Randy Wolf Rumors
7:37pm: According to Tim Brown's Twitter feed, "In the face of economic limitations, Dodgers working on a way to sign Joel Pineiro."
7:09pm: According to Ed Price's Twitter feed, the Mets and Joel Pineiro are talking, with the money somewhere around two years, $15MM.
At that price, you'd have to think a deal could get done quickly. The Mets have been interested in Pineiro all offseason, though Pineiro has seemed to be looking for a deal that rivals or exceeds the three-year, $29.75MM contract Randy Wolf signed with the Brewers.
Two years, $15MM is exactly what Jason Marquis signed for earlier this offseason with the Nationals. Despite the concerns over whether Pineiro can repeat his successful 2009 without Dave Duncan, his pitching coach with the Cardinals, the Mets would be taking a worthwhile risk at that price and length.
Pineiro was 15-12 in 2009 with a 3.49 ERA and just 27 walks in 214 innings pitched.
The Brewers may be right up against their 2010 payroll limit according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, however GM Doug Melvin is still looking to upgrade his club.
"If we can [add another starter] we'd like to," Melvin said at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings. "We might not be able to. We're always looking to improve the club.
"We're trying to keep flexibility to do things. The worst thing you can do is lose flexibility. We still want to be aggressive but we can step back and look at the landscape, see what takes place with free agents and trades."
McCalvy notes that the club's free agent signings total a $21MM commitment for 2010, plus there's another $37MM or so tied up in players already on their roster. The team has seven players eligible for salary arbitration, and there's about $18MM budgeted for them. If they fill out their roster with players making close to the minimum, it'll push Melvin's club over their $80MM or so projected payroll.
Given Randy Wolf's price tag, the team may not be able to add the second starter they crave. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com said the Brewers will "almost certainly" sign one of Jon Garland, Doug Davis, or Jarrod Washburn, though they may have to make a move to free up some cash to sign one of them.
Here's a round-up of a few news items floating around the baseball world tonight....
- MLB.com's Jason Beck reports that Detroit might sit out the bidding for the few remaining closers on the market and instead hope that youngsters Ryan Perry, Daniel Schlereth or a healthy Joel Zumaya are able to pick up some saves.
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports (via Twitter) that the Mets "have debated" the merits of offering Joel Pineiro a two-year contract, but Pineiro wants a deal akin to the three-year, $29.75MM contract that Randy Wolf signed with Milwaukee.
- Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that the Padres will sign an experienced backup catcher "within a few weeks."
- Dave Cameron of the U.S.S. Mariner blog isn't a big fan of Seattle's trade for Casey Kotchman.
- The apparent lack of interest in free agent Jason Giambi means that there's a greater chance he ends up back in Colorado, reports MLB.com's Thomas Harding.
- With Boston's signing of Adrian Beltre, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas thinks that the Rangers might have leverage to get a more favorable trade for Mike Lowell, should Texas still be interested.
Ever since the news of Frank and Jamie McCourt's divorce proceedings broke last October, Dodgers fans have been wondering (and dreading) if the ownership dispute would impact the team's operations. The first two months of the offseason have been quiet enough in L.A. to make it look like the Dodgers are themselves also still waiting to see how things will play out with the McCourts and have thus been in a holding pattern in regards to next season's payroll.
This isn't to say that Los Angeles hasn't been active. The Dodgers traded Juan Pierre to the White Sox, were involved in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes, tried to acquire Aaron Harang from Cincinnati and signed utilityman Jamey Carroll. But, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports pointed out today, the club is playing even-steven with its offseason moves in order to steady the budget. For instance, the Dodgers saved $8MM over the next two seasons by dealing Pierre, and spent $3.85MM of those savings to sign Carroll. Acquiring another notable free agent (such as Rosenthal's example of Joel Pineiro) would require L.A. to make another move to free up the cash to sign the right-hander.
We've already seen a bit of penny-pinching from the team this winter when they didn't offer arbitration to any of their free agents, passing on the chance to acquire compensatory draft picks for Type A free agents Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf out of fear that Hudson or Wolf might accept the offer. The bright side for Dodgers fans is that the team is at least keeping the payroll stable, rather than shifting into outright cost-cutting mode. Rosenthal notes that there are no plans to deal any of L.A.'s young stars before their arbitration years --- trading the likes of Andre Ethier, for example, would be "counter-productive" given Ethier's reasonable arbitration number and Manny Ramirez's slight decline.
This stand-pat strategy will force Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti to be creative in filling the holes on a club that has lost the NLCS to Philadelphia in each of the last two seasons. Rosenthal said that George Sherrill is "a candidate to be traded," but L.A. wouldn't save much money from the deal and getting rid of Sherrill would weaken their bullpen. There is also a need to sign a veteran like Pineiro to anchor the otherwise young starting rotation.
Some Saturday afternoon links..
- The Dodgers should have offered salary arbitration to Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudsonto allow themselves the opportunity to receive draft picks, writes Jon Weisman of the Los Angeles Times. Weisman argues that the worst case scenario of being stuck with one or both players at a slightly inflated price for one season wouldn't have been so bad. It's hard to dispute this point as we have yet to see the Dodgers do much of anything this winter.
- Not only are the Athletics talking to free agent Adrian Beltre, they may be the only serious bidder at the moment, according to an item on ESPN's MLB rumor page. The piece also notes that if Beltre's asking price - believed to be north of $10MM per season - drops into Oakland's price range, the Giants, Cardinals, and Tigers could get in the mix.
- Seattle's poor decisions stunted the development of Brandon Morrow, writes Ryan Divish of The News Tribune. While he never had the same ceiling as Tim Lincecum, who was drafted five spots later in the 2006 draft, things could have worked out differently for Morrow if he were given adequate time to develop in the minors.
- Shi Davidi of the Associated Presspraises new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and his plan to rebuild the franchise. Davidi writes that Anthopoulos has the support of ownership in a way that J.P. Ricciardi never did.
- A few free agents left on the market might want to consider lowering their asking price, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Adam LaRoche seeking $30MM over three years might be the most wishful of the bunch.
Links to kick off the work week....
- Free agent Troy Glaus prefers a full-time infield corner job over a DH role, and has made his medical records available to all 30 teams reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has Randy Wolf's contract details, courtesy of the AP.
- ESPN's Keith Law provides his take on recent non-tenders Capps, Wang, Ryan Langerhans, Gabe Gross, and Kelly Johnson.
- Jamey Carroll is deciding between multiple two-year offers, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He notes that the Angels, Dodgers, and A's have shown interest. Perhaps today's Craig Counsell signing will lead to a deal for Carroll.
- Chien-Ming Wang might not sign for months, his agent Alan Nero told ESPN's Buster Olney. Speaking to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan said Wang would interest him.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington explained to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday that Kovacevic's December 8th report of a non-tender threat caused Matt Capps to lose all trade value. As if the possibility couldn't have crossed the minds of Capps' suitors otherwise. But note that Huntington took issue with the leak itself rather than Kovacevic printing it.
- The Blue Jays announced on their official Twitter page that they've agreed to terms with Jose Bautista ($2.4MM) and Dustin McGowan ($500K). McGowan gets a raise of about $80K after missing all of '09 with a shoulder injury. Bautista will receive no raise. Perhaps the Jays had told him that they'd only tender him if he took the same salary.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff explains that "the whole notion of an 'offer' is overblown," mainly a publicity move.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wrote about the emergence of Twitter in baseball coverage, and I contributed a few thoughts.
- The Hanshin Tigers inked lefty Casey Fossum to a one-year deal worth $600K, reports Kyodo News. Fossum, 32 in January, pitched at Triple A for three organizations this year, compiling a 3.55 ERA in 129.3 innings.
- NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman reports that pitcher Colby Lewis will return to MLB after a couple of very effective years starting in Japan.
Post-Winter Meetings links for Thursday...
- ESPN's Keith Law calls the Astros' signing of Brandon Lyon "hobbling," but likes the Rays impending acquisition of Rafael Soriano. He says the Soriano situation shows that if a team has a borderline call with a Type A free agent, they should offer arbitration.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says Randy Wolf would've re-signed with the Dodgers for a two-year deal in the $14-16MM range.
- Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says the Blue Jays talked to the Nationals about pitcher Craig Stammen but "he does not appear to be available."
- The Cardinals touched base with Scott Boras before leaving Indianapolis, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards still haven't made an offer to Matt Holliday.
- ESPN's Mike Salk heard that John Lackey is the Mariners' top priority.
- The Hanshin Tigers signed reliever Randy Messenger for about $600K, says NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman. Messenger will replace Scott Atchison, who signed with the Red Sox.
- The Big Lead did a Q&A with new Yankee Curtis Granderson.
Time for another round of links...
- The Nats have "some" interest in Livan Hernandez, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- The Red Sox "appear interested" in Mike Cameron, according to Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal.
- We know the Dodgers want pitching for Juan Pierre. Ned Colletti told SIRIUS XM radio that he'd accept a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, according to Diamond Leung.
- Jon Greenberg of ESPN.com takes a look at the influence technology has on the Winter Meetings. Within the article, a Cubs exec calls Tim Dierkes his hero, so it's worth a read for that line alone.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman says the Curtis Granderson acquisition doesn't mean the Yankees can't bring back Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
- Mike Scioscia told Lyle Spencer of MLB.com that the Angels would "definitely consider" Hideki Matsui.
- Padres manager Bud Black expects Adrian Gonzalez to return to the Padres in 2010, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Brewers met with Mark Mulder's representation today. He's also drawing interest from the Royals, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros only offered LaTroy Hawkins a one-year deal, so he signed with the Brewers.
- The Orioles will meet with Aroldis Chapman's agents, though they remain "a longshot" to acquire the Cuban pitcher, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
- MLB.com's Lyle Spencer confirms that the Angels still have interest in Chapman.
- Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox have not spoken with Justin Duchscherer's agents since they met Sunday night. Apparently 11 teams are interested in Duchscherer.
- Keith Law of ESPN.com says it makes sense for the Yankees to keep bringing Andy Pettitte back on one-year deals. Law doesn't mind the Randy Wolf deal, either.
- There may come a time when the Cardinals have to force Matt Holliday's hand, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Dodgers hot stove info courtesy of Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times...
- Why didn't the Dodgers offer arbitration to Type A free agent Randy Wolf? They feared he'd accept and get $15MM. Do you agree with that logic? The Dodgers were given one last chance to sign Wolf this morning, but GM Ned Colletti passed.
- Free agent possibilities at second base: Ronnie Belliard, Juan Uribe, Craig Counsell and Jamey Carroll.
- The Dodgers offered only a minor league deal to Juan Castro, so he went with the Phillies.
- The Mets have inquired on Dodgers relievers Ronald Belisario and Cory Wade.
11:22am: Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that the Brewers will agree with Wolf today on a three-year deal worth just under $30MM. Ken Rosenthal says an agreement has been reached. ESPN's Buster Olney agrees with Haudricourt's figure: $27MM.
WEDNESDAY, 9:22am: Haudricourt says the Brewers have a meeting with Tellem today, and they expect a response on Wolf. If they sign him, they'll next look for a set-up man, possibly Kevin Gregg. If they don't get Wolf, Jon Garland is Plan B.
11:39pm: Now, Haudricourt says the Brewers offered $27MM over three years. They are hoping for a response tomorrow.
2:46pm: Haudricourt believes the Brewers offered Wolf three years and $31MM. He should probably sign that.
9:32am: The Mets will meet with Wolf's agent Arn Tellem today, says Haudricourt, suggesting the Brewers' offer is being shopped around.
TUESDAY, 8:37am: ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Brewers offered Wolf more than Tim Hudson's three-year, $28MM deal, but a half-dozen other teams remain in the mix. Heyman tweets that the Mets aren't giving up, but hope two years will be enough.
MONDAY, 11:06pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Brewers are "on [the] verge" of signing Wolf to a three-year pact.
9:34pm: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel hears that it will take a three year offer to lure Wolf to Milwaukee. The Brewers appear willing to offer the lefty a third year. The Dodgers didn't offer him arbitration, so at least he won't cost a draft pick. Still, the deal's far from a certainty at this point.
9:22pm: Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears that the Brewers are closing in on a three-year deal with Wolf. Price writes that he's "trying to confirm" the rumor, so it's definitely not a sure thing. Stay tuned.
7:21pm: A source close to Wolf calls this rumor "nonsense," according to Yahoo's Tim Brown.
6:41pm: A Randy Wolf signing may be imminent, if you believe the word of "one high-ranking club executive" who spoke to USA Today's Bob Nightengale. We learned today that the Mets plan to meet with Wolf's agent, and the Brewers are making a "strong run" at the lefty. Wolf was also linked to the Mariners for the first time, by SI's Jon Heyman.