Wes Helms Rumors
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien talked to Braves GM Frank Wren, and he learned that Wren expects to "make a deal or two."
DOB says the Braves are looking to add a proven bench bat. They can spare an out of options reliever from the group of Blaine Boyer, Chris Resop, Tyler Yates, and Royce Ring. O'Brien sees Yates as the one to go. Catcher Brayan Pena and first baseman Scott Thorman are other possible trade chips.
As for who's coming to Atlanta, O'Brien pretty much ruled out Reed Johnson and Robert Fick. He considers Wes Helms a possibility. The Orioles and Giants are two teams with veterans to spare, though most are of the overpriced variety.
ESPN's Jayson Stark has a new blog post jam-packed with hot stove rumors.
- The Cubs are getting frustrated with the Brian Roberts situation, wondering if they'll ever complete this trade. The Orioles are scouting players but still haven't given the Cubs the names they crave. I got the exact same vibe from the source who told me Jose Ceda's inclusion was never proposed by the Cubs.
- The Tigers and Phillies are both hunting for bullpen help; Detroit's sights are set higher than Philadelphia's. Unwanted players such as Wes Helms and Brandon Inge aren't in demand. And while Marcus Thames is desirable, he's not enough to get Aaron Heilman from the Mets. Brian Fuentes, also a Yankees target, may be the best available reliever. But Stark says the Rox want a "high-upside young arm" for the southpaw.
- My own guess at some useful relievers who may be available: Damaso Marte, Joe Nathan, Jamie Walker, Chad Bradford, Huston Street, Alan Embree, Kevin Gregg, Jon Rauch, and Chad Cordero.
- Stark names the Cubs, Rays, and Mets as the teams looking for an extra outfielder. No deals appear imminent, though the Rays made an unsuccessful offer to Kenny Lofton. The Mets and Cubs are considering the same names we've heard for a few weeks now. The Cubs are in a holding pattern since they may get Jay Payton in a Roberts deal with Baltimore.
In the 2006-07 offseason, Wes Helms had just finished his best year (in terms of rate stats, at least). He hit .329/.390/.575 for the '06 Marlins, facing a disproportionate number of lefties.
David Bell and Abraham Nunez had combined for an OPS under .700 at the hot corner for the '06 Phillies, so they figured Helms would be an upgrade even stretched as a full-timer. They gave him a two-year, $5.45MM deal with a $3.75MM club option for '09. Part of the motivation was to save money for an Alfonso Soriano bid. Plus, Mark DeRosa had already signed with the Cubs.
The signing did not go as planned, as Helms hit just .246/.297/.368 and lost full-time status quickly. The Phils gave third base time to Nunez and Greg Dobbs, once again generating subpar results. They signed Pedro Feliz to a two-year deal this winter.
The Phils would like to trade Helms now, and David Murphy suggests swapping him with Steve Kline could make sense. The Giants aren't interested though. Baseball Prospectus' John Perrotto says the Phils indeed desire a southpaw reliever for Helms, who is drawing interest from the Braves and Marlins (both clubs he's played for previously).
Time to round up various tidbits and rumors.
- Jon Garland says that unless his agent kept him in the dark, a long-term deal was never discussed with the White Sox. But in the unlikely event the Sox pursue Garland this winter, he'll listen. Here's a look others who will be free agents after this season and under 30 years old for '09.
- We've heard the Brandon Inge/Joe Crede rumors regarding the Dodgers. Tony Jackson speculates that Wes Helms or Jeff Cirillo could also be options.
- Paul Sullivan says Aaron Rowand was the Cubs' Plan B to Kosuke Fukudome.
- ShysterBall can't figure out why the Cubs would go after Coco Crisp.
- Todd Linden is mashing so far this spring, but he gets the feeling he won't make the A's. The 27 year-old switch-hitter has a Major League line of .231/.303/.335 in 502 ABs.
- Jon Heyman has an inside look at Alex Rodriguez's offseason adventure.
- In addition to the aforementioned Brandon Medders and Dustin Nippert, Arizona's Edgar Gonzalez is out of options and has drawn interest.
I am going to toss today's non-Santana odds and ends into this post.
- Paul Hagen runs through some possibilities for the likely-to-be-traded Wes Helms: Marlins, Rays, Twins, Giants, and A's. Any teams you'd like to add to his speculation?
- The Pirates have moved on from Johnny Estrada to Paul Bako. He'd battle to back up Ronny Paulino.
- OK this is Santana-related. Gordon Edes says the Red Sox will listen to offers for Coco Crisp, but are fine with keeping him around as perhaps the game's best fourth outfielder. See any good fits for Crisp?
Some random links for the day...
- I have created a Fantasy Baseball Closers page at RotoAuthority. With the help of readers it will be constantly updated with current closers and the pecking order of each team.
- Kris Benson will throw for teams again, probably a week from now. The Phillies will again be in attendance. Benson may only get a minor league deal this time around. I remember when he set the standard with his three-year, $21MM deal. Also, the Phils could look to move Wes Helms or Greg Dobbs now that they've signed Pedro Feliz.
- The Red Sox had their eye on Reed Johnson, perhaps thinking he would be non-tendered. He wasn't, and Joe McDonald says Bobby Kielty and Eric Hinske will probably sign elsewhere as well. That leaves Brandon Moss for the bench job, unless the Sox sign Tony Clark, Sean Casey, or Brad Wilkerson.
Ken Rosenthal has a new column up.
- The Angels are telling teams they will only consider trading Chone Figgins if they find a third baseman. If Figgins does hit the market, figure on the Cubs getting involved.
- The Marlins offered Scott Nestor to the Phillies for Wes Helms, if the Phils paid $1.8MM of the $2.9MM owed to the third baseman. The Phils passed.
- Jeremy Affeldt already has a four-year offer in hand, so he's now looking for five years. Jeez. Teams known to be in on Affeldt: the Yankees, Rays, and Astros. Affeldt's agent has contacted the Mariners, trying to sell him as a starter. He grew up in Washington state.
- The Mets like the Pirates' Damaso Marte, if the Pirates lessen their demands. The Yankees, Phillies, Braves, and Astros are interested as well.
UPDATE, 12-8-07 at 2:47am: More excitement...throw Abraham Nunez into the mix of Marlins third base targets. This team is going places.
FROM 12-7-07 at 11:27am:
MLB.com's Joe Frisaro posted a new column last night full of good Marlins hot stove chatter.
- The most interesting note is that the Marlins talked to the Reds about swapping Dontrelle Willis for Josh Hamilton, prior to the blockbuster with Detroit.
- With Miguel Cabrera, the White Sox and Rangers were involved during the Meetings before the Tigers jumped in. The Rangers backed out when they couldn't get an extension window for Cabrera. The Tigers wanted the same but obviously it wasn't the dealbreaker. The Angels, Dodgers, and Giants were involved before the Meetings, with the Giants offering Noah Lowry.
- Frisaro says there are "strong indications the Marlins will sign Jorge Cantu. He'll be in the mix at third base.
- The Fish are offering the Phils Scott Nestor for Wes Helms, who'd also compete at the hot corner.
- The Mets have some interest in Alfredo Amezaga, though the Marlins are inclined to keep him.
- Miguel Olivo will be released soon, so throw him into the catcher market with Michael Barrett.
MLB.com's Jim Molony reports that the Marlins are considering Wes Helms and Jorge Cantu as candidates for their now-vacant third base job.
Helms had a career year in 2006 for the Marlins, hitting .329/.390/.575 while seeing a disproportionate amount of southpaws. The Phils then wishcasted him as a starter and gave him two years and $5.45MM. Helms has $2.15MM left on his contract plus a $750K buyout.
Cantu was recently cut by the Reds; his claim to fame is driving in 117 runs for the 2005 Devil Rays. He turns 26 in January; perhaps his career can be revived in Florida.
Yet another third baseman is off the market, as the Phillies acted quickly today to sign Wes Helms to a two-year deal with a club option for the third. Ken Rosenthal scooped another one. Helms is guaranteed $5.5MM for 2007-08.
Helms will be 31 next season. He was a full-timer for the Brewers in '03, hitting .261/.330/.450 in 476 ABs. He's faced a disproportionate amount of lefties in his career, as he hits them significantly better.
Helms probably can't hit as well as the average NL 3B (.826 OPS). Defensively, he's got a strong arm but his footwork doesn't impress.