Scott Downs Rumors
On this date in 1998, the Orioles signed Albert Belle to a five-year, $65MM deal. He batted .289/.374/.509 with Baltimore, but didn't play at all after the 2000 season. Here are today's links...
- Stop by at 2pm CDT for this week's chat.
- Oakland’s immediate goal is to sign Lance Berkman, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The A's met with Berkman and Adam Dunn yesterday.
- Rosenthal suggests the A’s likely want to hear back from Scott Boras and Adrian Beltre about the five-year, $64MM offer they reportedly made in November.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan asks Bud Selig to leave the playoffs alone and suggests the commissioner could improve the game by introducing more instant replay and asking major TV networks to show a more diverse selection of teams.
- Jim Edmonds is contemplating playing one more season, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- The Phillies are more likely to pursue free agent left-handers who don't cost a draft pick, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). In other words, they'd rather not give up a pick to sign Scott Downs.
- Speaking of relievers, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explains that the Orioles have interest in any competent veteran reliever and will kick the tires on most.
- The Mets re-signed former big leaguer Mike O'Connor according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (on Twitter). The 30-year-old left-hander last pitched in the majors for the 2008 Nationals, but he appeared in 51 games at Triple-A Buffalo in 2010, posting 8.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 for the top Mets affiliate.
- The Pirates made a competitive offer for Jorge de la Rosa before he agreed to a deal with the Rockies, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter).
- De La Rosa's agents approached the Padres about a potential deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. San Diego couldn't afford the lefty, though they were interested.
23 American League free agents were offered arbitration on November 23rd. Four of those - Joaquin Benoit, John Buck, Victor Martinez, and Javier Vazquez - already have new contract agreements. Current free agent Kevin Gregg has chosen to decline. The remaining 18 AL free agents offered arbitration will have their decisions noted here and in our tracker.
- Cliff Lee (A) declined the Rangers' offer, as expected.
- Miguel Olivo will decline the Blue Jays' offer, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jason Frasor (A) will accept the team's offer, according to Mike Wilner of the FAN 590. Scott Downs (A) will decline the Blue Jays' offer, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier that Jason Frasor would either sign a multiyear deal or accept arb (Twitter link).
- Adrian Beltre will decline arbitration from the Red Sox, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Felipe Lopez (B) will also decline an offer of arbitration, reports WEEI's Rob Bradford.
- Carl Pavano (A) has officially turned down arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter). Orlando Hudson (B) will decline the Twins' offer of arbitration, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweets of "strong indications" Jesse Crain (B) will also decline.
- A source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that Paul Konerko (A) will decline arbitration (Twitter link). J.J. Putz (B) declined arbitration from the White Sox, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin (on Twitter).
- Chad Qualls (B) and Carl Crawford (A) have declined arbitration, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter). Grant Balfour (A) turned down arbitration, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). As anticipated, Randy Choate (B) declined the Rays' offer, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. ESPN's Buster Olney predicted the decision earlier today. Rafael Soriano (A) will decline the Rays' arbitration offer, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Brad Hawpe (B) will decline the Rays' offer as well, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.
- Frank Francisco (A) will accept the Rangers' offer, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says the organization can afford to be more patient than last offseason, since his team's needs are less pressing than they were a year ago. Here's the latest on the Blue Jays, from MLB.com beat reporter Gregor Chisholm:
- Anthopoulos doesn’t know whether Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg and Miguel Olivo will accept arbitration, but he hopes to have the players back in Toronto for the 2011 season. Asked to predict the players’ decisions, Anthopoulos guessed they will decline the team’s offers.
- The club thought Adam Lind played respectably good defense at first base, but has yet to determine the 27-year-old’s position for 2011.
- The Blue Jays are open to acquiring a player with “baggage” under the right circumstances. "It depends, how significant is it? Would it affect other players?” Anthopoulos asked. “If it's the right player, and the right fit, the right talent, at the right price, then you have to be open to it."
- That's good news for fans hoping to see Manny Ramirez in Toronto. ESPN.com's Buster Olney can't envision any team guaranteeing Ramirez $5MM and expects the slugger to sign an incentive-laden deal.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Scott Downs (A) Jason Frasor (A) Kevin Gregg (B) Miguel Olivo (B), according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisolm (on Twitter).
- The Twins offered arbitration to Carl Pavano (A), Jesse Crain (B) and Orlando Hudson (B) and declined to offer arbitration to Matt Guerrier (A), Brian Fuentes (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Rays offered arbitration to Grant Balfour (A), Carl Crawford (A), Rafael Soriano (A), Randy Choate (B), Brad Hawpe (B) and Chad Qualls (B), according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. They did not offer Dan Wheeler (A) or Carlos Pena (B) arbitration. It seems possible that Hawpe has agreed in advance to turn down arbitration.
- The Orioles won't offer arbitration to Koji Uehara (B) or Kevin Millwood (B), according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).
- The Angels declined to offer Hideki Matsui (B) arbitration, the team announced.
- The Rangers offered arbitration to Cliff Lee (A) and Frank Francisco (A), but not to Vladimir Guerrero (A) and Bengie Molina (A), according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The Yankees will offer arbitration to Javier Vazquez (B), but not to any of their other free agents, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday on Twitter. Andy Pettitte (A), Derek Jeter (A), Mariano Rivera (A), Lance Berkman (B) and Kerry Wood (B) were the team's other ranked free agents. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Yankees would offer Vazquez arbitration and noted that the right-hander has agreed to reject the offer, a common gentleman's agreement that can take place with Type B free agents. Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger first reported on Twitter that the Yankees would not offer Jeter arbitration.
- The Red Sox offered arbitration to Adrian Beltre (A), Victor Martinez (A) and Felipe Lopez (B), but not to Mike Lowell (B) or Jason Varitek (B), according to the team.
- The White Sox offered arbitration to Paul Konerko (A) and J.J. Putz (B), but not to A.J. Pierzynski (A) or Manny Ramirez (A) according to the team (on Twitter).
- As expected, the Tigers announced that they will not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, including Scott Boras clients Magglio Ordonez (A), Johnny Damon (B), and Gerald Laird (B).
Earlier this evening I took a look at the free agent stock of reliever Scott Downs, arguably the best non-closer still available on the open market. Joaquin Benoit broke the ice this past week when he accepted the Tigers' contract offer of three years and $16.5MM, presumably giving Downs and his camp a comparable they can use as a basis for their demands.
There are obvious differences between the two relievers, of course. Downs is just about a year older than Benoit but his health history is considerably better. He also has a much longer track record when it comes to being a top shelf reliever, and being left-handed certainly doesn't hurt. It's reasonable to think that Downs could command a larger contract than Benoit, but it's been quite some time since a reliever landed a deal that big. Time for the poll...
Will Downs land a contract larger than Benoit's?
Left-handed relievers are always in high demand regardless of the time of year, and this offseason Scott Downs is the best the free agent market has to offer. Let's examine the former Blue Jay's stock...
- Downs isn't just a lefty specialist, he's perfectly capable of facing right-handed batters as well. Over the last three seasons, he's held righties to a .238/.325/.329 batting line (removing intentional walks) compared to .198/.264/.316 vs. LHB.
- He's already proven to be more than capable against the tough lineups that inhabit the AL East.
- Downs has experience in a variety of roles, so he's an option to both close or set-up.
- Downs will turn 35 in Spring Training, so a three-year deal will carry him through age 37.
- He's been on the disabled list three times since 2008 with foot and ankle issues, and he also missed the last two-plus weeks of the 2009 season with a hamstring issue.
- Downs is a Type-A free agent that will certainly be offered arbitration, so it'll cost a high draft pick to sign him.
Joaquin Benoit's three-year, $16.5MM deal might have set the market for Downs, who's the best non-Rafael Soriano reliever on the market. The Red Sox are expected to show interest though the Yankees are reportedly not willing to surrender the draft pick. A reliever of Downs' quality fits with all 30 clubs, but only a few may be willing to offer multiple years at potentially closer money to sign him. Tim projected him to sign with Boston, and the smart money is on Downs joining a contender's bullpen.
Links for Sunday....
- Dan Hayes of The North County Times says that Chase Headley's impending raise as a Super Two player is giving the Padres some payroll-related headaches. He adds that GM Jed Hoyer mentioned that this offseason will be similar to last, in that most of the team's signings will occur in January and February.
- MLB.com's John Schlegel looks ahead to some of the big trades we might see this winter.
- Yahoo's Tim Brown tweets that the Diamondbacks are expected to hire Billy Ryan from the commissioner's office to be Kevin Towers' second in command.
- The Angels' catching depth will likely be a hot topic at the upcoming GM meetings, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- While the Cardinals have a few positions that could be addressed, John Mozeliak will likely prioritize a shortstop upgrade this winter, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- In his latest ESPN.com blog entry (Insider required), Buster Olney explains why Scott Downs' Type A status shouldn't limit his opportunities.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe provides an extensive list of possible trade candidates in his preview of the offseason market.
- There are a few red flags to consider when weighing the Mets' managerial candidates, says Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.
- DEA agents intercepted a package containing "nearly 50" pre-loaded syringes of HGH that was sent to Jose Guillen's San Francisco address in September, according to a New York Daily News report. The writers' sources say that MLB is "actively pursuing information about the shipment," since a violation of the league's drug policy could result in discipline for Guillen.
One talent evaluator told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Aubrey Huff posted impressive numbers in 2010 because he “got better as a player." Huff has set himself up for a nice payday and he isn’t the only Giants free agent who stands to cash in this offseason, as Olney explains:
- One GM says players like Juan Uribe, who can hit 20 homers and play in the middle infield, are becoming harder to find. “Five years ago, you could find a lot of guys who could do what he does,” the GM said. “But not now.”
- Olney surveyed scouts and executives about the A’s-Royals trade and everyone said it was a good deal for both clubs.
- Rival teams believe the Rays are willing to trade B.J. Upton. What’s more, Tampa Bay wouldn’t have to be overwhelmed to agree to a deal.
- The Yankees are interested in John Buck, but the catcher could likely command a two-year deal (possibly from the Red Sox) and it seems unlikely that the Yankees would offer more than a one-year contract.
- In a series of tweets, Olney explains that the Blue Jays may only obtain a second or third round pick for losing Type A free agent Scott Downs (they will also get a compensation pick if they offer arbitration). There's a chance that Downs' new team will sign another free agent with a higher ranking, which would prevent Toronto from getting a first rounder.
Rangers officials have told friends that they expect the Yankees to offer Cliff Lee so many years that other teams will have to back off, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But team president Nolan Ryan is expected to push aggressively for Lee's return, so it's far too early to rule Texas out. Here's the latest on the Yankees and the Mets:
- Carlos Beltran says he'd prefer to play center field, but is open to playing right, according to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo (on Twitter). Beltran also told reporters he would consider waiving his no-trade clause.
- Sherman predicts the Yankees will sign Lee to a five-year $125MM deal. The imagined contract would pay Lee $23MM for five seasons with a sixth year option for $25MM ($10MM buyout).
- The Yankees say they're extremely unlikely to pursue a free agent catcher, since they want to give their young catching a real chance to emerge in 2011 as Jorge Posada transitions to DH.
- Mark Simon of ESPNNewYork.com looks back at some recent contracts to prove that locking up pitchers to long-term deals is risky.
- The Yankees don't want to surrender a draft pick to sign a Type A free agent like Scott Downs, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- It's unlikely that the Yankees will agree to a deal with Derek Jeter next week, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com.
- There's been a lot of Moneyball talk about the Mets front office, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta are not about ideology. "This is about picking the right players and all of the different ways it can be done."
- Alderson interviewed Clint Hurdle and Don Wakamatsu at Citi Field yesterday, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Next up, the GM will interview Mets Triple-A manager Ken Oberkfell in the Dominican Republic.
- Omir Santos and Mike Hessman are free agents after refusing minor league assignments, according to Rubin (on Twitter).
Let's round up the highlights from Nick Cafardo's Sunday column for the Boston Globe....
- One AL executive tells Cafardo that he's never seen so many candidates interviewed for managerial openings: "It’s amazing to me that you wouldn’t know within, say, two or three candidates who you want. But I guess in some cases the GM’s job is also on the line if he picks the wrong guy."
- Matt Stairs would like to play for at least one more season. While he says he'd like to return to Boston, he concedes that he'd probably play "anywhere."
- An NL scout was positive about A.J. Pierzynski, suggesting that he'll be one of the most attractive catching options on the free agent market, behind Victor Martinez and John Buck. "With A.J., you know he’s not going to throw people out," said the scout. "But there’s nothing wrong with his receiving and he can still hit. I know the fire he has can rub people the wrong way, but I think that’s great for a team."
- Brandon Inge has a good chance of landing a starting role this winter, given the lack of free agent third base options after Adrian Beltre. However, Cafardo wonders if Inge could eventually become a Bill Hall-esque utility player, given his ability to play a few different positions.
- Possible bullpen targets for the Red Sox include Joaquin Benoit, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, and Brian Fuentes.
- A market appears to be developing for Lance Berkman. Teams like the Rockies, Orioles, Mets, Blue Jays, and Diamondbacks could have interest.
- Carlos Delgado underwent another hip procedure two and a half weeks ago, but is rehabbing the hip and feels like he'll be able to play in 2011.