Posted on: February 18, 2011 1:53 pm
It looks as if new Blue Jay Frank Francisco is the early favorite for the closers job, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes.
Francisco is competing with Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel -- also newcomers to Toronto -- for the closer's spot.
"When you look at the guys in that mix, the fact that he attacks lefties with that success rate kind of gives him the edge coming in -- at least on paper," Jays manager John Farrell said.
All three have closing experience. Francisco, 31, had 25 saves in 2009 before Neftali Feliz came along. He also had two saves last year. Left-handers have hit just .214/.318/.315 against Francisco in his career, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio is better against right-handers (3.16) than left-handers (1.93).
Dotel, 37, is joining his 12th team of his career. He has 105 career saves, including 22 last season (21 for the Pirates and one for the Dodgers). He had 36 for the Astros and A's in 2004.
Francisco and Dotel each have career ERAs of 3.75, while the third member competing for that spot, Jon Rauch, has a 3.71 career ERA.
Rauch, 32, had 21 saves for the Twins last season and 47 in his career.
Rauch and Dotel signed as free agents with the Blue Jays, while Francisco came from Texas in exchange for Mike Napoli.
"I played there for six years and I didn't feel comfortable anymore," Francisco said. "They had a great, great staff and a great group of guys, but I wanted to see a change and see myself establish in the bilge leagues, like a closer -- not a setup man -- but a real closer. That's my dream."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: January 25, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 4:15 pm
As confirmed by both teams, the Blue Jays and Rangers have pulled the trigger on a deal that sends catcher/DH/first baseman Mike Napoli to Texas in exchange for reliever Frank Francisco and cash.
On its surface, it's tough to see what the Rangers' motivation is here. Francisco's presence was going to allow them to give closer Neftali Feliz a chance to test the waters as a starter. Napoli (who has been a Jay for all of four days after being traded from the Angels) seems to duplicate what the Rangers already had -- the arrival of Adrian Beltre displaced Michael Young, who is going to make $16 million to DH and spell at first and around the infield.
What is Napoli's role? He can catch, but the Rangers already signed Yorvit Torrealba as the starter and have Matt Treanor as the backup. Napoli apparently will play first in place of Mitch Moreland against left-handers and DH when Young is in the field. Napoli, who led the Angels with 26 homers last year, also gives them a power boost. On one level, you could say the Rangers have traded a potentially valuable starter (Feliz) for a backup infielder/DH. Maybe this is a sign the Rangers weren't serious/confident about Feliz as a starter.
It seems like a nice move for the Jays, who not only get the closer they needed (assuming he can beat out Octavio Dotel) but save money in the process. Continuing the momentum of his fleecing of the Angels, it's been a nice week for general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
Both players have arbitration hearings pending. Napoli is asking for $6.1 million while the Angels set the team number at $5.3 million. Francisco asked for $4.875 million with the Rangers offering $3.5 million.
-- David Andriesen
Posted on: December 28, 2010 9:35 pm
The deal completes a rumor that made the rounds Sunday. Dotel will compete with Jason Frasor to close and is coming off a year in which he posted a 4.08 ERA in 64 relief appearances as a 36-year-old.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 26, 2010 10:17 pm
Dotel will compete for the closer's spot along with Jason Frasor on a deal that will be very similar to his 2010 contract, split between the Pirates. Dodgers and Rockies. He will earn $3.2 million with an additional half million available as performance bonuses.
Dotel had a 4.08 ERA in 64 relief appearances, marking three straight seasons of at least 60 innings after struggling with injuries for three seasons.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: December 22, 2010 2:54 pm
Last year the Pirates signed Octavio Dotel to a one-year, $3.25 million deal, using him as their closer for the early part of the season, only to trade him to a contender at the deadline.
It worked once, who's to say it couldn't work again? According to FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi , the Pirates are interested in the free-agent right-hander.
Dotel, 37, appeared in 68 games last season for the Pirates, Dodgers and Rockies, going 3-4 with a 4.08 ERA, earning 22 saves -- all but one for the Pirates. He struck out 75 batters in 64 innings, walking 32.
The Rays and Blue Jays are also interested in Dotel, who has pitched for 10 different teams in 12 seasons in the big leagues.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Posted on: December 15, 2010 9:54 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 12:26 am
The White Sox have agreed to a three-year deal with Jesse Crain, as Peter Gammons reports .
This is the latest in a series of three-year deals given to relievers. First Joaquin Benoit set the market, then Scott Downs and Matt Guerrier followed.
Gotta say, it's a good year to be a middle reliever.
Crain recently finished up a year in which he pitched 68 innings of a 3.04 ERA. He boasts a career ERA of 3.42 along with a 4.48 xFIP, so may be hurt by the move to homer-friendly US Cellular Field.
That said, Crain is just 29 and punched out 8/21 batters per nine in 2010, walking 3.57. Throwing an average fastball that is just a hair under 95-mph, he matches up with Chicago's affinity for hard-throwing relievers.
In other relief news, Hardball Talk has Bobby Jenks nearing an agreement with the Rays. This is a fantastic agreement for both sides, as Jenks will land somewhere where he won't have any trouble sewing up a closer's gig. That'll allow him to spend 2011 trying to rehabilitate his value, while the Rays pick up an underrated pitcher who seemed to clash with skipper Ozzie Guillen in Chicago. (However, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says Jenks isn't close to a decision and has also heard from the Yankees.)
The Red Sox continue their slew of uninspiring relief signings, blanching at the three-year demands out there. A day after inking Matt Albers, the Red Sox have brought back lefty Lenny DiNardo, as WEEI reveals. The deal is of the minor-league variety. DiNardo was with the Red Sox from 2004-06, then traveled to the A's where he enjoyed success on now-Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young. He struggled from 2008-10 with injuries and bounced from the A's to Royals and back to Oakland. Now, he'll serve as depth for Boston with an outside shot toward winning a bullpen job out of spring training.
The Jays, meanwhile, aren't asleep at the switch in finding a reliever. They're hot after Octavio Dotel, as FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. Dotel could potentially close in Toronto, which may appeal to the 37-year-old. The club could pit Dotel and Jason Frasor in a contest for the job. Dotel isn't the reliever he once was, but in a market where three-year deals are the norm for relievers, Dotel suddenly starts to look attractive on a one- or two-year pact.
Lastly, the Yankees are hard after a left-handed reliever. That puts them in line for Brian Fuentes, Pedro Feliciano, Arthur Rhodes, and more. Rhodes was thought to be close to a deal to re-up with the Reds but with the market the way it is, may listen to alternatives. Fuentes is the best lefty on the market, so the Yankees will have to pony up, but they have a ton of cash burning a hole in their pocket.
UPDATE : Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports has Crain's deal at three years, $13 million.
Also, Kerry Wood is headed back to the Cubs, as Rosenthal adds . The two sides are working on an agreement for Wood to set up Carlos Marmol, freeing up Andrew Cashner for the rotation.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: November 30, 2010 11:55 pm
The Rangers' Frank Francisco and the Blue Jays' Jason Frasor have accepted salary arbitration, the Major League Baseball Players Association announced Tuesday night. They were the only two of 27 arbitration-eligible free agents to accept.
Francisco and Frasor are both middle relievers and may have found themselves hamstrung by being Type A free agents and costing a draft pick to sign.
Turning down arbitration were Kevin Gregg, Octavio Dotel, Trevor Hoffman, Kevin Correia, Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, Brad Hawpe, Felipe Lopez, Scott Downs, Randy Choate, Grant Balfour, J.J. Putz, Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, Carl Pavano, Adrian Beltre, Chad Qualls, Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth, Adam Dunn, Jesse Crain, Orlando Hudson, Paul Konerko, Miguel Olivo and Adam LaRoche.
Those 25 players could still re-sign with their previous teams.
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2010 free agency, Aaron Heilman, Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, Adrian Beltre, Blue Jays, Brad Hawpe, Carl Crawford, Carl Pavano, Chad Qualls, Cliff Lee, Felipe Lopez, Frank Francisco, Grant Balfour, Hot Stove League, J.J. Putz, Jason Frasor, Jayson Werth, Jesse Crain, Kevin Correia, Kevin Gregg, Miguel Olivo, Octavio Dotel, Orlando Hudson, Paul Konerko, Pedro Feliciano, Rafael Soriano, Randy Choate, Rangers, Scott Downs, Trevor Hoffman
Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:03 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 8:06 pm
The Milwaukee Brewers offered Trevor Hoffman arbitration, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Hoffman has agreed to decline arbitration.
Hoffman is a Type B free agent, so Milwaukee will net a compensatory pick if he signs elsewhere. The career leader in saves has indicated he will only play in 2011 if he is the closer, which he be in Milwaukee if he chose to return.
In other arbitration news:
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Heilman, Adam LaRoche, Angels, Bengie Molina, Brad Hawpe, Braves, Brewers, Carl Crawford, Chad Qualls, Cliff Lee, Derrek Lee, Diamondbacks, Frank Francisco, Grant Balfour, Hideki Matsui, Hot Stove League, Joaquin Benoit, Jorge de la Rosa, Kevin Millwood, Koji Uehara, MLB rumors, Octavio Dotel, Orioles, Rafael Soriano, Randy Choate, Rangers, Rays, Rays, Rockies, Royals, Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero