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- East Notes: Ibanez, Phillies, Mathis
- Blue Jays To Exercise J.A. Happ’s Option
- Central Notes: Maddon, Dirks, Giambi, Indians
- Alex Rios Hires Scott Boras
- Dodgers Decline Option On Chad Billingsley
- West Notes: Sandoval, Lewis, Ethier, Angels
- AL East Links: Chavez, Yankees, Breslow, Jays
- Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese
- Rockies Exercise LaTroy Hawkins’ Option
- Mets Outright Satin, Rice, Eveland, Carlyle
- Cubs Hire Joe Maddon As Manager
- Yankees To Extend Qualifying Offer To David Robertson
- Rangers Decline Rios’ Option; Outright Adcock, Lucas, Figaro
- Brewers Exercise Mutual Option On Aramis Ramirez
- Rays Exercise Ben Zobrist’s Option
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Brian Moehler Rumors
As it stands now, the Mets don't have a great deal of money to spend in free agency after exercising the options on David Wright and R.A. Dickey for 2013. However, the club could free up cash by opting to trade one or both if they are unable to come to terms on contract extensions. The Mets have a serious need for outfield help and multiple baseball officials told Mike Puma of the New York Post that they see Cody Ross as a possible free agent target for the team. Here's more from the AL and NL East:
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom that "the Blue Jays have kicked the tires about possibly interviewing" Matt Williams for their managerial vacancy, but have yet to formally ask for permission. Williams is scheduled to meet with top Rockies officials at Coors Field and will be the final candidate to do so, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com.
- James Shields, who is set to become the highest-paid player in Rays' franchise history, is prepared to be a prime subject of the Hot Stove rumor mill this winter, writes the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin. "Obviously my name's been thrown around a lot," the right-hander said. "I'm just going to go about my business and not really worry about it. Obviously I want to be a Ray. I've been here 12 years, this is my home. If it does happen, it'll be a sad day."
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald suggests that the Red Sox should trade Jacoby Ellsbury as they are unlikely to come to terms with him on a contract extension. The Red Sox could find a partner in the Rangers as they may prefer to give Ellsbury a long-term commitment rather than Josh Hamilton and can afford to part with shortstop Elvis Andrus.
- The Red Sox are bolstering their scouting department in anticipation of having, for the first time since 1993 and just the second time since 1967, a top ten pick in the amateur draft, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier. The team rehired John Booher, the person most directly involved in the scouting process of Ellsbury in 2005 and Nick Hagadone in 2007, and hired former MLB pitcher Brian Moehler as an area scout for Georgia.
- Tom Kotchman, who resigned last week as a manager and scout in the Angels organization, interviewed with the Red Sox on Thursday, tweets Conor Glassey of Baseball America. Glassey points to former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane's position with Boston as the club's new Special Assistant to Player Personnel for the mutual interest.
- The Red Sox wanted to hold on to reliever Michael Olmstead, but their current 40-man roster crunch made it impossible, explains Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The 6'7", 245-pound right-hander signed with the Brewers as a minor league free agent last night.
- For now, people familiar with the Nationals’ thinking expect them to either trade arbitration-eligible John Lannan or allow him to walk, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nats could instead convert Christian Garcia from a reliever to a starter to fill out the rotation, but his history of arm trouble may make that too risky.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Pitchers and catchers are due to report in about three weeks, and by now all of the high-end free agents have come off the board. Heck, even second tier options have signed by now. That leaves just reclamation-type projects and players with considerable flaws, especially when it comes to pitching.
As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, starters like Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Bonderman, Freddy Garcia, Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez, Todd Wellemeyer and Brian Moehler remain unsigned. Andy Pettitte is clearly the best of the unsigned bunch, but it's the Yankees or retirement for him, and right now it looks like the latter is winning out. Neither Pedro Martinez, Braden Looper, or Jarrod Washburn have appeared in a big league game in over a year. John Maine, Justin Duchscherer and Jamie Moyer are coming off injuries, Tommy John surgery in Moyer's case.
There are still a number of teams looking for rotation help, including the Yankees, Orioles, Nationals, Pirates and Indians. Which of those unsigned starters represents the best option?
- The Dodgers are open to re-signing Rod Barajas, Vicente Padilla and Scott Podsednik, though they didn’t offer the players arbitration. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports on Twitter that the team remains in contact with all three.
- Scott Boras' company provided families of poor Dominican prospects with tens of thousands of dollars, reports Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. Boras tells Yahoo's Tim Brown that he was helping prospects out when their careers were on the line, but MLB will investigate the issue.
- The Rangers expect Frank Francisco to accept their offer of arbitration, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).
- The Nationals are no longer pursuing Adam Dunn aggressively and they appear to be a fringe suitor for him, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Brian Moehler tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he intends to play in 2011 and has interest in returning to the Astros. But Moehler has never pitched in the playoffs, so he'd like to sign with a team that has a good chance of making a playoff run.
- The divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt is now final, according to the AP (on ESPN). The McCourts await a decision that will determine whether Frank has sole ownership of the Dodgers or whether he shares the club with his ex-wife.
- Don Nomura, the agent for Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he "deeply" hopes to complete a deal between his client and the A's. Oakland, who won the bidding for Iwakuma, broke off talks earlier in the week because the sides were too far apart.
Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports via Twitter that the Astros and Brian Moehler have each agreed to pick up their part of the pitcher's mutual option for 2010. McTaggart also tweets that the option calls for Moehler to earn $3MM next season.
The 37-year-old has spent the last three years in Houston, in which he posted an ERA of 4.87 and 5.2 K/9.
A few links on a slow Sunday afternoon:
- Buster Olney says (Insider required) that the Red Sox made a "worthwhile gamble" placing a claim on Billy Wagner. Olney feels that with no obvious fixes to their starting rotation, trying to make their bullpen overpowering is a good strategy. As we learned last night, Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen don't necessarily agree. Olney says the Mets "are crazy" if they pass the opportunity to move Wagner's salary.
- Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger says that the Yankees need to address the communication problems between A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada. Both players have said they "couldn't get on the same page" during the recent blowout the Yankees suffered at the hands of the Red Sox.
- Dejan Kovacevic has a letter from Jack Wilson to the fans of Pittsburgh, thanking them for their support during his time as a Pirate. It's a good read; Wilson's a class act. Kovacevic's article also has Neal Huntington's thoughts on the extensions offered to Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, as well as a report on the Pirates' draft spending.
- MLB.com's Jen Langosch has Huntington's thoughts on September call-ups for the Pirates this season.
- Meanwhile, MLB.com's Alyson Footer tells fans what she would like to see the Astros do with the little money they have to spend this offseason. Her suggestions begin with picking up Brian Moehler's option and signing Randy Wolf. Moehler's option will be worth either $2.3MM or $3MM, depending on whether or not he exceeds 150 innings this season. Footer's rotation would consist of Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Wolf, Bud Norris, and Moehler. Is Moehler worth that money, or should the Astros pursue a cheaper free agent option?
A few notes popping up:
- The Houston Astros will have tryouts for the starting rotation at Spring Training. Felipe Paulino and Fernando Nieve are both young arms that will be considered, Alyson Footer of MLB.com reports. The Astros are tentatively counting on Roy Oswalt, Mike Hampton, Brandon Backe, Wandy Rodriguez and Brian Moehler to fill out their rotation.
- The New York Mets have finalized deals with utilityman Rob Mackowiak, right-handed pitcher Kyle Snyder and left-hander Jon Switzer to minor-league deals. The three will be competing for 25-man roster spots at Spring Training, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports.
Sunday afternoon is here again… let’s have a look back at some of the moves and rumors since last time:
- The injury-plagued Red Sox acquired Mark Kotsay to help compensate for their injuries. In exchange, the Braves received minor league outfielder Luis Sumoza. Nice acquisition by the Red Sox; Kotsay has been swinging a solid bat this season.
- The Twins acquired Eddie Guardado from Texas in exchange for minor league pitcher Mark Hamburger. Guardado has spent the majority of his career with Minnesota and provides a solid arm to the bullpen. To make room for him, they DFA’d Mike Lamb. Nice move by the Twins, with the added benefit of being able to see "Rangers trade Guardado for Hamburger" in the news. Now that’s a headline!
- The Phillies added a veteran player as well, when they acquired Matt Stairs from Toronto in exchange for minor league lefty Fabio Castro. Stairs should be a decent option off the bench, and he’s still perfectly capable of hitting the ball out of the park.
- Scott Boras continues to find ways to create controversy. He’s now claiming that Pittsburgh’s top pick Pedro Alvarez verbally agreed to his $6MM signing bonus after the midnight deadline, and is trying to demand that the contract be renegotiated for a higher number. The Players Association has filed a grievance on his behalf. Alvarez could wind up back in the 2009 draft pool. Here’s a look at some baseball blogs’ opinions on the matter.
- Minor moves: The Diamondbacks claimed Wil Ledezma off waivers from San Diego, the Braves signed Elmer Dessens to a minor-league contract, and the Astros gave one-year extensions to both Brian Moehler and Darin Erstad.
Astros MLB.com beat writer Krysten Oliphant reports that the team has signed veteran outfielder Darin Erstad and right-handed pitcher Brian Moehler to one-year extensions.
Erstad gets a $1.75MM deal plus bonuses and Moehler nets a $2.3MM extension and bonuses; he has an option for 2010. Erstad and Moehler have been a couple of bright spots among Ed Wade’s offseason acquisitions.