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- East Notes: Ibanez, Phillies, Mathis
- Blue Jays To Exercise J.A. Happ’s Option
- Central Notes: Maddon, Dirks, Giambi, Indians
- Alex Rios Hires Scott Boras
- Dodgers Decline Option On Chad Billingsley
- West Notes: Sandoval, Lewis, Ethier, Angels
- AL East Links: Chavez, Yankees, Breslow, Jays
- Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese
- Rockies Exercise LaTroy Hawkins’ Option
- Mets Outright Satin, Rice, Eveland, Carlyle
- Cubs Hire Joe Maddon As Manager
- Yankees To Extend Qualifying Offer To David Robertson
- Rangers Decline Rios’ Option; Outright Adcock, Lucas, Figaro
- Brewers Exercise Mutual Option On Aramis Ramirez
- Rays Exercise Ben Zobrist’s Option
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Alex Gordon Rumors
Though the Royals are coming off their best season in nearly three decades, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the team will soon need to turn its focus to some difficult offseason decisions. Industry expectations, according to Martino, are that the Royals will at least listen to trade offers for its more expensive players — including Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas — if other teams come calling this winter. Gordon’s case is the most pressing, as he’s only controlled through 2015 at $12.5MM before he has a $12.5MM player option. Gordon has publicly stated that he plans to exercise that option, though it’d be a surprise, to say the least, considering he could be in line for a much more sizable long-term commitment next offseason if he turns it down. Martino also notes that the Royals will have interest in re-signing Nori Aoki this offseason. From my vantage point, the team needn’t feel pressure to move any of the three previously mentioned players, though I’ll cover that at greater length in the upcoming Royals Offseason Outlook.
For the time being, here’s more on the AL Champs and the rest of their division…
- The Royals are expected to decline their $12.5MM option on designated hitter Billy Butler in favor of a $1MM buyout, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The move isn’t exactly unexpected after the down season he had at the plate. However, Heyman adds that the team may look to pursue Torii Hunter, as they did seven years ago, in the event that Aoki signs elsewhere as a free agent. The Kansas City Star’s Andy McCullough also hears that Butler’s option is likely to be declined.
- The Twins‘ front office flew out to Torey Lovullo’s home in California to conduct their second interview with him on Monday this week, tweets Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com, but there’s still been no decision reached as to who will be the team’s next manager. Lovullo and Paul Molitor are believed to be the favorites.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski spoke candidly to reporters, including Matthew Mowery of the Oakland Press, about the team’s lack of financial flexibility this offseason. Said Dombrowski: “We have the most generous owner in baseball you could possibly have in sports. But we’re in a situation where $200 million payrolls aren’t what is common here. … It’s a situation where we’re really in a spot that if you’re going to have four starters being paid and you’re going to have a couple superstars in the middle of your lineup, that means there’s not as much availability to do some other things. And you have to determine what you’re going to do.”
Alex Gordon says he plans to exercise his $13.25MM player option with the Royals for 2016, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports. Gordon is in the midst of a four-year, $37.5MM deal that covered, or covers, the 2012 through 2015 seasons.
Assuming Gordon continues to produce next year, exercising the option would be a highly unusual decision. Declining the option would allow Gordon to become a free agent after 2015, and he’ll head into the 2016 season as a 32-year-old. If he exercises the option, he could leave lots of money on the table. His numbers the last four seasons (he’s hitting .282/.357/.446 this year while providing plenty of defensive value in the outfield, resulting in 5.6 fWAR so far) indicate that he’s worth far more than $13.25MM.
Exercising the option would also cause Gordon to hit free agency at an older age, reducing his potential for a lucrative long-term deal. McCullough writes that Gordon compares favorably to Hunter Pence, who received a $90MM deal from the Giants, and reports that executives throughout the game feel Gordon should be able to get five years and $75MM-$90MM if he declined the option and hit the market after the 2015 season.
Gordon is represented by Casey Close, who did not comment on Gordon’s option. “Casey’s not the boss of me,” says Gordon. “I’m sure he’ll have things to say and whatnot. But when it comes down to it, it’s my decision.”
The Cubs have given senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting Jason McLeod a two-year extension, reports Scott Miller of MLB Network Radio and FOX Sports San Diego (Twitter link). While president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer may have more name recognition, McLeod was also a key member of the Red Sox front office alongside Epstein and Hoyer last decade. He followed Hoyer to the Padres when Hoyer served as San Diego’s GM and moved to Chicago alongside Hoyer and Epstein when Chicago restructured its front office.
Here’s more from baseball’s Central divisions…
- Top Cubs prospect Arismendy Alcantara is getting a two-day promotion while Darwin Barney is on paternity leave, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. While he stresses that it’s just for two days, Cubs fans will be getting their first look at a Top 100 prospect who GM Jed Hoyer has said could get a lengthier look this season.
- Royals lefty Jason Vargas will be out three to four weeks after being rushed to the hospital for an appendectomy today, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. That’s not the only bad news on the injury front in K.C., either, as McCullough adds that Alex Gordon will undergo an MRI on his wrist. “I can’t swing,” Gordon told reporters. Manager Ned Yost thinks Gordon can avoid the DL, McCullough tweets, but he doesn’t expect him to play in a big series against the division-leading Tigers.
- ESPN’s Jim Bowden looks at what it would take for contending teams to acquire Josh Willingham from the Twins (ESPN Insider required). Bowden feels that the slugger’s modest salary (he’s earning $7MM in 2014) and relatively low prospect cost make him a good fit for the Mariners, Royals and Reds.
MLBTR would like to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas. Here's tonight's look around baseball..
- Yankees catcher Austin Romine could make an impact this season following the departure of Russell Martin, writes MLB.com's Bernie Pleskoff. Martin signed a two-year, $17MM deal with the Pirates in November. The Yankees still could make a play for a starting catcher, but as it stands, they'll head into spring training with Romine, Chris Stewart, and Francisco Cervelli.
- Royals left fielder Alex Gordon appreciates the moves that General Manager Dayton Moore has made in order to win in the short-term, writes Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star. “To be honest, it seems like we’ve been sitting on prospects the last six years…It’s given them that option to be able to do that and go get a guy like James Shields and some of the other guys they’ve picked up. Yeah, it’s a risk-reward, but it’s something that you sometimes need to pull off," said the soon-to-be 29-year-old. Gordon is signed through the next three seasons with a player option in 2016.
- Some have theorized that the Orioles won't be able to bank on the good fortune that they enjoyed last season in 2013, but Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com notes that the club has plenty of setbacks to overcome. The O's roadblocks led them to go through 52 players in the regular season and 178 roster moves in total.
- While many Royals fans would like to see them dump Luke Hochevar and Jeff Francoeur, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter) doesn't see either player being given away for nothing. Either player could be traded, but Kansas City will want something of consequence in return. The Royals reportedly called the Rockies about Hochevar earlier this month, but nothing materialized from those talks.
- Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looked ahead to the biggest storylines of 2013. The Blue Jays now find themselves at center stage after acquiring R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and others this offseason. The Dodgers will also feel immense pressure to win as they'll claim the highest payroll in baseball in 2013.
- Left-hander Scott Kazmir is grateful for another shot at the major leagues, writes Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. The soon-to-be 29-year-old inked a minor league deal with the Indians late last week. Kazmir last pitched at an All-Star level in 2008, when he posted a 3.49 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
Here are a few Wednesday morning NL East updates out of Nashville:
- The Mets would be open to eating a portion of the money remaining on Johan Santana's deal in a trade, but so far the team hasn't received any inquiries, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- The Braves are seeking a pair of bench players, one right-handed hitter and one lefty, says David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Reed Johnson appears to be the team's top target as a righty bat, though he's still exploring his options, according to GM Frank Wren: "We’ve expressed an interest in bringing him back. He’s expressed an interest in coming back. But we’re just not there yet."
- Atlanta also continues to explore trades for impact bats, according to O'Brien, who says the Braves are believed to have inquired on Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, and Shin-Soo Choo, among others.
- Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com looks into the remaining items on the Nationals' offseason to-do list.
The Royals have talked to the Mets about R.A. Dickey as they continue to search for a top-of-the-rotation starter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reported this week that the Royals have had discussions about trading Wil Myers for Jon Lester or James Shields.
The Royals aren’t looking to trade Myers and have no interest in moving Salvador Perez, Heyman writes. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are close to untouchable and the Royals aren’t inclined to trading Alcides Escobar, either. Instead, the Royals would prefer to send the Mets younger prospects in a deal for Dickey.
"Our rotation is going to better, but we're still looking for the opportunity to improve on what we've done,'' Royals GM Dayton Moore told Heyman.
The Mets have explored the possibility of a contract extension with Dickey, who will earn $5MM in 2013 before hitting free agency. If they trade the knuckleballer, they’d prefer a catcher and outfield help.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald that he was unsure if he'd be able to acquire Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis) in 2007. “A lot of clubs were involved and I didn’t think it was going to work for us for where we were financially,” said Dombrowski. “Once we sat down with the Marlins, it took us just a day to work out that deal. It happened very fast.”
Here are Silverman's rumors…
- The Dodgers are the favorite to sign Zack Greinke according to an insider. Both the Angels and Rangers are said to be "on the outside looking in."
- The Royals are listening to offers for Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and even Wil Myers. The Rays, meanwhile, are listening on James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson.
- Despite their pending blockbuster, keep an eye on the Blue Jays and the pitching market. Silverman suggests that Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson could be in play for Toronto.
- The Blue Jays are shopping their three catchers (John Buck, J.P. Arencibia, and Travis d'Arnaud) but are leaning towards Arencibia or d'Arnaud.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Alex Gordon | Billy Butler | Eric Hosmer | J.P. Arencibia | James Shields | Jeremy Hellickson | John Buck | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mike Moustakas | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Travis D'Arnaud | Wil Myers | Zack Greinke
6:10pm: The deal is worth $37.5MM over four years with a player option for 2016 at $12.5MM, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Gordon will earn $6MM for 2012, $9MM for 2013, $10MM for 2014, and $12.5MM for 2015, Dutton tweets.
5:40pm: The Royals announced that they have reached a contract extension with leftfielder Alex Gordon. The contract includes four guaranteed years through the 2015 season with a player option for 2016. The Excel Sports Management client would have been eligible for free agency after the 2013 season.
Its been a busy spring for General Manager Dayton Moore who signed off on a five-year, $7MM extension for Salvador Perez and a new deal for Alcides Escobar who could earn up to $21.75MM through 2017. Eric Hosmer could also be an extension candidate but earlier this week the first baseman said that he is in no rush to sign a multi-year deal.
Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed but Gordon could potentially hold the richest deal in club history. To date, the largest deal in Kansas City's history has been $55MM, the amount given to both Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney.
Gordon, 28, hit .303/.376/.502 with 23 homers in 690 plate appearances in 2011. Last season marked Gordon's first as a full-time outfielder.
The Yankees signed Orlando Hernandez to a four-year, $6.6MM contract on this date 14 years ago. El Duque posted a 3.96 ERA in six seasons with New York and also made a number of memorable postseason starts as the Yankees won three consecutive World Series titles. Hernandez expressed interest in making a comeback as recently as last year, before officially retiring in August. Here are today's links…
- Agent Fern Cuza told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Vladimir Guerrero “still wants to play.” Guerrero is waiting the right opportunity and has a strong preference for contenders (Twitter links).
- Free agent first baseman Derrek Lee is open to the right opportunity and doesn’t plan to officially retire, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
- Negotiations between the Royals and Alex Gordon are in their early stages, but are expected to pick up later this spring, according to Rosenthal. Gordon will almost certainly look to sign for more than $55MM, the current Royals record, Rosenthal writes.
- It’s too early to predict which team will select high school right-hander Lucas Giolito, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). Giolito sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow yesterday.
On this date 25 years ago Andre Dawson signed a one-year, $650K contract with the Cubs. Owners were colluding against players at the time, and Dawson had even offered the Cubs a blank check earlier that winter. Dawson would go on to win the 1987 NL MVP, though the Cubs finished last in the NL East that year. Here are today's links…
- The Royals have been grinding through negotiations with Alex Gordon and it won’t be surprising if they complete an extension with the outfielder, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes.
- Jason Heyward and Travis Snider are among the former top prospects who struggled in 2011, but still have potential, ESPN.com's Keith Law writes.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic identifies the Blue Jays, Angels, Padres or Red Sox as teams with catching depth that could match up with the Diamondbacks on possible trades. However, there doesn't seem to be any real chance of the Diamondbacks acquiring Nick Hundley or Yasmani Grandal from the Padres any time soon.