Washington Nationals Rumors
The Phillies have officially signed veteran reliever Mike Adams, the team announced. It's a two-year contract worth $12MM with a third year club/vesting option worth $6.5MM. The option vests if he appears in 120 games from 2013-2014 with at least 60 appearances in 2014. The right-hander is represented by Josh Yates at ACES.
Adams, 34, has been one of the game's very best setup men in recent years. He pitched to a 3.27 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 52 1/3 innings for the Rangers this year, his lone full season in Texas after being acquired from the Padres for two pitching prospects at the 2011 trade deadline. Adams owns a 2.28 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in his eight-year career.
Philadelphia has been seeking bullpen help in front of Jonathan Papelbon this offseason, though they used right-hander Josh Lindblom to acquire Michael Young a few weeks ago. The team was also looking for a low-risk starter after using Vance Worley to acquire Ben Revere, and they have since agreed to sign John Lannan. More outfield help figures to be on the agenda as well.
Adams is returning from October surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a procedure that involved removing a rib. He is expected to be ready in time for Opening Day. Adams also dealt with numerous shoulder problems earlier in his career, including surgery on his labrum and rotator cuff back in 2008. As our Free Agent Tracker shows, he is the ninth reliever to receive a multiyear contract this offseason.
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Adams as the 42nd best free agent available in his Top 50 Free Agents List, correctly predicting he would sign with the Phillies. If you signed up for our Free Agent Prediction Contest, check out where you stand with our leaderboard.
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports first reported the two sides were nearing a deal while Tyler Garrett of KRISTV first reported the agreement. ESPN's Jayson Stark and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal added details along with Brown (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of USA Sports Images.
Baseball’s most recent collective bargaining agreement introduced new rules regarding draft pick compensation, and the changes were expected to help free agents. However, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that some agents and general managers say certain free agents who obtained qualifying offers are now seeing reduced interest from teams. These players are talented, but general managers are hesitant to give up draft picks. Here are more notes from Olney’s column...
- One GM pointed out that teams aren’t “wild about giving up a draft pick for a reliever," even though Rafael Soriano is a good pitcher. The Yankees almost certainly won’t consider taking him back, according to Olney.
- The Red Sox have targeted players who aren’t linked to draft pick compensation, as Olney points out.
- Adam LaRoche is tied to draft pick compensation and it’s “really hurting him,” Olney writes. The first baseman has been sitting on a two-year offer from the Nationals.
- It appears that the Braves would be fairly comfortable going into the season with Martin Prado playing both left field and third base. They’d use Reed Johnson in left field against left-handers and Juan Francisco at third base against right-handers in that scenario.
The Nationals, Phillies, Cubs, Mariners and Rangers are all interested in free agent reliever J.P. Howell, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Howell said last month that "a handful" of teams were pursuing him, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times speculated that the Angels could be one of those suitors. The Brewers were also known to be looking for left-handed relief help, though Howell was not one of the names recently mentioned as targets by Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin.
Howell posted strong numbers out of the Rays' bullpen in 2008-09 before missing the entire 2010 season due to shoulder surgery and struggling to a 6.16 ERA in 30 2/3 innings in 2011. The southpaw returned to form in 2012, however, posting a 3.04 ERA, 1.91 K/BB ratio, 7.5 K/9 rate and 48.9% groundball rate, though some advanced metrics (4.78 FIP and a .250 BABIP) indicate that Howell benefited from some good fortune.
The Legacy Sports Group client has held left-handed batters to a .675 OPS in his career, topping that mark in 2012 when lefty hitters managed only a .200/.306/.306 slash line.
The Orioles would like to add power to the lineup and improve their defense at first base, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes that the draft pick compensation that is tied to Adam LaRoche is a deterrent to executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette.
The 33-year-old LaRoche hit .271/.343/.510 with a career-high 33 homers in 2012 after missing the majority of 2011 with a torn labrum. For the third consecutive season, both the Fielding Bible and Ultimate Zone Rating praised LaRoche's defense at first base.
Connolly writes that multiple sources have told him the Orioles have legitimate interest in LaRoche. However, Duquette's plan since taking the reins in Baltimore has been to build through the draft. Forfeiting the 24th overall pick to sign LaRoche, who turned down a qualifying offer from the Nationals, would go against that mentality. The Orioles do also have the 35th pick, but Duquette prefers to stockpile picks rather than consider some expendable.
As for LaRoche himself, he doesn't mind playing the waiting game, according to the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. LaRoche is content to wait out his situation, and doing so could have an initially unexpected benefit. Should the Red Sox see their deal with Mike Napoli fall apart, LaRoche would have another interested suitor. There does appear to be a snag in the finalization of the deal between Napoli and Boston.
While the Dodgers and Angels scooped up the two impact free agents of this year's class, the Rangers have had a much more dull offseason, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Texas lost Hamilton to the rival Angels and failed to sign Zack Greinke and Torii Hunter. Beyond that, they also lost Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, and Koji Uehara to the Red Sox. Landing Justin Upton would help bring energy back to the Rangers' lineup, but so far they haven't been able to get a deal done as they look to hold on to Elvis Andrus. Here's more from today's column..
- Some believe the Yankees are quietly interested in free agent outfielder Michael Bourn and will pounce if the price comes down. Bourn would give the Bombers the leadoff hitter they have wanted for some time. Meanwhile, the Rangers remain a possibility.
- While the Tigers are keeping their distance from right-hander Rafael Soriano, it's not impossible for him to wind up in Detroit. The Red Sox may also be interested and the Rangers could be a fit given all of the talent that they've lost.
- If the Red Sox can’t finalize their deal with Mike Napoli, they could give Adam LaRoche the three-year, $39MM contract. Otherwise, LaRoche may stay with the Nationals or look to the Orioles, where Dan Duquette has coveted him.
- Edwin Jackson may be the next pitcher to strike a deal. The Padres have serious interest in Jackson, especially after losing Andrew Cashner for a while after his hunting accident.
The latest links from around MLB...
- Agent Steve Hammond told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he expects to speak with Cardinals executives about the possibility of an extension for right-hander Adam Wainwright in Spring Training. Wainwright’s entering the final year of his contract with the Cardinals. Goold heard leading up to the Winter Meetings that the sides have not held “substantive” talks this offseason.
- The Nationals made Adam LaRoche a two-year, $25MM contract offer, but they haven’t boosted their proposal, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post reports. It’s possible the Rangers or Orioles could get involved in the bidding for the free agent first baseman.
- Free agent reliever Chad Durbin is on his way to California to meet with interested teams, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). Durbin, 35, posted a 3.10 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 61 innings for the Braves this past season.
- Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com wonders if Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette will pursue free agent infielder Kelly Johnson. The Orioles have suggested they’re satisfied with internal second base options such as Brian Roberts, Alexi Casilla, Ryan Flaherty and Yamaico Navarro, but Dubroff suggests Johnson could be a “nice addition.”
Here are the latest minor transactions from around the league...
- SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization announced the signing of left-handed reliever Doug Slaten. Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net (Twitter link) first reported the deal earlier this week. Slaten has a 3.52 ERA in 216 games for the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Pirates since 2006, including a 2.16 ERA in 10 games with the Bucs in 2012.
- The Rockies have signed shortstop Tommy Manzella to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invitation, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Manzella last appeared in the majors in 2010 with the Astros and has bounced around the minors with four different organizations over the last two seasons.
- Right-hander Manny Acosta has signed a one-year, $1.65MM contract with the Yomiuri Giants, according to Gene Mato, Acosta's agent (Twitter link). The deal could be worth another $500K in bonuses. Acosta, 31, was non-tendered by the Mets following a season that saw him post a 6.46 ERA over relief appearances.
- The Giants have agreed to a minor league deal with right-hander Chad Gaudin, reports Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (via Twitter). Gaudin posted a 4.54 ERA in 46 relief appearances for the Marlins last season.
- The Yankees have signed catcher Bobby Wilson to a minor league deal that contains a Spring Training invite, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link). Wilson hit .211/.277/.292 batting line in 201 plate appearances with the Angels last season and was both claimed on waivers and non-tendered by the Blue Jays earlier this offseason.
- The Yankees have also signed infielder Gil Velazquez to a minor league deal, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). The 33-year-old Velazquez received 57 PAs with the Marlins last year and also has Major League exerperience with the Angels and Red Sox.
- The Cardinals have signed 18-year-old Dominican right-hander Alex Reyes to a contract worth $950K, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter).
- The Nationals signed 16-year-old Dominican third baseman Neivy Pilier to a $225K deal, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America.
- The Nationals signed infielder Brian Bocock to a minor league contract, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson (Twitter link). Bocock last played in the majors in 2010 and has spent the last two seasons playing in the Phillies, Pirates and Blue Jays organizations.
- The Padres acquired left-hander Chris Rearick from the Rays in exchange for infielder Vince Belnome, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).
- The Phillies have announced the signings of Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Cesar Jimenez, Steven Lerud, Michael Martinez, Zach Miner, Jermaine Mitchell, Pete Orr and Humberto Quintero to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training.
Here are some rumors from ESPN.com's baseball writers, starting with a note from Buster Olney (all links go to Twitter)...
- Ichiro Suzuki is turning down a two-year, $14MM contract offer from the Phillies to sign with the Yankees, according to Olney.
- Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Chris Perez will probably stay put in Cleveland now that the Indians have traded Shin-Soo Choo, Jerry Crasnick reports.
- Mike Adams could sign in the next couple of days, Jayson Stark reports. The Nationals, Blue Jays, Phillies, Rangers, Cubs, White Sox, Angels and Brewers have been linked to the free agent reliever, Stark adds.
On today’s edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast, Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts and I discussed the Indians-Reds-Diamondbacks trade, the Yankees’ recent signings and the latest rumors. Click here to listen in and continue reading for some notes from around MLB...
- The Mets will pay David Wright $3.1MM annually from 2021-2025 as part of the deferred payments from his new contract extension, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. The money is deferred without interest.
- The Red Sox will pay the Dodgers a total of $11.7MM over the next three years as the cash component of their August blockbuster trade according to the AP (via ESPN). Boston will make identical payments of $3.9MM in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
- Utility man Mark DeRosa told ESPN's Jim Bowden that his first choice is to re-sign with the Nationals (Twitter link). The 37-year-old free agent has hit .220/.309/.269 in 302 plate appearances while battling injuries over the last three seasons.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports argues that the Yankees' strategy of slightly overpaying for free agents on one-year deals hasn't resulted in an improved team this offseason. Morosi wonders why GM Brian Cashman hasn't obtained a power bat for the outfield such as Justin Upton, Jason Kubel or Michael Morse.
- We're seeing more teams prey on the desperation of others in trades now that Wild Card berths seem so attainable, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes.
- A rival executive expects the Rangers could obtain Upton from Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers if they are willing to part with Elvis Andrus, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). “I don't think KT will do it for less," the person said. Towers has said it’s “highly unlikely" that he moves Upton.
- Shaun Marcum said on MLB Network Radio that he's open to re-signing with the Brewers, Jim Bowden reports (on Twitter). The Twins, Royals, Padres and Cubs have been linked to the right-hander in the past month or so.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Here are the latest links from the NL East...
- The Braves made an “aggressive” offer for Shin-Soo Choo before the Reds acquired him, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Mariners were also involved, but their offer wasn’t as strong.
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he has received “positive signs” from GM Mike Rizzo that Washington will re-sign free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche before Christmas, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter).
- The Phillies and Brewers were in on Sean Burnett before he signed with the Angels, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (all Twitter links). Morosi wonders if this means the Phillies would be willing to move a left-handed reliever. It's possible Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes would have become trade candidates if the Phillies had signed Burnett.
- Here's the latest on the Mets and R.A. Dickey.