Sean Burnett Rumors
Here are the latest news and notes from the NL and AL Central divisions:
- Sources tell FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal the Reds like Dexter Fowler and the Rockies like Homer Bailey. Now the question is whether their mutual interest crystallizes into trade discussions during the Winter Meetings.
- The Brewers are prioritizing a left-handed reliever with the available free agent possibilities including Sean Burnett, Randy Choate, Mike Gonzalez, J.P. Howell, and Tom Gorzelanny, tweets Morosi.
- Cubs officials have yet to confirm or comment on reports of their signing of Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. The Cubs, however, are willing to talk about their need for a third baseman, an outfielder, and pitching depth. Muskat adds the Cubs could re-sign third baseman Ian Stewart after non-tendering him on Friday.
- The White Sox and Phillies are the two most aggressive teams in pursuit of a third baseman, a source tells Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Kevin Youkilis is the object of both team's pursuit. Hayes writes the Sox may have to move another high salary in order to afford Youkilis and floats the names of Jeff Keppinger, Mark Reynolds, and Eric Chavez as alternatives.
- The Pirates feel they are better equipped to restock their bullpen, despite the free agency of Jason Grilli and the recent trade of Chris Resop, and may be interested in turning closer Joel Hanrahan into a much needed starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's Tom Singer.
- The Twins plan to focus more on free agents than trades during the Winter Meetings, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. The Twins have already dealt their best trade chip in Denard Span and plan on keeping Josh Willingham, writes Mackey in a separate piece.
In response to a rumor regarding free agent lefty reliever Sean Burnett seeking a four-year deal, agent Jim Munsey told MLBTR tonight, "Those words have never come out of my mouth nor Sean's. We are not seeking a four-year deal and it's crazy to hear such rumors out there. Complete fabrication by someone."
Munsey told MLBTR he's pleased with the amount of interest in his client, and looks forward to the free agent process playing out. Burnett, 30, is the top free agent lefty reliever on the market. I would expect Jeremy Affeldt's three-year, $18MM contract to be a point of reference in negotiations.
The latest on the Cardinals..
- The Cardinals aren't interested in giving Sean Burnett a four-year deal, according to Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch (via Twitter).
- The Cardinals have interest in left-hander Sean Burnett, a source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com (via Twitter). Burnett is looking to get a four-year deal but Ladson (Twitter link) doesn't see the Nationals going beyond two. The reliever posted a 2.38 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 through 56.2 innings of work last season.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter) expects General Manager John Mozeliak to swing a trade at the Winter Meetings.
- Strauss adds also believes that the Cardinals will have interest in one of the recently non-tendered players (Twitter link). You can peruse the full list using MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker and look at the notable non-tendered players here.
On this date four years ago the Rockies officially sent Matt Holliday to the Athletics for a package of players including Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street. The A's didn't get what they were hoping for in the deal, but Gonzalez has since become a cornerstone player for the Rockies. Here are today's links...
- The Orioles are indeed interested in Gomes, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- Before acquiring Chris Young from Arizona, the Athletics had extensive talks with free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes about a possible two-year deal, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Olney suggests the Orioles could be a fit for Gomes now.
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post explains that Jeremy Affeldt could help set the market for Sean Burnett by agreeing to terms with the Giants. Both free agent left-handers have positioned themselves for multiyear deals.
- Free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton seems pretty risky to one NL executive who spoke with ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark (Twitter link). "He's going to break somebody's bank -- and probably break somebody's heart," the person said.
Here's the latest from around the NL East...
- The Marlins are less likely to deal Josh Johnson this offseason than they are to deal him in the weeks leading up to the July trade deadline, a source tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
- Also on Johnson, there is "not much traction" between the Marlins and Red Sox about a possible trade for the Miami ace, tweets WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Marlins have hired Tino Martinez as their hitting coach, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York (via Twitter). The Red Sox were reportedly also considering Martinez as a candidate to become their new hitting coach.
- Martinez will be the Marlins' only hitting coach, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Beach Sun-Sentinel reports, though some other teams carry two hitting coaches on staff.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro tells Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he'd "rather pay for the player than trade for the player" in order to hold onto the Phils' minor leaguers. "I'd rather spend money but it's not an unlimited pool to work with," Amaro said. "We have some flexibility. I guess I would anticipate our payroll being similar to last year."
- The Phillies aren't planning to trade high-priced talent like Cliff Lee in an attempt to save payroll dollars, Amaro tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. "There's a reason why they're high-priced -- it's because they're good. I feel like we have a much better chance of winning with them than without them," Amaro said.
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wonders if the Nationals and Zack Greinke could be a match this winter, given that the Nats almost acquired Greinke from the Royals two years ago.
- "What's not to like?" Nats GM Mike Rizzo rhetorically asked about Greinke today, tweets Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Rizzo also said there are "five or six really intriguing starters" on the free agent market, tying into Comak's report from earlier today about the Nationals' "open-minded" search for pitching.
- Also from Comak (Twitter link), Rizzo said the Nationals want to add at least one left-handed reliever. The team has talked to both Sean Burnett and Mike Gonzalez and they'd like to bring both southpaws back in 2013. Burnett declined his mutual option last week but said he's like to stay in Washington, while Gonzalez is also open to returning, though up to 10 teams are reportedly interested in him.
Adam LaRoche and Sean Burnett declined their mutual options and are now free agents, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. The Nationals exercised their side of the $10MM mutual option on LaRoche's contract and the $3.5MM mutual option on Burnett's contract.
Both LaRoche and Burnett have said they'd like to stay in Washington. The Nationals retain exclusive negotiating rights for all of their free agents, including LaRoche and Burnett, until Saturday morning. Neither player gets a contract buyout in this case (it would have been $1MM for LaRoche and $250K for Burnett if the Nationals had declined).
LaRoche and the Nationals established some parameters for an extension last week, but haven't been in recent contact about a potential deal. Burnett hits the market as a candidate for a multiyear deal at a time that teams such as the Dodgers and Cardinals figure to seek left-handed relief.
Sean Burnett's contract with the Nationals contains a $3.5MM mutual option for the 2013 season, but the left-hander is expected to decline his portion in hopes of securing a multi-year deal, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Burnett's decision doesn't necessarily spell the end of his time with the Nats. His "first priority," writes Ladson, is to return to the Nationals on a new contract.
Burnett signed a two-year, $3.95MM extension with Washington in December of 2010. He rewarded general manager Mike Rizzo with 113 1/3 innings of 3.10 ERA ball to go along with a 7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and also picked up six saves. He was particularly effective this past season, tallying a 2.38 ERA with career-best marks of 9.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 57.4 percent ground-ball rate. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, only eight left-handers have topped Burnett's 139 relief appearances.
Burnett could look to multi-year deals given out to left-handed relievers over the past several years, perhaps targeting something in the two-year, $8-9MM range. Fellow southpaws Javier Lopez ($8.5MM), Pedro Feliciano ($8MM) and Hisanori Takahashi ($8MM) all signed for similar totals. Burnett could also look to recent extensions for Sean Marshall (three years, $16.5MM) and Glen Perkins (three years, $10.3MM), though Burnett hasn't been as dominant as either of that pair.
Burnett was originally acquired from the Pirates along with Nyjer Morgan in a trade that sent Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge to the Buccos. If and when Burnett declines his option, the Nationals will not have to pay him the $250K buyout they hold over their own half of the option.
Should he decides to entertain offers from other teams, the 30-year-old Burnett's combination of youth, effectiveness and durability will make him one of the top southpaw relievers on the free agent market.
Congratulations to Buster Posey and Fernando Rodney, who were named MLB.com’s comeback players of the year for their respective leagues. Rodney had a historic season, posting a 0.60 ERA and striking out more than a batter per inning in Tampa Bay. Posey had an MVP-caliber year after missing most of the 2011 season with a broken leg and damaged ankle ligaments. Here are today’s links...
- The Cardinals, now just one win away from another World Series appearance, are doing just fine without Albert Pujols, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes. St. Louis’ roster looks just as scary as it did a year ago thanks to an abundance of homegrown contributors.
- The Cardinals are believed to have offered Pujols a seven-year deal with three player options last offseason, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports. St. Louis GM John Mozeliak said Pujols was a "special part" of the organization. "In a normal — or in a more sterile — environment, we wouldn't pursue those types of things," the GM told Shaikin.
- The Nationals' bullpen might be overhauled this offseason, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes. Sean Burnett will likely hit free agency and Tyler Clippard could be traded. The Nationals figure to tender Tom Gorzelanny a contract and should have interest in re-signing Mike Gonzalez. Kilgore wonders if Ryan Madson could be a free agent target for Washington.
- An American League scout suggested to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that no teams would be interested in Alex Rodriguez, who’s owed $114MM plus bonuses over the course of the next five years (Twitter link). For more on the Yankees’ offseason plans check out this collection of links.
The Nationals finished the regular season at the top of the heap, but last night their impressive season ended at the hands of the Cardinals. There's always next year for the Nats, though one veteran says that he may decide to call it a career. Here's the latest out of Washington..
- Mark DeRosa was left pondering his future after last night's game, writes Amanda Comak of The Washington Times. The 37-year-old believes that he has been hampered by injury in recent years and is capable of doing more, but isn't sure if another opportunity will come along this winter. Then again, the veteran noted that he wasn't expecting a phone call last year either before the Nats signed him to a one-year deal in December.
- Reliever Sean Burnett seems likely to turn down his end of the $3.5MM mutual option he has for the 2013 season, but he would ultimately like to return to the Nats, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Burnett will undergo surgery next week to take care of a bone spur issue, according to a person familiar with his injury.
- Earlier today, we learned that Edwin Jackson would like to stay with Washington as he gets ready to hit the open market. Adam LaRoche also reiterated his desire to stay put but disclosed that contract talks have yet to really advance.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney notes that while the market for right-handed relief pitching is bountiful, the market for lefties is pretty thin. The Nationals will talk about Sean Burnett but the Cubs will not discuss Sean Marshall, though one southpaw to keep an eye on is Randy Choate. Olney says the Yankees have already asked the Marlins about his availability.
Here are the rest of Buster's rumors...
- The Padres are unlikely to trade Heath Bell to the Diamondbacks even though the latter would love to have him. Padres owner Jeff Moorad used to run the D'Backs.
- "The key guys this time of year really aren't the general managers," said one GM. "The owners are the key guys. Because they'll decide whether to add payroll, and when to raise the white flag on the season."
- Jason Isringhausen of the Mets is "destined to draw a whole lot interest" because he's cheap and experienced. A handful of GMs feel that a Francisco Rodriguez trade is "all but impossible" because of his vesting option.
- Teams have received their preliminary 2012 schedule, and the chances of realignment dwindle with each passing day.
- Labor negotiations are progressing as scheduled, though recent buzz that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement could be announced at the All-Star Game has been dismissed.