Salomon Torres Rumors
Neal Huntington took over as GM of the Pirates on September 25th, 2007. He was active on the waiver wire out of the gate, but his first trade didn't come until December 7th. Huntington struck a deal with the Brewers, sending reliever Salomon Torres to Milwaukee for pitching prospects Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts.
Huntington kindly answered a few questions for MLBTR about his first trade.
MLB Trade Rumors: Torres dropped his grievance before you took over as Pirates GM. Did his request to be traded still stand? If so, did it limit your leverage?
Neal Huntington: The reality was that we had very little to no leverage because we had a disgruntled 36-year-old relief pitcher coming off an injury-plagued and disappointing performance season that was due to make over $3MM. Despite acknowledging the lack of leverage and lack of quality market, we made the decision it was time to move beyond the player, work to re-allocate the dollars and get the best return we could for him. Obviously we dealt from weakness and it did not turn out the way we would have preferred.
MLBTR: What kind of relationship did you have with Brewers GM Doug Melvin prior to the deal?
Huntington: I knew Doug through baseball circles but did not have much of a relationship with him beyond a cursory level.
MLBTR: Torres considered retirement after learning he was traded to the Brewers. Had he retired, would you have considered reversing the trade or compensating the Brewers somehow?
Huntington: Fortunately we did not have to work through an alternative scenario, but ethically we would have been compelled to consider alternatives.
MLBTR: What did you see in Salas and Roberts, the two relief prospects acquired for Torres? In hindsight, were better players available?
Huntington: The scouting reports indicated both pitchers had good arms with potential major league caliber breaking balls but both were on the small side of ideal and had some command issues. A quick review of the list of players available at the time confirms that despite our efforts to ask for more, it was a limited selection pool due to the issues surrounding the player and our lack of leverage.
MLBTR: In your two full seasons as Pirates' GM, the team's relief ERAs have been at or near the bottom of the NL. Revamping the pen by bringing in veteran free agents Octavio Dotel, Brendan Donnelly, D.J. Carrasco, Javier Lopez, and others this winter - did that represent a change in bullpen-building philosophy for you?
Huntington: The philosophy remained the basically the same but we had fewer internal options with which to build the 2010 bullpen. We believe building a bullpen is the most unpredictable and the most difficult part of a ball club to put in place. The inconsistency in the year to year performance of the large percentage of major league relievers makes it difficult to for a club with our resources to invest significant dollars or years into relievers. As a result, we look for subjective and objective indicators of potential bounce-back candidates and/or look to provide ourselves with different complimentary attributes (power arm (K’s) / ground ball guys / arm slots / etc.) to provide numerous options for our manager to utilize in the various leverage situations.
In 2008 we had a solid back end with Capps, Grabow, Marte and Yates but our middle relievers really struggled. In 2009 we had a few solid pieces but we had our struggles throughout all portions of the game. As we prepared for 2010 we wanted to add depth and complimentary options. We felt that Dotel could give us similar performance level for similar dollars and contractual control as Capps (despite the age difference). We liked what each of the free agents brought to the table as we constructed our bullpen and we felt that the addition of some veterans in the bullpen would help our young relievers mature into reliable high leverage relievers as well as provide us with much needed depth.
Links for Tuesday...
- Big League Stew names Scott Boras' ten most notorious deals. Darren Dreifort also probably belongs on the list. Any others?
- Roch Kubatko of MASN Online debunks a rumor about the Orioles offering Brian Roberts a three-year contract with a soft deadline.
- ESPN's Keith Law likes the Astros' signing of Mike Hampton.
- The Brewers signed first baseman Scott Thorman to a minor league deal. He hit .251/.283/.465 at Triple A this year. Also, Salomon Torres officially retired.
- C.C. Sabathia attended a Golden State Warriors game last night, for what it's worth.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti paid lip service to the idea of re-signing Rafael Furcal.
- Joel Sherman says Andy Pettitte is a phony if he signs with a team other than the Yankees. He says the Yanks made a $10MM offer. Craig Calcaterra weighs in on Sherman's column at Shysterball.
- I did a Q&A with Mets Fans Forever.
- Blue Jays owner Ted Rogers passed away.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post takes a look at the sudden surplus of potentially available closers in major league baseball, a situation that certainly benefits the Mets considering their need to upgrade the bullpen this offseason.
Two free agent closers that seemed destined to retire with their 2008 teams, Trevor Hoffman and Kerry Wood, now appear to be more available than was expected in October. That pair, along with Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes, give the Mets and other teams several options in free agency.
Other relief pitchers with experience in the 9th inning have been recently mentioned in trade rumors. The list includes Huston Street, who may move again before the 2009 season begins, along with JJ Putz, Jose Valverde, and Bobby Jenks, mentions Sherman.
Sherman also provides a short list of teams, beyond the Mets, that may need a reliever with closing experience for 2009. The Texas Rangers, seemingly always short on pitching these days, may be a good fit for Kerry Wood; the Detroit Tigers, the St. Louis Cardinals, and most recently the Milwaukee Brewers, faced with the sudden retirement of Salomon Torres, are also in need of 9th inning help.
Sherman suggests Fuentes may be the favorite for the Mets' closing job at this point.
Links for Friday, with an unplanned emphasis on relievers...
- The Tigers and Trevor Hoffman may be a match. Hoffman's agent closed the door on the Padres.
- The Royals brought Mike Arbuckle aboard, formerly of the Phillies.
- The Nationals have interest in re-signing Aaron Boone and Odalis Perez. MLB.com's Bill Ladson gives it a 50-50 chance. The Nats re-signed infielder Pete Orr, who could earn $600K.
- The Brewers picked up Salomon Torres' 2009 option, more of a procedural move than anything.
- The Marlins have an eye on minor league free agent Zach McClellan.
- Ken Davidoff makes contract and destination predictions for top free agents. K-Rod, Juan Cruz, and Russ Springer to the Cardinals for a combined $73MM?
- The Rockies have Joe Beimel and Jeremy Affeldt on the radar, among others.
- The New York Daily News has a cool free agent tracker.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Brewers reliever Salomon Torres has decided to retire to spend more time with his family. He leaves a probable $3.75MM salary on the table.
Torres may not have been the Brewers' choice for next year's closer, but it's still a big loss. Eric Gagne, Guillermo Mota, and Brian Shouse are also free agents, so Doug Melvin has his work cut out for him. Fortunately, the closer market is looking deep right now.
UPDATE, 12-10-07 at 10:08pm: No more Torres drama...he'll join the Brewers for the 2008 season.
UPDATE, 12-8-07 at 12:06pm: Seems this story isn't over. Torres is contemplating retirement, in which case the Brewers would probably lose the two prospects for nothing. Torres will talk it over with his family and take a few days to decide.
FROM 12-7-07 at 2:16pm:
Torres turns 36 in March. He threw a monstrous 280 innings in relief over 2004-2006, so it's no surprise his elbow started barking in 2007. His strikeout rate in '07 was actually a career high, but his groundball rate decreased and he allowed a lot more home runs and hits than usual. Torres makes $3.2MM in '08 and has a $3.75MM club option for '09.
Haudricourt actually wrote the Brewers' top ten prospect list for Baseball America, so believe him when he says Salas and Roberts are good arms.
Will the Pirates keep dealing? It's known that relievers Damaso Marte and John Grabow are on the block.
- Both beat writers are saying not to expect Jason Bay to be traded at the Meetings. It would be a sell-low move with bad PR.
- Both also agree that Matt Morris staying put. Kovacevic spins it as if the Pirates should actually want to keep Morris, while Perrotto's sources suggest the Bucs would have to eat more than 70% of Morris' contract to ditch him.
- Kovacevic also suggests that the Pirates need Jack Wilson, and that's why he won't be going anywhere.
- Relievers Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte, and John Grabow are available and drawing some interest. Marte in particular interests the Yankees.
- Chris Duffy can be had; the Braves and Marlins have previously expressed interest. Maybe they'll renew that with center field vacancies and a new Pirates GM. Duffy will start in Triple A if he's not dealt.
- The Pirates are still talking to Shawn Chacon about returning.
- Perrotto notes that interest in center fielder Nate McLouth is picking up, with the Padres and Marlins interested.
- Xavier Nady won't be non-tendered, contrary to previous reports.
Here are some hot stove links to digest this evening.
- The New York Post's Joel Sherman runs down some third base options for the Yankees. He feels that Scott Rolen, Bill Hall, Freddy Sanchez, and a few others might be reasonable options. Bernie Miklasz says there's no indication any team is truly interested in Rolen, though Randy Youngman suggests the Angels may look at him.
- Youngman also believes the Halos have slight interest in Carlos Silva, if he can be had at less than $10MM annually. Not bloody likely.
- Jon Paul Morosi thinks the Tigers could go after the Pirates' Damaso Marte, Salomon Torres, or even Matt Capps.
- Hat tip to Bucco Blog on the Sherman and Morosi links above. Check out Jake's latest post, where he uncovers some interesting minor league free agents.
- Rob Biertempfel names David Riske, Doug Brocail, Shawn Camp, and Scott Linebrink as some relievers the Pirates might consider. I imagine Riske and Linebrink will be too pricey.
- Troy E. Renck believes the Rockies might inquire about Cliff Lee.
- RotoAuthority assesses the health risks within the Nationals' rotation.
Time for a Pirates roundup. They deserve some love here at MLBTradeRumors.
- Dejan Kovacevic reports that Salomon Torres's grievance against the Pirates may prevent the team from trading him. On the off chance he wins the grievance, he would become a free agent and the acquiring team would be screwed. While that scenario is unlikely, it does look like this thing needs to be resolved before any deal is made. I imagine that if some team wanted him badly all the involved parties could figure something out.
- The Bucs owe Shawn Chacon a phone call on whether they're open to negotiating a contract extension with him. Their lack of action speaks volumes; even Dave Littlefield isn't going to sign Chacon for multiple years at $4MM+ per. Chacon has managed to subdue righties this year and increase his strikeout rate significantly. He's still got lousy control though. He's a trade candidate but shouldn't bring much.
- On the other hand, Damaso Marte is known to be available. He'd be helpful as a lefty-killer. For Marte, Chacon, or Torres, the Pirates want a Major Leaguer of some sort (according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman). Bowman says the Braves would get in on Marte if Littlefield would drop the price.
Pirates' reliever Salomon Torres has backed off his trade request, saying he wants to remain with the team for the rest of his career. The positive feelings may have been sparked by an earlier-than-expected end to his rehab stint. If healthy and reasonably effective Torres could be the Pirates' most popular trading chip despite his newfound desire to stay.
According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Rockies have been interested in Torres for a while. Torres has been worked hard in recent years, but he's signed through '08 at a reasonable rate.