Todd Coffey Rumors
The Nationals are closing in on a deal with reliever Todd Coffey, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 4.76 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 62.1 innings with the Brewers last season. They non-tendered him in December after Coffey earned $2.025MM in 2010.
The Rockies have spoken to the Mariners about a possible David Aardsma trade, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Colorado has also shown interest in right-handers Grant Balfour and Todd Coffey, though Renck tweets that Balfour would have to be acquired in a "sign-and-trade" arrangment since the Rockies don't want to lose their first round draft pick as compensation for signing the Type A free agent.
Aardsma, who is known to be on the market, would be used in a set-up role with the Rockies since Huston Street is established as Colorado's closer. Balfour's Type-A status isn't the only hindrance to a possible signing, as he reportedly wants a three-year contract. The Rockies may be hesitant to give a middle reliever that kind of long-term commitment, though Joaquin Benoit, Jesse Crain, Scott Downs and Matt Guerrier have all signed three-year deals this winter.
Coffey, non-tendered by the Brewers earlier this month, comes with the smallest price tag but is also coming off the least-accomplished season (4.76 ERA, 9.4 H/9 rate) of the three pitchers. Renck adds that Colorado's "wish list" also includes Jon Rauch and Chad Qualls (Twitter link).
Coming into the 2010 season, the back of the Brewers' bullpen appeared to be one of the most reliable areas of the team's pitching staff. Trevor Hoffman, LaTroy Hawkins, and Todd Coffey were all coming off strong 2009 campaigns, and looked poised to hold down the late innings in Milwaukee. All three right-handers struggled this year though, with Hoffman losing the closer's job and Hawkins missing most of the season due to shoulder trouble.
Hawkins is under contract for 2011 and Hoffman's time in Milwaukee is likely over, but the team will face a decision on Coffey in the coming weeks. The 30-year-old will be arbitration-eligible for the final time and, in spite of his underwhelming performance, probably has a slight raise coming on this year's $2.025MM salary.
Prior to the 2010 season, Coffey had been one of the team's best relievers, posting a 2.67 ERA over 91 innings since the 2008 waiver claim that sent him from Cincinnati to Milwaukee. This year, however, in 62.1 IP, Coffey's ERA ballooned to 4.76. Of course, his numbers weren't all bad; his walk and home run rates were only slightly above his career averages, and he recorded a career-best strikeout rate (8.1 K/9). Whether or not the Brewers decide to tender him a contract this year will depend on if they believe those peripheral stats suggest a bounceback 2011 season is in the cards.
The Brewers' bullpen pitched 518 innings, third-most in the National League, and ranked just 12th in the NL in ERA (4.48). It figures to be an area the team will focus on improving this winter, but before they look to the free agent market, the Brewers will need to make a decision on Coffey. Will the righty be non-tendered this offseason? Click here to weigh in, and click here to view the results.
FRIDAY, 1:03am: Theo Epstein has discussed multiple possible trades with former Red Sox assistant GM and current Padres GM Jed Hoyer, according to Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Globe duo believes Boston could have interest in a reliever like Joe Thatcher, and, given the team's excess of outfielders when Jacoby Ellsbury returns, they may match up with San Diego.
THURSDAY, 12:59pm: Though they're on his no-trade list, the Red Sox asked the Brewers about Trevor Hoffman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that the Brewers are not inclined to move Hoffman. Meanwhile they're getting calls on Carlos Villanueva and Todd Coffey.
12:05pm: The Red Sox are leaving no rock unturned in their search for relief help. They've explored Rafael Perez, Will Ohman, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Capps, Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, David Aardsma, and Kyle Farnsworth, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo says Scott Downs looks unlikely unless the Blue Jays back down from their top prospect requests. On a related note, SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays asked the Mets for outfield prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis and one other player for Downs and were denied.
Marshall is the interesting name here. The 27-year-old lefty has had a dominant year in relief, posting a 1.71 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 52.6 innings with one home run allowed. He's been especially strong against lefties. Marshall is under team control through 2012 and would presumably be very difficult to pry loose from the Cubs. Gonzalez is another surprising name, since he's spent most of the season on the shelf with a shoulder injury and is still owed good money.
Cafardo adds that the Red Sox have been shopping reliever Ramon Ramirez, and offers the opinion that a National League team might want to take a look at him. Ramirez has a 4.57 ERA, 6.5 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 41.3 innings with six home runs allowed and is a potential non-tender candidate after the season.
Links for Thursday...
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that team sources have told him that the Cubs are looking at Jonny Gomes as a fourth outfielder. Gomes - who proved to be one of the best minor league deals of 2009 - confirms.
- The Brewers signed arbitration-eligible reliever Todd Coffey for $2.025MM, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. That's just short of the midpoint.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes that a strong 2010 season would lead the Marlins to explore a multiyear deal with Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco is under team control through 2012, and will earn $3.8MM in his second arbitration year.
- Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez spoke to Puerto Rican newspaper La Perla del Sur. MLBTR's translator Nick Collias supplies this interesting quote: "I don't have much playing time left...I go year by year, and I don’t know if it will be one, two or three years, but I'm definitely not going to play until 40." Vazquez is eligible for free agency after the season.
- Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler switched to Scott Boras in November, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post wrote in a Monday blog post. Fowler's been added to our Scott Boras client list, which can always be found on the sidebar.
- MLBTR missed this January 14th signing: the White Sox added Daniel Cabrera on a minor league deal. Cabrera, 29 in May, posted a 0.55 K/BB ratio and 6.00 ERA in 51 big league innings last year.
- The Mets and Diamondbacks haven't had any new discussions for catcher Chris Snyder, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Piecoro examines the debate about whether to trade Snyder.
- Luke Scott wants to play defense, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Scott says he's "taking one for the team" by serving as DH, and it hurts him in contract negotiations.
- Slugger Jim Thome continues to keep the door open for the White Sox, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. However, in comments to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, manager Ozzie Guillen indicated a preference to avoid a permanent DH.
Midnight ET is the non-tender deadline, so we'll keep track of all the players who are offered and/or agreed to contracts today in this post. Keep coming back throughout the day for updates.
- Washington tendered contracts to Josh Willingham, Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves, Jason Bergmann, and Sean Burnett.
- Zach Duke was tendered an offer by the Pirates.
- The Marlins reached an agreement with Ronny Paulino. The deal will be for one-year, $1.1MM.
- The Royals avoided arbitration by reaching one year deals with Brian Bannister ($2.3MM) Roman Colon ($660K), and Kyle Davies ($1.8MM).
- Dioner Navarro will remain with the Rays on a one-year deal worth $2.1MM.
- The White Sox will offer contracts to Bobby Jenks, John Danks, Carlos Quentin, and Tony Pena.
- Milwaukee will tender offers to six players: Dave Bush, Carlos Villanueva, Todd Coffey, Jody Gerut, Corey Hart, and Carlos Gomez.
- Toronto will tender an offer to Jeremy Accardo.
- Kevin Correia will remain with the Padres for one-year, $3.6MM.
- The Rangers have signed Esteban German to a 2010 contract. He'll earn $600K in the majors and $200K in the minors. They offered contracts to their other arbitration-eligible players including Scott Feldman, Chris Ray, Frank Francisco, C.J. Wilson, Dustin Nippert, Brandon McCarthy, and Josh Hamilton.
- Tampa Bay avoided arbitration with Lance Cormier by inking him to a one-year deal. The contract will pay Cormier $1.2MM.
- The Twins will tender contracts to all 30 unsigned players on their 40-man roster. That means Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris, Francisco Liriano, Pat Neshek, Delmon Young, and many more figure to be in the Twins' plans in 2010.
- The following eight Cubs will receive offers from the team: Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill, Tom Gorzelanny, and Mike Fontenot.
- Atlanta tendered offers to relievers Peter Moylan and Boone Logan.
- The Marlins will tender offers to almost all of their arbitration-eligible players - Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Cody Ross, Josh Johnson, Leo Nunez, and Renyel Pinto.
- The Astros will tender offers to all remaining arbitration-eligible players. This means Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, Jeff Keppinger, and Humberto Quintero are invited back.
- Matt Albers and Cla Meredith have agreed to terms with the Orioles. Albers' deal is worth $.68MM for one-year. Meanwhile, Meredith will recieve $.85MM in 2010.
- Randy Choate agreed to a one year deal. Terms of the deal are one-year, $700K.
After a tremendous run last year that resulted in the club's first playoff berth in a quarter-century, the Brewers sat 13.5 GB of a playoff spot coming into today's action, and sport the National League's worst starting rotation thanks to their 5.22 ERA. As Adam McCalvy of MLB.com writes, the club has a ton of roster decisions to make this offseason, although GM Doug Melvin says "We've got a lot of decisions, and none of them will be discussed until the end of the season."
Some of the issues facing the Brew Crew this offseason are...
- Impending Free Agents: Trevor Hoffman, Claudio Vargas, Mike Cameron, Felipe Lopez, Jason Kendall, Craig Counsell, Frank Catalanotto, and Corey Patterson will all be free agents after the season. The clubs holds a $3.7MM option for David Weathers next year ($400K buyout), and there's a $6.5MM mutual option for Braden Looper ($1MM buyout) that McCalvy says the club "will almost certainly pick up."
- Arbitration Eligibles: Dave Bush, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, Seth McClung, J.J. Hardy, Jody Gerut, and Todd Coffey are all eligible for salary arbitration. Coffey, who's been the club's primary setup man, figures to get a nice raise over his current $800K salary.
- Starting Pitching: As I mentioned earlier, Milwaukee sports the NL's worst starting staff. McCalvy reports that "Melvin promised this week that he would be much more aggressive this winter in his search for answers," and that the club might take a "little more chances and risks" than they're accustomed to taking.
The Brewers also have questions about the key up-the-middle positions. They have to sort out the Hardy-Alcides Escobar situation at short, and decide whether to try and retain Lopez or give Weeks another shot at second base duty. Cameron and Kendall have both made it clear they'd like to return, but those decisions will have to wait until the winter.
Milwaukee also must figure out third base, and whether Mat Gamel or Casey McGehee deserves the job. Prince Fielder has the other corner infield spot locked down, and is under contract for $10.5MM next year before being arbitration eligible in 2011, his final year before free agency. McCalvy also mentions that manager Ken Macha faces a lame-duck year next season, and that Melvin is fielding questions about whether another managerial change may be in order.
According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Brewers signed reliever Todd Coffey to a one-year, $800K deal with $200K in incentives. He had been arbitration-eligible. Coffey, 28, tossed 7.1 scoreless innings after joining the Brewers after they claimed him off waivers in September. The Brewers added Jorge Julio to their pen a few days ago.
Renck also reports the Rockies signed catcher Paul Phillips to a minor league deal to add depth.
WEDNESDAY: According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Brewers claimed Coffey off waivers and designated Laynce Nix for assignment. With the Nix move, the Brewers' summer '06 bounty for Carlos Lee is all pretty much gone. They do have pitcher Jake Odorizzi, picked 32nd overall as compensation for Cordero.
TUESDAY: According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds designated reliever Todd Coffey for assignment today. On his 28th birthday, no less. Coffey did a fine job in '06 (even closing for a brief period), but has struggled since.
Coffey was known for his sprint in from the bullpen, but apparently he abandoned the practice last year. This year, Coffey dropped 25 pounds in the offseason but subsequently lost a mile per hour off his fastball.