Asdrubal Cabrera Rumors
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.
The Indians are still pursuing free agent Kevin Youkilis and still trying to work out a multi-team trade involving Asdrubal Cabrera and the Diamondbacks, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). The Tribe is also looking at alternative moves in case Youkilis signs elsewhere or the complicated trade fails to materialize. We collected the latest items about the Tribe's pursuit of Youkilis and Nick Swisher earlier today on MLBTR and yesterday looked at the latest mountain of speculation surrounding this rumored multi-team deal that also reportedly involves the Rangers, Rays, Mariners, Justin Upton, Derek Holland and a number of young players.
The Reds have generated a lot of buzz this offseason as well, so let's check in on the latest from both of Ohio's clubs...
- Roberto Hernandez isn't expected to sign soon despite "a good market" for his services, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Twitter). The Indians remain interested in re-signing Hernandez, who also has at least four other suitors.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty didn't have any discussions about Michael Bourn with agent Scott Boras during the Winter Meetings, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Jocketty doesn't see Bourn as a fit in Cincinnati as the center fielder's asking price “would have to really fall."
- The Reds aren't going to trade Devin Mesoraco, a team insider tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). The young catcher was rumored to be a target of the Rays, who were trying to involve another club in a three-team trade that would bring Mesoraco to Tampa Bay.
- There is a "good chance" the Reds sign free agent infielder Jack Hannahan, a baseball source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio (via Twitter). The Twins have dropped out of the running, though such teams as the White Sox, Marlins and Yankees are among the teams known to share the Reds' interest in Hannahan.
- As reported earlier today, the Reds agreed to terms with Ryan Ludwick and have talked to the Rockies about a trade for Dexter Fowler.
A ridiculous number of three and four-team trade scenarios have been discussed at the Winter Meetings, most of them seemingly involving Arizona's Justin Upton winding up with the Rangers. We'll track the latest on the discussions right here:
- The Upton talks aren't dead and never have been, an involved official tells Ken Rosenthal, but it doesn't have more legs than it did two weeks ago.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels left the Winter Meetings without a deal, telling reporters including Jeff Wilson, "I would have guessed something would have happened here. And I would have been wrong. It hasn't gotten to the point where something had fallen through that I thought was going to get done."
- The Rangers, D'Backs, and Rays are still at the Winter Meetings, working on an Upton blockbuster according to Rosenthal. A friend of Rays top exec Andrew Friedman says that while Friedman has never done a three-way trade, he's determined to get one done.
- D'backs GM Kevin Towers made it clear that he seeks a shortstop he controls for more than two years, so it seems Elvis Andrus or Asdrubal Cabrera would not be sufficient, tweets Jim Bowden of SiriusXM and ESPN.
- Rosenthal has one possible outcome: Upton to the Rangers, a Rays starter to the D'Backs, and Mike Olt and other prospects to the Rays. The scenario doesn't seem to satisfy the needs of the D'Backs and Rays, but we'll see.
- There's nothing close on the Upton front, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told Bob Nightengale.
- Bowden adds (also via Twitter) that the Mariners' reasoning for being in these talks is to use their prospects to ensure that Upton lands with Texas, which will open the door for them to sign Josh Hamilton. The Mariners are reportedly in serious talks with Hamilton, who considers them his fallback should he not sign with Texas.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio tweets that the Diamondbacks will not budge from their insistence that Andrus or Profar be included in a trade with the Rangers. As such, they're more likely to trade two young pitchers to the Indians to land Cabrera.
- The fourth team in some permutations of the blockbuster is the Mariners, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One official in the talks sees them as the biggest roadblock, as they're unsure whether to move forward and surrender prospects. A source tells Rosenthal the player the Mariners want most in these talks is Derek Holland of the Rangers. Rosenthal says Rangers GM Jon Daniels is driving the trade, "feverishly trying to land" Upton. In the end, the FOX writer says the four-team blockbuster "appears unlikely to happen."
- D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said today, "I've had more multi-team talks this year than ever before. In every discussion it seems three or four teams are involved."
- One scenario had Upton going to the Rangers, Cabrera to the D'Backs, and Martin Perez and more to the Indians, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Indians are pushing for the Diamondbacks to include Tyler Skaggs in a deal for Cabrera, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. However, Arizona would prefer to move Trevor Bauer.
- Although the Diamondbacks like many of the Rangers' prospects, such as Mike Olt, Leury Garcia, and Cody Buckel, they continue to want Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in return for Upton, tweets Passan. At this point, it seems more likely that the D-Backs would move Upton in a multi-team scenario that nets them Cabrera rather than trading straight-up with the Rangers.
Twitter link) that he prefers to deal directly with one club, since three- or four-team talks "kind of muddies the waters." He's still exploring all possibilities though. Heyman, following up on his Rangers/Upton report, says the current scenarios involve three or four teams (Twitter link). The Royals may also be in on talks with the D-Backs and Indians, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).
11:11am: The Rangers are "working hard" trying to acquire Upton, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
10:44am: The Rays, Rangers, Indians, and Diamondbacks have re-opened the four-team trade talks mentioned below, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link).
9:17am: One executive involved in the Bauer/Cabrera discussions tells Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) that it has some legs, but is probably a long shot.
7:46am: The D-Backs and Indians have discussed the framework of a deal centering around Cabrera and Trevor Bauer, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports. The sides have been talking about the deal for two weeks, but talks have picked up at the Winter Meetings. There's no indication that a deal is close to completion at this time, however.
7:25am: It wouldn't be the Winter Meetings without talk of potential blockbuster trades, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Rays, Rangers, Indians and Diamondbacks have discussed several combinations of three-, four- and even five-team trades.
It all boils down to the fact that the Rangers would like to add Justin Upton and/or James Shields, the Diamondbacks want Asdrubal Cabrera, and the Rays would like to trade a pitcher to improve an offense that ranked 11th in the AL in runs scored and 12th in OPS (and that's before losing B.J. Upton). The Rangers, in all of this, would likely be dishing out prospects to other teams.
Rosenthal is quick to note that while many possibilities have been discussed, it's not necessarily likely that a blockbuster gets completed. The Rangers are splitting their attention between trade talk and the pursuit of Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton.
Rosenthal writes that so many combinations have been discussed, several team officials he's spoken to aren't even sure which possibilities are still alive and which are dead. If no blockbuster happens, various combinations of these teams are still in negotiations regarding standard two-team exchanges.
The Winter Meetings are often the site for blockbuster trades. Recent examples including 2009's Ian Kennedy-Curtis Granderson-Max Scherzer-Austin Jackson three-team deal and the eight-player trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers in 2007.
While we wait to see whether any major moves will be finalized in Nashville today, let's check out a few odds and ends from Wednesday morning....
- After signing Marco Scutaro to a three-year deal, the Giants may have a hard time affording the sort of outfield bat they'd been targeting, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. According to Baggarly, the Giants had a two-year offer out to Ryan Ludwick, but both Ludwick and Scott Hairston may be too pricey for them now.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera are "very available," but a rival official tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that "the price for Choo is high, and for Asdrubal even higher."
- Most baseball people in Nashville believe it will be hard for teams to seriously consider dealing for Jacoby Ellsbury when they have no idea whether they'll be able to keep him long-term, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Olney adds in a tweet that while the Red Sox are listening to offers for Ellsbury and Jon Lester, they aren't motivated to move either player unless a team overpays.
- Although the Marlins spoke to Carl Pavano's agent yesterday, the team doesn't seem overly enthusiastic about a reunion with the right-hander, says Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has been sharing a few Winter Meetings nuggets on this Twitter feed this morning, so let's dive right in and round them up (all links go to Twitter)....
- Heyman classifies both Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera as very available, as the Indians search for long-term assets.
- The Red Sox are very active this week and are willing to discuss anyone, even Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester.
- Ten teams are in on Jason Grilli, as the market for the right-handed reliever heats up. Grilli tweeted early this morning that he was heading for Nashville and has a "full day" on tap.
- The Royals are "one of many" teams looking at Shaun Marcum, who is a Kansas City product.
The Diamondbacks are all over the news on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings in Nashville, with inquiries fielded on outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Kubel, plus the Eric Hinske signing. More on the club:
- The D'Backs have an offer on the table for Barajas, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
- GM Kevin Towers expects to leave Nashville with a backup catcher, according to the team's Twitter feed. He's got multiple offers out right now to free agents. Keep an eye on Rod Barajas, tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
- Hiroyuki Nakajima remains on the Diamondbacks' radar, Towers told reporters including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- Teams are asking the D'Backs about young starters Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Skaggs is believed to be an Indians target in Asdrubal Cabrera trade talks.