Brewers Playing it a little Riske?

riske.jpgPer Ken Rosenthal, the Brewers are on the verge of signing free agent reliever David Riske to a multi-year deal.  Riske was only 1-4 last season with the Kansas City Royals, but did post a solid 2.45 ERA.  He also added 4 saves to his resume in 2007, bringing his career total to 20. 

It is believed that David Riske will be the Brewers new closer next season, with Turnbow likely pitching the 8th inning and Mota the 7th.  My guess is that he will get a 3-year deal for around $14M or so. 

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Royals Start Shopping

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Courtesy of Bob Dutton at The Kansas City Star, the Royals have signed Japanese relief pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta to a $6 million, two-year pact.  The contract includes a club option for a 3rd season.

Yabuta, 34, has pitched in Japan’s Pacific League for the last 12 years.  Last season, he posted a 4-6 record with a 2.73 ERA in 58 appearances.  He did also have a career-high 38 holds, a trendy stat nowadays for middle relievers.  Hey, the need something to hang their hat on during contract negotiations too (closers have saves). 

The Royals will now seek a power-hitting OF and a SP with the remainder of the offseason.  As noted here earlier at Fleece Factor, FA outfielder Jose Guillen became a top target once Torii Hunter signed with the Angels.  In the starting pitching department, the Royals preference seems to be signing Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who is 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 seasons.

CBS Rumors and News: Rowand, Headley, Hunter, Wood

We mentioned the Peavy rumor, but CBS Sportstline also had some other good rumblings today:

  • Sportsline expects the Phillies to be “aggressive” in trying to keep Aaron Rowand.  If true, this would be another lie by the Philly brass, who claimed to only be in on free agent pitchers this offseason, but was then exposed as offering Mike Lowell a 4 year, $50M deal. 
  • The Pirates are making a serious run at Padres third base prospect Chase Headley (.330, 20, 78 for Double-A San Antonio), by offering outfielders Xavier Nady and Nate McClouth.  In my eyes, this would be a fleece for Pittsburgh.  I like McClouth, but San Diego should definitely be able to get a better package for Headley.
  • Texas (6 years, $70M) and Kansas City (5 years, $75M) made serious runs at Torii Hunter before the centerfielder fleeced the Angels.   Hunter, however, wanted to play for a contender.  Allllllllriiiiiiiiight, Torii.  Just admit it….you took the highest bid.
  • Kerry Wood had a two year offer from Milwaukee before he showed his loyalty and returned to the Cubs for a one year deal.

D-Backs Make Offer to Kuroda

dbacks-logo.jpgAccording to AZCentral.com, the Arizona Diamondbacks have made a 3-year offer worth a reported $27 million to free agent Japanese right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. Thanks to mlbtraderumors.com for the link.

The Seattle Mariners are still viewed as the favorite to land the coveted pitcher from Japan, but this offer, if true, serves as a bench mark for Kuroda. It is apparent he may receive $10 million per season, even though many scouts project him as a # 3 starter in the MLB.

If Kuroda should decide to accept an offer from Arizona, he could serve as an upgrade over FA starter Livan Hernandez. Or, he could be the second coming of Kei Igawa, the Japanese lefty who fleeced Brian Cashman and the NYY last winter to the tune of 5 years and $20 million (not to mention the $26 million posting fee, which does not count against the club’s payroll, but is still noteworthy).

The Kansas City Royals have been involved with Kuroda rumors as well.

Yabuta to Royals All But Done

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KansasCity.com is reporting that all that stands in the way between the Royals and a two year deal worth a reported $5M-$6M with Japanese right handed reliever Yasuhiko Yabuta is Yabuta passing a physical. 

According to the site, an agreement is in place, and the reliever is expected to arrive in the US for the physical within days.   Click here for more on Yabuta.

Royals Shift Attention to Guillen

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The Kansas City Royals’ pursuit of a power hitting outfielder continues, as their hopes of landing Torii Hunter were dashed when the center fielder signed a 5 year $90 million deal with the Angels. At the Kansas City Star, Bob Dutton has the scoop. The Royals’ have been in search of a hard-hitting right handed outfielder, and their apparent bid for Hunter (in the range of 5 years $70 million), fell well shy.   Despite being linked to Andruw Jones by SI’s John Heyman, the only other “true” option in this year’s free agent market might be Jose Guillen, 31. Guillen’s value has taken a hit with a recent steroid controvery surrounding the right fielder. Despite a possible suspension for a portion of 2008, the Royals may still turn to Guillen to provide some pop. This kind of controversy could bring down Guillen’s price, which could work in GM Dayton Moore’s favor.

In 2007, Guillen hit .290 with 23 HR and 99 RBI in 153 games for the Seattle Mariners.

Five offers for Torii Hunter

 

 According to the Chicago Sun Times, Torii Hunter has received offers from at least 5 teams with a possible 6th (Yankees) sitting on the fringe depending on what happens with Melky Cabrera.

Of the 5 offers, it is believed that all are for 5 years, except for Texas’ offer of 6 years. What a surprise…Tom Hicks is trying to make the market. The Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers are expected to be the front-runners, while the Los Angeles Dodgers offer could be sweetened if Miguel Cabrera goes elsewhere (LAA).

Hunter, 32, should get the grand prize this offseason (aside from A-Rod). In the end, you’d have to expect he gets a 5 year deal worth $75-80 million, unless he chooses Texas, where that number will likely be higher.

The other 2 “offers” are from Kansas City, who has been rumored to have a good amount of cash to spend, but lately have been linked to Andruw Jones more than Hunter. The last offer is likely from Washington. If Washington could land Hunter, it would be a huge boost to their franchise and could possibly be the start of more FA’s going to the capital city.

All in all, Hunter fits in well with all of these teams, and if the deal is around 5 years, I don’t think it is a bad move for any of these teams. I think he ends up in Chicago.