Alfonso Soriano Rumors
A look at the Central divisions..
- There are six or seven teams in the eastern or central divisions to which Alfonso Soriano would accept a trade, writes Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. The long-time Cubs outfielder made it clear last summer that he would not have accepted a potential trade to the Giants. Soriano told reporters that the Cubs know which teams he'd prefer, but stated multiple times that his first priority is to win in Chicago.
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced today that Mat Gamel, who was sidelined for the final five months of the 2012 season with a torn ACL, will miss all of the 2013 season, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. The Brewers were already thin at first base thanks to Corey Hart's injury. They plan to cover with in-house options, but GM Doug Melvin will look for outside options as well. McCalvy suggests (on Twitter) that they could consider the recently DFA'd Mike Carp and Daric Barton of the A's.
- Craig Fehrman of Cincinnati Magazine profiled Aroldis Chapman and the journey that brought the left-hander to the Reds. The piece includes Chapman's daring move to defect from Cuba and the unique events that led him to changing representation while auditioning for teams.
- The Twins are not among the clubs that have expressed interest in Mark Prior, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). Prior is working on strengthening his shoulder in an attempt to hook on with a team in spring training.
12:21pm: It's unlikely the Orioles would acquire both Kubel and Porcello, Rosenthal writes in an expanded piece at FOXSports.com. Free agent left-hander Joe Saunders and trade candidate Alfonso Soriano are also possibilities, according to Rosenthal. Saunders seeks a three-year contract, but Soriano is the least likely option for Baltimore.
10:17am: The Orioles are pursuing a trade for Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). However, talks are not at an advanced stage. The Diamondbacks were looking to obtain young pitching from the Orioles for Kubel earlier in the month.
If the Orioles were to acquire Kubel, he'd be in the running for playing time at left field and DH along with Nate McLouth, Nolan Reimold and Wilson Betemit. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks would no longer have surplus outfielders if they send Kubel to Baltimore.
The Diamondbacks continue to weigh offers for Kubel and Justin Upton, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported yesterday. The Diamondbacks want to deal one of the outfielders sooner rather than later and they feel as though there’s a good chance of getting “suitable value” for Kubel if they decide to deal him, Olney reported. Rival executives view the Orioles as a possible match for Kubel.
Rosenthal notes that the Orioles also like Tigers starter Rick Porcello. However, the Tigers don't appear to be in a rush to trade the right-hander Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported yesterday. The Diamondbacks are also among the teams that have been linked to Porcello this winter.
Alfonso Soriano has been on the pages of MLBTR quite a bit over the last year, but if the outfielder has anything to say about it, he'll remain with the Cubs. "I want to stay here and finish my career here and try to win before I retire," Soriano said, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "I signed here to bring a World Series winner to Chicago. It's been a long time since they won a World Series. That's my dream. I hope to stay here, and when they win, I want to be part of that team." Here's more from around baseball..
- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters wasn't too sure that he would reach agreement with the club on a new deal before today's deadline, but he's relieved that they did, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Wieters and the O's came to terms on a one-year, $5.5MM pact to avoid arbitration.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examined the six worst teams in the American League in 2012 and looked at what steps they've taken to improve in the New Year. The Blue Jays have obviously done a great deal to reverse their fortunes, but Morosi does have some concern about how the stars will mesh with one another.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com broke down the Red Sox's payroll commitments over the next three years to see how much breathing room they presently have.
- The Dodgers are leaning towards moving their television broadcasts over to Time Warner Cable starting in 2014, people familiar with the matter tell Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers' lucrative television potential fueled their record-breaking sale and historic spending in 2012.
It has been six weeks since the Red Sox and Mike Napoli agreed to terms on a three-year, $39MM contract. The holdup in finalizing the deal is concern with one of Napoli's hips and the team's desire to write protective language into the contract. Recently, we learned the Red Sox are continuing negotiations with Napoli, but would like to shorten the deal to just one year and have been in contact with the Nationals about Mike Morse. A major league source told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this about Napoli's hip, "It’s one of those things where it could go anytime or five years from now. Nobody really knows, which is why the Red Sox want strong language after putting $40 million on the table for him.” Cafardo believes it's starting to make sense for the Red Sox to trade for Justin Morneau or to make Daniel Nava a first baseman/left fielder. More from Cafardo:
- That Kyle Lohse is still available at this late date is somewhat of a stunner to Cafardo. Lohse's market has been stunted with him being tied to draft pick compensation and that no one seems willing to go beyond two years, although several teams needs starting pitching and his stuff translates to both leagues.
- Draft pick compensation has also shrunk the market for Michael Bourn. Another factor, according to a NL GM, has been the Twins trading both Denard Span and Ben Revere and the Braves signing B.J. Upton.
- Cafardo thought it was strange for Justin Upton to reject his trade to Seattle since it's one of the nicest cities in the country and the fences at Safeco Field have been moved in.
- Cubs President Theo Epstein has come to realize Alfonso Soriano is an excellent clubhouse presence because of his willingness to help younger players. With that and his excellent 2012 season, Epstein wants a player of note in any deal where the Cubs eat a majority of the $36MM left on Soriano's contract.
- Discussions to include Garrett Jones in the Joel Hanrahan trade never progressed very far because "the Pirates really valued Jones highly," a major league source told Cafardo.
- One NL GM told Cafardo Roy Oswalt may still want to pitch, but on his terms and perhaps for only a half a season. Many teams have given up trying to persuade the 35-year-old to pitch, feeling the vibe is that he just doesn’t want it bad enough. Cafardo also notes Oswalt suffered a forearm strain at the end of his time with the Rangers last season.
- Bobby Valentine has turned down some opportunities to serve as an advisor for teams. Valentine has instead decided to focus on expanding his restaurant business, growing his film company, and working for NBC Sports since being fired as manager of the Red Sox.
The Orioles showed serious interest in Justin Upton before talks with the Diamondbacks sputtered, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. Here are some more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- Rosenthal hears from one executive who expects the Padres to make another significant move. However, the Padres like their group of young starting pitchers and aren’t inclined to make a strong play for one of the remaining free agent starters. San Diego could still trade for a pitcher such as Rick Porcello, Luke Hochevar or Aaron Harang.
- Talks about a deal involving Upton and Chase Headley didn’t progress, Rosenthal reports.
- The Orioles continue seeking starting pitching and Joe Saunders remains a target. The Orioles also checked in on Porcello, according to Rosenthal.
- Though the Orioles spoke with Lance Berkman before he signed with the Rangers, they weren’t interested in spending big for the switch-hitting DH.
- Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities the Rockies are considering. The Rockies wouldn’t offer all of those pitchers Major League deals, however.
- Rosenthal suggests free agent reliever Rafael Soriano could be a longshot for the Rockies. Colorado would have to surrender its second round draft pick to sign the Scott Boras client.
- The Phillies continue seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder, Rosenthal reports. They’re still considering free agent Scott Hairston and trade candidates Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. It’s possible the Phillies will go with platoons in both corner outfield positions.
The Phillies saw their streak of five consecutive NL East titles ended by the Nationals in 2012. But, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes there is optimism since the Phillies won 60% of their games after July 31 despite the health issues of Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz, trading away Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, and not having a reliable setup man for Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies, however, enter the new year with several question marks which Zolecki says centers around the health of Halladay and Chase Utley, the continued recovery of Ryan Howard, and how much offense new acquistions Michael Young and Ben Revere will contribute. For more news and notes on the Phillies, Zolecki opened his inbox:
- Zolecki, when asked about the health of Halladay, quoted GM Ruben Amaro Jr. who recently said, "He's going to start throwing off the mound here very shortly. I guess he's working down there with Kyle Kendrick pretty extensively. He's doing well, but we don't know what kind of Doc we're going to get until Doc's down firing in Spring Training."
- Speaking of Kendrick, Zolecki believes he's a lock for the starting rotation as long as he remains healthy.
- Scott Hairston would be the best fit to fill one of the corner outfield vacancies. Zolecki notes the Phillies have tried to acquire Hairston in the past. Zolecki also mentioned Alfonso Soriano, who he thinks would slot in nicely hitting behind Utley and Howard.
- If the Phillies acquire a right-handed outfield bat, look for Darin Ruf to open the season at Triple-A.
- The Phillies don't have have enough top-tier talent to tempt the Marlins into trading Giancarlo Stanton to the City of Brotherly Love.
Happy birthday to Cubs great Fergie Jenkins, who was born 70 years ago today in Chatham, Ontario. The 1971 NL Cy Young Award winner won 167 games in 10 years with the Cubs and wore the red 'C' into the Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1991.
Here are some items from Chicago and elsewhere around both the AL and NL Central divisions...
- The Braves don't have any interest in trading for Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Cubs are willing to pay $26MM of Soriano's remaining $36MM salary in a trade and have shopped the veteran to the Astros and Phillies this offseason.
- The White Sox would like to bring back A.J. Pierzynski but only at the team's price, writes Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. While the team has kept in touch with Pierzynski's agent, the Sox are prepared to go ahead with Tyler Flowers as their everyday catcher.
- The Brewers can probably be counted out of the Mike Adams hunt, opines Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link) as the free agent reliever will likely be priced out of the Crew's range. At least seven other teams besides Milwaukee are known to be interested in Adams.
- Also from Haudricourt, he outlines how the Brewers have been historically unable to keep their major stars, a trend that may continue given the team's small local TV contract. The one exception was Ryan Braun, who was already on an eight-year contract when he signed his major extension with the Crew.
- We heard last month that the Royals were trying to trade Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that while the team will listen, they "feel no urgency" to move either pitcher. The Royals want a lot of rotation depth and could just put either Chen or Hochevar in the bullpen, though K.C. could also wait until March to find better trade offers. (All links to Dutton's Twitter account.)
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters (including John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that his team is pretty much done its winter shopping, though he hinted that the Reds could add a left-handed reliever.
- As the cost of high-end pitching has risen, Adam Wainwright is in position to receive a huge payday as he enters the final year of his contract with the Cardinals, writes the Associated Press. Both Wainwright and the Cards are open to the idea of discussing a new contract before Opening Day.
- From earlier today, the Cubs and Tigers are the final two suitors for Anibal Sanchez. The Cubs thought they had Sanchez signed to a five-year, $75MM offer, but Sanchez is giving the Tigers a final chance to match or top the offer.
Since winning the NL Central in 2008, the Cubs have seen their win total decrease every year. Here's the latest on the Cubs as they seek to improve on their 2012 mark of 61-101...
- The Cubs are willing to pay approximately $26MM of the $36MM remaining on Alfonso Soriano’s contract if they get the right prospect back in a trade, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Soriano, who turns 37 next month, hit 32 home runs and posted a .262/.322/.499 batting line in 2012. He'll earn $18MM per season in 2013 and 2014. The Cubs have discussed Soriano with the Phillies and shopped him to the Astros, according to recent reports.
- Other teams have complimented the Cubs’ methodical approach to building a contender, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes (Twitter links). Olney points out that the Cubs could be well-positioned to pursue a trade for David Price by next winter.
5:25pm: The deal appears to be a longshot to happen, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Phillies were uninterested in Soriano when first presented with the possibility but warmed up to it enough to consider it.
4:31pm: The Phillies have discussed a deal with the Cubs that would net them Alfonso Soriano in exchange for Domonic Brown, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Phillies might be more inclined to sign a free agent, such as Cody Ross or someone else.
The Cubs are believed to be willing to pay $26MM of the $36MM remaining on Soriano's deal if they can get quality prospects in return. The Phillies like Soriano offensively but have reservations about his defensive play, despite his improvement last season. Soriano, who will turn 37 next month, hit .262/.322/.499 with 32 home runs in 615 plate appearances.
Ross would be a better fit for the Phillies' budget than fellow free agent outfielders Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton. Earlier today we learned that the Mets have kicked the tires on Ross, but would be unwilling to make a commitment to him beyond two years. The Phillies, Braves, Mariners, Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles have all been linked to Ross so far this offseason.
The Cubs expect to meet with teams regarding Alfonso Soriano during the upcoming winter meetings in Nashville, major league sources tell Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Soriano holds a full no-trade clause and is owed a total of $36MM over the next two seasons.
The 36-year-old is still likely to garner strong interest from teams who need right-handed power and the Cubs are willing to include cash in the deal to make it work. Soriano may be more valuable than expected, when considering the two-year, $10MM contract free agent Jonny Gomes just received from the Red Sox. The Phillies would appear to be a strong fit for Soriano as they are still looking for a right-handed outfield bat to replace Hunter Pence, who was shipped to the Giants at the trade deadline.