Asdrubal Cabrera Rumors
Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish face off in a marquee pitching matchup tonight in Arlington when the Tigers play the Rangers in a battle of AL division leaders. Detroit could lose the AL Central lead with a loss, as the idle Indians are only a half-game out of first place.
Here's the latest from around the AL Central...
- There hasn't yet been any talk of the Indians pursuing an extension with Mark Reynolds, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes in a reader mailbag. Reynolds signed a one-year, $6MM contract with the Tribe in December and is enjoying a big season, hitting .271/.362/.581 and sitting tied for American League home run lead with 11 long balls. Bastian suggests that Reynolds is likely to test the free agent market in order to capitalize on his comeback year. Reynolds recently cracked Tim Dierkes' 2014 free agent power rankings, clocking in at the #9 position.
- Also from Bastian, Francisco Lindor has been on fire in Class A ball but the Indians shortstop prospect isn't expected to be in the Major Leagues until next season at the absolute earliest. In order words, Asdrubal Cabrera is unlikely to be on the trade block anytime soon. Though Cabrera is off to a slow start, it makes little sense for Cleveland to move one of their key regulars if they're in a pennant race.
- If the White Sox become sellers before the trade deadline, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago thinks Chris Sale might be the only untouchable player on the roster. Even Jake Peavy, who signed a two-year extension (albeit without a no-trade clause) with Chicago last October, could potentially be dealt for a big haul of prospects.
- Twins minor league outfielder Joe Benson is in danger of losing his 40-man roster spot, 1500 ESPN Twin Cities Phil Mackey speculates. Benson was ranked by Baseball America as the 99th-best prospect in the sport prior to the 2012 season, but the 25-year-old has struggled badly since.
- From earlier today on MLBTR, we heard that the Tigers were looking for relief pitching.
Red Sox principal owner John Henry has no intention of selling the team, he says in a wide-ranging interview with Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald. "I’ve not had one partner in 11 years suggest thinking about selling the Red Sox, even though they haven’t received dividends," he says. Henry also defends club president and CEO Larry Lucchino, saying Lucchino "revolutionized the game" with the building of Camden Yards in Baltimore, and adding that Lucchino's focus on revenue is critical to the Red Sox maintaining a high payroll. Henry also suggests that Lucchino will one day be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Cubs' trade of Sean Marshall to the Reds for Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt and minor-leaguer Ronald Torreyes might turn out well for Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests. Sappelt performed well in a brief big-league stint last year and will break camp with the team, and Wood made 26 starts for the Cubs in 2012. "I think it could turn out to be a good trade," Sappelt says. "I think it already is a good trade, and I’ll get to face Marshall a lot, so we’ll see." Wittenmyer also says the Cubs are unlikely to pursue Chone Figgins or Bill Hall for their bench.
- Asdrubal Cabrera could be dealt if the Indians have a bad season, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. After an offseason in which Cabrera's name was connected with the Trevor Bauer deal, however, there are no trade rumors regarding Cabrera right now. Pluto also notes that Cabrera could receive more off days this season, thanks to the addition of Mike Aviles.
"[Aroldis] Chapman stands to lose millions of dollars by committing himself to a relief role," writes ESPN's Buster Olney in his latest column (Insider subscription required). The fact that Chapman likes closing enough to risk these future riches, however, makes Olney think the Reds are making the right move by keeping Chapman in the bullpen as the club pursues a World Series title. "Chapman doesn't have a plow
horse's show-me-the-direction approach; he's known to be a complicated
guy, and if he were to fight [starting] internally all year, it would be a
mess," Olney says.
Here are some more items from Olney...
- Rival executives think Asdrubal Cabrera will be on the trade block if the Indians get off to a slow start. Olney speculates that the Dodgers could be players for Cabrera in the wake of Hanley Ramirez's thumb injury, though for now the Dodgers are satisfied to use internal options on the left side of their infield.
- The Tigers "have not made a single specific proposal to another team, asking for a particular player" in exchange for Rick Porcello. Detroit has told teams that they will listen to offers for the right-hander but only in exchange for Major League players, not prospects. Several teams have been linked to Porcello, with the Padres and Rangers showing the most recent interest.
- "Nothing is close" between the Giants and Buster Posey on a long-term extension. We heard earlier this week that the two sides were still deciding the length of the possible new contract. Olney believes that Joey Votto's recent extension with the Reds could be a model for Posey's new deal since Posey is athletic enough to handle playing third base or first base later his career.
Indians CEO Paul Dolan explains his team's thought process following a 68-94 season in 2012 and says that a total rebuild was not an option, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "None of us wanted to think about tearing it down. Our goal is to put together a team to win a World Series. Another goal is to avoid 20 years of losing, which some smaller-market teams have endured." The Indians did trade outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but rather than also dealing veterans like Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Perez and Justin Masterson, the team spent heavily on free agents like Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Here are more notes from Pluto's interview with Dolan.
- Dolan expresses "a high degree of confidence" in team president Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti, even though the Indians haven't had a winning season since 2007.
- Dolan also confirms that the Indians offered a four-year, $43MM deal to outfielder Shane Victorino, who ended up going to the Red Sox for three years and $39MM.
- Dolan says he didn't want to worry much about the possibility of Bourn's four-year, $48MM deal turning out badly, but the Indians' history with long-term contracts gives him pause. "We've not had good luck with some of our longer deals," he says. That includes pacts with Travis Hafner, Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood.
- Pluto notes that season-ticket sales are up since the signings of Bourn and Swisher, but Dolan says that the Indians "will lose money" in 2013. Dolan views the team's offseason spending splurge as an investment in its future.
Every American League Central team except the Royals has won the division at least once since 2007. Here are some AL Central notes, starting with Tigers, winners of the last two division titles...
- Brennan Boesch doesn't have a clear role on the 2013 Tigers, and it's possible his recent oblique injury hurt his trade value, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes. GM Dave Dombrowski has said Boesch won’t be sent to the minors, according to Lowe.
- Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press outlines four reasons the Tigers shouldn't sign Justin Verlander to a $200MM extension, before concluding that Verlander would be worth it, especially given the cost of starting pitching in MLB. Verlander has acknowledged that free agency intrigues him.
- Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 hears from a Twins official that the asking price for Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz remains “too high." The Twins are fans of the free agent shortstop, according to Wolfson (on Twitter).
- Asdrubal Cabrera told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he was surprised to find himself mentioned in offseason trade rumors (Twitter link). The shortstop added that he wants to spend his entire career with the Indians. Cabrera's under contract through 2014, but he'll probably appear on these pages next offseason if the Indians' shortstop prospects continue to develop.
The Mariners agreed to sign Felix Hernandez to a record-setting contract today. The seven-year, $175MM agreement will establish a record for starting pitchers, topping C.C. Sabathia’s $161MM contract by a considerable margin. Here are the latest links from around MLB...
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto explained to ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the acquisition of Josh Hamilton should lead to a strong defensive outfield in 2013. "We're taking three center fielders and trying to create the best defensive alignment we can," Dipoto said.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs lists his top ten offseason moves, including three by the Blue Jays. But don’t worry, Mets fans. Cameron likes the R.A. Dickey trade for both sides and lists the Mets’ acquisition of Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard as one of the winter’s best deals.
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com spoke with a few sources who expect the Indians to trade Asdrubal Cabrera by next winter (Twitter link). The Indians’ recent two-year deal with Mike Aviles increases the sense that Cabrera could be dealt in Bastian’s view.
The Indians have been very busy during the first days of 2013 officially announcing the free agent signings of Nick Swisher and Brett Myers. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports the team will open the season with a payroll hovering around $66-68MM (not including the $2.75MM buyout of Travis Hafner's 2013 club option and the $3.5MM sent to the Reds in the Shin-Soo Choo trade). As a result, GM Chris Antonetti has said the team's financial resources have been exhausted. The lone remaining hole in the lineup is designated hitter. Bastian says the Tribe could rely on internal options like Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes, Ezequiel Carrera, Tim Fedroff, and Rule 5 selection Chris McGuiness. Even bringing back Hafner is a possibility according to Antonetti, "I think some of that is going to depend upon other opportunities for Travis and his thoughts on returning, as well as what opportunities we may have for him compared to other guys." Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has more news and notes concerning the Indians:
- Hoynes adds Matt LaPorta to the list of in-house DH options, but says Antonetti could still sign a hitter or bring one in on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
- Hoynes thinks Delmon Young would look good as the Tribe's DH, but doesn't see it happening at this time because of his asking price and character issues.
- The Indians will still consider trading Asdrubal Cabrera or Chris Perez, but only if the return is comparable to what they received in the Choo deal.
- The starting rotation looks like Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Myers, and Zach McAllister. Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco are the leading candidates for the fifth spot.
- With the flush of spending of this season, does this put extra pressure on the front office to win now? Hoynes doesn't sense any panic in the hallways of power, especially since new manager Terry Francona can opt-out of his deal if certain members of management lose their jobs.
Here are some rumors from ESPN.com's baseball writers, starting with a note from Buster Olney (all links go to Twitter)...
- Ichiro Suzuki is turning down a two-year, $14MM contract offer from the Phillies to sign with the Yankees, according to Olney.
- Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Chris Perez will probably stay put in Cleveland now that the Indians have traded Shin-Soo Choo, Jerry Crasnick reports.
- Mike Adams could sign in the next couple of days, Jayson Stark reports. The Nationals, Blue Jays, Phillies, Rangers, Cubs, White Sox, Angels and Brewers have been linked to the free agent reliever, Stark adds.
Asdrubal Cabrera, arguably the top shortstop available, has drawn trade interest as a third baseman. Before the Winter Meetings began, the Indians and Phillies discussed a trade that would have sent the shortstop to Philadelphia for Vance Worley and prospects, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The Phillies, who have since sent Worley to the Twins and acquired Michael Young from the Rangers, would have used Cabrera at third base, according to Hoynes. While the Phillies offered Worley and two prospects, the Indians wanted more.
Cabrera, 27, will earn $6.5MM in 2013 and $10MM in 2014 before his contract expires. The switch hitter can block trades to the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Nationals, Giants and Mets. In 616 plate appearances this past season, he posted a .270/.338/.423 batting line.
The Indians appear to have closed the books on Kevin Youkilis, though they still have needs in left field and at DH. Nick Swisher remains a target for Cleveland, according to Hoynes. GM Chris Antonetti hopes to add to his rotation and the Indians have been in touch with most free agent starters.
The Rangers lost out on a trade target when the Royals acquired James Shields last night, just days after losing out on free agent target Zack Greinke. Things aren't going exactly as they've planned this offseason, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a host of Rangers updates in his latest column...
- A rival executive told Rosenthal that the Rangers are either going to overpay Josh Hamilton or overpay Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers for Justin Upton. Rangers GM Jon Daniels is so focused on Upton that he figures to eventually land him, writes Rosenthal.
- It's not completely out of the question that the Rangers could acquire Upton and still sign Hamilton now that Greinke is off the table.
- Anibal Sanchez is a long shot for the Rangers, but he's on their radar. A trade for R.A. Dickey is also unlikely at this point.
- The team is said to prefer lower-cost starters and could pursue someone like Chris Capuano in a trade to provide an upgrade over Martin Perez.
- The Rangers are interested in A.J. Pierzynski, who would obviously push Geovany Soto into a backup role. Pierzynski's left-handed bat would help to balance a heavily right-handed lineup.
- Ian Kinsler isn't big on the idea of shifting to first base one year into his five-year extension in order to allow Jurickson Profar to play second base, but he will play wherever he's asked.
- Daniels tells Rosenthal he's not planning on Kinsler switching positions yet and is considering all possible scenarios for the 2013 roster.
- A three-team deal with the Rangers, Diamondbacks and Indians was "very close" to happening at the Winter Meetings. The foundation of the deal was Upton to Texas, Cabrera to Arizona, and Mike Olt and one of Trevor Bauer or Patrick Corbin to Cleveland. Presumably, other names were involved.