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Ryan Vogelsong Rumors
There doesn’t seem to be much of a market yet for Ryan Howard, but perhaps there should be, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. True, the Phillies would have to pay a large chunk of the $60MM on Howard’s contract, but Howard still has home run power and is healthy this offseason. Howard also revised his limited no-trade clause last fall to accommodate possible trades, and would likely approve deals even to teams on his no-trade list, Rosenthal reports. “If you’re looking for a DH and want some left-handed power – which doesn’t exist out there – and a good quality person who knows how to win and wants to play, this guy is the guy to go get,” says GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “The fact that we’ve been so public makes people think we’ll release him. That won’t happen.” Contract aside, Rosenthal thinks Howard’s market value ought be be something like $7MM to $10MM per season. Even that seems ambitious for a 35-year-old who has been below replacement level in two of the last three seasons, however. Here are more notes from throughout baseball.
- This weekend’s trade of Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar could make the Rays a potential bidder for Howard, since the Rays gained payroll flexibility in the deal and have pursued stopgap designated hitters and first basemen in the past, Ryan Lawrence of Philly.com writes. It seems unlikely that the Rays would trade for Howard, however. They acquired John Jaso in the Zobrist deal with the idea that he wouldn’t primarily be a catcher, but rather a left-handed bat who might DH or play first base or outfield. (In fact, Jaso has said the Rays plan for him to play mostly DH.) Jaso’s role would seem to overlap with Howard’s potential spot in Tampa, so if Howard’s performance didn’t rule him out as an option for the Rays, Jaso’s presence probably would.
- The Rockies have had discussions with free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. The Rockies have been connected to low-cost starting pitchers like Josh Johnson, Aaron Harang, Kevin Correia and Kyle Kendrick, and Vogelsong would seem somewhat similar. Pitchers like Kendrick have shown some ability to get ground balls, however, while Vogelsong is more of a fly ball pitcher, potentially making him an awkward fit for Coors Field. The 37-year-old posted a 4.00 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings with the Giants in 2014.
- The Diamondbacks are trying to acquire a catcher, Morosi tweets. After trading Miguel Montero to the Cubs, the Snakes have Tuffy Gosewisch penciled in as their starter. The only other catcher on their 40-man is Rule 5 pick Oscar Hernandez, who played in Class A last year. They did sign Matt Pagnozzi and re-sign Blake Lalli to minor league deals, but they still appear short on experienced catching.
- The Mets are in active trade discussions involving starting pitcher Dillon Gee, Andy Martino of New York Daily News tweets. Gee’s name came up in the three-team Ian Desmond / Ben Zobrist deal the Mets discussed with the Rays and Nationals, Martino adds. Rumors about Gee have simmered all offseason, with the Rockies, Giants and Twins among the teams connected to the righty. The Mets have reportedly been trying to trade a veteran starter, with Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon as other potential candidates, although Gee appears to be the most likely to be traded.
- The Orioles will get a close look at Rule 5 picks Jason Garcia and Logan Verrett at minicamp this week, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. Garcia (who was originally selected by the Astros before being traded to Baltimore) just turned 22 and has not yet pitched above Class A, but Encina says the righty impressed the Orioles with his performance against their farmhands in instructional league play last fall. Verrett is more experienced, having held his own as a starter for the Mets’ Triple-A team last year as a 24-year-old. He’s more likely to relieve for the Orioles. It seems unlikely that a contending team would keep two Rule 5 picks on its roster for too long, so the amount of time Garcia and Verrett have to prove themselves might be somewhat limited.
With another quiet day turning into an even less eventful evening, I thought we’d spice things up with a look at a particularly interesting segment of the free agent market: innings-eating veteran starters.
Sure, I’m joking. Almost by definition, a back-of-the-rotation innings eater is not a very exciting pitcher. But, then again, perhaps there is something to the idea that this corner of the universe has more intrigue than it might seem at first glance.
Targeting top-end players is fairly straightforward, whereas figuring whether to pursue one or another back-end arm involves much more careful parsing to find value. The fact that most such pitchers sign for short-term deals means that clubs must be right on the player in the immediate term; there is no time to fix them for the future. And then there is the fact that the performance of these players matters a great deal; unlike a utility man or reliever, innings-eating arms are expected to occupy full-time roles. Racking up losses because your number 4 and 5 starters are not competitive is a great way to dig a hole in the standings.
The potential impact of this type of player is evidenced by the list of the best durable, veteran starters still available, several of whom played for contenders in 2014 and one of whom even pitched in the World Series. For better or worse, all of the players listed were allowed to throw at least 150 innings last year, creating plenty of opportunity to add or subtract value.
Kevin Correia: The results are not usually that exciting, but Correia has logged at least 100 innings in every season since 2007. He delivered an average of 178 innings of 4.19 ERA pitching over 2012-13 before suffering through a rough 2014.
Aaron Harang: Last year’s shining example of the importance of choosing your innings eaters carefully, Harang put up 204 1/3 frames with a 3.57 ERA. Sure, there’s a lot baked in there other than his pitching, but the bottom line is that Harang rated amongst the game’s fifty best starters in terms of preventing runs and among its 25 best in logging innings.
Roberto Hernandez: The results haven’t been there for Hernandez, and there is not much silver lining given that he has seen a steady decline in fastball velocity. But he is quite a steady groundball inducer, and showed enough that the Dodgers traded for him and gave him nine starts down the stretch.
Kyle Kendrick: At some point, 199 innings is 199 innings, and that’s what Kendrick delivered last season. He is also a fairly youthful 30 years of age, and is not far removed from producing serviceable results.
Ryan Vogelsong: Though his peripherals are somewhat less promising, Vogelsong has posted pretty darned useful bottom-line results in three of the past four seasons. And he had enough in the tank to run his fastball up to the mid-90s in the postseason.
Chris Young: ERA estimators view Young’s 3.65 earned run mark last year as a mirage, but then again he has always outperformed his peripherals. It had been quite some time since the towering righty had handled a full season in a rotation, but Seattle happily converted his 165 innings of work into a 12-9 record in 29 starts.
Before you vote on the player you think will be the best bet for 2015, you might want to check out these custom Fangraphs leaderboards for a sense of their recent statistical achievements: last year; last three years; last five years.
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki tells The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders he hears the trade rumors, but that isn’t his focus this winter. “I have been talking to the Rockies throughout the process,” Tulowitzki said. “We have respect for each other. But my concentration right now is just on getting healthy.” Tulowitzki, recovering from August hip surgery, has yet to start baseball activites but has begun light running and is continuing a program to increase flexibility in his hips. Here’s the latest from MLB’s West divisions:
- It cannot be a good sign the Giants‘ training staff is preparing an update this week on Marco Scutaro, opines John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Because of a back injury, Scutaro, who is due $6MM in the final year of his contract, appeared in only five games in 2014 with 13 trips to the plate.
- In the same article, Shea reports there are no current talks between the Giants and free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong.
- GM Billy Beane made the A’s better now and in the future with the returns he achieved in the Jeff Samardzija and Derek Norris trades, according to SB Nation’s Alex Hall.
- Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle compares the Astros‘ methodical rebuilding plan with that of the Padres, who reshaped their franchise by making five trades with six teams in a span of two days.
The Twins are focused on pitching upgrades this offseason, and here’s the latest on the arms that Minnesota is (or isn’t) currently exploring…
- Justin Masterson was linked to the Twins earlier this winter but 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter) that “about every sign” indicates the Masterson will sign with another team. The Twins aren’t scheduled to meet with Masterson during the Winter Meetings and the right-hander has already met with several teams over the last few days.
- The Twins have been in touch with Francisco Liriano‘s agent throughout the offseason and they’re expected to meet Monday with Brett Anderson‘s agent, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Anderson is looking for a short-term deal to rebuild his value after an injury-plagued 2014, while Liriano looks to command a significant multiyear guarantee. Neal (via Twitter) doubts the Twins would surrender the draft pick it would take to sign Liriano, who rejected the Pirates’ qualifying offer.
- Also from Neal, the Twins are one of over a dozen teams who have checked in on Pat Neshek this offseason. Neshek was originally drafted by Minnesota in 2002 and pitched for the team from 2006-10.
- The Twins have called about right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Vogelsong has a 3.74 ERA, 2.35 K/BB, 7.05 K/9 and 42.4% grounder rate over the last four seasons with the Giants, throwing at least 179 2/3 IP in three out of those four years.
- Before Jason Frasor re-signed with the Royals, the Twins made a push to land the righty reliever, agent Dave Meier told Berardino. “The Twins had a lot of interest in him,” Meier said. “They stepped up and made an early offer. We were definitely considering that along with Kansas City and a couple other teams. The Twins were one of a select few clubs as we kind of narrowed things down.”
Pablo Sandoval is seeking a six-year contract on the open market, his agent Gustavo Vasquez tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Given his client’s age, Vasquez doesn’t feel that a four- or five-year deal is a sensible target. “Maybe if he was 30 or 31 we could talk about four or five years,” Vasquez said to Schulman. “But he’s 28. He deserves more than that.”
Vasquez explained to Schulman that the six-year term of the contract is more important to Sandoval than the average annual value. That comment isn’t surprising, as a player will typically downgrade a contract’s AAV as the years increase. While he said Sandoval has no specific dollar figure in mind, other reports have indicated a target north of $100MM. So, while the AAV of the deal may be somewhat flexible, it seems Vasquez must be eyeing at least a $17MM annual salary for his client.
The Giants have yet to make a formal offer and instead have been discussing various options regarding the length of the deal, according to Vasquez. He’s already spoken to multiple teams about Sandoval and is expected to have several face-to-face meetings at next week’s GM Meetings in Phoenix. The agent notes that Sandoval isn’t necessarily interested in dragging out the process and would sign quickly if he received an offer he likes.
As Schulman writes, he got a different sense from Giants GM Brian Sabean regarding an offer to Sandoval at the team’s postseason debriefing. Sabean told reporters that the Giants have explained to free agents Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong that they first need to sort of Sandoval’s situation before moving onto them, and his comments did imply that they’ve made some form of offer: “We’ve told both Peavy and Vogelsong we need time to sort things out. Again, it goes back to Pablo. Pablo is the only one we’ve engaged as far as an offer and moving forward. The other four free agents know where we stand.”
Sandoval figures to be an attractive option on the free agent market this winter, though it remains to be seen whether any team will be be comfortable with his desired six-year term. The Red Sox have been linked to him on multiple occasions, and the Marlins are another team reported to have interest. Sandoval would also make sense for the White Sox. The Yankees have a definite need in the infield, though to this point, they’re not focused on Sandoval and are said to prefer to re-sign Chase Headley.
If the Royals win the World Series it would be difficult to imagine GM Dayton Moore leaving for the Braves‘ vacancy. However, those who know Moore well say that he felt comfortable in Atlanta, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. On top of that, the Braves would offer Moore a bigger budget to work with. More from today’s column..
- Word is spreading that the Red Sox could make Yoenis Cespedes available. The slugger will make $10.2MM in the final year of his deal and his desire not to play right field or work on his defense could spell the end of his time in Boston. A Cespedes deal would allow the Sox to make room for Mookie Betts or add a left-handed hitter.
- The Giants are a team to watch when Nick Markakis hits the open market as expected. Even though they’re enjoying Travis Ishikawa‘s work, they are unlikely to commit to him as an everyday left fielder. The Mets could also be in the mix.
- One agent believes Jake Peavy has turned his next contract from a one-year, $7MM deal into a three-year, $36MM deal based on his second half with the Giants. Cafardo notes that the Giants won’t re-sign Ryan Vogelsong and with little help coming from Triple-A, they’ll likely have to bite on a Peavy deal.
- There have been preliminary talks between the Red Sox and Koji Uehara about staying in Boston,but the sides aren’t close to a deal.
WEDNESDAY: Vogelsong has passed his physical, and his deal is complete, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets.
FRIDAY, 3:50pm: Vogelsong gets a $5MM guarantee, which means the Giants saved about $1.5MM by declining his option, according to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
2:25pm: The Giants and Ryan Vogelsong have reached agreement on a one-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). It was reported yesterday that the Giants were nearing agreement on a deal with Vogelsong that would guarantee him north of $3MM and possibly take him into the $7-8MM range with incentives.
The Dave Meier client was a minor league deal reclamation project for San Fran who turned in two outstanding seasons over 2011-12. However, injuries slowed him down last year, however, leading him to a 5.73 ERA in 103 2/3 innings. Vogelsong registered a notably lower 5.8 K/9 rate in 2013 and saw his HR/FB leap to 13.4%. While advanced metrics put a better light on his campaign, his 4.91 FIP and 4.50 xFIP were hardly promising.
The Giants recently turned down a $6.5MM club option on the right-hander but have now decided to bring him back on a deal that protects them in the event of another down/injured year. In his last three seasons with the Giants, the 36-year-old has a 3.63 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 78 starts and two relief appearances.
With Vogelsong back in the fold, the Giants will likely steer their attention away from signing a starter to a multi-year pact and zero in on left field, according to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
5:23pm: The Giants are offering "north of $3MM for sure" in guaranteed money to Vogelsong, Schulman reports, and roughly $4MM in total. Signing Vogelsong would mean the Giants would (at least for now) turn away from signing another starting pitcher to a multiyear deal and instead focus on finding a left fielder. Also from Schulman (Twitter link), the Giants were still interested in Bronson Arroyo as of this morning, though it's unclear how signing Vogelsong could affect their pursuit of Arroyo.
TODAY, 12:41pm: The club is nearing a one-year pact with Vogelsong, reports MLB.com's Chris Haft, with "momentum" gathering toward an agreement. Vogelsong reportedly wants incentives that could boost the contract value into the $7-$8MM range, while the Giants have indicated that they'd be amenable to bringing him back on a deal that combines base salary and incentives to reach or exceed the value of the option that the club declined. Of course, given that San Francisco decided against promising Vogelsong $6.5MM, it seems clear that the guaranteed portion of a new deal would fall shy of that figure.
YESTERDAY: The Giants are moving toward a deal with free agent starter Ryan Vogelsong, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco recently declined a $6.5MM club option on the 36-year-old righty.
Vogelsong, a client of Dave Meier, was a minor league deal reclamation project for San Fran who turned in two outstanding seasons over 2011-12. He suffered an injury-aided downturn last year, however, posting a 5.73 ERA in 103 2/3 innings. Vogelsong registered a notably lower 5.8 K/9 rate in 2013 and saw his HR/FB leap to 13.4%. While advanced metrics put a better light on his campaign, his 4.91 FIP and 4.50 xFIP were hardly promising.
The Giants' two-year, $23MM deal with Tim Hudson is drawing praise from several pundits. MLBTR's Steve Adams, Fangraphs' Dave Cameron and ESPN's Keith Law all see the contract as a possible steal for the Giants since even coming off a fractured ankle, Hudson doesn't carry as many question marks as other starters who may command much larger deals. Here's some more on the Giants…
- The Giants don't like any of the free agent options to fill their hole in left field and will look to trade for outfield help at the Winter Meetings, CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly reports. The club could end up settling for a left-handed hitter to platoon with Gregor Blanco in left.
- Also from Baggarly, the Giants have made some progress in talks with Javier Lopez.
- The Giants are still looking for a left fielder and one more starting pitcher, ESPN's Buster Olney reports. Olney guesses that Bronson Arroyo or Ryan Vogelsong could be that pitcher, depending on which contract is the better fit (Twitter links). Vogelsong would obviously come at a much lower price than Arroyo, though if San Francisco could cheaply address their left field situation, I could see them spending extra to acquire Arroyo.
- The Giants checked in on Dan Haren, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link) but "other teams [were] far more aggressive," according to a source. The Twins and Yankees have been linked to Haren so far this offseason.
- Also from Schulman, it seems as if the Giants aren't going to offer any starter more than three guaranteed years. This could keep them from landing Ricky Nolasco, who is looking for a four-year contract.
Here's the latest from both the Athletics and Giants…
- The A's are scheduled to meet with Adam Katz, Bartolo Colon's agent, this week to discuss a one-year deal for the veteran righty, CSNBayArea.com's Joe Stiglich reports. Colon has shown an interest in returning to Oakland but a number of teams would be interested on Colon for just a one-year commitment.
- Also from Stiglich, he wonders if Alberto Callaspo could be expendable now that Nick Punto has been signed to increase the Athletics' infield depth. Callaspo is set to platoon with Eric Sogard at second base next season, but Callaspo's salary ($4.875MM) is a high one for the payroll-conscious A's.
- Bronson Arroyo has been linked to the Giants in trade rumors, so CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly breaks down the pros and cons of an Arroyo signing for San Francisco.
- The Giants are "continuing a dialog" with Ryan Vogelsong's representatives, assistant GM Bobby Evans tells Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).