Ron Mahay Rumors
A look at the remaining 2010 free agents reveals only a handful of left-handed relievers still available. Of the small group, two names stand out as more reliable options than the rest: Joe Beimel and Ron Mahay.
The 32-year-old Beimel has been one of the more consistent lefties in the majors over the last few seasons, posting a 3.17 ERA in 287 relief appearances since 2006. Mahay, 38, has been nearly as effective, compiling a 3.50 ERA in 234 games over the same period. Both pitchers, however, showed warning signs in 2009: Beimel was tough on left-handed hitters, but walked more righties than he struck out, while batters hit nearly .300 against Mahay.
So where might these veteran relievers land? The Mets have been connected to both recently and seem like favorites to sign at least one of the two, but they've yet to compromise on a price with either pitcher. The Phillies had some interest in Mahay earlier in the offseason, and could still use another left-handed arm in their bullpen, but there haven't been any reports linking the two sides since January.
Do you see Beimel and Mahay exercising a little more patience, perhaps in hopes that a few spring injuries force a team to meet their demands? Or will they have to lower their expectations and sign cheap ($1MM or less) one-year deals, or even minor league contracts?
In his new column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo takes a look at the Tampa Bay Rays, and their desire to recapture their 2008 success. Within the piece, Cafardo also offers up some hot stove nuggets....
- The Red Sox are serious about keeping Mike Lowell's bat around, but if they do decide to move him, the Twins "could be a major suitor." They've had interest in Lowell in the past, which would likely be renewed if the Sox paid most of the $12MM he's owed.
- Ron Mahay turned down a minor league contract offer from the Red Sox. It sounds like he's looking for a deal that would guarantee him a spot on a major league roster.
- The Angels intend to give free agent addition Hideki Matsui a shot in the outfield, despite his knee problems. Yankee officials still don't believe that he'll be physically able to play in the field.
- Cafardo writes that Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino and Orioles president Andy MacPhail are two names at the top of the list of candidates to replace Bud Selig as baseball's commissioner after 2012.
SATURDAY, 11:19am: Joel Sherman of The New York Post tweets that Beimel is still seeking something similar to the $2MM he earned in 2009, but the Mets aren't going there.
FRIDAY, 5:20pm: Joe Beimel has confirmed that he is weighing a contract offer from the New York Mets, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. We heard earlier in the week that the Mets would like to add a left-hander like Beimel (or Ron Mahay) to their bullpen at an affordable price ($1MM or less), and it seems they've extended an official proposal to Beimel.
"We've been talking to them for a good part of the offseason. I am still just being patient, waiting for the right deal," said Beimel.
A patient approach to free agency is nothing new for Beimel, who waited until March 18th to sign with Washington last spring. The 32-year-old lefty pitched 71 games for the Nationals and Rockies in 2009, compiling an overall 3.58 ERA in 55.1 IP.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com points out that teams aren't handing out long-term contracts as liberally as they were a few years ago. We've seen just eight contracts of three-plus years this offseason, after seeing 13 such contracts in each of the previous two winters. The offseason before that? Players signed 29 contracts of three years or more. Here are Stark's rumors:
- Detroit doesn't seem that interested in Johnny Damon and the Braves haven't spoken with Damon's agent, Scott Boras, in a month and a half. The Rays have checked in, but they have little to spend.
- Erik Bedard and the Orioles have mutual interest in a reunion, Stark hears.
- The Phillies would like to add a veteran left-handed reliever on a minor league deal, but Alan Embree and Ron Mahay are holding out for big league deals at this point, despite the Phillies' interest.
- Kevin Gregg is high on the Rockies' shopping list. They're looking at infield options and hoping to save enough money to shore up their bullpen, too.
- The Blue Jays have told clubs that Scott Downs and Jason Frasor are available. The Cubs have checked in on the pair of relievers.
- The Royals have told teams they're "open minded" about moving Gil Meche or Brian Bannister.
- John Smoltz is in no rush to sign. He's open to waiting for a few months, since he'd like a starting job and some execs question his ability to start for an entire season.
- Ben Sheets will be the first A's pitcher to make $10MM (though some believe Sheets will be traded before the end of the year).
- Mark Prior is throwing off a mound and would like to make a comeback.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why more teams don't take advantage of arbitration hearings. Clubs do have a history of winning cases against their players in recent years. Here are Cafardo's latest rumors:
- A Red Sox source tells Cafardo that it's unlikely the team signs Ben Sheets. Not a surprise, given Boston's rotation depth.
- One scout is certain Ron Mahay will be on a major league roster by the time Spring Training starts.
- An NL scout considers Miguel Batista a "very serviceable piece."
- Since Miguel Cabrera was in rehab for alcoholism this offseason, teams weren't eager to trade prospects for the first baseman and pay his $20MM salary.
- As we heard last week, the Twins are interested in signing Jim Thome.
- The Red Sox and Angels considered swapping Mike Lowell for Gary Matthews Jr. before concerns about Lowell's thumb emerged.
- An AL GM considers Joel Pineiro "another middle-rotation guy."
A fresh batch of Twitter rumors, for those of you with extra-short attention spans...
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch learned that the Pirates plan to tender a contract to Matt Capps.
- Stubborn Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he has no regrets about not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hernandez also notes that the Dodgers are considering Ronnie Belliard, Craig Counsell, Juan Uribe, and Jamey Carroll as second base options. The Reds also like Carroll, says MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Rockies are open to re-signing Jason Marquis at a reduced number (less than the $9.875MM he made in '09).
- SI's Jon Heyman believes Felix Hernandez is seeking six years and $100MM, while the Mariners are thinking four years plus an option at less than $50MM. That phrasing makes a possible divide seem larger than it is, since those last two years of the deal would be the most expensive (more than $15MM per year). At any rate, Shannon Drayer and Mike Salk learned that no numbers have been exchanged on Felix yet.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wants Mike Redmond to back up A.J. Pierzynski.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert says the Rangers may have interest in arbitration-eligible D'Backs infielder Augie Ojeda. The Rangers added Joe Inglett off waivers, but were said to still be looking at utility infield candidates.
- Morosi tweets that Rich Harden is "willing to sign a one-year deal with a lot of incentives." Will he exceed Brad Penny's $7.5MM base salary? Morosi names the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mariners as the most serious suitors.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Tigers have interest in Juan Pierre, and are "looking for a third team to supply the pitcher L.A. needs." Odd, since the Tigers have more bad pitching contracts than anyone. The Tigers apparently prefer to unload Carlos Guillen.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Pirates are not interested in bringing back Brian Giles.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Red Sox "have two or three teams they could trade Mike Lowell to right now" if they'd take a similar contract back. Looking at our Bad Contract Swap Meet I don't see any obvious matches for one year and $12MM.
- There's been some tire-kicking with the Phillies and Ron Mahay, writes Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Red Sox were linked to Mahay by Michael Silverman on Monday. Martino also says the Phillies met with John Smoltz's agent this morning, "but discussions remain informal."
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star characterizes the White Sox and Red Sox interest in Coco Crisp as "low-level," but says that's still more than the Royals have shown. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the White Sox would consider Crisp, Mike Cameron, and Marlon Byrd. ESPN's Mike Salk notes that the Mariners spoke to Byrd's agent.
- Dutton also has the Red Sox eyeing Ryan Shealy on a minor league deal.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports names the most asked-about Padres: Heath Bell, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Adrian Gonzalez (in that order). He says the Padres are "not hearing anything compelling on Bell." MLB.com's Corey Brock says about eight teams inquired on Kouzmanoff. Surprised not to see Kevin Correia mentioned by Rosenthal. He'd be a great affordable option for a team like the Brewers. ESPN's Buster Olney heard from rival execs who expect the Padres to get second-line prospects for Kouzmanoff and Correia.
- The Mets appear to find a Luis Castillo deal unlikely, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees are shopping their #1 pick in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, which they acquired for Brian Bruney. If they don't trade the pick, Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Yankees could use it on pitcher Arquimedes Caminero.
In his piece on Don Mattingly's interest in a managerial position, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo brings us some nuggets of information from around the majors:
- Stephen Drew is expected to be shopped by the Diamondbacks this offseason and "there should be" discussions with the Red Sox. Cafardo wonders if hitting in a more patient lineup could boost his OPS (.748 in 2009).
- More on the D-Backs as Mark Reynolds fell three days shy of being classified as a Super Two. Reynolds will earn $425,000 in 2010 instead of something in the neighborhood of $5MM.
- Cafardo suspects that Boston will go after Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez but asks, "do the Sox have enough players to give San Diego?"
- Twins pitcher Ron Mahay wants to stay in Minnesota but won't rule out a return to Boston.
- Speaking of returns, Mike Hargrove is campaigning for another opportunity in Cleveland but might be "too old school". According to a report from Terry Pluto earlier today, Hargrove has not been interviewed for the job.
- Cafardo says to look for former Padres general manager Kevin Towers to become an assistant or special adviser with another club. Towers said earlier this month that he doesn't want to be in an office if he isn't the GM.
1:32pm: The Twins acquired Mahay from the Royals, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The Royals will cover most of his salary, and the Twins will pay the pro-rated MLB minimum, which should amount to less than $100k.
1:14pm: The Twins are "on the verge" of acquiring reliever Ron Mahay from the Royals, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Royals designated the lefty for assignment last week. He allowed 55 hits and 19 walks in 41.1 innings, striking out 34. We first heard of the Twins' interest in the 13-year veteran yesterday.
Mahay makes $4MM this year, so there's about $740k remaining on his contract.
Some links to distract you from the Brad Penny rumors...
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune hears indications that the Twins could consider dealing for Ron Mahay, who the Royals just designated for assignment.
- ESPN passes along an AP report informing us that Tim Hudson will make his 2009 season debut on Monday. It would be a surprise if the Braves turned out to be the team that claimed Rich Harden given their pitching depth.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff points us to an interesting wrinkle in the rulebook. Teams that offer their free agents arbitration don't have to offer them anything close to the salary they made the previous season. So if the Red Sox decide they want to offer Billy Wagner less than $8MM next year, they can do so. This is not the case for players who don't yet have six years of service time.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports that the Cardinals and Phillies may be better off letting their respective deadline acquisitions walk once they hit free agency. Here are the details and the rest of his rumors:
- We know that Matt Holliday's interested in staying in St. Louis. But one AL exec doubts the Cards can afford to tie up $40-50MM per year in Holliday and Albert Pujols. It could work short-term, but could prevent the Cardinals from keeping Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. Plus, the pair of sluggers may not be worth a combined $50MM in a few years.
- One team official believes Cliff Lee's agent will be looking for a $100MM payday once the lefty hits free agency after next season (assuming the Phils pick up his 2010 option). The official says the Phillies should consider letting Lee walk after next year, instead of committing long-term to him.
- The teams that considered dealing for Johan Santana after the 2007 season aren't surprised to hear that he's having elbow trouble now, though it's not something they anticipated with any sense of certainty. However, Mets assistant GM John Ricco says he doesn't regret the way the team handled its ace.
- There are increasing indications that the Yankees don't plan on being big buyers in the free agent market this offseason. The Yankees seem more likely to keep Johnny Damon and let Austin Jackson grow into a full-time player than pursue Matt Holliday or Jason Bay.
- Stark hears that the Red Sox were the only team to claim Billy Wagner. We heard the Angels had interest, but apparently they never made a claim.
- One executive believes AL teams would have very little interest in Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman has value because of his status as a Type A free agent, which could factor in to teams' claims.
- Rival clubs expect the Blue Jays to try dealing Edwin Encarnacion after the season. He makes $4.75MM in 2010, so it won't be easy.
- The Royals are still trying to deal Ron Mahay and at least one scout expects a team or two to have interest in ther veteran lefty.