Rumored MLB Deals That Could Happen Before Jan. 1
Even though the period between Christmas and New Year's tends to be a slow one for most industries, the MLB offseason never sleeps.
General managers will be working the phones in the hopes of bettering their respective teams even as the rest of the world will be singing "Auld Lang Syne."
Especially with the recent announcement that Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be posted, free-agents like Bronson Arroyo could be a little more eager to sign a contract instead of playing hard to get. And considering the Pittsburgh Pirates are in dire need of a veteran pitcher to replace A.J. Burnett, a reunion between the Bucs and Arroyo could happen before the clock strikes midnight on 2013.
Read on to see all the rumored MLB deals that could happen before January 1.
Indians Sign Wilson Betemit
Apparently, the Cleveland Indians have little faith in 25-year-old Lonnie Chisenhall at the hot corner.
Per Paul Hoynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group:
Not only is catcher Carlos Santana playing third in the Dominican Republic, but the Indians showed interest in Kevin Youkilis early in the offseason before Youkilis went to Japan. They've also been connected to free agent third baseman Wilson Betemit.
Betemit, who only accumulated 10 plate appearances for the Baltimore Orioles last season due to injury, could be a nice fit for the Indians. The 32-year-old posted a collective .280 batting average, 9.3 percent walk rate and park-adjusted 118 OPS+ from 2010 to 2012.
Given his lost 2013 season, it shouldn't take long (or a lot of money) for the Indians to land Betemit.
Phillies Sign Ryan Madson
In 2011, Ryan Madson boasted a 2.37 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 162 ERA+), 1.15 WHIP, 3.88-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 30 saves in his first full season as a closer. And considering the right-hander became a free agent after the season, it appeared as though Madson would finally have a clear, well-compensated role.
The Cincinnati Reds inked the closer to a one-year, $6 million contract, but Madson never pitched for the Reds. In fact, Madson didn't throw a single pitch for the Los Angeles Angels last season either. Due to a series of arm injuries, the 33-year-old has not taken the mound since his successful 2011 season with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Looking to make a comeback in 2013, per CBS Sports' Mike Axisa, a reunion between Madson and the Phillies is likely. If Madson regains his health this season, the reliever could position himself for a nice contract in 2015.
Pirates Sign Bronson Arroyo
When it comes to being a quality innings eater, few active pitchers are more reliable in that category than Bronson Arroyo. Since 2004, Arroyo has owned a 4.10 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 106 ERA+), 1.26 WHIP and 2.54-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio with an average of 207 innings.
The 36-year-old is coming off yet another solid campaign for the Cincinnati Reds, tossing a 3.79 ERA (versus a 101 ERA+) over 202 innings.
While Arroyo would be of service to any MLB rotation, it's likely the right-hander will sign with a playoff contender. And according to Cincinnati.com's C. Trent Rosecrans, the recently successful Pittsburgh Pirates are a "serious player" for Arroyo.
Originally drafted by the Pirates in 1995, an Arroyo-Pirates reunion would make sense. Since starter A.J. Burnett is likely retiring, the Bucs are currently without a veteran anchor. Considering Arroyo has logged 12 career games in the postseason, the Florida native's experience could help the Pirates make a consecutive October berth.
Orioles Sign Fernando Rodney
After Grant Balfour reportedly failed his physical with the Baltimore Orioles, the team is again in the market for an experienced closer. Fernando Rodney could be the man for the job.
Despite a rocky career in the role with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels, Rodney honed his skills with the Tampa Bay Rays over the past two seasons. The 35-year-old combined for a 1.91 ERA (versus a park-adjusted 201 ERA+), 1.04 WHIP, 3.10-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 85 saves over that span.
With most of the stellar options signed, Rodney appears to be a match for the Orioles. And according to CSN Baltimore's Rich Dubroff, the Orioles have some legitimate interest in the power reliever too.
Dubroff suggests a two-year, $20 million contract for Rodney, which would match the deal the Detroit Tigers handed Joe Nathan this offseason. In an effort to gain a sense of solace in their vacant closer role, the Orioles could look to ink Rodney before the new year.