Carlos Beltran Rumors
MLBTradeRumors readers will be sure to note that longtime MLBTR writer Mike Axisa has become the newest contributor to the Eye on Baseball blog at CBSSports.com. Congrats to Mike, who started things off today with a look at the Yankees’ core pieces. As always, Mike’s latest piece is worth your time. Mike’s by-line won’t be appearing at MLBTR anymore, but Zach Links has become a full-time writer and he’ll be taking over the site’s Baseball Blogs Weigh In feature from now on. You can reach Zach here with your submissions: ZachBBWI@gmail.com.
Here are some links from around MLB...
- Carlos Beltran's preference is to return to the Cardinals following the 2013 season, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. However, the presence of Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and top prospect Oscar Taveras might leave Beltran without a spot on St. Louis' roster.
- In a piece at River Ave. Blues, Mike previews a potential extension for Yankees right-hander David Robertson, suggesting a three-year, $15MM deal could work for both sides. That said, cost certainty isn't a huge priority for the Yankees, so "working out a multi-year contract with Robertson probably isn’t worth the hassle" from the standpoint of the club.
- The Marlins are hearing from the agents for several veteran free agents who would love to play in Miami, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Freddy Garcia and Bobby Abreu are among the players who would like to join the Marlins, Jackson writes.
- Agent Scott Boras expects increased interest in free agent right-hander Jose Valverde now that Rafael Soriano has signed with the Nationals, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. The Tigers, Valverde's most recent team, seem confident in the ability of 22-year-old Bruce Rondon.
Cardinals legend Stan Musial died on the weekend at the age of 92, and the seven-time batting champion will be remembered as one of the best hitters of all-time. Here are some notes about the present-day Cardinals as they prepare for the 2013 season...
- As Carlos Beltran enters the final season of his two-year contract, he’d like to know if he’s part of the club’s long-term plans, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. However, Beltran won’t try to accelerate talks unless the Cardinals want to do the same. “They don't really have to come to me, explain it to me,” Beltran said. “It depends how this year will go. We'll see what happens. I really love playing here.” Beltran will earn $13MM in 2013 before hitting free agency next offseason.
- David Freese said he has decided not to discuss his contract talks publicly, Goold reports. The arbitration eligible third baseman asked for $3.75MM with the Cardinals countering at $2.4MM. He acknowledged that he’s aware of talks between the team and his agent, adding that he’d like to reach an agreement if possible. "If you can get it done, the quicker the better." CAA represents Freese, who’s arb eligible for the first time this winter.
The Cardinals have taken homefield advantage in the NLCS, as they will host the next three games against the Giants beginning with Wednesday's Game Three. Kyle Lohse will start for the Cards against Giants ace Matt Cain, a matchup that is also tentatively lined up for a possible seventh game between the two clubs. Here's the latest from St. Louis...
- Dan Lozano, Carlos Beltran's agent, says he kept his client "informed step by step" of negotiations with the Giants last winter, reports John Shea and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "The facts are, they never made us an offer, and we never talked money or years," Lozano said. "They put us in a holding pattern until they knew if they were going to pull off the [Angel Pagan] trade or not." Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans told Shea yesterday that the team had several conversations with Lozano about Beltran last offseason, discussing contract details but without making a formal offer.
- Lance Berkman won't make a decision about his playing future until February, reports B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com (Twitter link). Berkman said he'll listen to offers from other teams but is looking to play for a contender and for a decent salary: "If it's Seattle for $500K, then no." The veteran seemed to be hinting at retirement earlier this season and already some post-career plans lined up as a student and assistant baseball coach at Rice University.
- In recent years, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak tells MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince that he has put more focus on personal character when acquiring new players. "Back in 2010, we really felt we had to change the makeup of our clubhouse," Mozeliak said. "We brought in guys like [Ryan] Theriot, [Gerald] Laird, Berkman. It just brought a level of professionalism and fun to our clubhouse....When you're young in this job, the first thing you're looking at is talent first. Then you realize it's got to be a tight-knit group for long-term success."
- Seventeen of the 25 players on the Cards' postseason roster were fully developed within the team's own minor league system, a testament to the Cardinals' minor league development process, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. "For us it's the way we can have sustained success," Mozeliak said. "Strategically, we understood years ago that we had to produce players internally to be successful. That's not to say that we won't go to the free-agent market and that we can't augment that way, but it does not have to be our oxygen to survive."
- Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that the team had approximately a dozen offseason conversations with Carlos Beltran's agent, Dan Lozano. That's a stark contrast from Beltran's statements, who said the two sides never talked. Shea speculates that Lozano didn't convey any of the communication to Beltran, who is of course, squaring off against his former teammates in the NLCS.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a rundown of 10 minor league deals that reaped significant Major League benefits, including Gregor Blanco, Brandon Moss and Quintin Berry.
- Mets 2011 draftee Bradley Marquez will undergo surgery on his left knee after sustaining an injury playing football at Texas Tech, writes ESPN's Adam Rubin. The Mets allowed Marquez to continue playing football in order to facilitate the signing of their 11th-round selection.
- Alex Rodriguez may be in the midst of a disappointing October, but at least he has a long-term contract in place. Robinson Cano, an offseason extension candidate, may have diminished his bargaining power by hitting poorly in the postseason, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Plus, Rodriguez's struggles probably won't make the Yankees over-eager to spend a comparable amount on another struggling player.
- The Nationals are set at every infield position but first base heading into the offseason, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes. Ian Desmond could be in line for an extension this offseason, and Kilgore suggests a six-year, $45MM contract could work for both sides. It sounds as though there's a good chance Adam LaRoche will re-sign in Washington, even if he declines his side of the mutual option on his contract.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean said coaches Ron Wotus and Dave Righetti would be excellent managers given the opportunity, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). Wotus is the Giants' bench coach and and Righetti is the team's pitching coach.
Some links pertaining to MLB's two eastern divisions as Prince Fielder is crowned Home Run Derby champion for the second time...
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes that Jonathan Papelbon says he and his teammates understand the business side of the game, but that trading Cole Hamels would still not go over well in their clubhouse.
- Carlos Beltran told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca and other reporters that the Blue Jays showed interest in him this offseason, but never made a formal contract offer. Beltran said the Indians and Rays were also interested, but most AL clubs wanted him to spend significant time at DH, and he wanted to play in the field regularly. According to Beltran, he would have considered the Giants, but they never called.
- The Mets are open to adding veteran pieces at the trade deadline this year to strengthen the club, but they won't be trading top prospects like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman offers speculative lists of relievers and catchers who could interest GM Sandy Alderson.
- Heyman also writes that the Braves are not currently in extension talks with Michael Bourn, and that Bourn will likely be pursued by the Giants this winter when he hits free agency.
The Nationals reinstated Michael Morse from the disabled list today in a move that should help the team score a few more runs. Morse hit 31 homers and posted a .910 OPS last year, so he should help a Nationals offense that ranks 13th out of the 16 NL teams in scoring. Here are today's links...
- Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reconstructs the trade that sent Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for Zack Wheeler in a must-read piece that includes the recollections of the baseball people who helped shape the deal.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests the Giants are more likely to add bullpen or bench help than make a blockbuster move this summer (via Sulia).
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto reflected on the season's first two months with Barry Bloom of MLB.com.
- Edgar Mercedes was arrested in the Dominican Republic on charges of smuggling Cuban players into the D.R., Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. However, a Dominican judge released Mercedes from jail without charges, Listin Diario reports (via Badler). Mercedes is a prominent trainer who represented players such as Yoenis Cespedes.
- The Pirates announced that they've activated Juan Cruz from the restricted list. They placed the right-hander on the restricted list earlier in the week.
The Cardinals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over the Cubs this afternoon. Yadier Molina was the hero for St. Louis, delivering a walkoff RBI single to cinch the victory. Here's the latest from around the NL Central...
- Theo Epstein was hesitant to make the trade that brought Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs since Epstein didn't want to give up Andrew Cashner, reports Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago. It was Cubs GM Jed Hoyer who "aggressively pushed" for the deal. Levine covers a number of different Cubs (and White Sox) topics in this online chat with readers.
- The Pirates aren't likely to make a trade to address their hitting problems, GM Neal Huntington told reporters (including Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). “There are very, very few trades of substance made in May and there are few trades of substance made in June, so our solutions are going to have to come internally unless we’re willing to be less than intelligent and dramatically overpay. That’s just the way it is," Huntington said. “We’re certainly looking externally, but the extra wild card has made it that much more of a challenge. There are fewer sellers out there, and we’re going to have to be creative.”
- ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) has released his first 2012 mock draft and he projects the Astros to take Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first overall pick. "The general feeling is that they'll take the college arm over the higher-upside, higher-risk outfielder, Byron Buxton," Law writes, though he notes that Houston's decision could also be determined by which player is willing to sign for the lowest price beneath the $7.2MM slot figure for the first pick.
- Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal's hot starts have fueled the Cardinals' big offensive numbers, writes Scott Miller for CBS Sports.
It was on this day in 1956 that Frank Robinson hit his first Major League home run, en route to 586 career homers and a legacy as one of baseball's all-time greats. Today, the Orioles are honoring Robinson with a statue at Camden Yards that will be unveiled before tonight's game with the A's.
Some notes from around the Majors...
- The Reds have made it a priority to establish a strong bond with their fans -- and hopefully increase attendance -- by retaining popular players like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, explains Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- Former Expos/Nationals closer Chad Cordero told reporters, including Bill Ladson of MLB.com, that he'd like to make a comeback next season (Twitter link).
- Delmon Young could be activated from the Tigers' restricted list by Tuesday or possibly even Monday night depending on the outcome of his evaluation by a counselor on Monday, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters, including Chris Iott of MLive.com. If Young is judged to require treatment for anger management and/or alcohol abuse, however, he would be sidelined for an indeterminate amount of time.
- Bobby Valentine told reporters (including WEEI.com's Rob Bradford) that the Red Sox are considering using Aaron Cook as a reliever. Cook can opt out of his contract if he is not called up to Boston's Major League roster by May 1 and the Sox have no clear spot for Cook in the rotation. Cook has made just one relief appearance in the last eight seasons but recently said he's open to the idea.
- There's no language in Cook's contract that would preclude a trade, notes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, although he adds there's no reason to think the Red Sox would want to do that (via Twitter).
- The sale of the Dodgers to the Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten/Mark Walter ownership group is expected to be closed by Monday, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
- "This is a massive decision gone wrong right now," Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews in regards to the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero deal and Pineda's subsequent season-ending shoulder injury. "So all scrutiny is fair....Our fans are right to be upset about this. I'm devastated by it," Cashman said.
- Besides the Cardinals, Carlos Beltran said the Indians pursued him the hardest in the offseason, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). Beltran said he ultimately chose to sign with St. Louis because he wanted to play for the World Series champions and remain in the National League.
- The Brewers have transferred Chris Narveson to the 60-day DL and called up reliever Vinnie Chulk to take Narveson's spot on the 40-man roster, the team announced via Twitter. Mike McClendon was optioned to Triple-A in another corresponding move. Narveson will undergo shoulder surgery on Tuesday that will sideline him for the rest of the 2012 season.
MLBTR's Dan Mennella contributed to this post.
It was on this day in 2000 that six Boston pitchers (including starter Pedro Martinez) combined to throw a perfect game against the Blue Jays in a Spring Training matchup. While perfect games in the spring obviously aren't nearly as prestigious as those during the regular season, it was still an opportunity for Martinez to finally be involved in a recognized perfecto. Martinez threw nine perfect innings against the Padres on June 3, 1995 but his performance isn't considered a perfect game by MLB rules since (shades of Harvey Haddix) the 0-0 game went into extra innings and Martinez allowed a hit to the first batter of the 10th inning.
Here's the latest from Fenway....
- The Red Sox have "their radar up on Roy Oswalt," writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe as part of a reader mailbag. Carfardo thinks if Oswalt wants to pitch for Boston, the club will sign him. Oswalt was reportedly holding out for a team closer to his Mississippi home but recently said he's willing to pitch anywhere, though perhaps not until midseason. Also in Cafardo's piece, he says the Sox aren't going to make a move for a pitcher until they see what they have in Daniel Bard and internal fifth starter candidates like Felix Doubront.
- Scouts from the Red Sox and Orioles have joined the contingent of scouts at Joe Blanton's spring starts, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The Phillies are reportedly willing to pay up to $2MM of Blanton's $8MM salary as part of a trade, but Boston makes another move, even $6MM might be too much for the Sox, who are trying to keep payroll down to avoid a big luxury tax hit.
- Carlos Beltran was interested in joining the Red Sox this winter, reports Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, but ultimately signed with the Cardinals since Boston's focus was on working out a deal with David Ortiz. "We talked a little bit, and they had interest," Beltran said. "They were trying to get something done first with David. At the end of the day, I wasn't going to wait until they got that done." As MacPherson points out, it may have been a moot point since the Sox wouldn't have been able to afford Beltran once Ortiz accepted salary arbitration.
On this day in 2005, Rick Ankiel of the Cardinals collected a base hit in his first Grapefruit League game as a position player after beginning his career as a pitcher. He'd later make it back to the Majors in 2007. On with a few links from MLB's Central divisions ...
- Carlos Beltran drew interest from several teams this offseason but ultimately signed with the Cardinals because he wanted to play for a winning team with a grass home ballpark, and because the Redbirds offered him a no-trade clause, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Beltran was conflicted as to which team to sign with, writes Goold, but he ultimately settled on the Cards when his wife urged him to go wherever he'd be happy.
- Indians utility man Jose Lopez is impressing so far in camp and likes his odds of making the big league roster out of Spring Training, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Lopez signed a minor league deal with the Tribe this offseason and had offers from other teams: "A couple teams asked me to sign with them," Lopez said. "Cleveland had more opportunity. ... They're giving me a chance, and now I'm fighting for a spot."
- The Astros have two players in camp under the scrutiny of being a Rule 5 picks in Marwin Gonzalez and Rhiner Cruz, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The chances of both players lasting on Houston's 25-man roster all season is pretty slim, something GM Jeff Luhnow touched on: "You lose a lot of flexibility by keeping the Rule 5 guys and that's something you have to put into the equation. ... To keep two is something very few teams are able to do."