The Reds announced that RHP Edinson Volquez has signed a one-year contract to avoid arbitration. Terms were not revealed but when numbers were exchanged, Volquez’s side submitted for $2 million while the club countered with $1.3. The midpoint was $1.6 million.
Volquez returned from Tommy John surgery rehab after the All-Star break and was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 62 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old walked 35 and struck out 67 batters and was also charged with four runs on four hits and was pulled after 1 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Phillies.
“We’ll see if they’re up for doing more later,” GM Walt Jocketty told me on Sunday from the Reds Caravan stop in Lexington. “We tried to do a multi-year deal. They just wanted to concentrate on the one year now. [The agent] had a few cases and wanted to get the arbitration thing out of the way.”
— Mark Sheldon
Sometimes a trade rumor is nothing more than a rumor.
Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti addressed the recent rumors regarding Grady Sizemore on Thursday night, when he and Indians manager Manny Acta fielded questions from fans during a Town Hall meeting in downtown Cleveland.
“I normally don’t get into individual rumors,” Antonetti said. “This one time, I will comment on it. We have not had a single discussion about potentially trading Grady Sizemore. Now, there are teams that call us all the time to ask about our players — that’s just the nature of the business.”
“They’ll ask about almost everyone on our roster at different points in the offseason, but I can tell you at no point have we contemplated trading Grady, and we have no intention of trading Fausto (Carmona), either.”
Antonetti’s comments came after an online report surfaced Monday on MASNsports.com, citing a scout, claiming that the Indians and Nationals have had “conversations” about dealing Sizemore and Carmona to Washington. The rumor gained steam as the week went on, leading Antonetti to shoot it down publicly.
Around the league:
* The Orioles have taken a step toward adding a significant bat to their lineup, as they have made an offer to designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, MLB.com confirmed on Thursday.
The amount and terms of the offer have varied from $2 million to $5 million, although FoxSports.com, which first reported the offer, estimated that the deal was in the low $3 million range.
At one point this offseason, Guerrero requested a two-year deal worth $16 million before dropping his price to one year and $8 million. The O’s had a lower figure in mind, and multiple media outlets have reported that the veteran is not pleased with Baltimore’s offer, which a Major League source told MLB.com was a far “more reasonable” figure.
* White Sox general manager Kenny Williams talked to Freddy Garcia’s camp about the White Sox rotation situation, although no numbers were exchanged and Williams said there haven’t been talks with Garcia for at least two or three weeks.
* Joe Beimel is signing with the Pirates, The Denver Post reported on Thursday. According to the report, Beimel said his role on the staff, manager Clint Hurdle and his family in the area were factors in the decision to go with Pittsburgh.
Beimel, who will turn 34 in April, went 1-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 71 appearances for the Rockies last season. He has a home in the Pittsburgh-area, the report said.
As much as the 2011 offseason will be remembered for Cliff Lee and his suitors, for the Red Sox’s offensive overhaul and for even the Royals and Zack Greinke, it stands to be remembered for the Angels, too.
A week ago, that memory would have been of a team that seemingly sat idle. The Angels’ well-known top target, Carl Crawford, was scooped up in front of their eyes at the Winter Meetings in Florida. Their next free-agent mark, Adrian Beltre — who plays third base, a position where they sorely needed improvement — went to a division rival that seemingly had less of a need at the hot corner, Texas.
Then came Friday, when Los Angeles struck a deal with the Blue Jays to bring in outfielder Vernon Wells. Wells, 32, thus far hasn’t lived up to a seven-year, $126 million deal thus far, and $86 million and four years remain on the deal. The Angels are assuming all of that contract, with Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera sent away in the deal.
On Wednesday, Wells was officially introduced in Anaheim, and the Angels have now officially made a significant move.
Whether they’re significantly improved, though, and improved in a cost-effective manner — that’s still unknown, and is probably the most open-ended storyline of the offseason.
Around the league, others were busy around the Hot Stove Wednesday, even with Spring Training less than three weeks away:
? The Reds and right-hander Johnny Cueto finalized a four-year, $27 million contract, allowing them to skip arbitration. The 24-year-old went 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA in 31 starts last season, setting several career high marks.
? Coming off the worst season of his to-be Hall of Fame career, Yankees captain Derek Jeter started working out in Tampa, Fla., with hitting coach Kevin Long. The 36-year-old shortstop signed a three-year, $51 million deal this offseason after hitting a career-low .270 batting average in 2010 — 44 points below his lifetime mark of .314 — with 10 home runs and 67 RBIs in 157 games.
? Adding another veteran, the Yankees inked right-hander Bartolo Colon to a Minor League deal that reportedly could pay him as much as $900,000 if he makes the Major League club out of camp. Colon, 37, did not pitch in the bigs in 2010, but pitched well in the Dominican Winter League.
? Left-hander Andy Pettitte, could be on his way back to New York. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the door remains open as Pettitte works out in Texas, and according to SI.com, the club’s latest contract offer stood at one season for $12 million. This season would be the 17th for the 38-year-old Pettitte.
? One of the Mets’ marquee names, Johan Santana, has not begun his throwing program as part of his rehabilitation from left shoulder surgery last September, general manager Sandy Alderson said. Santana was cleared Jan. 14. “I think the [physical therapists] recommended that he continue to do certain exercises, and when he feels like he’s ready to toss, he will,” Alderson said. “He’s medically cleared, but to my knowledge, he hasn’t actually started throwing yet.”
? The Mets introduced Chin-lung Hu, a utility infielder on Wednesday, a move that got more attention than might be expected because of the cultural draw. Hu, 26 and acquired from the Dodgers in a trade last month for Minor League pitcher Mike Antonini, would become the Mets’ first Taiwanese-born player if he makes the team. There have only been six Taiwanese-born players in Major League history.
? The Angels and ace right-hander Jered Weaver are discussing a contract extension. Weaver, an All-Star for the first time in 2010 while leading the Majors in strikeouts, has requested $8.8 million in salary arbitration, with the Angels offering $7.3 million. Weaver is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. Scott Boras is his agent.
? Yasiel Balaguer, an 18-year-old Cuban outfielder, is to work out for the Marlins. Balaguer arrived in Miami in November after leaving Cuba while traveling to Mexico. His athleticism and defense have drawn comparisons to Andruw Jones.
? The Astros and right-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who turned 32 last week, avoided arbitration with a three-year deal that guarantees him $34 million. It also contains a vesting option for 2014 that could bring the total value to $44.5 million.
? The Twins added another experienced arm to their bullpen competition by claiming left-hander Dusty Hughes off waivers from the Royals. Hughes, 28, was 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 24 walks and 34 strikeouts over 56 1/3 innings for KC in 2010.
? The Rockies brought back utility man Alfredo Amezaga on a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp. The Rockies also signed veteran catcher Chad Moeller to a Minor League deal as a non-roster player.
? San Diego signed Jorge Cantu and also reportedly signed right-handed reliever Greg Burke. Burke is on a Minor League deal.
? The D-backs and catcher Miguel Montero <a href="" http:="" arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com="" news="" article.jsp?ymd="20110126&content_id=16514398&vkey=news_ari&c_id=ari"avoided"" arbitration="" with a one-year, $3.2 million contract.
— Evan Drellich
Already once this offseason, the Royals were a Hot Stove headliner. That was last month, when they bid farewell to their ace, Zack Greinke.
This time, they’ve topped the day for the talent they’re keeping not letting go.
First baseman Billy Butler has signed a four-year, $30 million contract extension, both sides announced Saturday. Butler, 25-years-old in April, was arbitration eligible and hit .318 with 15 home runs, a .388 on-base percentage and a .469 slugging percentage in 2010.
“I just get to worry about playing baseball, and it’s what’s best for me and my family,” Butler said. “That’s what it’s all about. I didn’t want to have to worry about going to arbitration every year, and this is where I want to be. The city’s great, and we love it here. I can’t express how happy we are right now.”
Another Royals corner infielder (and DH) for so long — 13 years of his 16 big league years — Mike Sweeney has told MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel that he’ll have a decision on his playing future by next Sunday.
Sweeney, 37, made the playoffs for the first time in his career last season with Philadelphia and singled in his lone at-bat. He’s a career .297 hitter who batted .252 between the Mariners and Phils last season.
“I made it clear to my agents that the only way I’m going to play this year is if a contending team offered me a guaranteed deal — and I told them the chance of that happening is next to none,” Sweeney said. “But that’s the criteria I set for them.”
Elsewhere around the league:
? Orioles president Andy MacPhail shot down reports that the Orioles were closing to signing Vladimir Guerrero, although the club is interested. “[The] report is not accurate,” MacPhail told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli via email.
? Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said that a trade of Armando Galarraga, who has been designated for assignment, is likely by next week. “We’re making some progress on some trade talks at this point,” Dombrowski said. “Not quite sufficient to make any announcements, but I would think by the middle of next week we would be in a position where we would make a deal.”
? Right-hander Jason Hammel is back with the Rockies, signing a two-year, $7.75 million contract on Saturday to avoid two of his three years of arbitration. The 28-year-old is 20-17 with a 4.57 ERA since joining the Rockies in a trade with the Rays in 2009.
? The Giants signed their lone remaining arbitration candidate to a one-year deal. Outfielder Andres Torres is believed to have received $2.1 million. He played for $426,000 last year. The switch-hitter turns 33 on Wednesday.
? SportsIllustrated reported on Twitter that a friend of the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman, Jose Carlos Thompson, has signed with the Astros for $250,000. Thompson attended junior college at Western Oklahoma, and the school’s website lists his hometown as Woburn, Mass.
Billy Butler and the Royals have agreed to a four-year, $30-million contract extension, the first baseman said Saturday.
The multi-year contract avoids salary arbitration and gives Butler the security of a long-term deal through 2014.
“I just get to worry about playing baseball and it’s what’s best for me and my family,” Butler said. “That’s what it’s all about. I didn’t want to have to worry about going to arbitration every year and this where I want to be. The city’s great and we love it here. I can’t express how happy we are right now.”
Butler had filed in arbitration for $4.3 million and the Royals offered $3.4 million. Now that’s off the table.
His new deal was worked out by agent Greg Genske of Legacy Sports with Royals general manager Dayton Moore.
“It worked out for both sides,” Butler said. “I’ve always been happy to be a Royal. We have a lot of young guys coming up and we plan on doing great things. It just means I’m a big part of it.”
Butler, his wife Katie and their daughter Kenley live in Idaho Falls where Butler made his pro debut in 2004 with a rousing .373 average. He was in Kansas City for the Royals FanFest.
“It’s just what’s best for your family,” Butler said. “We’re happy to be done with it and Dayton and the whole organization were great.”
Butler on Saturday was to receive the Royals Player of the Year Award for the second straight time after setting new career highs in several categories, including average (.318), hits (189), walks (69) and on-base percentage (.388).