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On this date in 1957, Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle won the AL MVP, narrowly edging out Ted Williams of the Red Sox for the award. Williams had superior numbers on a per at bat basis, but Mantle played in more games, had more wins above replacement and the Yankees won the pennant. Here are today's AL East links…
- The Orioles acquired Trayvon Robinson for Robert Andino because Robinson is more affordable and the O's already have lots of options at second base, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes. However, if the out of options Robinson doesn't make the team out of Spring Training, expect executive VP Dan Duquette to move on.
- The Yankees haven't made Russell Martin a contract offer yet, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. In fact the Yankees haven't made offers to any free agents, including Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. King's sources suggest Martin can command three years at $8-10MM per season as a free agent.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney discussed the Orioles and Red Sox earlier today. Here’s MLBTR’s look at the highlights from Olney’s piece.
- You can read about the offseason outlook for each AL East team here.
While Jeremy Guthrie’s three-year, $25MM contract prompted some to question the Royals, the deal was considered fair in front offices of some other teams, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. Some executives think of the contract as reasonable given Guthrie’s durability at the MLB level. Here are more notes from Olney…
- The Royals will continue seeking starting pitching, even after adding Guthrie and Ervin Santana, Olney writes. They could trade minor leaguers to add to the MLB rotation.
- Royals officials still view the club as a work in progress, but rival evaluators are intrigued by their talent. "They're a team to watch," an AL GM told Olney. The team’s young bullpen draws especially strong reviews, Olney writes.
- The Yankees believe that the return of Hiroki Kuroda increases the chances Andy Pettitte will decide to pitch for another season, Olney reports. The Yankees signed Kuroda to a one-year, $15MM contract yesterday.
- "Everyone [I] talk to seems confident [Andy Pettitte] will return" to pitch in 2013, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Pettitte will surely want a significant raise from his $2.5MM salary in 2012, Sherman warns.
- Also from Sherman, he believes the Yankees will make "bold" one-year contracts akin to their deal with Kuroda, as the team is comfortable signing veterans to short-term deals. The Yankees will also look for less-expensive "Freddy Garcia type" pitchers later in the winter to add depth, though Sherman doesn't mean Garcia specifically. Sherman suggests Dallas Braden as a possible candidate to fit this mold (both links are to Twitter).
- David Wright's chances of signing an extension with the Mets are no better than 50-50, an industry source tells Mike Puma of the New York Post. Wright and his representatives are dissatisfied with the length and guaranteed value of the Mets' offer, as Wright is looking for a contract in the neighborhood of seven years and $125MM. It has been previously reported that the Mets were going to offer Wright a deal worth at least $100MM and that the two sides had exchanged offers.
- Also from Puma, a Mets official is "not sure" if R.A. Dickey wouldn't be traded even if he did sign an extension. Some in the industry believe Dickey could look for some type of no-trade clause in any new contract with the team.
- Mets COO Jeff Wilpon told reporters (including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo) that he is "more optimistic" than he was two months ago about completing extensions for Wright and Dickey. Wilpon said that trading either player would be the Mets' third option, behind signing them long-term and beginning the season with both men still on the roster. "They're both under contract. This is not a free-agent situation. This is not an arbitration situation. They're both under contract. We have all the flexibility in the world with that," Wilpon said.
5:12pm: The Dodgers "are not in" on Kuroda, an industry source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Feinsand adds that the Angels appear to be out of the running for Kuroda as well.
4:00pm: The Yankees are seen as the favorites to sign free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. In fact the Yankees are "very confident" they'll sign Kuroda, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Stark suggests Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees if he's pitching in MLB next year. However, Heyman reports that the Yankees sense a threat from Japan, where Kuroda pitched before joining MLB.
The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox have also expressed interest in Kuroda, who is linked to draft pick compensation after declining a qualifying offer from the Yankees. It appears the Dodgers and Angels are shifting their focus elsewhere, Stark writes. The Dodgers are now pursuing Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and others, according to Stark. The Angels are also targeting Greinke.
Here’s the latest from Joel Sherman of The New York Post (links go to Twitter)…
- Andy Pettitte is now represented by Excel Sports after being with the Hendricks Brothers throughout his career. Jim Murray left Hendricks for Excel and will continue to represent the veteran left-hander. Casey Close, who runs Excel’s baseball division, said Pettitte has not yet made a firm decision about pitching next year.
- The Athletics are planning to bottom feed for a shortstop after trading Cliff Pennington and letting Stephen Drew walk. They feel they can find an average producer from the pool of available players.
- The Athletics are telling teams they will keep their outfielders (Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Young, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith) and rotate them while not using a traditional DH.
- The Mets are saying they have hardly any money to spend this winter beyond signing David Wright and R.A. Dickey to contract extensions. Perhaps parting ways with Jason Bay will give them some more flexibility.
- 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.
After 95 regular season wins and two postseason series, the Yankees' year has ended. The Tigers swept the ALCS in four games, which means it's now time for the Bronx Bombers to look ahead to the 2012-13 offseason. Here's the latest…
- Yankees management wants to step away from the disappointment of the 2012 ALCS before finalizing offseason plans, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Yankees will continue relying on power hitters, even after a team-wide slump against the Tigers. “I’m not going to turn myself into the Bronx Bunters because all of a sudden we didn’t hit for this week in October,” GM Brian Cashman said.
- Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte hopes to decide within a few weeks whether he'll return for another season of baseball in 2013, Jeff Bradley and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger report. “I still have the desire to compete, but there are family things. I just have to try and figure that out,” Pettitte said.
- Nick Swisher would "absolutely" like to re-sign with the Yankees and described his tenure in New York as "awesome," Bradley and McCullough report.
- Ichiro Suzuki said he hopes to be needed and wanted but declined to get into specifics, Bradley and McCullough report.
- Bradley also outlines an offseason to-do list for the Yankees. The possibility of a trade sending Alex Rodriguez to Miami might be tempting for the New York front office.
- Curtis Granderson said he expects to return in 2013, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Unless the Yankees trade the center fielder he'll still be wearing pinstripes when the season opens.
- Cashman said he isn't worried about the age of his team, Hoch reports. "I don't care if it's old; I care if it's good," Cashman said.
Believe it or not, but the last place Red Sox may actually be in better position for future years than the AL East champion Yankees, argues Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. The Yankees have tens of millions tied up in an aging and increasingly unproductive roster, while the Red Sox shed much of their major payroll commitments when they dealt Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers.
Here are some news and notes from around the baseball world…
- Elvis Andrus is a major trade chip for the Rangers if they choose to move him, notes Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, who outlines Andrus' trade value and circumstances behind a possible deal. Durrett also says Texas could instead try to trade an older, more expensive player like Nelson Cruz or Ian Kinsler.
- The Rangers have interest in B.J. Upton but they see him as a corner outfielder rather than in center, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com as part of a fan mailbag.
- The longer Zack Greinke takes to pick his next team, the longer it will delay the rest of the Angels' offseason moves, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Greinke is the Angels' top target and his status with the team could determine what the Halos do with Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Torii Hunter.
- The Rockies have Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. and A's third base coach Mike Gallego on their list of possible external candidates for manager, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Mark Wiley is the favorite to become the Rockies' new director of pitching operations, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Wiley, currently a Marlins scout, would oversee pitchers at all levels of the Colorado organization as the team tries to develop arms capable of performing at Coors Field.
- Andy Pettitte hopes to have a decision made about his playing future "in a month or so," reports ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand. The Yankees southpaw hinted last week that he was looking to return in 2013.
- The Yankees are in for a busy offseason though "by any objective measure, the Yankees aren't a team in need of a major overhaul," writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. Costa details the five most pressing questions facing the Bombers this winter.
- Wilson Betemit doesn't appear to have much of a role on next year's Orioles roster, writes CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff. Betemit is owed $1.75MM from the O's in 2013 and his $3.2MM option for 2014 will vest with 324 more plate appearances.
- The Twins have no plans to alter the dimensions at Target Field next season, team president Dave St. Peter said in an e-mail to reporters (including MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger).
Throughout the 2012 season, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte has been non-commital when asked whether he would return next year. However, the 40-year-old gave a strong indication that he will be back in 2013 as he gets ready to take on the Orioles in Game 2 of the ALDS, writes Mark Hale of the New York Post.
“I know one thing: I know the competition and the desire to compete is still there, and I don’t feel like I kind of got that itch out from the 70 innings or so that I threw this year,” Pettitte said.
Pettitte signed a one-year, $2.5MM minor league contract with the Yankees in March with no incentives attached. The left-hander joined the varsity squad on May 13th but was sidelined in late June when a batted ball fractured his left fibula where it meets the ankle. In 12 starts, Pettitte turned in a 2.87 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.