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Carl Crawford Rumors
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka may be the next Japanese pitcher to turn a strong World Baseball Classic performance into a nine-figure Major League contract, ESPN's C.J. Nitkowski writes (Insider subscription required). Tanaka, 24, has a 2.50 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 4.34 K/BB ratio in 1103 IP over six seasons with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka has expressed interest in pitching in North America and is three years away from international free agency, though Rakuten could open the posting process before then.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- The Padres are starting to listen to offers for Chase Headley, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports. The Padres tabled extension talks with Headley earlier this winter after the two sides were far apart on terms. The third baseman is under contract through the 2014 season and Madden argues that the Yankees should make a move for a young star like Headley or Giancarlo Stanton in order to bolster the lineup and ensure the team will contend this year.
- "The fact is, this is the right time to trade Stanton. He’s never going to have more value than this," a Marlins operative tells Madden, arguing that such an unpopular move can't hurt a team that is already at rock bottom in terms of public perception. “I understand Jeffrey [Loria]’s getting killed in Miami over blowing up the team this winter and why he doesn’t want to trade Stanton. But how much more can we get killed? He’s already had some injury issues, and we’re never going to sign him to a long-term deal," Madden's source said.
- Carl Crawford criticized the Boston media and told CBS Sports' Danny Knobler that he erred in signing with the Red Sox in the 2010-11 offseason. "It just wasn't the right place for me at the end of my day. I didn't do my homework. Maybe they didn't, either," Crawford said.
- If the Tigers do acquire a reliever, MLB.com's Jason Beck believes such a deal isn't likely until nearer to the end of Spring Training when other teams have their own bullpen situations settled.
- Chone Figgins feels a lack of playing time exacerbated his struggles with the Mariners and is looking forward to seeing more action playing under NL rules with the Marlins, The Associated Press reports.
- Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have both looked good in Spring Training and the Red Sox could reap more than financial benefits from last summer's trade with the Dodgers if these two young pitchers develop, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Tomase also talks to Rays manager Joe Maddon about how the Rays were targeting De La Rosa before L.A. dealt him to Boston.
In an ESPN Insider piece (subscription required), Buster Olney lists the Angels renewing Mike Trout's contract for $510K as one of the biggest issues facing baseball today. Craig Landis, the agent for the AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP runner-up, said the renewal "falls well short of a 'fair' contract." Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register agrees considering Joe Blanton will receive a $500K bonus from the Angels if he throws 200 innings and the team gave a $250K signing bonus to free agent reliever Sean Burnett. Olney, however, writes it makes almost no sense for Trout to refuse to sign his contract tender and have a negotiation flare-up so early in his career because he will reap millions from the system later on. For his part, the 21-year-old is quoted by Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter) as saying, "I've got to keep putting up numbers. My time will come." Elsewhere from MLB's West Divisions:
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports the Angels don't expect any of this will ruffle enough feathers to sour Trout's desire to sign an extension and cites similar situations involving Adam Jones, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, David Wright, and Jered Weaver.
- The Diamondbacks renewed Wade Miley's contract for $500,500, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. The left-hander earned All-Star honors last year while finishing second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
- Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio the team has not closed the door on former closer Brian Wilson (Twitter link).
- The Dodgers will have questions to answer in left field and the leadoff spot because Carl Crawford will likely not be ready to open the season, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Manager Don Mattingly will use a variety of in-house options including Cuban import Yasel Puig.
- If non-roster invitee third baseman Nolan Arenado continues his torrid play during camp and shows he's ready, it could allow the Rockies to use their depth at third base to acquire more pitching, tweets the Denver Post's Troy Renck.
- Cody Ross was disappointed by the lack of interest from West Coast teams during his free agency this offseason until the Diamondbacks called "out of nowhere," reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "My wife and I were jumping up and down," said Ross, a Phoenix resident. "We were so excited to live at home and play at home and be around a good bunch of guys and great coaches, and a front office that’s committed to winning."
- Earlier today, we learned Hunter Pence would rather sign a long-term contract with the Giants rather than test free agency.
Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton holds the top spot on Keith Law's top 20 list of prospects (ESPN Insider subscription required) who will have the biggest impact in 2013. Eaton is projected as Arizona's leadoff man and everyday center fielder, and Law believes Eaton can be a Rookie Of The Year candidate given how well his game fits Chase Field. D'Backs left-hander Tyler Skaggs is #4 on Law's list and Trevor Bauer (who the Snakes dealt to the Indians this offseason) ranked fifth. Padres righty Casey Kelly also appears in the top 20, while Padres infielder Jedd Gyorko and Giants reliever Heath Hembree are honorable mentions.
Here's the latest from the NL West…
- Derrick Hall, the Diamondbacks' president and CEO, said "our moves are done at this point" during his monthly chat with fans on MLB.com. Hall confirmed that the team would be keeping Jason Kubel, which GM Kevin Towers noted in the wake of the Justin Upton deal last month.
- D'Backs GM Kevin Towers said the club didn't require Didi Gregorius to take a physical before they acquired him in December, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. This is significant only because Gregorius is currently suffering from a slightly-strained UCL, as Piecoro notes that it is fairly rare for teams to ask for players to take full physicals before deals unless the player has a particular injury history.
- Yorvit Torrealba is back with the Rockies and some team officials have admitted the club erred in not re-signing the catcher as a free agent after the 2009 season, MLB.com's Thomas Harding writes. Torrealba signed a minor league deal with Colorado last month and is battling Ramon Hernandez for the backup catching job.
- Carl Crawford feels invigorated by his trade to the Dodgers, the outfielder tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Crawford said he was "in kind of a depression stage" during his troubled tenure in Boston, and he described the environment with the Red Sox as "toxic."
- Expectations are high for the free-spending Dodgers but manager Don Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti aren't fazed by the pressure, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes.
- From earlier today, the Rockies acquired utilityman Reid Brignac from the Rays and we covered some more Dodgers items as part of a Los Angeles Notes post.
Justin Verlander repeated today that he wants to stay with the Tigers beyond 2014, when his current contract expires. “I love Detroit,” he said, according to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. “I feel like I’m a kindred part of that town. I grew up in front of these fans and earned my way into their hearts.” Verlander said he's not yet sure whether he and his representatives would be willing to negotiate during the season. Here are some more links from around MLB…
- Grantland's Jonah Keri interviewed Orioles GM Dan Duquette about the success of his team in 2012 and Duquette's outlook on 2013. Duquette feels that both Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will be ready to make significant impacts on the club at some point in 2013.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark presents an in-depth look at the top stories to watch in each league during Spring Training this year. Stark's piece also includes breakdowns of the best and worst free agent signings, trades and more, according to a group of 16 baseball scouts and executives.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs lists the ten worst moves of the offseason with the caveat that "the worst moves aren’t as bad as bad as they used to be." The Royals make three appearances on the list after trading Wil Myers to obtain James Shields, acquiring Ervin Santana and signing Jeremy Guthrie for three years.
- Meanwhile, in another piece for Grantland, Keri examines the worst contracts in MLB starting with Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and Carl Crawford of the Dodgers.
- Agents at Hendricks Sports have filed an MLBPA grievance against three MLB agents who left the firm for Excel Sports Management and took players with them, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports (on Twitter). Be sure to use MLBTR’s Agency Database for your agency-related inquiries.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti discussed a number of offseason topics with the media (including MLB.com's Ken Gurnick) during today's official introductory press conference for Carl Crawford. Here are some of the highlights…
- Colletti said the Dodgers would look to add starting and relief pitching this winter, plus outfield depth. "Our outfield is somewhat complete, but not complete," Colletti said. "We've got to keep our versatility and have somebody that can play center field. Tony Gwynn is still part of the organization and a candidate." Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are set as the Dodgers' starting outfield trio for 2013, though good bench options are necessary given Crawford and Kemp's recent injury problems.
- Mickey Hatcher is not a candidate to replace the recently-fired Dave Hansen as the Dodgers' hitting coach, though Colletti said Hatcher could find a job in another capacity with the team. Hatcher, fired last spring as the Angels' hitting coach, served as "a de facto assistant" to Hansen last season.
- The Dodgers are interested in bringing back Jamey Wright, Randy Choate and Brandon League next season. All three relievers are free agents, though Colletti is "encouraged" by negotiations thus far with League (as tweeted by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times).
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the details of Crawford's meeting with the media, including his surprise at being traded last summer, his willingness to waive his no-trade clause and how he wished he'd immediately undergone Tommy John surgery rather than trying to play through the pain. "I wish I’d done it [earlier], because I’d be better now. With the Boston fans you have a big deal that was made about my money and trying to play for the team," Crawford said. "Maybe I shouldn’t have done that and taken care of myself. I pretty much put pressure on myself to play. You get looked at as being soft and as somebody just trying to take money. I wanted to prove that wasn’t the case. That probably cost me a little time for next year."
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti confirmed that he and manager Don Mattingly will return in 2013, Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com reports. The GM also reflected on the eventful 2012 season in an extended interview with Bloom. Here are some highlights…
- Colletti explained that the team’s midseason trades should help the team in 2013 and beyond, regardless of whether the Dodgers make the playoffs this year. “When we made these trades, we thought that these players were going to be with us for a while,” Colletti said.
- The GM said he'll be pleased if Gonzalez can continue producing at this clip for the remainder of his Dodgers career. Gonzalez has a .276/.328/.431 batting line with 21 RBI in 134 plate appearances.
- There’s a chance Carl Crawford will open the 2013 season with the Dodgers, Colletti said. The left fielder’s throwing arm should be at full strength by May, but he could open the season with the club if he’s progressing well.
- Colletti said it’s been a great experience working with the Dodgers’ new ownership group, including veteran MLB executive Stan Kasten. “He's someone who understands baseball very well,” Colletti said. “He's been in the game for three decades.”
- Manager Don Mattingly succeeds for a variety of reasons, Colletti said. “He continues to learn every day. He's open-minded. He's ultra-competitive. And a very hard worker.”
The Red Sox are 69-90 since last September 1st, ESPN.com's Buster Olney notes (on Twitter). As a disappointing season winds down it’s time to look ahead to some possible offseason moves. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox…
- It’s likely that the Red Sox will “kick the tires” on a possible long-term contract for Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason, but it’d be a surprise if the sides find common ground, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. Agent Scott Boras will present Ellsbury as a superstar, but the Red Sox probably wouldn’t be comfortable paying him like one after 2013, his final season as an arbitration eligible player. It’s unlikely the Red Sox will look to trade Ellsbury, Speier writes. The outfielder told Speier he’s not focused on his contract status. “I just go out and play, man, prepare," he said.
- Torii Hunter said he’s open to the possibility of signing in Boston when he hits free agency this offseason, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. "I'm open to anybody, especially if David [Ortiz] is there," Hunter said. He noted that his first choice remains a new deal with the Angels.
- Hunter suggested that Carl Crawford will be pleased to start fresh with the Dodgers. “I'm sure he's a lot happier," Hunter said.
If there was any doubt remaining that the Dodgers' new ownership group would drastically alter the franchise, it has now been completely eliminated. The Dodgers and Red Sox have officially completed a massive nine-player blockbuster trade that sends Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for James Loney and four prospects.
The four prospects are right-hander Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus, outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, and right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. The Red Sox will pay just $12MM of the over $270MM owed to Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez, and Punto, so their savings are considerable. Adding the four new players represents a substantial financial commitment by the Dodgers:
- Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary.
- Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017.
- Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014.
- Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.
With this trade as well as the previous acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Brandon League, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton, the Dodgers have absorbed more than $300MM in future payroll obligations in the last month or so. As Jeff Euston of Cot's Baseball Contracts notes (on Twitter), the club now has a $193.75MM in contract obligations for next season, $133.6MM for 2014, $90MM for 2015, $88.65MM for 2015, and another $90MM for 2016. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are now on the hook for just $45.6MM in 2013, $34.4MM in 2014, $12.75MM in 2015, and $2.45MM in 2016 (Twitter link).
Both Beckett (10-and-5 rights) and Crawford (limited no-trade clause) had to approve the deal, and Buster Olney of ESPN reports (on Twitter) that neither player asked for any kind of compensation to do so. The Dodgers were not included in Gonzalez's limited no-trade clause. Los Angeles claimed both Gonzalez and Beckett off trade waivers yesterday, plus Punto and Crawford both cleared earlier this month. Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times reports (on Twitter) that the Blue Jays are believed to have claimed De La Rosa off waivers, but he was pulled back and will technically be included in the deal as a player to be named later.
The Dodgers, who currently sit three games back of the Giants in the NL West race, are adding an impact left-handed bat to pair with the right-handed Matt Kemp in Gonzalez. The Southern California native spent the first five full seasons of his career a little further south with the Padres, so he's certainly familiar with the division. Gonzalez, 30, is hitting .300/.343/.469 with 15 homers in what is generally considered to be a down year compared to his career average of .294/.372/.509 and 30 or so homers annually. Dodgers' first basemen have hit just .244/.289/.357 this season, so even down year Gonzalez represents an enormous upgrade.
Beckett, 32, has pitched to a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts and 127 1/3 innings this season while battling thumb and back issues. His strikeout rate (6.6 K/9) is a career-low and PitchFX shows that his velocity has tapered off into the low-90s. Moving into the easier league and a more pitcher-friendly ballpark should help his numbers, and Beckett gives Los Angeles a pitcher with a proven playoff track record. Current Dodgers' starters have combined for just 11 career playoff starts, six by Blanton. Beckett alone has 13 playoff starts and a World Series MVP to his credit.
Crawford, 31, had Tommy John surgery two days ago and will miss the rest of the season. He hit just .260/.292/.419 with 14 homers and 23 steals in 161 disappointing games with the Red Sox after averaging .299/.340/.448 with 13 homers and 50 steals in eight full seasons with the Rays. Crawford is expected to be able to return to action early next season, meaning Victorino is likely to be allowed to leave as a free agent.
The Dodgers recently lost Jerry Hairston Jr. to a hip injury for the remainder of the season, so the 34-year-old Punto gives them some protection and added depth on the infield. He's hit just .200/.301/.272 with five steals in 148 plate appearances for Boston this year while playing all four infield positions. He's a year removed from a .278/.388/.421 line as a part-time player with the Cardinals.
Loney, 28, has hit just .254/.302/.344 with four homers in 359 plate appearances this season and will become a free agent this winter. He figures to serve as a stopgap first baseman for the Red Sox for the next six weeks or so.
Webster, 22, has pitched to a 3.55 ERA in 121 2/3 innings for the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate this season. The 25-year-old De Jesus has been up and down between Triple-A and the big leagues in recent years, hitting .301/.354/.416 in over 1,200 minor league plate appearances since 2010. Sands, 24, has been also been up and down these last two years. He owns a career .291/.363/.557 line nearly 900 Triple-A plate appearances. De La Rosa, 23, just returned from Tommy John surgery and pitched to a 3.71 ERA in ten starts and three relief appearances for Los Angeles last season. Click here for a more in-depth look at the prospects headed to Boston later today.
A trade of this magnitude had many helping hands along the way, though Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston first reported that the two sides were discussing this massive deal. Check out this post for all of the pre-completion rumors and reports. Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald and an Roche of WBZ (on Twitter) first reported completion of the trade while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
SATURDAY, 7:52am: The deal is "pretty much done," reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that both Beckett and Crawford have agreed to waive their no-trade clauses while Rosenthal adds that both clubs have signed off on the medicals.
FRIDAY, 10:00pm: Crawford has the Dodgers on his partial no-trade list and the outfielder has yet to be asked to accept a trade, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). It has been previously reported that Crawford can block trades to two clubs but Heyman writes that Crawford has the ability to block trades to three teams.
9:34pm: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine says that he still expects Beckett to make his start on Saturday, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
9:01pm: The Dodgers are expected to pick up more than $260MM of the $271.5MM in combined salary that the Red Sox are sending to them, a source tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
6:45pm: The Dodgers have agreed to send Webster, De La Rosa, Loney, Sands, and De Jesus to the Red Sox, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Meanwhile, a source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI (Twitter link) not to expect a deal to be completed tonight.
6:42pm: The Red Sox have yet to secure permission from Beckett, who has 10-and-5 rights, or Crawford, who has a partial no-trade clause, a source tells Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. However, neither player is expected to block the deal.
6:15pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are currently reviewing medical records, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter). The deal would include Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, and a top prospect, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (Twitter link).
5:48pm: Though the deal may not happen in its current nine-player form, something is expected to happen, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
5:06pm: The Red Sox would receive prospects and not just salary relief if the deal happens, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
4:34pm: The Red Sox and Dodgers are closing in on a trade that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports (on Twitter). Hurdles remain, but the sides continue working toward a deal.
The Dodgers recently won the claiming rights to Gonzalez and Beckett. Gonzalez can't block a trade to Los Angeles, but Beckett must approve any assignment as a player with ten and five rights. Crawford and Punto cleared waivers earlier this month and can be traded without waiver-related restrictions.
The Dodgers have been willing to take on considerable salaries since their new ownership group gained control of the club at the beginning of the 2012 season. Adding the four Red Sox players would represent a substantial financial commitment:
- Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder his 2012 salary.
- Beckett will earn $15.75MM per season through 2014. As noted above, he must approve any trade.
- Crawford will earn $20MM in 2013, $20.25MM in 2014, $20.5MM in 2015, $20.75MM in 2016 and $21MM in 2017. His contract allows him to block trades to two teams.
- Punto earns $1.5MM per season through 2013.
The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. The Dodgers would have to place MLB players on waivers before trading them to Boston, which could complicate trade talks.
Zach Links contributed to this post, which was originally published on August 24th.
The Dodgers probably won’t trade for Adrian Gonzalez this month, but there’s a remote chance of a deal, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes. Gonzalez, who’s now on revocable waivers, drew trade interest from the Dodgers last month. However, Hernandez hears that the Dodgers don’t expect the Red Sox to make Gonzalez available.
If the sides do discuss a trade, they won’t have to worry about Gonzalez’s limited no-trade clause, He can’t block a move to the Dodgers, according to Hernandez. The point would be moot if an American League team or a National League team with a worse record than the Dodgers were to claim the first baseman.
Gonzalez will earn $21MM per season through 2016 and obtain a raise to $21.5MM for 2017-18. The total exceeds $130MM when accounting for the remainder of Gonzalez's 2012 salary. While this sum would deter most teams, the Dodgers have been willing to spend under their new ownership group.
"We are trying to add players. That doesn't mean we will be able to," chairman Mark Walter said, speaking in general terms.
The Dodgers claimed Cliff Lee on waivers earlier this month after trading for Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton and Brandon League. They’ve also shown aggressiveness on the international market, signing Yasel Puig.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has heard that the Red Sox would only move Gonzalez in a transformative or franchise-changing move (Twitter link). A trade isn’t out of the question, but seems unlikely. Executives could see the Dodgers claiming Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Still, the Red Sox wouldn’t let him go for nothing.
Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times examines the possibility that the Dodgers could persuade the Red Sox to part with Gonzalez by taking on Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett as well. Beckett drew some interest from the Dodgers leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, according to Hernandez. However, this scenario sounds extremely unlikely to me given the money involved and Crawford’s elbow injury (he was scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery today).