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Brandon Webb Rumors
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the Red Sox's shortstop position after the trade of Marco Scutaro. Major league evaluators are skeptical that Mike Aviles and Nick Punto can get the job done, which could leave the door open to prospect Jose Iglesias getting the nod. All eyes will be on manager Bobby Valentine to see how he handles the club's shortstop situation this spring. Here's more from Cafardo..
- Two GMs told Cafardo that Jorge Soler will go for more than the five years and $15MM-$20MM most thought he would settle for. Some of the clubs who elected to stay away on Yoenis Cespedes because of the hefty price and question marks about his game have decided that Soler is a better value. The Red Sox are one of about eight teams in on Soler.
- Mike Gonzalez is likely headed to the Rangers if they can trade Koji Uehara. The A's have also been connected to the free agent reliever recently.
- The Yankees prefer Raul Ibanez to Johnny Damon because of cost. Damon is seeking about $5MM while Ibanez will likely be in the $1.5MM-$2MM range.
- Angels veteran Bobby Abreu would have gone back to the Yankees in an A.J. Burnett deal. The Halos have a logjam with Kendry Morales returning and Albert Pujols at first base and Abreu has been offered around.
- The Red Sox didn’t attend Scott Kazmir’s workout on Friday and have no plans to watch Brandon Webb throw when he is on display. That's because Boston decided not to delve into the rehab market for pitchers. The club has tried a number of pitchers coming back from serious injury and in most cases, it hasn't worked out.
- Cafardo wonders if Cardinals backup Tyler Greene is worth a look for the Red Sox shortstop mix. The 27-year-old was once a promising prospect and is out of options this year.
Condolences go out to the family of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who passed away today following a long bout with cancer. He was 57. Carter hit .262/.335/.439 and made eleven All-Star Games in his 19 seasons, 12 of which came with the Expos. He backstopped the Mets to the 1986 World Championship. Here is some news from around the league…
- The 142 players who filed for arbitration last month averaged a 112% raise reports the AP (via ESPN). That's down from 123% last offseason and the lowest average raise since 106% in 2007. Check out our Arbitration Tracker for the answers to all of your arbitration questions.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels reiterated that contract extension talks with Josh Hamilton are on hold, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. "The priority needs to be his recovery and his family and, secondarily, getting ready for the season," said the GM. "We're not going to get in the way of those things with contract talk.
- The Diamondbacks have signed 16-year-old Dominican right-hander Luis Castillo for $80K according to a release, which said his fastball sits 84-87 mph. He also throws a curveball and a changeup.
- The trade market is likely to heat up as the season progresses, writes MLB.com's Richard Justice. As he explains, most GMs feel confident in their team this time of year and prefer to take their time evaluating needs.
- Scott Kazmir, who had been scheduled to pitch in front of scouts yesterday, won’t audition until Friday, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. The left-handed free agent is feeling well, Olney writes.
- Brandon Webb is throwing painlessly off of flat ground, agent Jonathan Maurer told Olney. Webb will throw in front of scouts at some point, Olney tweets.
- Newsday’s Ken Davidoff adds up teams’ payroll commitments for 2015 and beyond and finds that nine clubs — the Orioles, Cubs, Indians, Astros, Royals, Mets, Padres, Giants and Mariners — haven’t committed a thing for ’15 or beyond.
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan examines the market for the top remaining free agents, including Roy Oswalt, Mike Gonzalez and a crowd of designated hitters.
- Joe Jordan, the Phillies' new director of player development, breaks down a number of the team's top prospects with Joe Berkery of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Jason Varitek is facing a very difficult decision, and the catcher has been considering the very difficult reality of retirement, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Varitek, who turns 40 in April, would seem to be a good fit in Minnesota. The Twins will likely carry three catchers as Joe Mauer will need time to DH and rest and Ryan Doumit will mostly DH while also backing up Mauer.
Varitek isn't the only veteran wondering about his baseball future. Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, and Vladimir Guerrero also hope to continue playing in 2012. Here's more from Cafardo..
- There is a lot of speculation that the Nationals will deal John Lannan to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, with the Halos putting Mike Trout in center field. The Nats beat Lannan in arbitration last week and were said to be aggressively shopping the left-hander.
- Alternatively, the Nats could move Jayson Werth to center and sign a right fielder. Cafardo adds that it now appears that Yoenis Cespedes is not in their plans and they have cooled on B.J. Upton.
- Javier Vazquez is retired for now, but Cafardo wonders if a team could convince him to play. An AL GM remarked that Vazquez would be a perfect fourth or fifth starter on a contending team and believes that the pitcher looks as good as he's ever been.
- Scott Boras is no longer representing Manny Ramirez. Ramirez signed on with Boras in early 2008 and the agent negotiated the slugger's two-year, $45MM contract with the Dodgers the following year.
- Boras wound up receiving eight offers in total for Prince Fielder, including the winning bid from the Tigers.
- A couple of agents are frustrated after dealing with the Red Sox front office/ownership lately as compared to what they were used to in the past. However, there has been quite a bit of praise for GM Ben Cherington.
- Right-hander Brandon Webb hasn't given up on pitching and according to one American League executive, the plan is for the 32-year-old to throw for teams sometime in March.
- Mark Prior is also looking to attempt one more comeback. The right-hander, who spent some of last season with the Yankees, had surgery for a sports hernia and the problem isn't completely corrected. Like Webb, Prior could work out for teams as early as March.
- Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger was supposed to be in Red Sox minor league camp but instead ripped up his elbow long-tossing over the winter. The veteran will unfortunately miss the season.
- Cafardo feels that the Red Sox missed an opportunity to sign Edwin Jackson to a good value deal at one year, $10MM and shouldn’t let Roy Oswalt slip away now.
The Cubs acquired Anthony Rizzo from the Padres today, but they weren’t the only team with interest in the first base prospect. The Indians, Blue Jays and Rays also had some interest in Rizzo, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Here are more notes from Heyman (they all go to Twitter):
- The Rangers would like to lock Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton, Mike Adams and Colby Lewis to extensions if possible, according to Heyman. Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland are among the Rangers’ other extension candidates.
- Brandon Webb started throwing again in late December and his arm is “strong and loose,” according to his agent. Webb signed with the Rangers last offseason, but didn't pitch at the Major League level and underwent right shoulder surgery in the summer. He hasn't appeared in an MLB game since April of 2009.
- The Orioles have interest in Edwin Jackson, according to Heyman. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun explained in December that Jackson's upside intrigues the Orioles.
With nine days remaining before the trade deadline, the biggest trade chips in baseball are arguably Carlos Beltran (latest rumors) and Hunter Pence (latest rumors). Here are some other relevant links from around MLB…
- The Nationals are in greater need of outfield depth than infield help or a catcher, a baseball source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
- The Rays pulled B.J. Upton and prospect Desmond Jennings from their respective games, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter). However, Upton says that he has not been traded, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
- Rangers pitcher Brandon Webb will undergo surgery on his right shoulder with the intent to pitch again in 2012, according to his agent Jonathan Maurer. This will not be a full surgery of the rotator cuff but it will prevent him from throwing for four months.
- The Tigers would need to eat some salary to move Brandon Inge but teams still believe that the veteran has value, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- The Reds scouted Jason Vargas and Doug Fister when the Mariners visited Toronto this week, a source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- Indians team president Mark Shapiro said that he expects the club will make a move in the next ten days, tweets Nick Camino of WTAM 1100.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s looking for a bat to insert at the top of the order or in the middle of the lineup. However, the Reds are also open to acquiring pitching, either for the rotation or the bullpen. The Reds have lots of depth, but Jocketty says he “hates” trading prospects.
- Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago hears that Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick is open to a role with the Cubs. Gillick said last week that he's open to taking on a full-time role as a team president at some point in the future.
- MLB talent evaluators tell Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox have a number of players whose prospect status is starting to rise and who could become elite prospects within a year. Though the Adrian Gonzalez deal made a major dent in Boston’s farm system, Speier’s sources say the Red Sox still have secondary prospects who could be valuable trade bait this summer. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks and right-hander Anthony Ranaudo are among the organization’s top prospects.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports confirms that the Red Sox have had exploratory conversations with the Royals about Jeff Francoeur.
Babe Ruth played his last MLB game on this date in 1935. The slugger played one inning against the Phillies and grounded out in his final at bat. Here's the boxscore from that game and here are today's links. Happy Memorial Day!
- Ever since Mets owner Fred Wilpon publicly questioned Jose Reyes' earning power, the shortstop is producing even more than usual, David Lennon writes at Newsday. Reyes leads the National League in hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases, though he'll be on the bereavement list for three to seven days (Twitter link).
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney wonders if Brandon Webb, who is now rehabbing, could be a fit for the Reds later this season.
- Dave Groeschner, a trainer for injured Giants catcher Buster Posey, told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that Posey is done for the season, but should be ready for the 2012 season opener.
Who knew first place could be this uncomfortable? The Rangers lead the AL West, but they're tied with the Angels, just a game ahead of the A's and just two games ahead of the Mariners. Here's the latest on the defending American League champions…
- Some rival scouts told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that if recently-signed Rangers outfield prospect Leonys Martin were available in the upcoming draft, he'd be one of the most highly-coveted players around.
- Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears from Rangers officials that Martin is a "plus defender with a good arm," who is "instinctive" and "has a chance to have an impact on the bases."
- The Rangers called up Mark Lowe and optioned Pedro Strop to the minors in an effort to improve their bullpen, according to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. I'm guessing we'll hear lots about the Rangers' 'pen at MLBTR this summer unless it gets healthy in a hurry.
- Brandon Webb, who is trying to pitch in the majors for the first time in over two years, will throw out of the bullpen and work on his mechanics instead of pitching in a game at extended Spring Training tomorrow, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Let's check out some Rangers items as they take on the Yankees in the Bronx..
- The Rangers will undoubtedly be on the lookout for relief pitching this offseason, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
- Evan P. Grant of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter) wonders what the Rangers would look like had they taken Robinson Cano instead of Joaquin Arias in the Alex Rodriguez trade.
- The Rangers will likely wait to announce the signing of Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The 23-year-old is still being processed through the customs and immigration, and it could be beyond this week before he is ready to play for the club.
- As he works to rehabilitate his injured shoulder, Brandon Webb tells Sullivan that he would be willing to work out of the bullpen as a reliever if that's what the Rangers need when he gets back. Webb's performance bonuses for 2011 are tied to innings pitched and days on the active roster, but not to number of games started. The right-hander will earn a base of $3MM and could boost the value of the deal to $8-10MM through incentives.
- Colby Lewis will return from paternity leave on Monday but the Rangers won't have to risk losing anyone to create a roster spot, Sullivan writes. It seems likely that either Michael Kirkman or Mark Lowe will be optioned to Triple-A.
The Mariners, Rangers and Angels could all make moves between now and Opening Day, though the A's appear to have completed the bulk of their offseason shopping. Some updates on the AL West…
- Longtime Mariner Jamie Moyer told Seattle fans that he would consider returning to the Mariners in 2012, according to MLB.com's Greg Johns. The lefty is recovering from Tommy John surgery and will miss the 2011 season.
- Mariners assistant GM Jeff Kingston says the team could still add a veteran pitcher or two as non-roster invitees, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times (on Twitter).
- Brandon Webb told the Ben and Skin radio show that he has made "dramatic strides," and that he has been pleased with "awesome" results so far this offseason. The Dallas Morning News passes along the quotes from Webb, who is recovering from shoulder injuries.
- Rangers president Nolan Ryan says he expects Michael Young to be on the team as the regular DH on Opening Day, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).
- Scott Boras told Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that he has had "great," discussions with the Angels this offseason. Team owner Arte Moreno said yesterday that he had no interest in meeting with Boras and suggested he doesn't have "anything nice" to say about the agent.
- The players' association has found that Scott Boras did not violate union rules when his company made loans to a Dominican prospect, according to the Associated Press.
- Adam Everett's minor league deal with the Indians will pay the 33-year-old $700K plus incentives if he makes the team, or $15K per month at Triple-A, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Twitter link).
- The Rockies will reach out to pitcher Jeff Francis this week, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. There's a chance that the left-hander returns to Colorado but he might have a better opportunity elsewhere.
- Brandon Webb, who officially joined the Rangers earlier today, says that he won't rush himself back in order to start the season in the rotation, writes ESPN.com's Richard Durrett.
- Greg Johns of MLB.com likes the Mariners' signing of Miguel Olivo.