Adrian Gonzalez Rumors
Plenty of storylines in the AL East this year; here are a few...
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos talked to Jeff Blair on the Fan 590 yesterday, and Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans has highlights. Anthopoulos talked about Aroldis Chapman, Frank Francisco, Brett Lawrie, and Juan Rivera among other things.
- Much has been written lately about Rays' manager Joe Maddon's attempt to handle Manny Ramirez. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald has quotes from the manager today. ESPN's Jayson Stark tackled the Manny-Rays topic in depth yesterday, with one veteran big league coach and manager asserting, "I know one thing. It will end horribly."
- Despite being knocked around yesterday, Yankees pitcher Sergio Mitre told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, "That's one thing that never even crossed my mind - whether I'm making the team or not." Mitre seems to be battling Freddy Garcia for a long relief job.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman talked about how Jesus Montero's defense seems to be slipping in tandem with his batting slump, in this article from Feinsand's colleague John Harper. Montero might be best served at Triple-A for development and trade value purposes.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has extensive quotes from Adrian Gonzalez's agent John Boggs, as the good vibes about an April extension continue. WEEI's Alex Speier explains that trading for Gonzalez rather than signing him as a free agent gives Boston a more desirable slice of the first baseman's career and also saves them perhaps $25MM or more. I think the value of the careers of the prospects given up easily surpasses that amount of savings, but that's slightly negated by the Sox not having to give up a draft pick to get Adrian.
- Orioles president Andy MacPhail admitted to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that service time is a factor in their decision whether to have top prospect Zach Britton break camp with the team. At least he's being upfront about it. Britton has allowed one run in 14 innings this spring.
- Here's how the AL East stacks up in Baseball America's organizational talent rankings: the Rays are #2, the Blue Jays are #4, the Yankees are #5, the Red Sox are #17, and the Orioles are #21.
The latest on the Red Sox as John Boggs, the agent for Adrian Gonzalez, visits camp...
- Boggs said he would be "unpleasantly surprised" if Gonzalez doesn't sign a long-term deal with the Red Sox sometime in April, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (Twitter link).
- Boggs told the Boston Herald that he had a good meeting with execs Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington to try to rebuild the momentum the sides had in December, right after Boston traded for the first baseman. “Everything’s gone according to plan,’’ in terms of Gonzalez's recovery from right shoulder surgery, Boggs said.
- Like the Yankees, the Red Sox are itching to rotate players in and out of the DH spot, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That means the Red Sox could get unsentimental with David Ortiz when he hits free agency after the season and let him walk. Rosenthal suggests the Red Sox aren't going to hand Tim Wakefield a roster spot just because of his legacy, either.
Daisuke Matsuzaka had his best outing of the spring against the Tigers today, allowing two hits and a walk in five scoreless innings, striking out five. Here's the latest on the AL East, as the Red Sox and their fans gain a little confidence in the back of their rotation...
- Victor Martinez, who was playing against his former team this afternoon, told the Boston Herald that he "loved" Boston and has no hard feelings toward the Red Sox. V-Mart added that he thinks the Red Sox are offseason winners because they improved their pitching and offense.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com wonders what might have happened if the Red Sox had re-signed Martinez. A team source tells Speier that the Red Sox thought there was a chance the backstop would return. But as we heard earlier in the offseason, the Red Sox had doubts about Martinez's ability to catch long-term.
- If Martinez had returned, Speier hears that the Red Sox would have had the resources to pursue either Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez, but not both.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that Yankees right-hander Romulo Sanchez has been impressing scouts (Twitter link). The out-of-options 26-year-old could fit on a team looking for relief help, according to Rosenthal.
Adrian Gonzalez's agent John Boggs will visit Fort Myers next week, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and extension talks with the Red Sox for his client may resume at that time. Everything appears to be going according to plan, with a deal more likely after Opening Day. Alex Speier's December 5th article for WEEI explained why waiting until then to sign Gonzalez to an extension could save the team millions on their 2011 luxury tax bill.
Although vibes are positive from Boggs and the team, it is important to note that no agreement is in place. Morosi has the key quote from Boggs:
"We don’t have a term sheet signed. There’s nothing agreed to right now. But I fully expect we’ll start moving in a positive direction again in the near future. There is a mutual understanding of where our bottom line is. We’re going to try to pick up where we left off in December."
Reportedly, a seven-year contract in the $154MM range will get it done. Boggs told Morosi that Gonzalez assured the Red Sox he wouldn't change his December asking price.
Boggs has a pair of other young clients that I imagine he'll be checking in on in the near future: Trevor Cahill and Cole Hamels. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted in December that the A's were exploring a Cahill extension, while Cole Hamels hopes to remain with the Phillies long-term according to Morosi and Ken Rosenthal. Hamels is under the team's control through 2012, with an eight-figure arbitration reward likely for that season.
When the Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez three months ago, he was recovering from shoulder surgery and wasn't a lock to be ready for Opening Day. Yesterday, having not experienced any setbacks, Gonzalez played in his first game of the spring, a strong sign that his rehab has been a success. Speaking to reporters today, the slugger suggested he doesn't expect his health to be an issue this season. In fact, he wants to play in all 162 games, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
"I'm a first baseman," said Gonzalez. "How much energy do you really put out there? I don't steal bases. I don’t run fast. I play first base. As long as my legs can take it, I'm good."
More Sox-related links:
- In a separate column for WEEI, Speier looks back at the other trade involving Gonzalez, one that helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series.
- John Buck was keeping an eye on Victor Martinez and the Red Sox this winter, according to Speier. Alhough contract talks with the Sox never got serious, Buck was intrigued by the possibility of replacing V-Mart behind the plate in Boston: "Who doesn’t want to play for the Red Sox? Being a kind of historian of baseball, regardless of all the money and all that other stuff, it would just be a cool place to play."
- The Red Sox are making changes to Daisuke Matsuzaka's throwing routine in hopes of turning his spring around, says Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Yesterday, Theo Epstein shot down a report that Boston was open to trade offers for Dice-K and others.
- The starting rotation in Boston is becoming clearer, writes Britton in another ProJo blog entry.
The latest on the Red Sox, as John Lackey prepares for his second Spring Training start...
- Though Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox have not resumed contract talks since the weekend they traded for him, there is an understanding that a seven-year deal at around $22MM per year will get it done, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Gonzalez has said a couple of times that there's no pre-set agreement in place, but his agent John Boggs and Sox president Larry Lucchino both expect a deal.
- Regarding a potential multiyear extension, Clay Buchholz told WEEI's Kirk Minihane, "I think we've talked a little bit about it but there's nothing." Buchholz likes the five-year, $30MM deals signed by Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, and Ricky Romero, but perhaps the Red Sox need to see more. Buchholz's numbers are comparable to those players, but for a team there is a lot that goes into the decision beyond the stats.
- Manager Terry Francona explained to ESPN's Gordon Edes that he's thinking about the long-term with lefty Andrew Miller (Twitter link). The Red Sox were able to get a unique contract approved for Miller with the aim of subverting the option system, with a $3MM club option that vests for 2012 if he's claimed by another team. On one hand, the Commissioner's Office allowed this clause at first pass. Still, I've spoken to a few execs who think the Red Sox won't get away with it if Miller is actually claimed.
- Red Sox players are meeting today with Players' Association executive director Michael Weiner as well as several special assistants. Jed Lowrie may have a lot to contribute; Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald says the shortstop recently finished up a political science degree from Stanford by writing a 17-page paper comparing the players' unions in MLB and the NFL.
Peter Gammons appeared on WEEI's Minor Details podcast to discuss the value of a deep minor league system, the difficulty in finding power hitters, and, of course, the Red Sox. WEEI's Alex Speier has the partial transcript, and here are some of the highlights...
- The value of top prospects, Gammons notes, is higher than ever before since teams are realizing that it isn't cost-effective to sign free agents when those older players are entering a decline phase. Dealing for a star player in his prime is now the preferred option for a team like Boston that has a strong minor league system. “Having three really good prospects and getting Adrian Gonzalez so they won’t have to pay him past the age of 35, I think that’s part of it," Gammons said.
- To wit, Gammons believes the Yankees will forego trying for a free agent pitcher and instead use their own deep minor league system to acquire a pitcher like Brett Anderson or Gio Gonzalez "if Oakland doesn’t get off to a really good start." I'm not sure I agree with Gammons on this one. It's hard to believe the A's would deal Anderson or Gonzalez for anything short of a totally absurd offer, be it from the Yankees or anyone.
- Shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Ryan Kalish are "without question" going to be regulars for Boston in 2012. This puts them right on track to succeed incumbents Marco Scutaro and J.D. Drew, who are both in the last year of their contracts.
- Theo Epstein told Gammons before the 2005 draft that drug testing was going to create "a new game over the next five to 10 years," and then the Sox drafted Jacoby Ellsbury in the first round. Gammons notes that Boston has yet to develop a consistent power hitter in Epstein's regime, aside from Kevin Youkilis (who was drafted by former Sox GM Dan Duquette).
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says the Red Sox are the team to beat in 2011 and that's far from the only news out of Boston's Spring Training camp today...
- David Ortiz told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com that he feels good and is open to negotiating an extension during the season if the Red Sox are interested in one (link in Spanish).
- Adrian Gonzalez told Rojas that he has no pre-set extension agreement with the Red Sox and that he needs to prove that his shoulder is completely healthy before finalizing a deal with his new team (link in Spanish). Gonzalez denied that the sides are waiting to announce the deal because of baseball’s luxury tax.
- Ortiz told Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com that that he would at least consider playing for the Yankees. "Well, if I don't get signed here, I would play somewhere," Ortiz said. "You know what I'm saying? I'm not saying I would play for the Yankees, but I if I don't have a job, I gotta go somewhere else. As long as I play, right?"
- But Ortiz tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that he is "not even thinking" about his next contract yet.
- Jonathan Papelbon says his slider will be a key pitch for him in 2011, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. The closer hits free agency for the first time after the season, though he'll have plenty of competition as the relief market figures to be strong again.
In today's notes column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo writes about the Orioles' rebuilding process, which included renovations to the team's Spring Training and minor league facilities. "There was no magic formula," said president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. "We're not doing anything that hasn't been done before. The Orioles I grew up with did it with scouting and player development, and we're doing it the same way now."
Here are the rest of Cafardo's rumors...
- Both Yankees and Red Sox executives spoke out against revenue sharing last week, but no one wants a salary cap and the player's union won't allow one anyway.
- The early signs are good for Jake Peavy, who is coming back from a detached lat muscle. One scout called Peavy "trade bait for sure" if he's healthy and the White Sox slip out of contention. "Though teams may come after Mark [Buehrle] first."
- John Boggs, agent for Adrian Gonzalez, has not talked to the Red Sox about an extension since December, though something may be set up soon. Boggs will not be in Florida until the third week of March.
- The Brewers don't want to bring in someone like Bengie Molina in the wake of Jonathan Lucroy's broken finger because they know their young backstop will be back in a few weeks.
- When the Red Sox drew the line at four years and $52MM for Adrian Beltre, one of their fears was his potential to get hurt given his all-out approach. Beltre suffered a calf strain recently and may be out for up to a month.
Red Sox president Larry Lucchino confirmed on WEEI's the Dennis & Callahan Show what most of the team’s fans have been assuming since December. The Red Sox will extend Adrian Gonzalez before he hits free agency after the season.
"We're not going to let him get away," Lucchino said. "We're going to get him signed for sure."
Red Sox GM Theo Epstein says there's "no timetable" for talks between the team and its new first baseman, but it would be a surprise if the sides don't agree to a long-term deal by April. The Red Sox avoid a luxury tax hit if they wait until the season begins, so they may be inclined to finalize the deal in April, as they did with Josh Beckett last year. Though Gonzalez has denied that he has an agreement with the Red Sox, the sides have been working toward a long-term deal since December.