Billy Butler Rumors
Royals GM Dayton Moore was not terribly revealing in his MLB.com chat with fans today, but let's take a look anyway. He deserves props for answering a few tough questions, though it would've been nice to have one about Alex Gordon's service time manipulation (Gordon and his agent didn't consider the demotion devious, though).
- There are "no immediate plans" to try Joakim Soria as a starter, though Moore did not dismiss the idea outright.
- Yuniesky Betancourt and Mike Aviles will compete for the shortstop job in 2010.
- Moore wouldn't reveal much regarding his team's catching situation, though he expressed a desire to improve blocking and receiving skills behind the plate.
- He was also vague about the idea of signing a power hitter in the offseason.
- Moore expects to sign Aaron Crow, but has nothing new to report.
- When Moore was asked, "Mr. Moore, why is this team so bad? Plz answer. Thx," he went with injuries as the explanation.
- Another funny exchange - Moore was asked why he gave up Dan Cortes for Betancourt, when Betancourt probably would've been designated for assignment. Moore believes it was "highly doubtful" the shortstop would've been DFA'd.
- Moore spoke in generalities when asked if he'd try to lock up Billy Butler.
- Moore says he's focused on pitching, speed, and defense, much like the Angels.
More links for the morning...
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that Reds will pay Scott Rolen $11MM next year without help from the Blue Jays.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star wonders if the Royals should lock Billy Butler up long-term. The 23-year-old has hit well this year, but he doesn't figure to be a free agent until after 2013, so the team has time to deliberate.
- Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves reached an agreement with an insurance company for an undisclosed settlement. The Braves sought compensation after paying an injured Mike Hampton last year.
- Tom Verducci of SI.com says the Yankees are the best team in the AL right now.
The Royals aren't trading any of their core players this year, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. GM Dayton Moore said some players just aren't available.
10:46pm: Roch Kubatko says Zaun wants a two-year deal but the Orioles prefer one year. The O's are also talking with Ivan Rodriguez. Kubatko adds that Kenshin Kawakami was seeking a three-year deal. In another post, Kubatko says the O's have no interest in Shelley Duncan, but Richie Sexson and Ty Wigginton are possibilities for first base. Peter Schmuck adds Nick Swisher, Ryan Garko, Billy Butler, and Ryan Shealy as trade possibilities.
Dan Connolly says the Orioles offered Brian Roberts a multiyear extension at about $10MM per, but the two sides have not made progress and Roberts doesn't want talks dragging into the season. Andy MacPhail said he hasn't had trade talks for Roberts for at least a month. As for Nick Markakis, the sides were about $10MM apart on a possible six-year extension.
11:31am: Orioles notes...
- As you know, the Orioles reached an agreement with their first-ever Japanese player, Koji Uehara. It's a two-year deal worth $10MM guaranteed, with another $6MM in incentives and bonuses. Patrick Newman offers commentary on the signing, which is not getting a ton of press in the Japanese media. Keith Law wonders if Baltimore was a wise choice for Uehara.
- Dan Connolly says the Orioles' immediate priority is now to add a catcher, with Gregg Zaun and Ivan Rodriguez the candidates.
- Peter Schmuck says the O's are looking for a reserve infielder as well. They've talked to Chris Gomez's agent and Willie Bloomquist "might be another possibility."
Sunday evening links...I will add to this post as needed.
- Dejan Kovacevic describes what it's like for a reporter at the Winter Meetings.
- The Royals do not want to trade Mark Teahen. They've received inquiries on Teahen, David DeJesus, Jose Guillen, and Billy Butler. They mainly seem willing to move Guillen, which Jayson Stark reported earlier.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along nuggets on Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara. He says the Angels contacted Kawakami's agent, while the Tigers and Giants have been in touch with Uehara's.
- Newman also says the Yokohama BayStars acquired reliever Tom Mastny from the Indians.
- Free agent infielder Nick Punto admitted to LEN3 that it'd be hard to leave the Twins.
- John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus says the Pirates are "willing to take a flyer on free-agent local boy Matt Clement." Clement may also consider Cleveland if they'll have him.
- Other teams are pulling ahead of the Rockies in the pursuit for free agent lefty Joe Beimel. Nothing against Beimel, but it seems that every year one free agent lefty reliever is elevated beyond his true value. It might be Beimel this year.
- Jon Paul Morosi discusses trading Dontrelle Willis.
- The Marlins figure to hang on to Dan Uggla.
- Roch Kubatko says Orioles exec Mike Flanagan won't be attending the Meetings, sparking speculation about his future with the team.
According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Royals officials view Raul Ibanez as the best free agent fit for them. However, they're not likely to give him a three-year deal in the $10-12MM range. They're also reluctant to surrender their second-round pick to the Mariners.
Dutton says the Royals are "taking a hard look" at Rafael Furcal, who is the best available shortstop and doesn't cost a draft pick. However, Dutton doesn't see the Royals as the high bidder for Furcal either. The Giants, A's, and Braves are eyeing Furcal, among others. Dutton sees the Royals adding a cheaper free agent, someone of the Nick Punto/David Eckstein variety.
Also on the Royals front, Jesse Spector talks to GM Dayton Moore. Moore denied reports that he's down on Billy Butler.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star has several Royals rumors this morning...
- Dutton says the Braves appear willing to trade Jeff Francoeur. While no trade talks have taken place, it's known that Royals GM Dayton Moore is a fan. Dutton speculates that the Royals would not give up Zack Greinke for Francoeur, but may consider offering Luke Hochevar, Danny Cortes, or Mark Teahen.
- The Royals and Mariners discussed a Billy Butler for Yuniesky Betancourt trade before the '07 season, and Dutton wonders if Seattle's new GM could reignite those talks.
- Dutton says the Mark Teahen to Cleveland rumor "just won't die," despite Moore labeling it an "absolute lie" on October 27th. It may be that Teahen is on the Indians' list but no talks have occurred.
- Will the Royals offer arbitration to second baseman Mark Grudzielanek? He's a Type B free agent, so it's under consideration. The risk is that he accepts.
- Another Royals rumor from Ken Davidoff of Newsday: they've expressed an interest in bringing Raul Ibanez back to Kansas City. The Mets and Cubs are other known suitors.
- ESPN's Keith Law says the Royals would like to sign Zack Greinke to a long-term deal, but if that fails they would make him available. Greinke, 25, is under team control for two more seasons.