B.J. Upton Rumors
We've already had one collection of NL East Notes today, but there's no shortage of news coming out of the division. Here's the latest...
- Giancarlo Stanton is still upset about the Marlins' sudden rebuild, telling Peter Gammons of MLB.com that "former Marlins come back and they warn us" about the club's history of firesales and that it is a constant source of discussion amongst current players. "This is the 'winning philosophy?' Then to say it's not about money? What is the motivation? There comes a breaking point. I know how I feel. I can't imagine how the city and the fans feel," Stanton said.
- The Marlins and Blue Jays have officially filed the paperwork about their big 12-player trade with the league, reports Rogers Sportsnet's Shi Davidi (via Twitter). Monday is the most likely date for the trade to be finalized, though it could happen over the weekend.
- The Nationals have been in contact with free agent outfielder B.J. Upton, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, and are "expected to have increased communication" as the offseason progresses. Upton visited the Braves and Phillies earlier this week.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson said his team will need "a little more clarity" on the contract situations of David Wright and R.A. Dickey by the time the Winter Meetings roll around, reports Newsday's Marc Carig. "At some point we need resolution on these discussions to be able to move on. But that time is not now," Alderson said, aiming at the 10 days between Thanksgiving and the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3 as a prime negotiating period.
- Edward Salcedo received a $1.6MM bonus from the Braves as an 18-year-old in 2010, though the 21-year-old hasn't yet lived up to his potential in the minors, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Marlins made headlines this week, sending Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to Toronto in a blockbuster trade that clears tens of millions in future payroll obligations for Miami. Here’s the latest from the NL East...
- The Phillies met with free agent outfielder B.J. Upton earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link). Upton’s right-handed bat would look good in Philadelphia’s lineup, but he’s also a top target of one of the Phillies’ main rivals. The Braves met with Upton in Atlanta yesterday.
- Mets ownership should sell the team if they can't figure out a way to re-sign R.A. Dickey, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes. The Mets play in the country's biggest market and should be able to take risks on top players such as Dickey, Olney argues. As readers of MLBTR's chats already know, I agree with Olney: the Mets should be able to spend to retain star players like Dickey and David Wright.
- Commissioner Bud Selig told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post he's confident in the direction the Mets are taking. "I know they’re very comfortable where they are, and they’re very optimistic,” Selig said. However, there's no guarantee Jeffrey Loria of the Marlins will get as much backing from the commissioner as the Mets have obtained.
This was a bit before MLB Trade Rumors' time, but it was on this day in 1886 that the first trade in Major League history took place. The Cincinnati Red Stockings acquired base-stealing outfielder Hugh Nicol and Jamie Moyer from the St. Louis Browns in exchange for rookie catcher Jack Boyle and $400. Here's some modern-day hot stove action from around the majors...
- Free agent outfielder B.J. Upton visited Turner Field today, meeting with Braves general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. The Braves see Upton as their top free agent target this winter, as Upton will come at a lower price than Michael Bourn.
- While the Red Sox have checked in with Josh Hamilton's agent, reports of Boston's interest in Hamilton are "overblown," a source tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- Ian Kinsler is willing to change positions if the Rangers ask, the second baseman tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Where I play on the field is not my decision. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win regardless of where I am on the field or where I’m hitting in the batting order," Kinsler said. A move from second could open room for both Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus in the infield, while Kinsler could replace Hamilton in left or play first base.
- Both the Angels and the Tigers benefited from Torii Hunter signing with Detroit, opines MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian breaks down Shin-Soo Choo's trade value both in terms of what the Indians could get in return and how Choo compares to free agents currently on the market.
- The Indians' thin farm system is due to nearly a decade of poor drafts, writes Baseball America's Ben Badler.
- It seems like the White Sox will look externally to fill their hole at third base, as GM Rick Hahn told reporters (including MLB.com's Scott Merkin) that "we are exploring a lot of options that we rank ahead of moving [Dayan] Viciedo in from the outfield," though he didn't completely rule it out.
- With five notable Marlins on their way to Toronto, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at how players face large tax increases when they're dealt away from Florida, including a past instance of a player (Carlos Delgado) having tax protection written into his contract in lieu of a no-trade clause from the Marlins.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examines how the Marlins/Blue Jays trade and Hunter's signing will impact other teams and players around baseball.
B.J. Upton is the Braves' top free agent target, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman (on Twitter). The club had visions of signing both Upton and Torii Hunter this offseason, but the latter agreed to a two-year deal with the Tigers today.
Upton, 28, hit .246/.298/.454 with a career-high 28 homers in 633 plate appearances last season. He also stole 31 bases, his fifth straight season over 30. Upton would replace at least some of the speed and center field defense lost by departing free agent Michael Bourn, plus his right-handed bat would help balance Atlanta's lefty heavy level.
The Braves figure to lose Bourn this winter and Chipper Jones has retired, but Martin Prado's versatility would allow the club to pursue two outfielders rather than an outfielder and a third baseman. MLBTR's Tim Dierked ranked Upton as the fifth best free agent this offseason in his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would sign with the Phillies.
The 4pm CST deadline for players to accept qualifying offers has come and gone and none of the eight players in play opted to return to their respective clubs for a $13.3MM salary in 2013. That means that Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, B.J. Upton, Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, and Kyle Lohse will net their teams a compensatory pick if they sign elsewhere. Here's the latest from around baseball..
- The Giants are confident that they will be re-signing Jeremy Affeldt and the club believes that they will work out a three-year deal, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. GM Brian Sabean indicated yesterday that he is optimistic about being about to keep Affeldt, Angel Pagan, and Marco Scutaro.
- Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter) that he has not approached Corey Hart's agent about an extension and doesn't have immediate plans to do so. A report earlier today suggested that the Brewers and Hart were discussing a deal to keep him beyond 2013. The first baseman/right fielder is set to earn $10MM next season.
- The Tigers aren't interested in Soriano and plan to stay in-house to find their closer, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Right-hander Bruce Rondon, 21, will get a chance at the job.
B.J. Upton has officially declined the Rays' qualifying offer, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). The centerfielder was widely expected to turn down the one-year, $13.3MM offer, putting the Rays in position to pick up a compensatory draft pick.
Now that Upton is officially off the books, the Rays may now use the new found freedom to pursue B.J.'s younger brother, Justin Upton. Tampa Bay is obviously working with a pitching surplus and could use James Shields, David Price, or Jeremy Hellickson to get such a deal done.
We've already had one batch of NL East notes today but there's no shortage of news coming out of the division. Here's the latest...
- The Braves are looking at center field options to replace Michael Bourn and the Twins' Denard Span "is likely high on the list of potential trade target," writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves and Twins match up well as trade partners, as Minnesota is desperate for pitching and Atlanta is one of the few teams with available young arms. The Braves "haven’t entirely given up" on re-signing Bourn, but the club is unlikely to match the demands from Bourn and agent Scott Boras.
- Despite a report last week that claimed the Braves were "intrigued" by Josh Hamilton, O'Brien doesn't think Atlanta has much interest, as Hamilton is too expensive and the club would prefer to add a right-handed hitting bat.
- While the Mets have begun to explore trade possibilities for R.A. Dickey, the Mets aren't yet looking to deal David Wright, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While the two sides aren't close to a contract extension, "there's always been a feeling something will get done with Wright, and while talks are taking much longer than expected or predicted, that hasn't changed," Heyman writes.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro spoke to Larry Reynolds (B.J. Upton's agent) at the general managers' meetings and the two sides plan to stay in contact, a source tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. One executive told Salisbury that Upton "was the Phils' priority" this offseason.
- The Phillies are close to a new contract with Kevin Frandsen, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Frandsen hit an impressive .338/.383/.451 in 210 plate appearances for the Phillies last season, taking over as their regular third baseman in the second half of the year. Frandsen is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, and MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected Frandsen would earn $800K.
B.J. Upton will decline the Rays' qualifying offer, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. With Upton turning down the one-year, $13.3MM offer, the Rays will now receive a compensatory draft pick if Upton signs with another team as a free agent. It was no surprise that Upton declined the offer and it seems as if it's as equally a foregone conclusion that he will leave Tampa Bay, as the Rays can't afford the expensive, multiyear contract that Upton will surely command on the open market.
Once Upton officially rejects the qualifying offer, however, it may free the Rays up to pursue a trade with the Diamondbacks for B.J.'s younger brother Justin. Topkin speculates that James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson or David Price would have to be dealt in order to obtain the younger Upton from Arizona.
Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Mets were discussing R.A. Dickey in trades with other teams. He hears that the club has not made a "substantial (extension) offer" yet, and if they get the right trade offer they may just move on. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors from the GM Meetings...
- The Rays need B.J. Upton to reject his qualifying offer before making a serious run at his brother Justin. The elder Upton is drawing interest and figures to reject the offer by tomorrow's deadline.
- The Tigers are a darkhorse for Justin since they could offer top third base prospect Nick Castellanos and others, including guys like Avisail Garcia, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly.
- The Braves do not appear to be in serious pursuit of Upton.
- The Red Sox continue to be disinclined to trade Jacoby Ellsbury and the chances of moving him are slim. GM Ben Cherington is the type to listen on all of his players, however.
- Brett Myers is telling teams he wants to be a starter first, a closer second, and a setup man third.
- Jon Garland, who has not pitched since July 2011 due to shoulder surgery, intends to make a comeback. He threw for 10-15 teams in September.
Here's the latest from FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal as he dissects the buzz and rumors currently circulating around the league...
- The addition of two former members from the Rays organization has nothing to do with a potential pursuit of center fielder B.J. Upton, says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
- While some teams may prefer Upton over Michael Bourn thanks to his age (nearly two years younger) and the ability to hit for power, Rosenthal points out that Bourn's value comes from being a well-rounded player.
- Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche's decision regarding his free agency may greatly impact Washington's course of action this offseason, especially with left fielder Michael Morse.
- The notion that the Dodgers may consider moving Andre Ethier just months after signing him to a five-year, $85MM contract simply wouldn't be the best move for Los Angeles heading into 2013, opines Rosenthal.
- Look for the Yankees to re-sign Russell Martin, but the Bombers have had their eye on free agent David Ross, who has served as Brian McCann's backup with the Braves since 2009.
- The Cardinals and second baseman Skip Schumaker may be parting ways this offseason as the veteran no longer has a defined role with the club thanks to the emergence of young talent.