Ivan Nova, Craig Kimbrel and Madison Bumgarner are among the young players who will play major roles in determining their teams’ fates in 2011, as ESPN.com’s Buster Olney points out. Here are the rest of Olney’s rumors, with the latest updates up top:
- Olney hears that Chad Qualls is looking to re-establish his value with a one-year deal (Twitter link). With all due respect to Qualls, finding a mutliyear deal might never have been an option, since he posted a 7.32 ERA and allowed 85 hits in 59 innings last year.
- Teams believe Grant Balfour's asking price is dropping, according to Olney (Twitter link).
- Once Jim Thome signs, other first base/DH types will likely follow. There are lots of them out there, as MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker shows. Vladimir Guerrero, Jason Giambi, Russell Branyan, Johnny Damon, and Manny Ramirez are still available.
- Olney says Damon “probably made a mistake in not following up on the Yankees' overtures last winter about a two-year deal.”
- Carl Pavano and the Twins continue to make progress toward a deal and the sides could reach an agreement by the end of the week.
- Rafael Soriano is prioritizing money over his 2011 role, Olney writes. Olney suggests that “if some club was willing to pay him to be its bullpen catcher for $45MM over the next three years, Soriano would consider it.”