Boston Red Sox Rumors
David Ortiz told reporters that his agent is talking with the Red Sox about extending his deal for another year, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Ortiz signed a two-year extension with Boston in November 2012 that will take him through the 2014 season.
Big Papi will earn $15MM in the final year of his deal between his $11MM base salary and the $4MM bonus he secured by staying away from the DL for the bulk of 2013. After playing just 90 games in 2012 - his lowest total as a member of the Red Sox - Ortiz saw action in 137 games this past season, hitting .309/.395/.564 with 30 homers.
While the Red Sox certaintly want to keep their franchise cornerstone happy, they may not be ecstatic about re-opening contract talks. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported earlier this year that the two sides had an agreement that they would not negotiate a new contract or extension until after the deal expired.
Andrew Friedman doesn't think the Rays' search for a first baseman will last beyond another week, the club's executive VP told reporters (including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). "There were some suggestions...of movement" between the Rays and James Loney on Thursday, Topkin reports, and Loney remains the Rays' top choice, though at less than his three-year, $27MM asking price. If Loney signs elsewhere, Topkin expects the Rays to acquire a first baseman in a trade rather than in free agency.
Here are some more items from around baseball as we conclude the 2013 Winter Meetings...
- This might be the optimal time for the Braves to trade Craig Kimbrel, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required). Kimbrel is about to get much more expensive now that he's eligible for arbitration, to the point that Kimbrel's incredible statistics "broke" the arbitration projection model used by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
- Rumors connecting Rickie Weeks to the Blue Jays, Braves and Marlins during the Winter Meetings were all false, Brewers GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
- Ryan Kalish "is in the final stages" of signing with a new team, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Kalish was non-tendered by the Red Sox earlier this month. The outfielder missed the entire 2013 season recovering from shoulder and neck surgeries.
- Several teams, including the Red Sox, have been scouting right-hander Ryan Madson, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. The Rockies were also recently linked to Madson, who has missed two full seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- ESPN's Paul Swydan (Insider subscription required) lists four teams who could be helped by the inexpensive additions of Kevin Youkilis, Brian Roberts, Johan Santana and Jeff Francis, respectively. Swydan also wrote about how Clint Barmes could help the Mets, but Barmes re-signed with the Pirates earlier today.
- Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall discussed his team's desire for a top starting pitcher, the recent Mark Trumbo deal and several other topics during a live chat with fans on MLB.com.
- The Pirates, Orioles and Indians could be risking their recent success with their hesitation to spend, USA Today's Bob Nightengale opines.
- Several team executives and scouts joined ESPN's Jayson Stark in listing the winners and losers of the offseason thus far, with a pair of teams (the Mariners and Yankees) somewhat in between, in the "winners with an asterisk" category.
Both the Mets and Yankees have already made notable signings this offseason, but both Big Apple franchises still need bullpen help, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters that his team would "take a hard look at" adding veteran relief arms, and to that end, Martino reports that Alderson met with the agent for John Axford and Kevin Gregg on Wednesday. The Orioles, Cubs, Mariners and Indians are some of the many teams who have shown interest in Axford while Gregg's market has been much quieter.
Here are some more items about the Amazins...
- "I think it's more likely if we come up with a 'high-end' shortstop or someone we like, it's more likely to come in a trade," Alderson told reporters, including Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. This seems to hint that the Mets have moved on from Stephen Drew, though Silverman wonders if Alderson could simply be engaging in some gamesmanship. The Mets have been linked to Drew this winter but aren't eager to give the shortstop a two-year contract.
- The Mets feel like they would have to overpay to sign Drew and keep him from re-signing with the Red Sox, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links). The Mets' next move, therefore, is to acquire a young shortstop in a trade. Rosenthal cites the names of the Diamondbacks' Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings and the Mariners' Brad Miller and Nick Franklin as shortstops who could be candidates to be dealt, though Seattle might not be open to such talks right now since they're "currently preoccupied" with trying to acquire David Price from the Rays.
- With Johan Santana and Jason Bay off the books, the Mets are closer to finding the so-called payroll "sweet spot" when no single player accounts for an overly-large percentage of a team's payroll, Newsday's Marc Carig writes. David Wright accounts for roughly 24% of the Mets' projected 2014 payroll, and while this is a larger share than most teams would prefer, Wright is at least the Mets' best player, Carig notes.
Castellanos was acquired in an October trade with the Dodgers. The 27-year-old was originally a tenth-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 2008, and he owns an impressive .288/.362/.502 slash line in 2529 PA over six minor league seasons in the St. Louis and Los Angeles farm systems. Castellanos also has 43 Major League PA to his name, accumulated in cups of coffee with the Dodgers in 2012 and 2013.
According to MLBTR's DFA Tracker, Castellanos is one of five players currently residing in "DFA limbo," along with the Nationals' Corey Brown, the Twins' Liam Hendriks, and the Tigers' Dixon Machado and Luis Marte.
DEC. 12: Napoli will receive $16MM in each year of the deal and has a limited no-trade clause, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
DEC. 6: The Red Sox have agreed to terms with Mike Napoli, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports (Twitter link). The contract is a two-year deal worth $32MM, according to CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam (via Twitter). The slugger confirmed his return on his own Twitter feed, saying "The beard is coming back to Boston!!!" Napoli is represented by Brian Grieper.
Napoli's contact falls short of the three-year, $42MM deal that MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted he would receive this winter, though obviously Napoli's clear desire to remain with the World Series champions impacted his decision. Counting his $13MM salary from 2013 (in both base salary and incentives), Napoli will end up receiving $45MM between 2013-15 --- well above the $39MM he was originally set to earn from Boston before he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both of his hips, which caused the Sox to pull their multiyear offer and extend just the one-year pact.
The 32-year-old silenced all questions about his health by hitting .259/.360/.482 with 23 homers in 578 PA for the Sox last season, also posting big numbers in the ALCS during Boston's championship run. Napoli turned down a one-year, $14.1MM qualifying offer from the Red Sox earlier this winter and thus would've netted the club a compensation draft pick had he signed elsewhere, but now the club will have its starting first baseman back in the fold after already losing Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in free agency this offseason.
Earlier today, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that Napoli had received an offer from another club but his preference was to remain in Boston. The Marlins, Rangers, and Mariners were all rumored to be interested in Napoli's services. Texas was believed to have made Napoli a larger offer, Bradford and Alex Speier report, though sources later told them that the Rangers never made a formal offer. Napoli also turned down at least one three-year offer, according to Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith, but Napoli preferred to remain with the Sox and accepted their smaller deal.
Photo courtesy of Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images
The Red Sox haven't made a formal offer to shortstop Stephen Drew, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Per multiple sources, the Red Sox’ strategy continues to be to wait for Drew to find what his market might result in before looping back in with him. Here's more out of the AL East..
- The Orioles have a two-year offer out to Grant Balfour, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the O's have an offer out to the reliever.
- A report from Japanese outlet Sponichi (Japanese link) indicates that submariner Shunsuke Watanabe is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Red Sox. Special thanks to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker for posting the report along via Twitter.
- The Blue Jays announced that right-hander Thad Weber has been granted his release and has signed a contract with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization. The club now has 39 players on the 40-man roster.
Since being ruled ineligible due to providing a false birthdate over the summer, Cuban shortstop prospect Aledmys Diaz has interest from a list of teams including the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, agent Jamie Torres tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. "There are some very good players out right now and more are coming," Torres said. "Let's put it this way: I can predict that a few of the Cuban players that sign between now and Spring Training are going to contribute in the big leagues in the 2014 season and their contribution is going to be significant." More from around baseball..
- Omar Infante has been looking for a four-year deal and is drawing some interest from clubs who see him as a left fielder or third baseman, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Yesterday it was reported that Infante is seeking a deal with an $8MM+ average annual value.
- Some agents and teams are convinced that the three-year, $30MM deal the Astros gave free agent pitcher Scott Feldman has been a wrench in talks for others since agents feel obligated to also shoot for that type of "lottery ticket" contract, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Free agent Raul Ibanez is considering offers from multiple contenders, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Earlier today, Stark reported that Ibanez could be headed to the Angels.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he'll hold on to Ike Davis if no one comes to the table with a strong enough offer, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. "Let me emphasize one thing: We're not in the business of giving players away," Alderson said. "We don't expect to get in that business."
- The Tigers are in on Ervin Santana, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). The Twins, meanwhile, aren't in the mix because of the draft pick compensation tied to him.
- Agent Scott Boras says he would talk to Orioles owner Peter Angelos about extensions for Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, writes CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff.
- The Twins continue to talk to free agent pitcher Mike Pelfrey, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It's unclear whether a deal with Pelfrey would preclude a signing of fellow free agent hurler Bronson Arroyo, but MInnesota has flexibility.
- One GM tells Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily (Twitter link) that he can't see Kendrys Morales signing until after the draft.
- White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn says his team still has several potential options ahead less than 24 hours after acquiring center fielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. One rival exec believes the White Sox would like to trade outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who is now part of a crowded house with the addition of Eaton. Another baseball source said the White Sox have looked into the possibility of trading away second baseman Gordon Beckham.
- The free agent market for second basemen seems to be impacted by the availability of Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips, and others, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.
A quick look at the AL East..
- GM Ben Cherington says the Red Sox won't pursue Johan Santana, tweets Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says that he's exploring a deal with a "three-team component" that he believes can get done, tweets Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
- The Orioles have considered a contract extension for shortstop J.J. Hardy, according to Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter).
Yesterday it was reported that the Mets aren't likely to go to three years on Stephen Drew and would need him to be a "steal" in order to get more serious in their pursuit. Here's the latest on the Scott Boras client as he faces a limited market...
- The Red Sox met with Scott Boras today to discuss Drew, tweets Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
- In addressing more than 100 reporters today, Boras said that he's received several multiyear offers for Drew, but some are contingent on those teams completing other moves first (Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reporting on Twitter).
- Newsday's David Lennon speculates (on Twitter) that the Mets could be one of those teams, wondering if their preference is to move Ike Davis and possibly Daniel Murphy before acting.
- Lennon also tweets that Boras said he's spoken with Mets owner Jeff Wilpon.
- The Red Sox are still talking with Stephen Drew and want to retain him, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Yesterday's round of Matt Kemp rumors included word that the Dodgers are open to eating a substantial portion of his salary in order to ensure they receive a significant return in any trade. The Red Sox no longer appear to be in the mix, and the Tigers may be a long shot after their signing of Rajai Davis, but the Mariners are among the clubs still in play. We'll keep track of Wednesday's updates on Kemp right here:
- ESPN's Jayson Stark spoke with Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, who was told by the Dodgers today that the team has no plans to trade Kemp (Twitter link).
- The Dodgers are getting "plenty of action" on Kemp in Orlando this week, but say they're unlikely to finalize a trade at the Winter Meetings, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- A source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that there were simply too many "complications" for the Red Sox to make a deal work (Twitter link). Kemp's recovery from ankle surgery was the most notable of those complications.
- In a column for FOX Sports, Jon Morosi goes into more detail on his and Ken Rosenthal's Tuesday reports on Kemp, writing that despite the outfielder's injury issues and unwieldy contract, there's still a decent chance he's moved by Opening Day.