Wilson Betemit Rumors

2014 Vesting Options Update

As we close in on the month of May, let's check in on the players who have vesting options for the 2014 season...

  • Kurt Suzuki, Nationals: $9.25MM option vests with 113 starts in 2013.  Prior to Opening Day, the Nats announced that Suzuki would be in a timeshare with Wilson Ramos behind the plate.  However, Ramos' hamstring has led to Suzuki starting 16 of the club's 23 games so far in 2013. Ramos is scheduled to rejoin the club on Monday, but if he suffers another setback, Suzuki could have a realistic shot at triggering his '14 option.
  • Jamey Carroll, Twins: $2MM option vests with 401 plate appearances.  Carroll has surpassed that mark in each of the last three seasons with 500+ plate appearances in each of the last two years, but he has just 18 PAs as April comes to a close.
  • Wilson Betemit, Orioles: $3.2MM option vests with 324 plate appearances (combined 700 between 2012 and 2013).  Betemit suffered a PCL tear during the last week of Spring Training, keeping him out of action until at least mid-May.  When he returns, he figures to see less action than he did last year thanks to Manny Machado
  • Lance Berkman, Rangers: $13MM option vests with 550 plate appearances.  So far, Berkman has 19 games under his belt with 80 plate appearances.  He'll be within reach as long as he stays healthy.  In 2011, his last full season, Berkman racked up 587 PAs for the Cardinals.
  • Roy Halladay, Phillies: $20MM option vests with 259 innings pitched (combined 415 innings pitched between '12 and '13).  So far, Halladay has logged 28 and 1/3 innings through five April starts but the 259 mark remains a longshot.  However, it's worth nothing that Halladay has come close to that figure twice in the last six years (2008, 246 IP; 2010, 250.2 IP) and surpassed it once in his career (2003, 266 IP).
  • Brett Myers, Indians: $8MM option vests with 200 innings pitched in 2013 and a passed physical after the season.  Myers is expected to miss most of May due to tendinitis and a mild ligament sprain in his right elbow.  So far, the right-hander has 21 and 1/3 innings to his credit in 2013.
  • Barry Zito, Giants: $18MM option vests with 200 innings pitched.  Zito has 23 and 2/3 innings so far through the month of April and will make his fifth start of the year tonight against the Padres.
  • Johan Santana, Mets: His $25MM option could have vested with 215 innings pitched or winning the 2013 Cy Young Award, but he won't have a chance at that thanks to a season-ending tear in his pitching shoulder.

It's also worth noting that Francisco Liriano has a $8MM club option for 2014 with the Pirates, but it can vest at any of three levels, $5MM, $6MM, or $8MM, based on the number of days he is not on the DL this year with a recurrence of his right arm injury.  It's not known how many days the hurler must steer clear of right arm trouble in order to trigger each level of his option, however.  Liriano has yet to take the hill in 2013, but he is expected to make his big league debut on May 10th vs. the Mets.  

2014 Vesting Options

Recently, I crunched the numbers on vesting options from the last three years and found that just over 29% of them were triggered.  Which players can lock in their 2014 options based on their performance this season?  Let's take a look..

  • Kurt Suzuki, Nationals: $9.25MM option vests with 113 starts in 2013.
  • Jamey Carroll, Twins: $2MM option vests with 401 plate appearances.
  • Wilson Betemit, Orioles: $3.2MM option vests with 324 plate appearances (combined 700 between 2012 and 2013).
  • Lance Berkman, Rangers: $13MM option vests with 550 plate appearances.
  • Roy Halladay, Phillies: $20MM option vests with 259 innings pitched (combined 415 innings pitched between '12 and '13).
  • Barry Zito, Giants: $18MM option vests with 200 innings pitched.
  • Johan Santana, Mets: $25MM option vests with 215 innings pitched or winning the 2013 Cy Young Award.

It's also worth noting that Francisco Liriano has a $8MM club option for 2014 with the Pirates, but it can vest at any of three levels, $5MM, $6MM, or $8MM, based on the number of days he is not on the DL this year with a recurrence of his right arm injury.

AL Notes: Lohse, Cano, Granderson, Orioles

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:

  • The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
  • The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
  • If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com
  • A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
  • Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard.Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.

Quick Hits: Andrus, Upton, Greinke, Rockies, Pettitte

Believe it or not, but the last place Red Sox may actually be in better position for future years than the AL East champion Yankees, argues Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  The Yankees have tens of millions tied up in an aging and increasingly unproductive roster, while the Red Sox shed much of their major payroll commitments when they dealt Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers.

Here are some news and notes from around the baseball world...

  • Elvis Andrus is a major trade chip for the Rangers if they choose to move him, notes Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, who outlines Andrus' trade value and circumstances behind a possible deal. Durrett also says Texas could instead try to trade an older, more expensive player like Nelson Cruz or Ian Kinsler.
  • The Rangers have interest in B.J. Upton but they see him as a corner outfielder rather than in center, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com as part of a fan mailbag.
  • The longer Zack Greinke takes to pick his next team, the longer it will delay the rest of the Angels' offseason moves, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.  Greinke is the Angels' top target and his status with the team could determine what the Halos do with Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Torii Hunter.
  • The Rockies have Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and A's third base coach Mike Gallego on their list of possible external candidates for manager, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • Mark Wiley is the favorite to become the Rockies' new director of pitching operations, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.  Wiley, currently a Marlins scout, would oversee pitchers at all levels of the Colorado organization as the team tries to develop arms capable of performing at Coors Field.
  • Andy Pettitte hopes to have a decision made about his playing future "in a month or so," reports ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand.  The Yankees southpaw hinted last week that he was looking to return in 2013.
  • The Yankees are in for a busy offseason though "by any objective measure, the Yankees aren't a team in need of a major overhaul," writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal.  Costa details the five most pressing questions facing the Bombers this winter.
  • Wilson Betemit doesn't appear to have much of a role on next year's Orioles roster, writes CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff.  Betemit is owed $1.75MM from the O's in 2013 and his $3.2MM option for 2014 will vest with 324 more plate appearances.
  • The Twins have no plans to alter the dimensions at Target Field next season, team president Dave St. Peter said in an e-mail to reporters (including MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger).

Quick Hits: Hunter, Garza, Padres, Betemit

The Twins pounded out 20 hits en route to a 10-9 victory over the Angels today at Target Field.  Josh Willingham hit his third homer in as many games for Minnesota, and Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau also went yard --- the first time the duo have homered in the same game since July 6, 2010.

Here are some notes from around the majors...

  • Torii Hunter hasn't had any discussion with the Angels about a contract extension but understands why, he tells Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.  "I don't want to bother those guys," Hunter said. "They've had so much going on. I definitely feel no rush. It'd be nice (to get an extension offer) but if not, I understand....They have other guys like (Erick) Aybar they need to lock up. Plus they've got (Mike) Trout lying in the weeds."  Hunter is a free agent after this season and will be 37 on Opening Day 2013.  He said he wants to return the Angels, but if not, he wants to play for another contending team.
  • Nez Balelo, Matt Garza's agent, is scheduled to be in Chicago during the Cubs' homestand, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that a potential long-term deal with Garza is the sort of "big-picture issue" that can't be measured by how Garza performs early this season or even throughout 2012.
  • Separate ownership groups led by agents Dennis Gilbert and Arn Tellem could be interested in buying the Padres, reports Dan Hayes of the North County Times.  A source tells Hayes that any potential buyer could bring a Padres legend like Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield or Steve Garvey to serve as the public face of the ownership group.  Garvey is known to already be fronting a group that is interested in the Padres after falling short in a bid to buy the Dodgers.
  • White Sox GM Kenny Williams discusses new manager Robin Ventura, several players and his expectations for the team as a whole for 2012 in a Q&A with the team's TV crew (transcribed on MLB.com).
  • The well-traveled Wilson Betemit is playing for his seventh team in 10 years but is only focused on helping the Orioles, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Andre Ethier is very focused on playing well in 2012 and putting himself in line for a big contract either with the Dodgers or with another club when he hits free agency this winter, sources tell ESPN Los Angeles' Tony Jackson.

Orioles Sign Wilson Betemit

1:01pm: Betemit obtains a $3MM guarantee and the deal could be worth up to $6MM, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

9:44am: The Orioles announced that they have signed Wilson Betemit to a two-year, Major League contract that includes a vesting option for 2014.  Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com adds that Betemit will be Baltimore's primary DH and that the option is based on plate appearances (Twitter links).  Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first reported the move (via Twitter).  Betemit is represented by the Wasserman Media Group.

The 30-year-old utilityman hit .285/.343/.452 for the Royals and Tigers last season, starting at third in K.C. until Mike Moustakas was called up and then was dealt to Detroit as a hot corner alternative to Brandon Inge.  Betemit has experience playing all over the diamond but has mostly played third base for the last two seasons.  He could well play third again in Baltimore if the O's again become frustrated with Mark Reynolds' defense, but the switch-hitting Betemit provides depth in several spots for the club, including designated hitter.

NL Central Notes: Brewers, Betemit, Wood, Young

Some tidbits from the NL Central....

  • Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, GM Doug Melvin and agent Scott Boras (who represents Prince Fielder) had a meeting late last night that Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was unplanned and more of a check-in session.  "Scott just said he wanted to give us an update," Melvin said.  "You never really close the door on anything because you don't know what's going to happen. You can't really read anything into it."
  • Haudricourt doesn't think the meeting is a sign that the Brewers could re-sign Fielder, believing that "Boras basically was giving them a chance to jump in and make an offer that he could shop around to other clubs....More likely, [the team] gave an indication of what they might be willing to do if Fielder decided he wanted to seriously entertain the possibility of staying in Milwaukee."
  • Boras also represents Francisco Rodriguez, and Haudricourt reports the Brewers "got the feeling" in speaking to the agent that Rodriguez will reject the club's arbitration offer today.
  • The Pirates are no longer pursuing Wilson Betemit, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link).  Biertempfel reported yesterday that the Bucs were close to deals with both Betemit and Nate McLouth, and the club agreed to terms on McLouth's contract today.
  • Kerry Wood wants to return to the Cubs but wants a raise, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Wood has said he will either pitch for Chicago next season or retire, and last winter signed a one-year, $1.5MM contract with the Cubs that was well below what other teams offered him. 
  • The Reds have spoken to the un-retired Dmitri Young, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).  Young, 38, has lost 70 pounds and is looking to make a comeback in either the Major Leagues or Japan.  Young played in Cincinnati from 1998-2001.
  • The Astros are looking at Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings as a candidate for their open general manager's job, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link).  Jennings' name has been connected to several GM openings in recent years but the Marlins have turned down at least four clubs' requests for interviews.  Jennings is under contract to Miami for four more years.

Pirates Close To Deals With Betemit, McLouth

4:41pm: The Pirates are closing in on a one-year deal with McLouth, says MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. She adds that the agreement isn't expected to be finalized until Wednesday.

4:14pm: The Pirates are moving closer to deals with Wilson Betemit and Nate McLouth, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

We heard yesterday about Pittsburgh's interest in a reunion with McLouth, who hit .228/.344/.333 in 321 appearances with the Braves this season. Betemit, meanwhile, did not receive an arbitration offer from the Tigers and hit the free agent market coming off a season in which he posted a .795 OPS in 359 plate appearances in Detroit and Kansas City.

American League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here

Updated team decisions:

Teams with decisions still due:

Dombrowski On Verlander, Raburn, Worth, Betemit

Justin Verlander won the the 2011 American League Cy Young Award unanimously and he gets an extra -- though unofficial -- vote from Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski. 

"He's a real special player who means a lot to our community," Dombrowski explained at the MLB General Manager Meetings in Milwaukee. "He's been a Tiger since the day he was drafted and he'll be with us for a long time."

Verlander would have been a free agent this offseason had he not signed his current five-year, $80MM contract before the 2010 season. There's no telling what Verlander would have been worth coming off a season like this, so it's no surprise Dombrowski's glad to have locked the right-hander up for three of his free agent seasons. 

Looking ahead to 2012, the Tigers want to get Ryan Raburn's bat in the lineup and may play him at second base at times next year. Danny Worth is another second base candidate for the Tigers, who are also weighing external options.

Wilson Betemit met Dombrowski's expectations after joining the Tigers in a midseason trade, but the GM anticipates adding an extra catcher this offseason, which will limit the Tigers' roster flexibility in 2012. The Tigers haven't pursued Betemit aggressively to this point and Dombrowski didn't suggest that will change. The Tigers want to keep Victor Martinez in the everyday lineup, so adding a backup for Alex Avila is on the agenda this winter.

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