Todd Coffey Rumors
Baseball America's Matt Eddy's latest piece is a fascinating look back at the history of platoon usage in Major League Baseball and the increasing role of specialized relievers in Major League bullpens. Last season, more pure left-handed relievers (i.e. lefties who made zero starts) appeared in a season than any year in Major League history. Eddy's piece is rife with tables and charts to provide the breakdown on the numbers behind left-on-left matchups as opposed to right-on-right matchups (not surprisingly, the former leans more heavily in the pitcher's favor) and is well worth the read. Here are some more links from around the league for some late-night Thursday reading...
- The Cardinals optioned top prospect Oscar Taveras to Triple-A today, putting an early end to a Spring Training that didn't allow him to fully showcase his talents, writes MLB.com's Jen Langosch. Taveras received just six plate appearances in a pair of games after sitting out the first week due to what Langosch calls "hesitancy to fully trust his surgically repaired right ankle." He also left his second and final Spring Training game with a minor hamstring injury.
- Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley is well ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery and could be ready to pitch in the Majors as soon as late April, reports ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon. Billingsley will face live hitters next week and begin a minor league rehab assignment on April 3. Billingsley's return further crowds the competition for the team's fifth starter. Josh Beckett or Paul Maholm figures to occupy that role to open the season.
- Right-hander Todd Coffey has drawn interest from as many as nine to 10 teams and expects to sign right around Opening Day, according to MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). Coffey is currently throwing 91 to 92 mph in bullpen sessions, he adds. Coffey last pitched in the Majors for the Dodgers in 2012.
- Cotillo also tweets that free agent catcher Kelly Shoppach is looking to play in 2014 "if the right situation/opportunity presents itself." The 33-year-old isn't close to a deal at this time. He slashed just .199/.288/.339 in 127 PAs between the Mariners and Indians last season.
- Lastly, Cotillo tweets that former AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa, now 34, is seeking a minor league deal to return to affiliated baseball. Berroa spent 2012 playing independent ball and was in the Mexican League last season, where he slashed .293/.362/.462 in 460 trips to the plate.
Jon Rauch is close to signing with a team, MLBTR's Zach Links reports (Twitter link). The 35-year-old posted a 7.56 ERA in 16 2/3 IP with the Marlins last season and also made 10 appearances for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate after signing a minor league contract with the O's in June. Despite his outlier of a 2013 season, Rauch has been a solid right-handed bullpen arm for much of his career, posting a 3.65 ERA, 2.79 K/BB and 7.2 K/9 over 549 2/3 IP from 2004-2012.
Here's some more news as we wrap up a busy Wednesday around baseball...
- The Braves only offered Eric O'Flaherty a one-year contract to remain with the team, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via Twitter). Though O'Flaherty underwent Tommy John surgery last May and will miss at least part of the 2014 season, he still scored a two-year, $7MM deal from the A's earlier today.
- Yuniesky Betancourt will decide on his new club within the week, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link). Betancourt was drawing interest from several teams, potentially even as a starter.
- Also from Cotillo, there is "strong interest" in right-hander Todd Coffey. At least nine of the 14 teams who attended Coffey's throwing session last week want to see his second session. Coffey is looking to return to action after missing all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- Much of the Indians' success at the plate last season was due to their lineup flexibility and use of bench players, a trait that MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince believes could be somewhat difficult to duplicate in 2014, though Carlos Santana's proposed attempt to play third base would be a great help in that department.
- The Twins didn't have any interest in Grady Sizemore this winter, though the club checked in on him last summer, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter).
- "Another issue with a physical does nothing to enhance the Orioles' reputation in the industry, which is taking a two-fisted beating this winter," Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes in regards to the news that Baltimore's agreement with Tyler Colvin has been delayed due to a problem with the outfielder's physical. Kubatko wonders if the O's could be trying to get Colvin to sign a minor league contract instead of a Major League deal, as the club did last offseason when it wasn't satisifed with Jair Jurrjens' physical.
- The Phillies liked Masahiro Tanaka and engaged in "cursory negotiations" with his representatives, but GM Ruben Amaro told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the team wasn't prepared to go beyond five years to sign the Japanese righty. The Phillies seem likely to go into 2014 with their current pitching options, as they only would've exceeded their payroll limitations for "an exception" like Tanaka.
The Cardinals' Shelby Miller had an excellent rookie campaign with 15 victories (the most by any rookie) and the NL's tenth-best ERA at 3.06. But, the 23-year-old right-hander made only one appearance during the Cardinals' post-season run. During the team's annual Winter Warmup, Miller addressed the issue (as quoted by the Associated Press via ESPN.com). "I was a little upset I didn't pitch but I just put it away. I didn't want to dwell on the past and why I didn't pitch in October. I'm not worried about it anymore. I'm just going to let it be a mystery. A mystery unsolved." Miller added he felt fine physcially: no "better or worse than I did during the season." In other news and notes involving the Cardinals and the National League:
- The Cardinals have not gone to an arbitration hearing since 1999, but GM John Mozeliak admits it is a possibility with Daniel Descalso, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Descalso asked for $1.65MM while the Cardinals countered with $930K. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected a $1.2MM salary for Descalso.
- Also within Langosh's article, Mozeliak does not anticipate any contract extensions during Spring Training this year. The Cardinals have extended Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Allen Craig during the last two Spring Trainings.
- Jason Motte, the Cardinals' closer before undergoing Tommy John surgery last May, is heading to the Cardinals' training camp in Florida to continue his throwing program, Langosch tweets.
- The Nationals remain in the market for a backup catcher and that piece will likely come in a trade, according to MLB.com's William Ladson.
- There is a good chance reliever Rafael Betancourt returns to the Rockies, a source tells Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. The source adds Betancourt prefers Colorado because of his relationship with the club, but both sides are "trying to figure out the timing with his rehab" before coming to terms. The 38-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery last year leading the Rockies to decline his 2014 option, but is working on a comeback.
- Fourteen teams were on hand for Todd Coffey's showcase on Friday, tweets Cotillo. The right-handed reliever missed all of last year after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery in 2012. Before being sidelined, the 33-year-old appeared in at least 57 games and pitched at least 51 innings in six of his previous seven seasons.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Coffey's contract included a $2.5MM club option with a $300K buyout, Rivera's contract included a $4MM club option with a $500K buyout, and Treanor's contract included a $950K option with a $150K buyout. The team has confirmed the moves (Twitter link). For more on the Dodgers' winter plans, check out my recent Offseason Outlook post.
The Dodgers have signed Todd Coffey to a one-year deal with a club option for 2013, the team announced. He'll earn $1MM in 2013, and the club option is worth $2.5MM with a $300K buyout for a total guarantee of $1.3MM. The Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Coffey.
Coffey posted a 3.62 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 43.6% ground ball rate in 59 2/3 innings for the Nationals in 2011. The 31-year-old owns a 4.08 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 51% ground ball rate over the course of seven MLB seasons. He has been considerably more effective against right-handed hitting as a big league pitcher.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti had already added relievers Mike MacDougal ($1MM deal) and John Grabow (minor league deal) to the bullpen mix this offseason. The Dodgers also signed starters Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to two-year contracts. Free agents Luis Ayala, Shawn Camp, Scott Linebrink and Michael Wuertz are out there for teams seeking right-handed relievers.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Some odds and ends as Sunday night winds down ...
- The Rangers can afford to sign both Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.
- The Twins had interest in signing relievers Dan Wheeler and Todd Coffey before inking Joel Zumaya, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio. Mackey adds he'd be surprised if the Twins closed the door entirely on signing either righty.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement that the two club options included in Gio Gonzalez's extension were key to getting the deal done, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Rockies were not interested in signing Bartolo Colon, now of the A's, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- The Red Sox officially announced the signings of right-handers Aaron Cook and Justin Germano to minor league contracts, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
The Mets officially signed Scott Hairston to a Major League deal today, but it could be a while before the team signs someone else to a big league contract. Here's the latest on the NL East, starting in New York...
- The Mets appear to have finished adding players to their 40-man roster, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com tweets. They may add a player or two on a minor league deal before Spring Training, but no major moves seem likely.
- The Nationals are looking for bench help and Willie Harris could re-join the team, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson tweets. We heard the Nationals were interested back in December and it has since become apparent that the Mets aren’t likely to bring the 33-year-old back. Harris spent the 2011 campaign with the Mets after a three-year stint in Washington. He can play all three outfield positions plus second and third and owns a .330 on-base percentage in 11 seasons.
- There’s less than a 50% chance that right-hander Todd Coffey will re-sign with the Nationals, Ladson tweets. The Brewers, Angels and Mets have also been linked to Coffey, who averaged 72 appearances and a 3.68 ERA from 2009-11.
Most of the current chatter surrounding the Nationals focuses on a certain free agent first baseman, but as Amanda Comak of the Washington Times explains, the team also seeks bench and bullpen help. Here are the details:
- The Nationals haven’t ruled out bringing Rick Ankiel back, partly because they like his defense and influence in the clubhouse.
- We shouldn’t expect the Nationals to re-sign Ivan Rodriguez or Livan Hernandez, Comak writes. The door has been ‘closed’ on Hernandez, as the team no longer has room on its roster or openings in its rotation.
- There's a 50-50 chance free agent reliever Todd Coffey returns to the Nationals, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Ladson says the Brewers still have interest in Coffey, who has also drawn interest from the Angels and Mets.
The Blue Jays, Twins, and Marlins added closers in recent days, and it's not clear whether the remaining teams with ninth inning openings are willing to spend big. The latest on several closers...
- There is "no interest" from Madson or Rodriguez in accepting arbitration, tweets Peter Gammons of MLB Network. However, one agent believes that if the Red Sox trade for Andrew Bailey, which is a "real possibility," Madson and K-Rod could be in trouble, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
- The Angels are interested in trading for Seattle's Brandon League, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Angels have also expressed interest in free agents Todd Coffey and Jason Isringhausen, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, but they probably won't move on a reliever until C.J. Wilson decides what to do.
- There's lots of buzz that Ryan Madson and Francisco Rodriguez could accept arbitration with the Phillies and Brewers, respectively, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark. I still think Scott Boras will advise both to decline tomorrow night.
- The Rockies are willing to eat all of Huston Street's $8MM salary for prospects, tweets Stark. He says the Padres are a possibility. Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link) hears the Rockies would take on some "but not all" of Street's salary.
- Stark confirms yesterday's rumor that the Royals will listen on Joakim Soria, but they want a front-line starter in return.
It's been a busy first day of the Winter Meetings at MLBTR, so let's use this opportunity to catch up on a few Monday items that may have slipped through the cracks...
- Todd Coffey is drawing interest from the Mets and Brewers, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Brew Crew haven't expressed any interest in bringing back another righty, LaTroy Hawkins, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- The Nationals may revisit their search for a center fielder after the non-tender deadline, so they can see if any bargain options hit the market, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- B.J. Upton is one center fielder who may be on the trade market, but Morosi hears interest in the Rays' speedster has been "mild" so far (Twitter link).
- GM Walt Jocketty suggested to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that extension talks between the Reds and Brandon Phillips may hinge on the number of years the club feels comfortable offering.
- Orioles infielder Robert Andino is drawing trade interest from teams who could use him as a starting shortstop, tweets MASN's Roch Kubatko.
- GM Dan Duquette said the Orioles have several "irons in the fire" and is optimistic about making at least one move during the Winter Meetings, says Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
- There are indications that the Mariners have talked to the Rockies about Seth Smith's availability, says MLB.com's Greg Johns.