Brandon Phillips Rumors
- 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.
The Reds acquired Sean Marshall from the Cubs one week ago, but it doesn't sound like there are any other moves coming in the immediate future. “I’ve spoken to some agents and some clubs,” said GM Walt Jocketty to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer. “But everyone kind of shuts it down until after the first of the year.”
Here's the latest from Cincy, courtesy of Fay...
- “We’ve made an offer,” said Jocketty, referring to Francisco Cordero. “He’s deciding what to do. He’s got a couple of other offers.” Jocketty said it's a one-year offer, and Fay guesses it's for $7MM or less.
- The Reds have not talked to Ryan Madson's people, which would mean Scott Boras.
- “We decided to table it 'til January,” said Jocketty, referring to talks with Brandon Phillips about a contract extension. Earlier this month we heard the two sides had made some progress.
- The Reds have spoken to Ryan Theriot's representatives, but nothing is close. “We’re trying to get a hitter first,” Jocketty said, and that hitter would have to be an outfielder according to Fay.
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer talked to Reds GM Walt Jocketty; here's the latest.
- Jocketty says his pursuit of starting pitching has been "very frustrating" and he's not close on anything. The Reds have been linked in rumors to Gio Gonzalez and Jair Jurrjens in recent weeks.
- The Reds have made some progress on an extension for Brandon Phillips.
- Jocketty has contacted the agents for recently non-tendered players Joe Saunders and Ryan Theriot, and the Reds also have some interest in Michael Cuddyer depending on his asking price. They won't be submitting a bid on Yu Darvish.
Here's the latest from Albert Pujols' former division...
- "A handful of teams" are interested in Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Though Rodriguez's 2012 salary is projected as around $13MM through arbitration, the Brewers don't necessarily plan to trade him until they know if Rodriguez is content being John Axford's set-up man. Yesterday, MLBTR's Steve Adams examined how Rodriguez's decision to accept arbitration affects the Brewers' offseason plans.
- Carlos Pena is "in play" as a possibility for the Cardinals, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Heyman hasn't heard anything yet about the Cards possibly entering the Prince Fielder sweepstakes.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hears from a friend of Tony La Russa that the ex-Cardinals skipper had already made up his mind about retirement two months before the World Series.
- The Reds met with Brandon Phillips' agents on Wednesday and presented a new contract offer, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t know if they were completely happy...they didn’t agree to it,” said Reds GM Walt Jocketty. Fay's piece also mentions that the Reds were planning to make a pick in yesterday's Rule 5 draft, but the player was gone before Cincinnati would draft in the 14th overall spot.
- The Pirates took the "portfolio approach" at the Winter Meetings, GM Neal Huntington tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Bucs addressed several needs during the Meetings and Huntington said the team has enough payroll flexibility to make more moves if necessary this offseason.
- Contract details for some of these new Pirates are provided by MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.
- The Astros have some quality prospects, but John Manuel of Baseball America writes that their farm system still needs major help after years of bad drafts.
It's been a busy first day of the Winter Meetings at MLBTR, so let's use this opportunity to catch up on a few Monday items that may have slipped through the cracks...
- Todd Coffey is drawing interest from the Mets and Brewers, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Brew Crew haven't expressed any interest in bringing back another righty, LaTroy Hawkins, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- The Nationals may revisit their search for a center fielder after the non-tender deadline, so they can see if any bargain options hit the market, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- B.J. Upton is one center fielder who may be on the trade market, but Morosi hears interest in the Rays' speedster has been "mild" so far (Twitter link).
- GM Walt Jocketty suggested to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that extension talks between the Reds and Brandon Phillips may hinge on the number of years the club feels comfortable offering.
- Orioles infielder Robert Andino is drawing trade interest from teams who could use him as a starting shortstop, tweets MASN's Roch Kubatko.
- GM Dan Duquette said the Orioles have several "irons in the fire" and is optimistic about making at least one move during the Winter Meetings, says Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
- There are indications that the Mariners have talked to the Rockies about Seth Smith's availability, says MLB.com's Greg Johns.
Here's a look at some Reds news..
- The Reds have made an offer to Jim Riggleman to manage their Double-A affiliate in Pensacola and he's likely to accept, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman.
- It sounds like the Brandon Phillips extension will get done, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. General Manager Walt Jocketty says that it’s a “complicated contract,” which will take time to be ironed out. That leads Fay to believe that the deal likely involves deferred money.
- More from Fay, as he has the impression that the Reds hold little hope of re-signing Francisco Cordero. Fay writes that the Reds might be able to get Cordero back at one-year deal in the $7MM range but would rather see the club turn to an in-house solution instead.
- Fay also writes that David Bell’s promotion to Triple-A manager could be a prelude of things to come. The former major league third baseman is probably the top candidate to replace Dusty Baker if the club decides to go in a different direction.
- Heyman (via Twitter) also hears that the Phillips extension talks are going well with the Reds, but doesn't know if the two sides are close to a deal. Phillips, who is set to make $12MM in 2012, tweeted on Tuesday that talks are moving in the right direction.
- The Reds have talked to Jim Riggleman about a possible job in their organization, Heyman tweets.
Happy 63rd birthday to former Reds outfielder George Foster. A member of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine teams, Foster his 52 homers in 1977, a performance that won him the NL MVP Award. Foster's 52 home runs were the most hit in a season by any Major Leaguer between 1965 and 1997.
Here's the latest from the NL Central....
- Matt Garza "is exactly the type of guy we’d like to build around," Theo Epstein told reporters on Thursday, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Epstein said that rotation depth was a priority for the Cubs, which would seem to indicate the recent Garza trade rumors may be for naught. Epstein did say he would be "open-minded" about possibly moving assets like Garza or Sean Marshall, though in Marshall's case, Epstein said "if you have the best left-handed reliever in baseball, it’s hard to think about taking him out of that role."
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan argues it would be good for baseball if Albert Pujols "pulls a LeBron" and signs with the Cubs, since it would catalyze interest in him and his sport. The Cubs and Cardinals are both pursuing the free agent first baseman, though the Cubs’ level of interest remains unclear.
- Brandon Phillips had no new updates about the ongoing contract negotiations between he and the Reds, but he told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that "I just want to be here forever like my idol, Barry Larkin." Phillips tweeted on Tuesday that talks were "moving in the right direction."
- The Astros let president of baseball operations Tal Smith go with just two weeks of severance pay after 35 years of service with the Astros, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- What does the Cubs' signing of David DeJesus mean for Tyler Colvin? Tony Andracki of CSN Chicago examines the question.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post
8:52pm: “I think it’s still a ways to go,” said GM Walt Jocketty to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. “We’re still hopeful to get something done. We’re glad [Phillips] feels that way.”
4:31pm: Brandon Phillips has made it no secret that he'd like a long-term contract extension from the Reds, and a few weeks ago we heard that the two sides were making progress towards a new deal. Earlier this afternoon, Phillips said (on Twitter) that he spoke to his agent and "it feels good to know that we're moving in the right direction" towards an extension.
The Red exercised Phillips' $12MM option for next season earlier this month, but the second baseman said he would consider it a "slap in the face" if the team picked up the option without talking about a new contract. He also indicated that he wouldn't give the team a hometown discount. Phillips, 30, hit .300/.353/.457 with 18 homers in 674 plate appearances for Cincinnati in 2011.
The latest from The Queen City, courtesy of MLB.com's Mark Sheldon ...
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty said the team and second baseman Brandon Phillips have "made progress, but we're not close" in negotiations for a contract extension. The Reds have already exercised Phillips' 2012 option, so he's in the fold for next season, but he has been vocal about wanting a multiyear extension beyond that for a while now. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculated recently that the Reds are probably hoping to extend Phillips, 30, for something like four years and $48MM, while Sheldon points out that the Dan Uggla's five-year, $62MM pact with the Braves last offseason is a recent high-water mark for second basemen.
- As well, there have been "no new developments" between the Reds and free agent closer Francisco Cordero, according to Sheldon. Jocketty did not meet with Cordero's agent during the General Manager Meetings earlier this week in Milwaukee. "If we did not sign Coco, we'd first look outside of the organization," Jocketty said.
Drayton McLane confirmed to reporters, including Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link), that the Astros will be moving to the American League West for 2013. McLane added that the Astros' sale is on the agenda for the owners' meetings tomorrow, at which point Jim Crane is expected to be approved as the team's new owner.
More links on the Astros and the rest of the clubs they'll compete with in the NL Central for one more year:
- McLane said he's "kind of sad" to be moving on, but that the Astros will have a "very good" owner in Crane, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press reports that Major League Baseball told Crane it wouldn't approve his purchase of the Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the AL.
- The Reds "made good progress" with Brandon Phillips' agent today, though no long-term deal is imminent yet, tweets Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat has the latest details on the Cubs' managerial search.