Carl Pavano Rumors
Here's the latest on the Twins, courtesy of ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson...
- "No. Obviously I love playing here. I love the city. I love the people. Hopefully it doesn't become a distraction," said Justin Morneau when asked if the team has approached his agent about an extension. The slugger can become a free agent next offseason, and he said he hopes to remain with the Twins through 2013.
- The Twins have touched base with approximately 20 free agent pitchers so far, though a source downplayed their interest in a reunion with Francisco Liriano.
- "Look for an active (Winter Meetings)," said one of Wolfson's sources. There's a belief Denard Span could be traded.
- Carl Pavano's representatives will meet with the Twins during the Winter Meetings in Nashville next week. The right-hander's shoulder was cleared by doctors recently.
- The Twins are looking for a third baseman. They could shift Trevor Plouffe to the outfield or find a left-handed hitting platoon partner.
- Although criticism is warranted, the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster was a legitimate baseball trade because Miami received plenty of young, high-end talent in return.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers was never really in the hunt for Jose Reyes, and he has yet to be overwhelmed with an offer for Justin Upton.
- The Red Sox are more likely to deal Jarrod Saltalamacchia than Ryan Lavarnway in the wake of the David Ross signing, but only if they get a good offer.
- Both the Red Sox and Diamondbacks are interested in Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians while Boston also has some interest in Stephen Drew.
- Carl Pavano was given a clean bill of health in September after missing most of the season with a shoulder problem. His agent Dave Pepe has received a few preliminary calls, and Pavano could sign a minor league deal.
- Most executives love Dan Haren but would not be comfortable offering more than two years given concerns about his back. Most prefer a one-year deal with an option.
- Eight teams, including the Red Sox, have interest in right-hander Jason Grilli according to his agent Gary Sheffield. They have three offers at the moment but are not in a hurry to sign.
- The Indians are looking at Kevin Youkilis at first base while the Phillies and Dodgers like him at third. He's a back-burner option for Los Angeles and although Towers made a call, the Diamondbacks likely won't be involved.
Twins interim general manager Terry Ryan spoke to Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (in two separate pieces) about the Twins' season, offseason plans and his own future with the team. Here are some of the highlights...
- Ryan doesn't plan to fire Ron Gardenhire and says that he wouldn't make any changes to the coaching staff without Gardenhire's approval. "I don't think either one of us should independently make that call. I wouldn't want to force-feed a coach on a manager. That never works in a clubhouse," Ryan said. Souhan notes that Ryan didn't fire former Twins manager Tom Kelly even after Kelly had presided over eight consecutive losing seasons.
- The Twins' biggest offseason need is starting pitching, though Ryan described the free agent pitching market as "a little lean." The club isn't likely to get into a bidding war over big name free agent starters, though Ryan said the team would explore all avenues to improve their pitching, including possibly re-signing Carl Pavano and Scott Baker. The Twins have a $9.5MM team option on Baker for 2013 but I would think the team would decline that option and try to re-sign Baker on a new, smaller deal.
- Ryan is satisfied with the team's payroll (slightly over $100MM in 2012) and said finances weren't to blame for the last two seasons. "This one isn’t payroll-oriented at all. This is just making good baseball decisions," Ryan said.
- Justin Morneau has been the subject of trade rumors this year but Ryan sees the former MVP as part of next year's Twins. "I think his numbers are going to return. I think he's a core guy. He's a former MVP who's what, 31? He's one of the most important people in this organization, no doubt," Ryan said.
- In regards to his future as the Twins' GM, Ryan said he would make a decision after the season, though Souhan noted that Ryan "sounds as if he is determined to keep the job, even if he won't yet admit it." Twins owner Jim Pohlad said earlier this week that he would like Ryan to remain as GM and Ryan is free to remove the 'interim' tag from his job whenever he wishes.
The Indians are focused on trade candidates who are under team control beyond 2012, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). This means players such as Shane Victorino aren’t ideal targets for Cleveland. Here are more links from around MLB for Thursday afternoon...
- Marco Scutaro is the most likely Rockies player to be dealt this month, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. The Nationals and Rays are among the teams watching Scutaro, Renck notes.
- The Twins are hoping Carl Pavano and Matt Capps get healthy and pitch well in August so they can pass the pitchers through waivers and consider trading them, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter).
- The Orioles, who continue looking for a third baseman, would have "tried hard" to acquire Placido Polanco if the Phillies hadn't placed him on the disabled list, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's recap...
- Don't be surprised if the Twins consider trading Justin Morneau. The first baseman is owed $14MM both this season and next, and Minnesota likely needs the position for Joe Mauer long-term. Denard Span, Matt Capps, and Carl Pavano could also be on the block, but Morneau offers hard-to-find power. He has a no-trade clause but the extent is unknown.
- The Phillies hold a $5MM option for 2013 on catcher Carlos Ruiz and an extension is warranted, but at 33 years old, Chooch is three years older than Yadier Molina and four years older than Miguel Montero. They aren't contract comparables.
- This year's crop of free agent center fielders stand to benefit from Adam Jones' new six-year, $88.5MM extension, but age will again be a factor. B.J. Upton will be 28 next season and is two years younger than Michael Bourn and four years younger than Shane Victorino. All three will hit the open market after the season.
- Josh Hamilton is unlikely to sign a contract extension with the Rangers, and the lack of comparable players (both on and off the field) make him even more likely to hit the open market. It's possible the only way to determine his actual value is to let other teams bid for his services as a free agent.
Some NL West notes for Sunday evening..
- More on Ian Stewart from Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post as the 26-year-old says that he's willing to take a significant pay cut to stay with Colorado next season. Stewart says that the club has made no indication of the future outside of telling him to be ready for Spring Training.
- The Rockies would "love" to sign Michael Cuddyer this winter, but Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post thinks they need to focus their offseason spending on pitching rather than offense, given the structure of the NL West. Renck says the club won't get C.J. Wilson, but should "relentlessly" pursue Wandy Rodriguez in a trade, and also do the same with Matt Garza and Carl Pavano. Colorado was Pavano's second choice last offseason after re-signing with the Twins, says Renck.
- Renck's colleague Jim Armstrong tweets that Ian Stewart isn't looking for a change of scenery and will report to the Instructional League on September 27.
- Padres 2008 second rounder James Darnell will miss the Arizona Fall League and undergo surgery to clean up his labrum, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times.
- Bill Neukom's departure from the Giants came down to money and management style, according to Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- In a Q&A with Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffery KNBR Radio, Larry Baer tells fans that the Giants mission won't change much. Baer reminds that his role isn't to evaluate player mechanics, but to make sure that the organization has the funding to field the best team they can to win.
- Earlier today, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti talked about the upcoming offseason.
Links for Wednesday, before Carl Pavano faces some former teammates in the Bronx...
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed to Spencer Fordin of MLB.com that the Yankees were considering Pavano last offseason, despite his injury-riddled stint with the club from 2005-08. "He's resurrected his career," Girardi said. "He's pitched well for the Twins, and he's given them innings. When we've faced him in the playoffs, he's pitched well. The guy knows how to pitch. The big thing for Carl is he's been healthy."
- Neither the Yankees front office nor Girardi seems to assume Jorge Posada will re-sign in New York after the season, when his contract expires, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Posada, who turns 40 in August, does not want to leave and intends to produce and force the Yankees’ hand.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff looks back at the Mets' recent GMs and managers and says the organization hasn't come close to maximizing its resources because of ineffective leaders. Sandy Alderson is the Mets' best hire since Frank Cashen, according to Davidoff.
- MLBTR's Howard Megdal ranked Cashen as the best GM in Mets franchise history during the offseason.
Seven years ago today, the Yankees signed Eduardo Nunez as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Now 23, Nunez is in the mix to be New York's utility infielder in 2011 after hitting .280/.321/.360 with more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) in his brief big league debut last season (53 PA).
Here are some more notes that have to do with the Yanks and their fellow AL East clubs...
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Yankees "have told their scouts to bear down on several teams they think could have starters available" in a trade this summer. The teams they are targeting include the Braves, Angels, A's, White Sox, and Cardinals according to Sherman.
- Jayson Werth told SI.com's Jon Heyman that he had a "great" meeting with the Red Sox earlier this offseason, after which he figured they would offer six years (Twitter link). They only offered five, so he ended up with the Nationals.
- Carl Pavano spoke to Kelsie Smith of The Pioneer Press about being pursued by the Yankees this offseason. "I don't think [the past] would be a hindrance, but there would have definitely been obstacles," said Pavano. "I'm not naïve enough to think that there wouldn't have been things I would have had to overcome, especially the trust of the fans and maybe some of the guys that were there. That's reality."
- Richard Griffin of The Toronto Star notes (on Twitter) that four of the Blue Jays' ten highest paid players are former closers: Jason Frasor, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, and Octavio Dotel.
- When asked about the payroll disparity between his Rays and other teams in the division, Joe Maddon told Ken Davidoff of Newsday that he's "never seen a dollar bill throw a strike, or hit a homer, or whatever." (Twitter link)
- In today's blog post (Insider req'd), ESPN's Buster Olney writes about the pressure both the Cardinals and Cubs will be under if Albert Pujols hits the open market. He likens Chicago's situation to what the Knicks and Cavaliers faced during last year's LeBron James madness.
- Carl Crawford told WEEI.com's Dennis & Callahan that the Yankees never made him an offer this offseason, and that he "didn't want to be somebody's backup plan." New York met with Crawford during the winter meetings.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman heard that the Pirates offered Carl Pavano two years and $13MM while the Yankees offered one-year and $9.75MM with incentives (Twitter link). Pavano eventually rejoined the Twins for two years and $16.5MM.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears "rumblings" that certain big market teams want to "drop" the Athletics and Rays, even though there's little chance it actually happens. Contraction doesn't appear to be on the horizon given revenue streams, and as Rosenthal notes, the player's union would consider the elimation of 50 jobs an "act of war."
- In a separate article, Rosenthal explores the domino effect Wainwright's injury may have on the Cardinals.
- Richard Sandomir and Ken Belson of The New York Times report that "a variety of proposals are surfacing that suggest that investors want more than the Mets are offering." The Wilpons are looking to sell about 25% of the team in the wake of the Madoff scandal, but not controlling interest.
- Over at RotoAuthority, Tim Dierkes ranks the top fantasy outfielders.
Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony recently sat down for a chat with Jesse Lund from Twinkie Town to discuss a variety of topics. Let's recap the hot stove talk...
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka first popped up on the team's radar after Antony mentioned to his agent that the team was looking to get more athletic on the infield. This was long before they decided to trade J.J. Hardy.
- The Twins believe Nishioka is a good player, but they understand there might be a bit of a transition period. Not just for the move to MLB, but the move to the United States. They've hired an interpreter for Nishioka, and don't believe the additional Japanese media will be an issue in the clubhouse.
- The three-year, $9MM contract Nishioka signed was "exactly what we pretty much anticipated and were willing to give." They were trying to add speed and athleticism to the lineup, but no one on the free agent market jumped out at them, hence the pursuit of Nishioka.
- Hardy was expected to make $5MM+ in 2011 (he eventually signed for $5.85MM), and the team "just decided that we wanted to put that money into other areas." Carl Pavano, Jim Thome, and most of the bullpen were free agents, so they had to prioritize. "Trying to fit all those guys into a budget was going to be impossible."
- The Twins had conversations with other teams about Hardy, but there were never any real offers. The trade with Baltimore was "by far [their] best opportunity to make a deal." It became apparent that Brendan Harris wasn't a fit anymore, hence his inclusion in the trade.
- Antony says the Twins like Rule 5 Draft pick Scott Diamond in long relief, and Dusty Hughes' success against Minnesota last year played a role in claiming him off waivers.
- Although they would have liked to retain Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, and Brian Fuentes, the Twins just "couldn't compete" with the multyear offers they were receiving as free agents.
- Thome decided that Minnesota was where he wanted to be after talking with his family, and the money didn't appear to be much of an issue.
- Antony expected Pavano to get two or three years at $10-11MM per season, and he knows the Brewers had some interest in the right-hander. Pavano's agent basically told the Twins he wanted to play there, and he wasn't a guy that was "chasing the last dollar."
- Rumors of Francisco Liriano being available in a trade were just that, rumors. As far as a multiyear deal with the lefty, Antony said there "can be many reasons why you don't consummate a multiyear deal, and sometimes the player doesn't want to, sometimes the club doesn't want to, sometimes you just don't agree on numbers, or whatever. So we're not going to talk about any of our negotiations with that or anything else, but he was a big part of our rotation. We're not talking to anybody right now on Francisco Liriano."
- The team is at the "far reaches" of where they can go with payroll, so they tried to maintain flexibility for 2012 by not doing any multiyears deals this offseason (aside from Pavano).
- "If the right deal arises and we can improve our ballclub, we could look at it from that point of view," said Antony, regarding a potential trade involving one of the team's excess starting pitchers. "I don't think we'd trade away one of our starting pitchers for a middle reliever or something. It would have to be something that would make sense for us. And a trade isn't even the most likely scenario, it's a possible scenario."