Alex Anthopoulos Rumors
Links for Easter Sunday...
- Baseball America's John Manuel provides updates on five Rule 5 picks: Carlos Monasterios with the Dodgers, John Raynor with the Pirates, Zachary Kroenke, who was optioned to the minors by the D'Backs, Kanekoa Texeira with the Mariners, and David Herndon with the Phillies.
- Peter Gammons previews storylines for the 2010 season, such as emerging stars, prospects of the future, a slew of contenders, and the ever-present unpredictability of baseball.
- Dave Campbell of the AP looks at Jacque Jones and how Minnesota's late-season surge in 2009 inspired a comeback attempt for 2010 when he was on the verge of retirement. Jones is reporting to Triple-A Rochester after hitting .366/.409/.585 with the Twins this spring.
- In an interview with Mike Wilner of the FAN 590 in Toronto, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said while the team hasn't officially said anything about Adeiny Hechevarria, international cases like his are often slowed by visa issues and other approval processes.
- Tom Haudricourt tweets that there will be no last-minute changes to the Brewers 25-man roster.
- The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser spoke with recently-DFA'ed Jack Cust, who is shocked and offended by the move. Cust says he will accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers, but won't let Oakland "walk all over" him. The 31-year-old slugger has led the A's in home runs the past three seasons. Slusser takes a deeper look at the Cust move in a separate piece.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at what the Cubs' performance in 2010 means to Jim Hendry's job, and talks to several players about their positive relationships with the Chicago GM.
- Elliot Johnson cleared waivers and will report to Triple-A Durham, according to Marc Topkin. He adds that the Rays have set their roster and are waiting to hear from Hank Blalock on whether or not he'll accept a minor league assignment.
On this date in 2002, the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network launched. Although the regional network barely broke even that year, YES has gone on to generate millions in revenue, much of which goes right into the Yankees' pockets. As recently as 2008, there was talk that the network was worth more than the team itself.
After you wrap your head around that, here are some links to check out from around the baseball blogosphere...
- The Baseball Opinion says that the Adeiny Hechevarria signing caps off an impressive offseason for new GM Alex Anthopoulos.
- The Friarhood examines the trade market for Padres' closer Heath Bell.
- Phillies Nation has some fun with internal discussions after the Albert Pujols-Ryan Howard rumors.
- DRays Bay wonders if Andy Sonnanstine will start the season in Tampa's rotation so they can send Wade Davis to the minors and push his service time clock back.
- Around The Majors wonders if the Nationals should really be trying to sign Adam Dunn to a contract extension.
- The Dodgerhater says that Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler are the key to San Francisco's bullpen this year.
- Bronx Bombers Beat wonders if Robinson Cano can take that next step towards being a middle of the order hitter for a team with some aging core hitters.
- SPANdemonium looks at some players drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft who have already had an impact in the big leagues.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Get out the Spanish-English dictionary and put on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
- Morgan Campbell at the Toronto Star posits that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos' recent scouting trip to the Dominican Republic could mean the team is "closing in" on Jose Julio Ruiz. Yesterday, Ruiz's trainer told the Nuevo Herald that the first baseman's most recent tryout, his "last before signing," was against Blue Jays players. The blog cubanballplayers.com also reported on Tuesday that Ruiz had a private tryout with the Jays. Both the team and Prestige Sports Agency, which represents Ruiz, remain mum on any communication.
- Cuban first baseman/outfielder Leslie Anderson tells Angel Mazariego of the Mexican newspaper Sipse that he is willing to play in Mexico this season if nothing materializes for him in the majors. Anderson lists the Red Sox, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, Giants and Brewers as the teams he knows to have scouted him recently. Mazariego adds the Dodgers and Tigers to the list.
- Amaury Perez Torres at the Cuban baseball blog Las Avispas cites a "source close to" pitching prospect Juan Yasser Serrano saying that the right-hander has worked out for 10 major league teams this winter. Most recently, the source says, Serrano struck out four in a two-inning simulation for the Cubs on February 19, with a fastball that touched 93.
- If it seems like there is more chatter about Cuban defectors than ever before, that's no coincidence, writes Campbell in the Toronto Star. In a lengthy article, he outlines how more Cuban players are now aiming at the major leagues thanks to the success of Kendry Morales and Yunel Escobar, neither of whom was a starter in Cuba. Equally significant was the contract that third base prospect Dayan Viciedo signed with the White Sox in 2008. A Cuban baseball expert in Canada tells Campbell that Viciedo made players on the island think, "If he can get $10 million, then what am I worth?"
- Speaking of Morales, Jorge Arangure Jr. adds a new dimension to the first baseman's recent switch from Hendricks Sports Management to Scott Boras in an article in ESPN the Magazine. Rodney Fernandez, who recruited both Morales and Aroldis Chapman for Kendricks, is being investigated by the MLBPA and Florida police in regard to $300K that disappeared from Morales' bank account.
Links for Wednesday...
- Check out Huston Street's contract extension details, courtesy of Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Free agent reliever Joe Nelson has expressed an interest in pitching for the Cubs, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Nelson seemed like a bargain signing by the Rays at $1.3MM, but his control and flyball rates took a turn for the worse and he was designated for assignment in September.
- ESPN's Keith Law ranks the farm systems, from the Rangers at #1 to the White Sox at #30. Law's Top 100 Prospects list comes out tomorrow.
- Baseball America is also kicking into gear, with their Prospect Handbook coming out soon. They're holding an all-day chat Friday, with BA editors as well as prospects Tim Alderson, Ryan Westmoreland, Logan Morrison, and Casey Crosby available for your questions.
- ESPN's Tim Kurkjian has a must-read article on Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and his plan to bring the team back to prominence.
- Scott Lauber of The News Journal tweets that while the Phillies like Chien-Ming Wang, but he might not be a fit because he won't be ready for the start of the season.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets are on a "Pollyanna streak," currently regarding their rotation. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports seems to believe the Mets are a total mess, and suggests they start over.
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News that he wouldn't have made the Billy Wagner deal last August without the shot at two draft picks.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says that the A's agreed not to offer arbitration to Ben Sheets if he's a Type A free agent after the season. Achieving that status seems impossible anyway after he missed all of '09 and did not receive DL days. Slusser also notes that Coco Crisp received a $250K signing bonus, bringing his deal to $5.5MM guaranteed.
Brendan Bianowicz has more updates to the GM Trade History series. Today he covers the AL East. Check out the Excel spreadsheets below to see trades, free agent signings, and notable draft picks for each GM.
- Baltimore Orioles - Andy MacPhail
- Boston Red Sox - Theo Epstein
- New York Yankees - Brian Cashman
- Tampa Bay Rays - Andrew Friedman
- Toronto Blue Jays - J.P. Ricciardi and Alex Anthopoulos
Links for Friday...
- Frankie Piliere of AOL FanHouse takes at Yankees prospects who could draw attention in trade talks.
- The Royals signed catcher Edwin Bellorin to a minor league deal, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Bellorin, 28 in February, hit .277/.308/.351 in 216 plate appearances in his fourth Triple A stint.
- David Waldstein of the New York Times profiles new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.
- Ronald Blum of the AP chatted with Aroldis Chapman, who doesn't mind beginning his pro career in the minors.
- MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince expects a quiet offseason for the Indians, though he wonders if they could bring back Omar Vizquel.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reiterates that Joe Crede and Jarrod Washburn are on the Twins' radar.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes the Cardinals will be involved with more than just Joel Pineiro among our Top 50 Free Agents, and he names many candidates.
- Click here to watch our mention as ESPN SportsNation's Site of the Day yesterday.
Links for a busy Wednesday, as writers, agents, and GMs catch their flights out of O'Hare...
- Welcome to Twitter: ESPN's Buster Olney.
- ESPN's Keith Law assesses the Mark Teahen, J.J. Hardy, Jeremy Hermida, and Akinori Iwamura trades.
- The Royals are committed to Alex Gordon as their third baseman despite acquiring Josh Fields, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Fields instead could play left field in the event David DeJesus is traded. DeJesus' name popped up in our left field trade market post.
- Rosenthal and Morosi also note that the Giants are talking with Juan Uribe about a new contract. Uribe was one of the year's best minor league deals. He's represented by Barry Praver.
- Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Nationals hired Bryan Minnitti from the Pirates to be their new assistant GM. Jake from New Bucs interviewed the young exec last year.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic names four relievers who might be of interest to the Diamondbacks: Rafael Betancourt, Mike Gonzalez, LaTroy Hawkins, and Bob Howry.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues has a reality check for fans as we head toward the offseason insanity.
- Victor Martinez's agent Alan Nero told WEEI's Rob Bradford there's been "little or no dialogue" in terms of the Red Sox extending his client.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the Yankees' championship might enable them to take things more slowly this winter.
- Sherman tweets that there is interest in Japan from Kei Igawa, but he doesn't want to go. Igawa posted a 4.15 ERA in 145.3 Triple A innings this year, and still has $8MM remaining on his contract.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy has your minor league transactions. Wilson Valdez and Mike Gosling are among those joining the free agent ranks.
- New Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos seems passionate, talking to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Anthopoulos even gives props to the fine Jays blogs out there.
- Padres pitcher Chris Young told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he understands the business aspect of baseball. With a healthy first half, Young could be a trade candidate.
- Grant at McCovey Chronicles says AT&T Park isn't a pitcher's park anymore, and agents know that.
Here's a few links to check out while the Cardinals try to stave off elimination...
- Prior to this evening's game, Jim Thome said he would "still love to come back" to the White Sox, according to Chris DeLuca of The Chicago Sun Times. ''I want to come back to the American League,'' said the 39-year-old Thome, who is making $13MM in the final season of the monster six-year, $85MM contract he signed with the Phillies prior to 2003.
- Ken Fidlin of The Calgary Sun writes that new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous "would do well to foster" what he calls the "Twins Way" in Toronto. He's referring to a "culture of professionalism and attention to detail."
- Forgive the self-promotion, but if you're looking for a way to keep track of where each team's draft picks go once free agency starts, make sure you check out our 2010 Draft Order Tracker at River Ave. Blues. I'll keep that baby updated all winter as signings are make official, so make sure you check back in often.
Links for Tuesday...
- Chat today, 2pm CST.
- The Marlins will retain manager Fredi Gonzalez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes the Mets will look to take on overpriced players via trade this winter.
- A must-read from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: his ten steps to re-boot the Pirates for 2010. Kovacevic again notes that closer Matt Capps will be on the trading block.
- RotoWorld's Matthew Pouliot looks at the performance of a couple of Alex Anthopoulos fantasy teams from ten years ago. My best pick from '99 was definitely Mike Sweeney.
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has a transcript of yesterday's Brian Sabean/Bruce Bochy sit-down. Lots of good stuff in there.
- Tyler Bleszinski of Athletics Nation has part two of his Billy Beane chat. Beane seems interested in retaining free agent infielder Adam Kennedy.
- ESPN's Buster Olney wrote yesterday that "rival executives are already speculating about Kevin Towers' possible connection to the Texas Rangers if -- and it's a big if -- Dennis Gilbert's group wins the bidding for the team."
Links for Monday...
- Yakyu Baka translated a recent Yusei Kikuchi press conference. Kikuchi has yet to decide between the U.S. and Japan. The Mets and Tigers attended the conference.
- Baseball America's Jim Callis has the 2010 draft order, and he also explains which picks are protected from Type A free agent signings.
- Jermaine Dye talking to Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald on possibly finishing his White Sox career: "I don't really have a feeling."
- Talking to WEEI's Alex Speier, Jason Varitek would not address next season (he has a $5MM team option and $3MM player option). Manager Terry Francona made sure Varitek received an ovation yesterday.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan gives one-liners on 35 Rangers players.
- Tyler Bleszinski of Athletics Nation talked to A's GM Billy Beane. Beane chatted about Matt Holliday, stolen bases, and the first base depth chart, among other things.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star tells us about new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times explains how advanced defensive metrics influenced the team's acquisition of Franklin Gutierrez.
- Outfielder So Taguchi hopes to play in 2010, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.