- The Giants are not interested in going to four years for Headley, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. With some uncertainty still surrounding the level of demand for Headley, Heyman suggests the Yankees could be increasingly well-positioned to bring him back.
- There is “optimism” that Headley will sign a deal today, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. On the other hand, Jon Lester’s negotiations remain a “yellow light factor” for Headley’s own market, says Gammons.
- Headley may not necessarily be the key to the Giants’ fallback plans if they miss on Lester, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. San Francisco also has some trade talks ongoing. We heard yesterday that Jed Lowrie could be a free agent alternative to Headley at the hot corner.
David Robertson did such a good job replacing Mariano Rivera that the Yankees might now have a more difficult time replacing Robertson, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller have big-time talent, but have also both had frustrating seasons in the recent past. The Yankees could pursue a closer like Jason Grilli, or perhaps mix and match Betances and Miller at closer. The team has plenty of strong bullpen pieces, but no one who represents the obvious fix for the closer role that Robertson did last year. Here’s more out of the Bronx.
- Now that the White Sox have swooped in to nab Robertson, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes that the Yankees will turn their attention to the middle of their starting rotation, where the departure of Shane Greene in the Didi Gregorius trade leaves them thin. The Yankees would also like to re-sign Chase Headley, although Madden notes that the Astros are rumored to have offered him five years and $65MM.
- The Yankees will try to keep outfielder Slade Heathcott and pitcher Jose Campos by re-signing them to minor-league deals, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York tweets. The Yankees non-tendered the pair last week even though neither were eligible for arbitration. Both have struggled with injuries, but they still have upside if they can stay healthy. As Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues explains, non-tendering Heathcott and Campos allows the Yankees to avoid losing them through waivers. They’re now free agents, but the Yankees may have an edge in their attempts to re-sign them, due to their histories with the organization.
With Pablo Sandoval off the board, attention on the third base market has shifted to Chase Headley. But Jed Lowrie also could be an option at the hot corner (as well as at short and second). He took a step backward last year in the power department, but has a lengthy track record of legitimate pop. Better still, the 30-year-old managed to stay on the field after some injury issues in his past.
Here’s the latest on the infield market:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter) hears that Headley will make his decision by the end of the Winter Meetings. There are three or four teams bidding on him right now, including the Giants and Yankees.
- It’s not just the starting pitchers that are waiting for Jon Lester to sign, tweets Sherman. Headley is also up in the air because the Giants won’t know how much they can afford to spend until they know whether they can sign Lester.
- The Giants will consider Lowrie at third if they can’t land Headley, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). As for Headley, four years at a $11MM to $12MM AAV is probably too rich for San Francisco, Crasnick adds.
- Another National League squad, the Marlins, could also have interest in Lowrie as an option at a position other than shortstop, per another Crasnick tweet. Miami is “exploring” the market at those positions. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and GM Dan Jennings told me last month at the GM Meetings that the team feels comfortable with its internal options at the keystone but would consider sensible upgrades.
- The Astros have at least “kicked the tires” on Headley as an option at third base, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets.
- Lowrie is indeed willing to play elsewhere in the infield, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. That face makes him a solid fit for the Astros, where he could keep the seat warm for Carlos Correa at short before eventually sliding to third, or possibly move to hot corner right away while providing some insurance up the middle.
- The Astros have been pursuing Lowrie, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Houston dealt Lowrie to the Athletics before the 2013 season. For Houston, Lowrie could conceivably fill in at short, third, or both over the life of a hypothetical deal. I noted the Astros as a possible landing spot in Lowrie’s free agent profile, in which I also predicted he could score a three-year deal at a $10MM AAV.
Here’s a morning links roundup from the American League:
- The Athletics are still “inching” toward a deal with the Indians on Brandon Moss, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. A swap is likely to go down over the next few days, Sherman adds.
- Clubs that have spoken with the Athletics about Jeff Samardzija have been left with the impression that Oakland would not be willing to grant an extension negotiation window as part of the deal, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter. That is perhaps not terribly surprising, as Samardzija does not appear particularly likely to forego a chance at testing the open market.
- For the Yankees, one side benefit of adding Martin Prado (last summer) and Andrew Miller (just a few days ago) is that it conveys leverage in talks with now-free agent third baseman Chase Headley and closer David Robertson, Sherman writes. While New York is now willing to put a fourth year on the table for both players, says Sherman, it will not match the reported four-year, $65MM offer out to Headley or the $50MM+ asking price of Robertson.
- While there are several intriguing possibilities for the Tigers at the Winter Meetings, the odds are that the team will make only smaller moves, if any, per Chris Iott of MLive.com. Iott takes a look at Detroit’s various options for improvement, concluding that most are rather unlikely to take place.
With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.
Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:
- Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
- The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.“
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
- In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
- Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
- Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.“
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.
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.