Adam Lind Rumors
12:29pm: Loney is also a top target for the Rays, if they can afford him, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin relays some quotes from team president Matthew Silverman's interview on WDAE-620 AM radio this morning: "The good thing for us is he liked it here. We liked him, he fit in well. And we're a known quantity ... I'm hopeful that he can be here."
11:42am: The Pirates have contacted the Blue Jays about Adam Lind and the Rangers about Mitch Moreland, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark (on Twitter), but clubs who have spoken to the Buccos get the sense that James Loney has emerged as their top choice at the position.
At 29 years of age, Loney is a young free agent (he'll turn 30 next May). The lefty swinger enjoyed a nice rebound campaign with the Rays in 2013, hitting .299/.348/.430 with 13 homers and his typical brand of strong defense at first base. The Pirates had a hole at first base all season that they tried to fill by acquiring Justin Morneau from the Twins. While Morneau provided a solid OBP, he didn't homer in Pittsburgh and ultimately did little to improve the collective .243/.324/.402 batting line posted by Pittsburgh first basemen.
There was talk of re-signing Morneau, but that option disappeared last night when he agreed to a two-year, $13MM contract with the Rockies. That contract is likely good news for Loney and his new representatives at the Legacy Agency. Loney is three years younger than Morneau and coming off a much better season, so he should be able to top that guarantee. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted a two-year, $16MM contract for Loney back in early November, and it's possible at this point that he could top that figure.
As for the other two targets mentioned by Stark, both Moreland and Lind make some degree of sense for the Pirates. Each has a strong track record against right-handed pitching but is overmatched by lefties. Pittsburgh has a solid in-house platoon option at first base in the form of Gaby Sanchez. Both Moreland and Lind can be controlled through the 2016 season.
6:50pm: The Jays have exercised their options on Lind and DeRosa, while declining their option on Kawasaki, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi writes. Lind hit .288/.357/.497 while splitting his time between first base and DH in 2013. DeRosa hit .235/.326/.407 while playing first, second, third and DH. Kawasaki provided a feel-good moment or two for the Jays in a season in which they had very few, but he split his time between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo and only hit .229/.326/.308 in the Majors. Davidi notes that the Jays could re-sign him to a minor-league deal.
5:04pm: The Blue Jays have exercised their $4MM option on closer Casey Janssen, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets. Janssen pitched 52 2/3 innings in 2013, posting a 2.56 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9, so the decision was likely a relatively straightforward one. The option came as part of a two-year, $5.9MM deal signed prior to the 2012 season. Janssen made $3.9MM in 2013. He is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
The Jays have yet to announce decisions on options for first baseman / designated hitter Adam Lind ($7MM with a $2MM buyout), infielder Munenori Kawasaki ($1MM) and utilityman Mark DeRosa ($750K with a $25K buyout).
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters that there's a "good chance" they'll exercise Adam Lind's option for 2014, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter). Veteran Mark DeRosa is also in good position with his option and Casey Janssen is a lock to have his club option triggered.
It now looks like Lind will get $7MM to stay in Toronto next season rather than getting a $2MM buyout to ply his craft elsewhere. The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 ($7.5MM) and 2016 ($8MM). In 2013, Lind has hit .287/.356/.497, his best slash line since 2009.
DeRosa's $750K option was expected to be triggered, but he could opt to retire rather than return. The 38-year-old, who has a .229/.322/.398 slash line on the year, has earned nearly $30MM over the course of his career. Meanwhile, Janssen's $4MM option is a slam dunk after turning in a 2.56 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 56 relief appearances.
Anthopoulos also expressed confidence that the Blue Jays' rotation can turn things around with "a starter or two" added this offseason, Davidi tweets.
Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 Draft, entered the Rays' game as a pinch-hitter against the Rangers Thursday night and singled in his first big-league at-bat. It marked a milestone for the infielder, who crawled through the minor leagues, never hitting all that impressively at any level, before posting a line of .276/.342/.387 in 2013 for Triple-A Durham. All of the 20 players drafted immediately after Beckham made it to the big leagues before he did. (Many, of course, were drafted out of college; Beckham came out of high school.) Remarkably, as Baseball America's John Manuel notes (via Twitter), Beckham is the first player drafted by the Rays since 2007 to make it to the big leagues with them. That's surprising, given how vital young players are to a low-payroll team like the Rays and how successful they've been in recent years. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has implied to first baseman Adam Lind that there's a good chance the team will pick up Lind's 2014 option, but nothing is certain yet, SportsNet.ca's Shi Davidi reports. "You know Alex pretty well, it’s pretty much the explanation I anticipated," says Lind, who will get either $7MM to play for the Jays or a $2MM buyout. The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 and 2016. Lind has hit .282/.352/.486 so far this season. The team isn't required to make a decision about his option until shortly after the World Series ends.
- Mets manager Terry Collins wants Ruben Tejada to take command of the shortstop position next season, Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman of MLB.com write. "My message is real simple: this job is his," says Collins. "But he's got to show everybody that he wants it desperately." That doesn't rule out the possibility that the Mets could pursue a shortstop from outside the organization. The offseason free-agent market isn't a strong one, but a trade might be a possibility. Tejada has hit .202/.259/.260 in 227 plate appearances this season.
- The Cubs aren't ready to say whether Dale Sveum will remain their manager in 2014, but the notion that the Cubs would fire Sveum is "laughable," says Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times. Morrissey raises the possibility that the Cubs hesitation on Sveum may have something to do with big-name managers like Joe Girardi and Ron Gardenhire being free agents this offseason. He argues that Sveum shouldn't be blamed for the struggles of Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro this season, suggesting that the pair might simply not be as good as the Cubs and their fans hoped.
- The Brewers claimed pitcher Josh Ravin off waivers from the Reds today, and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy compares Ravin to Joe Nathan, noting that Ravin can throw in triple digits (Twitter link). Ravin wouldn't be the first player to find success as a reliever in the Majors after an unimpressive minor-league career, but Joe Nathan is a lofty name to drop when discussing a 25-year-old who posted a 5.82 ERA with 6.7 BB/9 in the minors this year.
- Dodgers lefty Onelki Garcia is now represented by BHS Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Garcia posted a 2.90 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in the upper levels of the minors in 2013, and he made his big-league debut last week.
In this morning's Insider blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney writes about the friendship that has grown between Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera over the course of their storied careers in the AL East. Ortiz tells Olney that he respects Rivera in the same way that he respects his father. Ortiz will suit up for the Red Sox again in 2014, but Rivera is in the final stages of his farewell tour as the future Hall of Famer prepares to retire. Here's more from the AL East...
- Adam Lind is hopeful that the Blue Jays will exercise his $7MM option "sooner rather than later" and hopes the conversation will be conducted face-to-face with GM Alex Anthopoulos, Lind tells Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Lind is confident that even if his option is declined and he becomes a free agent, he will be able to find other employment. In that instance, he would hope to join a contending team, though he made it clear to Nicholson-Smith that his preference is to help bring a winning team to Toronto.
- Lind's future with the team looks more certain than it did in July, writes MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm in his latest Blue Jays Inbox. Before the team discovered a tumor on Melky Cabrera's spine, they were planning to move Cabrera to DH in 2014. The tumor explains Cabrera's limited mobility and drastic decline, however, meaning Cabrera can still play in the outfield while Lind serves as the DH. Lind's option contains a $2MM buyout, so the Jays essentially have a $5MM decision on whether or not to retain him.
- Chisholm also discusses Colby Rasmus' case for an extension but notes that Rasmus' 2013 season compares favorably to B.J. Upton's walk year prior to signing a five-year, $75.25MM contract with the Braves. As such, Anthopoulos is likely to make sure that Rasmus can repeat his breakout season before looking seriously at adding him to Toronto's core.
- New Yankees shortstop Brendan Ryan "loves" playing in New York, Olney tweets. Olney speculates that the Yankees will look to keep Ryan around as insurance for Derek Jeter in 2014.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com notes that the Orioles will have to make a 40-man roster move to activate Henry Urrutia from the restricted list and wonders if Dan Johnson will be the corresponding move. Kubatko also looks at the case for Jonathan Schoop to be the team's second baseman in 2014, with Brian Roberts' contract expiring after this season.
Here's the latest news and stories making headlines around the AL East...
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says that he does not expect Jacoby Ellsbury contract situation to be a distraction at any point this season, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Ellsbury enters his walk year looking to rebound from injuries that have plagued him in two of the past three seasons.
- Adam Lind discusses how last year's Blue Jays coaching staff played a role in negatively impacting his numbers over the course of the season, writes Gregor Chisolm of MLB.com. "This year the coaches will be given the freedom to do whatever they want. They have the trust of Gibby so he can just manage and sometimes the type of personalities we had on our staff last year, they micromanaged a lot and sometimes that can affect the way we play and the way we coach."
- Jair Jurrjens may have suffered financial setback this offseason, but the veteran right-hander remains confident he can be the pitcher the Orioles were looking for when they first offered him a big league contract, says Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun. "If I'm out there and can stay on the mound, I know what I can do. A lot of people know what I can do. I'm just going to come here and show everybody that i'm healthy and I can pitch again."
Four years ago today, the Yankees traded a package headlined by Wilson Betemit to the White Sox for Nick Swisher. After helping New York to the 2009 World Series and three other playoff appearances, Swisher is now in line for a big multiyear contract as a free agent this winter. Here's the latest from the AL East...
- Dan Martin of The New York Post reports that the Yankees have had "preliminary discussions" about bringing Raul Ibanez back as a platoon player next season. The 40-year-old played more than the club would have liked this year due to Brett Gardner's injury.
- The Orioles are telling teams that their priorities in the trade market are first base, left field, and DH according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (on Twitter). GM Dan Duquette said several clubs match up well with their needs.
- Rival executives tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is "itching" to make a trade (Twitter link). Toronto is targeting starting pitching.
- Meanwhile, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm listed the Blue Jays' 12 out of options players (Twitter links): Brett Cecil, Rajai Davis, Jeremy Jeffress, Adam Lind, Jeff Mathis, Mike McCoy, Dustin McGowan, Luis Perez, Esmil Rogers, Sergio Santos, Cory Wade, and Bobby Wilson.
- Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe wonders (on Twitter) how far the Red Sox will extend themselves to sign Mike Napoli now that there is competition from the Yankees. He notes that Boston went the extra mile to sign David Ross.
- Jerry Sands, who was acquired in the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, could be a platoon answer for the Red Sox at first base or in either corner outfield spot, according to CSNNE.com.
Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed a number of topics concerning the club's future in 2013 and beyond tonight and Chris Toman of MLB.com has the goods..
- Anthopoulos is hoping to see more out of Adam Lind going forward, but noted that the Blue Jays won't be afraid to look elsewhere for better production. Toronto is on the hook for $5MM in 2013 with club options on him from 2014-16 totaling $22.5MM.
- Even if the Blue Jays don't find an out-of-house upgrade at first baseman/designated hitter, Lind could face competition Travis d'Arnaud, who could be in the mix with J.P. Arencibia as the starting catcher. David Cooper, a 2008 first-round pick who has hit .300/.324/.464 in 45 games this year, could also factor in.
- The Blue Jays still aren't sure if they see impending free agent Carlos Villanueva holding up as a starter for an entire season. The right-hander has made 13 starts for the Blue Jays this year, posting a 3.58 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in that role. Recently, Villanueva told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet that he wants to continue as a starting pitcher.
Before the season, we identified 11 players who were entering "make or break" years. These guys had experienced ups and downs in their respective careers and were positioned to re-establish themselves as difference makers at the Major League level and set themselves up for nice paydays in the future. Now that we're into August, let's take a second to check in each player (all links go to MLBTR posts)...
- Scott Baker, Twins -- Baker, 30, had elbow surgery in April and will miss the entire season. Minnesota will likely decline his $9.25MM option for 2013 (no buyout).
- Phil Hughes, Yankees -- The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 4.10 ERA in 131 2/3 innings this year, including a 3.40 ERA since mid-May. He's a safe bet to be tendered a contract for 2014, his final year as a arbitration-eligible player.
- Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- Jurrjens, 26, pitched so poorly earlier in the season that he had to be sent to the minors. He's since resurfaced and owns 6.89 ERA in 48 1/3 innings, cementing his status as a non-tender candidate.
- Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- Lind has battled back problems and also been demoted to Triple-A this season, and he's hit .227/.298/.394 while with the big league team. The 29-year-old continues to disappoint since signing his four-year, $18MM extension prior to 2010.
- Francisco Liriano, White Sox -- It's been another up and down season for the 28-year-old southpaw, who owns a 5.03 ERA in 111 innings. The Twins traded Liriano to the ChiSox at the deadline.
- James Loney, Dodgers -- Loney, now 28, hasn't helped himself at all this season, hitting just .251/.301/.330 in 327 plate appearances. He might have to settle for a minor league contract this coming offseason.
- Kendrys Morales, Angels -- The 29-year-old is hitting .282/.327/.455 with 14 homers on the year, well below the level he established prior to his leg injury in 2010. Morales figures to be both a trade and non-tender candidate after the season.
- Mike Pelfrey, Mets -- Pelfrey pitched to a 2.29 ERA in three starts before needing Tommy John surgery. The Mets are expected to non-tender the 28-year-old after the season.
- Geovany Soto, Rangers -- The 29-year-old backstop has continued to deal with injuries in 2012 and is hitting just .201/.289/.356. Soto is an obvious non-tender candidate.
- Kevin Youkilis, White Sox -- Youkilis lost his starting job with the Red Sox and was traded to the White Sox, who are likely to decline his $13MM option after the season. The 33-year-old has dealt with nagging injuries and is hitting .238/.339/.427 overall.
- Delmon Young, Tigers -- Young, 26, has had a below-average season at the plate (.266/.298/.402) and has dealt with some off-field problems. He hasn't helped his free agent stock any.
On this date 20 years ago the 1992 draft took place. A number of future stars, including Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi, were selected that day, but none impacted the American League East like the shortstop prospect the Yankees selected sixth overall. Here's the latest on the AL East...
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains how Derek Jeter fell to the Yankees 20 years ago. Though the Yankees were hoping Jeter would fall to them, they had prepared to start negotiations with right-hander Jim Pittsley in case another club selected their preferred target.
- Ben Cherington will be running his first draft as Boston's GM on Monday, but it'll be a familiar setting in some ways, Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald reports. The longtime Red Sox executive says his staff will seek the best available player with each pick. “The key with any draft is to do more with your picks than the 29 other teams do," he said.
- The Orioles will purchase the contract of utility player Bill Hall today and add him to the 25 and 40-man rosters, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports.
- Adam Lind could be ready to return to the Major Leagues "soon," GM Alex Anthopoulos said, according to Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun.