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Wednesday night linkage..
- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said that it will be “miraculous” if he and the club come to terms on a new deal before Opening Day, writes Drew Davidson of the Star-Telegram.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com that while the club is making progress in multi-year contract talks with Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto, nothing is imminent.
- Pitcher Jeff Francis has decided not to exercise his opt-out clause with the Reds, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Francis told the club that he’d be willing to go to Triple-A and start.
- The Rays are a thorn in the side for people those who contend that teams with limited budgets can’t win, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Tampa Bay is bumping up their payroll this year in an effort to spark attendance and revenue at Tropicana Field.
- After spending just one day in major league camp, it looks like Xavier Nady may have a chance to crack the Nationals’ roster, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. One spot is up for grabs between Nady and Jason Michaels, who has an out clause. The out clause may actually work against him as the player that the Nats choose will likely be sent to the minors once Michael Morse returns.
As MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows, teams and players have signed 34 extensions since last September. Who’s going to be next? A couple of Gold Glove middle infielders may sign soon. Here’s the latest:
- Fern Cuza, the agent for shortstop Erick Aybar, arrived in Angels camp last night and is expected to meet with GM Jerry Dipoto this week, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports. Cuza will discuss the possibility of a long-term deal for Aybar, who's on track to hit free agency after the 2012 season.
- It appears that the agents for Brandon Phillips met with the Reds today, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. “I don’t know . . . probably,” Phillips said. GM Walt Jocketty, who wouldn't comment on the negotiations, hadn't discussed a deal with Phillips' representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Saturday afternoon linkage …
- Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty expects to meet with Brandon Phillips’ agents soon, writes Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Things have been quiet between the two parties regarding a potential contract extension since the latter part of the offseason. Phillips can hit free agency after this season.
- Bill Ladson and Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com write that with trade rumors surrounding John Lannan, the pitcher has to know he's probably auditioning for more than just the Nationals this spring. One source told Ladson earlier this week that he believes the Nats will trade the hurler before Opening Day.
- Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez found out from Cubs president Theo Epstein in October that the North Siders wouldn't be picking up his 2012 option, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. "[Epstein] said they were going to go young," Ramirez said.
MLBTR's Dan Mennella contributed to this post.
Here’s a look at some items out of the Central divisions..
- Even though the outfielder has suffered yet another setback, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com doesn’t see the re-signing of Grady Sizemore as a mistake for the Indians. The 29-year-old is set to earn $5MM with as much as $4MM in incentives in 2012.
- Jason Kendall enjoys serving as a coach for the Royals but still hopes to play again, writes Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. The 37-year-old hasn’t played since his stint with Kansas City in 2010.
- Reds CEO Bob Castellini also gave a solid endorsement of skipper Dusty Baker, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The manager is in the final year of his contract.
- Castellini says that there’s mutual interest between the club and Joey Votto in completing a new deal, tweets Morosi. The slugger has been tight-lipped on contract talks but acknowledged that they are something of a distraction. Ben Nicholson-Smith recently wrote that it could cost as much as $160MM to keep Votto signed through 2020.
- Castellini also acknowledged that the club is active in talks with second baseman Brandon Phillips, Morosi tweets.
- Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio wants to wrap up contract extensions for GM Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke before Opening Day, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Meanwhile, Attanasio didn’t say much about free agents-to-be Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.
Extension season generally continues well into Spring Training and the regular season. For example, teams and players agreed on nine extensions between this date last year and the end of April. Let's check in on some ongoing extension talks:
- Ryan Zimmerman said he doesn't want to discuss a new extension after this Friday, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Zimmerman had already set the official start of Spring Training as a soft deadline for talks, since he doesn't want to let contract talks become a distraction. Agent Brodie Van Wagenen was in Nationals camp today.
- Michael Bourn says the Braves haven't approached him about an extension so far, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Bourn will earn $4.4MM in 2012 and hit free agency after the season unless the Braves lock him up.
- Brandon Phillips said he's not looking for "Prince Fielder money" in extension talks with the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I just want what other second baseman got," he said. "I want to be in my city." Phillips is not under contract beyond 2012.
- Check out MLBTR's Extension Tracker for information on previous deals.
Here's the latest from the NL Central…
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty is "not even considering" signing Roy Oswalt, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Jocketty also said he is planning to talk with Brandon Phillips' agents about a contract extension for the second baseman at some point during the spring.
- Zack Greinke said "nothing's changed" about his extension talks with the Brewers and didn't want to talk about the subject to reporters today (including Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Greinke also added that he has no immediate plans to hire an agent.
- The Brewers should wait before giving Shaun Marcum a contract extension, or perhaps they should let Marcum hit free agency next winter altogether, writes Eric Seidman for Fangraphs. "All of [the Brewers] rotation efforts this year should be focused on keeping Greinke, the better and younger pitcher who is more likely to remain among the elite throughout the life of the deal," Seidman writes. Marcum recently said that he'd love to remain in Milwaukee, though the Brewers haven't yet approached him about a long-term deal.
- Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer told Bryan LaHair that the Cubs had no interest in Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, LaHair tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. As such, LaHair was able to ignore the rumors and focus on preparing for his first starting job in the big leagues. Over at Roto Authority, I recently looked at the fantasy potential of LaHair and the newly-acquired Anthony Rizzo.
- The Mets have “pretty much stopped pursuing” left-handed hitting outfielders, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. The Mets had been linked to free agents such as Raul Ibanez, Kosuke Fukudome and Johnny Damon, but it now appears that they’ll take a wait-and-see approach.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that the team isn’t any closer to an extension with Brandon Phillips. The GM said the sides haven’t had the chance to talk and hope to discuss a deal within a few weeks.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that he is committed to giving Mat Gamel a shot at developing into a Major League regular in 2012.
- Assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledged the Rangers could go to a hearing with one or more of their arbitration eligible players, ESPNDallas’ Richard Durrett reports. Andrus recently agreed to terms on a three-year extension, but Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz remain unsigned, as MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker shows.
- Nationals media relations manager Bill Gluvna resigned and took a marketing and public relations job with the Boras Corporation, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs presented ten of the best offseason moves, and Hiroki Kuroda, Edwin Jackson and Carlos Beltran all made appearances on the list.
- Dodgers assistant GM Logan White discussed Zach Lee, Kershaw, Nathan Eovaldi and drafting young pitchers with David Laurila of FanGraphs.
Links for Monday night…
- Russell Branyan intends to play in 2012, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes tweets. Branyan posted a .197/.295/.370 line with the Diamondbacks and Angels in 2011, but hit 25 home runs in 2010.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty said he hopes to lock Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips up long-term, even though doing so would require major commitments, MLB.com youth correspondent Meggie Zahneis reports. "Everyone has to understand that these are expensive deals and there is only so much we can do," Jocketty said. An extension for Votto would likely require one of the largest deals in MLB history.
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner argues that the Mariners should make another move or two, even if they don’t project to contend in 2012. There’s value in staying in the pennant race and the Mariners can maximize their chances of staying competitive by adding to the roster before Opening Day, Cameron writes.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America offers scouting reports on six intriguing international players not named Yoenis Cespedes. Outfielder Jorge Soler, lefty Gerardo Concepcion and right Armando Rivero are worth watching, Badler writes.
- Astros owner Jim Crane announced that the team will not be changing its name. “The Houston Astros are here to stay,” he said.
Joey Votto’s under contract for two more seasons, but recent deals for Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols show it won’t be easy to keep the first baseman in Cincinnati beyond 2013. Earlier today I suggested it could cost upwards of $160MM in additional commitments to keep Votto in a Reds uniform through 2020. Here’s the latest on the Reds, starting with Votto…
- Reds CEO Bob Castellini believes the team could initiate extension talks with Votto this year, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. "I think Walt has been in pursuit of that for a while," Castellini said. "It's something we know is a big challenge for us. It's certainly is desirable."
- Brandon Phillips says he’s going to leave discussions about an extension up to his agent, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I'm not tripping about it,” the second baseman said.
- The MLB Players’ Association values Ryan Madson’s contract with the Reds at $8.25MM, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. One third of Madson’s $6MM salary is deferred without interest in 2012, Rosenthal writes. The deal includes an $11MM mutual option for 2013 with a $2.5MM buyout.
- Left-hander Paul Maholm told Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio that he wanted to sign with an NL Central team. The Pirates expressed some interest in the left-hander, but the Cubs ultimately signed him.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that he wanted to sign Maholm because of his youth, sinker and competitiveness.
- Hoyer says the Cubs are happy to have obtained some starting pitching depth and downplayed the idea that Matt Garza will be dealt now that Maholm's aboard. "Because we have six starters doesn't mean we're going to pare down to five by any means," he said.
- Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips told told Stern and Bowden he was happy to see the Reds pick his option up earlier in the offseason. He says he’s now focused on the upcoming season and doesn’t sound optimistic that an extension will be finalized any time soon. Phillips expressed his desire for an extension earlier in the offseason, explaining that he’s not going to give the Reds a hometown discount. "There’s no homeboy hookup. That ain’t going to work," Phillips said.