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Chase Headley Rumors
The Yankees would like to re-sign Chase Headley, but they refuse to go overboard in order to do so. Meanwhile, the Marlins are interested in the third baseman and the Giants are reportedly getting “aggressive” in their pursuit. The latest on Headley..
- The offer Headley reportedly has received isn’t from the Yankees, Marlins, or Giants and the industry is skeptical of its existence, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Headley is said to have gone so far as to suggest to some that the Yankees are his top choice, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Bombers were hoping to work out a three-year deal with Headley but a four-year deal – below $65MM – is something to consider. The Yankees met with Headley recently.
- Headley reportedly has an offer for $65MM over four years but sources tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter) that the Giants are not in on him at that level. The Marlins had not yet reached out to Headley’s camp when talk of the the four-year, $65MM first started up, so it would seem that they are not the source of that offer either.
Justin Upton might be the best hitter on the market, but that’s not the only reason teams want him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports. With one year and $14.5MM remaining on his contract, Upton is a financial steal. If a team acquires him this offseason, they’ll also be looking at a free draft pick when he declines their qualifying offer. He’s in his physical prime at 27 years old, and he’s a former number one overall pick. Heyman lists the Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Orioles, and Padres as possible destinations. We can expect the Braves to receive a notable player in return – after all, they netted Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.
- The Yankees would like to re-sign Chase Headley and David Robertson, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. However, New York refuses to go overboard, which may let other clubs swoop in on the pair of free agents. Headley is said to have a four-year, $65MM offer on the table, and the Giants are reportedly “getting aggressive.” It’s unknown at this time if San Francisco is the team that offered the $65MM deal. The Yankees aren’t expected to value Headley that highly. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays supposedly “love” Robertson, and the Astros are in on him too. After New York signed Andrew Miller last week, there is less urgency to sign another relief ace.
- A proposed swap of Andre Ethier and Miguel Montero fell through, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Diamondbacks would have received Ethier and catcher Tim Federowicz for Montero and lower level prospects. The Dodgers would have also kicked in money to help balance the extra $16MM guaranteed to Ethier over the next three seasons. Rosenthal lists a couple reasons the deal may have fallen through. DBacks owner Ken Kendrick is a fan of Montero, and Arizona may be hesitant to trade with their former GM Josh Byrnes on the other side of the negotiations (Byrnes is now the Dodgers Sr. VP of Baseball Operations).
- Shortstop tops the Mets wish list at the winter meetings, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. While club officials keep saying they’re comfortable with Wilmer Flores, an upgrade would be welcomed. Unfortunately for the Mets, there aren’t many options available. The Mariners have a couple shortstops, but they have talked about using Brad Miller in the outfield. Other trade targets like Alexei Ramirez, Starlin Castro, and Troy Tulowitzki strike me as unlikely to move. As we know, the free agent market is bleak. Many clubs prefer Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie at second base. The next best options, Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera, have a lot to prove before a team trusts them as a starter.
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The Giants’ interest in Chase Headley is “turning aggressive,” FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter). San Francisco had been linked to Headley and several other notable players in the wake of Pablo Sandoval leaving for Boston, though it appears they’ve stepped up their pursuit of Headley to fill their third base vacancy.
Headley reportedly has a four-year, $65MM offer in hand from a mystery team, a sizable bump from the four-year, $48MM that MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted Headley would receive in free agency. The Marlins and Yankees have both been linked to Headley in rumors, though neither team is the one behind the $65MM offer; the Yankees, in fact, don’t seem willing to go beyond three years to sign him.
Rosenthal isn’t sure how, if at all, the Giants’ focus on Headley could impact their interest in Jon Lester, who had also been cited as Giants target in recent days. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted in his Giants Offseason Outlook, the team was willing to give Sandoval a deal in the $95MM range and undoubtedly had a bump in revenue from their World Series victory. If I had to guess, I’d suspect that the Giants would be able to afford both Headley and an ace-level starter like Lester if they felt the need.
With the top free agent third baseman off the board, here’s the latest on the next man up, Chase Headley:
- 7:32pm: While the Marlins are interested in free agent third baseman Chase Headley, they are not the source of the $65MM mystery offer. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald hears from multiple sources that no discussions are under way (Twitter link)
- 12:58pm: Other teams are being advised that Headley has a four-year offer in hand that would guarantee him $65MM, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. Needless to say, that would represent a very nice haul for the 30-year-old, who had a nice turnaround after being dealt to the Yankees in mid-season.
- The Marlins are very interested in Headley, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. However, if Headley does indeed have the offer referenced by Passan in hand, it doesn’t appear to be from the Marlins, as Heyman notes that Miami “may be ready to make a significant offer.” Acquiring Headley could prompt a shift of Casey McGehee to first base, where he could platoon with Garrett Jones (Jones could also be traded, I would think). Heyman and others have reported the Yankees’ unwillingness to go beyond three years for Headley, so it’s possible that a strong four-year offer from Miami could land his services, Heyman speculates.
The Royals have reached out to a familiar name in the form of Melky Cabrera, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It’s not clear if the Royals are able to afford Cabrera, who is said by Heyman to be seeking “at least” a five-year deal. He notes that the Reds have also contacted Cabrera’s camp. Additionally, Heyman lists the Mariners, Orioles and White Sox as speculative fits. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tweets that the Blue Jays are still in touch with Cabrera as well. As many have pointed out, Toronto has just three outfielders on its 40-man roster at present. I profiled Cabrera in early October and projected a five-year deal worth just over $66MM.
Some more notes from the free agent market…
- Also seeking a five-year deal is right-hander Ervin Santana, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Santana is among the best of the bunch in the second tier of free agent starters, and he’s been rumored to have mutual interest with the Royals. However, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals’ comfort level is at three years with Santana. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes projected a four-year, $56MM contract for Santana.
- Continuing on the theme of five-year contracts, Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York reports that the Yankees aren’t willing to give Chase Headley a five-year deal, and it’s believed by some that five years is now his asking price in the wake of both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez signing in Boston. An alternative for the Yankees, Matthews writes, is to play Martin Prado at third base regularly and give prospect Rob Refsnyder a chance to be the everyday second baseman.
- The Yankees, Red Sox and Astros are all continuing to show strong interest in free agent lefty Andrew Miller, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Miller is believed to be headed for a four-year deal, and the Astros have been somewhat surprisingly linked to him and fellow top reliever David Robertson.
- Geovany Soto is currently talking to five or six teams, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. A reunion between Soto and the Rangers is a definite possibility, per Cotillo. The free agent market for catchers has few options remaining, putting Soto in a relatively good spot.
- Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that 10 teams, including the Tigers, have reached out to free agent righty Ronald Belisario after he was designated for assignment by the White Sox and chose to elect free agency (Twitter link). Belisario has a track record of success but struggled in 2014 despite maintaining his velocity and ground-ball rate.
- Nyjer Morgan is eyeing a return to the Majors and has drawn interest from both MLB and Asian clubs, tweets Cotillo. The 34-year-old spent a bit of time with the Indians last season but had his Cleveland tenure cut short by injury.
The Padres have announced that Mark Kotsay will join the team’s uniformed staff as the hitting coach. Kotsay, 39 tomorrow, saw action in 17 MLB campaigns — including two stints with the Friars. He hung up his spikes before the 2014 season, which he spent with the organization as a special assistant.
Here’s more out of San Diego:
- GM A.J. Preller is “aggressively” seeking to acquire bats that would position the team as a near-term division contender, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The team has already been a significant factor in several early signings, though it has yet to land a major target this offseason.
- We already took a look at a recent piece from MLB.com’s Corey Brock addressing the Padres’ offseason efforts, but another of his notes bears mention. Recently-dealt third baseman Chase Headley, now a free agent, is not believed to be a fit for his old club, a source tells Brock. A reunion had at least seemed hypothetically plausible, especially after the team dangled big money at Pablo Sandoval.
- Like other clubs around the game, the Pads are preparing to make some difficult non-tender decisions tomorrow evening. As Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, the decision on shortstop Everth Cabrera is complicated by his recent PED suspension, arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana, and related charge for resisting arrest. Sources tell Lin that Cabrera was “not entirely forthcoming” with the club in the aftermath of the DUI, which may play a role in the team’s decision. Of course, the 28-year-old’s .232/.272/.300 slash last year does not help his cause either.
- Free agent starter Josh Johnson is still weighing offers from multiple teams, agent Matt Sosnick told MLBTR in last week’s podcast (around the 18:00 mark). “He’s a pretty loyal guy,” said Sosnick, such that “the chances are he probably goes back to San Diego.” Johnson’s representative explained that the righty was drawing “a ton of interest” from other clubs, but valued many things about his relationship with the Padres. As he rehabs back from Tommy John surgery, the 30-year-old hopes to start throwing from a mound in the middle of February.
Brandon Moss could not help but become aware that the Athletics have made some notable additions that have a bearing on his status with the club, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Moss, who avoided the need for micro-fracture surgery on his hip and expects to be ready to go on something close to a normal schedule this spring, says he realizes that the additions of Billy Butler and Ike Davis could set up some other changes. “You never know; the front office likes to mix up,” said Moss. “I’m trying not to let anything surprise me, because I don’t want to be blindsided. Obviously, I love playing in Oakland, but when this happened, I knew it could mean someone else gets moved.”
Here’s more from the American League:
- In addition to the four players noted yesterday, the Mariners are interested in Evan Gattis of the Braves, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Seattle is determined to come away with one of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Nelson Cruz, Yoenis Cespedes, and Gattis, per the report. The M’s made a competitive offer for Victor Martinez before he re-signed with the Tigers, Heyman adds.
- Talks between the Red Sox and Jon Lester are not on any kind of timetable, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (Twitter links). Lester is still making the rounds and considering his alternatives, per Bradford.
- The Yankees are willing to go to three years in a deal for third baseman Chase Headley, Heyman reports. But Headley, unsurprisingly, is out looking for longer, better offers. New York is unlikely to go further than three, Joel Sherman reported yesterday, and it seems that Headley is drawing sufficient interest to get a fourth year guaranteed.
- The Rays have announced that bench coach Dave Martinez will pursue other opportunities with another organization. Martinez was not listed as a finalist to replace Joe Maddon in the big league dugout, making a separation seem all but inevitable.
- After a wide search, the Twins have agreed bring on Neil Allen as the team’s pitching coach, along with Eddie Guardado as bullpen coach and Joe Vavra as the bench coach to new skipper Paul Molitor. Allen had been the Rays’ pitching coach at Triple-A Durham.
Although the Indians were connected to free agent third baseman Chase Headley as recently as last night, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Headley won’t be coming to Cleveland, as he’s considered too expensive. The Indians did indeed reach out to Headley’s camp a few times before making that assertion, Hoynes adds.
Cleveland might not be a significant player on the free agent market at all, Hoynes writes, though they have contacted the agents for Kendrys Morales and Chris Denorfia. Cleveland’s interest in Morales dates back to 2006 when he was a free agent defector from Cuba. The switch-hitting Scott Boras client struggled in 2014, hitting a combined .218/.274/.338 in 401 plate appearances between the Twins and Mariners. However, Morales may have struggled due to sitting out through June 8, and he did enter the 2014 season as a lifetime .280/.333/.480 hitter in eight seasons. As Hoynes notes, Morales would become a more plausible target for the Indians if they’re able to unload Nick Swisher‘s contract, which they’ve reportedly been trying to do.
Denorfia, 34, also struggled in 2014, batting .230/.284/.318 between the Padres and Mariners. While he’s never had Morales’ upside at the plate, Denorfia has a long track record of hitting left-handed pitching and has excellent defensive marks in both outfield corners (plus the ability to play center in a pinch). A career .292/.358/.430 hitter against left-handed pitching, Denorfia could provide the Indians with a solid glove to pair with David Murphy in an outfield platoon, as Murphy hit just .238/.279/.325 against lefties last year and has a history of struggles against same-handed pitching.
After losing Pablo Sandoval to the Red Sox, the Giants are casting a very wide net and have reached out to agent Scott Boras regarding top free Max Scherzer, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Giants appear to be scouring the trade and free agent markets for upgrades, as Heyman reports that they’ve at least initiated talks with free agents Nick Markakis, Nelson Cruz, Chase Headley, Torii Hunter, Justin Masterson and of course Yasmany Tomas (their interest in Tomas has been well-documented). Beyond that, they’ve kicked the tires on Atlanta’s Justin Upton, and their interest in Jon Lester was reported yesterday as Sandoval looked to be on the verge of departure.
San Francisco’s interest in Scherzer isn’t terribly surprising. The team will bring back ace Madison Bumgarner and stable veteran Tim Hudson, but Matt Cain is returning from elbow surgery and Tim Lincecum‘s reliability has taken s nose-dive in recent years. Both Ryan Vogelsong and Jake Peavy are free agents. Yusmeiro Petit was excellent in 2014 but totaled only 129 2/3 innings between the regular season and postseason. He’s certainly done enough to warrant a look in the rotation, but the lack of innings could be cause for concern.
In terms of their offensive targets, Heyman hears that the Giants are more likely to go with a cheaper option to replace Sandoval at third base, instead spending bigger on a replacement in left field for Mike Morse. He notes that they’ve taken a “close look” at Upton and have even reached out to former Giant Melky Cabrera, though one team source described Cabrera’s departure from the Giants as “awkward” to Heyman. (Cabrera was suspended for 50 games in 2012 to close out the season as the Giants pushed toward a World Series victory.)
Earlier today I looked at some post-Sandoval options for the Giants, listing several trade and free agent targets that the reigning World Series Champions could pursue.
Much of the chatter surrounding Chase Headley this offseason has been that the Yankees are interested in retaining him, but MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince adds a new team to the fold, reporting that the Indians have shown interest in the third baseman. Bastian’s source wouldn’t specify whether an offer has been made. As Bastian notes, a run at Headley would likely first require Cleveland to move the contract of Nick Swisher, who is owed $30MM through 2016. (Cleveland is reportedly exploring possibilities to do just that.)
Cleveland’s interest in Headley isn’t that surprising. While Lonnie Chisenhall had a huge first half, much of that success was driven by an unsustainable average on balls in play, and he’s never graded out as a strong defender. Cleveland’s -19 Defensive Runs Saved and -18.1 UZR/150 at third base last year ranked 28th and 29th in the Majors, respectively. Headley, meanwhile, received respective marks of +13 and +28 in those fields. Both will be tough to repeat, of course, but while Headley’s career averages are lower, they’re still excellent and would represent a sizable upgrade for manager Terry Francona’s squad.
On a highly related note, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees may already be priced out of Headley’s market. Sherman hears that the Yankees began the offseason with the hope that Headley could be had on a two-year deal. While that was unlikely to ever be the case, Headley’s stock rose even higher this week when one team signed both of his primary free agent competitors as the Red Sox landed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. The Yankees, per Sherman, seem unlikely to go beyond three years, and Headley looks headed for a four-year deal, possibly at an even higher rate than the $48MM predicted by Tim Dierkes in early October.
In a second piece, Castrovince takes a speculative look at Headley’s market at this point, opining that the Yankees, Indians, Giants, White Sox, Blue Jays and even the Padres could all enter the picture (the latter option, he admits, is unlikely but not inconceivable).