- Brian Fuentes finally found a team. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for two-years, $17.5 million, with a vesting option for a third year. A little cheaper than K-Rod, eh?
- Claudio Vargas signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. $400,000 base salary with up to $1.4 million in incentives. Why couldn't the Mets do this?
- The Cubs have traded utility man Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for three minor leaguers. I expect Omar Minaya to land a utility guy for the Mets quite soon. I'm looking at you, Alex Cora.
- The Cubbies are also in talks to trade Jason Marquis to the Rockies for Luis Vizcaino. An upgrade from Heilman, if ever so slightly.
Why, you ask?
Because they think they'll get a deal on Brian Fuentes, the closer they want. The Mets had wanted to stay away from setting the bar for the market, but it looks like their hand is forced in this situation.
The Indians are waiting for the Mets to sign a closer, their hope being that once the big-market Mets are out of the closer derby, the prices will fall. In particular, the Indians hope the Mets take Francisco Rodriguez out of the mix. Multiple officials from other teams say they believe the Indians are particularly intrigued if Brian Fuentes' dollar demands plummet to an acceptable level for them.The move is yours, Omar Minaya. Let's kick this off-season off with a bang.
Jon Heyman is reporting that the Mets and Brian Fuentes will have a meeting sometime today to discuss years and dollar signs. Francisco Rodriguez already has an offer on the table, according to Heyman.
The Mets made an initial offer, believed to be for three years, to Rodriguez, who is thought to be their first choice. However, Mets people like Fuenets very much as well, and view him as a viable second choice.I wonder if Fuentes will only get a hamburger in his sit down with the Mets. Maybe only a chicken platter.
Update: Trevor Hoffman meeting soon after Fuentes get together, per David Lennon.
I guess Minaya had a case of Red Bull this morning.
According to sources, Minaya and K-Rod (and his agent, I assume) had a lengthy sit-down at a steakhouse last night. David Lennon reports the meeting was over four hours long. He also wrote "Minaya only smiled when asked whether an offer had been made."
Sly, Omar. Very sly.
I'm anticipating a quick signing of a closer so the Mets can move on to other things.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Mets will not make simultaneous offers to K-Rod, Brian Fuentes and Trevor Hoffman. Instead, they will likely offer it to their first choice (Rodriguez), and move down the line from there (Fuentes, Hoffman).
If nothing comes of that, I'm sure they'll turn to Kerry Wood before they look into a trade, as they don't want to give up any of their young talent if they don't have to.
Also: Check out this strangely appropriate Photoshop from a few months ago (two months to the day, exactly!).
The Winter Meetings start tomorrow. Prepare for news overload. Tune in here, as I will work as the filter between you and all the ridiculous news. If it's worthwhile, you'll read it here. If it's just rumors for the heck of rumors, I'll be sure you won't be bothered with it.
Olney takes some educated guesses on his blog, and proposes what he believes the Mets will offer to the top three closers on the market: Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes and Kerry Wood.
Francisco Rodriguez, three years and $36 million; Brian Fuentes, three years and $30 million; Kerry Wood, two years and $16 million to $18 million. The Mets are really sitting in a strong position, as perhaps the only big-market team intent on spending good money on a reliever, and their intention is to present the offers with this marching order: The first reliever who accepts our offer is going to be our closer.I am going to go out on the veritable limb here and say the Mets are going to sign K-Rod. I also think they're going to deal Aaron Heilman and someone else in a package for a good 8th inning guy either before or very soon after they land their closer.
On my Christmas list: A "Rodriguez" Mets jersey.
A few days ago, a poll finished up in which I asked which closer fans would want more. K-Rod led the poll, garnering 41 percent of the vote, with Brian Fuentes getting 27 percent. A lot of fans have brought up Rodriguez's decreased velocity over the last few years, and commenter Paul Mannino has continually brought up the fact that Fuentes led Rodriguez in VORP last season.
(VORP, for those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, stands for Value Over Replacement Player. It is compiled as (((League Runs/Game + 1) - RAvg)/9)*Innings Pitched. Enjoy that.)
Noble also notes that the Mets are likely to come away from the Winter Meetings empty handed.
Again, I don't care who they sign, as long as he doesn't break the Mets bank.
According to Jeff Wilpon in an article in today's Daily News, Omar Minaya has been working the phones.
I know that there is a lot of activity with Omar on the phone talking to different GMs right now trying to get something done in a trade or maneuvering so that he's ready when we get to the winter meetings and go from there.I also love this little quote.
He's [Minaya] like, 'Listen, we'll take care of business.' He's on the phone all the time now with other GMs trying to set things up.I can just imagine Minaya turning to Wilpon and saying "Listen, we'll take care of business!"
Well, get it done, Omar. Take care of business.
Here are the results...
Francisco Rodriguez -- 41%
Brian Fuentes -- 27%
Kerry Wood -- 13%
Other -- 11%
Bobby Jenks -- 4%
It was obvious that Rodriguez and Fuentes would top the list, but I am surprised how many more votes K-Rod garnered.
Also, Wood was not offered arbitration by the Chicago Cubs, meaning they will not receive draft picks when he signs elsewhere. Don't get that move. Seems like they're putting a lot of stock in Jeff Samardzija and Kevin Gregg.
Personally, I'd take any of them, as long as it doesn't cost too much. The Mets have too many other holes to fill to break the bank on the closer, even though they need one so desperately.
Next Poll: Who will be the breakout star in '09?
The article notes that the Rockies will offer arbitration to Fuentes, but he will turn it down and look elsewhere for work. It also brings up Colorado's Huston Street and the discussions they've had with the Mets regarding him and Aaron Heilman.
Nothing new there to note, but the lone comment on this article really hits home. From Warren G.:
Aaron Heilman is another scrub who will come in and blow games. And starting? He wants to start? He would be just another over-paid #5 of the rotation starter whom loses his job to some AAA prospect by August.Seems like Mets fans aren't the only ones who hold this sentiment about Heilman.
K-Rod's agent, Paul Kinzer, has announced that his client will wait until after the Dec. 8-11 meetings to sign on the dotted line with whichever team suits him most.
Since K-Rod is waiting, it might be in the Mets best interest to try and sign a setup guy or compile a few arms in the bullpen between now and then. A strong bullpen must be one of the aspects the player (and his agent) look at, besides the $$ signs.
If I was a player, and Team A was offering me $10 million a year and Team B was offering $9 million a year, but Team B had a better bullpen, it's pretty much a no-brainer I'm signing with the latter.
The Mets could also make a move for Brian Fuentes in this time, either to land him as the closer, or make a play to drive down K-Rod's asking price.
Should be interesting to watch play out. At least we know we have another two weeks of K-Rod rumors, at the very least.
The Mets are taking their first steps toward a free agency signing, as they are planning to meet with the agents of Brian Fuentes and Francisco Rodriguez in the coming days. No money or years have been offered yet, but rumors have it that the Mets might be willing to dish out a four-year deal to land the closer they desire.
According to the running poll on the right, Mets fans are favoring Rodriguez by a nose, over Fuentes, Kerry Wood and Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks. Two votes were notched for "Other," likely Huston Street, who the Mets could have had.
I believe the CC Sabathia sweepstakes is the hitch between most teams and the free agents their pursuing. Whatever Sabathia signs for, agents around the league will compare that to the possible offers and use that as a jumping off point.
Keep on waiting, because it doesn't seem like anything is going to happen anytime soon. Eventually, deal will get done, but we'll probably be waiting until December for that to happen.
According to Pedro's agent, Fernando Cuza, "he's definitely coming back...It'll be fun to see the old Pedro again." Yeah, that would be nice, but don't count on it.
Pedro is what he is, an aging, Hall of Fame-bound pitcher, who when he's having a good day can give you six or seven innings. He's a number five starter now, nothing more. If the Mets can keep him in New York with a one-year deal, it would provide some back of the rotation security if guys like Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell don't shine in spring training.
Bring back Pedro!
So even with the news that they're set to make offers this week, I think it will be a while before Omar Minaya gets any traction under his tires.
Sit back, relax and enjoy November. Things will start to pick up next month.
This all makes perfect sense, especially since I shaved my beard last night. And for those of you who are just joining The 'Ropolitans, my beard has had a long history connected to the Mets.
David Lennon in Newsday cites an anonymous source who indicates Minaya will show the money to Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes, and possibly Derek Lowe. Lennon points out the Mets are more worried about the amount of years on the contract, opposed to how many bucks they'll be forking over.
Three, thankfully, seems to be the Mets limit. Minaya is fearful of anything more than that, as he's learned his lesson with some long-term contracts with aging or injured players.
Lennon also presents a side to the story I never really thought about:
The Mets already have suggested that K-Rod, despite the best resume among the candidates, is not a slam-dunk to anchor their bullpen. But it's difficult to determine if their reservations about Rodriguez - floated publicly as concerns - are legit or merely a negotiating ploy to get him at their price.How true and how smart.
I've heard a bit of a rallying cry against K-Rod, due to his "arm problems" and "decreased velocity." Are these people just buying into some falsified rumor? I don't think so, because his numbers are there to prove something is up, but maybe the rumor was made to fit the numbers.
Before I get all conspiracy theorist here, let's remember that we we're almost universally worried about Johan Santana and his decreased velocity. He seemed to have lost a few miles per hour off his stuff at times, but look at the season he put together. Could this have been another ploy to land the pitcher for cheaper? Oh, here we go again.
Either way, the Mets seem poised to make the first move of the 2008-2009 off-season as they build around the core for the '09 campaign. The waiting game is quickly nearing it's end.
According to John Harper in the Daily News, the Mets have contacted the agents of both Rodriguez and Fuentes. On the other hand, he notes "a person familiar with the Mets strategy" the team would rather go the free agent route.
As I said the other day, I'd prefer a free agent over a trade. It would make more sense for the Mets current situation. Harper notes that the Omar Minaya is reluctant to hand out a long-term, pricey contract to a high profile closer.
I suggest a three-year deal for Fuentes. It's nothing over the top, and he'd be paid well. Maybe if they don't overpay, he could transition to set-up man if Eddie Kunz or Bobby Parnell pans out within the next few years. Or he could just be a very expensive 8th inning guy.
Ken Davidoff links the Mets closed to a Jenks trade. He cites a few interesting stats, including his strikeout numbers, walks and velocity. He's an interesting pitcher, and I wouldn't mind having him on the Mets, I'm just wary of what they'd have to give up for him.
The Mets have options, which may help them not overpay or sign to too long of a contract. Should be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months.
That's right everyone, the prospect loving Billy Beane just traded for a big bat.
For Mets fans, this is great news, as the Phillies were rumored to be in on landing Holliday for their left field vacancy. I couldn't imagine replacing Pat Burrell with Holliday, so a big thank you goes out to Beane for pulling this one off.
Names that are heading to Colorado are still filtering in, but right now Heyman is reporting that outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, and pitchers Greg Smith and Huston Street may be in on the deal. This would also affect the Mets, as it was being said that Street could be had, possibly by the Mets for the back end of their bullpen.
Street, if he's in on the deal, would replace Brian Fuentes as closer. Fuentes, a free agent, is another name the Mets have been linked to as well.
Big trade by Beane, and a very surprising one if you follow baseball at all.
Here are some of the latest rumors involving the Mets...
Adam Rubin has an article in the Daily News where he explains that even though Omar Minaya came away empty handed (as did every other GM), "Minaya believes he has laid the groundwork for future deals."
From Rubin we got the usual two closing names with Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes. He also mentions Kerry Wood, who started all of last year for the Chicago Cubs and Chad Cordero, who we first hear rumors for yesterday. Cordero is still recovering from shoulder surgery, and a Met official told Rubin that he probably won't be ready for opening day and should expect a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training if the team decides to pursue.
As always, the Mets bullpen needs an overhaul, and the team is currently shopping Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, and Pedro Feliciano.
According to Ken Davidoff:
There definitely will be takers for Heilman and Feliciano; among the teams that like Heilman at some level, are Oakland, Tampa Bay and Texas, and Feliciano has value to any club looking for a left-hander.
The Mets would be willing to pay some of the $3.6 million owed to Schoeneweis in 2009. They feel that Schoeneweis could have appeal to other clubs because of his strong numbers against lefty hitters (.520 OPS in 2008).
I think it's going to be pretty easy to unload these guys, if the Mets contact the right team. Heilman, who we all know has struggled, still garners interest due to his age and foreseeable talent.
Feliciano will be a target of a lot of teams due to which arm he uses to deliver pitches. Being a lefty never looked so good. And Schoeneweis caught some attention before the Aug. 31 trade deadling during the season, so if those teams (Tigers were the more interested) are still looking, I'd ship him out as soon as possible.
** * **
Davidoff also breaks down what the Mets Plan A, Plan B and Plan C look like for this off-season.
Plan A entails signing K-Rod or Fuentes, Derek Lowe, and a "low-cost, high-ceiling pitcher (Freddy Garcia, for instance) to compete for the fifth starter's job with Jonathon Niese." Then, trade Heilman and Schoeneweis for some decent bullpen arms, pick up Raul Ibanez, trade Luis Castillo and sign Orlando Hudson.
Well, that'd be nice. That's definitely my Plan A as well, but I just don't think they have the payroll to add all those guys.
Check out the article for Plan B and C. (I like Plan B a lot as well.)
** * **
Seems that looking in-house for a closer is the last resort for the Mets.
Davidoff (yes, again!) quotes Minaya in another article:
Asked yesterday if the Mets could turn within the organization for their closer - a youngster such as Eddie Kunz or Bobby Parnell, for instance - Minaya said, "That is not Plan One."Smart man, I just hope he doesn't disregard them altogether.
The deal is supposedly worth four-years, $44 million. The Rocky Mountain News also notes that the other teams looking into Fuentes were only interested in a one-year or two-year deal.
I'm for this. I'd sign on the dotted line, if I were Omar Minaya. A very good closer for $11 million per season works for me. He's younger than Billy Wagner, and that's only $1 million more than what they will be paying him to get surgery and rehab his arm in 2009.
This move would solidify the back-end of the bullpen, and fill a much needed hole.
Brian Fuentes' agent Rick Thurman told the Denver Post that the only team not showing interest in the closer is the Rockies.
The Mets are among many teams who are actively pursuing Fuentes for their closer duties. The Mets seem to be against spending the big bucks for Francisco Rodriguez, and Fuentes looks like he'll cost a few million cheaper, per year.
According to the Denver Post:
Major League team executives predict that Fuentes won't receive less than $36 million over three years. However, given the number of interested parties, the term of the contract could swell to four years.I'm fine with the Mets spending that much, for that many years, on a guy like Fuentes. He's consistent, not too old (33) and has been a closer before. Yes, he lost his job during the latter part of 2008, but he still performed well enough to convert 30 of 34 saves.
These guys will not come cheap. Among them are George Sherrill, Joakim Soria, and Kevin Gregg.
My favorite of the bunch: Soria. He's young, he's good, and he has a great nickname. "The Mexicutioner" on the Mets? Yes, please.
Soria has pitched for two years in the majors, and is only 24-years-old. In 2007, he threw in 62 games, notched a 2.48 ERA, and picked up 17 saves. Last season was even better. Sixty-three games, 1.60 ERA, and a 1.60 ERA. Can't ask for much more than that out of a closer.
Mexicutioner will cost a lot. As you can tell, he's a great pitcher, and is a staple of the Royals team and one of their only bright spots. Don't expect him.
The best option out there won't be picked up via a trade, according to Ken Davidoff. He believes that Jeremy Affeldt might be the best option for a closer.
Lefty Jeremy Affeldt, 29, put together a decent season with Cincinnati, striking out 80 batters in 78 1/3 innings. Interestingly, he held righty hitters to a .335 on-base percentage and .391 slugging percentage; lefties got on base worse (.301 OBP) but slugged better (.444 SLG). For his career, he has performed slightly better against lefties (.335 OBP, .410 SLG) than righties (.348 OBP, .414 SLG).The Mets have been linked to him for a few years, so it wouldn't be surprising if they can pick him up. He's had some up and down years, and he's coming off one of his best. Interesting his name would come up for a closer for the Mets, but I like Davidoff's thinking.
Will this World Series end already so we can embark on some real rumors and grumblings.
According to Joel Sherman, the Mets will look to Lowe and Brian Fuentes during this offseason.
The Mets New York plan on targeting Derek Lowe and Brian Fuentes in the free agent market, an NL executive who has talked to team officials told the Post.Lowe is 35-years-old, but he's been consistent and healthy. A long contract won't be the best option, but something in the 3-year range, with a team option would please me.
The Mets are promising to be creative and explore many avenues. But Lowe (a dependable innings eater) and Fuentes (a proven closer) fit the Mets' top two needs, and are going to be pursued by the organization this offseason.
Fuentes is another guy I wouldn't sign for very long, but would love to have. He will be a lot cheaper then Francisco Rodriguez, so that is a plus.
Not totally infatuated with either of them, but they will be welcome additions to the club, if the Mets can land one, or both of them.