Baltimore Orioles Rumors
The Marlins officially announced their signing of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal earlier today at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, and they reportedly finalized a two-year deal with recent non-tender Garrett Jones as well. The Fish are far from finished, however, as they're reportedly nearing a trade of first baseman Logan Morrison as well. More Fish-centric links for your Monday evenings...
- The Marlins are looking for right-handed bats, but they're not pursuing Mike Morse, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter).
- Frisaro also tweets that the Marlins would like to sign or trade for a veteran reliever to add to their relief corps.
- The decision to non-tender right-hander Ryan Webb was strictly about allocation of the team's resources, GM Michael Hill told MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who is on-site in Orlando (Twitter link).
- Hill also told Tim that third base is currently the team's top priority (Twitter link).
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel elaborates on that third base search, noting that the Marlins are interested in former Brewers top prospect and Jacksonville, Fla. native Mat Gamel. Gamel was recently non-tendered by the Cubs recently.
- Within that same piece, Rodriguez notes that the Marlins have told teams they're open to taking a right-handed or left-handed hitting third baseman in trades. Two names of interest are Miami alum Danny Valencia (currently with the Orioles) and Josh Harrison of the Pirates.
We've heard the Orioles linked to several free agents already today, including Jason Hammel, whom the O's are interested in bringing back on a new contract. It's unlikely that Baltimore will be willing to meet the right-hander's reported asking price though, as ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) hears Hammel's reps are seeking a three- or four-year deal for their client. Here's more on the O's:
- The Orioles are one of many teams with some interest in Johan Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Speaking to reporters, including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter links), Orioles GM Dan Duquette suggested that finding a leadoff hitter will be a challenge for the club, and that he hasn't made any new offers to players since arriving in Orlando. However, Duquette believes Baltimore will add a player within the next couple days.
- Kubatko adds (via Twitter) that Baltimore hasn't ruled out rehabbing pitchers, meaning players like Gavin Floyd and Joel Hanrahan could be on the radar.
- Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com tweets that the Orioles' budget for a closer will likely max out at about $6MM, and that the club is also seeking a designated hitter who can play the field.
- The Orioles announced today in a press release that they've outrighted Cord Phelps to Triple-A Norfolk. Phelps was claimed off waivers from the Indians last month.
Nelson Cruz is one of the top power bats remaining on the market. Here are Monday's rumors pertaining to the longtime Ranger...
- The Rangers' comfort level with Cruz has been a two-year deal to this point, according Olney (on Twitter). However, Cruz wants a three-year pact from the Rangers.
- The Rangers met with Cruz's agents today, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, who adds that a second meeting could take place tonight. The Rangers want Cruz back in Texas, Olney adds.
- The Orioles met with Cruz's agents at the Wasserman Media Group today, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). According to Rosenthal, the Rangers and Mariners also remain as possibilities for Cruz.
3:50pm: The Brewers aren't on the verge of acquiring Morrison, GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter).
3:16pm: The Orioles have also checked in on Morrison, according to Morosi (on Twitter).
3:11pm: The Rays are not close to acquiring Morrison, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Sherman takes the report a step further noting that the Rays never engaged the Marlins on Morrison.
2:49pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Marlins are telling other clubs they will trade Morrison shortly. Stark again lists the Rays as a possibility.
2:33pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that interest in Morrison is picking up and adds the Brewers and Blue Jays to the list of interested parties (Twitter link).
2:07pm: The Pirates' interest in Morrison is "mild" at this point, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Rays are also interested in Morrison.
Pittsburgh was first connected to Lind last week. Those reports also connected the Buccos to James Loney, but Morosi specifically notes in his tweet that they're currently looking at the trade market (perhaps the result of Loney's three-year, $30MM target on the open market). Lind struggles tremendously against left-handed pitching, but the Pirates possess an in-house platoon candidate in the form of Gaby Sanchez. Lind's left-handed pop would play well at PNC Park, amplifying his career .286/.343/.508 line against right-handed pitching.
Morrison, 26, is likely to be available on the trade market now that the Marlins have finalized their two-year deal with Garrett Jones. LoMo has clashed with the Marlins' organization on numerous occasions and is expected to be heavily shopped this week. Morrison has batted just .236/.321/.387 over his past two big league seasons after slashing .259/.351/.460 through his first two Major League campaigns.
3:01pm: Peter Gammons noted on the MLB Network's broadcast that the Mariners have been in on Colon from the beginning and mentioned the Blue Jays as a possibility as well.
2:35pm: Colon's market is heating up, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears (on Twitter). Heyman lists the Orioles and Mets as possibilities, noting that if Colon signs a one-year deal it could be north of $10MM.
1:18pm: The Mets and Adam Katz of the Wasserman Media Group -- Bartolo Colon's agent -- had a meeting today, according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN (Twitter link). Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Mets aren't considered to be serious suitors for Colon, as they feel him to be too expensive.
Colon, 40, posted a sterling 2.65 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 with the A's in 2013 but doesn't figure to return to Oakland now that the A's have inked Scott Kazmir to a two-year pact. Katz is also the agent for Nelson Cruz, though the Amazins don't appear to be a good fit for Cruz after bringing in Chris Young and Curtis Granderson in recent weeks.
The Orioles have interest in bringing back Jason Hammel on a new contract, but probably only on an incentive-laden deal, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Indians have also shown interest in Hammel. However, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Hammel's asking price recently went up, which has caused the Indians to move on for the time being. That would also seem to throw a wrench into the Orioles' interest.
Hammel, 31, struggled through a flexor strain in his throwing elbow last season en route to a 4.97 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 40.1 percent ground-ball rate in 139 1/3 innings. Hammel looked to have turned a corner in 2012 when he pitched to a 3.43 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and a 53.2 percent ground-ball rate in 118 innings for the O's. That flash of upside is likely the driving force behind most of the interest in him on this year's free agent market.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette sounds as if he does not expect to commit a large sum to a free agent pitcher, according to a report from Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Though the club has tried to lure several free agent starters with offers, Kubatko says that rumors of significant interest in top options like Ubaldo Jimenez appear unrealistic.
Internally-developed arms are, instead, "where the Orioles are going to get value from their pitching program," said Duquette. "It's not going to come from high-priced free agents. So, if people are expecting the Orioles to go out and sign a significant pitcher, I think it's more realistic to look for good pitchers to come up through the farm system."
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed to Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) that he has interest in Raul Ibanez and Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, but says that he won't be in the mix for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka or Kendrys Morales. The O's will be out looking for a left-handed hitting left fielder or DH as well as pitching (link). Here's more out of Baltimore..
- The Orioles checked on the availability of Ethier and fellow Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but there were issues with the amount of salary that the Dodgers were willing to absorb, an industry source told Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.
- While he didn't shut the door on re-signing second baseman Brian Roberts, Duquette told reporters, including Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, he is pleased with his options at the position, especially Ryan Flaherty.
- The O's will announce their signing of Ryan Webb today, but they're still in the hunt for a closer, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Webb agreed to a two-year, $4.5MM deal with Baltimore last week.
Since 2008, teams that have traded top-of-the-rotation pitchers usually haven't gotten much in return, ESPN's Mike Petriello argues (Insider-only). The Diamondbacks' trade of Dan Haren for Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs, Rafael Rodriguez and Joe Saunders was unusual, Petriello argues. Instead, what typically happens looks more like the weak returns various teams have received when they dealt Cliff Lee. The Indians' trade of C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers, which produed Michael Brantley and little else. That's worth keeping in mind as we prepare for weeks of rumors involving David Price and the Rays. The Rays did, of course, pull off one very good trade of a high-level starting pitcher when they shipped James Shields (and Wade Davis) to Kansas City in return for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and others. But that doesn't mean they can do it twice. Here are more notes on the AL East.
- The Orioles have already lost Scott Feldman (Astros) and Nate McLouth (Nationals) to free agency and Jim Johnson (Athletics) to a trade, and the team seems "unwilling to make even a cursory attempt to compete for quality talent outside the organization," Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun writes. With only Ryan Webb, Francisco Peguero, Jemile Weeks and a few other low-profile acquisitions on the other side of the docket so far, "fans have every right to wonder what exactly is their plan to compete for the American League East title," Schmuck says.
- The Orioles, along with the Cubs and Mariners, are all interested in John Axford, who was non-tendered by the Cardinals last week, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who also suggests that Axford has a chance of landing a job as a closer.
- Eric Hinske only worked in the Yankees' scouting department for a month before leaving to become the Cubs' first base coach, but he helped convince Brian McCann to sign on for five years in New York, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger writes. Hinske and McCann played together in Atlanta from 2010 through 2013. "[Hinske] was involved. He helped me with Brian McCann," says Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "So I appreciate Eric Hinske giving Brian McCann a lot of good advice about his experience here with the Yankees. He was a great resource for about 30 days."
The Rays will trade David Price, but his two remaining years of team control mean that GM Andrew Friedman can afford to wait for the right return, Marc Topkin writes for the Tampa Bay Times. They're expected to look to improve upon the return they got from the Royals for James Shields, so a package could comprise an elite-level young player such as the Mariners' Taijuan Walker or the Rangers' Jurickson Profar, along with a major league-ready talent and one or two lower-level prospects. Here's the latest out of the AL East:
- While the Rays might play the waiting game with Price, first base is "an area we absolutely have to address," Friedman says in a second Topkin article. They'd like to re-up with James Loney, but not at his three-year, $27MM asking price. Topkin adds that the Rays also appear to be interested in a veteran right-handed hitter who can handle second base, citing reported interest in Mark Ellis and Jamey Carroll.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says his club may be done with its "heavy lifting" this offseason and is now entering an "opportunistic phase," Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com tweets. The team is "sort of looking at different scenarios, different ideas, and maybe nothing comes of those because we feel pretty good about where we are right now," Ian Browne quotes Cherington as saying in an MLB.com article.
- It's easy to overlook just how bad the 2013 Yankees were, SBNation's Rob Neyer writes. The club won 85 games, but its Pythagorean record suggests a 79-win team, and more nuanced analyses indicate the team was even worse. However, this offseason's slew of free agent signings and healthy seasons from players such as Mark Teixeira should give the Yankees a fighting chance in 2014, Neyer says. The Bombers figure to be better at no less than seven positions next year.
- MLB sources say the Yankees will listen on Brett Gardner, particularly if they're offered a starting pitcher in exchange, Newsday's Marc Carig reports. The Star-Ledger previously reported major interest in the outfielder. Gardner is projected to earn $4MM in his final year of arbitration by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
- While there's good sense in the Orioles' decision to allow Scott Feldman and Nate McLouth to depart to other teams, the club must secure replacements, Dan Connolly writes for The Baltimore Sun. Connolly says at least one should be replaced by an upgrade via free agency, citing Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett as acceptable substitutes for Feldman.