned Colletti's claim that the Dodgers' decision not to offer arbitration to Type A free agent Randy Wolf "was made strictly from a baseball perspective."
- No surprise here: Astros GM Ed Wade indicated that a reunion with Wolf is unlikely (MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reporting). Wade also downplayed the reports linking the Astros to Brett Myers and J.J. Putz, saying, "We've made contact with agents for about every player out there as a matter of course. I would not read anymore into it than that."
- ESPN's Buster Olney believes Rafael Betancourt "could be the player whose market is most affected" among the ten Type As offered arbitration.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday questions the Mets' Billy Wagner trade from August.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders if the Braves might now pursue a setup man such as Octavio Dotel or Fernando Rodney.
- Corey Brock and Steve Gilbert have Winter Meetings previews at MLB.com for the Padres and Diamondbacks, respectively.
- Diamond Leung links to stories indicating the Chiba Lotte Marines "are interested in purchasing the contract of Dodgers left-hander Eric Stults." Stults posted a 4.86 ERA in ten starts for the Dodgers last year, making another 13 starts in the minors.
A look at the latest from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports...
- The Cubs and Giants were interested in reliever Rafael Betancourt before the Rockies offered arbitration to him yesterday. The Phillies were named as another suitor. The writers are not sure whether the Cubs and Giants maintain interest now that Betancourt will cost a draft pick (assuming the Type A free agent turns down the Rockies' offer). The Giants would have to surrender their #24 pick, the Cubs their #49. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News gave the impression yesterday the Giants prefer to keep their first-round pick. As for the Cubs, one source with knowledge of the situation said there's nothing to it at this time.
- The Blue Jays have mild interest in Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit, who is guaranteed $9.15MM over the next two years. Doumit was sidelined by wrist surgery and a concussion this year. Looking at the trade market for catchers, the Jays have already inquired on Chris Snyder and Doumit, while Kelly Shoppach is now a Ray.
- While the Braves like D'Backs first baseman/left fielder Conor Jackson, Arizona would only trade him for a young starting pitcher. A Jackson trade appears unlikely and the Braves have not expressed interest recently. Jackson seems back on track and should be tendered a contract after a strong showing in the Domincan winter league.
- The Rockies have some interest in Bobby Crosby as a utilityman and as a right-handed option at third base if starter Ian Stewart continues to struggle against lefties (.178/.278/.386 against LHP in 2009).
- Noah Lowry, who became a free agent in October, may be brought to spring training on a minor-league contract. Lowry hasn't thrown a major league pitch since 2007 due to injuries, but was a solid starter (4.03 ERA) in four seasons in San Francisco. He has a 9.10 ERA in six career starts at Coors Field.
- Colorado is "expected to call" free agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who was a major part of the Rockies' bullpen during their run to the 2007 National League pennant. The club's interest in Hawkins will only increase if Rafael Betancourt turns down Colorado's arbitration offer and signs elsewhere. Hawkins should be more appealing also because he did not receive an arbitration offer from the Astros and therefore will not cost a draft pick.
The Rockies offered arbitration to reliever Rafael Betancourt (Type A) and starter Jason Marquis (Type B), according to Tracy Ringolsby of Inside The Rockies. They did not offer to Yorvit Torrealba (B) or Joe Beimel (B).
The Marquis decision comes as a mild surprise. Ringolsby says there are indications he will reject the offer in search of a multiyear deal, which would net the Rockies a supplemental pick.
Betancourt rejected the Rockies' two-year, $7MM offer earlier in the offseason, so this arbitration offer gives them a chance to either keep him on a one-year deal or receive two draft picks for their loss. The Rox already rejected Betancourt's $5.4MM club option, so they might be thinking he'd get less than that in arbitration. From Betancourt's point of view, he'll be a lot less attractive to other teams if he turns down the Rockies' offer.
A batch of links to kick off the work week...
- Newly minted Royals Player of the Year Billy Butler has not held long-term extension talks with the team, MLBTR learned on a conference call today. Butler will not be arbitration-eligible until after the 2010 season.
- Desipio on the Cubs-Curtis Granderson idea: "In the end, this smells like a winter of Brian Roberts and Jake Peavy trade rumors. One that ends with us talking ourselves into how Marlon Byrd isn’t so bad after all."
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports believes it's a three-horse race for Matt Holliday: the Red Sox, Yankees, and Angels.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes about Jed Hoyer and the Adrian Gonzalez situation.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that a dozen teams have expressed interest in free agent infielder Craig Counsell. He'd like a multiyear deal.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan sums up the Rangers' hot stove storylines.
- Evan Grant wonders what it would take for the Rangers to acquire Edwin Jackson.
- ESPN's Keith Law believes it'd be unwise for a team to acquire Dan Uggla and move him off second base.
- Sean Smith's 2010 CHONE projections for hitters are now available, so take a peek into his crystal ball.
- Jeremy Greenhouse of The Hardball Times cautions against misuses of the WAR statistic.
- Jeff Blair of The Globe and Mail thinks the Blue Jays "will be all over" Brandon Phillips to play third base if the Reds make him available.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post suggests Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd will hold Type A free agent reliever Rafael Betancourt hostage with an arbitration offer. In my opinion, Betancourt has a decent chance of accepting.
- Tommy Rancel of DRays Bay talked to Rays VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman.
The Rockies declined their $5.4MM club option on reliever Rafael Betancourt, tweets Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post he'll continue to negotiate with Betancourt.
Betancourt, 35 in April, found the NL to his liking after coming over in a trade with the Indians. He posted a 1.78 ERA with 29 strikeouts and five walks in 25.3 innings for the Rockies. Betancourt is a Type A free agent, and if he gets to December 1st unsigned it'll be interesting to see if the Rockies offer arbitration. Other teams would find Betancourt much less appealing with a draft pick cost attached. Troy Renck of the Denver Post feels that the Rockies will offer, as does Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies.
Saunders also mentions that the Rockies will "explore re-signing" Jose Contreras and Joe Beimel.
Links for a busy Wednesday, as writers, agents, and GMs catch their flights out of O'Hare...
- Welcome to Twitter: ESPN's Buster Olney.
- ESPN's Keith Law assesses the Mark Teahen, J.J. Hardy, Jeremy Hermida, and Akinori Iwamura trades.
- The Royals are committed to Alex Gordon as their third baseman despite acquiring Josh Fields, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Fields instead could play left field in the event David DeJesus is traded. DeJesus' name popped up in our left field trade market post.
- Rosenthal and Morosi also note that the Giants are talking with Juan Uribe about a new contract. Uribe was one of the year's best minor league deals. He's represented by Barry Praver.
- Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Nationals hired Bryan Minnitti from the Pirates to be their new assistant GM. Jake from New Bucs interviewed the young exec last year.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic names four relievers who might be of interest to the Diamondbacks: Rafael Betancourt, Mike Gonzalez, LaTroy Hawkins, and Bob Howry.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues has a reality check for fans as we head toward the offseason insanity.
- Victor Martinez's agent Alan Nero told WEEI's Rob Bradford there's been "little or no dialogue" in terms of the Red Sox extending his client.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the Yankees' championship might enable them to take things more slowly this winter.
- Sherman tweets that there is interest in Japan from Kei Igawa, but he doesn't want to go. Igawa posted a 4.15 ERA in 145.3 Triple A innings this year, and still has $8MM remaining on his contract.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy has your minor league transactions. Wilson Valdez and Mike Gosling are among those joining the free agent ranks.
- New Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos seems passionate, talking to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Anthopoulos even gives props to the fine Jays blogs out there.
- Padres pitcher Chris Young told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he understands the business aspect of baseball. With a healthy first half, Young could be a trade candidate.
- Grant at McCovey Chronicles says AT&T Park isn't a pitcher's park anymore, and agents know that.
- Billy Wagner is a Type A free agent, so teams will have to surrender a draft pick to sign him if the Red Sox offer arbitration, as expected. This hurts Wagner's value, since he's coming back from Tommy John surgery and teams will hesitate to give up a top pick for an injury risk.
- Olney wouldn't be surprised to see Mark DeRosa field two and three year offers. The versatile 34-year-old is a Type B free agent, so teams won't have to give up a top pick to sign him.
- Rafael Betancourt, a Type A free agent, has less leverage with the Rockies than he would have had as a Type B free agent, because few teams would be willing to surrender a top pick to sign the reliever.
- Randy Wolf's status as a Type A free agent could chase away some suitors.
- Other GMs believe the Astros should offer Jose Valverde and LaTroy Hawkins arbitration.
- If the Giants offer Bengie Molina arbitration, the market for him would diminish.
8:34pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman is reporting that Torrealba declined a Colorado offer of two years, $4.5MM.
3:57pm: Joel Sherman of The NY Post has a slew of Rockies' rumors from the GM meetings, so let's recap...
- The Rockies are willing to listen to trade offers for outfielder Brad Hawpe. Just last month, GM Dan O'Dowd said "We have no desire to move [Hawpe] at all."
- The team's top priority at the moment is to retain reliever Rafael Betancourt, who they've already approached about a multi-year deal.
- Yorvit Torrealba turned down an offer to return to the team after they declined his option. They'll look elsewhere for a backup catcher.
- The Rockies do not plan to tender Garrett Atkins a contract, and intend to use Ian Stewart at third base.
- They'd like to add a righty bat to be a reserve outfielder or first baseman.
- The team has received "glowing reports" about Jeff Francis, who is battling back from shoulder surgery and missed all of 2009.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new column up today, in which he discusses a variety of topics from around the league. Let's recap a few of the highlights....
- Although the Boston Red Sox have been the team most frequently linked to Adrian Gonzalez, it's unclear whether they have the pieces to work out a trade. Rosenthal suggests the Padres will want some major-league talent in return, and quotes one baseball executive who says he can't imagine how the Sox get a deal done.
- Rosenthal says the Padres should be more inclined to move closer Heath Bell than Gonzalez.
- When Josh Beckett discusses a contract extension with the Red Sox, Rosenthal advises him to point to the deal A.J. Burnett signed last winter as a starting point, since Beckett's track record is even stronger than Burnett's. He thinks if the Red Sox were to balk at a long-term commitment, plenty of other teams would be interested.
- A source indicates that when Jorge De La Rosa hits free agency in a year, he would like a contract similar to Oliver Perez's three-year, $36MM deal. It's hard to see him demanding that much unless he has a breakout year in 2010, but his impending raise could prompt the Rockies to field trade offers for the lefty.
- Ken Griffey Jr. will likely decide in a couple weeks whether he wants to keep playing.
- According to Rosenthal, "some who know [Matt] Holliday say he would prefer not to play in New York."
- We heard from Troy Renck yesterday that the Rockies were talking to Rafael Betancourt about an extension. Rosenthal reports that Betancourt apparently turned down a two-year deal worth up to about $7MM.
- Rosenthal opines that Garrett Atkins is unlikely to be traded because of his price tag, and will almost certainly be non-tendered.