Adam LaRoche Rumors
An ex-Ranger is heading to the AL East, as Mike Napoli and the Red Sox agreed to a three-year contract earlier today. However, there's still plenty of activity going on out west, so let's round up a few items from the AL West....
- The Mariners and Rangers sound like the two biggest suitors besides the Nationals for Adam LaRoche, says Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
- As the Angels eye Sean Burnett, they continue to have interest in other relief options, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter). Mike Adams remains a possibility, and the team also checked in on Joakim Soria, though he wants to close.
- The Mariners remain open to signing a defensive catcher, tweets Greg Johns of MLB.com.
- The Mariners had "no idea" that the Red Sox were closing in on an agreement with Napoli, GM Jack Zduriencik tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
Agreeing to sign Mike Napoli doesn't take the Red Sox out of the running for Nick Swisher, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who says (via Twitter) that the Sox remain in talks with Swisher. Cody Ross and Shane Victorino also remain on Boston's radar, though the team is likely out of the running for Adam LaRoche, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
The Red Sox were said on Friday to be one of a number of clubs that has spoken to Swisher's representatives. However, both Swisher and the Red Sox are considering their options, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald adds (via Twitter) that Boston's pursuit of Swisher had been moving slowly, though that could change now that the team has locked up Napoli.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Twitter link) believes the market for Swisher could become much clearer once Josh Hamilton signs. If Hamilton leaves Texas, Swisher could be a good fit with the Rangers, says Olney.
MLBTR is providing 24-hour coverage of the Winter Meetings for the fourth straight year. I'll once again be handling overnight duties for the following four nights to keep track of late-breaking and crack-of-dawn news and rumors. Here's the latest from around the league...
- There is a "growing sense" that the Nationals and Adam LaRoche will get a new contract worked out, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. That transaction would make Michael Morse expendable, which would explain reports that the Nats and Rays are discussing Morse in a trade.
- The Marlins figure to be observers at this year's Winter Meetings, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. The team is likely to pursue bullpen options and bench depth.
- The Giants are still interested in Shane Victorino as a fallback option in the event that they are unable to re-sign Angel Pagan, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Giants general manager Brian Sabean told Shea that the team isn't in on any "high-ticket items" (Twitter link). As Shea notes, that should rule out Michael Bourn. I wonder if Sabean is also including Nick Swisher, who has been linked to the Giants, in that description.
- Delmon Young might wait until January to sign, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Young is recovering from ankle surgery and wants to be healthy in his auditions for new teams.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin isn't inclined to go beyond two years in deals for free agent pitchers (Twitter link).
- John Lannan will be a popular name among teams in need of starting pitching depth, and the Twins are expected to kick the tires, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). The Nationals non-tendered the 28-year-old southpaw on Friday.
- Adam LaRoche met with General Manager Mike Rizzo and had an open discussion about where each side stands, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “To be honest, it’s a years thing now,” LaRoche said. “I think they’re really wanting to stick to two years. I’m trying to talk them into lengthening that. To be honest, probably just one year. I’m not looking for four or five. I understand I’m 33 years old. The first baseman requested the meeting to make sure that nothing got lost in translation between the front office and his representation at SFX.
- Don’t be surprised if second baseman Danny Espinosa is the subject of trade discussions at the winter meetings, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The 25-year-old is likely to draw interest from teams who need a middle infielder and the Nats could use Steve Lombardozzi to replace Espinosa at second in the short-term. Top prospect Anthony Rendon eventually could take the reins at the position if he does not replace Ryan Zimmerman at third.
- Rizzo gave his rationale about the thought process in this week's non-tender decisions, Kilgore writes. The club non-tendered left-hander John Lannan, catcher Jesus Flores, and reliever Tom Gorzelanny.
The Nationals avoided the busy free agent center field market by acquiring Denard Span from the Twins today in exchange for highly-touted pitching prospect Alex Meyer. Here is some of the early buzz about the trade and how it affects the Nationals, Twins and several other teams around the league...
- The trade seems to leave Adam LaRoche without a spot in the Nationals' lineup, meaning the first baseman could go elsewhere as a free agent. In a conference call with reporters (including Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider), Washington GM Mike Rizzo said the trade "gives us some options" with player moves and noted that the team is still talking to LaRoche. Rizzo said teams have called about Michael Morse, so the Nats could potentially re-sign LaRoche and deal Morse instead.
- While a Morse trade is a possibility, some executives feel the Span deal will lead to LaRoche signing with the Red Sox, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks at how the trade impacts LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton and the Phillies.
- The trade was "a huge win" for the Nationals, opines Fangraphs' Dave Cameron, who thinks Minnesota could've gotten more than Meyer in exchange for an affordable center fielder. "The Twins got a real talent back in return for Span, but it’s a talent with too many question marks to be the piece they’re getting back in return for a three win player under team control at a fraction of his market price," Cameron writes.
- Conversely, ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) likes the trade for the Twins. The club sorely needs young pitching and Meyer's potential is worth "an average regular in center whose value will fluctuate with his BABIP," as Law describes Span. Law also notes that this deal should help the Rockies get more in a trade for Dexter Fowler, as Fowler is younger and has more power than Span.
Here's the latest news from Fenway...
- The Red Sox are talking to Adam LaRoche, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. With the Sox reluctant to go beyond a three-year contract for Mike Napoli, LaRoche could be the team's fallback plan. A three-year deal would top the Nationals' best offer to the free agent first baseman, as the Nats "have been fairly steadfast" in not offering LaRoche more than two years. The Rangers have also been linked to both LaRoche and Napoli this offseason.
- Also from Heyman's piece, he notes that the Red Sox have "checked in" on Alex Gonzalez and Stephen Drew, though Jose Iglesias will get first priority at shortstop.
- Jacoby Ellsbury's name hasn't been mentioned in trade talks, team president Larry Lucchino said during an appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan radio show today (partial transcript from WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane). Lucchino also said that while the Sox haven't closed the door on any free agents, "what we have ruled out is the kind of long-term, gigantic commitment to players if at all possible....We are more concerned about years than we are dollars."
- From that same radio appearance (courtesy of The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber), Lucchino said the team is still interested in re-signing Cody Ross. Though Boston recently signed Jonny Gomes, Lucchino said the team wants to build "deep depth" after last year's injury-plagued season.
- The Red Sox will tender Alfredo Aceves a new contract before tomorrow's non-tender deadline, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The pitching-needy Sox value Aceves' versatility as a starter and reliever too much to let him go for nothing, despite Aceves' disciplinary issues in 2012. Lauber thinks Aceves could still possibly be a trade candidate.
Here's a look at the latest on the Nationals..
- The Nats and first baseman Adam LaRoche are still far apart on hammering out a new deal, tweets Bill Ladson of MLB.com. The 33-year-old would like to return to the Nationals but is also looking to land a three-year deal. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) also hears that there hasn't been much movement on a new contract for LaRoche, which would indicate that they are more outfield-focused at the moment.
- With the LaRoche negotiations stalling, the Nats are seriously considering changing course and going after Michael Bourn, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com. The speedster is No. 3 on Tim Dierkes' list of the Top 50 free agents.
- In an interview on 106.7 The Fan, General Manager Mike Rizzo seemed keen on finding a leadoff hitter/centerfielder to allow Bryce Harper to move to one of the corner positions, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. When asked about what he wants to upgrade, Rizzo said that he will be targeting a "dynamic" player in centerfield (Twitter link).
- The Nationals, along with the Tigers, have benefited from learning how to do business with super-agent Scott Boras, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Boras advised Nats owner Mark Lerner back in 2007 to "lose for a couple more years" and focus on building through the draft rather than spending big on free agents.
Today is the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American player to win the MVP Award. This would be the only such honor during Robinson's Hall of Fame career. Here's the latest news from the Senior Circuit:
- Negotiations between the Nationals and Adam LaRoche are going slowly, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The source also says LaRoche's top priority is to return to the Nationals, but the free agent first baseman is thinking about his two children, which is why he wants a three-year deal and has talked with several teams.
- A five-year, $75MM contract might be accurate for B.J. Upton but expect Michael Bourn to seek more, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Despite the declining influence of home runs to change a game, as typified by the Giants winning the World Series after slugging the fewest home runs in baseball, the Phillies still need a power surge in 2013, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Centerfield is one position where the Phillies could seek to boost their power output. ESPN's Buster Olney breaks down their various centerfield options in his latest Insiders-only blog.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sees the Reds' 2013 payroll being $92MM, but a team insider tells him the actual number could start with an eight. This would make it difficult, in Fay's opinion, to do anything in free agency except sign a closer or re-sign Ryan Ludwick.
- Within the same piece, GM Walt Jocketty says he will wait until after Thanksgiving to speak with Scott Rolen, who is contemplating retirement.
- The Cardinals' needs are simple for 2013, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team needs to reinforce a thin bench by adding some right-handed power and find a fourth outfielder who can generate some offense. Miklasz adds the health of shortstop Rafael Furcal is also a significant question.
- Blessed with the deepest of pockets, the Dodgers' desire to pursue an elite starting pitcher reveals myriad ways the team can approach the process, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. Common sense, however, may still prevail at Chavez Ravine as Dodgers controlling partner Mark Walter once eloquently stated, "Pitchers break."
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- The Rangers continue to insist that they will not trade either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar for Justin Upton, which could allow the Rays to emerge as the front-runner. They could offer the Diamondbacks James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson in addition to shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee.
- The White Sox and Phillies are interested in Kevin Youkilis, and the Dodgers are considering him as well. Rosenthal says other clubs are concerned whenever Los Angeles is reportedly in on a player given their financial might.
- The Orioles and Nationals are still engaged in a dispute over money received from MASN -- both clubs own the network, but Baltimore's stake is nearly 90% -- though Nats GM Mike Rizzo said that will not limit the club's ability to spend.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is not concerned about finding a pure closer. He intends to add the best bullpen arms he can and let things figure themselves out.
- A rival executive told Rosenthal that he expects Dan Haren to sign with the Padres. Haren is a West Coast guy and Padres GM Josh Byrnes originally acquired him from the Athletics while running the Diamondbacks a few years ago.
- “Like him. Don’t love him," said a Red Sox official when asked about Adam LaRoche. Boston is reportedly pursuing the first baseman.
- Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season. Both right-handers are coming off Tommy John surgery.
Condolences to the family and friends of Lee MacPhail, who passed away at the age of 95 today. MacPhail was a long-time executive who worked with the Yankees and Orioles in addition to serving as Commissioner William Eckert's chief aid. He also served as president of the American League and was the oldest living Hall of Famer.
Here is the latest from around the league as Friday turns into Saturday...
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears that Adam LaRoche hasn't heard from the Nationals in a few days, but he's still interested in returning to the team (Twitter link). LaRoche turned down Washington's qualifying offer today.
- The Orioles are still talking to Nate McLouth, reports Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The team is optimistic a deal will get done, but nothing is imminent.
- The Mets have more payroll flexibility than expected, but GM Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he's still "realistic" about the players they can acquire (Twitter links). Alderson referenced the "bottom end" of the free agent market.
- "We are not shopping him," said Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez when asked about the Trevor Bauer trade rumors. "Again, if they ask, [GM Kevin Towers'] response is 'Hey, we are willing to listen,' and that's what's happened here."
- Earlier today we heard that the Tigers made a contract offer to Jeremy Bonderman, but the right-hander told MLB.com's Jason Beck that it's news to him (Twitter links). Bonderman cautioned that he usually lets his agent handle contract matters.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that outfielder Nick Weglarz is drawing interest as a free agent thanks to his left-handed bat. The 24-year-old hit .239/.349/.413 with 14 homers in 436 plate appearances for the Indians' Double-A affiliate last year.