Links for Saturday...
- Junichi Tazawa is expected to announce early next week that he will sign with the Red Sox. He turned down offers from the Rangers, Mariners and Braves.
- The Padres recently offered to talk with Trevor Hoffman, but he hasn't responded. Tom Krasovic also has a Sandy Alderson quote that the Padres are "highly unlikely" to offer Hoffman arbitration.
- Robert MacLeod talked to Blue Jays insiders who believe trading ace Roy Halladay would send "the wrong signal" to fans since the Jays want to compete in 2009.
- Rob Neyer wonders how C.C. Sabathia's weight will affect his performance going forward.
- Joba Chamberlain tops Peter Abraham's list of the 20 most important people to the Yankees organization.
- Peter Gammons asks five post-Thanksgiving questions about free agents and trades. Also within that blog post, Gammons mentions that Kevin Towers went to Sunday's Chargers game with Brad Ausmus and hopes to sign him.
- Larry LaRue writes that the Mariners could use a couple good outfielders to go along with Ichiro.
- Bob Verdi expects a quiet retirement accouncement from Greg Maddux.
Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times has a few A's rumors:
- Stiglich spoke with Rafael Furcal's agent, Paul Kinzer, and heard that it will be the middle of next week at the earliest that Furcal decides where he'd like to sign. It no longer seems likely that Furcal will narrow his options down to two teams this weekend.
- In a poll earlier in the week, 32% of MLBTR readers said they expected Furcal to sign with the A's, who had the most votes of any team by far.
- The Rockies are interested in free agent reliever Alan Embree, but the A's are considering brining him back for another year.
- And the A's are deciding whether to offer arbitration to Embree and Frank Thomas.
The New York Times has sources who say the Mets will look to improve their bullpen through trades before starting more involved discussions with Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes.
According to the article, the Mets have had discussions with various teams about trading for Jose Valverde, J.J. Putz, Huston Street and Bobby Jenks and are considering free agent relievers Kerry Wood and Trevor Hoffman.
Even if the Mets add one of these relievers, they could still sign K-Rod or Fuentes in their efforts to completely remodel their bullpen.
This week Mets GM Omar Minaya said Fuentes' asking price was "a bit high," so the Mets are considering alternatives even though they will continue to pursue K-Rod and Fuentes.
Brian McTaggart of the Houston Chronicle has the latest on the Astros:
- Astros GM Ed Wade said that he's had to slow down negotiations with free agent lefty Randy Wolf because he's unsure how much payroll he's working with. Negotiations are on hold at least until next week, but the Astros would still like to sign Wolf to a multi-year deal.
- The Astros still hope to bring back reliever Doug Brocail, but they haven't negotiated with his agent in over a week.
- Wade said he'll try to address the team's catching needs via trades or free agency. Houston is interested in free agent catcher David Ross.
- The Astros are also reportedly interested in converting free agent pitcher and former NCAA home run champion John Van Benschoten into a hitter.
According to Jim Street of MLB.com, Ken Griffey Jr. is attracting lots of interest already.
Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg, told Street that he has been in contact with nine teams regarding his client - six in the American League and three in the National League. Keep in mind that Goldberg initiated contact with some of these teams. All of this information was first reported by John Fay on Monday.
Goldberg said that Griffey, who's open to moving around, won't price himself out of a job and would consider a contract with incentives.
Goldberg said that Griffey is open to a one-year contract from "the right team in the right place." The Mariners are one of the nine clubs, but Goldberg contacted them and the response was said to be "polite."
4:42pm: A press release from the Red Sox says it's actually two players to be named later or cash considerations. Amalie Benjamin notes that Littleton is out of options, so the return may not be impressive.
4:33pm: According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers traded righty Wes Littleton to the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash. GM Jon Daniels said the player may not be named until close to opening day.
Littleton, 26, has a 3.69 ERA in 102.1 career innings. He had a nice half-season out of the Rangers' pen in '06.
Teams have a chance to snag a supplemental draft pick if they offer arbitration to their Type B free agent and he signs elsewhere. The risk is that the player could accept and leave the team with an unwanted financial burden.
Of the 33 Type B free agents, which do you think will be offered arbitration Monday? Check the box next to those who will be offered arbitration, in your opinion. Take the poll here, see the results here.
Links for Friday...
- Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News says $100MM contracts for pitchers are risky, given the deals signed by Kevin Brown, Barry Zito, and Mike Hampton. Those pitchers don't seem similar to C.C. Sabathia, however.
- The second part of Curt Schilling's article about his trade to the Red Sox.
- The Royals signed several minor league free agents, including righty Federico Castaneda from the Mexican League.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman explains why the free agent market is slow. It doesn't seem abnormal to me; it makes sense to wait until after December 1st to see if arbitration is offered.
According to Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Cubs, Mets, and Phillies talked to Raul Ibanez's agent this week. Those three clubs remain high on him. LaRue says the Mariners fielded a call from Ibanez's agent, but he's unlikely to sign because he wants to win and does not want to be a designated hitter.
Another reason to let Ibanez leave is his Type A status. He's highly unlikely to accept an offer of arbitration, and the Mets, Phillies, and Cubs all have unprotected first-round picks.
According to Brian McTaggart of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros slowed negotiations with free agent lefty Randy Wolf due to payroll concerns. The Astros made an offer earlier this month, but now GM Ed Wade says: "I told Arn that we still had interest but weren’t prepared to move forward at this time."