Chone Figgins Rumors
7:06pm: Regardless of whether or not Figgins would allow a trade to the A's, talks appear to be dead. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) hears from a source that "nothing is going to happen," and ESPN.com's Buster Olney says (via Twitter) that the Mariners, who talked to Oakland three weeks ago, aren't motivated to move Figgins.
3:47pm: We heard yesterday about a proposed trade that would've sent Chone Figgins from Seattle to Oakland, but the rumored deal would have hinged on Figgins accepting the move, given that the A's are one of the teams on his no-trade list. Speaking to fans and media -- including Larry Stone of the Seattle Times -- at the Mariners' FanFest event on Saturday, Figgins said he didn't want to be traded anywhere.
"I always said, it's a great thing to be wanted,'' Figgins said. "But I want to win here. I've said all along, this has been one of the best places I've ever played -- the city, the fans. I'll always love playing here. This is where I want to be, and until they force me out of here, this is where I'm going to be.''
"I've been on the trade block for years, even with the Angels. Like I said, it's always a great thing to be wanted, but I'm a Seattle Mariner. I'm going to play third base unless they rip the jersey off me.''
Figgins briefly spoke to Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik at the event, and Zduriencik told reporters that their chat was the first time the two had spoken since the trade rumors broke yesterday.
"I just let Chone know how things get started," Zduriencik said. "In this game, it's interesting how things get started. It happens all the time. You have general managers talk, agents talk about players - I'm not referring to this particular situation, but the next thing you know, someone is putting two and two together and coming up with five."
This would seem to put an end to this trade speculation for the time being, unless the rumors about the Blue Jays as a third team involved in the deal develop into a seperate Toronto-Oakland swap involving Kevin Kouzmanoff. The Jays are in the market for a third baseman, though it's hard to see why the Athletics would create their own hole at third by moving Kouzmanoff without getting another third baseman (like Figgins) in return.
Happy 51st birthday to Steve Sax! Sax was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1982, played on two World Series champions, made five All-Star teams, and holds a special bit of pop culture history as one of Mr. Burns' softball ringers on The Simpsons.
Today's news tidbits...
- As part of a Dodgers-related mailbag, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick cites the Blue Jays, Marlins and Indians as teams that could offer Eric Chavez more playing time than the Dodgers could. Toronto's interest in Chavez is well-known, but Florida and Cleveland are new to the mix. Other teams known to be looking are Chavez include the Yankees, White Sox and Mariners.
- The Angels are looking for a leadoff man and bench help, and don't seem to be interested in Vladimir Guerrero, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com. The Orioles look like they're Guerrero's most ardent suitors at this point.
- A.J. Pierzynski tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that he was all but officially signed by the Dodgers before the White Sox swooped in with an offer to bring the catcher back to Chicago. "It all came together in a 15-minute span," Pierzynski said. "I was pretty much resigned to the fact I wasn't coming back." Had Pierzynski not returned, the White Sox would have focused on Miguel Olivo as a replacement behind the plate.
- The Chone Figgins-to-Oakland rumor looks to be dead, which Joe Pawlikowski of Fangraphs thinks may be a good thing for the A's.
- The Royals are converting prospect Wil Myers from catcher to outfielder, reports Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.
The fallout continues from the Mets' announcement on Friday that a portion of the team is up for sale, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Here's Olney's take, as well as some other items of note ...
- The Madoff scandal could prove to be a turning point in Mets history if it leads to a change in the team's ownership. The financial implications go a long way toward explaining why the Mets' baseball-operations staff has been on a shorter payroll leash since the signing of Jason Bay, and one has to wonder how long the Mets will be operating in that mode as the legal process plays out. To that end, signing a big-ticket free agent like Albert Pujols in the near future would be difficult. Finally, was new GM Sandy Alderson aware of the Mets' financial standing when he took the job?
- Rangers president Nolan Ryan and manager Ron Washington are on record as saying that Michael Young will be with Texas on Opening Day, as Young is well-liked by the organization and will be useful in the super utility role. Both the Rangers and Rockies say that trade talks regarding Young have not been rekindled.
- The Athletics' rumored pursuit of Chone Figgins makes sense if you consider that he fits Oakland's preference for acquiring players who are fast and defensively sound. To boot, Figgins would cost the A's only about 60 percent of what they were willing to spend on free-agent Adrian Beltre, who signed with the rival Rangers. Olney interprets Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik's comment that Figgins is the Mariners' third baseman as a, "no comment."
6:29pm: Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told MLB.com's Jane Lee and Greg Johns that the team's plan is to have Figgins at third base on Opening Day. "I'm looking forward to Figgins being our starting third baseman ... He'll be here tomorrow [for the Mariners' FanFest]. He's been agreeable to moving back to third base and that's our plan, to have Chone be our Opening Day third baseman."
1:17pm: The A's are on Figgins' limited no-trade list and he hasn't yet been asked to waive it, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
12:50pm: There could be a third team involved in trade talks, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link). Olney suggests the Blue Jays could be the third team. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged last night that the team has toyed with the idea of adding a third baseman, so the Blue Jays could have interest in Kouzmanoff.
8:47am: The A’s are trying to acquire Chone Figgins for Kevin Kouzmanoff and perhaps a pitcher, according to Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times. Figgins, 33, could play third base for the A's, who missed out on free agent Adrian Beltre.
The Mariners owe Figgins $26MM through 2013 and the infielder's contract includes a vesting option for 2014. Figgins hit .259/.340/.306 last year with 42 stolen bases and 74 walks. He led the league with 101 walks in 2009, stealing 42 bases and posting a .298/.395/.393 line for another AL West team, the Angels.
The Braves inquired on Figgins last July, but there hasn't been reported interest in him since.
On this date in 2002, the Diamondbacks signed Carlos Gonzalez as an amateur free agent. Two blockbuster trades and one breakout season later, CarGo has agreed to a seven-year extension with the Rockies. Here are today's links...
- Andy Pettitte told Brian Costello of the New York Post at his home in Texas that he's just "chilling out, hanging" and still hasn't decided whether he'll play in 2011.
- The Mariners have officially asked Chone Figgins to move back to third base, reports Kirby Arnold of the Daily Herald. Figgins has played more games at third than at any other position, but he played second base last year.
- The Giants will likely rely on players already in the organization for infield depth now that Edgar Renteria has agreed to sign with the Reds, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- Trevor Hoffman is leaning toward retirement, according to Heyman (on Twitter). The reliever has drawn some interest this offseason, but he had hoped for the chance to close in 2011.
- Michael Girsch will replace John Abbamondi as the Cardinals' assistant GM, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
Links for Thursday, exactly ten years after the Angels signed Ervin Santana as an amateur free agent...
- Aubrey Huff is enjoying his time in San Francisco, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. Huff, who signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Giants in the offseason, will be a free agent at season's end.
- The Marlins still consider Bobby Valentine a candidate for their managerial opening and Valentine didn't rule out the possibility of re-starting talks with the team, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- The Astros announced that they removed Chris Sampson from their 40-man roster. He has three days to accept a minor league assignment or opt for free agency. Sampson told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that he realizes his time with the Astros is likely over.
- The Mariners say they knew little about Josh Lueke's history with the law when they acquired the pitching prospect in the Cliff Lee trade, but both the Rangers and former Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair have different versions of the story, as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times explains.
- Unsure where your team is going to pick in next year's draft? Check out our reverse standings page, which we link to under 'Features' on the right side of the page.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the D’Backs plan to speak to De Jon Watson, the Dodgers assistant GM for player development, about their permanent GM job. Also in the running, some familiar names: Jerry Dipoto, D’Backs assistant GM Peter Woodfork, Kevin Towers, Damon Oppenheimer and Logan White.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic believes Chien-Ming Wang, who signed for $2MM plus incentives, is a better comparable for Brandon Webb than Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, or the other pitchers his agent compared him to.
- Chone Figgins told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that he doesn't regret signing in Seattle.
- Rookie pitcher Hisanori Takahashi can become a free agent after the season, as David Waldstein of the New York Times reports. He and the Mets haven't started negotiating an extension, but there's mutual interest in one.
- Nick Johnson's 2011 option is very unlikely to be exercised, as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes. Heading into the season, controlling Johnson for $5.5MM in 2011 looked reasonable for the Yankees. But a disappointing, injury-plagued season for the 31-year-old means that money could be better spent elsewhere.
- Joe Girardi and Doug Melvin told Chad Jennings of The Journal News and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, respectively, that they're not expecting their clubs to make any trades.
- Chone Figgins, the subject of a few trade rumors this summer, tells Doug Miller of MLB.com, "I don't want to go anywhere. I chose to come here, because I like the direction and I like the guys that are here."
- The Mariners have shut down pitching prospect Michael Pineda for the year, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Pineda is fine physically and will compete for a spot in the rotation next spring, according to Jack Zduriencik.
- Cody Ross told Jim Bowden on Fox Sports Radio (Twitter link) that he was "shocked" the Marlins moved him.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer conducts a Q&A with Drew Pomeranz, the Indians' fifth overall pick in this year's draft.
The Angels signed first-round pick Kaleb Cowart, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports by way of a team press release. BA's Jim Callis reports that he'll get $2.3MM, about $900K over slot. Cowart, a pitcher and third baseman drafted out of high school, was chosen 18th overall by the Angels. The Angels received the pick from the Mariners as compensation for the Chone Figgins signing.
With the Cowart agreement, 16 first-round picks remain unsigned.
Links for Sunday, as Jeremy Hellickson aims for his third win in his third career start....
- Troy Glaus earned an additional $350K for making his 450th plate appearance last night, tweets Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Glaus will earn another $350K for his 500th plate appearance.
- Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tells us that the Orioles are unlikely to sign a pair of pitchers: sixth and seventh round picks Dixon Anderson and Matthew Bywater. The club is still working toward a deal with #3 overall pick Manny Machado, but expect to get a deal done.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (Twitter link) hears that, although a deal is unlikely, the Braves will probably "kick the tires" on Chone Figgins. Baker reported on Friday that Atlanta had yet to ask the Mariners about Figgins.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald argues that moving Jonathan Papelbon and making Daniel Bard the closer before 2012 would be a mistake for the Red Sox. In yesterday's MLBTR poll, only about 20% of you said the Sox should keep Papelbon past this season.
- The New York media is always tough on the Mets, but today's coverage seems especially harsh: Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News breaks down the ways in which the Mets have wasted the last four seasons, while the New York Post's Joel Sherman says the club's future doesn't look much better.
- Talking to the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, Derrek Lee discusses his decision to veto a trade to the Angels.
- Jeremy Hermida tells Rob Bradford of WEEI that he was "kind of surprised" to be designated for assignment by the Red Sox.
- A couple updates on top draft picks: Reds' first-rounder Yasmani Grandal has already taken a physical, while the Pirates met with the agents for Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie for nearly seven hours yesterday. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon and Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have the details.
Saturday afternoon linkage..
- Boston sent catcher Michael Thomas to Texas to complete the trade for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.
- Dusty Baker has no interest in becoming a general manager, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- A former teammate of Bryce Harper's doesn't see the first overall pick going back to school, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Laredo Broncos, an independent minor league team, say they have signed Jose Canseco to a short-term contract, according to the Associated Press. Canseco will serve as a bench coach and designated hitter during two Laredo homestands.
- Chuck Finder of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith are expected to sit down with agents Randy and Alan Hendricks in Houston this weekend to discuss a contract for second overall pick Jameson Taillon. MLB's slot recommendation for that pick is $3.25MM, though Taillon is expected to receive more than that.
- We know the Braves have not asked the Mariners about the availability of Chone Figgins in the wake of Chipper Jones' injury, but ESPN's Buster Olney says a deal is unlikely anyway. It would be pretty tough for GM Jack Zduriencik to tell ownership they have to eat tens of millions of dollars to move a player they just signed this past offseason.
- Ken Fidlin of The Toronto Sun says that Blue Jays' second round pick Griffin Murphy and his father were on the field at Angels Stadium talking with club officials, "a surefire sign that a deal is done." MLB's slot recommendation for the 61st overall pick is just short of $600K.
- The Yankees have come to terms on well-overslot bonuses with a pair of draft picks. Baseball America's Jim Callis reports that they signed ninth rounder Taylor Morton for $450K while Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports reports an agreement with tenth rounder Ben Gamel (Mat's brother) for $500K. Both deals are more than three times over MLB's recommendation, and Gamel's is the largest given to a player selected in a double digit round so far.