A.J. Pierzynski Rumors

AL Central Rumors: Stewart, Revere, Victorino, Soria

The latest from around the AL Central...

  • Despite the fact that the Twins are looking to give Trevor Plouffe some competition at third base, Ian Stewart isn't a match with the team, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III (on Twitter).
  • Ben Revere's name has surfaced as a possible trade candidate, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Revere became the Twins' projected center field starter with the trade of Denard Span to the Nationals, so Morosi believes Minnesota might need to get a center field back in order to move Revere.
  • The Indians offered four years and $44MM to Shane Victorino, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Victorino ultimately chose a three-year, $39MM offer from Boston, but it shows that the Indians have some money to spend.
  • The Royals' offer was "not even close to what I was looking for," new Rangers setup man Joakim Soria told reporters including MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez on a conference call today.  Soria landed a two-year, $8MM deal with the Rangers.
  • The White Sox continue to have dialogue with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
  • We had a few Tigers rumors yesterday also.    

Latest On The Yankees

The Yankees have been eerily quiet so far at the 2013 Winter Meetings.  Still, here's the latest from GM Brian Cashman's media briefing.

AL Central Links: Plouffe, Flowers, White Sox

It's been relatively quiet for the American League Central so far today, but here are some late-night rumblings surrounding the division...

  • The Twins are closing in on adding someone to give Trevor Plouffe competition at third base, writes 1500 ESPN's Phil Mackey. Twins GM Terry Ryan said that piece could be in place before the end of the Winter Meetings. Mackey writes that it's probably a solid glove at a reasonable salary, given the Twins' desire to spend nearly all of their offseason budget on the rotation.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn says the team is still actively pursuing A.J. Pierzynski, but he's comfortable with Tyler Flowers opening the season as the everyday catcher (Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reporting). Hahn says he'd be confident with Flowers and Hector Gimenez as the team's backstop tandem in 2013.
  • Flowers was quite frank when talking to reporters, including Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com. He said flatly that he hopes Pierzynski will not be retained, though he hopes the best for his former teammate. Said Flowers: “I have no intentions of being a backup catcher the rest of my career. My career is getting shorter and shorter everyday that goes by. So I feel like I’d like the chance to be a starter.”
  • Earlier today it was reported that Joe Blanton, Kevin Correia and Brett Myers are on the Twins' radar.

Mets Rumors: Catcher, Dickey, Ownership

While news of Alex Rodriguez's hip surgery dominates the headlines for one New York team, here's the latest on the team across town:

  • At or near the top of Sandy Alderson's shopping list during the Winter Meetings is a catcher who can share the job with Josh Thole or even take it outright, says Mike Puma of the New York Post. If the team were to sign a free agent, the most likely scenario would be a right-handed hitter like Miguel Olivo, who could platoon with Thole. A.J. Pierzynski figures to be out of the Mets' price range, says Puma.

Earlier updates:

  • The Mets have been underwhelmed by the offers they've received for R.A. Dickey so far, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino adds in a second tweet that the Mets genuinely don't seem to know whether they'll trade Dickey or extend him.
  • While Mets GM Sandy Alderson acknowledges that Dickey's situation needs to be resolved, he says that resolution doesn't necessarily need to happen during the Winter Meetings, according to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
  • The Mets are a team whose direction this offseason has yet to be determined, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney in his Insider-only blog.
  • One minority owner of the Mets has been accused of fraud, as a New York Times report details.

Catching Rumors: Napoli, Pierzynski, Rockies

The Pirates recently agreed to sign Russell Martin to a two-year, $17MM contract. Here's the latest on some other MLB catchers...

  • The Yankees don't sound very interested in Mike Napoli or Pierzynski, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
  • The Mariners aren’t seriously interested in A.J. Pierzynski and the Yankees weren’t looking too closely at the free agent catcher before Martin agreed to sign in Pittsburgh, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Heyman hears Pierzynski to the Dodgers is “not happening.” Heyman suggested yesterday that the Dodgers could have interest in Pierzynski.
  • The Rockies seem confident that Ramon Hernandez will rebound in 2013, so they might not have interest in pursuing veteran catching depth, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).

Quick Hits: Greinke, Twins, Martin, Napoli, Royals

Several player agents tell Larry Stone of the Seattle Times that the Mariners' chances of attracting free agent hitters have improved now that Safeco Field's fences are being moved in.  That said, while the shorter fences will help, "players look at all of those factors, but in the end, it still comes down to where they can get the best contract. And it always will," one agent says.

Here are some items from a very busy day in baseball....

Hahn On Pierzynski, Youkilis, Beckham, Payroll

White Sox GM Rick Hahn covered a number of topics during a conference call with reporters today.  Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has the highlights...

  • Hahn has been talking to the representatives for A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis, and believes the markets for both players will come into focus once other catchers and third basemen sign contracts.  The free agent catching market lost a notable name today when Russell Martin agreed to a two-year/$17MM deal with the Pirates.
  • The White Sox are prepared to address their hole at third base if Youkilis leaves, though they could do that via an internal option.  "While figuring out what we're going to do at third base is a priority, it’s not necessarily one that’s going to mandate an acquisition from outside the organization," Hahn said. 
  • Gordon Beckham told Gonzales last week that the club hadn't approached him about becoming a third baseman, and Hahn didn't seem overly enthusiastic about the idea though he didn't rule it out.
  • In regards to the White Sox payroll, "There is a little bit of room as we sit here today to maneuver, but to do anything described as major, we’d have to make another move elsewhere to free up some cash," Hahn said.
  • Most teams contacting Chicago about trades have asked about their pitchers, so if the team did make a deal, Hahn said the Sox would likely move one of their arms.  FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported earlier tonight that Gavin Floyd the biggest trade candidate if the White Sox can find a cheaper pitcher to replace him in the rotation.

Dodgers Could Have Interest In A.J. Pierzynski

The Dodgers could potentially make a play for free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  L.A. general manager Ned Colletti almost signed Pierzynski as a free agent two years ago before the catcher re-signed with the White Sox, though the chances of Pierzynski signing with the Dodgers now is seen as "a remote possibility, at best" by some Dodgers people.

Pierzynski had new career highs in homers (27) and OPS (.827) in 2012, putting the veteran in good shape for a multiyear contract even though he turns 36 in December.  While Pierzynski and the White Sox share some mutual interest in a new contract, it seems as if the two sides are ready to move on as Chicago has young catcher Tyler Flowers ready to take over behind the plate.  That said, Pierzynski's departure also seemed imminent after the 2010 season before he re-upped with the White Sox.

If the Dodgers were to sign Pierzynski, it could make a trade candidate of current Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis, who had an impressive .270/.373/.414 slash line in 505 plate appearances last season.  Ellis could become Pierzynski's backup, relegating incumbent backup Tim Federowicz back to the minors, but Ellis could also bring back a nice return in a trade given the thin catching market.

Catching Rumors: Pierzynski, Martin, Soto

Earlier today we heard that the Red Sox maintain interest in Mike Napoli, even after signing David Ross. Here are some more rumors surrounding this offseason’s free agent catchers...

  • It appears A.J. Pierzynski will play for a team other than the White Sox in 2013, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports. While the sides are both interested in working out a new free agent contract, factors such as payroll space, timing and Tyler Flowers could mean Pierzynski signs elsewhere.
  • The Rangers are considering Russell Martin, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). With Napoli on the open market, the Rangers are looking to free agency for potential replacements. Rival executives expect the Rangers to non-tender Geovany Soto, Olney reports. Back in August I explained why Soto could be non-tendered this offseason.
  • Check out MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker for a detailed look at available catchers.

Chicago Notes: Youkilis, Pierzynski, Samardzija, Haren

Here's the latest out of the Windy City from both the White Sox and the Cubs...

  • The Sox are talking to Kevin Youkilis about returning to fill their hole at third base, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The Phillies and Indians are also in the mix for Youkilis, who had his $13MM option for 2013 bought out by the White Sox for $1MM.
  • Four rival executives name Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza, Gavin Floyd and Dayan Viciedo as players the White Sox would be open to trading, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.  If the Sox were looking for salary relief, two executives say that trading Alex Rios and the $26MM remaining on his contract will be much easier after Rios' strong 2012 season, though neither exec is certain that Rios is available. 
  • A.J. Pierzynski tells Dan Hayes that he is much more prepared for free agency now than he was in 2010.  Pierzynski said he would like to return to the White Sox or possibly play for the Rays in his home state of Florida, though his childhood dream of playing for the Braves is unlikely with Brian McCann on board.
  • The Cubs have reached out to Jeff Samardzija about a multiyear extension, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  Samardzija, who enjoyed a breakout year in 2012 in his first season as a starting pitcher, is arb-eligible for the first time this winter and is under team control through 2015.
  • The proposed trade between the Angels and Cubs and would've brought Dan Haren to Chicago indeed fell through due to the Cubs' concerns about Haren's recent injury history, reports CSNChicago.com's David Kaplan.
  • Haren denied that he was injured in an e-mail to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.  “I’ve never missed any time because of injury other than the three weeks this year because of my back," Haren said.  "When I came back, I had to be cleared by doctors, so obviously, I was healthy." 

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