MLB News and Notes: Ubaldo is still expecting a big contract
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.
With no major signings or trades occurring on Tuesday, there are no "Top Stories." Instead, I will give a rundown of all of the day's news and notes.
Here are the stories from Tuesday, January 7th.
News and Notes
- According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the agents for Ubaldo Jimenez are telling teams that they still expect a multiyear deal with an annual salary of $14 million or more for their client, despite his slow developing market.
- Tony reported Monday night that the Indians have interest in veteran Bobby Abreu, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports confirmed that Cleveland has spoken with Abreu's agents, though no contract has been offered. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Indians aren't all that interested in Abreu. Currently playing in the playoffs in the Venezuelan Winter League, Abreu has hit a record five homers in five playoff games.
- Rosenthal also reported that the new Japanese posting fee will be split up over two years. The maximum bid of $20 million will be split so that the Japanese team will get $13 million in year one, and $7 million in year two. The idea behind this split is to give more clubs a realistic shot at bidding on top Japanese talent.
- The Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly agreed to a three-year extension.
- Braves team president John Schuerholz told Jim Bowden on his daily radio show that Atlanta is not done making moves. Schuerholz said that general manager Frank Wren is "not done yet."
- The Padres agreed to a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite with Xavier Nady.
- The Royals signed catcher Ramon Hernandez to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
- Infielder Robert Andino received a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite from the Pirates.
Bottom line: Both pitchers come with risks, and Ubaldo will cost less than Masterson, so Ubaldo would be the easier one to sign. Plus, you can still trade Masterson for a strong package if you choose to- that's not an option with Jimenez, and I'm not sure you want to just get two 1st-rd picks for your two best pitchers after 2014, since I'm not confident they'll resign Masterson, especially since Boston will likely pursue him and his history and connections with them. Don't forget, reports suggest that Boston is not going after Tanaka, all the more reason why I think Boston is a likely destination for Masterson in 2015. The Indians' drafting is still not a strong point to think that two 1st -Rders are going to help the current Indians keep this window of contention open late in this decade, since it will be at least 2017 or 2018 before we can reasonably expect any '14 or '15 pick to make an impact for the Indians (it probably will be later than that, as 11's Lindor is not ready, and he was more on the "fast track".) There's still doubts about '08's Chisenhall, and '11's 2nd-rder Dillon Howard is leaning more and more toward being a bust, so no one can have too much confidence that those two potential picks for your two aces are going to be meaningful contributors in the future, and certainly not in 2015 or 2016 that a strong trade would likely provide, plus trading has been an area that the Indians have done better in. Plus, the Indians would take a considerable PR hit if both aces leave and you have nothing but draft picks to show for it, especially with the Indians' spotty drafting over the past 10-15 years.
Plus you'd have to rely on two of Carrasco/Bauer/Tomlin to fill the voids in the rotation long-term instead of just one (presuming both Jimenez and Masterson are gone and Salazar pans out; even if Marcum does well in '14, he's likely not a long- term fixture, just as Kazmir wasn't). Plus, you're not likely going to be able to sign long-term fixtures in the rotation in the future that have as much upside as Jimenez. Yes, he's a risk, but so is Masterson and every other starter you'd sign to a long-term deal (think Westbrook).
Bottom line: Resign Jimenez (trade Cabrera and/or Bourn if needed and a good/reasonable deal can be made), evaluate Masterson's trade value and make a strong trade if the opportunity is there. Otherwise, keep Masterson for the whole year, try to resign him if you can (but am not optimistic), offer qualifying offer, take the draft pick.
You can average out the numbers all you want but bottom line, when was the last time he put together a very good, not great, just very good year from April through September?????????
I have the Tribe payroll at $81M right now (depends on arby cases though)....adding $14M for Ubaldo and subtracting $10M from Cabrera gets you $85M. I don't think anyone has said sign Ubaldo and not make other moves (though maybe they have). Most have said the Tribe has to be creative to sign and fit Ubaldo into the budget.
I think many people think the Indians should spend like a big market team.
Hafner deal is always going to get brought up, which is unfortunate here. Different scearnio IMO. Hafner was given his extension in the middle of a bad year (for him), where he wasn't even worth $10M...yet we felt the need to give him big money. He also didn't play a position...hit or he's useless. Ubaldo is coming off a year where he was worth more than $14M and was very good for us. He also even in a bad year at least give you value as an inning eater. Even when he struggles, will provide value.
We'll have to agree to disagree though I guess here it seems. Ubaldo to me though is more worth $45-50M than Bourn was to the Tribe.
As far as Masterson...if the choice was sign Ubaldo to a 3 year deal or extend Masterson I'd probably extend Masterson too. But if the choices are sign Ubaldo and let Masterson walk or let Masterson walk and not sign Ubaldo....I go with signing Ubaldo. I do think signing Ubaldo (without dealing Bourn) pretty much kills any chance you have of signing Masterson. While I'd love to extend Masterson and think it's possible...I'm not overly confident it happens. Worth noting too...while Ubaldo clearly has been inconsistent of late...not like Masterson has been a model of consistency himself.
Not sure who you're directing your post to exactly. But I know I have never thought the Tribe was working without a budget and don't suggest signings that I think won't fit into the budget. Hence why I have said we have to trade Cabrera to fit Ubaldo. Doing that puts you around $85M by my calcs...which is within the "budget" we have been seeing thrown around. I actually keep a running tab of all salaries for 3 years out (including arbitration estimates) as well.
I'm just not a fan of tying up much money long term into Jimenez. For one year and $14-15M? Fine. But for 3-4 years? Nope. He's way too volatile and too much risk....and the Indians can ill afford to have a $14M a year albatross on the payroll....they just got out from under that rock with Hafner.
What if Bourn was the guy the Indians would trade, instead of Cabrera, to free up money to resign Ubaldo to $14M (or so) per year....how would that affect your stance? Or would you still be a "no" on Ubaldo?
Tanaka obviously will be posted for $20M, but for future players who aren't that great (like the Aoki's, Iwamura's, etc) it could make a difference as winning bids will be less than $20M, and some less than $10M I'd imagine still.
You could look at it that way...but don't you pretty much have that already with Cabrera, Bourn, and Swisher? Right now those 3 are averaging $12.8M and about 48% of the payroll.
Sure Cabrera was an "All-Star" type not long ago...so was Bourn though. Cabrera "only" makes $10M and not $14M but don't think that difference is reason to not sign Ubaldo.
I'm assuming though (maybe incorrectly) that you'd have to deal Cabrera to add Ubaldo (so wouldn't have all 4 on the roster). Ubaldo, Bourn, and Swisher would average about $14.1M and make about 50% of the payroll...again, don't think it's a reason to not make a move if you feel it betters the team (maybe the Tribe doesn't feel swapping Cabrera's offense for Ubaldo's pitching is worth it though).
Agree with just about everything you're saying. Definitely no way in hell do I go $80M on Ubaldo. I'd be willing to go a bit higher than your offer but not a ton and no more guaranteed years.
But $14 million over multiple years doesn't sound crazy to me either, as long as it's not a lot of years. 3/42 would probably be the absolute max I'd consider for him, and I expect him to get something around that level.
While Ubaldo has lost velocity that was really his "bread and butter". He was a groundball guy in Colorado...he has become more of a strikeout guy now, as 2 of his 3 highest K-rates were in 2011 and 2013. Which is pretty interesting IMO considering the loss in velocity.
And while I do agree he is a differenct pitcher now than 4 years ago...over the last 3 seasons he's posted a 6.6 fWAR and arguably been worth $31.3M over those 3 seasons.
Want to talk outliers....2012 still stands out as the biggest one. HR/FB ratio spiked in 2012....not surprisingly, when it was at more reasonable levels in 2011 and 2013, he was worth 6.5 fWAR and nearly $31M those two years....
The team that signs him to a longterm deal may end up regretting it...can say that about any long term deal though.
Ubaldo with a fastball of 92mph the last 3 years (instead of 96 in years prior) is a 4.45 ERA, 1.45 WHIP with a 517/253 K/BB ratio, and that's even including his 2nd half in 2013. I think whatever team signing him should not expect too much better than that, although I do think his most recent performance is encouraging. Ubaldo's mechanics are ugly, very unconventional and complicated -- they can get out of whack easily and then you've got a situation we dealt with the majority of his time in Cleveland, which is terrible pitching.
I think any team that signs to a long-term deal will regret it. You can point to 2010 anymore because he's a very different pitcher -- he's lost a lot of velocity which was his bread and butter back then.
I really think the Indians are at play, and if that number (years or $$) comes down even a bit, I think they'll sign him.
shout out to Steve Orbanek for catching those numbers on Sunday on the pod...for Ubaldo...
More curious about how many years Ubaldo is looking for. I'm guessing at least 4 guaranteed at the moment (which I'd be very hesitant to give). If it drops to 3 though...