Sergio Mitre Rumors
While there is no shortage of talk about the Yankees re-signing their own free agents or making a splash for the likes of John Lackey, the World Series champions also have some decisions to make about the back-end of their rotation. Joel Sherman of the New York Post took a look at what the Yankees might do with some of the extra pitchers on the staff...
- New York would like to bring back Sergio Mitre even if they don't pick up his $1.25MM option. Sherman reports that the team likes Mitre's versatility as either a starter or reliever, and the Yankees feel he will improve on his poor 2009 numbers when he is another season removed from Tommy John surgery.
- The Yankees also "intend" to re-sign Chad Gaudin, who shared the fifth spot in the New York rotation with Mitre last season.
- In addition to Mitre, Gaudin and a healthy Ian Kennedy, the Yankees haven't given up on any of the young starters they moved to the bullpen last year. Sherman says the Yankees will ask Alfredo Aceves, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes "to come to spring ready to be starters."
- Sherman doesn't expect the Yankees to tender a contract to Chien-Ming Wang, but noted that New York might be able to re-sign him to a cheaper, incentive-laden contract since Wang's marketing deals in Taiwan may suffer if he pitches for anyone besides the high-profile Yankees.
- Sherman (via Twitter) reported that Alan Nero, Wang's agent, said that Wang was given the green light by Dr. James Andrews to start throwing by December 15 and that Wang may be able to pitch again by as early as the middle of April. In a follow-up tweet, Sherman noted that Yankee doctors have yet to examine Wang themselves.
So let's say you're the New York Yankees. You've got to be feeling pretty good right now. The Yankees have the best record in baseball, a 6.5 game lead over the Boston Red Sox, and all but have a ticket punched to the postseason.
But what to make of the 2010 outlook in the starting rotation? There's a lot of uncertainty there.
The top is set in stone, of course, with C.C. Sabathia signed for another six years of his seven-year, $161MM deal. And, like it or not, the mercurial A.J. Burnett has another four seasons left on his five-year, $82MM deal.
Who's next? Well, assuming he returns to longer outings without any problem, Joba Chamberlain should be good to pitch a full season, finally, in 2010. No Joba rules, no pitch counts, just full-out Joba.
That's only three of five pitchers, however.
So what's to be done for slots four and five? Andy Pettitte has been solid this season, with a typical Pettitte season, 178 1/3 innings of a 4.14 ERA. He'll be a free agent in a winter with very little frontline starting pitching. Will the Yankees want to give Pettitte a multi-year deal if necessary? He'll be 38 next June.
For the fifth spot, Sergio Mitre is the answer, but only if the question is, "How do we improve the American League batting average next season?"
Phil Hughes is the most talented option, but he's thrown only 79 1/3 innings this season (98 2/3 including the minor leagues), and no more than 146 in a season (and that was in 2006).
So how should they fill out the rotation in The Bronx?
Here's some links to hold you over while waiting for the sky to start lighting up...
- Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald says the Marlins have some important decisions to make in the coming weeks, whether they plan to make a trade before the deadline or not.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy mentions that the Brewers have some questions of their own to answer, including what to do with the starting rotation and how to handle Mat Gamel, who hasn't played much of late.
- Chien-Ming Wang is headed for the DL after leaving today's game with a shoulder strain and bursitis, and Peter Abraham of The Journal News mentions that Sergio Mitre could be an option to replace him in the rotation. After rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and serving a 50-game suspension, Mitre has a 3.26 ERA and a 2.71 GB/FB ratio in 30.1 Triple-A innings this year.
- Wang's injury basically eliminates any chance he'll be traded by the 31st as well.
- Rockies' top pick Tyler Matzek is the first rounder most likely not to sign according to Jim Callis of Baseball America.
- Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post tweets that reliever Connor Robertson has been demoted all the way to High-A ball. Ouch. Robertson had been designated for assignment about two weeks ago.
A second pitcher will receive a 50 game PED suspension, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. New Yankee signing Sergio Mitre had a trace amount of andro in his system. It was another "thought to be legal" supplement purchased at GNC. Mitre will serve the suspension while rehabbing from elbow surgery in the first few months of the season.
A question for the readers. In the past, MLBTR has mostly been a PED-free zone. However, with all the emails pouring in, it's often harder to ignore a story than it is to post a few lines about it. Plus, I know suspensions sometimes have roster-building implications. Should we do brief posts on breaking steroid news, or try to continue to ignore the stories?
Here's a look at the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- If they are to sign Mark Teixeira, the Angels would like to do it quickly. However, it's Scott Boras' custom to let the market develop until late December or so. It's possible the Angels change gears on November 14th. There are other big names to pursue, though none fit as perfectly as Tex.
- Rosenthal's worst case scenario for the Yankees: C.C. Sabathia goes to a West Coast team while A.J. Burnett re-signs with Toronto. The Jays truly are in the mix for Burnett. ESPN's Keith Law says Burnett expects to receive multiple five-year offers.
- The Orioles plan to make serious offers to Teixeira and Burnett. Still, both are considered long shots for Baltimore. Another note: the Orioles were one of the teams the Yankees outbid for Sergio Mitre.
- The Dodgers are considered "a good bet" to re-sign Rafael Furcal. The Giants have their eye on him if he hits the open market.
- About ten teams have inquired on Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson. We had a Cardinals rumor yesterday.
- The Rangers figure to trade one or two of their catchers, with Gerald Laird a strong candidate to be traded. The Red Sox and Marlins are looking for catching, though the Rangers are wary of Florida's Scott Olsen.
- Rosenthal wonders if Brandon Webb could leave the D'Backs after the 2010 season.
- Kenny Lofton wants to play in 2009.
According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, the Yankees signed sinkerballer Sergio Mitre to a split contract. The Major League portion is for $1.25MM, and there's a club option for 2010. Eight teams had shown interest. Mitre may not be ready until midseason following July Tommy John surgery.
According to the AP, the Marlins released righty Sergio Mitre today. He would've been a non-tender candidate later in the year anyway. Mitre had Tommy John surgery in July, so he'll miss at least half of the '09 season. Mitre, 27, can be a decent back-rotation starter when healthy given his strong groundball rate.
Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discusses the Marlins' difficult situation this winter, with as many as 18 players facing arbitration. Berardino projects salaries for these players in this chart.
As you may know, players typically reach arbitration the offseason after they cross the three-year service time mark. The resulting raise can be as much as 1000%, with Ryan Howard's case last year the most drastic example ($900K in '07, $10MM in '08). The Marlins' biggest jump figures to be second baseman Dan Uggla - $417K in 08, perhaps $5MM or more in '09. Most players face arbitration three times and then reach free agency. The player almost always gets a raise each year, and typically his salary cannot be cut by more than 20%. That's why Berardino projects injured pitcher Sergio Mitre going from $1.2MM to $960K.
December 12th is the deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Teams can choose to let their arbitration-eligible players go, and then those players become free agents despite having less than six years of service time. David Ortiz may be the most famous example.
The Marlins figure to be open for business this winter - Berardino names Kevin Gregg, Scott Olsen, and Mike Jacobs as top trade candidates. Jorge Cantu is another possibility, and a blockbuster for Uggla can't be ruled out. The Marlins kept Miguel Cabrera until his second arbitration year, though.
You already know how I feel about Juan Pierre. What's the deal with the three pitchers the Cubs shipped over to get him?
Renyel Pinto is a 23 year-old southpaw with a plus changeup and 94 mph fastball. While ranked the Cubs' 6th best prospect by Baseball America before the 2005 season, he's now dropped out of the top ten. If you look at Pinto's numbers the last couple of years, he's mastered Double A but can't crack Triple A. However, he's gotten only about 30 innings in Iowa as an opportunity. Pinto prevents home runs well and strikes people out, but is a bit generous with the walks.
Ricky Nolasco is a 23 year-old righthander with a low 90s sinker and a good curveball. Nolasco was ranked just 19th among Cubs prospects before the '05 season, and was upgraded to 7th overall after this performance in Double A this year. The Cubs pushed him up to Iowa for 40 innings in '04 and he didn't fare well. Nolasco has pretty good control and nice strikeout numbers. He was to be sent to the Rangers for Rafael Palmeiro in 2003, but Palmeiro vetoed the deal.
Cubs fans might be a little more familiar with Sergio Mitre, as he's thrown 121 uninspiring innings in the big leagues. Mitre has looked OK at Iowa, but has been never been able to translate success save for a brilliant 16 inning stretch this year. He might be able to crack the back end of Florida's rotation in due time.
To sum it up, the Cubs didn't really give up any can't miss prospects in this trade.
George Ofman of WSCR The Score is reporting from the winter meetings that the Reds have offered Austin Kearns to the Cubs in return for Sergio Mitre and and a minor leaguer. I was able to get in touch with Ofman, and he mentioned that the minor leaguer was possibly righthander Ricky Nolasco.
Kearns is still living off an excellent 2000 at A ball and 372 fluky at-bats with the Reds in 2002. He's got 25 HR pop, but the rest of his appeal is pure perceived potential. Ah, alliteration.
Sergio Mitre has had an uninspiring Major League career with the Cubs, going 4-10 with a 6.12 ERA in 120 innings. If nothing else, Mitre can tell his grandkids about that miraculous 16 shutout inning stretch where he outdueled both Roy Halladay and Josh Beckett in 2005. Seriously, though, Mitre keeps the ball down and could be passable fifth starter one day.
Ricky Nolasco was almost traded to Texas in a Rafael Palmeiro deal back in 2003. Palmeiro vetoed the trade, and Nolasco remained in the Cubs' system. He has a solid curveball and decent sinker. Nolasco will be 23 soon, and he posted spectacular numbers at Double A in 2005. The starter had previously failed in a 40 inning attempt at Triple A Iowa in 2004.
Thanks to Alex.