Although the market for relievers seems in serious decline, especially in light of the Blue Jays’ trade for a closer and the Rockies’ struggles in giving Huston Street away, neither Ryan Madson or Francisco Rodriguez have any plans to accept arbitration offers, according to MLB Network’s Peter Gammons.
Madson and K-Rod would be very interesting cases in arbitration, given how rarely free agents actually test the process. Madson made $4.5 million last season and would surely command a significant raise, though with just one season of closing experience, he might have a difficult time persuading a panel to award him the $9 million-$10 million he figured to earn in his first season of a new multiyear deal. K-Rod made $11 million last season, and considering that he finished with a fine 2.64 ERA in 71 2/3 innings, it’d be hard to argue he deserves much of a paycut.
Of course, if they did accept arbitration, it’d be to serve as setup men in 2012, something that could hurt their market as they reenter free agency next year. The Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to close, and K-Rod wasn’t happy last year after becoming an eighth-inning guy in front of John Axford.
Madson, at least, will still get his money in a multiyear deal. Even though the market for closers appears very limited at the moment, someone will step up and offer him at least Heath Bell money (three years, $27 million).
Rodriguez isn’t likely to be as fortunate, and his best move financially would almost certainly be to take the Brewers up on their offer. Of course, since he’s already made $55 million as a major leaguer, he can afford to take less and be happy elsewhere.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.