Ryan Hanigan Rumors
Exactly one year ago, the Rays and Cubs finalized an eight-player deal that sent Matt Garza to Chicago. 365 days later, Garza is on the block again, though so far teams have balked at the Cubs' asking price. Could Garza be back in the AL East before Opening Day? While we wait to find out, here are a few links from the division:
- Although we heard in recent weeks that Tampa Bay was interested in Rockies' outfielder Seth Smith, the Rays may not have held onto Smith had they acquired him. According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider link), one deal discussed earlier in the winter involved the Rays trading for Smith and flipping him to the Reds in exchange for catcher Ryan Hanigan.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff explains why the Yankees haven't made a move for one of the top starting pitchers (including Garza) available via free agency or trade.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com looks into the Orioles' search for a designated hitter.
- Check out this morning's Red Sox notes here and last night's AL East notes here.
The Angels have been interested in a number of free agent pitchers this offseason, both starters and relievers, and now they're looking for an entire new battery. ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Halos have intensified their search for a catcher, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says they have their eye on Ryan Hanigan of the Reds (Twitter links).
Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson, and Hank Conger are on the team's 40-man roster, but Mathis is a non-tender candidate and Wilson is a .206/.268/.344 career hitter in 116 big league games. Conger is one of the team's top prospects, but he might not be ready to catch everyday after hitting just .204/.284/.345 in limited time with the Angels over the last two seasons. Hanigan, 31, has hit .275/.371/.368 in 287 games with Cincinnati over the last five years. Rosenthal says the Reds could re-sign Ramon Hernandez if they move Hanigan.
As our Free Agent Tracker shows, backstops like Kelly Shoppach, Ivan Rodriguez, former Angel Jose Molina, and Hernandez are available on the open market. Hernandez will be treated as a Type-B free agent thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, so it will not cost a draft pick to sign him.
It's the middle of June and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link) says that teams aren't sure if they'll be buying or selling as the deadline approaches..
- The Athletics certainly look like sellers but they're not ready to just give players away. Three of their more attractive hitters, David DeJesus, Coco Crisp, and Josh Willingham all make $6MM or less, salaries that are not prohibitive. The A's can keep all of them, offer them arbitration, and then collect draft picks if they go elsewhere. Right now, Willingham is the only one of the trio that projects as a Type A free agent.
- The Rays could sell even while in contention if they believe that they can build something better for the future. B.J. Upton remains a difficult call for the club. Desmond Jennings, their top prospect, wouldn't provide as much of an impact. At the same time, Upton is likely to make more than $6MM next season in arbitration. Tampa Bay could wait until the offseason to move him but they might get more value if they act sooner.
- If the Reds wanted to get creative, they could move one of their catchers for starting pitching and promote prospect Devin Mesoraco. However, the combination of Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan is one of their strengths and they might not want to disrupt the chemistry between their pitchers and catchers.
- The Twins are at the bottom of the AL Central but GM Bill Smith says that the team still believes that it's in the race. It also helps that Jason Kubel, Jim Thome, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Joe Mauer are all expected back soon. Minnesota isn't ready to pack it in just yet, and they're not quite ready to be mid-season sellers.
Extension season might not be over yet, but if recent history is any indication, we've seen most or all of this spring's extensions. You have to go back to 2008 to find an extension completed in May or June, so there's a chance that Ryan Braun's deal will be the last one of its kind for a few months.
If that's the case, 37 players will have signed extensions since the beginning of the 2010-11 offseason. Exactly one of those players, Ryan Hanigan of the Reds, is a catcher. It's noteworthy, if not downright surprising, that no starting catchers signed extensions when you consider that dependable catching is hard to come by and that teams spent aggressively last winter.
Unlike the 2009-10 offseason, when the Twins extended Joe Mauer, no backstop was an obvious candidate for an extension. Mike Napoli is getting expensive and he doesn't have a reputation as a good defender. Matt Wieters hit just .249/.319/.377 last year, so it's understandable that the Orioles didn't commit to him on a mutliyear deal. And it would have made little sense for the Indians to extend Carlos Santana, who had an operation to repair a damaged knee ligament (his LCL) last August.
Buster Posey was an extension candidate, but there's no rush for the Giants to extend him, since he's under team control through 2016. Perhaps the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year will be in line for a long-term deal after 2011 if he repeats his breakout rookie performance.
Geovany Soto would have been a more traditional candidate for an extension. He hit .280/.393/.497 with 17 homers last year and was arbitration eligible for the first time in his career after the season. Soto is young enough for the Cubs to want him to keep him around (28) and close enough to free agency that they might be thinking about securing his services for an extra season or two (Soto is eligible for free agency after 2013). They didn't agree to terms on a long-term contract and instead signed a one-year, $3MM deal.
Given the circumstances surrounding each extension candidate, it's easier to see why Hanigan was the only backstop to sign long-term. Next year, however, more catchers, including some of the ones above, could sign extensions. Elite catchers don't hit free agency often, so the teams that develop catching may choose to keep it in place long-term by offering promising catchers extensions.
The Reds and Ryan Hanigan have agreed to a three-year contract that will pay the catcher $4MM. Hanigan, who is represented by Tom O'Connell, will also have the chance to earn another $800K in escalators based on playing time.
2011 is Hanigan's final pre-arbitration season, so the deal buys out two of his arb years. According to Olney, the 30-year-old will make $450K this year, $1.2MM in 2012, and $2.05MM in 2013. The deal also includes a $300K signing bonus and $400K in possible incentives in each of the '12 and '13 seasons. The Reds will have Hanigan under team control for one more season after the contract expires.
Splitting time behind the plate with Ramon Hernandez for the last two years, Hanigan hasn't displayed much power, but has posted exceptional on-base numbers. In 536 plate appearances in 2009 and 2010 combined, the longtime Red hit .280/.381/.374.
As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, Hanigan's will be the fifth contract extended for at least three years by the Reds this winter. ESPN.com's Buster Olney first reported the agreement and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer confirmed that the Reds announced the deal.