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Randy Choate Rumors
Six prominent Rays relievers hit free agency and signed elsewhere for a total of $67.65MM last offseason (for reference, the Rays’ payroll has surpassed that figure exactly once since 2000). We know how the Rays' new 'pen is working out (pretty well, so far) but let’s check in on last year’s relievers:
- Rafael Soriano – three years/$35MM, Yankees – After allowing 12 earned runs and 14 walks in 62 1/3 innings last year, Soriano has allowed 9 earned runs and 9 walks in 14 innings this year. His ERA is approaching 6.00, his strikeout rate is down and his walk rate is up. What's more, he underwent an MRI on his right elbow this week. It doesn't appear that he'll need DL time, as there's only mild inflammation. Still, Brian Cashman must be shaking his head over this one.
- Joaquin Benoit – three years/$16.5MM, Tigers – Benoit has already allowed more earned runs (10) in 2011 than he did all of last year (9). After allowing just 30 hits in 60-plus innings last year, he has allowed 17 hits in 13 2/3 frames for his new club. The spike in hit rate is no doubt related to the fact that opponents had an improbably low average on balls in play against Benoit last year (.192) that has since risen to an unusually high level (.356). His strikeout (7.2 K/9) and walk (2.6 BB/9) numbers have fallen off, though they're still strong.
- Grant Balfour - two years/$8.1MM, Athletics – Balfour's walks are up, but he is still striking out over a batter per inning and his ERA is under 2.00.
- Dan Wheeler – one year/$3MM, Red Sox – Wheeler, currently on the DL, has an 11.32 ERA for the Red Sox despite an 8K/1BB ratio through 11 appearances. Wheeler appears to be unlucky in terms of opponents' batting average on balls in play (.389) and home run per fly ball rate (21%).
- Chad Qualls - one year/$2.55MM, Padres – Qualls has replaced Ryan Webb in the Padres' 'pen and has already pitched 20 2/3 innings. The results are good so far despite a drop in Ks, as Qualls has limited baserunners and been considerably more fortunate than he was in 2010.
- Randy Choate – two years/$2.5MM, Marlins – Choate has been excellent so far; the lefty specialist has an 11K/2BB ratio and a 1.50 ERA in his first 14 appearances as a Marlin.
The early results are disappointing, as Wheeler and Soriano are dealing with injuries and Benoit hasn’t come close to replicating his 2010 performance. The results will likely improve for Wheeler and Benoit, who have been unlucky so far. But this group probably won’t reproduce the 2010 performances that helped the Rays win the AL East. Reliever performance is simply volatile, even for pitchers who appear to be safe investments.
In his Insider-only ESPN.com blog, Buster Olney writes that the Mets have internally discussed the possibility of simply releasing Luis Castillo. The team has repeatedly tried to free up some money by trading the second baseman, but has yet to find a taker. Olney indicates that it's possible the Mets could drop both Castillo and Oliver Perez before Opening Day. Here are this morning's other New York-related notes:
- The Mets were one of the teams pursuing Randy Choate before the southpaw signed with the Marlins, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. Davidoff says the Mets made Choate a one-year offer worth about $1.4MM, but the veteran lefty accepted more years and more guaranteed money from Florida. If the Mets still intend to add a Pedro Feliciano replacement, Davidoff continues, it'll probably be someone on a minor-league deal, since the market is thinning.
- Brian Cashman told Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News that he felt the asking price for Matt Garza was too high to seriously pursue a trade with the Rays. "We never got off the dime, but strong impressions were that it would be something that would cost us more because we are in the division, kind of like Roy Halladay," said the Yankees GM.
- Considering Andrew Friedman's comments about using the money saved in the Garza deal to sign other players, Chad Jennings of the Journal News wonders if the Rays' targets could overlap with the Yankees'.
- The Royals have told interested clubs that Joakim Soria will not be traded, a stance which Bill Madden of the New York Daily News finds puzzling. Madden suggests the Yankees were willing to part with Jesus Montero and Eduardo Nunez for Soria.
- In his blog entry linked above, Olney disagrees with Madden's argument that the Royals need to trade Soria. According to Olney, Soria's contract is so team-friendly it makes it nearly impossible for the Royals to get equal value from the Yankees or anyone else at the moment.
The Marlins announced that they signed Randy Choate to a two-year deal. It's worth a total of $2.5MM plus incentives, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who first reported the deal (all Twitter links). Choate will earn $1MM in 2011 and $1.5MM in 2012 with $150K in incentives each year, depending on the number of appearances he makes. ACES represents Choate.
The 35-year-old led the league in appearances (85), but logged just 44 2/3 innings, since he's generally a lefty specialist. Choate posted a 4.23 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 for the Rays last year. Against lefties, he had a 9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, and 61.8% groundball rate. Choate had similar numbers against them the prior year.
8:30pm: Choate confirmed to Marc Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times that he is in fact in talks with the Marlins, as well as three other teams that he declined to name.
Choate, 35, spent his last two seasons in Tampa Bay, and appeared in over half of the Rays' games in 2010. The left-hander pitched just 44 2/3 innings in his 85 appearances, recording a 4.23 ERA and striking out 8.1 batters per nine innings. He's best used as a one- or two-out pitcher against left-handed batters, as exhibited by his 2010 splits – lefties posted a .529 OPS against him, while righties hit at a 1.162 clip.
Choate declined an arbitration offer from the Rays, so as a Type B free agent, he'd net Tampa Bay a supplemental round draft pick if he signs elsewhere.
23 American League free agents were offered arbitration on November 23rd. Four of those - Joaquin Benoit, John Buck, Victor Martinez, and Javier Vazquez - already have new contract agreements. Current free agent Kevin Gregg has chosen to decline. The remaining 18 AL free agents offered arbitration will have their decisions noted here and in our tracker.
- Cliff Lee (A) declined the Rangers' offer, as expected.
- Miguel Olivo will decline the Blue Jays' offer, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jason Frasor (A) will accept the team's offer, according to Mike Wilner of the FAN 590. Scott Downs (A) will decline the Blue Jays' offer, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier that Jason Frasor would either sign a multiyear deal or accept arb (Twitter link).
- Adrian Beltre will decline arbitration from the Red Sox, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Felipe Lopez (B) will also decline an offer of arbitration, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.
- Carl Pavano (A) has officially turned down arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter). Orlando Hudson (B) will decline the Twins' offer of arbitration, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweets of "strong indications" Jesse Crain (B) will also decline.
- A source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that Paul Konerko (A) will decline arbitration (Twitter link). J.J. Putz (B) declined arbitration from the White Sox, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin (on Twitter).
- Chad Qualls (B) and Carl Crawford (A) have declined arbitration, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). Grant Balfour (A) turned down arbitration, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). As anticipated, Randy Choate (B) declined the Rays' offer, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. ESPN's Buster Olney predicted the decision earlier today. Rafael Soriano (A) will decline the Rays' arbitration offer, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Brad Hawpe (B) will decline the Rays' offer as well, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.
- Frank Francisco (A) will accept the Rangers' offer, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Full Story | 73 Comments | Categories: Adrian Beltre | Boston Red Sox | Brad Hawpe | Carl Crawford | Carl Pavano | Chad Qualls | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Colorado Rockies | Felipe Lopez | Frank Francisco | Grant Balfour | J.J. Putz | Jason Frasor | Jesse Crain | Miguel Olivo | Minnesota Twins | Orlando Hudson | Paul Konerko | Rafael Soriano | Randy Choate | Scott Downs | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions
10 American 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.
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Scott Downs (A) Jason Frasor (A) Kevin Gregg (B) Miguel Olivo (B), according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisolm (on Twitter).
- The Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano (A), Jesse Crain (B) and Orlando Hudson (B) and declined to offer arbitration to Matt Guerrier (A), Brian Fuentes (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays offered arbitration to Grant Balfour (A), Carl Crawford (A), Rafael Soriano (A), Randy Choate (B), Brad Hawpe (B) and Chad Qualls (B), according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. They did not offer Dan Wheeler (A) or Carlos Pena (B) arbitration. It seems possible that Hawpe has agreed in advance to turn down arbitration.
- The Orioles won't offer arbitration to Koji Uehara (B) or Kevin Millwood (B), according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
- The Angels declined to offer Hideki Matsui (B) arbitration, the team announced.
- The Rangers offered arbitration to Cliff Lee (A) and Frank Francisco (A), but not to Vladimir Guerrero (A) and Bengie Molina (A), according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The Yankees will offer arbitration to Javier Vazquez (B), but not to any of their other free agents, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday on Twitter. Andy Pettitte (A), Derek Jeter (A), Mariano Rivera (A), Lance Berkman (B) and Kerry Wood (B) were the team's other ranked free agents. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Yankees would offer Vazquez arbitration and noted that the right-hander has agreed to reject the offer, a common gentleman's agreement that can take place with Type B free agents. Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger first reported on Twitter that the Yankees would not offer Jeter arbitration.
- The Red Sox offered arbitration to Adrian Beltre (A), Victor Martinez (A) and Felipe Lopez (B), but not to Mike Lowell (B) or Jason Varitek (B), according to the team.
- The White Sox offered arbitration to Paul Konerko (A) and J.J. Putz (B), but not to A.J. Pierzynski (A) or Manny Ramirez (A) according to the team (on Twitter).
- As expected, the Tigers announced that they will not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, including Scott Boras clients Magglio Ordonez (A), Johnny Damon (B), and Gerald Laird (B).
Full Story | 80 Comments | Categories: A.J. Pierzynski | Adrian Beltre | Andy Pettitte | Baltimore Orioles | Bengie Molina | Boston Red Sox | Brad Hawpe | Brian Fuentes | Carl Crawford | Carl Pavano | Carlos Pena | Chad Qualls | Chicago White Sox | Cliff Lee | Dan Wheeler | Derek Jeter | Detroit Tigers | Felipe Lopez | Frank Francisco | Gerald Laird | Grant Balfour | Hideki Matsui | J.J. Putz | Jason Frasor | Jason Varitek | Javier Vazquez | Jesse Crain | Johnny Damon | Jon Rauch | Kerry Wood | Kevin Gregg | Kevin Millwood | Koji Uehara | Lance Berkman | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Magglio Ordonez | Manny Ramirez | Mariano Rivera | Matt Guerrier | Miguel Olivo | Mike Lowell | Minnesota Twins | New York Yankees | Orlando Hudson | Paul Konerko | Rafael Soriano | Randy Choate | Scott Downs | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Transactions | Victor Martinez | Vladimir Guerrero
Teams are perpetually searching for effective left-handed relievers, so here are five southpaws who could become useful pieces at a bargain price next year. Some of the pitchers below are inching closer to 40, but Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver proved this year that there's no age limit for lefty specialists. The list focuses on pitchers who will likely sign for a couple million dollars at most, so I haven't included Hisanori Takahashi, Scott Downs and others:
- Randy Choate – The 35-year-old hits the open market as your prototypical 'left-handed one out guy.' He made 85 appearances in 2010, but logged just 44.3 innings. His numbers are strong (8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 4.23 ERA) and suggest he could play anywhere, but teams that play in homer-friendly parks such as the D'Backs, Rockies and Brewers may take note of Choate's ability to keep the ball on the ground. His 60% ground ball rate ranked 15th among big league relievers with at least 20 innings.
- Will Ohman – Ohman, 33, recovered from a poor 2009 season and posted a 3.21 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 between the O's and Marlins. He's going to walk hitters, but he can still get lefties out.
- Ron Mahay – Mahay turns 40 in June, but that didn't stop him from posting a 3.44 ERA this year and striking out three times as many batters as he walked. He's not in position to demand a multi-year deal, but he could help someone's bullpen in 2011.
- Taylor Tankersley – The 27-year-old is the least predictable of the options listed, but possibly the most intriguing. Tankersley, a former first rounder, has struck out nearly a batter per inning in his big league career and has held lefties to a .223/.313/.372 line. There are drawbacks – he missed the 2009 season with a stress fracture in his pitching elbow and has trouble against righties – but Tankersley would be a good fit for the Pirates, Mets or Mariners at the right price. Why those clubs? As a fly ball pitcher, he probably fits best in a park that limits home runs and as an unproven pitcher, he fits best on a non-contender. That makes Pittsburgh, New York and Seattle potential fits.
- Brian Tallet – Unlike the pitchers above, Tallet won't necessarily hit the free agent market, but the 33-year-old is a non-tender candidate so he may be available by early December. Tallet, another fly ball pitcher, limited lefties to a stellar .176/.228/.343 line this year with a 28/6 K/BB ratio.
Dennys Reyes' 2010 numbers look OK, but don't let that 3.55 ERA fool you. Reyes posted a 0.54 ERA through May and a 5.91 ERA afterwards. He can induce grounders, but he walks more than one batter per two innings pitched.
Some links to check out as Cody Ross attempts to follow up yesterday's two-home run performance and the Phillies look to even the score…
- Speaking of Ross, Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News reports that Giants GM Brian Sabean left a "clear impression" before tonight's game that the outfielder will be tendered a contract this offseason.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe tweets that Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale is getting a second interview for the Blue Jays managerial position.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the Mets have been "asking around" about Rangers GM Jon Daniels, and things could get interesting. Daniels can opt out of his contract after the season since the team was sold.
- Steve Popper of The Bergen Record says that the Mets might not be making the popular choices right now, especially with Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez, Carlos Beltran, and Luis Castillo, but they're the right moves.
- Popper also reports that the Tigers denied the Mets permission to talk to assistant GM Al Avila about their GM vacancy.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Eric Young will be named the D'Backs first base coach later this week. In a second tweet, he says Eric Wedge's former pitching coach Carl Willis will likely play a big role on his new staff in Seattle.
- Despite the expected heavy interest from the Yankees and Rangers, Michael Silverman from the Boston Herald thinks the Red Sox should make a serious run at Cliff Lee.
- In the second page of that same article, Silverman quotes an unnamed executive in saying that a package consisting of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and prospect Anthony Rizzo wouldn't be enough to pry Adrian Gonzalez away from the Padres. He speculates the names that would be mentioned next would include Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias.
- Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports says it makes more sense for the Orioles to trade for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter and an ace starter than seek one in free agency, and asks readers whether or not the O's should pursue Zack Greinke. In his blog post earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney didn't see Baltimore as a fit for the Kansas City ace.
- Reduced payroll will force the Rays into some tough decisions, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. As Topkin points out, nearly the entire bullpen is entering free agency. Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate, Joaquin Benoit, and Chad Qualls are only signed through 2010, while Dan Wheeler's $4MM option will be declined and Lance Cormier could be non-tendered. Balfour and Choate are most likely to return, while Benoit will likely look to capitalize on his monster season.
- Richard Griffin from the Toronto Star spoke with Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin, who could be a candidate for the Jays' managerial opening, about the difficulty of getting a foot in the door as a manager. As Griffin says, part of the reason they continue to interview candidates while other teams are filling their managerial positions could be because they have a high level of interest in someone like Mackanin, whose team is still playing.
- The Phillies' worst nightmare isn't losing to the Giants in the NLCS or losing to the Yankees in the World Series, according FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. It's going to the World Series and facing the ace they traded away last offseason, who now sports a Rangers uniform — Cliff Lee.
Full Story | 177 Comments | Categories: Adrian Gonzalez | Arizona Diamondbacks | Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Beltran | Casey Kelly | Chad Qualls | Cliff Lee | Cody Ross | Dan Wheeler | Detroit Tigers | Francisco Rodriguez | Grant Balfour | Jacoby Ellsbury | Jed Lowrie | Joaquin Benoit | Jon Daniels | Jose Iglesias | Kansas City Royals | Lance Cormier | Luis Castillo | Miami Marlins | New York Mets | Oliver Perez | Philadelphia Phillies | Rafael Soriano | Randy Choate | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Zack Greinke
Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.
- Washington tendered contracts to Josh Willingham, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, Jason Bergmann, and Sean Burnett.
- Zach Duke was tendered an offer by the Pirates.
- The Marlins reached an agreement with Ronny Paulino. The deal will be for one-year, $1.1MM.
- The Royals avoided arbitration by reaching one year deals with Brian Bannister ($2.3MM) Roman Colon ($660K), and Kyle Davies ($1.8MM).
- Dioner Navarro will remain with the Rays on a one-year deal worth $2.1MM.
- The White Sox will offer contracts to Bobby Jenks, John Danks, Carlos Quentin, and Tony Pena.
- Milwaukee will tender offers to six players: Dave Bush, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, Jody Gerut, Corey Hart, and Carlos Gomez.
- Toronto will tender an offer to Jeremy Accardo.
- Kevin Correia will remain with the Padres for one-year, $3.6MM.
- The Rangers have signed Esteban German to a 2010 contract. He'll earn $600K in the majors and $200K in the minors. They offered contracts to their other arbitration-eligible players including Scott Feldman, Chris Ray, Frank Francisco, C.J. Wilson, Dustin Nippert, Brandon McCarthy, and Josh Hamilton.
- Tampa Bay avoided arbitration with Lance Cormier by inking him to a one-year deal. The contract will pay Cormier $1.2MM.
- The Twins will tender contracts to all 30 unsigned players on their 40-man roster. That means Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris, Francisco Liriano, Pat Neshek, Delmon Young, and many more figure to be in the Twins' plans in 2010.
- The following eight Cubs will receive offers from the team: Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, and Mike Fontenot.
- Atlanta tendered offers to relievers Peter Moylan and Boone Logan.
- The Marlins will tender offers to almost all of their arbitration-eligible players – Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Cody Ross, Josh Johnson, Leo Nunez, and Renyel Pinto.
- The Astros will tender offers to all remaining arbitration-eligible players. This means Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, Jeff Keppinger, and Humberto Quintero are invited back.
- Matt Albers and Cla Meredith have agreed to terms with the Orioles. Albers' deal is worth $.68MM for one-year. Meanwhile, Meredith will recieve $.85MM in 2010.
- Randy Choate agreed to a one year deal. Terms of the deal are one-year, $700K.
Full Story | 0 Comments | Categories: Angel Guzman | Bobby Jenks | Brandon McCarthy | C.J. Wilson | Carlos Gomez | Carlos Marmol | Carlos Quentin | Carlos Villanueva | Chris Ray | Chris Sampson | Cla Meredith | Cody Ross | Corey Hart | Dan Uggla | Dave Bush | Delmon Young | Dioner Navarro | Dustin Nippert | Esteban German | Frank Francisco | Jeff Baker | Jeremy Accardo | Jesse Crain | Jody Gerut | John Danks | Jorge Cantu | Josh Hamilton | Josh Johnson | Koyie Hill | Lance Cormier | Leo Nunez | Matt Albers | Matt Guerrier | Mike Fontenot | Pat Neshek | Randy Choate | Renyel Pinto | Ricky Nolasco | Ryan Theriot | Scott Feldman | Sean Marshall | Shawn Riggans | Tim Byrdak | Todd Coffey | Tom Gorzelanny | Tony Pena