Atlanta Braves Rumors
Earlier this week, it was reported that in addition to the Cardinals and Marlins, there's a third team in on Albert Pujols. Yahoo's Tim Brown hypothesized that the mystery suitor could be the Cubs or Rangers. Today on Twitter, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated discussed the Rangers' possible pursuit of Pujols and more..
- The Rangers are still saying that the odds are remote for them to make a run at Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder this offseason, says Heyman (via Twitter). The club's focus now is to try to lock up Josh Hamilton as the outfielder will hit free agency after 2012.
- Heyman (via Twitter) still won't count Texas out of the chase for Pujols or Fielder. As he points out, last winter's signing of Adrian Beltre came late in the offseason.
- The Braves have long been interested in Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez but the Bombers will have to part with much more to land Jair Jurrjens in a trade, Heyman tweets.
The Braves are looking to add offense this winter, and John Harper of The New York Daily News reports that they let the Yankees know they'd be interested in trading for shortstop Eduardo Nunez last week.
“They need offense," said Harper's source. "They need a shortstop because they don’t want to bring [Alex] Gonzalez back, and they like Nunez a lot. They know the jury is out on him defensively, but they think his offense is strong enough that he could move to the outfield if he can’t be their long-term answer at short.”
Atlanta did not discuss Jair Jurrjens or any specific players on their side with the Yankees, and they also showed interest in Nunez last winter. The 24-year-old infielder hit .265/.313/.385 with five homers in 338 plate appearances this past year, stealing 22 bases in 28 tries as well.
Nunez played short and third base primarily last season, getting regular at-bats when Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez hit the disabled list at different times of the summer. He also saw time at second base and occasionally filled in at the corner outfield spots. Nunez committed 20 errors in his limited time, most coming on throws, so his ability to play the left side of the infield on an everyday basis is still in question.
The Red Sox traded Coco Crisp to the Royals for Ramon Ramirez three years ago today, and four years prior to that the Nationals traded Maicer Izturis and Juan Rivera to the Angels for Jose Guillen. Here's the latest from baseball's two East divisions...
- Infielder Matt Antonelli will undergo a physical on Monday to finalize his major league deal with the Orioles, tweets Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette didn't sound terribly interested in signing a high-priced DH such as David Ortiz during an interview on WEEI (audio link, 9:00 mark).
- If Liberty Media decided to sell the Braves, Mark Cuban wouldn't pursue the franchise, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A recent AJC poll showed 95% of readers would like Cuban to buy the team but the eccentric owner told O'Brien that he would prefer to buy a team that is in need of a lot of help. Liberty Media has the right to sell the team after the current CBA expires on December 11th, but there's no evidence that a sale is imminent.
- The Marlins have already scouted Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The 19-year-old has been working out for teams in the Dominican Republic, and yesterday we heard that the Rangers have scouted him as well.
- The Indians and Grady Sizemore are in "serious discussions" about a reunion, but the Phillies had interest in the outfielder according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Current GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and former GM Pat Gillick visited Sizemore in Arizona on the first day of free agency.
- “The free agent guys haven’t made me any offers,” said Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Dan Martin of The New York Post. “The free agent [market] is moving at a glacial speed. And the category I’m shopping in, I don’t believe guys are jumping off the board this week. The players I’m interested in won’t be coming off the board anytime soon."
On a day when the Blue Jays adopted a familiar-looking "new" logo, here are some news items to carry us into the weekend....
- If the Astros fire Brad Mills, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports believes Mills could reunite with Terry Francona as the latter's bench coach for a future managing vacancy. Morosi also lists Rangers executives A.J. Preller and Thad Levine and Rays executives Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker as wish list candidates for Jim Crane if he removes Ed Wade as Houston's general manager. It would be the second stint as Astros' GM for Hunsicker, who ran the team from 1996-2004.
- Ryan Madson could be one of several free agents to lose his Type A status under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Such an adjustment would help Madson, as clubs with unprotected first-round draft picks currently have to give up that pick in order to sign the closer.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Denard Span and Ben Revere won't be traded this winter. Minnesota could lose both Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel to free agency this offseason.
- The White Sox didn't add Jordan Danks to their 40-man roster, and Jim Margalus of the South Side Sox speculates that this could be a hint that Chicago is preparing to part ways with John Danks. The elder Danks brother has drawn strong interest on the trade market.
- The Braves "seem to undervalue [Martin Prado's] skills," writes Fangraphs' Jason Roberts, who thinks Atlanta may not get proper market value in exchange for the utilityman in a deal.
- Right-hander Darrell Rasner has signed a new contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, reports NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman. Matt Sosnick, Rasner's agent, tells Newman the contract is worth $1.5MM plus performance bonuses. Rasner last appeared in the majors as a Yankee in 2008 and has pitched for Rakuten ever since.
- The Blue Jays, Cardinals, Mariners, Red Sox and Twins are all listed as possible suitors for Kelly Shoppach by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).
Here's the latest on the Braves from David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution...
- Brian McCann was set to earn $8.5MM next season but "maxed out" his contract incentives related to Silver Slugger awards and All-Star appearances, so the star catcher will earn a total of $11.5MM in 2012. O'Brien said the Braves haven't discussed a long-term extension with McCann but the team usually doesn't pursue such negotiations until later in the winter. McCann is under contract through next year and the Braves have a $12MM club option on McCann for 2013 that looks like a lock to be exercised.
- In regards to the Martin Prado trade talks between the Braves and Rockies, O'Brien thinks Atlanta would move Prado for Seth Smith and a center field prospect like Tim Wheeler or Charlie Blackmon. With Michael Bourn only contracted through 2012, the Braves are looking for center field depth in case Bourn's asking price is too high for their liking.
- Atlanta "made a run at" Jamey Carroll but balked at giving the 37-year-old infielder a multiyear contract.
- The Braves are known to desire a trade package for Jair Jurrjens similar to the one the Royals received last winter for Zack Greinke, but O'Brien says this asking price could be too high for most teams. "Word out of the GM meetings was that the Braves are demanding so much for Jurrjens that a deal might be unlikely unless they come down in their multi-player/prospect asking price or some teams get desperate for starting pitching later in the offseason," O'Brien writes.
- "It's unclear" if Atlanta is interested in bringing back Alex Gonzalez on a one-year deal. The Braves are looking for a short-term veteran to play shortstop until Tyler Pastornicky is ready.
- GM Frank Wren says his team isn't actively shopping Prado and Jurrjens but are willing to listen to offers. "I think that [Prado and Jurrjens trade possibility] was wrongly characterized from the very beginning,” Wren said. “What we said and what we stand by is that we’re looking to get better, and however we can get better we will. We’re open minded. We’ll listen if somebody calls."
Manager Ozzie Guillen says the Marlins are "dead serious" about making a splash in free agency this offseason, and he's not alone. According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link), Marlins president David Samson said that, this winter, "the poachee is becoming the poacher." I think we've found our tagline for the hypothetical Miami Marlins movie. Here are a few more notes on the Marlins' division rivals:
- The Mets and Frank Francisco's representatives met today, tweets Newsday's Ken Davidoff. GM Sandy Alderson also said that bringing back Jason Isringhausen is possible, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
- The Nationals don't expect to be in on Ryan Madson or any of the other big-name closers on the market, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. "We have a big closer already," said GM Mike Rizzo, referring to Drew Storen. "Anything can happen. But we like where our bullpen is at. Can we improve the bullpen? Certainly, we could improve the bullpen. But we're really satisfied that we have three guys who are very young, very controllable, very talented."
- Rizzo also told Kilgore (Twitter link) that there's more trade interest in his players this year than at most previous GM meetings.
- The Braves have added three minor league pitchers to their 40-man roster, protecting them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
The latest out of the National League West..
- Rockies closer Huston Street is a name to keep in mind for the Red Sox, tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
- Based on multiple conversations with executives and agents, Troy Renck of The Denver Post tweets that the Rockies are not in on free agent Rafael Furcal. The shortstop is seeking a two-year deal in the $16MM range.
- The Rockies don't feel as though they have to give up a center fielder to get Martin Prado from the Braves in a trade, so there is still hope for a deal, Renck tweets.
- If Prado isn't a possibility for the club, Orlando Hudson might be, says Renck (via Twitter). However, the club is divided on whether he fits or if they would be better off turning to internal options instead.
- Rockies General Manager Dan O'Dowd is after a "No. 3 or No. 4" pitcher, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post. The team's search has led them to talks with Roy Oswalt, and the team is being aggressive in their pursuit, according to several agents and executives, Renck tweets. While Oswalt is interested, he's in no rush to sign with anyone.
- Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will sell 100% of the team but retain the land outside of the Dodger Stadium parking lots in a deal that could be worth upwards of $1.3 billion, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- FOX Sports released a statement on the Dodgers' lawsuit against them and termed the action as the "latest chapter in the current owner's ongoing scheme to avoid honoring his contractual obligations," tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Wednesday afternoon linkage as the news continues to fly in from the Milwaukee meetings..
- A number of teams remain in play for Grady Sizemore including the Giants, Rockies, Cubs, Red Sox, Rangers, Mariners, and Nationals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The Athletics met with Sidney Ponson's agent today, a source tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter).
- Braves GM Frank Wren and agent Adam Katz are now meeting in Milwaukee, tweets MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith. Katz is a part of Wasserman Media Group and represents a number of players, including Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. To view WMG's client list, check out MLBTR's Agency Database.
As usual, Jon Heyman is tweeting up a storm. His latest from Day 2 of the GM Meetings...
- The Brewers have added Jimmy Rollins to their list of potential shortstops. They're also eyeing Jose Reyes, Rafael Furcal, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Clint Barmes.
- The Yankees believe the prices on C.J. Wilson and Edwin Jackson are way too high thus far, and plan to wait them out. Wilson's agent Bob Garber requested a meeting with the Yankees in New York, during a discussion with GM Brian Cashman yesterday.
- The Marlins are telling teams Ricky Nolasco is not available now. Heyman wonders if they would change if they sign a free agent pitcher.
- One GM interested in Braves righty Jair Jurrjens does not believe he will be traded. The Braves seek an impact bat in return.
- Interest is picking up in Francisco Rodriguez, the third-best available reliever currently in Heyman's opinion.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports...
- The Dodgers' payroll will be well under $100MM in 2012, sources tell the FOX writers. If James Loney and Hiroki Kuroda return, there will be little left to spend. On the plus side, the Dodgers were able to reduce Matt Kemp's '12 salary to slightly more than $10MM as part of his new multiyear deal, in a year where as much as $16MM seemed possible through arbitration. Rosenthal and Morosi say the Dodgers would want to buy out at least two free agent years in a long-term deal for Clayton Kershaw, who may take home the NL Cy Young award tomorrow. With Kershaw under team control for three more years, the Dodgers don't have the same urgency to lock him up as they did Kemp. In MLBTR's exclusive arbitration salary projections, Kershaw was pegged at $8.4MM, easily a first-time record for a pitcher.
- The Astros "probably will acquire a shortstop and add low-cost relief pitching" this offseason, write Rosenthal and Morosi. GM Ed Wade told the FOX writers he plans to stick with Mark Melancon at closer. The GM explained his team's corner outfield situation: "From the standpoint of corner outfield, there are going to be guys out there, looking for opportunities. We’re pretty much the land of opportunity right now."
- Chipper Jones still enjoys playing, says Braves GM Frank Wren. The 39-year-old third baseman is signed through 2012 with a '13 vesting option. Rosenthal and Morosi say Martin Prado is available in the right deal, but the Braves value his versatility, including his ability to back up Jones.
- Yoenis Cespesdes could petition baseball to declare him a free agent fairly quickly, after he establishes temporary residence in the Dominican Republic. The residency part is expected to happen within 10 to 14 days.
- The Blue Jays have expressed interest in trading for Rockies reliever Huston Street. Street has one year and $8MM remaining on his contract. Rosenthal and Morosi say the Rockies remain interested in a deal for Prado, which would require Seth Smith and another piece.