Casey Blake Rumors

Odds & Ends: Dodgers, Torre, Wang, Wright

A night without baseball just doesn't feel right…

  • ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the "legal wrangling" caused by the McCourts' divorce could affect the Dodgers attempt to land a No. 1 starter this offseason. Within the same piece, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus notes that the prospects traded in deals for Casey Blake and George Sherrill have thinned out LA's system, meaning they might not have the ammo to pull off a major trade.
  • Meanwhile, Phil Wood of writes that a source told him they believe Joe Torre will manage the Dodgers for years to come. "When push comes to shove, he won't want to leave," said the source.
  • Tyler Kepner of The NY Times mentions that Chien-Ming Wang isn't sure if the Yankees will tender him a contract this offseason. “Nothing’s sure,” Wang said. Wang has thrown just 137 IP over the last two seasons due to foot and shoulder injuries.
  • Dave Cameron at FanGraphs looks at the David WrightJose Cruz Jr. non-trade, and says that the Blue Jays messed up by not making the deal, but not because Wright developed into an All-Star. He says J.P. Ricciardi did wrong by not getting any return for Cruz Jr. before he left as a free agent in the offseason.

Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Dodgers, DeRosa, Cubs, Managers, General Managers

Ken Rosenthal of has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive right on in…

  • Southpaws Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw are likely to start the first two games of the playoffs for the Dodgers, but Kershaw must recover from his dislocated non-throwing shoulder first. The back-to-back lefties would be a big advantage if LA played the lefthanded hitter heavy Phillies. Rosenthal also mentions that the Cardinals, despite being so righty heavy, have the second lowest team OPS (.675) against lefthanded pitchers in the National League.
  • Hiroki Kuroda would likely start game three for the Dodgers, followed by either Vicente Padilla or Jon Garland. Chad Billinglsey will likely be left out of the rotation.
  • The Cards have put their contract extension talks with Mark DeRosa on hold until the offseason, making it more likely that he'll become a free agent. The deal St. Louis originally proposed was less than the three-year, $17.5MM contract Casey Blake received as a free agent last offseason. DeRosa is a year younger now than Blake was then, but the offseason wrist surgery he is scheduled to have makes the situation cloudy.
  • The Cubs will be open to "anything and everything" this offseason, including trading Milton Bradley and/or Carlos Zambrano. Anything to improve the club, basically. However, perhaps the only way the Cubs could unload Bradley would be to take on another underachieving, overpaid player in return.
  • Zambrano has a full no-trade clause and is owed $54MM over the next three years, but he's still only 28-years-old and still incredibly talented. The free agent market for starting pitching is thin, which may work in Chicago's favor. Big Z might be appealing at the right price.
  • Ken Macha will likely remain with the Brewers, but at least four other managers are in danger of being fired. The list starts with Cecil Cooper of the Astros, and also includes Jim Riggleman of the Nationals, Dave Trembley of the Orioles, and Eric Wedge of the Indians.
  • Among general managers, Ned Colletti of the Dodgers, Brian Sabean of the Giants, and Dan O'Dowd of the Rockies are all without contracts for next year, and two of them are going to the postseason. The only GM that appears to be in jeopardy of losing his job is J.P. Ricciardi of the Blue Jays.

Gammons’ Latest: Iglesias, Magglio, Valentine

In his latest blog post at ESPN, Peter Gammons writes that the NL West has quietly become very competitive thanks to three California pitcher's parks that make it such a pitching dominated division. Through the help of scouts and team executives, he points out all the great young talent in the division, highlighted by the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Pablo Sandoval, Troy Tulowitzki, and Mark Reynolds.

Here's a roundup of Gammons' rumors…

  • Gammons jokes that Dodgers GM Ned Colletti "could be arrested for shoplifting," because in the last two seasons he's acquired Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, George Sherrill, Jon Garland, Jim Thome, Doug Mientkiewicz, Ronnie Belliard, and Vicente Padilla while paying them approximately $2.7MM combined.
  • The Red Sox will get their first look at Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias, who they signed for $8.5MM back in July, in the Arizona Fall League. Gammons spoke to an NL GM who said he would have given Iglesias $12MM if his team could afford it, because "Our scouts say he's the best defensive shortstop they've ever seen."
  • If you're interested, you can see the full Arizona Fall League rosters here.
  • Jim Leyland was never told anything about benching Magglio Ordonez so his $18MM option in 2010 wouldn't vest. "He's going to make it," Leyland says. "So anyone who said otherwise has egg on his face. Dave Dombrowski has never even mentioned the vesting option." Ordonez needs just 35 more plate appearances this season to lock in the option.
  • Bobby Valentine's name was mentioned by Nationals' ownership during every interview they hosted while searching for a permanent GM, so he might be in the mix for their managerial job.

Wigginton Too Pricey For Twins?

According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

The Twins like Ty Wigginton but believe he’s looking for a bigger contract than the three-year, $17.5 million deal the Los Angeles Dodgers gave Casey Blake. So the Twins have had little to no dialogue with Wigginton’s agent, Dan Lozano.

I had Wigginton pegged for two years and $12MM or so, but he is four years younger than Blake and outhit him in 2008 (though he had 172 fewer plate appearances and was largely aided by Minute Maid Park).  If Wiggy can really get a better contract than Blake, it would’ve made sense for the Astros to tender him a contract and then trade him.

Christensen adds that the Twins still have hope for acquiring Mark DeRosa, but talks for Garrett Atkins and Adrian Beltre hit dead ends.  Also, Jon Heyman tosses the Twins into the mix for Michael YoungWe’d previously heard about the Mets, Angels, Dodgers, and Royals discussing him.  Heyman did not find evidence talks for Young got serious with any team, though, and he wonders if Young would approve a trade to Minnesota.

In other Twins news, Christensen notes that the Twins expressed interest in free agent reliever Brandon Lyon, who seems to be waiting until Brian Fuentes signs.

Dodgers Sign Casey Blake

8:55pm: There’s also a club option for a fourth year.

7:51pm: Tony Jackson says it’s $17.5MM over three years for Blake.

TUESDAY, 12:28pm: ESPN’s Jayson Stark says the Dodgers have reached an agreement with Blake for three years and slightly more than $17.1MM.  The Twins apparently offered two years, $14MM.  He adds that Mark Loretta‘s deal is for one year and $1.25MM.

MONDAY, 11:09pm: Jackson has Colletti saying there’s no agreement in place, and they’ll meet again with Blake’s agent Tuesday.  Ken Rosenthal says a three-year, $17MM deal is close.

9:47pm: Jayson Stark says the Dodgers are inching toward a Blake deal, but only have two guaranteed years on the table.

8:05pm: Jackson now says a three-year, $17MM deal with Blake could be announced tonight.

7:09pm: Tony Jackson says the Dodgers are not close to signing Blake, though Colletti sounds more hopeful.  Dylan Hernandez says the Dodgers offered Blake three years at nearly $6MM per, and could get an answer tonight.

4:40pm: Colletti hinted to’s Ken Gurnick that his offer for Blake is for three years.  Also, second baseman Orlando Hudson is apparently not on the Dodgers’ radar.

3:10pm: Yahoo’s Tim Brown says the Dodgers raised their offer to three years and are nearing an agreement with Blake.

12:55pm: According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are waiting to hear back from Casey Blake about a recent offer.  They should hear his decision today.  Blake is reportedly seeking three guaranteed years.

Manny, Lowe, Blake Decline Arb Offers

11:31pm: Type A free agents Manny Ramirez and Derek Lowe also declined arbitration, according to Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News.  The Dodgers will get two picks for each if they sign elsewhere.

10:32pm: According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Type B free agent Casey Blake turned down the Dodgers’ offer of arbitration as expected.  The Dodgers stand to gain a draft pick if he signs elsewhere.  Blake received a few two-year offers but aims for three.

Stark’s Latest: Dye, Greinke, Teixeira

Jayson Stark’s Winter Meetings preview is up; let’s take a look.

  • Stark sees "just about zero chance" the Padres trade Jake Peavy at the Meetings.  The Cubs will need at least a few weeks to settle their ownership situation before they can make a trade and take on his contract.  Plus, a Stark source says it makes sense for the Padres to wait until the top free agent starters are off the board.
  • The Braves, Reds, Royals, Rays, and possibly Mets have shown interest in Jermaine Dye.  Dye played for the Royals from 1997-2001 before he was traded for Neifi Perez.  The White Sox are willing to trade Paul Konerko and Jim Thome too.
  • The Mariners would listen on "pretty much anybody."  But given the surplus of closers on the market, it seems unlikely that Jack Zduriencik will be bowled over with an offer for J.J. Putz.
  • The Royals really don’t want to trade Zack Greinke, but they’ll at least discuss him.  The price would be massive.  It doesn’t look like they want to trade David DeJesus or Mark Teahen either, but Jose Guillen can be had.
  • The Marlins have been pushing Jorge Cantu over Jeremy Hermida, though Hermida’s drawn plenty of interest.  Nick Cafardo named the Rays, Reds, and Giants earlier today.
  • The Angels figure to attach a two or three-day deadline to their eventual Mark Teixeira offer.
  • Stark sees Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake as the two free agents most likely to sign this week.  Most execs Stark surveyed see Teixeira and Manny Ramirez signing in January.

Thin Market for Furcal

3:07pm: There’s a great debate going on in the comments about whether the Twins could swoop in and make an offer to Furcal now that they’ve pulled out of negotiations with Casey Blake. I do wonder if word that the A’s and Furcal couldn’t come to terms precipitated the sudden split between the Twins and Blake. Certainly, Tim saw a good fit between the Twins and Furcal back in October, and Furcal is four years younger than Blake — but still, I think Furcal’s monetary demands are pretty steep. No official Twins-Furcal rumors yet, but if anything comes in in the next couple of hours I’ll update this post again.

As reported here yesterday, after shortstop Furcal rejected the A’s offer of 4 years, $35-40MM, the A’s in turn declined to go any further with Furcal.

2:13pm: Buster Olney says that the market for Rafael Furcal "never really developed; if you were to draw up a list of five players who have been hurt by the economic slowdown, Furcal might be somewhere near the top of the list." Olney breaks down how Furcal’s suitors all ended up looking elsewhere, and says the A’s biggest need is veteran starting pitching. Furcal is "the perfect player for some big-money contender to snag for a big-money, short-term deal, but such an offer may not emerge for some time."

Meanwhile, Athletics Nation agrees that "the only person who believes there is a big market for Rafael Furcal appears to be Furcal" and says A’s GM Billy Beane is now the one holding all the cards in that (apparently bilateral) negotiation.

Chris Haft at lists Oakland’s other options at short.

Sarah Green writes for UmpBump and the Boston Metro.

Stark’s Latest: Burnett, Cantu, Lowe, Furcal

Jayson Stark’s got a heaping helping of hot stove updates in his most recent blog post at

  • The Braves’ most recent offer makes them the frontrunners for A.J. Burnett, says Stark.
  • We’re still waiting for another team to come close to the Yankees’ offer for C.C. Sabathia. Stark suggests Sabathia may make up his mind by next week.  He also says there’s "increasing buzz about the Yankees’ interest in Ben Sheets."
  • The White Sox appear to have expressed some interest in Jorge Cantu.
  • Stark doesn’t think the Phillies stand a very good chance of signing Derek Lowe.
  • Only the Dodgers and A’s, and perhaps the Orioles, remain interested in Rafael Furcal.
  • If the Dodgers end up missing on Furcal and Casey Blake, their focus might shift to names like Ty Wigginton and Adrian Beltre.

Dodgers Starting With Infield

More from Ken Rosenthal.  The FOX hot stove guru says the Dodgers plan to sort out their infield before worrying about starting pitching.  They can use Blake DeWitt at second or third, but that still leaves them two infielders short.

Casey Blake is the obvious free agent fit at the hot corner; maybe the Dodgers will stretch and give him that third year.  If they miss out on Blake they could always go for Joe Crede.  It doesn’t sound like Ned Colletti plans to sign any of the top three free agent shortstops, while talks have stalled for Jack Wilson.  Just wondering, how about a trade for Miguel Tejada or Jason Bartlett?

Rosenthal sees plenty of starting pitching options for the Dodgers, tossing out names like Randy Wolf and Randy Johnson.  Meanwhile Tom Krasovic says the Dodgers are gathering information on Johnson, Andy Pettitte, and Trevor HoffmanKen Gurnick adds Russ Springer to the mix.  The Dodgers are searching for a veteran who can help the team’s young pitchers.

Rosenthal considers re-signing Manny Ramirez a longshot, meaning the Dodgers may have to turn to another free agent like Adam Dunn to replace his OBP and power.