Alex Rios Rumors
Ken Rosenthal is on the scene with some new rumors.
- Astros president Tal Smith arguing other teams' arbitration cases. Rosenthal finds it a bit awkward, while Keith Law finds it to be a hilarious conflict of interest.
- Possible trades of Matt Murton to the Padres or Rangers seem to have fizzled. The Padres may turn to the Brewers' Gabe Gross, a player who previously caught the eye of the A's, Indians, and Braves. Our good friend PECOTA sees a .267/.366/.467 line from Gross this year. With Gross and various veteran starters, the Brewers have some surpluses to work with.
- Rosenthal believes the Cardinals' interest in Jeff Weaver to be not especially serious. They've got in-house candidates to start, and Matt Clement needing some time is not a revelation.
- We've read about extension possibilities for Matt Capps and Alex Rios. To that mix, Rosenthal adds Edwin Encarnacion. The Reds might want to do it now; he seems primed for a big year.
Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail spoke to Alex Rios' agent Paul Kinzer today. Blair learned that Kinzer will meet with Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi early this week to talk about a long-term contract extension. Rios recently agreed to a $4.835MM contract for '08. Rios, eligible for free agency after 2010, seeks at least a three-year extension (buying out one or more years of free agency).
Rios, 27, hit .297/.354/.498 for the Jays in '07. The average AL right fielder hit .288/.359/.465 by comparison. Additionally, the Fielding Bible's panel of experts ranked Rios as the best defensive right fielder in all of baseball, ahead of Austin Kearns. Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system projects a decline to .280/.339/.468 for Rios in '08.
I was thinking Michael Cuddyer's extension could serve as a framework, but Rios' status as a SuperTwo player throws off the comparison. Jeremy Sandler of the National Post wrote on January 15th that Rios might command a four-year, $40MM deal to buy out his arb-eligible years and first of free agency. So maybe now a three-year, $35MM extension would do the trick.
The Aaron Rowand signing has led Brian Sabean to pull his young starters off the market (to the extent that they were ever available). Specifically, the idea of an Alex Rios for Tim Lincecum swap is dead.
The Giants are still looking for help at the infield corners and in the 'pen. It's hard to figure out what Sabean is doing - is he trying to win in 2008?
Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News has a few new tidbits concerning the Giants.
- They're considering a late push for Kosuke Fukudome. Baggarly notes that Fukudome is expected to get at least 4/44. I think Fukudome makes a bit of sense for the Giants; he could be a draw.
- Baggarly says the Giants are in more heavily on Aaron Rowand. This makes less sense to me, as Rowand probably isn't going to put butts in the seats. He is, however, going to require four or five years at $12-14MM per. Indeed, Buster Olney heard the Giants could be the one team willing to give Rowand five years. It would be a contract the Giants might regret. They're not expected to be in contention until at least 2010.
- Nothing new on the Tim Lincecum for Alex Rios front. The general vibe, though, is that Brian Sabean will pass.
What team wouldn't like to have Alex Rios? Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes the White Sox' interest, but admits that the Sox don't really have what the Jays would want in return.
Not that the White Sox can spare pitching at all, but Javier Vazquez would be quite valuable as a trade chip. He earns a reasonable $34.5MM over the next three seasons, and he's always healthy. Rios has another three years under team control also, though he'll be significantly cheaper. If the Sox hadn't traded Jon Garland, you could almost see this as a slight possibility.
Then again, if J.P. Ricciardi can get Tim Lincecum for Rios, more power to him.
UPDATE, 12-08-07 at 3:12pm: Brian Sabean spoke on the radio about making this decision within a few days; there's even a rumor the Giants could pursue the Tigers' Dontrelle Willis to replace Lincecum.
UPDATE, 12-8-07 at 12:17pm: George King talked to a Blue Jays source who said "there was nothing to reports the Giants were talking to Toronto about Alex Rios for Lincecum or Cain." Who's right here, Blair or King?
FROM 12-5-07 at 11:36pm:
According to Jeff Blair, it's in the Giants' hands: Alex Rios for Tim Lincecum. A Jays official suggested to Blair that Brian Sabean might sit on this for a few weeks, mulling it over.
Blair says Sabean is hesitant because he's scared of making a mistake of the same magnitude as his Liriano/Nathan move four years ago.
It's easy to bash Sabean for that trade. But you should ask yourself - would you have bashed him at the time he made it?
As we learned earlier this week, the Giants and Yankees have talked about a Hideki Matsui trade. Let's discuss.
- According to Andrew Baggarly, talks are still in the early stages but the teams will meet again soon on the topic. A source close to Matsui indicated that he'd waive his no-trade for San Fran. However, the Giants are said to prefer adding a right-handed slugger. Baggarly thinks the Giants would readily part with Jonathan Sanchez and Brad Hennessey, with Noah Lowry a possibility. The Giants won't part with Brian Wilson, their closer of the future.
- Other notes from Baggarly - the Giants are over Miguel Tejada and were told Jay Bruce is untouchable.
- Pete Caldera says the Yankees like Lowry but considers a deal a long shot.
- Ed Price reports that Matsui's agent hasn't had a request about waiving the no-trade, and the agent won't comment on Matsui's willingness.
- Don't expect the Giants to acquire both Alex Rios and Matsui. Tim Lincecum would stay if Lowry goes. At this same link Mark Feinsand notes that subtracting Matsui's contract might create more flexibility to acquire Johan Santana.
UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 1:38pm: Abraham has more than a no comment now - he confirms that the Yankees and Giants have discussed Matsui. Abraham speculates that Noah Lowry could make sense.
UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 12:29pm: Peter Abraham got a "no comment" from Cashman on Matsui. Abraham implies that the no comment could be telling. Abraham also adds that Matsui has said he would waive his no-trade clause.
FROM 12-6-07 at 10:31am:
Good stuff from the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott today.
- Just a small blurb from Elliott - the Giants and Yanks have discussed Hideki Matsui. Elliott notes that Matsui has a full no-trade clause. He makes $13MM in each of the 2008 and '09 seasons. On November 8th, Ken Davidoff noted that the Yanks would prefer to move Matsui over Johnny Damon. He added that it could be embarrassing for Matsui to leave New York.
- Elliott also said the Reds are interested in Alex Rios. If the Giants are pondering sending Tim Lincecum to the Jays for him, I imagine the Reds would have to counter with Homer Bailey. Bailey, however, is less proven than Lincecum.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 6:16pm: Jeff Blair says the Jays' offer on the table is Rios for Lincecum, straight up.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 12:34pm: Brian Sabean wants more than just Rios for Lincecum (yes, the Jays prefer Lincecum based on service time). The Giants want an improved proposal from the Jays, and Toronto could add Robinzon Diaz, Curtis Thigpen, or Brett Cecil. Cecil would have to be a player to be named later since he was drafted in 2007. He signed on June 22nd, so he can't even be named as a PTBNL until December 22nd.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 10:56am: Peter Gammons via Amy Nelson is saying it's Lincecum for Rios currently rather than Cain.
UPDATE, 12-5-07 at 10:10am: Ken Rosenthal has some more details on these talks. He says the Jays won't add pitching to their side of the deal. Additionally, they don't want to move A.J. Burnett. The Jays have a potentially elite rotation for 2008 if they can get Lincecum for Rios.
FROM 12-4-07 at 10:46pm:
The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea verifies that the interesting proposal Brian Sabean referred to involved the Jays' Alex Rios. The Jays want to swap him for Matt Cain. The Jays prefer Cain to Tim Lincecum, as they worry Lincecum might have durability issues.
It almost sounds like Lincecum alone wouldn't get the Giants Rios, which is surprising. Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi is serious about trading Rios; he laid out to reporters what the Jays' outfield would look like without him. By the way, the Giants have no interest in taking Troy Glaus in a deal. For their third base vacancy, the Giants are looking at Brandon Inge.
Meanwhile MLB.com's Chris Haft believes the Jays want Lincecum for Rios. John, Chris - just talk to each other and sort this thing out.
Anthony Castrovince has a few notes about the Indians this evening.
- For Miguel Cabrera, the Marlins asked for Asdrubal Cabrera, Adam Miller, and then some. Obviously the Tribe said no thanks.
- There's not much going on with the Indians and Jason Bay. And rumors of their interest in Alex Rios proved false.
- Cliff Lee has been linked to the Mariners, Pirates, and Blue Jays. However no one has given the Indians an actual offer for Lee.
- Castrovince suggests the Indians may explore a long-term deal for Fausto Carmona this spring.