Scott Schoeneweis Rumors
The Mets' primary focus this winter is to completely revamp their bullpen. Ken Davidoff and Joel Sherman outline Plan A: free agents. Names in the mix: Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, Joe Beimel, Juan Cruz, and Chad Cordero. Sherman figures the Mets are in a good position because most of the other big-market teams aren't looking for a closer.
Plan B: trades. The Mets have already discussed Bobby Jenks with the White Sox. J.J. Putz, Huston Street, and Kevin Gregg are the other names. It all depends on how much young talent Omar Minaya wants to sacrifice.
As a corollary to Plan B, the Mets want to ship out Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, and Scott Schoeneweis. They hope to clear payroll and/or bring in other relievers in these trades. Davidoff says Heilman has plenty of admirers.
Another note from Sherman - the Mets "could be interested" in Jason Varitek if the price comes down but Varitek doesn't re-sign with Boston. In another article, Davidoff lays out Plans A, B, and C for both the Mets and Yankees.
5:18pm: More on the Mets: Ken Davidoff says they're shopping Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, and Pedro Feliciano. The A's, Rays, and Rangers are fans of Heilman. The Rockies, Cardinals, Cubs, and D'Backs were also tossed into the mix by Adam Rubin, though the D'Backs haven't had recent talks. The Mets would be willing to pick up some of the $3.6MM owed to Schoeneweis next year.
4:58pm: Brian Fuentes' agent Rick Thurman calls the below rumor of an offer to the Mets a "total fabrication."
10:56am: Checking in on the Mets...
- Tracy Ringolsby says Brian Fuentes' agents proposed a four-year, $44MM deal to the Mets. Ringolsby heard the Indians and Cardinals don't want to go beyond two years. The Mets also met with Francisco Rodriguez's agent.
- The Mets are considering free agent Chad Cordero, who is coming off July shoulder surgery.
- GM Omar Minaya seems willing to spend big money on a closer and one starter, and then fill the other starting spot cheaply. The Mets could, say, sign Derek Lowe and trade for the affordable Edwin Jackson. The Mets haven't exchanged names yet for Jackson.
- Ryan Dempster and Jon Garland may be on the radar, as Minaya met with their agent yesterday. Dempster's agent said he can handle New York.
- Carlos Delgado approached the Mets late in the season about an extension for 2010, but they decided to pass. Delgado wasn't bothered by this.
- Ken Davidoff adds that the Mets have let scout/former Bulls GM Jerry Krause go.
I will offer my own opinions on how to improve the Mets in the Offseason Outlook, due within a few weeks. Many journalists have already weighed in - let's take a look.
- Newly added bullet: John Harper of the New York Daily News. He advises the Mets to decline Delgado's option while signing Orlando Hudson, Raul Ibanez, and Derek Lowe and trading for J.J. Putz. Say goodbye to Castillo, Perez, and Martinez in this plan.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday: Sign free agents Francisco Rodriguez, Darren Oliver, Juan Rivera, Fernando Tatis, and Wes Helms. Also sign one of Jon Garland, Derek Lowe, or Oliver Perez. Exercise Carlos Delgado's $12MM option. Trade/release Aaron Heilman, Duaner Sanchez, Scott Schoeneweis, and Luis Castillo.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post: Sign C.C. Sabathia, even if it takes $150MM over six years. Sherman notes this would lessen the load on the bullpen (Sabathia averaged 7.23 innings per start in '08). I prefer this plan to spending $100MM on K-Rod and a mid-tier starter.
- Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog: Buy Delgado out for $4MM rather than exercise his $12MM option. Interesting, unconventional thought by Cerrone. Cerrone, like Davidoff, finds the idea of trading David Wright or Jose Reyes to be misguided.
Let's collect some a few postmortem Mets articles floating around this morning.
- Ken Davidoff suggests the Mets patch up their bullpen with Francisco Rodriguez. It'd be an obvious overreaction, and would ignore past history of big money tossed at relievers. The Mets had a firsthand look with their own Billy Wagner signing. $43MM for 193.3 innings - was it worth it?
- David Lennon believes Luis Castillo is as good as gone, though I'd be surprised if eating half of his contract is enough. Would Castillo get a three-year, $9MM deal on the open market right now given numerous palatable one-year options? Adam Rubin sees the Mets trading Castillo, Aaron Heilman, and Scott Schoeneweis (he suggests eating 90% of Castillo's contract).
- As for the rotation, Lennon doesn't see the Mets involved on C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets, A.J. Burnett, Oliver Perez, or Pedro Martinez. I imagine the Mets will add one starter to follow Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and John Maine though. Freddy Garcia could make sense. Rubin says Derek Lowe and Brian Moehler are rumored possibilities, though Moehler already re-signed with Houston for '09.
- Bob Klapisch wonders if the Mets should consider trading Jose Reyes, David Wright, or Carlos Beltran to shake up the team.
5:38pm: Mets reliever Scott Schoeneweis recently visited Wagner. Schoeneweis says Wagner has already been told by the Mets that his 2010 option will not be exercised. Seems an odd thing for the Mets to do at this point.
12:39pm: Mike Puma of the New York Post talked to closer Billy Wagner, who figures he's played his last game as a Met. The Mets will pay Wagner $10.5MM next year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. There's a small chance he could make it back in September '09.
Wagner doesn't see his $8MM option being exercised for 2010. The Mets should give it some thought, though. With a $1MM buyout, they'd be looking at essentially a one-year, $7MM deal for Wagner. Even with the risk involved, that could compare favorably to other free agent relievers. Some team would've paid that for B.J. Ryan last winter.
I will make this post a permanent sidebar link. This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause).
Updated 8-25-08 at 9:00am. Latest to clear in red.
- Paul Byrd - Byrd cleared waivers, but then was traded to the Red Sox. They were the only team willing to pay his remaining $2MM.
- Frank Catalanotto - Catalanotto, 34, is hitting .272/.337/.389 in 267 plate appearances. He's played first base and left field this year. He's not helpful against lefthanded pitching. His contract is a problem - $765K this year, $4MM in '09, and a $2MM buyout in '10.
- Eric Gagne - Gagne has been awful this year, as his walks and home runs skyrocketed and he dealt with rotator cuff tendinitis. Understandably, no one wanted to pay the $2.15MM remaining on his contract.
- Aubrey Huff - Huff's .909 OPS ranks 10th in the league, but surprisingly no team wanted to take on his $10.1MM commitment through '09.
- Mark Kotsay - Ken Rosenthal says he cleared and a number of teams are interested. Kotsay clearing is a bit of a surprise since the A's are paying most of his salary. Kotsay can block trades to eight teams. The center fielder is having a nice comeback season with a .782 OPS in 324 plate appearances.
- Greg Maddux - Maddux is earning $10MM this year and will only accept a trade to a West Coast team. The Dodgers wanted him but asked the Padres to pay more than 80% of his remaining salary according to Peter Gammons.
- Kevin Millar - Millar has been OK this year; he may reach 20 home runs. He is owed about $710K from here on out.
- Kevin Millwood - Millwood, 33, has a 5.24 ERA in 122 innings this year. He's dealt with a groin injury for much of the season, as well as a hamstring issue in spring. Millwood will earn another $1.6MM this year and $11MM in '09. His 2010 salary of $12MM becomes a club option unless he pitches 180 innings in '09.
- Melvin Mora - Mora has raised his numbers and stock significantly by hitting .378/.421/.652 since the beginning of July. He has a full no-trade clause and is owed $9MM next year and $1.79MM more this year.
- Vicente Padilla - Padilla, 31 in September, has a 4.98 ERA in 148.1 innings. Home runs have been his main problem. He spent time on the DL with a strained neck. He'll earn another $2.1MM this year and $12MM in '09. He has a $12MM club option for '10 with a $1.75MM buyout.
- Jay Payton - Payton is the O's regular center fielder with Adam Jones out for the season. He is owed $1.3MM for the rest of the season. He's been lousy offensively, though he can hit lefties and play all three outfield positions.
- David Riske - Riske is owed $860K more this year, $4.25MM in '09, and $4.5MM in '10 plus a $250K buyout for a total of almost $10MM. Walks have been a problem this year, as well as elbow pain.
- Dave Ross - Ross had cleared waivers prior to being designated for assignment. He is earning $2.525MM this year.
- Duaner Sanchez - His velocity is down 3.6 mph from '06. Sanchez is under team control through '09.
- Scott Schoeneweis - His strikeout rate is down, but so is his ERA. Apparently no team wanted to risk taking on his contract - $910K more this year, $3.6MM in '09.
- Gary Sheffield - No surprise here. Sheff is owed around $17.5 million between this year and next.
- Jamie Walker - The 37 year-old southpaw has a 5.00 ERA in 27 innings this year. As usual, home runs have been a problem. He spent time on the DL with elbow inflammation and is set to earn $4.5MM next year.
- David Weathers - Weathers is owed only $610K on the season, and he has a 2.52 ERA and 2.78 K/BB since the beginning of June. I am quite surprised he cleared waivers.
8:39am: SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Mets have "kicked around" the idea of acquiring Ian Snell from the Pirates and using him in relief for the rest of the year. Snell is signed through 2010 with club options for '11 and '12. It's tough to see the Bucs moving him, even in an off year.
8:13am: According to David Lennon of Newsday, the Mets are not finding a deal to their liking for a reliever or outfielder. They've put pretty much all of their good prospects off-limits - Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz or Bobby Parnell.
Players such as Raul Ibanez, Brian Fuentes, George Sherrill, and J.J. Putz have all been on the radar. But the Mets just don't like the prices. Lennon says they still might move Scott Schoeneweis though.
Here's a look at the fresh rumors from Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger.
- The Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, and Rays have talked to the Mets about Scott Schoeneweis. The Mets might prefer to acquire a replacement if they move Schoeneweis. Arthur Rhodes is one possibility if he doesn't end up in Florida. Geoff Baker believes it's down to the Marlins and Brewers for Rhodes, with the other getting Eddie Guardado.
- The Yanks might have to acquire a reliever now that they've dealt Kyle Farnsworth. Rhodes isn't on their radar though.
- The Ivan Rodriguez trade could kick off other trades for catchers.
- The Yankees have been getting calls on Carl Pavano. One unconfirmed rumor has the Mets interested.
Time to check in with Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger.
- Graziano calls Adam Dunn "the man without a rumor." Even with his flaws this one is hard to figure out. [UPDATE: SI.com's Jon Heyman is finally hearing a couple of teams are in on Dunn.]
- John Maine's rotator cuff strain has the Mets looking at pitching. Graziano suggests names like Livan Hernandez, Paul Byrd, and Jarrod Washburn.
- The Mets have talked to the Tigers about Scott Schoeneweis. They'd have to replace him, maybe with Arthur Rhodes or Eddie Guardado.
- The Mariners will listen on J.J. Putz, but he won't come cheap. The Cardinals and Red Sox have interest. Putz is signed through '09 with an option for '10.
- The Yankees and Marlins have asked about catcher Gerald Laird, while many teams like Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
- The Braves are willing to trade Will Ohman and Mark Kotsay.
12:06pm: ESPN's Buster Olney ranks the Mets' priorities as reliever, corner outfielder, and starter, in that order. They're currently discussing Ibanez with the Mariners, but not much has come of it yet.
10:17am: Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger doesn't buy the denials - he says Mets GM Omar Minaya remains interested in Manny Ramirez. The Mets rank Ramirez above alternatives like Raul Ibanez, Adam Dunn, and Randy Winn, and might make certain prospects available just for Manny. Is Jon Niese among them? Niese is thought to be untouchable, and was promoted to Triple A today.
Meanwhile Mets manager Jerry Manuel endorsed Fernando Tatis at the everyday left fielder. David Lennon doesn't expect a trade unless the price comes down on Ibanez. Can Tatis continue to channel his glory days, when he posted a .957 OPS with 34 home runs for the '99 Cardinals?
Graziano also talked to an NL official familiar with the Mets' plans. That person said the Mets are considering a bullpen overhaul where they would ship out Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis and bring in different relievers.