Atlanta Braves Rumors
Some Winter Meetings rumors courtesy of CBS Sports' Danny Knobler:
- Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado continue to be "as sought after as any players" on the trade market. Atlanta has received calls from 8-10 teams on Jurrjens and "half the teams in baseball" on Prado. Most see Prado as a second base upgrade. The Braves continue to say they don't need to move either player.
- It's been well-documented that the White Sox could trade any combination of John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Carlos Quentin this offseason, but Knobler says they'll listen on Gordon Beckham as well. Many Sox officials are hesitant to concede to rebuilding, despite the fact that GM Ken Williams used that exact word last month.
- If the Tigers are going to make a big free agent signing, it's more likely to be Yoenis Cespedes than anyone else.
- The Rays are open to trading Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis to improve the offense. They're also looking to deal Reid Brignac and upgrade their catching.
The latest on the Braves...
- Atlanta wants a solid backup/Plan B at shortstop but is setting its sights higher than a reunion with Edgar Renteria, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
- The Braves are waiting out C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle to see if trade interest picks up in Jair Jurrjens after they sign, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Though the Braves might still be willing to trade Jurrjens, MLB.com's Mark Bowman hears that Tim Hudson might not be ready for the start of the season due to back surgery. Given uncertainty about Tommy Hanson's shoulder, Bowman wonders if the Braves will be hesitant to trade Jurrjens.
- Though the Blue Jays have interest in the Braves' Martin Prado, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the teams do not match up given Atlanta's desire for a left field "thumper."
Steve Adams also contributed to this post.
Seth Smith has drawn trade interest from multiple teams recently, according to Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd. As Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes, Colorado's search for pitching might result in the club dealing the outfielder.
"Seth is very, very well-liked within the game," O'Dowd said. "I'm not sure we're going to do anything, but we've had a lot of calls on Seth."
The Braves and Mariners had previously been linked to Smith, and Harding adds the Twins to the list of clubs who have expressed interest in the 29-year-old. Since the Rockies have "long had interest" in Kevin Slowey, who the Twins may be shopping, Harding suggests the two teams are a potential match.
The Rockies are also fielding offers for Ian Stewart, with the Cubs and Angels the most active suitors, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Huston Street is a trade candidate as well, and Morosi tweets that the Orioles are still talking to the Rockies about acquiring him, while Troy Renck of the Denver Post hears that talks have cooled (Twitter link).
"We've got a lot of things in play," said O'Dowd. "We've stuck a lot of nets in the water. You really don't have any idea if anything's going to come through for you.
7:58pm: MLB.com's Mark Sheldon hears from a source that the Reds' interest in Jurrjens has been overblown, and that Cincinnati doesn't appear to be going hard after the right-hander.
6:29pm: The Reds are "very interested" in trading for Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, tweets MLB Network's Jon Heyman. They could face stiff competition though, as Heyman adds that ten teams are involved.
It was reported during the GM meetings that the Reds had inquired on Jurrjens as part of their search for a front-end starting pitcher. GM Walt Jocketty said over the weekend that Cincinnati has a list of six potential trade targets, so presumably Jurrjens is at or near the top of that list.
Earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Braves may wait until major free agent arms like C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle sign to make a decision on Jurrjens, since interest could increase with fewer options on the market.
The latest buzz out of the AL East...
- A few teams are asking the Red Sox about infielder Jed Lowrie, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Braves are not in the picture for Lowrie, notes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.
- The Rays are telling teams they will talk about center fielder B.J. Upton, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but they have to be overwhelmed to move him. Upton has one year remaning before free agency.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters he's very confident of getting a contract extension, and he's had talks with the team.
- The Orioles are receiving plenty of interest in righty Jim Johnson, reports MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, but they don't seem intent on moving him. The Orioles are undecided on whether to use Johnson as a starter or reliever next year, manager Buck Showalter told reporters today.
Some links from baseball's two east divisions...
- The Orioles are expected to be more active on the trade market than in free agency, writes MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli. Jeremy Guthrie has been their most actively shopped player, and several teams have expressed interest. Baltimore would almost certainly want pitching in return.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that he's likely to exhaust all trade options for pitching help before diving into free agency. A second baseman is also on the agenda, and the team would like to add a frontline starting pitcher if possible.
- Earlier today we heard that the Marlins' reluctance to include a no-trade clause is an obstacle as they try to sign Mark Buehrle, but president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post that he isn't worried about the team's policy hurting their ability to sign premium free agents.
- "I’ve actively shopped players this fall that I haven’t mentioned their names," said Braves GM Frank Wren to Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links). He was referring to players that are reportedly on the market, but have not actually been discussed with other teams.
- "Martin Prado is a solid player and a part of our team for almost five years. We’re not out looking to trade good players," added Wren according to O'Brien (on Twitter). Prado has been a popular name on the trade rumor circuit this offseason.
- The Rockies are out of the running for Roy Oswalt, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. They remain aggressive in their pursuit of a starting pitcher though, and have interest in Kevin Millwood and former Rockie Jeff Francis. The Twins are in on Francis as well.
- Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka will remain in Japan, reports Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports (on Twitter). The Rockies had expressed initial interest in the free agent according to Morosi.
- The Braves want good prospects along with Seth Smith in return for Martin Prado, reports SI.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter), so the two clubs have some work to do if they're going to make a trade.
The Marlins agreed to sign Heath Bell last night and they may make more major free agent signings later this month. Here’s the latest from Jon Heyman of SI.com, starting with a note on the Marlins (Twitter links):
- The Braves want a young outfielder and shortstop plus other players for Jair Jurrjens.
- The Yankees have looked at free agent left-hander Mike Gonzalez.
- The Nationals will push for C.J. Wilson, according to Heyman. They want a left-handed starter and Wilson appears to be their top target.
- The Marlins are optimistic about signing Jose Reyes and they are considering upping their initial bid (it was in the $75-90MM range). The Mets and Marlins appear to be Reyes' two main suitors, but interested teams view the Tigers as a threat to sign the shortstop. “They are good poker players,” one exec said.
- The Astros are shopping Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee. I’d guess it’s unlikely they make a move before they hire a new GM.
- The Astros "will do whatever it takes'' to hire Rays executive Andrew Friedman, according to Heyman. Friedman is unsure if he wants to leave the Rays, however.
- The Padres and Brewers are showing interest in former Mets and Expos GM Omar Minaya and he may make a decision soon.
- Jorge Posada would like to play if he can find the right job and Heyman suggests the Marlins are a possible fit for the switch-hitter.
Here's the latest from the NL East...
- The Braves are not planning to bid on Yoenis Cespedes, despite having some front office officials at one of the Cuban outfielder's recent workouts in the Dominican Republic, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Atlanta officials were making the trip to visit the team's Latin American operations (both Twitter links).
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was scouting Cespedes in the Dominican, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports Rizzo was also there to check out Cuban outfielders Jorge Soler and Henry Urrutia, plus right-hander Armando Rivero. Rizzo predicts Soler will receive a richer deal than Leonys Martin's $15.5MM contract with the Rangers.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson talked to reporters today (including Andrew Keh of the New York Times) and said he had had no contact with Jorge Posada's representatives. It was reported earlier today that Posada approached the Mets about a job and been rejected, though Posada's agent Seth Levinson denied the rumor.
- "The reliever market right now is a little bit hard to predict,” Alderson said. “The signings that have taken place so far I think have emboldened agents to this point.” Alderson was still confident the Mets will obtain some bullpen help at a reasonable price, pointing out that the number of quality arms still on the market.
- An unnamed NL executive tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Marlins have been "very active. It'd be no surprise to me if they opened [their] new stadium with Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson and a new good closer." The Marlins got the first piece of that puzzle tonight by agreeing to terms with Heath Bell.
- Wilson Valdez is a non-tender candidate, but Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks the Phillies should hang onto the utilityman.
- Ryan Morgan, Pablo Sandoval's agent, told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he has had "very broad discussions" with Giants VP Bobby Evans about Sandoval's 2012 contract and that Sandoval is open to a multiyear contract. Sandoval is going through the arbitration process for the first time this winter and Baggarly thinks the two sides could revisit the idea of an extension if Sandoval shows up in great shape to Spring Training.
- Mark Cuban is interested in bidding to become the new Dodgers' owner, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Cuban will receive a "bid book" that contains the team's financial information, though having a bid book doesn't necessarily mean Cuban will indeed make a bid to buy the team.
- The Dodgers have already much of their free money this winter and are still short two starting pitchers, reports Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Both Dilbeck and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) don't think the Dodgers will have enough to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda.
- Also from Knobler (via Twitter), the Rockies turned down the Braves' offer of Martin Prado in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith and prospect Nolan Arenado. Given that Arenado is one of Colorado's top prospects, this was a total pie-in-the-sky offer from the Braves.
- Newly-signed Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez appeared on the Venezuelan sports radio show Los Cronistas today (Twitter link, in Spanish) and said he isn't sure if he'll be physically able to keep playing beyond his current contract. Hernandez will be 37 by the time his two-year deal with Colorado expires. Thanks to Nick Collias of our sister site Rumores de Beisbol for the translation.
- Justin Upton holds the top spot on Keith Law's list of the top 50 players who are 25 years old and under (ESPN Insider subscription required).