Wes Helms Rumors

Rangers Searching For Backup Corner Infielder

The Rangers are looking to acquire a backup corner infielder before Opening Day, writes Jim Reeves of ESPN.com.  Manager Ron Washington had hoped that one of the club's young players – such as Matt Brown or Max Ramirez – would step up to fill the role, but that has not happened.

One Rangers source said that the team keeps coming back to Boston's Mike Lowell.  The same source indicated that Texas believes that they can basically get Lowell for the same player they agreed to deal over the winter, Max Ramirez.

Kevin Millar is also on the Rangers' watch list, though he may earn himself a bench spot with the Cubs.  Wes Helms of the Marlins and Fernando Tatis of the Mets could also fit the bill as corner infielders off of the bench.  Meanwhile, "super-utility" players like Houston's Geoff Blum and Kansas City's Willie Bloomquist are likely too rich for Texas' blood.

Marlins Re-Sign Helms

5:16pm: Helms will receive $1.9MM over the two years.

3:54pm: According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Marlins signed infielder Wes Helms to a two-year extension.  Helms had a $3.75MM option for ’09 with a $750K buyout.  Terms aren’t known yet, but the Fish probably didn’t give him that much for ’09.

Helms, 32, hit .243/.299/.347 in 278 plate appearances while playing the infield corners as needed.

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How To Fix The Mets

I will offer my own opinions on how to improve the Mets in the Offseason Outlook, due within a few weeks.  Many journalists have already weighed in – let’s take a look.

  • Newly added bullet: John Harper of the New York Daily News.  He advises the Mets to decline Delgado’s option while signing Orlando Hudson, Raul Ibanez, and Derek Lowe and trading for J.J. Putz.  Say goodbye to Castillo, Perez, and Martinez in this plan.
  • Ken Davidoff of Newsday: Sign free agents Francisco Rodriguez, Darren Oliver, Juan Rivera, Fernando Tatis, and Wes Helms.  Also sign one of Jon Garland, Derek Lowe, or Oliver Perez.  Exercise Carlos Delgado‘s $12MM option.  Trade/release Aaron Heilman, Duaner Sanchez, Scott Schoeneweis, and Luis Castillo.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post: Sign C.C. Sabathia, even if it takes $150MM over six years.  Sherman notes this would lessen the load on the bullpen (Sabathia averaged 7.23 innings per start in ’08).  I prefer this plan to spending $100MM on K-Rod and a mid-tier starter.
  • Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog: Buy Delgado out for $4MM rather than exercise his $12MM option.  Interesting, unconventional thought by Cerrone.  Cerrone, like Davidoff, finds the idea of trading David Wright or Jose Reyes to be misguided.

Molony’s Latest: K-Rod, Helms, Valverde

Let’s dig into the latest blog post from MLB.com’s Jim Molony.

  • Molony believes the Mets, Cardinals, Rays, Tigers, Indians, and Cubs are considering signing Francisco Rodriguez this winter.  I think K-Rod’s demands could cause a nice ripple effect for Brian Fuentes, the second-best closer on the market.  Regarding Molony’s six teams, a strong case can be made against several of them signing Rodriguez.  The Rays and Indians will probably take a careful approach to free agency, while the Tigers may not have room in the budget.  The Cubs seem likely to bring Kerry Wood back.
  • Also on the topic of K-Rod, ESPN’s Andrew Marchand (via MetsBlog) quotes the pitcher’s agent naming the Cardinals, Tigers, Dodgers, Angels, and Mets as the five likely serious suitors.  They’re looking for 5/75.
  • Wes Helms would like to return to the Marlins next year.  Molony believes the Marlins may want to retain Helms or Luis Gonzalez but perhaps not both.
  • The Astros would prefer an extension for closer Jose Valverde rather than a likely eight figure arbitration reward.  Valverde, 29, could reasonably demand more than $50MM in a multiyear extension.

Marlins Acquire Wes Helms

TUESDAY: The Fish are only taking on Helms’ $750K buyout; the Phillies will cover the other $2.15MM.

SATURDAY: According to an FSN broadcast via RotoWorld, the Marlins acquired Wes Helms from the Phils for cash.  So I guess that means the Fish were willing to take on the $2.9MM owed to him?  If so, quite a commitment for them.

Helms, 32 in May, had his best year with the Marlins in ’06.  He posted a .965 OPS in 240 ABs, facing lefties almost half the time.

Interest In Helms Lacking

It’s no secret that the Phillies are looking to dish Wes Helms. Problem is, there’s very little interest in the 32-year-old righty infielder. He was given a two-year, $5.45MM contract after a stellar part-time performance in 2006. After a poor 2007, the Phillies signed Pedro Feliz to play third. And, as we know, he was designated for assignment earlier this week.

So where does Helms fit? The immediate suitors aren’t working out too well. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times says that the Dodgers are impressed by the play of Blake DeWitt, and are not interested in Helms. He also echoes the rumor that the Phillies have offered Helms to Florida and Atlanta. His salary probably prohibits him in Florida, which is sad, since it’s under $3 million, including the buyout of his 2009 option, and the Marlins could probably get the Phils to pick up a fraction of it.

Further, Andrew Baggarly of the the Mercury News reports that the Giants aren’t interested, either. You know something’s wrong when even Brian Sabean isn’t interested in your services.

So maybe the Phils work out a deal with Atlanta or another surprise suitor, but it seems likely that Helms will end up on the free agent market.  Where will he go from there? I can’t think of a team off the top of my head. Anyone out there whose team needs a utility corner infielder who can play the outfield in a pinch?

Posted by Joe Pawlikowski.

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Dodgers Almost Sign Marcus Giles

THURSDAY, 1:45pm: Not so fast.  Miller has an update to his initial report below, which came from Marcus’ brother Brian.  Marcus’ agent is now saying that Brian was misinformed – they never finalized anything with the Dodgers and he’s not playing for them, after all.

THURSDAY, 8:14am: Scott Miller says Giles will report to Triple A for the Dodgers, after all.  The Dodgers still seem to have some interest in Wes Helms though.

TUESDAY: Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News chronicles the odd tale of the Dodgers’ near-signing of infielder Marcus Giles.  Apparently an agreement was reached but Giles changed his mind on the drive over to Cashman Field in Las Vegas.  He was to re-acquaint himself with third base at Triple A before joining the Dodgers.

Jackson notes that this Giles debacle caused Ned Colletti to miss out on two available role players, one of which was Alex Cintron.  A commenter on Jackson’s blog suggested Scott Spiezio was the other; not a bad guess.  Seems possible that Giles might retire; he turns 30 in May.

Helms Designated For Assignment

3:07pm: According to David Murphy, Helms has been DFA’d.  Any suitors will probably try to wait it out so as not to pay his salary.

8:53am: Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News says it’s likely that Wes Helms will be moved by Saturday, when closer Brad Lidge is set to come off the DL.  Hagen suggests the Dodgers as a good fit.  Ned Colletti could offer up a player to be named later, or just wait and see if the Phils release Helms.  He has $2.9MM left on his contract.

The Dodgers had been eyeing Alex Cintron and almost signed Marcus Giles.  Helms doesn’t quite fit their profile, as he’s never played second base.  And Dylan Hernandez believes Helms might prefer opportunities with Florida or Atlanta, if possible.  The Braves just signed Scott Spiezio though.  Hernandez adds that the Astros told the Dodgers Mark Loretta isn’t available, at least not until Kaz Matsui comes back.

Phillies Sign Rudy Seanez

12:20pm: Scott Lauber quotes Phils GM Pat Gillick as having no interest in southpaw relievers Mike Stanton and Steve Kline.  Also, it’s likely Wes Helms or Tim Lahey will be let go to make room when Brad Lidge comes off the DL this weekend.

8:55am: According to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, the Phillies have signed reliever Rudy Seanez.  The 39 year-old had been released by the Dodgers last week.

The Phils mark Seanez’s 12th organization.  He can be homer-prone, but he wasn’t terrible last year in posting a 3.79 ERA and 8.64 K/9 with the Dodgers in 76 innings.  On the other hand, he was not typically used in high leverage situations.

The Phils are also looking for a lefty reliever, but they aren’t looking to acquire recently designated Steve Kline "at this time" according to Ruben Amaro Jr.

Phils Talking To Giants, Reds About Helms?

THURSDAY: Jim Salisbury says the Helms for Kline idea has fallen through, and Hal McCoy nixes the Helms for Stanton possibility.

WEDNESDAY: The Phillies would like to conclude their offseason by swapping third baseman Wes Helms and the $2.9MM owed to him for a lefty reliever.  According to Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Phils are talking to the Giants and Reds about Helms.  Steve Kline ($1.75MM) or Mike Stanton ($3.5MM) are the targets.  The Reds may deem Stanton too pricey to cut.

The Giants recently picked up Jose Castillo, but they also lost Kevin Frandsen.  Moving Kline would make sense, because then they could fit both Merkin Valdez and Erick Threets.  The Reds have Jolbert Cabrera and Andy Phillips battling for a bench spot, and don’t seem to have a place for Helms.