Alex Rodriguez Rumors
It was on this day in 1974 that the first real "free agent" signing in modern baseball history was made by (who else?) the Yankees when they inked Catfish Hunter to a five-year, $3.75MM deal. Hunter was freed from his previous contract with the A's after an arbitrator ruled that the club has breached the terms of the right-hander's deal, thus paving the way for Hunter to sign with New York. The deal was a record for its time, as Hunter was earning three times as much money as any other Major League player.
Here are some items from around the AL East...
- The Yankees have learned several lessons in 2012 including Alex Rodriguez is less dependable than ever and their fiscal cliff is real, according to LoHud.com's Chad Jennings.
- Right-hander Stolmy Pimentel was part of the trade package the Red Sox sent to the Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan deal. WEEI.com's Alex Speier looks at Pimentel's career arc and wonders if his departure could signal a change in how the Sox value their prospects in terms of their trade value.
- Sergio Santos spent almost all of the 2012 season on the DL but his ability to provide depth at closer will be a major factor in the Blue Jays' playoff drive in 2013, writes Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star. Santos was expected to be the Jays' closer last year but Casey Janssen stepped into the job and performed well, making him the incumbent late-game choice heading into next season. Griffin thinks Santos will be the choice to take over the job if he stays healthy, though I don't see the Jays making a switch unless Janssen struggles. Just a reminder that you can keep track of all the closer news on MLBTR's sister Twitter feed @CloserNews.
- If the Nationals re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche but miss out on free agent southpaw J.P. Howell, MASNsports.com's Dan Kolko suggests that the Nats and Orioles could match up on a trade. In Kolko's proposed deal, the O's would send one of their several left-handed relief options to Washington as part of a package in exchange for Michael Morse, who would be expendable for the Nats if LaRoche was back in the fold.
- In other AL East news from earlier today, we learned the Rays are in the market for more relief pitching.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
With Alex Rodriguez scheduled for another hip surgery in the new year, there are questions about whether the 37-year-old will be healthy enough to play out the remainder of his contract with the Yankees. While Rodriguez doesn't plan to retire anytime soon, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that it's possible doctors could eventually find the Yankees slugger physically unable to perform.
If that were to happen, Rodriguez would still receive the remaining $114MM on the last five years of his deal, but the Yankees would get the opportunity to collect insurance on a large portion of it, says Rosenthal. According to Rosenthal's source, the Yanks are insured for more than 70% of A-Rod's salary. Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com hears that the Yanks could even recoup at least 75% and up to 100% of the money remaining on Rodriguez's deal, but the third baseman would have to be disabled for a full season before the team could begin collecting on the policy.
According to Matthews, it's unclear whether the contract is insured for its entire length, or whether the policy would be voided based on certain kinds of injuries.
12:31pm: The Yankees have announced in a press release that A-Rod will undergo "a left hip arthroscopy to repair a torn labrum, bone impingement and the correction of a cyst." The team pegs Rodriguez's recovery time at four to six months.
9:44am: Rodriguez's surgery will be on his left hip, not his previously-repaired right hip, according to Sherman. Recovery time is expected to be three to six months, so A-Rod figures to be healthy enough to return to the lineup by June, says Sherman (Twitter links).
9:02am: Alex Rodriguez's struggles in 2012 may have been partly due to a hip injury, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. According to Sherman, A-Rod was playing with a tear in his hip, which had previously been surgically repaired. The Yankees third baseman will likely need more surgery and figures to miss part of the 2013 season, says Sherman (all Twitter links).
As Sherman notes, with Derek Jeter recovering from surgery as well, the Yankees "desperately" need help on the left side of the infield. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the team's options include Marco Scutaro and Jeff Keppinger, though Keppinger is also coming off surgery.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link), Rodriguez's surgery will take place at some point in January.
- The Yankees are more likely to pursue bargains this offseason than top free agents like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post. The one nine-figure deal they are considering is an extension for Robinson Cano.
- “I don’t see that happening," said GM Brian Cashman to Ken Davidoff of The New York Post when asked if he anticipates receiving trade inquires for Alex Rodriguez.
- The Yankees are preparing a contract offer for Mariano Rivera, reports Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record. The deal will call for a pay cut from this year's $15MM salary after Rivera missed almost the entire season with a knee injury.
- "Will I be surprised if he comes back? No, I won't," said manager Joe Girardi to Newsday's Marc Carig when asked about Andy Pettitte coming back in 2013 (Twitter links). "Andy pitched well again. So, my sense is he's going to be pulled to come back. He'll have to make a decision."
- Cashman met with Excel Management Group last night, reports David Lennon of Newsday (on Twitter). Excel represents free agents Greinke and Scott Hairston, as well as many others.
The Yankees are considering a defensive change for next season, shifting Curtis Granderson to left field and Brett Gardner to center, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Granderson's defense has declined in recent years, as he has posted negative UZR/150 ratings in four of the last five years, including a -18.2 UZR/150 in 2012. Gardner, on the other hand, has a career 30.6 UZR/150, ranking him amongst the best defensive outfielders in the game.
Here's the latest from both the Yankees and Mets...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't plan to offer Rafael Soriano a deal similar to the one he signed after the 2010 season that established Soriano as Mariano Rivera's set-up man and understudy at closer, reports ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. "I don't think Soriano would sign here if he's not going to be the closer," Cashman said. "And I don't think we would do again what we did before. He's going to want closer money and I doubt he would want to come back here as a set-up man." Soriano is a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal, and agent Scott Boras said Soriano is looking for a four-year contract to close. Soriano could still return to the Bronx, of course, if Rivera retires and the Bombers suddenly have a hole at the back of their bullpen.
- Also from Matthews, he reports that the Yankees will make qualifying offers to Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda. Swisher will almost surely turn this offer down but Kuroda "might accept it." The Yankees have interest in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez on short-term contracts, while the club also would like to re-sign Andy Pettitte and Russell Martin.
- The Yankees haven't received any calls from teams interested in Alex Rodriguez, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale. It could be a moot point, as Nightengale hears that Rodriguez isn't willing to waive his no-trade clause for any team.
- The Mets are continuing to talk to David Wright about a multiyear extension but talks are "stuck in neutral" and there is "nothing imminent" between the two sides, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (both links to Twitter).
- ESPN's Jim Bowden believes Wright and the Mets will agree to a new long-term contract, but if they can't, Bowden suggests five teams who could become trade destinations for Wright.
The Red Sox will interview Rick Peterson for their pitching coach job, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The Orioles granted Boston permission to interview Peterson, who is currently Baltimore's director of pitching development and is a former pitching coach with the A's, Mets and Brewers.
Here's the latest from around the AL East...
- No teams have yet contacted the Yankees about a possible Alex Rodriguez trade, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Orioles have scouted Japanese right-hander Shohei Otani, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, confirming an earlier report from Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News that the O's had interest in the 18-year-old prospect. Since Otani has already been drafted (though not signed) by the NPL's Nippon Ham Fighters, Connolly suspects the O's might not make any quick attempts to sign Otani given the Orioles' issues last season in trying to sign Korean southpaw Seong-Min Kim.
- Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton are both too expensive for the Orioles' taste, writes MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko in an analysis of free agents who won't be pursued by the O's this winter. The team doesn't have interest in free agent pitchers Derek Lowe, Jeremy Guthrie, Edwin Jackson or Erik Bedard, while Kevin Youkilis is a longshot based on Baltimore's concerns about his health.
- James Loney has a less than 50-50 chance of returning to the Red Sox, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich, though the Sox see Loney as a "Plan B" if they're still looking for first base help later in the offseason.
- The Rays have been denied permission by St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster to explore new stadium sites in nearby counties in Tampa Bay, reports Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs through the 2027 season.
- Mariano Rivera's retirement could help the Yankees avoid a tough decision with the closer's job, opines Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. If Rivera retired, the Yankees could then pursue a new contract with Rafael Soriano without worrying about committing too much payroll space on closers.
- From earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post had more items about the Yankees.
John Farrell has officially joined the Red Sox after many months of intense speculation. Here are some links, starting in Boston with Farrell’s new team...
- Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo is a strong candidate to join Farrell with the Red Sox, perhaps as the team's bench coach, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. We heard lots about the possibilities for Lovullo yesterday.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledged that Alex Rodriguez is not a superstar, but said he's still an "above-average" player, Peter Botte of the New York Daily News reports. The GM repeated that a deal involving Rodriguez seems "unrealistic." The 37-year-old has five years and $114MM remaining on a contract that includes no-trade protection.
- Derek Lowe, who pitched out of the bullpen for the Yankees down the stretch, says he would like to start again in 2013, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Lowe hits free agency this offseason and probably won't interest the Yankees as a starter in the estimation of Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues.
- Andruw Jones, who also hits free agency this offseason, said he intends to play for four more years, according to King.
Rangers right-hander Mike Adams had successful surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome yesterday, reports Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com (on Twitter). The free agent-to-be reliever should be healthy in time for Spring Training. Here's the latest from baseball's two West divisions...
- "They pay me to be me, and I will be," said Giants closer Brian Wilson to reporters (including Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle). He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and hasn't thought about his role going forward (Twitter links). Wilson is a non-tender candidate after earning $8.5MM in the second year of a two-year deal in 2012.
- "I think there will certainly be interest," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson to Arizona Sport 620's Burns & Gambo when asked if the team has trade interest in Alex Rodriguez. The D'Backs are said to be seeking a third baseman, and GMs Kevin Towers and Brian Cashman worked together in the Yankees' front office in 2010.
- The Rangers have hired Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan to be their hitting coach, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Texas has since confirmed the hire.
Earlier today we learned that the Yankees intend to exercise Curtis Granderson's $15MM club option for 2013, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the team is disinclined to explore a long-term extension for the slugger. Let's see what else is going on in the Big Apple...
- The Yankees are still planning on making a qualifying offer of about $13.5MM to free agent Nick Swisher, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the club will only do so in order to receive draft pick compensation and have no expectations of Swisher accepting the deal.
- Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman told Heyman that he has no plans to shop Alex Rodriguez this winter. Furthermore, the GM doesn't seem to think that there's much of a market for the third baseman. "He's got a full no-trade, and his contract is what it is,'' Cashman said.
- Yankees president Randy Levine confirmed to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that both Cashman and manager Joe Girardi will return in 2013. Heyman adds (via Twitter) that the status of the team's coaches will be up to Cashman and Girardi. Cashman told Heyman that as far as he's concerned, all of the coaches are safe (Twitter link).
- Ken Davidoff of the New York Post believes that Rodriguez will return to the Yankees and refuse to waive his no-trade clause as he stated last night. The highly-paid third baseman has been linked to the Marlins in recent days following his disappointing performance in the playoffs.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Congratulations to Buster Posey and Fernando Rodney, who were named MLB.com’s comeback players of the year for their respective leagues. Rodney had a historic season, posting a 0.60 ERA and striking out more than a batter per inning in Tampa Bay. Posey had an MVP-caliber year after missing most of the 2011 season with a broken leg and damaged ankle ligaments. Here are today’s links...
- The Cardinals, now just one win away from another World Series appearance, are doing just fine without Albert Pujols, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes. St. Louis’ roster looks just as scary as it did a year ago thanks to an abundance of homegrown contributors.
- The Cardinals are believed to have offered Pujols a seven-year deal with three player options last offseason, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports. St. Louis GM John Mozeliak said Pujols was a "special part" of the organization. "In a normal — or in a more sterile — environment, we wouldn't pursue those types of things," the GM told Shaikin.
- The Nationals' bullpen might be overhauled this offseason, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes. Sean Burnett will likely hit free agency and Tyler Clippard could be traded. The Nationals figure to tender Tom Gorzelanny a contract and should have interest in re-signing Mike Gonzalez. Kilgore wonders if Ryan Madson could be a free agent target for Washington.
- An American League scout suggested to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that no teams would be interested in Alex Rodriguez, who’s owed $114MM plus bonuses over the course of the next five years (Twitter link). For more on the Yankees’ offseason plans check out this collection of links.