Alfonso Soriano Rumors
The Cardinals and Tigers have met three times in the World Series, tying them with Red Sox/Cardinals and Reds/Yankees as the seventh-most common matchup in Series history. Could the two teams share their fourth date in the Fall Classic this season? Here's the latest from both the AL and NL Central...
- Alfonso Soriano wants to keep playing the outfield, so the Cubs may have trouble convincing him to waive his no-trade clause to join an AL team looking for a designated hitter, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I don't know what I could do the whole season [as a DH]. To me, playing DH is boring. You only play like half [the game]," Soriano said. "I always play defense and offense, so I'd always have to work hard on my mind, 'Now I'm an offense guy only.' "
- The Cubs are likely to pursue veterans looking to rebuild value on one- or two-year contracts, opines ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine as part of a chat with fans. Levine cites Shaun Marcum, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jeff Francis, Francisco Liriano, Joe Blanton and Brandon McCarthy as types of pitchers that could interest the Cubs. Levine also discusses several other Cubs and White Sox-related topics in the all-Chicago chat.
- The Indians will not bring back hitting coach Bruce Fields or third base coach Steve Smith, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Smith had already said he was taking 2013 off, while Fields already has another job. Former Astros manager Brad Mills is expected to join the Indians staff in some capacity; Mills worked on Terry Francona's coaching staffs in both Philadelphia and Boston.
- Alcides Escobar appears to be the Royals' long-term answer at shortstop, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that the club has compiled lots of young depth at the position in the minor leagues.
- From earlier today on MLBTR, I compiled some Cardinals notes, Tim Dierkes looked at the Brewers' arbitration-eligible players, and Ben Nicholson-Smith compiled a set of Tigers notes plus profiled the Cubs in the latest entry in our Offseason Outlook series.
When addressing the press earlier today, Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin said that his "gut feeling" is that he won't be pursuing high-priced free agents this winter, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel. More from the NL Central..
- Melvin also said the current plan is to keep Corey Hart at first base and Norichika Aoki in right field with Mat Gamel coming off the bench, Haudricourt tweets.
- The Cubs are willing to explore an offseason trade involving Alfonso Soriano, writes Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com. Last night, Soriano made it known that he would be open to a trade this winter as he hopes to return to the World Series before his career is through.
- Speaking of the Cubs, they promoted Shiraz Rehman to the position of Assistant GM, joining Randy Bush, Padilla tweets.
- Kyle Lohse could be making his final start for the Cardinals as they face the Braves in a one-game playoff in Atlanta, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
Earlier today, we looked at the latest on the White Sox courtesy of Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The club will decline options on Jake Peavy and Kevin Youkilis, but Kenny Williams will still work to retain both veterans. Speaking of Williams, he will soon be promoted from General Manager to team president with Rick Hahn assuming his former title. Here's more out of the Central divisions..
- Williams says that reliever Brett Myers could start for the White Sox in 2013, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. The White Sox hold a $10MM option on Myers for next season that they can buy out for $3MM.
- Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano told reporters that he is open to being traded in the offseason, according to the Associated Press. Soriano hopes to have one more shot at making a trip to the World Series before his career is through. The 36-year-old went on to say that he is open to retiring after the two remaining years on his contract are up.
- Twins manager Rod Gardenhire suggested to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that the club will probably have a press conference tomorrow to remove the interim tag from General Manager Terry Ryan's title.
- Brewers outfielder and former ACES client Nyjer Morgan says that he is now represented by agent Rex Gary, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The outfielder is set to be a free agent for the first time following the 2014 campaign.
- The Cubs dismissed third base coach Pat Listach tonight, tweets Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com. The decision was made by the club and manager Dale Sveum said that he would recommend him for any other coaching job (Twitter link).
It was on this date in 1972 that Roberto Clemente collected the 3,000th and final hit of what would become a Hall of Fame career. Clemente would perish three months later in a New Year's Eve plane crash while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Forty years later, the Pirates sealed their 20th consecutive losing season by falling to the Reds 4-3. Pittsburgh was 16 games over .500 on August 6, but has lost 18 of 23 to drop to 77-82. Elsewhere in the NL Central Division:
- The Brewers were eliminated from the playoffs today with a clunker of a 7-0 shutout loss to the Astros. However, the outlook for 2013 looks bright, opines Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Haudricourt believes the Brewers should be able to concentrate during the offseason on improving their pitching, both the starting rotation and bullpen, the major area of weakness on the 2012 team.
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told reporters, including Haudricourt in a separate article, that he doesn't think Zack Greinke will be returning to Milwaukee. "I don't think we're going to sign a guy for five years and $120 million," said Roenicke. "We made him a great offer. We'll see how much he likes it in Anaheim."
- Dusty Baker will be back at the helm of the Reds on Monday when they travel to St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals to close out the regular season. Baker has missed 11 games while recovering from a minor stroke and an irregular heartbeat. Baker is a free agent after this season and a popular theory has him headed to the Dodgers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Rosenthal dismisses the rumor. However, Rosenthal reports, citing a Baker friend, that the 63-year-old definitely wants to continue managing, but recognizes that he will need to take better care of himself.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum admitted to reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, that Alfonso Soriano's trade value has never been higher and could be dealt this offseason. "It’s as high as it can be,” Sveum said. “Those kind of things are all (dependent ) on what you’re getting back and all those kind of things. The replacement value of that is very difficult to find."
The Yankees enter play today with a one-game lead over the Orioles and four games over the Rays. And, it's a good thing this isn't your father's Yankees, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. If George Steinbrenner was alive today, Rosenthal believes he might have fired manager Joe Girardi after blowing a ten-game lead in the AL East and replaced him with the likes of Lou Piniella. Hal Steinbrenner is almost the polar opposite of his father. So much so that, when Rosenthal asked Brian Cashman of the potential fallout that might occur if the team fails to reach the playoffs, the Yankees' GM said, "We have objective, patient ownership." Also from Rosenthal's column:
- The new schedule hasn't been a cure-all for small market teams like the Rays. Rosenthal suggests one way to mitigate the Rays’ disadvantage would be to scale revenue sharing so they would receive a greater percentage than a low-revenue club such as the Indians, who compete in a division with lower payrolls.
- A criticism of the new playoff system is Wild Card teams who have better records than division winners are penalized in the seeding of the Division Series. Rosenthal's solution is to wait until after the Wild Card game to seed the Division Series.
- The AL CY Young Award voting will be a test of how accepted advanced statistics are by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Rosenthal points out the last eight AL pitchers to either lead or tie for the lead in those categories, like the Rays' David Price this year, each have won the award. The Tigers' Justin Verlander meanwhile leads in wins above replacement and Chris Sale of the White Sox leads in ERA+. Price is tops, however, in quality of opponents faced, based on the rankings of Vince Gennaro, president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
- Larry Bowa's interview for the Astros' managerial vacancy is a good sign, as rival executives have worried that GM Jeff Luhnow is surrounding himself with too many like-minded sabermetric types rather than building a diverse baseball operations department.
- The Marlins may have difficulty in sticking with their plan to keep Emilio Bonifacio in center field, play Donovan Solano at second, and make the acquisition of a third baseman their top priority. Rosenthal points out the market for third basemen is bare, so one alternative for the Marlins is to acquire an outfielder and move Bonifacio back to third base.
- Look for the Rays to exercise their $2.5MM option on Fernando Rodney. Rodney is bidding to become only the second reliever in history (Dennis Eckersley in 1990) to have a season of 40 or more saves and an ERA under 1.00. Rodney leads baseball with 43 saves and his ERA is 0.66.
- The Cubs will look again this offseason to move Alfonso Soriano, who is one home run and one RBI shy of his first 30-homer, 100-RBI season since 2005. If the Cubs fail to receive a sufficient offer, they could always bring back Soriano, owed $36MM over the next two years, and try to move him at the deadline again. Rosenthal cited the example of Carlos Lee of how it is easier to deal an overpriced player the closer he gets to the end of his contract.
A hearty congratulations goes out to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus who bid farewell to the internet today as he will be joining the Astros as a Pro Scouting Coordinator. Houston also announced that they will be bringing Oz Ocampo on board as Director of International Scouting. More from around baseball..
- Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers spoke very highly of closer J.J. Putz, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Arizona holds a $6MM option on Putz for 2013, but Towers (Twitter link) made it sound as though it's a price he's ready to pay. "$6MM for an experienced closer is probably not a bad number," said the GM.
- Alfonso Soriano made it clear this summer that he would not accept a trade to the Giants due to the climate there, but the outfielder brought some clarity to the situation this evening. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com tweets that the outfielder explained that the weather in San Francisco would be detrimental to his knee. Earlier reports suggested that Soriano did not like the idea of hitting in colder weather.
- Scott Miller of CBSSports.com looks back at the dismissal of Angels scout Eddie Bane, the man responsible for landing Mike Trout, Jered Weaver, Mark Trumbo, and many other key Halos pieces. Bane admitted that he and then-General Manager Tony Reagins did not get along overall.
There’s generally a fair amount of activity on August 31st, the last day for teams to trade for players who are eligible for postseason rosters. We’ll be sure to pass along news of any trades but in the meantime let’s check in on some players who aren’t getting dealt:
- There are no trades on the horizon for the Marlins, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
- No deal involving Alfonso Soriano seems likely, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Cubs could wait until the winter to trade Soriano, who has cleared waivers.
- The Red Sox won’t trade Jacoby Ellsbury or Cody Ross today, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hears the Brewers aren't likely to trade Shaun Marcum or Francisco Rodriguez (Twitter link).
- The Cardinals don’t plan to pursue a shortstop from outside of the organization to replace Rafael Furcal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Furcal is likely headed for the disabled list with an elbow injury, but St. Louis can rely on internal options such as Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso.
- It looks as though it'll be a quiet day for the Rangers, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports (on Twitter).
It was on this day in 1970 that Roberto Clemente enjoyed his second consecutive five-hit day, becoming the first Major Leaguer in the 20th century to achieve 10 hits over a two-game span. The Pirates legend nearly outhit his opponents over the same stretch, as the Dodgers managed just 11 hits over those two games, both Pittsburgh victories.
With Clemente's Pirates back in a pennant race, here's the latest from the NL Central...
- It's unlikely that the Cubs will deal either Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Marmol in August, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. "The Cubs say they’re still open to making a move, but they have nothing in the works," Wittenmyer writes. Both players cleared trade waivers last week and Soriano already used his 10-and-5 rights to veto a deal to the Giants before the trade deadline.
- The Cardinals can make their offense more consistent in 2013 by relying on a number of internal options, opines Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The only external solution Gordon suggests is that the Cards pick up a veteran shortstop to share time with Rafael Furcal.
- Nine names have been rumored to be possible candidates for the Astros' managing job, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Of these nine, only Jim Riggleman has past experience managing in the Major Leagues; Heyman notes this aligns with GM Jeff Luhnow's desire for a more analytical approach to running the club, as detailed in a recent story by Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
Wednesday was a busy day for baseball's two West divisions, as the Giants lost Melky Cabrera for 50 games while Felix Hernandez threw the first perfect game in Mariners history. Here is Thursday's news and notes from the left coast...
- Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle says the Giants have a decision to make in the wake of Cabrera's suspension. The 28-year-old is due to become a free agent after the season and team seemed likely to explore a multiyear extension before yesterday's news broke.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean has not been much of an Alfonso Soriano fan through the years, so he seems unlikely to pursue him following Cabrera's suspension according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Yesterday we heard that Soriano is unlikely to approve a trade to San Francisco anyway.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post wonders if the Mariners' willingness to commit to Hernandez and Hernandez's willingness to remain in Seattle will fall in line when the right-hander hits free agency after 2014.
- In a chat with David Laurila of FanGraphs, David Murphy says getting traded to the Rangers was the best possible opportunity for him and his career. Murphy was part of the trade that sent Eric Gagne to the Red Sox in 2007.
Alfonso Soriano told Theo Epstein & Co. that he would not accept a trade to the Giants when San Francisco showed interest in him prior to the July 31st deadline. The club may have renewed interest in the veteran after Melky Cabrera was hit with a 50-game suspension, but the Cubs outfielder says that he still doesn't think that the Giants would be a good fit for him, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "San Francisco is not good weather to play in. It's on the West Coast and I've never played on the West Coast. We'll see what happens if they call. I'll talk to my family then and see. It's not my call. I know it's 50 percent of my call, but it's my family's [call] too. I'd talk to my family and see what happens," Soriano said. More on Cabrera and the Giants..
- The suspension changes the complexion of the National League West race, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Cabrera theoretically could return to action for the sixth game of the postseason, but it's unlikely that the Giants would leave a roster spot open for him without knowing what he'll be able to contribute.
- Cabrera's sudden turnaround in San Francisco seemed too good to be true, and it turns out that it was, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. It's possible that teams will entirely discount his strong play in 2012 when he's on the open market this winter, but others may seize the opportunity to buy low.
- Cabrera's agents didn't pursue an in-season extension once they were notified of his positive test, Heyman tweets.
- There's no doubt that the Giants heard of Cabrera's positive test at the time they acquired Hunter Pence, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While the official word didn't come out until this afternoon, there were strong whispers of the news in late July.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs opines that Cabrera might have cost himself $60-70MM this winter. Cameron also doesn't see the 28-year-old having many suitors in free agency.
- The Giants appear to be in serious trouble without their star slugger, but that doesn't mean that the Dodgers can rest on their laurels and celebrate, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.