Adam Lind Rumors
Now that the Yankees have designated Vernon Wells for assignment, they're more likely to keep Ichiro Suzuki, NJ.com's Brendan Kuty writes. If Ichiro stays, it will be in a bench role, with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran holding the starting outfield roles and Alfonso Soriano mostly playing DH. There had been some whispers that the Yankees could trade Ichiro, although, as Kuty points out, it was unclear who the Yankees might trade him to. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The recent re-signing of Alexi Casilla to a minor-league deal gives the Orioles another backup plan if Manny Machado is unable to completely recover from his knee injury by the beginning of the season, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. If Machado isn't ready to go, the Orioles could move Ryan Flaherty to third and start either Casilla or Jemile Weeks at second. Jonathan Schoop might also be a possibility there, but Encina notes that the O's would like to give Schoop more time at Triple-A.
- The Marlins are unlikely to re-sign outfielder Chris Coghlan, says MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. They non-tendered him last month, and have since added Brian Bogusevic, who looks likely to occupy an outfield bench role. The Marlins could have a starting outfield of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton.
- Adam Lind is glad the Blue Jays exercised his $7MM option this offseason, Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca reports. "I was really hoping I was going to be back, but for some reason you never find out until the last minute, and I’m really excited and pumped to be able to stay here for another season," Lind says. There have also been trade rumors about Lind this offseason, but Davidi writes that the Blue Jays never really wanted to trade him.
With Corey Hart and Logan Morrison heading to the Mariners and James Loney agreeing to return to the Rays this week, the Pirates and Brewers remain on the hunt for a first baseman, as MLB.com's Anthony DiComo notes (via Twitter). The Astros could be on the lookout for a first baseman as well. With Mike Napoli (Red Sox) and Justin Morneau (Rockies) also gone, there isn't much left on the free-agent market, which means teams still hoping to acquire a first baseman will probably also consider trades. Here's a look at the main options still available.
- Matt Adams, Cardinals. Adams is far better than most of the players listed below, but the Cardinals would only be likely to move him in a major deal. It would be very hard for the Pirates or Brewers to pry him away, since they're both NL Central teams, and the Astros likely don't have the big-league talent the Cardinals would need in order to decide to part with him. His .284/.335/.503 line in 2013 would be a valuable addition to any big-league lineup, however.
- Kendrys Morales, free agent. Morales might be the highest-profile name remaining as a free agent, but after a season in which he hit .277/.336/.449 while playing poor defense (in the 31 games in which he played first base), he declined the Mariners' qualifying offer. It's hard to see many teams, including the Pirates and Brewers, give up a draft pick for the right to sign a defensively-limited player on the wrong side of 30. It appears likely that Morales will end up back with an AL team, as CBS Sports' Mike Axisa recently noted.
- Ike Davis, Mets. The Mets seem determined to trade either Davis or Lucas Duda. Davis may be the more attractive of the two candidates, due to his power, although he'll also be more expensive than Duda in arbitration this year. The Mets also seem more inclined to trade Davis. With Loney off the market, there's now a clear path for the Mets to deal Davis to either the Brewers or Pirates. There may be a feeling around baseball that they waited too long, however, with Mike Puma of the New York Post recently tweeting that a source recently told him the Mets were going to "sell low" on Davis. The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough, meanwhile, tweeted, "The Mets' slow, steady march toward trading Ike Davis for something like a right-handed relief prospect is such a drag." In any case, it's hard to see the Mets getting much for Davis, or any team getting particularly excited about installing him at first, after he hit .205/.326/.334 in 2013, even though he batted .286/.449/.505 after the All-Star break. Davis appears set to make about $3.5MM through arbitration in 2014.
- Justin Smoak, Mariners. With Hart and Morrison both heading to Seattle, Smoak is now available, with the Mariners likely favoring a big-league contributor, rather than a prospect, in return. It remains to be seen how much other teams might want Smoak, however -- the former top prospect has hovered around replacement level for his career, and at 27, it may be that his once-highly-regarded bat won't ever carry him. Smoak hit .238/.334/.412 in 2013.
- Mitch Moreland, Rangers. Moreland's name has appeared in trade rumors since Texas traded for Prince Fielder, but he currently still has a role in Texas at DH. That could change somewhat, however, if the Rangers sign Shin-Soo Choo or re-sign Nelson Cruz, but right now, there appears to be no pressing reason for the Rangers to trade Moreland unless they want to. Moreland hit .232/.299/.437 in 2013, but unlike any of the trade candidates mentioned above, he does play plus defense at first base.
- Adam Lind, Blue Jays. Lind, who batted .288/.357/.497 in 2013, is a well-above-average hitter, but he's not much of a defender at any position. Also, like Moreland, he has a clear role on his current team as a DH. The Pirates recently asked the Jays about Lind, only to have the Jays ask for Neil Walker in return. If the Blue Jays do trade Lind, he probably won't come cheap.
- Mike Carp, Red Sox. WEEI's Rob Bradford recently tweeted that Carp was receiving plenty of attention on the trade market, which is no surprise -- unlike Davis and Smoak, Carp hit well in 2013, and unlike Moreland and Lind, he has no clear starting role with his current team. Carp played mostly first base and outfield in 2013, but with Jackie Bradley Jr. expected to replace Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, and with Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes expected to play in the corner spots, he won't necessarily be needed in the outfield next year. There isn't much room elsewhere, either, with Mike Napoli and David Ortiz returning at first base and DH, respectively. If Carp hits .296/.362/.523 again, the Red Sox can surely find space for him, but if another team approaches them with a nice offer, they could easily deal him, too.
- Eric Chavez, free agent. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman recently reported that the Pirates were one of several teams to check in on Chavez, and upon inspection, it's easy to see why. The veteran hit .281/.332/.478 in Arizona in 2013, and while he has limited experience at first base and isn't the defensive star he once was at third, it's easy to imagine he would be at least average defensively if he were to move across the diamond. He might also be relatively cheap, since he was a part-time player in 2013. He's an injury risk, but with Pittsburgh, in particular, he wouldn't have to play every day, since Gaby Sanchez would start against lefties.
- Kevin Youkilis, free agent. Youkilis missed most of the 2013 season due to injury and wasn't good when he played, but he was a valuable asset as recently as 2011. He'll be 35 in March, however, and showed signs of decline in 2012, so it's fair to wonder how much he has left. He also prefers to play on the West Coast, so he may not want to sign with Milwaukee or Pittsburgh.
Earlier today, we heard from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports that a trade agreement between the Rangers and Blue Jays fell through when a player involved in the deal failed his physical. The FOX duo reported that Sergio Santos would have been sent to Texas in the swap, and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca adds another detail, revealing that the agreed-upon trade would have seen the Blue Jays land a starting pitcher. Here's more on the Jays from Orlando:
- The Pirates approached the Jays about Adam Lind, but talks quickly fizzled when Toronto countered by asking about Neil Walker, according to Davidi.
- While the Jays aren't necessarily looking to move Lind, the team has asked around about other first base options like James Loney, Mitch Moreland, and Logan Morrison, in case a Lind deal presents itself.
- GM Alex Anthopoulos didn't comment specifically on whether the Blue Jays would bid on Masahiro Tanaka, but said, "I think it’s safe to say any good starter that’s out there we’re going to be active, we’ll try to be involved and see if it makes sense for us."
- Anthopoulos added that the Jays are "having some dialogue" on a smaller deal that would add a right-handed bat to the team's bench.
- Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com passes along a transcript of manager John Gibbons' conversation with the media today, which includes plenty of discussion about possible holes on the roster and potential moves to address them.
3:50pm: The Brewers aren't on the verge of acquiring Morrison, GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter).
3:16pm: The Orioles have also checked in on Morrison, according to Morosi (on Twitter).
3:11pm: The Rays are not close to acquiring Morrison, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Sherman takes the report a step further noting that the Rays never engaged the Marlins on Morrison.
2:49pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Marlins are telling other clubs they will trade Morrison shortly. Stark again lists the Rays as a possibility.
2:33pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that interest in Morrison is picking up and adds the Brewers and Blue Jays to the list of interested parties (Twitter link).
2:07pm: The Pirates' interest in Morrison is "mild" at this point, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Rays are also interested in Morrison.
Pittsburgh was first connected to Lind last week. Those reports also connected the Buccos to James Loney, but Morosi specifically notes in his tweet that they're currently looking at the trade market (perhaps the result of Loney's three-year, $30MM target on the open market). Lind struggles tremendously against left-handed pitching, but the Pirates possess an in-house platoon candidate in the form of Gaby Sanchez. Lind's left-handed pop would play well at PNC Park, amplifying his career .286/.343/.508 line against right-handed pitching.
Morrison, 26, is likely to be available on the trade market now that the Marlins have finalized their two-year deal with Garrett Jones. LoMo has clashed with the Marlins' organization on numerous occasions and is expected to be heavily shopped this week. Morrison has batted just .236/.321/.387 over his past two big league seasons after slashing .259/.351/.460 through his first two Major League campaigns.
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."