Tag: bobby jenks

Will White Sox Want K-Rod?

Yesterday was the non-tendering deadline, and as a result one of the biggest names to hit the free-agent market was White Sox closer Bobby Jenks.

This leaves the ChiSox without a legitimate 9th-inning man, since J.J. Putz is also a free agent.

The White Sox also have signed Adam Dunn to a 4-year deal, and re-signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski. It is also rumored that they will find a way to bring Paul Konerko back. Looking at these moves, and their heavily veteran roster, this team is built to win now — and GM Kenny Williams seems intent on improving upon last year’s 88-74 record by providing Ozzie Guillen with all the talent he needs.

It seems like an ideal situation for Francisco Rodriguez.

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No Truth to Dye – Bailey YET

Despite a report from Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News reporting that the White Sox traded outfielder Jermaine Dye to the Cincinnati Reds for young hurler Homer Bailey, there is yet confirmation that the deal is done — or even true.

This according to the grunts on the floor in Las Vegas, who are reporting via Twitter (go to Twitter search and type in #bwm to get the frenzied reports on a minute-by-minute basis), as well as from Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.

I don’t see the Reds making a deal, since their pitching is a little iffy and would appear to be in something of a rebuilding mode. This time last year, Bailey’s stock was higher than that of Mike Pelfrey. Though he seemed to take a step backward in 2008, Bailey is still only 22 years old and has a world of talent. Those of us (myself included) were impatient with Pelfrey, but he certainly turned it around — Bailey has the same capability.

By the way the same story by Gonzales claims that the Mets-White Sox talks for Bobby Jenks never went anywhere, because the Mets didn’t want to part with Bobby Parnell. C’mon now, are you kidding me? That’s sillier than the Heilman / Feliciano / Huston Street rumor. If Parnell was the holdup in the deal then I fully expect the Mets to stop looking for a closer and give the job to Parnell. There had to be more to that story.

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Sherman: Putz Yes Bradford No

In his most recent column, Joel Sherman is reporting on several rumors. We’ll go over them one by one.

Jenks / Dye / F-Mart
Sherman claims there is nothing to the rumor that the Mets will trade Fernando Martinez to the White Sox as part of a package for Bobby Jenks and Jermaine Dye:

“Talked to a few Met officials who called it nonsense. The Mets have made Martinez all but untouchable.”

J.J. Putz
However, Sherman does report that the Mariners are making J.J. Putz available:

What falls under the category of real, the Post has learned, is that the Mariners have made J.J. Putz available.

Gee, thanks for scoop! However the rest of the planet above that rock the Post has been under, heard this about a month ago.

Sherman goes on to state:

“The Mets like Putz as much – or possibly more – than any of the available free-agent closers.”

Not sure why they’re so high on Putz, though I like him better than Fuentes. Do they know he’ll be 32 years old in February? That his walk rate increased dramatically in 2008? (From 13 in 72 IP in 2007 to 28 BB in 46 IP in ’08.) Do they know he had a balky elbow last season, one that put him on the DL for a month? I’m not sure I’d be so quick to trade young healthy prospects for this guy.

and

“I do keep hearing from both inside and outside the Met organization that they really are dead set against giving either Rodriguez or Fuentes more than three guaranteed years. They certainly are not going to give more than three years unless an agent for Fuentes or K-Rod can show an offer from somewhere else for more than three years. It is hard to unearth a team that is ready to go to four years for one of them. The Mets are scared about Kerry Wood’s injury history, but if he were willing to do a two-year contract and come to New York he would become as appealing to the Mets as either K-Rod or Fuentes.”

Have to agree with Sherman here — it makes no sense for the Mets to go more than three years for either K-Rod or Fuentes, when it’s unlikely anyone else is willing to give them a longer deal. I bet Kerry Wood is willing to take a two-year deal — the only issue is whether he wants to pitch in New York. Why give three years plus your #1 pick for the other guys when you can get someone nearly as good for two years and no pick? Of course, an MRI of his shoulder is a prerequisite, but Rodriguez and Fuentes do not come without risk — either may be on the brink of a breakdown, for all we know.

Chad Bradford
Sherman says the Rays offered ChadBrad to the Mets, but there was no interest:

“The Rays offered Chad Bradford to the Mets because $3.5 million is too much in Tampa’s world for a set-up man, and Ray officials were shocked when the Mets told them it is too much for them, as well.”

If this is true, I’m equally shocked — beyond belief. After seeing Bradford pitch better for one season than any other 6th-7th inning guy in Mets history, and seeing him continue to be effective after leaving New York, and knowing that his underhanded style allows him to pitch, literally, every day, and seeing how cheap he is relative to other middle relievers, there simply is no logical explanation for the Mets to balk at such an offer. Now, if the Rays were asking for Daniel Murphy, I understand. But if it was a salary dump, and the Rays were looking to open a conversation, this makes no sense.

The only reasoning that makes sense — again, if the rumor is true — is that by bringing back ChadBrad, the Mets think it will make them look like the bungling idiots for allowing him to walk away in the first place. Because if you remember, they thought Bradford wasn’t worth a 3-year deal (but somehow, Scott Schoeneweis was).

C’mon now …. swallow your pride, admit your mistake, and trade a bag of balls for Chad Bradford. He can pitch in ANY relief situation (including closer, if necessary), he’s cheap, he has one year left, and he’s better than anyone currently listed as a reliever on the 40-man roster.

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F-Mart for Jenks?

John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus suggests that the White Sox and Mets are talking about a blockbuster trade that would send Fernando Martinez to Chicago in return for Bobby Jenks and Jermaine Dye.

Strange, as Jermaine Dye — who has a no-trade clause — has repeatedly stated that he is not interested in going to a New York team. Maybe he can be persuaded after all.

If the rumor is true, the only problem I have is that Ken Williams — like Billy Beane — seems to have a brilliant knack for trading away pitchers at just the right time and acquiring pitchers at just the right time. My guess is that Aaron Heilman would also be part of the deal.

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Salomon Torres Retires

In a surprise move, Brewers closer Salomon Torres retired from baseball last week. Yeah, we’re a week late here but it takes a while for the pony express to get here from Wisconsin.

Torres chose to quit baseball in order to devote more time to serving God and his family.

Torres had the best season of his up-and-down career, saving 28 games and posting a 3.49 ERA for Milwaukee, who despite the retirement, chose to pick up the $3.5M option on his contract. The startling news further weakens an already emaciated Brewer bullpen, and puts them in the market for just about any relievers that are available.

So, add another team looking for a closer … and a setup man … and a few middle relievers … and a LOOGY.

Will this adversely affect the Mets’ pursuit of bullpen help? Possibly. While the Brewers aren’t likely to outbid the Mets on anyone, they could pluck some bargains (Kerry Wood) and have enough young talent to deal away for someone such as Huston Street or Bobby Jenks.

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Chicago Shopping Swisher

As MetsToday reader isuzudude pointed out earlier today, rumors persist that the Chicago White Sox are eager to ship out Nick Swisher.

The latest from Mark Gonzalez of The Chicago Tribune also confirms that the Palehose are committed to moving young star Alexei Ramirez to his more natural position of shortstop, and allowing free agent Orlando Cabrera to depart.

From the story:

A scouting source added the Sox have strengthened efforts to deal first baseman-outfielder Nick Swisher, who is signed through 2011 but doesn’t have the no-trade rights Konerko, pitcher Javier Vazquez and right fielder Jermaine Dye possess.

nick_swisher.jpgHmm … an opening at second base, a contract to dump … would Kenny Williams consider taking on Luis Castillo’s $18M in return for shedding Swisher’s $21M ? We discussed the possibility of Castillo going to Chicago in return for Paul Konerko last week, but that seems less realistic. Personally I’d do Castillo-for-Swisher in a heartbeat, install Swisher as the starting left fielder, and consider him as the heir to first base after Carlos Delgado exits. Swisher had a very difficult 2008, but at age 28 is entering his prime years and has shown both power and the ability to get on base in the past. He strikes out quite a bit, but makes up for it with his power, strong defensive skills and patience at the plate. Think of him as an Adam Dunn with a better glove and less swinging and missing. Oh, and the fact he’s a switch-hitter is nice, too. I also like his hard-nosed play.

Maybe the Mets can pull off a good old-fashioned blockbuster, and come away with Bobby Jenks and Javier Vazquez as well.

Let’s keep an eye on the developments in Chicago …

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Competition for Closers

Several teams are interested in Ms reliever JJ Putz

Several teams are interested in Ms reliever JJ Putz

Mets fans — myself included — tend to look at the winter market in a vacuum, seeing things only from the Flushing perspective. Unfortunately, there are 29 other teams in MLB, and many of them are — like the Mets — looking for a closer.

When it comes to free agents, the Mets have the advantage of deeper pockets than most teams — and there are few teams willing to consider the figure that Francisco Rodriguez will command. But if the Mets don’t get K-Rod (and hopefully, pass on Brian Fuentes), do they really have a chance to land a solid closer via trade?

Omar Minaya has insisted that the Mets “have the depth” to acquire a closer. But, number one, is he talking about a shaky closer (Kevin Gregg), a closer with plenty of question marks (B.J. Ryan), a closer who is coming off a bad year (J.J. Putz), or a legitimate, lights-out closer (Bobby Jenks)?

I don’t doubt that the Mets have the goods to trade for someone with closing experience. I’m just not sure that I’d (a) be happy with the “closer” acquired; or (b) judge the deal as fair for both sides.

The problem is that because most teams in the market for a closer can’t afford K-Rod, most are instead looking to make a trade. These are just a few of the teams likely in the market for a closer: Tigers, Angels (assuming they don’t re-sign K-Rod), Cubs (if they don’t re-up Kerry Wood), Indians, Rangers, Rockies (if they don’t sign Fuentes), Brewers, and Cardinals. In addition, the Braves may be looking to add, say, Huston Street, as a setup man or insurance against Mike Gonzalez. Similarly, the Diamondbacks may not be so convinced Chad Qualls is the answer as their 9th-inning man. The Dodgers are likely looking for an extra arm, with Joe Beimel a free agent and 38-year-old Takashi Saito no guarantee after a major elbow injury.

I’m not saying the Mets can’t compete with those teams in trade talks — rather, that the breadth of competition creates increased demand. So instead of the Mets trading, say, Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell for a J.J. Putz, the market condition bloats that package to include Dan Murphy and/or Fernando Martinez. Put another way, instead of getting a Kevin Gregg for a AA suspect (i.e., Michael Antonini), the cost is now an MLB-ready prospect or two (i.e., Niese and Parnell). In essence, paying double.

If my theory is correct, the Mets may be better off trying to sign someone like Brandon Lyon to a short-term, inexpensive deal (if that’s possible) — similar to what they did in the 2003-2004 winter with Braden Looper. In other words, get a stopgap, and hope that either the market conditions change, or someone from within (Brant Rustich? Brad Holt?) takes the fast track toward a 2010 / 2011 debut.

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