-- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that "The Cardinals, Giants, Padres, Orioles and Pirates all have expressed recent interest in (SS Jason) Bartlett...The Rays are believed to be seeking bullpen help in any deal for Bartlett."
The 31 year old's 2010 numbers were .254/4/47, just about the same as Ronny Cedeno (.256/8/38), although in 2009 he did put up a .320/14/66 line and is a lifetime .281 hitter. Bartlett's UZR/150 last year was -13.8 and was -6.9 in 2009, so he's most certainly not a defensive upgrade over Cedeno.
Bartlett made $4M last season and is in his third arbitration year, so he'd be in the $5M+ range for 2011 and would become a free agent at the end of the year. We don't see the fit, and certainly don't think he's worth Evan Meek or Joel Hanrahan...or for that matter, Chris Resop.
The guy we like is James Jerry (JJ) Hardy of the Twins and formerly the Brew Crew. He's also in his last arb year and hasn't been tendered yet, though the Twin Cities have until Thursday night to offer to deal. Minnesota recently signed Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, so Hardy could be on the market even if he is tendered.
He's 28, and while his bat isn't much better than Cedeno's or Bartlett's (his 2010 line was .268/6/44), he has hit double-digit homers every year that he's gotten 400+ AB.
JJ's glove is what sets him apart. His UZR/150 lifetime is 11.0; in the past two seasons, it's been 9.2 and 12.8, so he's a fielder that's improving. He makes $5.1M, so he won't be cheap, but he's young enough that Pittsburgh could offer him a multi-year deal to offset free agency if he's willing.
And he may not be, after Troy Tulowitzki's deal. TT reportedly got $157.75M over ten years. The deal is thought to be $23.75M for the final three guaranteed years remaining on his current contract, a $15M option for 2014 and $119M for six new years. It will carry him until he 36 years old; holy A-Rod!
Ryan Theriot, 31, is another possibility. He's in his second year of arb, knocking down $2.1M in 2010, and is easily the most affordable. He should also be available after the Dodgers recently signed Juan Uribe.
RT's a decent glove guy, although his UZR/150 was terrible last year at -18.5. But he only got into 29 games behind Starlin Castro and Rafael Furcal; in the three prior seasons, with 100+ games at SS, he's had UZR/150's of 4.4, 2.3, and 4.1, all pretty solid.
He's a .281 lifetime hitter, no pop but a lot of speed. Theriot's a good guy to have at either end of the order, just not the middle. (EDIT - u snooze, u lose: the Cardinals just traded with the Dodgers for Theriot, sending RHP Blake Hawksworth to LA)
There are also a few oldies looking for work, like Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria and Miguel Tejada if the Bucs want a short-term bat at SS, plus the usual good glove suspects: Adam Everett, Craig Counsell, Cesar Izturis, and Nick Punta.
-- Scratch Jorge de la Rosa off the wish list; he's reportedly finalizing a contract with Colorado. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweets that it's for 3 years/$32-33M; Troy Renck of the Denver Post says that they've agreed in principle for 2 years/$21.5M with two option years.
Pretty affordable deal either way; it's Ted Lilly money. De La Rosa opted to stay home, although it was rumored that there were guaranteed four-year deals being offered. We're not sure if the Pirates were serious players in JDLR's mind or just guys to help sweeten the pot.
De La Rosa, Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Javier Vazquez, Jon Garland and Jake Westbrook have all left the market; the Pirates are sifting through a lot of "comeback kids" now. Scott Olsen, Jeff Francis, Jeremy Bonderman, Brandon Webb and maybe even Chris Young and Kevin Correia are looking better and better.
-- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets that Octavio Dotel will decline arbitration and become a free agent.
-- Jordan Bastien of MLB.com reports that the Indians signed former Indy C Luke Carlin to a minor league contract with an invitation to camp. Carlin provides the Indians with added depth in case catcher Carlos Santana faces any setbacks in his recovery from left knee surgery.