Andruw Jones Rumors

Heyman On Royals, Cuddyer, Andruw, Astros

Congratulations to national baseball writer Jon Heyman, who has a new job with CBSSports.com starting Monday.  As usual, Heyman is tweeting up a storm; here's his latest from the Winter Meetings (all links go to Twitter):

  • The Royals are talking trades for starters and are in on Oakland's Gio Gonzalez.
  • Everyone wants bullpen help but few want it more than the Padres, Brewers, and Red Sox.
  • The Phillies haven't completely ruled out Michael Cuddyer, but the Twins are still trying to bring him back as well. The Giants and Red Sox are other logical destinations, in Heyman's estimation.
  • The Yankees would love to bring back Andruw Jones for his right-handed pop and strong clubhouse presence.
  • Former Reds executive Scott Nethery is in the mix for the Astros GM opening. Andrew Friedman is still their top choice, Bill Geivett and Jeff Luhnow are also in the mix.
  • The Astros will also eat most of Carlos Lee's contract to facilitate a trade. They still expect a good return for Wandy Rodriguez and something decent for Brett Myers in any trade.
  • Heyman also said this morning that the Angels are looking for a closer and the Pirates are talking to Derrek Lee.

Boras Talks Drew, Fielder, Andruw, Madson, Pelfrey

Agent Scott Boras says J.D. Drew has not retired and will play in 2012 if the right opportunity emerges, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Here are more details from Boras’ conversation with reporters (most links go to Twitter)…

  • Boras said Prince Fielder will appeal to teams looking to win now and to those that are more than a year away from contending, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy“I do think there are a lot of teams that … look long-term with a younger player that may not be in the market for a player that is four or five years older," Boras said, comparing Fielder to Albert Pujols.
  • Boras told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that Fielder is an "amazing athlete" who's just stepping into his prime. "This guy can fly," he said. "He's like Warren Sapp. That man was an athlete. People said he had this square body or he wasn't big enough or whatever, but he was still an All-Pro."
  • Boras and the Yankees have discussed the possibility of a new deal for Andruw Jones, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. The Yankees are in the market for a fourth outfielder and Jones, who hit .247/.356/.495 for New York in 2011, would be a fit, especially because he bats from the right side.
  • Boras has not spoken with the Red Sox about free agent closer Ryan Madson, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
  • Boras explained that there will be strong interest in Carlos Beltran, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. "It's hard to get those players to free-agency and the ones who get there there's a real demand for them," he said.
  • Boras will meet with Indians to discuss possible free agent fits, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Hoynes points out that Carlos Pena is a possible fit for the Indians at first base. Matt LaPorta is an option for the 2012 Indians, but he doesn’t appear to have any guarantees.
  • Boras will also speak to the Cubs, possibly about Pena, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
  • Boras “fully expects” the Mets to tender Mike Pelfrey a contract, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

East Notes: Oswalt, Wilson, Garcia, Madson, Cuddyer

A few items of note from around the Northeast Corridor …

  • The Yankees have contacted the agent for free agent starters Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. Bombers GM Brian Cashman, however, cautioned that he's "in the process of talking to everybody." Oswalt and Wilson are both represented by Bob Garber of Select Sports Group, as our Agency Database shows.
  • As well, Cashman has already communicated with free agent starter Freddy Garcia's representatives, according to Carig, and the parties are mutually interested in seeing the veteran right-hander in the Bronx again in 2012. Cashman also expressed interest in bringing back reserve infield Eric Chavez, backup outfielder Andruw Jones and right-hander Bartolo Colon.
  • The Phillies have had discussions with free agent closer Ryan Madson, Madson's agent Scott Boras tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Boras termed the talks with the Phillies as "good dialogue" and said Madson is receiving a lot of interest – even from clubs that weren't thought to be in need of a closer.
  • Newest Phillie Jim Thome is good friends with former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer, whom the Phillies are seriously pursuing, so Thome could help recruit Cuddyer to Philly, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com"We've texted a little bit," Thome said. "We've talked." … "I'm sure we will talk going forward."
  • The Mets will refrain from doling out potentially crippling contracts under GM Sandy Alderson, but they shouldn't draw that line in dealing with their homegrown star Jose Reyes, opines Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Writes Rubin: "If the ultimate verdict with Reyes is a calculated baseball decision, so be it. But shame on the Mets if he departs and it is primarily payroll-constraint induced."


Quick Hits: Red Sox, Iannetta, Santana, Willis

Joey Votto celebrated his 28th birthday with a 3-for-4 performance today against the Rockies, including his 27th homer of the year.  It wasn't enough, however, as Cincinnati dropped a 12-7 result to Colorado.

Some notes from around the majors….

  • The Red Sox could use another solid starting pitcher but "for the moment don't feel there's anyone out there available who's better than what they have," a team official tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The Rockies will give catcher Wilin Rosario a lot of playing time this month as they decide what to do with Chris Iannetta this winter, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.  If Rosario plays well, Colorado may decide to deal Iannetta, who's due to make $3.55MM in 2012.  Iannetta's name was mentioned in trade rumors involving the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Pirates and Padres at the July deadline.
  • Johan Santana will probably not pitch in the Major Leagues for the Mets this season, reports Anthony DiComo for MLB.com.
  • Dontrelle Willis probably won't be back with the Reds next season, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Willis has re-established himself as a big league starter this year but Fay figures that this progress has likely priced the southpaw out of the Reds' range.
  • Another Red who likely won't be back in Cincinnati next year is Paul Janish, opines Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News.  Despite some excellent glovework (a +11.6 UZR/150 at shortstop this year), Janish will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter and is probably a non-tender candidate with Zack Cozart taking over at short.
  • Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune says several American League scouts have asked him about Jesus Guzman's fielding ability in recent weeks, a sign that AL teams could have an interest in Guzman as a DH candidate.  Center discusses Guzman, Bud Black's status, a possible extension for Cameron Maybin and other Padres-related topics in an online chat with fans.
  • Andruw Jones has been playing all season with a small tear in his left knee, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.  The Yankees discovered the injury during Jones' physical but signed the veteran outfielder anyway  (both Twitter links).

Dead Money: Paying Players To Play Elsewhere

Eating money in trades or by releasing players is far from an ideal business practice, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. The Mets believe they are better off paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo a combined $18MM not to be on their team this year, and released the two just last month. David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the concept of "dead money" today, speaking to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports economist J.C. Bradbury, and Scott Boras.

With some help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, let's look at the teams that are paying players to be anywhere but on their roster this season…

This doesn't include money the Braves owe Kenshin Kawakami ($7.4MM) or the Yankees owe Kei Igawa ($4MM). Both Japanese imports remain in the organization, but they've since been banished to the minor leagues. It also doesn't include all the money the Mets famously owe Bobby Bonilla for the next two decades.

Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player collecting paychecks from three different big league teams at the moment, but Carlos Silva could join him if he's called up by the Yankees. Gary Matthews Jr. could also be in that mix if he catches on somewhere this summer.


Yankees Designate Brian Schlitter For Assignment

The Yankees announced that they designated right-hander Brian Schlitter for assignment today to create roster space for Andruw Jones, whose signing finally became official. The Yankees claimed the 25-year-old off of waivers from the Cubs last month.

Schlitter appeared in seven games for the Cubs last year and surrendered 18 hits and five walks in eight innings, striking out seven. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he posted a 3.15 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings in his first season at the highest level of the minors.

Chad Jennings of the Journal News heard last month that "Schlitter is built around a fastball that sits around 92 mph and reaches 94-95 with good sink. He also has a changeup and a slider’s that’s “OK” but could get better with a little work."


Yankees To Sign Andruw Jones

The Yankees agreed to sign Andruw Jones to a one-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The Scott Boras client signed for $2MM and can make up to $1.2MM more by reaching incentives.

The Yankees were looking for an outfielder who can hit lefties and can handle left and center field. Outfielders Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner both bat from the left side, so Jones, a right-handed hitter, will spell them against tough southpaws. He has an .863 OPS against lefties in his career, including a .931 mark in 2010. The 33-year-old hit 19 homers for the White Sox last year, playing all three outfield positions. 

The Rays, Rockies and Braves were among the teams that showed interest in Jones this offseason. Meanwhile, Johnny Damon, a rumored alternative for the Yankees, will presumably have to seek employment elsewhere. The Angels could use an outfielder with on-base skills, so they are one possible suitor for Damon.

Damon, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Millwood are among Boras' most noteworthy unsigned clients, now that Jones has agreed to terms.


Quick Hits: Wagner, Andruw, Chavez, Upton

One year ago today, the Angels signed Joel Pineiro to a two-year, $16MM deal. Yesterday, the Twins agreed to a similar deal with a similar pitcher: Carl Pavano. Here are today's links…

  • Billy Wagner is on the Braves' 40-man roster, but the lefty is going to retire as planned, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains.
  • Agent Scott Boras and Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a long meeting about Andruw Jones yesterday, but the sides are still apart on money, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports (on Twitter). Jones appeared to be nearing a deal with the Yankees earlier in the week.
  • Eric Chavez worked out for the Dodgers today, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. The Mariners and Blue Jays have also been linked to the six-time Gold Glover and Gurnick says the White Sox and Yankees are potential suitors for Chavez.
  • B.J. Upton told Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times that he would consider signing a long-term deal in Tampa Bay if the Rays approached him about one. The center fielder signed a one-year deal earlier in the week, avoiding arbitration.

Yankees, Andruw Jones Nearing Deal

TUESDAY, 9:08pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the two sides are not far apart, and it's possible that they'll be able to close the deal tomorrow. Scott Boras will be at Yankee Stadium for Rafael Soriano's introductory press conference in the morning.

MONDAY, 12:18pm: The Yankees are nearing a one-year deal with Andruw Jones, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier today that the Yankees were balking at Jones' current asking price and maintained interest in Johnny Damon. Scott Boras represents Damon and Jones.

The Yankees were looking for an outfielder who can hit lefties and can handle left and center field. Outfielders Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner both bat from the left side, so Jones, a right-handed hitter, could spell them against tough southpaws. He has an .863 OPS against lefties in his career, including a .931 mark in 2010. The 33-year-old hit 19 homers for the White Sox last year, playing all three outfield positions. 

The Rays had interest in Jones, but ranked him behind other free agents, according to Rosenthal. The Braves and Rockies also showed some interest in Jones this offseason.


Olney On Sizemore, Jones, Votto, Pujols

Grady Sizemore tells ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that it's "miserable" to have to sit and watch others play. The center fielder, who is on track to be ready for Opening Day after microfracture knee surgery, says he can't wait to return to the playing field. Here are Olney’s thoughts on Sizemore, plus rumors from around the league:

  • Sizemore’s contract includes an $8.5MM option for 2012, so within a year the Indians will have to decide whether to exercise the option, let him hit free agency or trade him.
  • The Yankees are the frontrunners for Andruw Jones, Olney reports (on Twitter).
  • Joey Votto’s three-year, $38MM extension makes sense for both sides, in Olney’s opinion.
  • It’s apparent that talks between the Cardinals and Albert Pujols “are not going as smoothly as the Cardinals want,” Olney writes. Click here to vote on Pujols’ future in St. Louis.