Tag:MLB Rumors
Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 11:02 pm

Rangers sign Nathan, move Feliz to rotation

By Matt Snyder

The Texas Rangers have signed former Twins closer Joe Nathan, the team announced Monday night. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the deal is for two years and $14.5 million with a club option for 2014.

The plan all along was to move Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation, and this signing only reinforces those plans -- with Mike Adams and Joe Nathan now forming the back-end of the Texas bullpen. Feliz has been told he's moving to the rotation.

“Jon Daniels and Ron Washington called me a couple of days ago and told me about the team’s decision for me to be a starting pitcher next season," Feliz said in a statement. "I was a starter for my whole career before I came to the major leagues. I am happy to know the team’s decision this early, and I have plenty of time to get ready. I have already started running."

Nathan was one of baseball's premier closers from 2004-09. He was a four-time All-Star who twice finished in the top five of Cy Young voting. His average season in that stretch was 41 saves with a 1.87 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 86 strikeouts in 70 innings. That would be a career year for many, many pitchers, but that was the average season for Nathan.

Closing Time
But then he tore the ulnar-collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow prior to the 2010 season and needed to have Tommy John surgery. It caused him to miss all of 2010. In 2011, Nathan wasn't himself in the early going, as he probably just wasn't fully recovered. From his June 25 return to the end of the season, Nathan had 11 saves and six holds against just one blown save with a 3.38 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and nearly a strikeout per inning. Given a full offseason, it's possible Nathan gets closer back to previous form, though at age 37 (it's actually his birthday Tuesday), the odds of him getting all the way back to pre-surgery form aren't great.

If your favorite team is still in need of a closer, don't fret. Heath Bell, Ryan Madson, Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez are still free agents along with cheaper options like Jonathan Broxton, Matt Capps and Brad Lidge. Plus, Huston Street and Andrew Bailey appear to be available via trade.

Finally, with Feliz's official move to the rotation, the odds of the Rangers letting free agent starter C.J. Wilson walk increase. Feliz will likely join the foursome of Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and either Alexi Ogando or Scott Feldman. If the Rangers do choose to re-up with Wilson, both Ogando and Feldman could pitch out of the bullpen.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:45 pm

Report: Two clubs interested in Huston Street

By Matt Snyder

This just in: Rockies closer Huston Street is on the trade market. Yeah, you've heard that before. So let's dive right into the latest rumor.

The Orioles and Blue Jays are taking a look at the right-handed closer, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. Rosenthal also throws Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie in the mix as a possible match. It's worth noting there are likely a lot more than two teams interested in Street, but we're just talking about this particular rumor for now.

The Blue Jays' name being here is pretty obvious. They don't have an established closer and are looking like they have a shot at contending in 2012. So let's just focus on the Orioles part.

Hot Stove
The O's do have Jim Johnson and Kevin Gregg in house. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter reportedly wants Johnson in the rotation and it's very reasonable to believe the Orioles don't want to leave Kevin Gregg as the closer. It was pretty stupid to sign him in the first place, but what's done is done and it's a new administration. Moving forward, Street could help the Orioles fill a need, if Johnson is indeed moved to the rotation.

Street, 28, saved 29 of 33 chances last season with a 3.86 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He's been one of the better closers in baseball a few seasons, but consistency has been an issue. Still, he's better than Gregg, there's no question about that.

Johnson, 28, was a valuable member of the Orioles' bullpen last season, saving nine games with a 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 91 innings.

Meanwhile, the Rockies could use starting pitching help and Guthrie is a fit. He has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past three seasons. He's had a good ERA three of the past five seasons, but his win-loss record is awful due to playing for the Orioles. On a good team, he's definitely got the chance to be a serviceable middle-of-the-rotation guy. And if the Rockies deal Street, they feel comfortable with Rafael Betancourt as the closer.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:43 am
Edited on: November 21, 2011 11:51 am

Report: Reds looking at Andrew Bailey

By Matt Snyder

With the departure of closer Francisco Cordero via free agency, the Reds now have a hole at the back-end of their bullpen. They also don't have much, if any, money to spend in free agency. Thus, they're going to have to figure something out. Whether it's an in-house option (Aroldis Chapman, who is supposed to be a starter? Nick Masset? Brad Boxberger?) or someone they land via trade remains to be seen. But here's a rumor to chew on, courtesy of ESPN.com's Buster Olney: The Reds are looking at A's closer Andrew Bailey.

Bailey, 27, saved 24 games in 26 chances with a 3.24 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings during the 2011 season. It was the worst of his career, though, as the two-time All-Star has a career 2.07 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with exactly one strikeout per inning in three seasons.

Bailey is under team control until 2015, so his asking price won't likely be very cheap. The Reds do have Yonder Alonso, a highly-touted young slugger who is blocked at first base by Joey Votto, however, that's an awfully steep price to pay for a closer. Evidently that hasn't stopped fans from tapping Alonso on Twitter, though, because he just tweeted this:

"Was [SIC] the deal with all this trade talks!? Relax guys!! Reds all the way!"

Anyway, this Bailey talk is nothing more than a rumor at this point, but it's certainly something to watch.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:18 am

Clint Barmes signs with Pirates

By Matt Snyder

The Pirates have signed free agent shortstop Clint Barmes to a two-year, $10.5 million contract, multiple outlets are reporting.

“In talking with my agent and talking with the club, they were wanting to make a decision and they wanted to know by pretty much yesterday who their shortstop was going to be so they could continue to move on,” Barmes said (MLB.com). “It was one of those things they had a few others guys lined up behind me, and the way it was explained to me I was the first in line as far as who they wanted. They threw a great offer.”

The Pirates had previously declined to pick up the option for incumbent shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

Barmes, 32, is a very good defensive shortstop who hit .244/.312/.386 with 27 doubles and 12 homers in 123 games last season for the Astros.

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Posted on: November 20, 2011 3:47 pm

Lots of interest in Jonathan Broxton

By Matt Snyder

Former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton appears to be drawing lots of interest on the free agency market. More than 10 teams have requested his medicals and are looking closely at him, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com.

Broxton had a swift fall from grace. At several different points in 2009 and 2010, he was one of the best closers in baseball. He is a two-time All-Star. Through 38 appearances in 2010, he had converted 19 of 21 save opportunities with a 1.93 ERA and 53 strikeouts in just 37 1/3 innings. He had only walked seven. The rest of the season, however, he blew five saves while recording only three. His ERA was 7.20 and he walked more guys (21) than he struck out (20). The bad carried over into 2011, as he was awful through 14 outings before an elbow injury ended his season prematurely.

Closing Time
Broxton had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in September and is expected to be ready for the spring. It's possible his elbow woes were the cause of Broxton's struggles, so if he's now healthy, it's possible he becomes a gem as a cheap free agent. He's certainly worth a one-year contract and should be plenty attractive to teams seeking bullpen help but not willing to go after a big-money target like Heath Bell or Ryan Madson. The Twins come to mind, just as the Reds do. Maybe the Rangers go after him, as Neftali Feliz is ticketed for the starting rotation. The Mets, Blue Jays, Orioles, Angels and Marlins all make sense as well. And we still haven't named more than 10 teams. So it's wide open.

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Posted on: November 20, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: November 20, 2011 12:06 pm

'50-50' chance that Yu Darvish posts

By Matt Snyder

Japanese phenom Yu Darvish will be one of the hottest free agent starting pitchers on a pretty lackluster market, if he decides that he wants to post. And according to his father, it's not a done deal he'll do so.

“Yu and I are talking about having a family meeting once the Nippon Series is over," Farsa Darvish said (NPBTracker.com). “At this point it’s about 50-50.”

Darvish, a 25-year-old right-hander, has been the ace of the Nippon Ham for several years. In 164 career starts, Darvish is 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP with just about one strikeout per inning pitched. He's also thrown 55 complete games and 18 shutouts. In 2011, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 276 strikeouts in 232 innings with 10 complete games and six shutouts. Given those numbers, it's pretty obvious he's good enough to get a shot in Major League Baseball, so it's up to Darvish whether or not he takes that shot at this point in time.

Since Darvish is not yet an international free agent, he'd enter MLB via the posting system. That means interested teams submit an undisclosed dollar figure in an attempt to "win" the chance to negotiate with Darvish. Whichever team submits the highest figure pays that to Nippon and then has to agree to a contract with Darvish. In a way, it's like paying twice; once to the team and once to the player. You might remember this process from when the Red Sox paid a tick over $51 million to the Seibu Lions just for the rights to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka -- who eventually signed a six-year, $52 million contract.

Several marquee teams, like the Yankees and Rangers, are said to be interested in Darvish, should he post.


(Stats via Japanesebaseball.com)

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 6:47 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 7:14 pm

Steinbrenner: Yankees rotation is a 'concern'

By Matt Snyder

It's no secret that behind ace/workhorse CC Sabathia, the Yankees' starting pitching is a bit of a question mark. Ivan Nova had a strong rookie season, but then there was Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. That's not exactly the most reliable stable of starters.

Rumor Mill
"We were concerned about pitching last year, and it ended up working out pretty well," said Hal Steinbrenner told a group of reporters, including Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. "I'm still a little concerned about our rotation."

And when the Yankees have a concern, you can bet they're going to do what it takes to fix it ...

"There are some concerns, and we're going to address them," Steinbrenner added.

Considering this is a team with the expectations of winning the World Series every single season and had a payroll north of $200 million last season, there's reason to believe they'll go after some arms. Remember, Tuesday night we wrote that the Yankees had met with the agent for both C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt. Yu Darvish and Mark Buehrle could also be in the mix.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 6:33 pm

Brewers shortstop search includes Betancourt

By Matt Snyder

With the Brewers pretty well resigned to the fact that they're going to lose All-Star slugger Prince Fielder to free agency, it appears they've instead focused on shortstop. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports that it's more likely they land Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins than retain Fielder. Of course, Knobler also reports that either Reyes or Rollins would be a longshot as well. So that means they'll likely have to focus their efforts a bit lower down the list of available shortstops.

Could Clint Barmes be a possibility? Tuesday, MLB.com reported the Brewers were taking a look at Barmes. He'd definitely be an affordable option and is a mildly productive player. He had a good defensive season while collecting 27 doubles and 12 homers in 495 plate appearances.

Rafael Furcal's name has been mentioned, too, but Knobler reported Tuesday that the Brewers have some serious reservations about going after Furcal and may just bring back Yuniesky Betancourt. Also, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has mentioned that general manager Doug Melvin continues to preach that Betancourt is better than his critics, which sounds a lot like he's bracing himself for another season of Yuni.

Betancourt, 29, is widely regarded as a poor defensive shortstop and hit .252/.271/.381 last season, his first in Milwaukee.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com