Yuniesky Betancourt Rumors
The press caught up with Brewers GM Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio this afternoon. Here are some highlights..
- When asked if he could spend big on one free agent and still fill other holes on the team, Melvin said, "Probably not at this time," tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Melvin has not talked with Jose Reyes' agent since their first phone conversation and ceded that the talks don't have a great deal of momentum at this point, tweets Haudricourt.
- Both Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio made it clear they expect to contend in 2012, with or without the services of Prince Fielder, according to Haudricourt (via Twitter).
- Attanasio called arbitration eligible third baseman Casey McGehee a bounce-back candidate, indicating that the Brewers will tender him a contract, tweets Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.
- Melvin keeps saying that Yuniesky Betancourt is better than his critics say and that makes Haudricourt (via Twitter) think that Betancourt will return as the team's starting shortstop.
This week's GM meetings are being held in Milwaukee, so let's round up some news from the local team...
- GM Doug Melvin confirmed to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that they will not extend an offer to Prince Fielder during this week's GM meetings. “We won’t do that here,” said Melvin, who is open to meeting with Fielder's agent, Scott Boras.
- Melvin told McCalvy that he has not decided if he will make more phone calls or have a face-to-face meeting with Jose Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg. “[We've made] one phone call ... No numbers," said the GM.
- The Brewers declined Yuniesky Betancourt's $6MM option for 2012, but Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel that he's "very interested" in bringing the shortstop back at a lower salary.
- Melvin has also spoken to Jerry Hairston Jr.'s agent about returning, according to Haudricourt (on Twitter).
A Brewers spokesperson confirmed that the club has declined the $17.5MM option on Francisco Rodriguez and the $6MM option on Yuniesky Betancourt, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. The pair will receive buyouts of $3.5MM and $2MM, respectively.
The Brewers acquired Rodriguez from the Mets in a July deal that saw Adrian Rosario and Danny Ray Herrera shipped off the New York as players to be named later. He excelled in 29 innings for the Brew Crew, posting a 1.86 ERA and a 10.2 K/9. It was reported at the time of the trade that the Mets would be responsible for the $3.5MM buyout on Rodriguez's deal.
Betancourt, 29, came to the Brewers along with Zack Greinke in last year's deal with the Royals. He acted as the starting shortstop for the NL Central champs all season, hitting .252/.271/.381 in 584 regular season plate appearances before heating up in the playoffs (.310/.326/.500).
While there should be some interest in Betancourt as a part-time player, it seems unlikely that he'll land another full-time job this winter. It's even less likely that he'll match the guaranteed money he earned when he signed his last contract, a four-year, $13.75MM deal. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that the Brewers would consider bringing him back at a lower price.
To follow the status K-Rod and Betancourt, along with the rest of the 2012 free agents, check out our Free Agent Tracker.
MLBTR's Luke Adams contributed to this post.
The Brewers’ season is over and while GM Doug Melvin wishes his club were in the World Series, he’s proud of its accomplishments. "There's just too many good things that happened this year for me to be hanging my head,” he said, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here are more details from today’s press conference via Haudricourt:
- Melvin and Brewers owner Mark Attanasio will meet in early November to discuss what kind of offer they can make free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
- The Brewers aren’t concerned about Shaun Marcum’s health, though the right-hander struggled in the postseason.
- Melvin said Yuniesky Betancourt was “a better player than what his critics said.” The Brewers have a $6MM option ($2MM buyout) for the shortstop in 2012 and Melvin declined to say whether they'll pick it up.
- Melvin explained that he would like to improve defensively without sacrificing on offense.
- He said the Brewers will seriously consider giving Mat Gamel a chance to make an impact in the Major Leagues if an opportunity emerges (i.e. Fielder signs elsewhere).
- The Brewers haven’t talked about moving Corey Hart to first base.
- Melvin said he’ll check in with free agents LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito. Francisco Rodriguez is likely to sign elsewhere, probably as a closer.
- Melvin said Casey McGehee can still be a good player, despite his disappointing 2011 campaign.
- Craig Counsell hasn’t told the Brewers whether he intends to play again next year, but it sounds as though Melvin would have some interest in re-signing him. Melvin also expects to speak to Jerry Hairston Jr. and his representative.
- Mitch Stetter, Manny Parra and Josh Wilson are non-tender candidates, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explained this week.
The Brewers aren't done trading yet. They're working to improve the left side of their infield, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Brewers want a definite upgrade over shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt or third baseman Casey McGehee, but they aren’t close to making a deal, since few quality infielders are available in trades.
Jamey Carroll isn’t available now and J.J. Hardy will likely sign an extension with the Orioles, according to Rosenthal. The Brewers would like to obtain a player with a good glove and they can consider adding payroll on a case-by-case basis.
Brewers shortstops (Betancourt, Craig Counsell and Josh Wilson) have combined to rank 28th in MLB with a .267 OBP. Brewers third basemen (mostly McGehee and Counsell) rank 28th in MLB with a .206 average, a .264 OBP and a .277 slugging percentage. Betancourt has a .237/.255/.342 line while McGehee checks in at .223/.279/.315.
MLB executives tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the struggles of large market teams such as the Mets and Dodgers have helped build competitive balance in baseball this year. Here are Rosenthal’s notes from around the league:
- Though Francisco Rodriguez has 15 saves (16 chances) and a sparkling 0.76 ERA, his fastball velocity (90.4 mph) continues to drop and two scouts say his stuff is diminished. That perception could affect the right-hander’s trade value this summer.
- D’Backs GM Kevin Towers told Rosenthal that righty Josh Collmenter’s arm angle almost makes him look left-handed and helps create deception.
- While Miguel Tejada has struggled this year, he’s heating up at the plate and the Giants aren’t about to quit on him, according to Rosenthal.
- The Brewers are pleasantly surprised by Yuniesky Betancourt’s defensive work this season. If you haven’t seen these plays, you’re in for a pleasant surprise yourself.
- Rosenthal confirms that the Mariners figure to call top prospect Dustin Ackley up before long.
Eating money in trades or by releasing players is far from an ideal business practice, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. The Mets believe they are better off paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo a combined $18MM not to be on their team this year, and released the two just last month. David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the concept of "dead money" today, speaking to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports economist J.C. Bradbury, and Scott Boras.
With some help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, let's look at the teams that are paying players to be anywhere but on their roster this season...
- Angels: Gary Matthews Jr. ($11.4MM)
- Astros: Roy Oswalt ($7MM)
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells ($5MM)
- Cubs: Carlos Silva ($7.25MM, plus $2MM in 2012)
- Diamondbacks: Chris Snyder ($3MM)
- Dodgers: Manny Ramirez ($8.33MM per year through 2013), Andruw Jones ($3.2MM per year through 2014), Juan Pierre ($3.5MM)
- Mariners: Carlos Silva ($5.5MM), Yuniesky Betancourt ($1MM), Josh Wilson ($179K)
- Mets: Oliver Perez ($4MM), Luis Castillo ($6MM), Gary Matthews Jr. ($1MM)
- Rockies: Manny Corpas ($3.55MM, $250K in 2012)
- Royals: Yuniesky Betancourt ($2MM)
- Twins: Brendan Harris ($500K)
- White Sox: Scott Linebrink ($3.5MM)
This doesn't include money the Braves owe Kenshin Kawakami ($7.4MM) or the Yankees owe Kei Igawa ($4MM). Both Japanese imports remain in the organization, but they've since been banished to the minor leagues. It also doesn't include all the money the Mets famously owe Bobby Bonilla for the next two decades.
Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player collecting paychecks from three different big league teams at the moment, but Carlos Silva could join him if he's called up by the Yankees. Gary Matthews Jr. could also be in that mix if he catches on somewhere this summer.
This winter the Brewers have been working to sign Rickie Weeks to a multiyear extension. There hasn't been much news on that front in the last week, but here are some other noteworthy developments out of Milwaukee..
- The Brewers and pitcher Shaun Marcum remain deadlocked as they are less than 24 hours away from a scheduled arbitration meeting, writes MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. As seen on MLBTR's Arb Tracker, Marcum is seeking $5MM while the Brewers have offered $3MM. Brewers senior director of business operations Teddy Werner remains hopeful that the two sides can work out a deal, citing previous cases that the club has settled in the eleventh hour. As McCalvy pointed out on Sunday, Francisco Liriano's arb case could impact Marcum's as both pitchers submitted figures of $5MM. Liriano wound up settling with the Twins for $4.3MM.
- The club has not inquired about free agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera, GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). Some have speculated, including SI's Jon Heyman, that Milwaukee was a possible landing spot for the veteran. This likely means that the club will take care of the shortstop position internally, turning the keys over to Yuniesky Betancourt.
The Brewers are going to be a different looking team in 2011. GM Doug Melvin appears to have improved his starting rotation significantly with a pair of major trades. Here's the latest on what remains for the Brewers between now and Opening Day...
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy explains that the Brewers are open to extensions with new acquisitions Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke. Jon Heyman of SI.com notes that no talks are planned between Greinke and the Brewers at this point (Twitter link).
- All indications from Melvin suggest he's comfortable with Craig Counsell and Yuniesky Betancourt at short. Melivn defended Betancourt's ability and McCalvy takes an in-depth look at the shortstop's glovework.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel projects upcoming raises for the Brewers' five unsigned arbitration-eligible players. Make sure to check out MLBTR's new arbitration tracker for the latest on Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Kameron Loe, Manny Parra, Marcum and other arbitration eligible players throughout MLB.
The Brewers entered this offseason with the goal of upgrading their rotation. Today, they acquired Zack Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2MM from the Royals for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi. The Royals have confirmed the move in a press release. After already acquiring Shaun Marcum in exchange for Brett Lawrie last month, it's safe to say Milwaukee has accomplished its goal.
Greinke, 27, had been one of the winter's most discussed trade candidates, with rumors picking up steam after the right-hander requested a trade earlier this weekend. Although many clubs reportedly inquired on and pursued the Royals ace, a trade was no sure thing, due to Greinke's no-trade clause and the Royals' high asking price. However, neither issue ultimately proved to be an obstacle for the Brewers, who had made repeated attempts to acquire the righty despite being on his no-trade list, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links).
During his time in Kansas City, Greinke posted a 3.82 ERA in 1108 innings, including a 3.25 ERA and 8.4 K/9 over the last three years. Prior to his Cy Young campaign in 2009, Greinke signed a four-year extension, meaning he'll remain under Milwaukee's control for two more seasons, at a cost of $13.5MM per year.
Escobar, who turned 24 earlier this week, was viewed by Baseball America as the Brewers' top prospect heading into the 2010 season, his first full year in the bigs. Although he struggled at the plate, hitting .235/.288/.326 in 552 plate appearances, Escobar provided above-average defense at shortstop, according to UZR. Baseball America's scouting report prior to the season dubbed Escobar a "defensive whiz" and a "special defender," while also citing a hope that he'd develop into a solid leadoff option. The 24-year-old's minor league numbers (.293/.333/.377, 176 SB) indicate that his offensive game should continue to improve at the major league level.
Cain, 24, was considered one of the Brewers' top 10 prospects even before a hugely successful 2010 campaign. After hitting .317/.402/.432 across two minor league levels, Cain received his first shot at the bigs, and posted a .306/.348/.415 slash line in 148 plate appearances in Milwaukee. Like Escobar, Cain's primary strengths are his speed and athleticism. Baseball America suggested before the 2010 season that he "could be a more prolific and successful basestealer," and Cain responded by stealing 33 bases in 37 attempts between the minors and majors. According to Baseball America, the former 17th-round pick shows "flashes of power but is mostly a gap hitter."
Both pitching prospects heading to Kansas City are former first round picks; the Brewers selected Jeffress with the 16th overall pick in the 2006 draft, while Odorizzi was taken 32nd overall in 2008. Jeffress' path to the bigs has been sidetracked by repeated suspensions for substance abuse. His most recent violation resulted in a 100-game ban that saw him miss significant chunks of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Jeffress' fastball has touched 100 mph and Baseball America raved that he had "as much sheer talent" as any player in the Brewers' system heading into this season, but his off-field issues and control problems (5.5 BB/9 in his minor league career) had slowed his development.
Odorizzi, meanwhile, was rated by some teams as the best high school pitcher in the 2008 draft, according to Baseball America. Just 20 years old, Odorizzi is the only player in the deal who has yet to see major league action, but he turned in an impressive year at Class A Wisconsin, recording a 3.43 ERA and 10.1 K/9 in 120 2/3 innings. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick notes in a tweet that the two right-handers were ranked first (Odorizzi) and third (Jeffress) in Milwaukee's system in Baseball America's upcoming Prospect Handbook.
The Brewers had long indicated a desire to shore up a starting rotation whose 4.65 ERA ranked near the bottom of the National League in 2010. Moving a handful of young players in two trades, while hanging on to Prince Fielder, suggests that the club feels they can immediately contend in the NL Central.
Credit Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew with the scoop last night, with an assist to Andrew Wagner of OnMilwaukee.com. ESPN's Buster Olney confirmed the story this morning, while Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus cleared up some conflicting reports and confirmed that Jeffress would indeed be included in the deal (via Twitter).
MLBTR's Luke Adams and Steve Adams contributed to this post.