The latest from SI's Jon Heyman...
- The Phillies had a "brief talk" with the Red Sox about Mike Lowell, but Heyman finds a free agent signing more likely.
- A competing agent believes Fern Cuza might be able to get a three-year deal for Miguel Tejada, which seems unlikely to me. Heyman says Tejada is drawing interest from the Cardinals, Astros, Giants, Phillies, and Rangers. The Rangers keep getting linked to starting infielders, but they're really only looking for a backup.
- Heyman notes that the White Sox signing Andruw Jones represents a rare Kenny Williams-Scott Boras matchup. He says Boras tried to sell the Sox on bringing back Joe Crede, prior to their Mark Teahen acquisition.
- Kendry Morales apparently advised Aroldis Chapman to switch from API to the Hendricks brothers.
The Cardinals signed minor league free agent infielder Ruben Gotay, tweets MLB.com's Matthew Leach. Gotay, 27 next month, has big league experience with the Royals, Mets, and Braves. This year he hit .272/.429/.450 for the D'Backs' Triple A club, playing second and third base. Gotay's 102 walks in 479 plate appearances (21.3%) make him an intriguing pickup.
3:34pm: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says Bay is still a top priority for the Red Sox, who are "trying to build on" their rejected $60MM offer. Cafardo says that offer was over five years, though most have reported it to be over four.
8:30am: How much do you trust the information of "one rival executive?" Such a source makes for the basis of the latest blog post from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. This exec told the FOX writers that the Red Sox prefer Matt Holliday over Jason Bay, and do not intend to re-sign Bay despite ongoing negotiations.
The writers go on to explain that the Red Sox would stand to gain a draft pick by signing Holliday instead of Bay. They'd lose their #29 pick to the Cardinals by signing Holliday, but would get a pick back from the team that signs Bay and would also receive a supplemental pick. Furthermore, the writers believe Bay will not be signed by a team with a protected first-round pick (such as the Mets).
The Pirates designated catcher Robinzon Diaz for assignment on Friday, and now according to a team press release he has cleared waivers and been unconditionally released. The 26-year-old catcher hit .279/.307/.357 in 138 plate appearances for the Pirates this year, catching 283 innings.
The press release also notes that recently-designated players Jeff Karstens and Justin Thomas cleared waivers and have been outrighted to Triple A.
Links for Monday...
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan wonders if Bobby Crosby could be a match for the Rangers as a utility infielder.
- MLB.com's Mychael Urban has an update on free agent lefty Mark Mulder.
- Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball analyzes Tim Lincecum's possible 2010 salary, and predicts the pitcher might submit $16.8MM against the Giants' $8MM figure.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Hideki Matsui's marketability is not a factor for the Yankees.
- Alex Speier of WEEI examines the chances of Roy Halladay remaining a workhorse over the next several seasons.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't see geography as a big factor for Matt Holliday. Meanwhile, Bernie Miklasz of the P-D doesn't understand Albert Pujols' reasoning as to why he needs to wait to discuss an extension.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart asks readers to predict the Astros' arbitration decisions for free agents. Jose Valverde and LaTroy Hawkins are tough calls in that it makes sense but we're not sure if the Astros will. We'll have predictions on all Type A/B free agents later today.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel explains why he feels only Felipe Lopez will get an arbitration offer from the Brewers.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says the Marlins are leaning against offering arbitration to Type B free agents Kiko Calero and Nick Johnson. Calero might be worth it.
- Jon Weisman of Dodgers Thoughts says the Dodgers' arbitration decisions won't necessarily be influenced by the McCourts' divorce.
- Staying with this theme, FanGraphs' Dave Cameron looks at the factors that should influence a team's arbitration-offer decision.
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports look at the market for Miguel Tejada.
- Morosi suggests ten teams that should talk to the Tigers about Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, and Edwin Jackson.
- Jacob Jackson of Athletics Nation has a detailed offseason plan for the A's.
- Righty Miguel Batista told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he has a few contenders interested in his services.
- Notes from NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman: the Orioles are eyeing pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, and Hideki Okajima would like a contract extension (he's under team control through 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player).
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the fates of Jeff Karstens, Robinzon Diaz, and Justin Thomas will be decided today.
- Elmer Dessens doesn't have a contract with the Mets quite yet, writes Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News.
SI's Jon Heyman tweets a rumor of the Tigers' demands from the Mariners in an Edwin Jackson trade:
"Hearing Tigers sought young pitchers Brandon Morrow and Shawn Kelley for Jackson. Mariners apparently said no."
So the Tigers offered two years of Jackson for four years of Morrow and five of Kelley. Were the Mariners right to turn it down?
The Pirates signed lefty Wil Ledezma to a minor league deal, according to a team press release. Ledezma, 29 in January, bounced around in the Nationals and Blue Jays organizations this year. He compiled a 3.49 ERA in 38.6 innings at three minor league stops, whiffing over a batter per inning but walking 4.2 per nine innings.
The Cardinals will re-sign backup catcher Jason LaRue, according to the team's Twitter feed. In his second year as Yadier Molina's backup, LaRue hit .240/.288/.327 in 112 plate appearances and caught 254 innings. He earned $950K for his efforts.
The latest Rangers hot stove buzz, courtesy of MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan...
- The Rangers were told by the Marlins that Josh Johnson is not available, which jives with Michael Hill's recent comments. Texas also inquired on other Marlins pitchers, and Sullivan says "there doesn't appear to be a match."
- Sullivan says the teams had "absolutely no discussions" about Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla. On November 19th, ESPN's Jayson Stark had written that talks with the Giants and Rangers for Uggla had gotten hot and heavy at the GM Meetings.
- The Rangers will need to add a utility infielder, with Omar Vizquel signing with the White Sox.
- Jermaine Dye remains a top Rangers target as they search for a right-handed middle of the order bat. Dye's willingness to play first base appeals to the Rangers. Despite the nice fit, Sullivan believes Dye will land in San Francisco.
- The Rangers "are not trying to move" veteran starter Kevin Millwood. Millwood under contract for 2010 after recording "The $12 Million Out" on September 21st.
The Rockies "plan to keep [outfielder Ryan] Spilborghs unless they receive a substantial offer," according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Despite Spilborghs' first-time arbitration-eligibility and Scott Boras representation, and admirers in the Braves and White Sox, the Rockies do not expect to trade him.
Spilborghs, 30, makes for a solid fourth outfielder. He slipped to .241/.310/.395 this year, dragged down by slumps in July and September. He played all three outfield positions, with the most time spent in left field.
With Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Seth Smith highly likely to stay put, the Rockies will probably have to trade one of Matt Murton, Brad Hawpe, or Spilborghs. Non-tendering Murton is another possibility.