Carl Crawford Rumors
Angels owner Arte Moreno spoke to GQ's Nathaniel Penn about a number of the team's recent moves (and non-moves) in this Q&A piece...
- Moreno isn't worried that he'll be paying Albert Pujols $30MM per season after he turns 40. “If he's healthy enough and he's playing for us, then I'm gonna just say, ‘Merry Christmas to all baseball fans,' because we get to see one of the best players of our generation coming to bat," Moreno said. The owner also noted that his wife played a role in the Pujols negotiations, as both she and Pujols' wife have ties to the Kansas City area.
- The Angels didn't investigate rumors that Pujols is older than his listed age. "Somebody starts checking on your age you start wondering, 'Do we really want to have a relationship like this?'", Moreno said.
- The Angels never bid on Carl Crawford during the 2010-11 offseason. Moreno stood by his criticism of Crawford's seven-year/$142MM contract with Boston since "I don't think anybody...was in the vicinity of that offer." In Pujols' case, however, the team felt comfortable signing him to a massive contract since the Halos had lots of new funds coming in via their new TV deal.
- "Still, I don't think in a perfect world we really thought Albert was going to be available," Moreno said. "They just won a championship in St. Louis, he had been there eleven years, and you think they're gonna make a deal."
- Moreno wasn't keen to discuss the firing of former GM Tony Reagins, saying "I just think what happens is over a period of time you don't think you're going in the direction you want to go." Moreno did hint that Reagins was fired due to the combination of the Halos missing the playoffs for the last two seasons and the thus-far disasterous results of team's deal for Vernon Wells.
- Speaking of that deal, Moreno said his team's baseball staff felt Mike Napoli's throwing arm wouldn't hold up for an entire season of catching and he was about to get too expensive for the team's liking through arbitration. Moreno praised Rangers manager Ron Washington's handling of Napoli and also noted "the book's not closed on Vernon, you know."
- The Angels didn't bid on Yu Darvish and Moreno said was never approached by his baseball staff about the Japanese right-hander, guessing it was due to the size of the required posting bid.
The American League East may be the toughest division in baseball, so the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays likely welcomed the news that MLB will expand its playoffs in 2012. In theory, three teams from one division could play in the postseason under the new arrangement. Here are the latest links from the AL East...
- Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Peter Gammons of MLB.com that he gets “tired of hearing the Red Sox are underdogs." As Gammons explains, the Rays could be better in 2012 than they were in ’11.
- Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said he's "pretty certain" the Tampa Bay market can support the team long-term, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Sternberg said he's had encouraging talks with city officials and business leaders about the club.
- After a challenging winter, Sternberg is projecting a "very, very good team this year," Topkin writes. Sternberg approved a payroll increase of approximately 50% for 2012.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington joined WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show and said the decision of whether Jose Iglesias breaks camp with the team will be up to manager Bobby Valentine. "In a perfect world, [Iglesias] would probably get some more time in Triple-A," the GM said (via Jerry Spar).
- Cherington said on WEEI that he isn't worried about Carl Crawford, who will be looking to increase his production after a disappointing 2011.
- Right-handed reliever Chris Carpenter, acquired from the Cubs for Theo Epstein, isn't a lock to make the team, Cherington said. The Red Sox may option him to Triple-A and call him up when a spot opens up.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues discusses some Yankees who fell short of expectations in 2011 and could make up for it in 2012.
The Red Sox ownership group spoke to the media at the team's Spring Training complex this morning, with chairman Tom Werner saying this season "is going to be a new chapter." Here's a recap of their media session, with all source links going to Twitter...
- When asked if he and his partners would consider selling the Red Sox, ownerJohn Henry said, "It's a valid question ... people involved in RedSox partnership, we've made enough money," tweets Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
- Henry didn't sound thrilled about the compensation his team received from the Cubs for Theo Epstein, says Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Henry did say that's how tough negotiations go, calling it a "basic misunderstanding" according to Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.
- Team president Larry Lucchino said the Marco Scutaro trade was "a little bit of both," meaning a baseball move and a financial move. They believe they can get similar production from other players. (Heyman)
- Henry said the luxury tax will be a "bigger issue every year moving forward" and the team has to be "more careful" spending money, according to Heyman and Britton. He noted that other clubs are catching up economically.
- Lucchino said payroll would be upwards of $190MM according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier, adding that the team will have money to make moves within the season.
- "So far, he's done everything we could have hoped," said Werner when asked about new manager Bobby Valentine, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
- Henry backed off his comments about not wanting Carl Crawford from earlier this offseason according to McAdam, saying: "I should have never made those comments."
Here's the latest from the AL East...
- Red Sox owner John Henry e-mailed the Boston Globe today to clarify his comments from last October about not wanting to sign Carl Crawford in the 2010-11 offseason. "At the time I was opposed due to too many lefties in the lineup and particularly in the outfield,” Henry wrote. “My answer was an honest, off-the-cuff response on a radio station to a false assertion that ownership signed him for offseason PR purposes.. This was a baseball decision I ultimately backed.”
- Crawford, for his part, told media today (including Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com) that he wasn't pleased to hear Henry's comments. “I was a little surprised to hear the comments but like I said, it’s unfortunate he feels that way. I just wish those words hadn’t come out," Crawford said.
- Kevin Youkilis isn't worried about his contract situation, he told reporters (including WEEI.com's Alex Speier) today. The Red Sox hold a $13MM option on Youkilis for 2013 that can be bought out for $1MM. "For me, it’s not about a contract year. If I stay healthy and play hard, do all the little things to help the team, I know I can play here,” Youkilis said. “I know if I’m out there starting everyday and we win a World Series....it’s going to be hard for them not to bring me back. I want to make it as hard on them as possible to not bring me back.”
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com looks at how minor league options could impact which pitchers the Orioles keep on their roster this spring. Baltimore has 10 players on its 40-man roster who are out of options, the highest number of any team.
- Toronto's climate played a role in Koji Uehara rejecting a trade to the Blue Jays, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. "The weather is an issue," Uehara said. "I also know how hard it is to compete in that division." Despite the toughness of the AL East, Uehara has reportedly expressed an interest in returning to the Orioles if a trade could be worked out, though he told Sullivan that he would also be happy continuing to pitch for the Rangers.
- To round out the division's teams, here are some items about the Rays and Yankees from earlier today, plus the news that the Yankees have agreed to a deal with Raul Ibanez.
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino appeared on SiriusXM Sports radio today to discuss a handful of topics, including payroll and David Ortiz's impending arbitration hearing. WEEI.com provided a transcript of his quotes, so let's dig in.
- Not surprisingly, Lucchino scoffed at recent criticism that the Sox have been too frugal this offseason: Now, this year, if you want to talk specifically about 2012, we will have the highest payroll in the history of the Boston Red Sox in 2012. Will we eclipse the luxury tax threshold? To be sure, we will — once again. So I think the talk of us not spending needs to be viewed in the context of real facts and in comparisons to real dollars.
- There will be no hard feelings against DH David Ortiz regarding his arbitration hearing, Lucchino said, adding that the sides will "move on" after the hearing barring an unforeseen settlement before then. Check out MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker for details on Ortiz's case.
- Regarding outstanding offers of minor league contracts to Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek: "The decisions are now kind of in their hands as to what they’d like to do in this particular season.”
- Lucchino has no regrets about signing Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142MM contract last offseason: "Don’t take a still photograph of year one of a seven-year deal and use it to conclude that the deal has been a success or been a failure."
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein joined WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show this morning and discussed a number of topics, including the Cubs, the Red Sox and the circumstances that led to his current role in Chicago. Here are some highlights from the interview:
- "There are plenty of resources here," Epstein said, when asked about the Cubs' ability to spend. So far the Cubs have made modest free agent additions led by David DeJesus' $10MM contract, as our Free Agent Tracker shows.
- "We've brought in multiple players in their pre-prime years who have plenty of upside ahead of them," he said of the Cubs' moves so far this offseason.
- Not surprisingly, Epstein said Manny Ramirez isn't a fit for the Cubs.
- Epstein said he and current Red Sox GM Ben Cherington discussed the possibility of Epstein's departure for years. To put last year's off-field issues in context, he said there were periods that were "just as unproductive and contentious" in 2004.
- Though Terry Francona isn't currently an MLB manager, Epstein expects the skipper to land a managerial job as soon as he wants one, whether that occurs next summer or next offseason.
- "You can get in trouble sometimes giving huge four-year deals to closers," Epstein said, after acknowledging that Jonathan Papelbon will be missed in Boston. Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon should help Boston's bullpen recover from the loss of Papelbon, Epstein said.
- Carl Crawford didn't let his athleticism translate into performance during his first year in Boston, but Epstein expects better results in 2012 and beyond. Red Sox owner John Henry wasn't a proponent of the Crawford deal, but Epstein wanted to sign the speedy left fielder.
- Epstein says the Red Sox should obtain compensation for his departure, but he cited Andy MacPhail's move to the Cubs in 1994 and cautioned that historical precedent suggests the Red Sox shouldn't obtain much from Chicago.
AL East updates:
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette expects to make a deal or two tomorrow, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. The moves would likely be trades to obtain pitching, Ghiroli adds (Twitter links).
- The Red Sox have no plans to try to trade Carl Crawford, writes WEEI's Alex Speier.
- GM Ben Cherington and the Red Sox seem content to wait out the pitching market for bargains, says Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- The Red Sox didn't have "substantive conversations" with Erik Bedard before the lefty signed with the Pirates, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says there's a "very select group" of players the team will consider in the Rule 5 draft tomorrow, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. The Jays will only clear a spot on their 40-man roster if they think they have a shot to acquire one of those players (all Twitter links).
- Anthopoulos also said yesterday that he thinks the Blue Jays' ability to boost payroll has been "grossly exaggerated," writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Team president Paul Beeston said the Jays could increase payroll to around $120MM eventually, but that they'd need to start drawing more fans first.
- The Rays are still talking to free agents, but nothing is imminent, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. There may be mutual interest between Johnny Damon and the Rays for a reunion, tweets Newsday's Ken Davidoff.
The latest on the Red Sox...
- Agent Adam Katz confirmed that Yoenis Cespedes will work out for the Red Sox in the Dominican Republic, tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
- Chairman Tom Werner said that the managerial process has not concluded after the team's second interview with Dale Sveum today, tweets Cafardo.
- The Red Sox met with several agents last night, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, including Sam and Seth Levinson of ACES. As our agency database shows, ACES represents free agents Heath Bell, David DeJesus, Ross Gload, Jonny Gomes, Aaron Harang, Raul Ibanez, Jason Marquis, Jose Molina, Jorge Posada, Fernando Rodney, Ramon Santiago, and Javier Vazquez.
- The Red Sox have shown no interest in trading Carl Crawford, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- The Red Sox are narrowing their managerial search, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and one of his sources believes very strongly that Pete Mackanin is no longer a candidate. Still, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters today that his club granted an extension of their window of permission to talk to their bench coach at some point. Dale Sveum is meeting Red Sox management off-site today for a second interview, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- The Red Sox checked in with agent Paul Kinzer of reliever Matt Capps, reports WEEI's Alex Speier. Speier notes that Capps has closing experience but is willing to set up. Capps may fit Boston's desire to avoid multiyear deals for relievers, given his off-year.
- Terry Francona isn't going to try to manage in 2012, he told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. The former Red Sox manager had been excited about interviewing for the Cardinals job, but doesn't think the Cubs position is the right opportunity.
- The Red Sox matched up fairly well with the Diamondbacks a year ago for Justin Upton, GM Kevin Towers told Speier, but "nothing ever really got that close."
The Red Sox introduced Ben Cherington as their executive VP and general manager this afternoon. Cherington says the Red Sox will have a very good team in 2012 and discussed Boston's managerial search and other offseason plans. He also announced that John Lackey will undergo Tommy John surgery. Here are the details:
- Cherington wants a new manager with a strong voice who cares about players and can collaborate with the front office. He says the team will start interviewing candidates soon. The Red Sox have several candidates in mind for first round interviews, but they haven't asked permission to interview any of them yet. Previous managerial experience would be a plus, but it's not necessary.
- Boston's success in terms of free agent signings has "not [been] good enough," according to Cherington.
- Despite Boston's disappointing 2011 season, Cherington says the Red Sox have enough on and off of the field to succeed. "What I'm left with is a conviction that the Red Sox will be the best organization in baseball going forward," he said.
- The Red Sox would like to have David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon back, according to Cherington. They have had some initial dialogue with each player and they expect to continue discussions.
- The Red Sox will look to build pitching depth and could go for buy-low acquisitions.
- Cherington believes Marco Scutaro would be "very coveted" this offseason if he got onto the market. The Red Sox have a $6MM option for Scutaro that they'll likely pick up this offseason ($3MM player option, $1.5MM buyout).
- Cherington says he pushed hard to sign Carl Crawford and believes in him.
- The new GM discussed the importance of having top talent evaluators and vowed that the Red Sox will employ some of the top scouts in the game.
- Boston's farm system is "stronger and deeper than ever" at Double-A and below, Cherington said.
- Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino says the Red Sox hired a team player who is hungry for more success. "There is no one more prepared to take on the role of General Manager of the Red Sox than Ben,” he said. “He will hit the ground running, in full stride, and no one will outwork him.”
- "I've always believed in hybrid baseball executives and Ben is a hybrid baseball executive," Lucchino said.
- The Red Sox will soon announce promotions within their front office. Epstein has not asked Cherington about taking front office members with him to Chicago.
- Cherington is the first person from our list of GM Candidates to land a GM job. Here's my piece on Cherington from August 2011.
- Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein discussed the Cubs and Red Sox at his introductory press conference in Chicago earlier today.
At least one Molina brother has been in six of the past ten World Series, as Jon Heyman points out at SI.com (that includes Yadier, who will play again this year). Heyman also passes along some hot stove notes; here they are:
- Red Sox owner John Henry “threw $60MM into the air,'' by making it clear that he views the Carl Crawford signing as a mistake, according to one baseball person. Henry said on the airwaves of 98.5 the Sports Hub that he was not in favor of signing the left fielder for $142MM.
- One agent says Albert Pujols should look for a six-year, $240MM deal in free agency. It’s hard to imagine anyone, even Pujols, signing for $40MM per year.
- The White Sox are expected to try to keep Mark Buehrle on a two-year deal, according to Heyman. The left-hander profiles as a Type B free agent, as our rankings show.
- Jayson Werth, who played with Ryan Madson in Philadelphia, is trying to sell the free agent closer on the Nationals. Keep in mind that the Nationals already have Drew Storen.
- Zack Greinke told Heyman that he would have accepted a trade to the Rangers last winter, when the Royals were shopping him.