Adrian Gonzalez Rumors

Heyman On Dodgers, Phillies, Red Sox

Ned Colletti says the Dodgers’ new ownership group has encouraged bold midseason deals, even if the moves require cash, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Though the Dodgers have no intention of being reckless, they won’t hesitate to make moves that improve their roster, as evidenced by their flurry of midseason additions and waiver claim on well-compensated left-hander Cliff Lee. Here are some highlights from Heyman’s article:

  • Though player salaries matter to any GM, they are not the most important variable in Los Angeles. "We're back to thinking about players in a baseball context," Colletti said. "Salary is part of the checklist. But it's not necessarily an obstacle."
  • The Dodgers attempted to trade for Lee after claiming him, making the Phillies multiple offers before being shut down quickly. The Phillies would only have considered trades if they got significant MLB players in return, plus complete salary relief.
  • Philadelphia GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says he intends to build around Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. "We feel like we have a better chance of being a championship club with those three guys at the top of the rotation," Amaro said.
  • The Dodgers inquired on Adrian Gonzalez, but "it takes two to make a deal," one Red Sox person told Heyman.

Red Sox Notes: Gonzalez, Dodgers, Ellsbury

Here's a look at the latest out of Fenway as the Red Sox get set to take on the Twins this afternoon..

  • The Dodgers inquired on first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and offered players that could help the Red Sox build for the future, but were ultimately rebuffed, according to Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe.  Shaughnessy believes that the Red Sox should have been more open to the idea of moving Gonzalez, who is hitting .301/.345/.443 with ten homers on the year.
  • Rather than focus on major offseason additions, John Tomase of the Boston Herald would like to see the Red Sox make wholesale changes to their roster.  Tomase points to the talks of a deal involving Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett with the Rangers as the type of trade that would make a dent.
  • David Ortiz is working to come back from a strained right Achilles injury but the slugger says that he won't rush back and put his career in jeopardy, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.  Ortiz will be eligible for free agency at the end of the year.
  • The Red Sox are in need of a serious turnaround but both Kelly Shoppach and Nick Punto saw their respective clubs pull it off in 2011, writes Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com.  Shoppach was a member of the Rays while Punto was with the Cardinals last season.

Padres Notes: Quentin, Maybin, Zumaya, Venable

The Padres have already pulled off two major offseason trades under GM Josh Byrnes, sending Mat Latos to Cincinnati and obtaining Carlos Quentin from the White Sox. “We’re not in total go-for-it mode, but we can make some choices,” Byrnes said, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here are details from Center’s recent look ahead to the rest of the San Diego’s offseason: 

  • The Padres acquired Quentin from the White Sox with the notion that they could extend him, Byrnes said. 
  • The Padres have already discussed signing Cameron Maybin to a deal that would buy out one or two of his free agent years, according to Center. We heard late in December that the Padres were set to re-start contract talks with the center fielder, who’s on track to hit free agency after 2015.
  • No payroll model would have allowed the Padres to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez for $20-25MM per season, according to Byrnes. Former Padres GM Jed Hoyer dealt Gonzalez to Boston for prospects Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo last offseason. 
  • The Padres were reluctant to offer Heath Bell a third year this offseason, Center writes.
  • The Padres could sign a pitcher or two before Spring Training and San Diego native Joel Zumaya is high on Byrnes’ wish list, Center notes. 
  • Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner would like to see the Mariners pursue Will Venable, "probably one of the more underrated players in the sport."
  • The Padres figured prominently on Tim Dierkes' list of the offseason's most surprising trades so far.


Fallout From The Albert Pujols Signing

Needless to say, people will be talking about the Angels' blockbuster contract with Albert Pujols for years, if not decades, to come.  We published one batch of reactions to the signing yesterday, and now here are some fresh perspectives about the impact of the already-legendary deal…

  • The Angels have agreed to a 20-year TV contract with Fox Sports worth at least $3 billion, reports Bill Shaikin and Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times.  With the Dodgers' deal with Fox struck down in court and the Lakers moving to Time Warner Cable, the Angels had a clear line to this huge new deal and revenue stream.  As Shaikin and Baxter put it to Halos fans, Pujols was "brought to you by Frank McCourt and Kobe Bryant."
  • Dave Cameron of Fangraphs looks at how major signings rarely lead to long-term boosts in attendance.
  • There is no truth to rumors the Angels and A's were discussing a trade involving Mark Trumbo and Andrew Bailey, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Slusser's source calls the rumor "total fiction."
  • During labor talks, Arte Moreno was critical of other owners signing players to expensive, long-term contracts, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • Adrian Gonzalez's seven-year, $154MM contract with the Red Sox "looks rather incredible now," writes WEEI.com's Alex Speier.  "There is a good chance that Gonzalez will be a better player than Pujols for the next seven years. But even if he is not…the difference will not be as wide as a nine-figure contract chasm would suggest."

Red Sox Notes: Managerial Search, Farrell, Gonzalez

With the Red Sox expected to name Ben Cherington as their GM on Tuesday, the organization must now focus on finding their next manager.  Here's the latest on their search and more..

  • Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters before tonight's game that the Red Sox and Cubs will have until November 1st to work out a deal before he intervenes, writes Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.  Meanwhile, it's expected that Mike Hazen, the current director of player development for the BoSox, will be promoted to assistant GM when the dust settles.
  • There will no more dialogue between the Red Sox and Cubs on compensation for Theo Epstein until after the Tuesday press conferences, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter) has been told.
  • Recently, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that they do not require rival teams to seek permission to interview their employees.  That leads Davidi (via Twitter) to believe that they would not seek compensation should John Farrell decide to leave for the Red Sox.
  • While there has been industry speculation that the Red Sox could go after a current manager of another big league team, they have no such plan at this time, a source familiar with the team's search told Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  That would rule out possible candidates such as John Farrell of the Blue Jays and the Padres' Bud Black.
  • Once he takes over as GM, Ben Cherington figures to interview candidates like Tim Wallach of the Dodgers, Dale Sveum of the Brewers, Pete Mackanin of the Phillies, and Dave Martinez of the Rays, writes Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald.  If the Cubs decide to replace Mike Quade, Cherington may find himself vying with Epstein for Ryne Sandberg.  Boston courted Sandberg to manage Triple-A Pawtucket before he took the Phillies’ Triple-A job instead.
  • More from Alex Speier of WEEI.com as he wonders aloud if the Red Sox's first baseman of choice still would have been Adrian Gonzalez if they waited until after 2011 to make their move.  Gonzalez's seven-year, $154MM contract goes into effect in 2012.

MLB’s Newest $100MM Players: One Year In

Six players signed deals worth $100MM or more last offseason and they've now completed one year since finalizing their respective deals. Here's a look at how baseball's newest $100MM players fared in 2011 (in order of contract value):

  • Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, ten-year, $157.75MM extension – This deal, which was somewhat unexpected last offseason, is going as well as the Rockies could hope. Tulowitzki put together another tremendous season: .302/.372/.544 with 30 home runs at shortstop.
  • Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox, seven-year, $154MM extension - Gonzalez led the American League in hits and nearly won the batting title in his return to the Junior Circuit. He posted a .338/.410/.548 line and hit 27 homers on his way to an MVP-caliber season. His seven-year extension officially kicks in next season, though.
  • Carl Crawford, Red Sox, seven-year, $142MM contract - Crawford posted a sub-.300 on-base percentage, saw his stolen base total drop by 29 and hit fewer home runs, triples and doubles than he did during his final season in Tampa Bay. The Red Sox still owe him $128MM, so they have to find a way to turn their left fielder's career around.
  • Jayson Werth, Nationals, seven-year, $126MM contract – Though Werth doesn't like the idea that 2011 was a lost season for him and the Nationals, there's no denying that his numbers fell off. He had a .232/.330/.389 line with 20 homers and 19 stolen bases.
  • Cliff Lee, Phillies, five-year, $120MM contract – We knew Lee was good, but it would not have been fair to expect this kind of year: he posted a 2.40 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 232 2/3 innings.
  • Ryan Braun, Brewers, five-year, $105MM extension - Braun could win the MVP after leading the league in slugging percentage (.597) and OPS (.994). He hit 33 homers and stole 33 bases, posted a career-high .397 on-base percentage and made his fourth consecutive All-Star team.

Crawford and Werth were sources of excitement for their respective teams when they signed free agent contracts and the outfielders have since become sources of concern. The other position players – Tulowitzki, Gonzalez and Braun – have turned in MVP-caliber seasons, while Lee should be a top-three finisher in this year's NL Cy Young balloting.


Checking In On The Newest $100MM Players

Every year a few select players join baseball’s exclusive $100MM club with free agent deals and mega-extensions. Last offseason was no different – we saw six players sign nine figure deals. The contracts were all for five years or more, so it’s far too early to call them successes or failures. But as the season approaches its halfway point, let’s check in on baseball’s newest $100MM players:

  • Troy Tulowitzki, ten-year, $157.75MM extension – Tulo has slowed down after a scorching start, but he's still having an excellent season. His .274/.339/.491 line and 13 homers look especially good when you consider that he's a good defensive shortstop.
  • Adrian Gonzalez, seven-year, $154MM extension – Red Sox fans dreamed of a season like this when Theo Epstein acquired Gonzalez from the Padres in December. The first baseman is a leading MVP candidate with a .350/.403/.603 line and 15 home runs. 
  • Carl Crawford, seven-year, $142MM contract – Crawford was heating up before he hit the disabled list, but his numbers are poor overall. He has a .243/.275/.384 batting line, just 8 stolen bases and his lowest walk rate (3.2%) since 2002, his rookie season.
  • Jayson Werth, seven-year, $126MM contract – Werth is hitting just .233/.334/.409, though he has 10 home runs. Nationals fans may be consoled by the fact that Werth erupted in the second half last year and has traditionally produced better after the All-Star break.
  • Cliff Lee, five-year, $120MM contract – The prize of the offseason free agent market, Lee has a 3.12 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 104 innings. The lefty is in the midst of another fantastic season and this time he doesn't have to worry about being traded.
  • Ryan Braun, five-year, $105MM extension – Braun is having a monster year. He has a .310/.397/.555 line with 15 homers and a career-best 12.1% walk rate for the first-place Brewers.  

It's fair to expect Werth and Crawford to turn their seasons around and produce as they did before signing nine figure free agent contracts. The other four additions to the $100MM club are justifying the deals, at least to the extent that it's possible in less than three months.


Quick Hits: Mariners, Rizzo, Gonzalez, Orioles

On this date in 1997, the Reds called Aaron Boone up and sent his brother, Bret, to the minors. Bret would emerge as a power threat the following year and average 26 homers per season for the next seven years. Aaron put together a solid 12-year career that featured an All-Star Game berth and one of the most memorable home runs in Yankees history. Here's the latest from around MLB…

  • Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner runs through some possible left field targets for the Mariners, including Ryan Ludwick and Luke Scott.
  • Padres GM Jed Hoyer told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that he doesn't want 21-year-old first baseman Anthony Rizzo to try to replace Adrian Gonzalez, the man he was traded for last winter. "Adrian Gonzalez at 21 years old was toiling in Triple-A," Hoyer said. "It took Adrian a number of years before he really established himself as a Major League player."
  • Hoyer says he's not surprised that Gonzalez has turned in a "monster" season for the Red Sox so far. Unfortunately for the Padres, they couldn't afford him long-term.
  • The Orioles have agreed to terms with third round right-hander Mike Wright, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.
  • The MLBPA Alumni Association is working on a program that will transition players to jobs beyond the playing field, according to Evan Drellich of MLB.com. Most Major Leaguers retire without millions of dollars saved up, so the program will be important for players like veteran minor leaguer Andy Tracy, who expects to retire after the season.

Quick Hits: Gonzalez, Cardinals, Posey

On this date in 1968, MLB announced two new expansion teams: the Montreal Expos and the San Diego Padres. The Expos’ ancestors (the Nationals) and the Padres occupy last place in their respective divisions this year. Here’s the latest from the Major Leagues: 

  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the Tigers kicked around the idea of trading for Adrian Gonzalez when he was with the Rangers in 2004-05 (Twitter link). However, talks never got very far and the Rangers dealt the first baseman to San Diego.
  • A rival GM told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he expects the Cardinals to make a “major push” to acquire talent this summer, since this could be St. Louis’ last playoff run with Albert Pujols.
  • Giants catcher Buster Posey would be “infinitely safer” at first base because he’d stay fresher, according to Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle (she acknowledges that Posey adds plenty of value as a catcher).
  • An NL executive who could benefit from Posey’s absence was rattled by the catcher's injury because he's good for baseball, according to EPSN.com’s Buster Olney.

Quick Hits: Branyan, Bedard, Vazquez, Turner

On this date in 1999, the Twins traded Scott Downs and Rick Aguilera to the Cubs for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan. Aguilera and Ryan ended their careers years ago, but Downs has a 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 innings for the Angels this year while Lohse owns a 2.17 ERA in 66 1/3 innings for the Cardinals.

Here are Saturday's links, as Cliff Lee prepares to pitch against his former Rangers' teammates…

  • Since joining the Red Sox, the club has learned that Adrian Gonzalez is a great mentor for their young Latin players, writes Peter Gammons of MLB.com.
  • As Matt Eddy of Baseball America (via Twitter) points out, the Diamondbacks' release of Russell Branyan marks the end of his time with his tenth different club.  He's had multiple stops in the same place as well as the Indians had and traded him four different times while the Brewers and the Mariners each had him twice.
  • In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says that any team interested in trading for Erik Bedard would have to convince themselves that he could find the same comfort zone on their team that he has with the Mariners.
  • Seattle is "almost certainly in position to ask for a top prospect" for Bedard according to Olney, who has a 3.94 ERA in eight starts this year but remains an injury risk given all his shoulder trouble.
  • Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez indicated that Javier Vazquez is not pitching for his job today, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Vazquez has a 7.55 ERA with more walks (24) than strikeouts (20) in 39 1/3 innings across eight starts this year, in part because his fastball velocity has disappeared.
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post points out that the Yankees once drafted Mets' infielder Justin Turner, but he turned down a $200K offer as 29th round pick in 2005 and returned to school for his senior season. Turner signed with the Reds for $50K as a seventh round pick in 2006, then was traded to the Orioles in the Ryan Freel-Ramon Hernandez swap and was later claimed off waivers by the Mets. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI against the Yanks last night.