Alfonso Soriano Rumors
The Mets "retain an unfilled craving for a marquee outfielder," writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, and are monitoring superstars such as Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. One Mets person told Martino "there is heat there," in regard to the team having a preliminary discussion with the Marlins about Stanton. Still, Martino is unsure whether GMs Sandy Alderson and Larry Beinfest have discussed the powerful right fielder.
To acquire four years of Stanton, the Mets would likely have to part with their two best prospects, pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis D'Arnaud. An associate of Alderson's told Martino the GM "did not have any extra attachment to those players, simply because he traded for them."
According to Martino, the Mets debated using Wheeler to get Justin Upton or Wil Myers, during the Winter Meetings. They also considered asking for the Dodgers' Andre Ethier in an R.A. Dickey deal, and this spring checked in on the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano. So, it appears the Mets' long-term interest in improving the outfield runs the gamut, from the game's best young stars to overpaid veterans. The Mets were willing to increase payroll to the $125MM range last winter for the right players, writes Martino.
Keep in mind that no deals are close, and the idea that Stanton or CarGo could become available this year is speculation.
Cesar Carrillo, a right-handed pitcher in the Tigers system, became the first player listed in the Biogenesis documents to be suspended, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (twitter link). As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and others have noted, MLB has "greater jurisdiction over minor leaguers like Carrillo than major leaguers who are protected by the players' union." Here are some other notes from around the majors:
- Mariano Rivera's retirement plans have fellow Yankee stalwart Andy Pettitte wondering how and when to end his own "long, strange journey," as Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal describes it. Pettitte sees some merit to ending his career around the same time as those of his long-time teammates, but does not want to "stop playing until I know that I'm done."
- Outfielder David Murphy is still waiting to work out a long-term extension with the Rangers after discussing that possibility with the club earlier in the offseason, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. While Murphy reiterated that he wants to remain a Ranger and has no hard feelings for the lack of progress towards a deal, he added that free agency is a "privilege" and that "waiting another year is not going to kill me."
- While the Cubs "feel the presence of teams watching Alfonso Soriano," nevertheless "no substantive talks have taken place yet," tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. Cafardo mentions the Phillies and Yankees as teams that are "on [the] radar" for a possible Soriano deal.
- With Zack Greinke still dealing with elbow issues, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated that the right-handed starter is facing an ever-narrowing window to be ready for the start of the regular season, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. As has previously been noted, Greinke's timeline could impact the availability of the Dodgers' excess starting pitching options, such as Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang.
The Yankees lost Curtis Granderson for 10 weeks over the weekend when he was hit on the forearm by a pitch in his first at-bat of Spring Training and suffered a fracture. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined ways in which the Yankees could replace Granderson in the short-term yesterday, and here's some more on the matter from the New York media...
- Missing significant time due to an injury will hurt Granderson's upcoming free agent stock, but as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, Granderson's impending shift to left field likely would have done the same. Any lack of power stemming from his forearm injury could be very detrimental to his stock. Granderson recently just missed out on the Top 10 in Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings.
- From that same piece, Sherman writes to keep an eye on Adonis Garcia, who signed with the Yanks for $400K last season. The 27-year-old Cuban import hit .263/.311/.424 in 57 games between Class-A Advanced and Double-A last season and has impressed the Yankees with his performance in the Venezuelan Winter League.
- Sherman also writes that Cubs officials he spoke with don't get the sense that the Yankees will be interested in Alfonso Soriano given the relatively small amount of time Granderson will miss. He goes on to speculate that that line of thinking also eliminates Jason Kubel or one of the Athletics' surplus outfielders from the equation.
- Johnny Damon appeared with Michael Kay on ESPN radio in New York and told Kay that he would welcome the chance to play with the Yankees in replacement of Granderson, even if the team sent him on his way upon Granderson's return (Andrew Marchand of ESPN with the write-up).
- Meanwhile, Damon told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that while he would definitely welcome the opportunity, he doesn't anticipate that the Yankees will have interest.
- It’s doubtful the Yankees will view the Cubs as a particularly strong match for their outfield needs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Even if the Yankees did want to trade for Soriano, they’d need his approval. The left fielder told Wittenmyer that he hasn’t given the Cubs an updated list of teams to which he’d accept trades. Though Soriano enjoyed playing for the Yankees earlier in his career, he didn’t approve them as a trade destination last summer.
- Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger notes that the Yankees could get by without acquiring a player like Soriano. McCullough writes that it's still worth exploring potential deals in case the sides can work out a trade.
- Darnell McDonald, Scott Hairston and Soriano agree that Jorge Soler has the potential to be an MLB star, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Soler, an outfield prospect who turns 21 today, signed a $30MM deal with the Cubs last year. Team president Theo Epstein says Soler has the makings of a complete player. "What has been really impressive, all last year and so far in camp, is how into defense and baserunning he is," Epstein said.
A J.A. Happ fastball struck Curtis Granderson's right forearm today in a Spring Training game, which will knock the Yankees' projected left fielder out until May. GM Brian Cashman intends to look at all possibilities, but of course the team will start by considering in-house corner outfielders such as Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera. YES Network's Jack Curry tweets a reality check: the Yankees' plan to replace Granderson will be made with the expectation that he's likely to miss 30 games, not the entire season.
That's why a relatively complicated deal for veterans such as Alfonso Soriano or Vernon Wells seems unlikely. Both players were quizzed by reporters today nonetheless, and both professed a desire to win with their current teams. Regarding Soriano, Cubs president Theo Epstein told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, "If we can get him to a winner and get a good package back we'd consider it. We haven't even been tempted yet. He's a valuable guy here. He's more valuable to us than anything we've been offered...by far."
A couple of ex-Yankees continue to toil in free agency: Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu. Scott Podsednik is available as well. They'd all be candidates for minor league deals, so the risk is minimal if Cashman wants to add some depth.
Out of options players are worth considering as well. A few notable outfielders on that list include Jordan Schafer, Ezequiel Carrera, Casper Wells, Gorkys Hernandez, Jose Tabata, Julio Borbon, and Xavier Paul. Tabata, a former Yankees farmhand, has $12.75MM in guaranteed money left on his contract, so the Pirates would have to be looking to cut bait and assume the vast majority. If not Hernandez, the Marlins might be able to spare former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan. The Diamondbacks recently added speedster Tony Campana to a crowded outfield, and perhaps Cashman will give Kevin Towers a call. Dewayne Wise, Scott Cousins, Eric Thames, Aaron Cunningham, Austin Kearns, Darnell McDonald, Felix Pie, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Travis Buck are some other outfielders fighting for jobs who could become available as camp progresses.
Cashman is in a tricky spot. Anyone who represents a clear upgrade over the team's internal options might come with a decent acquisition cost, which wouldn't make sense if Granderson will be out for one month. The best strategy might be to make a couple of low-risk acquisitions to give manager Joe Girardi additional options.
On this date in 1896, the National League forbids players from deliberately soiling baseballs (and thus enabling the legend of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry)‚ declares "a ball cutting the corners of the home plate‚ and being the requisite height‚ must be called a strike" and empowers umpires to eject players. Here's the latest news and notes from this century's National League:
- The Cubs don't anticipate the Yankees inquiring about Alfonso Soriano in the wake of Curtis Granderson's broken right forearm, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Earlier today, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote such a deal could make sense for the Yankees.
- Nate Schierholtz explained to reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman, why he signed with the Cubs when he reportedly had offers from contending teams like the Yankees. "There were a lot of factors that played into it," the outfielder said. "I think this team is young and we have a very good chance to win quick. I really believe in this team."
- Right-hander Julio Teheran would have to struggle mightily to lose the fifth spot in the Braves' starting rotation, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith charted recently, the Braves could maintain team control over Teheran through 2019 by waiting until late-June to recall him. The Braves could also prevent Teheran from earning Super Two status by keeping him in the minors until mid-August.
- The Phillies have ten outfielders in camp and manager Charlie Manuel says a roster decision on at least four of them will need to be made about two-thirds of the way through Spring Training, reports David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Todd Helton told Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown he understands his career is coming to an end. "I realize I'm never going to be sitting here in this moment again," the 39-year-old Rockie said. "There are many factors in this. My family. What it's like to be away from home. I love everything about this, but the travel."
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:
- The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
- The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
- If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard." Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.
The Yankees and Orioles made the playoffs last year and a third AL East club, the Rays, won 90 games. The Blue Jays and Red Sox disappointed in 2012, but after a winter of offseason moves both teams hope to contend in 2013. Here are the latest AL East links at a time that the division truly seems wide open...
- The Yankees say they’re prepared to discuss a significant long-term contract with Robinson Cano, but as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, there’s lots of rhetoric involved at this stage. The sides will declare their mutual interest in working out a new deal while remaining inflexible on financial details. Sherman expects agent Scott Boras to seek a ten-year deal in the $225-240MM range. The Yankees could start by suggesting a high average annual value for a shorter term, perhaps $170-175MM for seven years.
- The Yankees would not give up a good prospect to acquire Alfonso Soriano, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Heyman suggests the Yankees would pay $10MM of the $36MM remaining on the left fielder's contract. Soriano has indicated he'd consider trades to a group of six or seven teams, including the Yankees.
- The Orioles announced that they promoted Brady Anderson to the role of VP of baseball operations. Ned Rice, who had been the club’s assistant director of Major League operations, was promoted to director of Major League administration.
- The Mariners have a list of Red Sox players that they're looking at as a player to be named later in the Mike Carp trade, according to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (on Twitter). All four players are lower level non-premium minor leaguers in the Red Sox system.
- Here are some more notes on the Red Sox.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Alfonso Soriano insists that his top priority hasn’t changed since signing a $136MM contract with the Cubs following the 2006 season. He said he still aims to win a World Series, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. But trade rumors involving Soriano persist, and the left fielder doesn’t want to be a part of a losing team.
"If we have a bad start, I have to think about moving somewhere else," he said.
Soriano said he has given the Cubs about six or seven teams to which he’d consider trades. The list includes the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Phillies and White Sox, according to the Sun-Times. Soriano, whose contract includes a full-no trade clause, has maintained an open dialogue with Cubs executives about the possibility of a trade.
"I don’t control that situation," Soriano said. “I’m just going day-by-day and see what happens and try to focus on my spring training to get ready for my season."
The 37-year-old has two years and $36MM remaining on his contract with the Cubs. He posted a .262/.322/.499 batting line with 32 home runs in 2012.
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.