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Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy spoke with MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko about the extension he signed last October, explaining that he told agent Mike Seal he enjoyed Baltimore and wanted to remain there due to the club’s winning ways. Wondering where he was going to play the 2015 season did weigh on him throughout the season, Hardy said, and he was happy to agree to terms on a deal to keep him with the O’s. However, Hardy also discussed the departure of Nick Markakis, noting that the move didn’t necessarily sit well with him or franchise cornerstone Adam Jones. “Adam and I have both thought about that,” Hardy told Kubatko. “I know Adam thinks about it a lot. I mean, losing Nick was big. He was one of the guys out there every single day with us. Obviously, we want to win and the reason we signed our extensions is because we like it here and we like the guys who were around, so if everyone starts leaving, I don’t know.” Hardy said he hasn’t voiced any concerns to executive vice president/general manager Dan Duquette or manager Buck Showalter and that, when signing, he trusted that the Orioles would do everything possible to keep their players. Hardy also discussed teammates Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, pointing out that each has Scott Boras as an agent. “[Boras] kind of does a lot more decision-making,” Hardy said, adding that he hopes to see both Wieters and Davis stay in Baltimore.
More from the AL East…
- The Yankees announced that Hideki Matsui has been hired as a special adviser to GM Brian Cashman. Per ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand, Matsui will work closely with Cashman and vice president of player development Gary Denbo, and he’ll spend much of the 2015 season visiting minor league affiliates to work with their managers, coaches and players, focusing on aspects of hitting.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News spoke to Cashman about why the Yankees re-signed Stephen Drew. The GM explained that the team believes Drew’s rapid offensive deterioration in 2014 to be an aberration, and there’s little concern about the defensive en of the equation despite a change of positions. Andrew Miller, newly signed with the Yankees but a teammate of Drew’s last year in Boston, also weighed in with Feinsand, stating that he doesn’t envy the situation Drew entered in 2014. “Missing spring training and trying to come in with that weight on your shoulders, for it to be such a big story, have a team act so excited to see him, it was a little unfair to him,” Miller explained. “I can’t imagine missing that time and then trying to go to game speed.” Drew himself adds that the missed time hurt him quite a bit, and he’s pleased to be getting reps on schedule this year with the rest of the league.
- The Phillies scouted both the Yankees and Red Sox today, via Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (Twitter links). Of course, having a senior scout in attendance doesn’t necessarily indicate that anything eventful is on the horizon in terms of trade activity, as scouts are frequently watching multiple teams over the course of Spring Training. Still, Abraham notes that the Phils have taken quite a few looks at Boston third base prospect Garin Cecchini.
According to a "60 Minutes" report, members of Alex Rodriguez's inner circle obtained unredacted Biogenesis documents in February and leaked the names of Ryan Braun, Francisco Cervelli and Danny Valencia (who was later cleared) to Yahoo Sports. Michael Radutzky of CBS News writes. Rodriguez talked to the media (including Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York) today and denied leaking the names of any fellow player, particularly his Yankee teammate Cervelli. The third baseman also warned that more details in the case would be made public in the coming days:
"You know, I've been a member of this union for 20 years, and it is important for all the guys to understand that my loyalty is to this union and it would never happen, it would never occur and it didn't happen. Let's make one thing clear: For the next seven weeks, it is going to be a very bumpy road. Every day expect a story like this, if not bigger."
Here are some more items from around the AL East…
- Given the uncertainty of Rodriguez's situation and Derek Jeter's health, the Yankees will need to explore alternatives at third base and shortstop this winter, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Under Sherman's scenario, Jeter would play half his games at shortstop and the rest at first base or as the Yankees' primary DH against right-handers.
- As least 12 teams project to be suitors for Jacoby Ellsbury this winter, Fangraphs' Paul Swydan writes. The Red Sox are one of those teams, as "GM Ben Cherington isn’t letting Ellsbury go without a fight," though Swydan notes that the Sox could be in a position crunch in left field (with Jackie Bradley, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes) if they re-sign both Ellsbury and Mike Napoli.
- The Rays still look like the winners of the Wil Myers/James Shields trade, despite the Royals' recent hot streak, Grantland's Rany Jazayerli opines.
- The hiring of Buck Showalter was the key move that turned the Orioles from also-rans into contenders, outfielder Adam Jones writes in a guest piece for Buster Olney's column (ESPN Insider subscription required).
The Rays announced that they added Hideki Matsui to their active roster today, optioning Stephen Vogt to Triple-A and transferring Brandon Guyer to the 60-day disabled list in corresponding moves. Here are some items of interest from the AL East…
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports explains that Adam Jones’ new extension is about Jones the person, not just Jones the center fielder. The Orioles signed Jones to a six-year, $85.5MM deal last week.
- The Blue Jays aren’t currently discussing an extension with the representatives for Edwin Encarnacion, Morosi reports (on Twitter). The Wasserman Media Group client is on track to hit free agency after the season.
- The Blue Jays announced that they optioned Eric Thames to Triple-A. Thames, the Opening Day left fielder, returns to the minors and infielder Mike McCoy takes his place on Toronto’s active roster.
- Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal suggests it wouldn't be surprising if the Red Sox moved to extend Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the next few months. The hot-hitting catcher will be arbitration eligible for the third and final time this coming offseason and can expect a raise from his current $2.5MM salary.
- Here's a look at the 2013 contract issues facing the AL East teams: Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays.
6:29pm: It's a six-year, $85.5MM contract according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (all four Twitter links). There is no seventh year option but there is a no-trade provision, and escalators could push the total value to $91.5MM. Jones will earn $8.5MM in 2013, $13MM in 2014 and 2015, $16MM in 2016 and 2017, and $17MM in 2018 with a $2MM signing bonus.
In terms of total value, it's the second largest largest contract among active center fielders behind Matt Kemp's eight-year, $160MM deal with the Dodgers.
SATURDAY, 5:27pm: Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that the deal is done and an announcement could come today with a press conference tomorrow.
FRIDAY, 10:42am: The deal will cover six years and fall in the $85MM range, Rosenthal and Morosi report (on Twitter). This means the deal will buy out Jones' final arbitration year (presumably for $9-10MM) and five free agent seasons at approximately $15MM per year.
7:41am: Adam Jones is the best player on the first-place team in baseball's most competitive division and the Orioles aren't going to let him slip away. They are nearing a long-term contract extension with the center fielder, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report (plus Twitter links).
Jones completed his physical yesterday and the sides are in the process of completing the final details of the contract. The Orioles are making a commitment "well north" of Miguel Tejada's six-year, $72MM contract and Nick Markakis' six-year, $66MM extension, Rosenthal and Morosi report. This means the CAA Sports client will sign the largest contract in Orioles history. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun expects the deal to be for five or six years and $80-90MM.
Jones, 26, is earning $6.15MM this year as a second-time arbitration eligible player. The extension will buy out one year of arbitration eligibility and an unknown number of free agent seasons.
Jones is hitting .311/.357/.601 in 196 plate appearances this year. He's on his way to establishing career-highs in home runs (14 so far) and slugging percentage. Though he has a career on-base percentage of .322, his walk rate and on-base percentage are both on the rise.
Earlier this month Dave Cameron of FanGraphs compared Jones' breakout to Matt Kemp's 2011 season and suggested an extension in the $120-140MM range could work for both sides. Check out MLBTR's Extension Tracker for more comparable contracts.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
Dan Duquette gave reporters (including MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli) a brief update on the state of Adam Jones' possible extension with the Orioles, saying that Jones was a "unique case" that led him to break his policy of not negotiating during the season. “There’s not a lot I can say about it, except I’m encouraged by the fact that Adam wants to stay in Baltimore, we would certainly like him to stay in Baltimore. And hopefully we can work something out here in the short-term," Duquette said. “I don’t have a real timeline on these things, but hopefully we can get something done.”
Some more from around the AL East…
- With Jones on the way to an extension, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters told reporters (including Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com) that he isn't concerned about a possible new contract for himself. MLBTR's Mike Axisa examined Wieters as an extension candidate in March, while MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter) speculates that a Wieters deal could be worth $30-35MM over four years.
- Also from Ben, he covered the Blue Jays and the Rays today in the latest instalments of MLBTR's 2013 Contract Issues series.
- Ross Ohlendorf has pitched well at Triple-A Pawtucket and is a strong candidate to be added to the Red Sox 40-man roster before June 1, writes WEEI.com's Alex Speier. Ohlendorf can opt out of his minor league deal with the Sox if he isn't on the 40-man by that date, though since he has a minor league option left, the team doesn't necessarily have to call him up to the majors.
- The Yankees have been relying on their veterans this season as their younger players have largely failed to step up, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. A "person who has worked with both" Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances tells Sherman that the two pitchers have a lack of command on their fastballs and "were overhyped" as prospects.
The Orioles are nearing a six-year, $85MM contract extension with center fielder Adam Jones. The deal, which is the largest in Orioles franchise history, will cover his final arbitration season (2013) and five free agent years (2014-18). Here are some notes on and reactions to the deal:
- The deal's a win-win for Jones and the Orioles, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs writes. Cameron points out that we can expect more walks from Jones as he gains experience and notes that $75MM — the amount Baltimore committed to the center fielder's free agent years — doesn't always buy much on the open market.
- The Orioles could have acquired John Lannan, Drew Storen and Steve Lombardozzi from the Nationals for Jones over winter, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (on Twitter). Washington GM Mike Rizzo loves Jones, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter).
- An NL executive says the Orioles did well to extend Jones instead of trading him last offseason, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes (on Twitter).
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli had been under the impression that the Orioles would have lost Jones to free agency after 2013 if they had waited until next offseason to discuss an extension (Twitter link).
On this date in 2006, the Yankees acquired infielder Nick Green from the Devil Rays for cash. As our Transaction Tracker shows, it's the only trade ever made between the two division rivals. Here's the latest from the AL East…
- "We're always interested in the pitching market and any developments in the market," said Orioles GM Dan Duquette to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com when asked about the team's reported interest in Roy Oswalt. He wouldn't confirm if the club has watched Oswalt throw recently.
- Duquette also told Kubatko that a contract extension with Adam Jones is not imminent, and he wouldn't confirm if the Orioles and their star center fielder have spoken recently.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Orioles put a waiver claim in on John Gaub, but lost it to the Rangers because they have a better record (Twitter links). Baltimore came into the day 28-17 while Texas is 27-18.
- “My impression is not only do [the Steinbrenners] all love being part of [owning the Yankees], I think they are interested in handing it to their kids,” said Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Joel Sherman of The New York Post when asked about rumors of the team potentially going up for sale.
- ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. wrote about Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova and his path to the big leagues. He worked out for the Red Sox in the Dominican Republic but said "I really didn't want to sign with Boston … My father and I were both Yankee fans."
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has new Full Count video up, so let's dive in…
- Rosenthal says it's interesting that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro declined comment after Nationals GM Mike Rizzo criticized Cole Hamels for intentionally hitting Bryce Harper. It may be an indication that the relationship between the club and the free agent-to-be left-hander is touchier than it has been in the past.
- Hot starts by the Orioles and Adam Jones should reduce the chances that the center fielder is traded this summer and could create momentum for a long-term deal. Jones has emerged as a leader in the clubhouse and is a piece they could build around going forward, along with prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado.
- The Nationals have been trying to acquire Peter Bourjos since last offseason, but the Angels view the center fielder as a long-term asset and possible replacement for Torii Hunter. Hunter will become a free agent after the season, but that does not mean Bourjos is untouchable.
- The Padres have Huston Street, Carlos Quentin, and four starting pitchers on the disabled list, and Rosenthal says they could infuse some young talent into the roster by trading some of their back-end starters. They need Tim Stauffer (elbow) to get healthy and for Clayton Richard (5.32) to pitch better first.
Adam Jones said he hasn't heard from his representatives about any new contract extension proposals from the Orioles but isn't concerned by a lack of such talks, he tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Jones also isn't bothered by the other long-term deals being signed by young stars around baseball.
"You see it every day if you watch sports. You hear this guy signed, that guy signed. But that's a personal thing. That's an organizational call," said Jones. "It's not like the player can go up to the team and say, 'Hey, want to sign me?' I think it is an organizational call. If the organization wants you to be part of their future, they make that call.
"My side hasn't come to me, knocking down my phone, calling me, texting me. So that means nothing's in the works. Honestly, I've told my representatives to only hit me up if something is significant, because I am playing. The season has started."
Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive VP of baseball operations, said he visited with Nez Balelo, Jones' agent, during the club's recent road trip in Los Angeles. Nothing substantial appears to have been discussed, as Duquette said he met with both Balelo and several other agents simply to "keep a dialogue going" in regards to a number of different players. Duquette reiterated that he doesn't like to negotiate contracts during the season, believing it to be a distraction.
Last August, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes projected a Jones extension could fall in the range of four years and $40MM, though that would've entailed Jones and the O's agreeing to an extension that covered the 2012 season. Jones and the Orioles agreed to a one-year, $6.15MM deal for 2012 (Jones' second arbitration-eligible season) and tabled the extension talks, leaving Jones with one more arb-eligible year before hitting free agency after the 2013 campaign.
Through 16 games, Jones is on pace for his best offensive season (a .955 OPS in 69 plate appearances) and could significantly boost his asking price. Connolly thinks a Jones extension could be for six years and at least $75MM, making it the most expensive contract in Orioles team history. That type of so-called "franchise player" deal may be too much for Jones, in the opinion of one anonymous scout from another team.
"I like him a lot. He's a very good player. But will he be a great player? I don't know. He's still young, so maybe," said the scout. "But if you're going to give him franchise money, he has to be a great player. Someone will probably pay him like that regardless."
Jones said he enjoys playing in Baltimore, taking on extra responsibilities in the community as the team's only African-American player. If he and the O's haven't agreed to an extension by April 2013, however, Jones says he will test the free agent market.
"If I'm in the same situation next year (without an extension), I am going into my free-agent year. It would be hard to give up that right," Jones said.
It was on this day in 1945 that Jackie Robinson (along with fellow Negro League players Marvin Williams and Sam Jethroe) participated in a tryout for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. None of the trio were signed and Robinson signed his ground-breaking contract with the Dodgers later in the year. The Red Sox ended up being the last team to integrate its roster — Pumpsie Green appeared in a game as a pinch-runner on July 21, 1959, over 12 years after Robinson's Major League debut.
Here's the latest from the AL East…
- If Adam Jones hasn't signed a contract extension with the Orioles by July, the team should consider a trade, opines Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. Jones and the O's discussed a multiyear deal over the winter but talks were tabled. The 26-year-old has only helped his case for a big contract with a hot start to the season (a 1.052 OPS though Sunday's action) and has one more year of arbitration eligibility before potentially hitting the free agent market after the 2013 season. A Jones trade would be an unpopular move in Baltimore but the Orioles would undoubtedly receive a good haul of prospects in return for the center fielder.
- With Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind filling the Blue Jays' DH and first base spots, minor league first baseman David Cooper could become trade bait later this year, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. Cooper posted a .974 OPS at Triple-A last season and led the Pacific Coast League with a .364 average but hit just nine homers, leading to doubts about whether he has the power to contribute at the Major League level.
- The Red Sox have enough hitting to weather the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but the team's key problem is still its lack of rotation depth. In the same piece, Morosi notes that the Giants also have the bullpen arms to survive Brian Wilson's season-ending elbow injury but could have an unexpected starting pitching problem of their own if Tim Lincecum continues to struggle.