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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Percival to the Devil Rays?

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This one comes courtesy of Buster Olney. Troy Percival, who had a nice year last season with St.Louis (1.80 ERA in 40 IP), is working on a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. As Buster Olney reports, one should expect the D-Rays would be promising Percival the closer’s role next season. Terms to a possible deal are not yet available.

Percival has 324 career saves, and will be 39 years old in August of 2008.

The Devil Rays have been active today, as they have also been rumored to be on the verge of acquiring SP Matt Garza (among others) for OF Delmon Young.

Update: According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are offering Percival the setup role in front of Mariano Rivera, and the Brewers are looking to possibly put Percival in the closer’s role, on a short-term deal. 

Update: Percival and the Devil Rays have inched closer on a multi-year contract (expected to be a 2 year deal).

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.

Joe Nathan Rumors: Brewers, Cubs, Red Sox?

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Ken Rosenthal reports this morning that if the Twins trade Johan Santana, look for them to also move closer Joe Nathan this winter.   The logic fits.   If Minnesota loses Santana in addition to Torii Hunter, they may be better off long term by dealing Nathan now and moving ahead with the youngsters they acquire for the two pitchers.

Rosenthal speculates that the Brewers would be a perfect fit for Joe Nathan, who has become one of the most dominant closers in baseball, averaging 40 saves over the last 4 years with miniscule ERA’s hovering around 2.0 during those years.   Most likely, the Brewers would have to part with either JJ Hardy or Corey Hart in a deal for Nathan.   Receiving either one of those two young stars would be a nice bounty for the Twins – perhaps even a good fleece.

Rosenthal also mentions the Cubs and Red Sox as suitors.  The Cubs would be a great fit for Nathan, but one would think they’d have to give up center field prospect Felix Pie – among others – which could be a deal breaker.  The Red Sox would use Nathan as a setup man for Jon Papelbon, but I do not envision the Sox giving up top prospects for 1 year of a setup man.  I’m fairly confident in dismissing that speculative rumor.

Cordero Back Closing for the Brewers?

c-cordero.jpgNo, not that Cordero, but the Nationals Chad Cordero.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers might look to the trade market to fill their closer’s role, and they may check-in on the availability of the Washington’s Cordero.  He was available at the trade deadline last season as well, but a deal was never consummated.  The Mets had offered Phil Humber and the D-Backs offered Carlos Quentin and a RP, but the Nationals balked at both proposals. 

It seems the Brewers would like an experienced closer to fill the role, as opposed to promoting one of their internal arms (although Derrick Turnbow remains the fallback option).  Chad Cordero was 3-3 last season, with a 3.36 ERA and 37 saves.  It seems the Brewers would be offering Chris Capuano as a starting piece for Cordero.

Cafardo Rumors: Cabrera, Lincecum, Andruw, etc.

  • The most significant rumor from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo this Sunday:   “It appears (Giants GM) Sabean is after Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera and is willing to offer a package that could include prized right hander Tim Lincecum.”   Could that deal be straight up?  Not sure who would wear the fleece in that one.  That would be a nice bounty for Florida although Lincecum’s size and delivery worry me.  I think they’d want at least one more top prospect.  But if Lincecum is available, the Giants have to be considered the new Cabrera front runners, especially since…..
  • If you listen to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, it seems like LA will not be making any major moves this offseason but instead moving forward with their young crop of prospects (Matt Kemp, Andy Laroche, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw) and hoping 2007 acquisitions like Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre can step up in 2008.  Says McCourt: “I think we’re in a good position right now.  We don’t have to make a deal. We made the biggest move we needed to make in signing Joe (Torre).  I don’t anticipate any nonsense in that clubhouse. He gives us instant credibility and we’re thrilled to have him.”
  • Andruw Jones will not accept a one year deal, according to Scott Boras.  The Nationals seem to be the most interested in Jones.
  • Bump the Chicago White Sox up the list on prospective teams that may acquire Coco Crisp from Boston.   According to Cafardo, the ChiSox might be interested after being spurned by Torii Hunter.  An obvious match for Chicago and Boston doesn’t jump out at me, however.
  • Cafardo speculates that the A’s trade of Marco Scutaro could be a signal that the team will take the rebuilding route this year, meaning Danny Haren, Joe Blanton and Huston Street could be traded next month in three separate fleeces for Oakland.
  • Cafardo ruins the Mets acquisition of Johnny Estrada, pointing out that Estrada threw out only 6 of 79 baserunners last year and had clubhouse issues.  Apparently he “had conflicts with Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux, and got into a shouting match in the dugout with teammate Tony Graffanino late in the season.”

Brewers Would Not Be Fleeced… Now What?

 

As reported earlier, Francisco Cordero has signed with the Reds in a head-scratching move, both in the team he went to and the amount of money they gave him. But, such is life…

I applaud the Brewers for not wanting a thick fleece, especially since it can get awfully cold up in Wisconsin, but now they are in a pretty rough spot of finding a closer for an up and coming team with NL Central Championship aspirations. Where do they turn now? Tom Hadricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel breaks it down.

  • It appears the logical guy, Eric Gagne, is not an option for the Brew Crew at this time.
  • The Brewers would like to look to the trade market, but GM Doug Melvin sees the market for a closer as a pretty steep one and would like to avoid getting fleeced for a Kevin Gregg of Florida or a Chad Cordero of Washington.
  • Internally, the Brewers could turn to Derrick Turnbow, who saved 39 games in 2005 and 24 in 2006. They seemed to have soured on the big righty in recent years, even after his big first half of last season.

So, it looks as though that after being smart in not getting fleeced by Cordero, the Brewers might be left with a very weak 9th inning guy this season….which makes me wonder, if there was ever a time to get fleeced, signing Cordero to that deal might have been the time.

That said, I think the smart move is to bring in Gagne. Maybe a 2 year deal for 18 million or so.