- John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press explains that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has avoided arbitration hearings since taking over the team.
- The Royals didn't expect Gil Meche to walk away from his $12MM salary without asking for some sort of settlement, but that's just what the right-hander did, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. GM Dayton Moore says we shouldn't expect the Royals to go out and spend for the sake of spending, even though they have money.
- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he likes the looks of Chicago's rebuilt bullpen, which features newcomers Will Ohman and Jesse Crain.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he would still like to add a starter who can provide reliability, stability and leadership. Manager Manny Acta and pitching coach Tim Belcher told Bastian that they expect a lot from the Indians' young starters.
The Royals caught a $12MM break yesterday and Dayton Moore has never seen anything like it. The Kansas City GM says he didn't expect Gil Meche to retire, since the right-hander had the option of collecting checks all season long. Instead, he forfeited the money, called it a career and provded his former team with unexpected financial flexibility.
“Gil had every right to finish off the final year of this contract and be compensated and he chose not to,” Moore said yesterday on a conference call with reporters.
The five-year, $55MM deal that Meche signed before the 2007 season looked good for the first two years and awful for the next two. Meche logged over 200 innings in 2007 and '08, posting a 3.82 ERA and leading the league in starts both seasons. But shoulder and back injuries limited his effectiveness and availability in 2009-10. At 32, the ten-year veteran is calling it a career.
Moore says he doesn't consider the signing a mistake, since Meche took the ball when healthy and helped ease Zack Greinke into major league stardom. But the caretaker of the best farm system in baseball isn't about to compromise his prospects' development with more long-term free agent deals.
“We’re not going to do anything with long-term contracts that’s going to restrict their transition to the major leagues,” Moore said.
There will come a time when the Royals look to complement their homegrown core with free agent pieces, Moore said. The team does have $12MM more than expected, but Moore says he doesn't plan to add any expensive pieces soon.
Gil Meche has officially announced his retirement. The right-hander was set to earn $12MM this year, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that he will forfeit that sum. Meche says his shoulder pushed him to this decision.
“As a competitor my entire life this is the hardest decision that I’ve ever faced, but it’s not fair to me, my family or the Kansas City Royals that I attempt to pitch anymore," Meche explained. "I came into this game as a starting pitcher and unfortunately my health, more accurately, my shoulder, has deteriorated to the point where surgery would be the only option and at this stage of my life I would prefer to call it a career rather than to attempt to pitch in relief for the final year of my contract."
Meche thanked the Royals and their fans for his four seasons in Kansas City.
On a night when Brian Matusz stifled the AL West leaders, here are some news items…
- ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine looks at how the Cubs might replace Derrek Lee, whether it be going after a big free agent or by moving Aramis Ramirez or Tyler Colvin to first base.
- The Mariners are "starting to eye" Ted Simmons as a managerial candidate, according to Fanhouse.com's Tom Krasovic. Simmons, 61, is in his second year as San Diego's bench coach and has only three years of coaching experience overall, though he has spent 19 years in various front office positions. Simmons was an eight-time All-Star during a 21-season playing career with St. Louis, Milwaukee and Atlanta from 1968 to 1988.
- Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com predicts that Oakland is "likely" to pick up Coco Crisp's $5.75MM club option for next season.
- Royals owner David Glass adamantly denied rumors that he is thinking of selling the team, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Gil Meche is "ninety-five percent" sure that he'll pitch out of the bullpen next season, writes MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
- The Cardinals' contract with first-round pick Zack Cox is analyzed by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Fangraphs' Dave Cameron looks at the top five "free agent signings that worked" from the past winter. The Rangers' deal with Colby Lewis tops the list.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian talks to Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos about the GM's busy first year and his future plans for the Jays.
Links for Sunday, as a handful of players suit up for new teams….
- Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth are happy to be playing meaningful games with the Braves, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- Will Ohman had a hunch that he would be moved before the deadline, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- The Tigers have yet to make a blockbuster deadline deal under GM Dave Dombrowski, writes Steve Kornacki of MLive.com.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter) thinks it's very likely that the Mets will sign their first round selection, pitcher Matt Harvey. However, Callis doesn't feel that the pitcher is worth going over slot for.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban could be putting himself in position to buy the Rangers, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Cristian Guzman initially vetoed a deal to the Rangers, but changed his mind, according to Anthony Andro of the Dallas Morning News. MASN's Ben Goessling notes that the Nationals will pay for the rest of Guzman's salary this year (approximately $2.78MM), but will also receive $1.1MM from the Rangers.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney looks back on the deadline deals in his latest Insider-only blog, writing that "what in the world was Washington thinking?" was a question frequently asked by frustrated rival executives.
- The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin says that the price of bullpen help was too steep for the Red Sox, who made "competitive offers" on Scott Downs, Brandon League, and Brian Fuentes.
- Daniel Paulling of the Kansas City Star reports that Gil Meche won't have season-ending surgery after all, since doctors told the right-hander it would have kept him out of action in 2011 as well.
- The Brewers were never close to making any trades, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Links for Tuesday, as Jose Bautista becomes the first major leaguer to reach the 30-homer plateau this season…
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that trade talk has been "very quiet." The Reds aren't on the brink of making any deals (Twitter link).
- Kyle Farnsworth left tonight's game with a hamstring cramp, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). It's not a strain, so he may be OK. Farnsworth's health may be a moot point, as ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted today that the Royals are getting little action on their trade candidates.
- The Rangers released former Astro and Phillie Geoff Geary, according to the transactions page for the Pacific Coast League. Geary had been pitching at Triple A Oklahoma City, where he posted a 5.37 ERA.
- Rockies owner Dick Monfort told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post that he would add payroll this summer if the circumstances are right. The team's approach to the deadline isn't yet clear.
- Kelly Johnson is drawing more interest than other available D’Backs, according to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (via Twitter).
- The Rangers signed second-rounder Cody Buckel for $590K according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter).
- The Rockies have inquired about Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter). Troy Tulowitzki is ready to return to action, so the Rockies' need for infield help is no longer pressing.
- The Padres aren't a fit for Scott Podsednik, a source tells Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse (on Twitter). NL West teams appear to covet the speedy left fielder.
- Gil Meche needs shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter).
- It wasn't so long ago that Meche and Jeff Francoeur were linked by the same rumors, but, as ESPN.com's Jayson Stark points out on Twitter, Jason Bay's mild concussion makes a Francoeur deal less seem likely.
MONDAY, 3:09pm: A source tells ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Royals have "no interest" in Francoeur or Perez (Twitter link).
SUNDAY, 7:33pm: Talks between the Mets and Royals are fluid, though it doesn't appear that Guillen will be headed to Queens, says Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. It seems that if Guillen is dealt elsewhere, then Kansas City would be interested in Francoeur, Martino adds.
7:00pm: Francoeur and Perez are on the block, a source tells Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter). Another source tells Heyman that a trade with Kansas City "might happen" (Twitter link).
6:36pm: The Mets are in talks with the Royals and three names from each side are "in play," writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Those Royals players are Gil Meche, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Guillen while the Mets being discussed are Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Jeff Francoeur. It is unclear how advanced the talks are, cautions Rosenthal (via Twitter).
While the two sides aren't necessarily looking at a three-for-three swap, the two biggest contracts do match up well. Meche and Perez's contracts are identical over the next two seasons, with both pitchers earning $12MM in this year and next. The Mets made an attempt to swap the two just over a week ago.
Francoeur and Farnsworth also match up well, says Rosenthal. Farnsworth's contract has a club option for 2011 for $5.25MM, though he has the right to void it in favor of a $500K buyout if he is traded before the 2010 World Series. Francoeur will make $5MM this season before entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.
Oliver Perez is currently on the disabled list with a knee issue, but that hasn't stopped Mets' GM Omar Minaya from trying to unload the enigmatic lefty. ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin reports that the Mets approached the Royals about swapping Perez for Gil Meche, but were told no thanks. Talks with other teams have gone nowhere.
Perez, still just 28, hasn't pitched since the end of May because of the injury, though the team didn't exactly want him on the mound anyway. He had been sent to the bullpen after allowing 24 runs and walking more batters (28) than he struck out (27) in his first seven starts, and continued to pitch poorly in mop-up duty after the demotion. The injury was suspicious enough that the league decided to investigate, which is understandable after he refused a minor league assignment not long before.
Both Perez and Meche will earn the same $12MM this year and next, so the money would have been a wash if a trade did occur. Perez started a rehab assignment last Saturday, so the team has 30 days from then to activate him. It's hard to imagine any team taking on Perez without the Mets eating a significant portion of the money owed to him.
It's safe to say that Gil Meche is off to a less-than-stellar start as he has given up 16 runs with a 0.58 K/BB ratio in 12.2 innings of work. Even though he missed time early on this season with shoulder bursitis, Royals manager Trey Hillman doesn't believe that Meche is having any physical or mechanical issues (Ryan Young of The Kansas City Star reporting).
Meche, who shares the honor of having the largest contract in Royals history with Mike Sweeney, is set to earn $12MM in each of the two remaining years on his deal. The 31-year-old's contract didn't seem unreasonable at this time last year, as he turned in a 3.82 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 across his first two seasons in Kansas City. However, in the winter following his injury riddled 2009, the Royals told clubs that they would be open to dealing their former ace.
We've already looked at the largest contracts by service time and position, so let's now dig up the largest contracts ever given out by each of the 30 teams. These are in terms of guaranteed money only, but some could end up being even larger because of incentives and option years.
- Angels: Torii Hunter, five years, $90MM
- Astros: Carlos Lee, six years, $100MM
- Athletics: Eric Chavez, six years, $66MM
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells, seven years, $126MM
- Braves: Chipper Jones, six years, $90MM
- Brewers: Ryan Braun, eight years, $45MM
- Cardinals: Matt Holliday, seven years, $120MM
- Cubs: Alfonso Soriano, eight years, $136MM
- Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson, four years, $53.4MM
- Dodgers: Kevin Brown, seven years, $105MM
- Giants: Barry Zito, seven years, $126MM
- Indians: Travis Hafner, four years, $57MM
- Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, five years, $90MM
- Marlins: Hanley Ramirez, six years, $70MM
- Mets: Johan Santana, six years, $137.5MM
- Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, five years, $45MM
- Orioles: Miguel Tejada, six years, $72MM
- Padres: Jake Peavy, three years, $52MM
- Phillies: Chase Utley, seven years, $85MM
- Pirates: Jason Kendall, six years, $60MM
- Rangers: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $252MM
- Rays: Wilson Alvarez, five years, $35MM
- Reds: Ken Griffey Jr., nine years, $116.5MM
- Red Sox: Manny Ramirez, eight years, $160MM
- Rockies: Todd Helton, nine years, $141.5MM
- Royals: Gil Meche & Mike Sweeney, both five years, $55MM
- Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, eight years, $152.3MM
- Twins: Joe Mauer, eight years, $184MM
- White Sox: Frank Thomas, seven years, $64.4MM
- Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, ten years, $275MM
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.