MLB is building momentum toward two 15-team leagues with three five-team divisions per league, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. It doesn't appear that the players’ association will agree to expand the postseason unless owners agree to more balanced schedules and divisions, Stark reports. Here are the rest of his rumors…
- It appears that the Tigers and Rays will pick up their options for Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth, respectively, this offseason.
- Two MLB executives predicted to Stark that Ryan Madson will sign a deal like the one Valverde obtained two winters ago: $14MM over two years plus an option.
- Multiple teams have expressed concerns about Francisco Rodriguez’s off-field “baggage,” though K-Rod stands out as one of the best free agent relievers of the winter.
- Stark hears that MLB has been slow to approve incoming Astros owner Jim Crane in order to apply leverage on Crane so that he’ll agree to move the Astros to the American League. Earlier today, Bob Nightengale of USA Today had a report that conflicts with Stark’s article.
- Friends of Billy Beane say the A’s GM has legitimate interest in the Cubs GM job, though he has an ownership stake and lots of freedom in Oakland.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo will interview managerial candidates this offseason before deciding whether Davey Johnson will return as manager in 2012.
- First base doesn’t appear to be a priority for Washington, but Rizzo says "you never want to say never” when it comes to possible offseason moves.