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There will be a bidding frenzy for Joe Mauer if he hits the free agent market after next season, as anticipated. But the Twins are in a position to make him a strong offer, according to Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press. Team president Dave St. Peter said the team has enough money to keep Mauer around after next year.
The Twins are in the middle of a pennant race thanks in large part to Mauer's season-long hot streak at the plate and strong defense. Mauer says he isn't thinking about his contract status, but he's no doubt boosting his value with his MVP-level play.
Joe Crede tells MLB.com's Tyler Mason that in spite of some recent rumors suggesting he's considering retirement, he has no such intention.
"I know I have more years in me. I still love the game," Crede said. "I have no plans of retiring."
The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that Crede might opt to retire after the season, but Crede says he has no idea how those rumors emerged. Crede has had back trouble throughout his career, but he's only 31 and he's managed 15 homers this year.
3:35pm: The Royals officially announced the extension, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. Moore is under contract through 2014.
1:48pm: The Royals are set to sign GM Dayton Moore to a four-year extension, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. The deal, which could be officially announced tonight, will keep Moore in charge through 2014. He became GM in 2006, when he agreed to a five-year deal that locked him up through 2010.
When we heard last week that the Royals were considering an extension for their GM, ESPN.com's Keith Law wrote that there was no good reason to do so.
The Rangers released Ryan Freel after just two games at Triple A Oklahoma City, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Rangers just signed Freel on Friday. As Mike pointed out at the time of the signing, Freel has now played for five organizations in the last year.
Freel picked up limited at bats for the Orioles, Cubs and Royals this year without posting an OPS over .600 for any of the three teams. He remains as versatile as ever, though; Freel has played every outfield position, second and third this year.
More links as we await the next waiver trade…
- The Brewers put off J.J. Hardy's free agency until after 2011 by keeping him in the minors for 20 days, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out. This should boost Hardy's trade value after the season, when the Brewers will presumably listen to trade offers, now that Alcides Escobar is contributing in the majors.
- Randy Johnson expects to return to the Giants as a reliever, according to the AP (via FOX Sports).
- MLB.com's Marty Noble suggests Jayson Werth and Derrek Lee would be good fits for the Mets this offseason.
The Giants will sign Brad Penny, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. They'll pay him only the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary, which is only about $75k at this point.
The Giants now have a formidable rotation. Penny, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez join Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain to form arguably the best rotation in baseball. The Giants, who are tied for the NL Wild Card lead, expect Randy Johnson to return as a reliever sometime in September.
1:18pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Giants are the "strong favorites" to sign Penny if he clears waivers. Should the Giants sign Penny, they would pay him the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary and the Red Sox would cover everything else.
10:08am: Jon Heyman of SI.com notes that the Twins are interested in Brad Penny. Twins officials did not deny that the team may claim Penny on waivers, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. A number of other teams are also pursuing the big righty, but the Marlins and Giants are reportedly frontrunners. Penny could clear release waivers today, at which point he would become a free agent. Then, he'd be able to sign with the team of his choice. A team could still claim Penny off waivers, but they would have to take on his contract.
The Twins will use Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins out of the bullpen when they return from their respective injuries, so they could use Penny in their rotation.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Giants appear to have a good chance of signing Brad Penny if he clears waivers today. Here are the rest of Heyman's rumors:
- The Rockies could non-tender Garrett Atkins after the season. He'd be in line for at least $7MM and the team may decide to spend that money elsewhere.
- The White Sox are expected to want to pick up Jermaine Dye's $12MM mutual option for 2010, but Dye could turn it down and try the free agent market instead. Given the relatively small contracts Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu signed after last season and the competition Dye would face on the market, there's no guarantee Dye would make more than $12MM. Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and Johnny Damon will all hit free agency after the season.
- The Nationals are expected to replace Jim Riggleman with a new field manager next year.
1:24pm: Rosenthal reports that the Cubs held onto Harden, Heilman and the rest of their players.
12:38pm: ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Cubs aren't likely to deal Harden. Many teams claimed the righty and it's likely that an NL team won the claim.
12:22pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that the Cubs are less motivated to move Harden now than they were last week. The team has started playing well and has an outside shot at the NL Wild Card.
11:29am: Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago hears that the Cubs will hold onto Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman, who were claimed by the Twins and Giants, respectively. (Other teams may have claimed them as well).
10:37am: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune hears that the Twins have not yet requested Rich Harden's medical records from the Cubs. A trade seems unlikely, according to Christensen's source.
Harden has been on the DL seven times since 2005, so the team would presumably want to examine the records before making a deal. However, Harden has been pitching well lately and the Twins are looking for starting pitching help, so they could consider dealing for him without looking at his medical records.
The Pirates designated pitcher Jon Meloan for assignment to create roster room for Daniel McCutchen, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. The 25-year-old righty has played in the minors for the Pirates, Indians and Rays this year. In total, he's allowed 68 hits and 28 walks in 65 innings, striking out 60.
Meanwhile, the Phillies designated minor leaguer Brad Harman for assignment, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. Harman hasn't played in the majors this year, but he batted 11 times in a brief call up last year. The 23-year-old, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, has played around the infield in his minor league career.
The Dodgers designated Jesus Castillo for assignment, according to MLB.com. (Hat Tip: Diamond Leung) Castillo, a 25-year-old righty, has allowed 150 hits and 55 walks in 146.0 innings at AA this year, striking out 85.