Ted Lilly Rumors
The Dodgers picked up Cubs lefty Ted Lilly at the trade deadline with the hopes of making a run at the postseason. As they host the Reds at home tonight, they sit 12 games back of the Padres for the NL West crown and seven games back in the wild card chase. Their playoff hopes aren't quite dashed at this point but with Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal still sidelined with injuries, things do not look good for Los Angeles.
Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney wondered if the Dodgers might try to flip the two-time All-Star to a playoff contender. He notes that Lilly would not clear waivers as he would have several teams interested and points to Philadelphia and St. Louis as possible candidates. With a 1.29 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in four starts thus far for the Dodgers, it's no surprise to hear that he is highly sought after.
Lilly becomes a free agent at season's end and based on the Dodgers' actions last season, many observers believe that they will not offer him arbitration. If you were in GM Ned Colletti's position, would you hang on to the hurler to keep your playoff hopes alive or would you ship him to his seventh career major league destination?
One year ago today, the Mets released Livan Hernandez. So far in 2010, Hernandez has a 3.06 ERA and ranks in the top ten in the NL in innings pitched and complete games. He doesn't strike anybody out, but his walk rate is low and he's headed for the 200 IP plateau once again. Here are some links for Friday as we contemplate Hernandez's surprising season...
- Brandon Inge and Johnny Damon are now on waivers, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). We should soon know if the two Tigers clear.
- Baseball America presents the compensation picks in the 2011 draft and total bonuses from 2008-10. The Nationals, Pirates and Blue Jays have have spent the most on bonuses.
- This doesn't count towards their draft spending, but the Pirates signed Colombian shortstop Dilson Herrera for $220K, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney doubts that Ted Lilly would clear waivers this month. The left-hander, who tossed a two-hitter last night, would likely be claimed by a contending team.
- Jamey Newberg lists the hurdles the Rangers will face if they want to acquire Manny Ramirez from the Dodgers this month. As Newberg explains on MLB.com, a lot would have to fall into place for the Rangers to acquire the slugger.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that the Mets' decision to let Darren O'Day go at the beginning of last year has not worked out for New York.
- Mark Kiszla of the the Denver Post says Todd Helton “needs to hang up his No. 17 Colorado uniform and retire.”
- Joe Beimel, a free agent after the season, would like to keep playing in Colorado, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter).
Los Angeles fans might be focused on the closer's position today, but as we look ahead to next season, the Dodgers will go into the offseason with three-fifths of their starting rotation on the free agent market. Here's a tentative look ahead at what the Dodger rotation might look like (barring injuries or any other unforseen incidents) on the next Opening Day.
Firstly, let's look at the starters who are under the club's control. Clayton Kershaw can be safely pencilled in as the Dodgers' number one starter next season, so if you hear any news about him this winter, it will likely be the Dodgers exploring long-term contract talks. (Kershaw is eligible for arbitration after 2011.)
Chad Billingsley's name has been mentioned in trade rumors for everyone from Roy Halladay to Roy Oswalt, but the right-hander has remained in Dodger blue. Billingsley has paid off the team's faith in him by developing into a solid starter: a 3.59 career ERA and a 2.05 K/BB ratio over five seasons. He has even shown signs of harnessing his control issues by posting a career-low 3.2 BB/9 ratio thus far in 2010. Billingsley is making $3.85MM this season and has two more arbitration years left, so he might be another target for a long-term deal.
Looming over any contract talks for either pitcher (or any offseason move for the Dodgers) is the ongoing dispute over the Dodgers' ownership stemming from the divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt. One would think that L.A. would find enough money to lock up their two young starters, especially with the likes of Manny Ramirez's contract coming off the books. The Dodgers have shown that they've been willing and able to spend a bit in the wake of the McCourt divorce, but if a sudden cash crunch pops up in the winter, it's possible that Billingsley could be swapped instead of given what could be substantial arbitration raises for the next two years.
That leaves the Dodgers' three pending free agent starters: Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly and Vicente Padilla. If last year was any indication, L.A. won't offer salary arbitration to any of them, though it seems quite unlikely that Lilly or Kuroda would accept. Lilly seems destined to test the market for a big deal and will no doubt get attention from several teams. Given the Dodgers' payroll uncertainty, it seems safe to presume that Lilly will be pitching elsewhere in 2011.
Kuroda is approaching the end of the three-year, $35.3MM contract he signed with Los Angeles in 2007, and has been the definition of a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher since coming to the majors from Japan. Kuroda will turn 36 in February and has a couple of DL stints to his name, which will probably keep him from getting a long-term deal. It's easy to picture a number of teams bidding on the right-hander, so again, the Dodgers could be priced out of the market.
Padilla has put up very good numbers (3.29 ERA, 8.2 K/9 ratio in 22 appearances) since signing with the Dodgers in August 2009, though his L.A. stint has been marred by a two-month stint on the DL this year with a forearm injury. Padilla agreed to return to the Dodgers on a one-year, $5.025MM contract for this season, and given his love of pitching at Dodger Stadium, it's possible to see Padilla return on something akin to a two-year, $14MM deal, possibly with an option year and some incentive clauses.
What will the Dodgers do to fill these holes in the rotation? Help could come from within in the form of John Ely, who threw eight quality starts out of 14 in Padilla's place this season and looked like he belonged in the majors. Charlie Haeger and Carlos Monasterios also started games for L.A. this year, but Haeger pitched terribly and Monasterios projects better out of the bullpen.
Down on the farm, L.A.'s best pitching prospects seem at least a year or two away. Right-hander Josh Lindblom (the Dodgers' second-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft) looked to be on the fast track to the majors after he zoomed from A-ball to Triple-A within two years, but Lindblom struggled badly (7.06 ERA) as a starter at Triple-A Albuquerque this year and was converted back into a reliever.
Two Dodger pitching prospects made Baseball America's midseason top 50 prospects list (right-handers Ethan Martin and Chris Withrow) though both are struggling with control issues. Martin has a 5.7 BB/9 ratio and a 5.57 ERA in high-A ball this season, while Withrow (the #48-ranked prospect in BA's preseason list) has a 4.8 BB/9 ratio and a 5.84 ERA in Chattanooga. With this relative lack of major league-ready arms coming up, it makes the deal of James McDonald for short-term rental Octavio Dotel at the trade deadline seem pretty curious.
Between the ownership issues and Joe Torre's possible retirement, there are still enough changes to come in Los Angeles that it's hard to predict exactly what the Dodgers will do with their rotation next season. Barring any payroll increase, however, it seems likely that L.A. will look to low-cost veterans who might take a Padilla-esque short-term deal to revive themselves pitching at Chavez Ravine.
In his examination of Cincinnati's 2011 rotation, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith noted that Aaron Harang is likely to have his option declined by the Reds in the winter. A pitcher like Harang, who has struggled but still put up decent peripheral numbers over the last three seasons, could regain his All-Star form in moving from the Great American Ballpark to Dodger Stadium. Free agent NL West veterans like Kevin Correia or Jeff Francis (who will likely have his $7MM option declined by the Rockies) could be possible Dodger targets as well.
The Dodgers acquired veteran lefty Ted Lilly, infielder Ryan Theriot, and $2.5MM from the Cubs for second baseman Blake DeWitt and minor league pitchers Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit today. Lilly has $4.24MM remaining on his contract, while Theriot has $918K. The Cubs are picking up about half of the tab on the players they're sending.
Lilly set himself apart from the many brutal pitching signings made in the 2006-07 offseason by making 113 starts for the Cubs with a 3.70 ERA, 7.6 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 over the four-year deal. Though he began this season on the disabled list due to November shoulder surgery, Lilly sports similar numbers in 2010. He serves as proof that velocity isn't everything, with the sixth-slowest average fastball velocity in baseball at 86.1 mph. Lilly currently projects as a Type A free agent, though the Dodgers' recent history suggests they will not offer him arbitration and therefore will not receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.
Theriot, 30, has a .284/.320/.327 line on the season. He'd been the Cubs' starting shortstop for a few years, but moved to second base when they promoted Starlin Castro in May. Theriot's walk rate reached 11.0% in 2008, but is down to 4.6% this year. He's under team control through 2012, if the Dodgers want to tender a contract two more times.
DeWitt, 25 next month, is having a better season than Theriot at .270/.352/.371. He's under team control through 2014, so the Cubs acquired a long-term asset for second base. Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein calls his the "prettiest swing you'll see never turned into results," calling DeWitt a "constant source of disappointment" for the Dodgers.
Wallach, son of former big leaguer Tim, was a third-round pick of the Dodgers last year. Baseball America ranked him 20th among Dodgers prospects heading into the season, saying he could blossom into a No. 3 in time. He's currently in Low A. Smit, a reliever, spent most of this year in High A ball where he posted a 2.49 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 1.8 BB/9 in 50.6 innings. He's now in Double A.
1:09pm: The Cubs will get DeWitt and two minor league pitchers for Lilly, Theriot, and $2.5MM tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
1:03pm: Lilly and Theriot for DeWitt is done, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
12:34pm: Blake DeWitt and at least one other player would go to the Cubs as part of a Lilly-Theriot deal if the sides can reach an agreement, tweets Rosenthal. The inclusion of Theriot will seal the deal from the Cubs' point of view, tweets Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times. Lilly doesn't appear to have many suitors aside from the Dodgers.
11:39am: The latest on Cubs southpaw Ted Lilly...
- The Cubs are likely to send Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- The Dodgers are growing more optimistic about acquiring Lilly, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
- The Yankees are not pursuing Lilly, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, unless the Cubs "put him on a platter and give him away."
- The Dodgers, Twins, Tigers, and Yankees have varying degrees of interest in Lilly, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. A deal with the Dodgers seemed fairly close last night.
12:29am: The Cubs are sitting on multiple proposals for Lilly, tweets Rosenthal. The Dodgers are in the mix, but the two sides are still apart on money and players. He adds that the Dodgers find themselves in a similar position with the Pirates' Paul Maholm.
11:49pm: It's unlikely that the two sides get a deal done tonight, but talks are moving in a "positive" direction, a source tells Jayson Stark of ESPN (via Twitter).
10:53pm: The Dodgers and Cubs are closing in on a deal, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
10:37pm: The Cubs are discussing two possible scenarios with the Dodgers, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson. One would send Lilly to LA and the other would send Lilly to LA along with teammate Ryan Theriot. FOX Sports reported early this morning that the Dodgers could acquire Theriot. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark confirms that the Yankees are in on Lilly and notes that they also inquired on Theriot (Twitter link).
10:21pm: The Cubs continue discussing Lilly with the Yankees and Dodgers, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (Twitter link).
9:49pm: The only thing preventing the Cubs from sending Lilly to the Dodgers is money, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (via Twitter). The clubs can't agree on how much money the Cubs would take on, but it could be enough to prevent a deal from happening.
8:59pm: The Yankees are still in on Lilly, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). The Padres had discussions about Lilly, but nothing is imminent, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link).
3:18pm: The Reds have a "remote" chance of obtaining Lilly, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The clubs haven't spoken in recent days, but the Reds are not on Lilly's no-trade list.
2:10pm: The Tigers still aren't out on Lilly, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. He adds that a mystery team is in the mix. Hard to pin down a reasonable match, with the Padres not interested.
Rosenthal tweets that the Dodgers are more inclined to get Lilly without Theriot.
2:05pm: The Dodgers are talking to the Cubs about a multiplayer deal that would include Lilly and a position player, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hernandez does not believe Theriot would be the position player. By the way, Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse tweets that the Padres are not a fit for Lilly.
11:58am: The Dodgers are waiting for Lilly's cost to come down, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown. He notes that they're also monitoring Paul Maholm and Jason Frasor. The Pirates are willing to move a starting pitcher for the right price, GM Neal Huntington told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
7:10am: The Dodgers and Cubs are discussing a trade that could send Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to Los Angeles, report Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. They say it's not known whether a deal is close. The Cubs would need to kick in cash - Lilly has $4.3MM remaining and Theriot has $933K.
Theriot received a $2.6MM salary for 2010 after losing an arbitration case to the Cubs in February. He's under team control through 2012; the FOX writers see him taking over at second base for the Dodgers. It doesn't seem to be the strongest need for them, with Blake DeWitt currently outperforming Theriot and Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard also on the roster.
There aren't a ton of great matches for Lilly at this point, as action with the Tigers, Twins, and Mets has cooled and the Phillies are out of the mix. I wonder if we'll hear anything about the Cardinals and Padres looking at the lefty.
Let's check out the latest updates from Jon Paul Morosi at FOX Sports....
- The Giants continue to search for a left-handed reliever, with Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Runzler injured. While we've heard the club had been eyeing lefties such as Will Ohman and Scott Downs, Morosi indicates that, like every other team that has inquired on Downs, the Giants weren't enthused by Toronto's asking price. CSNBayArea.com's Mychael Urban (via Twitter) reports that the Giants are "working hard" to complete a trade tonight, though there's no indication of whether it would be for bullpen help or another piece.
- Starters like Ted Lilly and Brett Myers appear unlikely to be traded to Minnesota. The Twins would need to overpay to pry Myers away from the Astros.
- The Tigers aren't looking to make a blockbuster deal, but could still make minor moves to upgrade their roster. The club doesn't want to "overexpose" their young players, which played a part in their acquisition of Jhonny Peralta. A bullpen addition is still a possibility for the Tigers, who were scouting the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
The latest on Cubs lefty Ted Lilly...
- The Tigers are not pursuing Lilly, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Twins, who are on Lilly's no-trade list, are unlikely to acquire him, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- The Mets are still engaging the Cubs about Lilly, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff, who suggests a deal is unlikely (Twitter link). The Mets don't want to trade Josh Thole for Lilly, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
- A Mets official told Joel Sherman of the New York Post it's "very doubtful" they acquire Lilly. The Mets do not want to take on most to all of the $4.37MM left on Lilly's contract and give up prospects too. As for Brett Myers, the Astros are "almost completely unwilling to engage in serious discussions." Sherman says the Mets might wait until August to acquire a pitcher.
- Yesterday we learned that the Dodgers and Twins are still in on Lilly.
Ted Lilly may have made his last start as a Cub last night, tossing five-plus shutout innings in Houston while lowering his ERA to 3.69. The latest on the lefty up top:
- The Dodgers are more focused on Lilly and Paul Maholm than Roy Oswalt, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
- The market for Lilly has picked up, according to Stark (on Twitter). The Tigers are involved, and so are the Dodgers, Twins and Phillies.
- The Phillies have inquired on Lilly, according to Rosenthal (on Twitter). Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears rumblings about a possible Lilly-J.A. Happ deal (Twitter link). However, Stark hears that the Phils, who are on the lefty's no-trade list, won't deal Happ for Lilly. The Twins and Dodgers remain involved, but the Mets are waiting to hear "from above" before pursuing Lilly more aggressively, according to Rosenthal.
- The Cubs have indicated a recent willingness to assume some of the $4.43MM owed to Lilly, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. That'd help the chances of a Dodgers deal. Unfortunately for the Cubs, potential Lilly suitors like the Mets and Tigers may be reassessing their chances.
- The Twins have asked about Lilly, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but their presence on his no-trade list means he'd require additional compensation to accept a deal.
Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth told ESPN's Jayson Stark he's "not up late reading the blog sites" regarding trade rumors, but he doesn't expect to be dealt. Stark agrees, though he notes that the Phillies did toss Werth's name out there to many teams. On to Stark's other rumors...
- The Dodgers are looking at Ted Lilly, but they haven't completely abandoned the idea of acquiring Roy Oswalt. Still, the impediments to an Oswalt deal remain significant. Lilly appears certain to be traded.
- Josh Willingham is drawing interest from the Braves, Rays, and Red Sox. Adam Dunn remains a trade candidate as well, but the Nationals would only deal one of the two.
- Money might be holding up a Jorge Cantu-Rangers deal, as the Rangers can't add any payroll and would want the Marlins to pick up the entire $2.25MM tab.
- The Padres have been linked to infielders Ryan Theriot and Jeff Keppinger, as outfield targets such as David DeJesus, Corey Hart, and Jayson Werth drop out of the picture for various reasons.
- Don't look for anything major from the Red Sox outside of some bullpen tweaking. They will prowl the waiver wire in August, though.