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MLB News and Rumors: Infante lands in Kansas City

MLB News and Rumors: Infante lands in Kansas City
December 14, 2013
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With the offseason now in full spring, news will continue to become more and more frequent. In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Friday, December 13th.

Top Stories 

  • Division-rival Kansas City continued their productive winter, inking second baseman Omar Infante to a four-year, $30.25 million deal.  Infante chose the Royals over the Yankees.
  • The Rockies agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million deal with lefty reliever Boone Logan.  I usually keep my own opinions out of this piece, but Logan getting $16.5 million baffles me.  It seems like even more reason for the Indians to pass on signing any big name relievers.
  • The Rays agreed to re-sign first baseman James Loney to a three-year, $21 million deal, further thinning the first base market.
  • The Indians agreed to a Major League deal with infielder David Adams.  Adams spent last season with the Yankees and still has one option remaining.  Cleveland also agreed to Minor League deal with pitchersTyler Cloyd and Travis Banwart, and outfielder Matt Carson.

Other News and Notes 

  • The Diamondbacks re-signed pitcher Daniel Hudson to a Minor League deal.
  • The Twins agreed to reunite with outfielder Jason Kubel on a Minor League deal.
  • Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported that Gavin Floyd is close to signing a one-year deal with an unknown team.  Encina says the team is not the Orioles.
  • Encina also reports that the Orioles are still negotiating with Grant Balfour.
  • Former Rays first round pick Tim Beckham will miss most of the 2014 season after tearing his ACL.
  • Jon Heyman says the Reds do not have any desire to trade Homer Bailey, despite the fact that he will enter free agency after the 2014 season.

User Comments

Willie
December 14, 2013 - 9:28 PM EST
MadThinker,

It seems like I heard Crain will have a work out for teams in January. That seems to suggest, he will be a late signing, which could work in the Tribes favor.

As for Bruce Chen, it seems like he's been around FOREVER, he's still a very viable option. At the very least he could fill as a swing man or LOOGY at worst.

Overall, I'd would like either. It doesn't look like the Royals will spend on him, besides they have depth an young affordable talent so I'd guess they've moved on. Although there are a few pieces in their pen they could move to free up some salary. Crain would be a nice add, at a reasonable price. IF he's healthy, he could be a big add for the pen. I think they should take a chance on him on a low cost deal with incentives and possibly an option.

Two under the radar names the Tribe could consider...hard throwing 23 yo RHRP Raciel Iglesias a recent Cuban import and 27 yo RHSP Suk-Min Yoon from Korea. Yoon is a FA, and will not require a posting fee. Yoon has been an effective SP, but had a shldr strain and returned later in the yr pitching efficiently out of the pen.
MT88 in WI
December 14, 2013 - 8:57 PM EST
Two guys I would like the Indians to pursue and I really haven't heard much of anything on are: Bruce Chen and Jessie Crain.

Crain could be either the closer or key 8th inning guy as Allen and Shaw fill out the 7th & 9th.

Chen is a guy that just keeps getting it done ans as a lefty could add value to either the bullpen or the rotation (back-end).
Hiram
December 14, 2013 - 6:34 PM EST
Rick...

Right on brotha, you are on the ball
Seth
December 14, 2013 - 5:01 PM EST
I'd rather have Carrasco, Tomlin, Bauer than Arroyo. Arroyo would be a bad fit for the defensively challenged Tribe. Older Josh Tomlin, pretty much. Signing Arroyo would be Brett Myers, Part II. Better, cheaper in-house options.

I don't really see this season's free agent market having been so overheated, outside of some questionable signings in San Francisco and Minnesota. Most deals for starting pitchers have pretty much lined up with projections for those players. If anything, what you're seeing is more of a move towards sabermetrics. Guys like Phil Hughes, Lincecum and Feldman looks a lot better in terms of FIP and park-adjusted WAR (still a massive overpay by the Giants, no one would've come close to what they paid him. Think the same with Hughes) Kazmir's another who had great peripherals. In terms of projections, Steamer likes Kazmir (and Feldman) more than Ubaldo for next year. Not surprising that Arroyo, a guy whose ERA has been consistently lower than his FIP, doesn't have much of a market.
Jim
December 14, 2013 - 4:53 PM EST
Yeah...reverse those contracts...;)
Jim
December 14, 2013 - 4:51 PM EST
Which was more or less my point James...I know you can argue Arroyo vs. Kazmir, but i truly don't see a two-year, $22 million for Arroyo if they wouldn't pay Kaz on a two-year $20, even understanding the Kazmir risks.

I think the market will shuffle out and either present the Indians with a more cost effective signing, or more likely, present the Indians with a trade that will bring in someone under some control...

Just a lot to shake out at this point...
James
December 14, 2013 - 4:19 PM EST
You're right, it wasn't just being lucky. But I think the Indians, despite all their skill and effort, can do the same thing with multiple similarly positioned players and get nothing for it. See Matsuzake, D., Lowe, D., Myers, B. etc So I think you need "luck" in that 4 out of 5 of these projects aren't going to work out. I guess I just look at 2yr/$20mil for an under 4era 199 inning+ guy and wonder why people aren't jumping at that versus some of the 4 year contracts going to suspect pitchers. We say we want Paul Byrd. Arroyo is your Paul Byrd(without the double windup). I don't think you find anything better/cheaper in FA. If not that than you can only trade. Which in fairness is what it appears the Indians are thinking.
Rick
December 14, 2013 - 3:22 PM EST
I don't really think you can paint Kazmir as the Indians just lucking out. They deserve credit for taking educated guesses that generally pan out well when buying low on reclamation projects. Myers was the exception. I find it reassuring that the burn they took on Myers has sunk in well enough to hold pat in what has been a ridiculously inflated market.

I'm not sold that KC has had a big year. Watched Moore and Yost on MLB during the meetings and their was a distinct air of desperation about them both - even with Moore getting extended. Infante in some ways salvages a rather 'throw money' approach - he's a great sign. But still, how is Vargas @ 40 mill plus a offset for losing Santana or even an upgrade over Chen?

The same goes for the Twins. They spent because they were last in everything in pitching and division celler dwellers and had to.

I trust this FO & Tito. We will have a Byrd like vet added to our staff to stabilize it.

Right now, the Tigers have gotten a bit stronger in their pen, but does subtracting Infante AND Prince AND Peralta really get offset by adding Kinsler?

Lots of time for action before Spring.



James
December 14, 2013 - 2:32 PM EST
Jim, what I meant by "best deal" was most bang for the buck. Given the ridiculous market, Arroyo seems unreasonably undervalued. I agree the Indians shouldn't do anything just to do something. However, I disagree that there will be better stuff leftover. You are going to get Brett Myers 1yr $7mil type stuff. I would rather do Arroyo 2/$10mil then two 1yr busts at $7mil. Kazmir was luck, the Indians have a much longer list of failures than successes in their bargain bin shopping. Heck, mediocre middle relievers are getting 3/$16. 2/$20 for a reliable #4 starter is as good a deal as you will find and fills a huge hole for the Indians. Certainly better than sinking 2/$20 on Grant Belfour.
Joey
December 14, 2013 - 1:50 PM EST
And to think we gave Kerry Wood the same amount of money in 2009 (20.5 2 yrs) that the Tigers paid Joe Nathan this year
Dennis
December 14, 2013 - 12:25 PM EST
What about James McDonald ex-Pirate SP?
Walter
December 14, 2013 - 11:42 AM EST
Reds have same tight payroll as the Indians. The latest rumor has the reds offering a 1yr deal. They want to sign Bailey long term similar to Masterson. I believe Latos becomes FA after 15. It is one of the reasons they want to trade Phillips.

I think Arroyo is an older version to Tomlin only difference Arroyo has been able to Master is craft While Tomlin is starting over after his surgery.
Jim
December 14, 2013 - 11:31 AM EST
The Indians should never take "the best deal out there." I'm not suggesting that you are far off James, or even trying to argue a point, but I think that there are going to be more cost effective options out there either now, or perhaps during spring training, as players move and shuffle. I like Arroyo just fine, but would never pay him that type of money. I'd rather treat water than sign a guy that keeps the Indians from making moves for better players later.
James
December 14, 2013 - 11:23 AM EST
It makes no sense to me that the Indians aren't after Arroyo. He only wants a two year deal. He is the model of consistency. Tons of experience. Probably in the $10-$11mil range. Seems like the best deal out there to me. Definitely rather him than Colon or Kazmir.
Willie
December 14, 2013 - 11:22 AM EST
*forgot to mention Colon, and Anderson*
Willie
December 14, 2013 - 11:20 AM EST
I think the Tribe can't afford to bank on Salazar, Kluber and McAllister reproducing their 2013 numbers and all of Bauer, Carrasco, and Tomlin are uncertainties. IMO, they cannot afford to not sign or acq. a cpl SP. Unless, they plan to rush TJ House or Cody Anderson. This is why I think we will see the Tribe make a few moves to acq. some SP.

I said, before the Winter Mtgs I believed they would acq. at least 2 pitchers in the next 10-14 days. So far, they've added Tyler Cloyd and Travis Wanwart. Not what I had in mind. IF Cloyd is pitching for the Tribe, we are in trouble...

I still think they've got something working with SP. They'll probably land a cpl of vets on minor league / minimum type deals. In the last week we've heard interest in Marcum, Hammel, Balfour, Axford, and Benoit. There's a chance they land 1/2 of those. I'm sure there are others they have discussed quietly.
Tony
December 14, 2013 - 10:43 AM EST
Joe, I am inclined to agree. Free agency is rather costly, and the market has been ridiculous this offseason. Teams are paying $4-6M per on mutli-year deals for middle relievers. That kind of money used to go to closers. And the closers may not be getting the long four and five years deals, but they are still getting $7-10 million per as well. The starting pitching is what is most out of whack. Guys who *should* be going for $6-8 million per are going for $10-13 million per. I think next offseason we will hopefully see things become a little more reasonable. THere have been these spikes in the past where teams have done some wild spending....but the market has always sort of corrected itself in the past.

As for the Indians, I dunno. Not sure what to make of their offseason yet. I do think it is important to not tie up much money beyond this season if they have any inclination of signing Masterson to an extension. The roster is already getting expensive and will get more expensive next year with even more internal raises. I really want them to at least get a starting pitcher and a backend reliever....they appear deadset on getting a closer which I am fine with and will like (well, depending WHO they sign).....but I still feel a little uneasy about handing the 5th spot to Carrasco or Tomlin to start the season. Would rather find a for sure innings eater because we don't know for sure what we will get from Salazar, Kluber and McAllister as well....
Willie
December 14, 2013 - 10:43 AM EST
Walter,

Generally, the week or two before Christmas is a busy time. Clubs are coming out of Winter Mtgs with a lot of face-to-face discussion. A lot of players and teams want to get things done before the Christmas and New Years holidays. Last yr three big trades (Choo, Dickey and Hanrahan) and other lesser trades went down 10-14 days or so after the Winter Mtgs. Also, a cpl big name FA (Hamilton, A.Sanchez) found new homes or re-signed.

The Tribe obviously, wants to add a CL in FA. So it seems likely the Tribe will land one of: Benoit, Balfour or Axford in the next week or so. Also, I think there's a chance they make a move with ACab or an OF to add a SP.
Walter
December 14, 2013 - 9:58 AM EST
There were a lot of teams that were fairly inactive at the Winter Meetings. Does the forum believe that the up coming week before X-mas will be busy in FA signings and trades?
Willie
December 14, 2013 - 9:48 AM EST
The Royals have been rumored to have had trade discussions with the Blue Jays for Billy Butler. It seems likely they will look to move some salary to accommodate Infante's signing. The Royals have essentially rolled the dice on both Vargas and Infante inking four yr deals for both, it's a risk but also, a lower cost risk, bc they've essentially stretched out a larger salary over more yrs. it could hamstring them in the future.

As for the CL role, I prefer the cheaper, younger and controllable John Axford. Axford struggled out if the gates last yr seemingly continuing his hang over from 2012. Axford came on strong as the season progressed and was sharp -no pun intended- during his Sept. and Oct. stretch with the Cards. The Cards, identified something Axford was doing to tip batters off on his FB. They made a minor adjustment, and Axford was flat dominate regaining his velocity. I suspect he could reproduce numbers like 2010 and 2011 again.

Here's an article re: the mechanical adjustments...
http://www.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=446099#gameType='R'§ionType=career&statType=2&season=2013&level='ALL'
Clay
December 14, 2013 - 9:43 AM EST
Rumors have Balfour holding out for a 3rd guaranteed year, Baltimore supposedly is holding firm on a 2 year deal.

Some reports had Cleveland and San Diego offering Benoit a 2 years 14 million deal with San Diego having some kind of option year attached.
Walter
December 14, 2013 - 9:28 AM EST
I wonder why Balfour has not signed with the Orioles. Have the Indians made an offer to him and he still deciding. Or is holding out for $$$ from someone else?

Latest on Benoit? I thought the Padres were a shoe in to sign him. I think Axford will wait out to see where Balfour and Benoit end up signing.
Canadian Joe
December 14, 2013 - 9:27 AM EST
With some of the ridiculous salaries being paid this year, have to like the Indians approach. Overpaying is one thing, but at these prices, no way. Adams signing appears low risk. Anything else done should be by way of trades. Boy, the AL Central is getting stronger and stronger. No longer whipping boys !!!
Willie
December 14, 2013 - 8:57 AM EST
Infante's signing with the Royals thins the INF options. Stephen Drew remains unsigned, he could be an option for the Yankees IF they still want an INF. Obviously, there have been rumors linking the Yankees and. Brandon Phillips, it seems more like the Reds are trying to move Phillips, than the Yanks pursuing him.

This being said, It would seem the Yankees and Indians could be a match for a ACab deal IF the Yanks are still interested in adding an INF.

As for Gavin Floyd, there is some speculation the mystery team is the Blue Jays. They have wanted a SP and have been rumored to have interest in Floyd. He's a guy I wouldn't mind seeing the Tribe get, but at this point it seems likely his price is too steep for them.

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