Random rumors for this evening...
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Rays have contacted Geoff Jenkins' agent. They're eyeing him to replace Delmon Young in right field.
- Cubs lefty Scott Eyre exercised his $3.8MM player option for 2008.
- Terrmel Sledge never quite caught on in the U.S., so he's headed to Japan. I thought he was a sleeper entering 2007 as he'd posted a .985 OPS in Triple A in '06.
- The Yorvit Torrealba deal is official at two years and $7.25MM with a $4MM mutual option for 2010. Mutual options never get exercised by both sides so that doesn't mean much. Michael Barrett and Paul Lo Duca are the two remaining free agent starting catchers.
- It's true, Mike Piazza does have some interest from a Japanese team. But he also has three MLB teams interested, and he's much more likely to stay in the U.S.
- Could Yasuhiko Yabuta lead the Royals to sign Hiroki Kuroda? It's a possibility. The D'Backs are after him as well; Nick Piecoro has some in-depth info about Kuroda.
UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 10:30pm: The Yankees' offer stands at Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera, and maybe Jose Tabata. Phil Hughes is a big upgrade over Kennedy, and the Twins are insisting on him. Meanwhile the Red Sox are still pushing Coco Crisp while the Twins are holding out for Jacoby Ellsbury. If one of the teams cracks on Hughes or Ellsbury this thing might get done.
UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 8pm: Despite what Jon Heyman said, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo seems to think the Red Sox are still in the lead for Santana. It would be the package named below by Olney. Nothing is done yet, as Santana's agent hasn't been approached about an extension. Meanwhile Cafardo indicates that the Yankees may part with Robinson Cano after all. One other note: Peter Gammons suggests that the Sox would have to redo Josh Beckett's reasonable deal if they acquire Santana and give him $20MM+.
UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 2:50pm: Buster Olney suggests the same package as Walters from the Red Sox, except with Michael Bowden rather than Masterson. However the fourth player is still undetermined. He also notes that the Yankees are simultaneously talking to the Twins.
UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 1pm: The Boston Herald has a bit more. Basically the Red Sox are only willing to include one of Ellsbury/Buchholz/Lester, while the Twins want two from that group.
FROM 11-29-07 at 8:30am:
Shooter Charley Walters is back with a new column of rumors and whatnot. Remember, Walters was the one saying the Garza for Delmon rumor wouldn't die.
- Despite the exclusion of Jacoby Ellsbury, Walters says the Red Sox have the lead in the Johan Santana sweepstakes. The package would be Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Jon Lester, and Justin Masterson. Not a bad haul. I was thinking Lowrie might become a target of the Twins.
- The following clubs are interested in Carlos Silva: Tigers, Mets, Phillies, and Royals. None of those teams are new.
- The amount of cash each club is getting this year for online media properties like MLB.com sites: $25MM. And don't forget the Twins get about $20MM in revenue sharing. Maybe that's why they have interest in Aaron Rowand.
According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Nationals have gotten in touch with Scott Boras regarding center fielders Andruw Jones and Corey Patterson.
As you know, Andruw isn't prepared to give much of a discount despite a terrible 2007. As for Patterson, the Nats seemingly hope to miscast him as a leadoff hitter (.298 career OBP), the same mistake the Cubs made.
Ladson also has a quote from Aaron Rowand indicating that he hasn't heard much from the Nats.
UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 8pm: Marc Topkin reports that Percival did indeed take and pass a physical with the Rays.
FROM 11-29-07 at 6pm:
Couple of notes for your drive-time commute. Ken Rosenthal reports that Troy Percival will sign with the Rays for two years and $8 million. Incentives could push it to $10 million. Here's something you don't see every day: they're not making him take a physical -- though they have seen his medical records.
Apparently the Yankees threw more cash at him, but he opted for the closing opportunity in Tampa Bay. I wonder where that leaves Al Reyes.
Over on the ESPN side, Buster Olney says that David Riske is close to a deal with the Brewers. Olney supplies no details beyond it being a multiyear deal. As he notes, the Royals offered him two years and $6 million earlier this off-season. This deal could be comparable to Scott Linebrink's four years and $19 million.
Jon Heyman checks in with a couple of notable points.
- Heyman sets odds for Johan Santana, going with the Yankees and then Red Sox. I'll let you click through for the rest.
- While we'd recently heard from Ken Rosenthal that the A's had cooled on certain young Mets, perhaps Omar Minaya and Billy Beane can still work something out. Heyman indicates that Beane still covets Lastings Milledge and Mike Pelfrey. He also likes Kevin Mulvey, Carlos Gomez, and Fernando Martinez. So maybe Keith Law was right today in his chat - the Mets can pull off a deal with the A's despite popular belief.
- The Mets are shopping Johnny Estrada, but it's not known who's on the receiving end of those calls. Along with Estrada, the Mets aren't jazzed about Bengie Molina. Though he has been discussed.
ESPN's Jayson Stark always cranks out a bunch of new rumors when he writes a column. This week is no exception.
- Jose Reyes: going nowhere.
- Probably since they hope to include him in a Johan Santana deal, the Red Sox won't trade Coco Crisp until that situation is resolved. The Rangers liked Crisp, but are considering interesting alternatives: Rocco Baldelli, Jim Edmonds, and Juan Pierre. If only Ned Colletti could get someone to take his Pierre contract. Then he could sign another one almost equally as bad. Then he could trade Aaron Rowand a year from now and repeat the process.
- The Braves also liked Crisp, so they'll move on for now. Stark speculates a stopgap like Dave Roberts could work.
- More speculation: Andruw Jones as a darkhorse signing for the Royals. I guess that would push David DeJesus out of center field.
- Is there an unmentioned Mystery Team in on Johan Santana? Stark's sources suggest the Mariners, but those guys must not read Jon Heyman's column. I'll go with the Reds as my guess on the Mystery Team, if there is one.
- Speaking of guesses, Stark surmises that the Padres and Mets could be interested in Jose Guillen, aside from the Royals.
- More rumblings that Vicente Padilla could be traded this winter. Funny quote about how Padilla doesn't have baggage - he has luggage. In fact his luggage cannot be carried, rather it requires a mid-sized cart.
Peter Abraham of The Journal News checks in on his blog with a couple of new Yankees tidbits.
- The Yankees are considering LaTroy Hawkins, Ron Mahay, and a return of Luis Vizcaino among relief possibilities. Hawkins has the Tigers and Rockies after him. Mahay interests the Braves, Brewers, and Royals. Haven't heard much about the Viz yet.
- Abraham says there is a market for Kei Igawa. The Yanks don't have a rotation spot for him, but they are paying him through 2011. He's signed cheaply since a large part of the expenditure was his posting fee. Other teams known to have shown interest in Igawa at one point: Padres, Orioles, Mariners, D'Backs, Dodgers, Mets, Cubs, Braves, Tigers, and Indians.
- Abraham does not think the Mets will surrender Jose Reyes, and therefore doesn't think they can pull off a Johan Santana deal.
MLB.com's Adam McCalvy posted a Brewers article yesterday that's worthy of discussion.
- One reliever Doug Melvin has considered that I hadn't heard before: Eddie Guardado. Hey, at least he'd come cheap.
- Players like Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Corey Hart won't be moved. No surprise there.
- McCalvy says Melvin confirmed having internal discussions about Scott Rolen. Would John Mozeliak trade him within the division? More importantly, would the Brewers take on the money and injury risk? The obvious match would be to send a starter over to St. Louis for Rolen.
- Which starters are available? Though you can never have too much pitching, Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, or Claudio Vargas might be considered expendable. Their salaries will all be rising as they are arbitration-eligible. None will be non-tendered.
- Aside from Rolen, another unlikely possibility is Andruw Jones. Melvin did at least speak to Scott Boras about him. Moves for Rolen or Jones would of course involve moving Ryan Braun and/or Bill Hall to other positions, something Melvin prefers not to do.
- If Melvin can't trade Kevin Mench at the Winter Meetings, he'll probably be non-tendered.
- By the way, Tom Haudricourt echoes the Rolen and Jones rumors in his blog this afternoon.
Melvin Mora doesn't figure to be a hot commodity on the trade market. He's got name recognition because of two very good seasons in from 2003-04. But he turns 36 in February and will earn $17MM over the next two years. He also has a no-trade clause, but he'd probably waive it to go to a competitor.
The Phillies are interested in Mora for their third base vacancy, according to Steve King. I don't think the Phils would have to give up much in the way of prospects to get him; they could probably send over a bag of baseballs if they're willing to take on the entire contract.
UPDATE, 11-29-07 at 10am: Nick Piecoro talked to Valverde's agent; the below demands are not accurate. Valverde knows where he stands and that he's a few years off from cashing in. Another D'Backs note: they were in on Matt Garza but Carlos Gonzalez didn't measure up to Delmon Young.
FROM 11-27-07 at 10:30am:
Jose Valverde led the Majors with 47 saves last year, and now he wants to be paid accordingly. He made $2MM in '07 in his first year of arbitration.
Listin Diario, a well-known Dominican Republic newspaper, reported on November 9th that Valverde is seeking a four-year deal from the Diamondbacks in the range of $50-60MM (hat tip AZ Snakepit). Sounds like Valverde wants to be paid like a guy with six years of service time, though he only has four.
Failing a multiyear deal, Valverde is hoping to get $10MM for the 2008 season. The article says the D'Backs offered $4MM. If the two sides can't meet somewhere, they'll have to go to arbitration.
If Valverde is to get up to the $8-10MM range it makes sense for the D'Backs to shop him as an elite closer under team control through 2009. He could be involved in a deal for a starter, for example the Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman (pure speculation). What are your thoughts on a Valverde deal that might make sense?