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NIck Cafardo of the Boston Globe asked 30 people from around baseball who they would build their team around, regardless of age or experience. The leading vote-getter was Yadier Molina, with Buster Posey in second place. Here's more from today's column..
- There's a lot of uncertainty in the Twins' organization surrounding Justin Morneau. People wonder what happened to his power, which hurts his trade value. The Twins are a very loyal organization so they certainly won't give him away. If a deal for a prospect comes up, however, they would likely let him go.
- When closer Chris Perez is back in action he may be a piece the Indians would look to move. Despite his troubles, he would draw interest considering the shortage of available closers out there. “If a team can get him and he’s amped up because of a change of scenery, that’s all they’re looking for,” said one special assistant to an American League GM. “It’s all about getting bang for your buck during those two months-plus after you acquire him, if you don’t have to give up a lot of inventory to get him.”
- Speaking of closers, the Marlins' Steve Cishek is garnering attention and the Red Sox seem to have interest. However, clubs will have to consider whether he can handle the adjustment of going to a bigger market like Boston or Detroit.
- One National League GM believes that the Red Sox will have to give up on Daniel Bard at some point if things don't turn around. Because of his natural talent, a lot of teams would line up to trade for him in hopes that a change of scenery would turn him around.
- The Phillies declared last week that Jonathan Papelbon was not available, but Cafardo cautions not to believe it, especially in the wake of his public criticism of teammates.
- Nationals right-hander Drew Storen is an interesting alternative for a team looking for a closer. Storen was the Nationals’ closer two years ago but hasn't been as sharp in 2013 as he was in years past.
- Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco could be the first pitcher dealt as we near the deadline, even ahead of Bud Norris. Cafardo says not to be shocked if teams like the Orioles or Giants make a move on him sooner rather than later.
- One scout who saw Manny Ramirez in Taiwan said, “He can still hit with the best of them.” That doesn't mean that a team will be bold enough to sign him, however.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Chris Perez | Cleveland Indians | Daniel Bard | Drew Storen | Jonathan Papelbon | Justin Morneau | Manny Ramirez | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | Philadelphia Phillies | Ricky Nolasco | San Francisco Giants | Steve Cishek | Washington Nationals
Indians CEO Paul Dolan explains his team's thought process following a 68-94 season in 2012 and says that a total rebuild was not an option, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "None of us wanted to think about tearing it down. Our goal is to put together a team to win a World Series. Another goal is to avoid 20 years of losing, which some smaller-market teams have endured." The Indians did trade outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but rather than also dealing veterans like Asdrubal Cabrera, Chris Perez and Justin Masterson, the team spent heavily on free agents like Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Here are more notes from Pluto's interview with Dolan.
- Dolan expresses "a high degree of confidence" in team president Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti, even though the Indians haven't had a winning season since 2007.
- Dolan also confirms that the Indians offered a four-year, $43MM deal to outfielder Shane Victorino, who ended up going to the Red Sox for three years and $39MM.
- Dolan says he didn't want to worry much about the possibility of Bourn's four-year, $48MM deal turning out badly, but the Indians' history with long-term contracts gives him pause. "We've not had good luck with some of our longer deals," he says. That includes pacts with Travis Hafner, Jake Westbrook and Kerry Wood.
- Pluto notes that season-ticket sales are up since the signings of Bourn and Swisher, but Dolan says that the Indians "will lose money" in 2013. Dolan views the team's offseason spending splurge as an investment in its future.
The Cardinals are better-positioned for success over the next five years than any other team in the majors, according to the latest edition of ESPN's Future Power Rankings (Insider subscription required). Jim Bowden, Keith Law and Buster Olney rank each club in five categories (Major League roster, minor league system, finances, management and mobility) and the Cards have the best overall grade, jumping to #1 after finishing third in the last edition of the rankings in August.
Here's the latest from around the league as we head into March…
- The Yankees usually don't offer to extend players before their contracts are up but GM Brian Cashman tells reporters (including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News) that the club is flexible in this regard, such as when the Yankees tried to extend Russell Martin last season and their current talks with Robinson Cano. "Since we’re the team, we have the right to change our mind and adjust the policy whenever – especially ownership. It’s not like it’s a country club and here’s the code of conduct that we can’t deviate from," Cashman said.
- The Yankees may be reacting to criticism from fans that they're sacrificing short-term competitiveness in order to get under the luxury tax cap by 2014, opines Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter links). Sherman argues that if the team's management wasn't feeling this pressure, Cashman wouldn't have told the media about the team's "significant offer" to Cano.
- The Giants and Phillies were both interested in Indians closer Chris Perez this offseason, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The Dodgers were also linked to Perez this winter, as the Tribe was shopping Perez due to his large salary and his criticism of both the team's management and Cleveland's fanbase last season.
- Chris Snyder has an out clause in his minor league deal with the Nationals that will allow him to request his release if he isn't on the club's Major League roster by March 24, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports. It could be a tough fit for Snyder as Comak notes the Nats' 25-man roster is virtually set.
- Omar Quintanilla was re-signed by the Mets since the team wanted infield depth if Ruben Tejada was dealt for Justin Upton, a Mets source tells John Harper of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). We heard earlier this week that the Mets explored a trade that would've brought Upton to Citi Field in exchange for pitching prospects and one of Tejada or Daniel Murphy.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy recaps the week's minor league transactions.
- Chris Perez said he was pleased to see the Indians agree to terms with Bourn, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "It feels like we're a big market club," Perez said. Last fall the closer publicly criticized Indians ownership and management for their decision making and spending.
- Max Scherzer said the Tigers brought up the possibility of a long-term contract this winter, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports. “We talked about it,” Scherzer said. “But we were more focused on just getting one year done." Agent Scott Boras represents Scherzer, who said he loves Detroit and the Tigers organization. Scherzer is on track to hit free agency following the 2014 season.
- A.J. Pierzynski said he's not disappointed to have moved on from the White Sox to the Rangers, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports. "I'm excited about the new opportunity here and the chance to come to a team that definitely has a team to be very competitive, with a goal of going to the playoffs," he said. Pierzynski, who obtained a one-year, $7.5MM deal from the Rangers, described the signing as "bittersweet."
- The Twins have a new-look rotation after adding pitching reinforcements during the offseason, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com writes.
MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $7.2MM salary for the right-hander. The 27-year-old had been arbitration eligible for the third time. He remains under team control through 2014.
The Indians have been very busy during the first days of 2013 officially announcing the free agent signings of Nick Swisher and Brett Myers. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports the team will open the season with a payroll hovering around $66-68MM (not including the $2.75MM buyout of Travis Hafner's 2013 club option and the $3.5MM sent to the Reds in the Shin-Soo Choo trade). As a result, GM Chris Antonetti has said the team's financial resources have been exhausted. The lone remaining hole in the lineup is designated hitter. Bastian says the Tribe could rely on internal options like Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes, Ezequiel Carrera, Tim Fedroff, and Rule 5 selection Chris McGuiness. Even bringing back Hafner is a possibility according to Antonetti, "I think some of that is going to depend upon other opportunities for Travis and his thoughts on returning, as well as what opportunities we may have for him compared to other guys." Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has more news and notes concerning the Indians:
- Hoynes adds Matt LaPorta to the list of in-house DH options, but says Antonetti could still sign a hitter or bring one in on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
- Hoynes thinks Delmon Young would look good as the Tribe's DH, but doesn't see it happening at this time because of his asking price and character issues.
- The Indians will still consider trading Asdrubal Cabrera or Chris Perez, but only if the return is comparable to what they received in the Choo deal.
- The starting rotation looks like Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Myers, and Zach McAllister. Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco are the leading candidates for the fifth spot.
- With the flush of spending of this season, does this put extra pressure on the front office to win now? Hoynes doesn't sense any panic in the hallways of power, especially since new manager Terry Francona can opt-out of his deal if certain members of management lose their jobs.
It was on this day 40 years ago that the baseball world lost one of its greatest stars. Following a massive earthquake that devastated the country of Nicaragua, Roberto Clemente helped organize a relief effort for victims of the disaster and accompanied one of the aid packages on its flight on New Year's Eve 1972 to ensure that the goods reached the proper hands. Tragically, Clemente's flight crashed off the shore of Puerto Rico, costing the Pirates superstar his life at the age of 38. Clemente was posthumously honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal and a Congressional Gold Medal by then-president Richard Nixon and the U.S. Congress, and given immediate entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the BBWAA waived its usual five-year waiting period.
Here are some news items as we pay tribute to Clemente and look ahead to 2013…
- Counting arbitration raises and the $13MM they have tentatively agreed to pay Mike Napoli, the Red Sox 2013 payroll will almost exactly match the club's 2012 payroll, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- Speaking of arb raises, you can follow all of the arbitration cases and settlements on MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, which has now been updated with the salaries of players who have already come to agreements.
- The Indians have "liked" Jason Kubel dating back to his days with the Twins, so Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer figures the Tribe probably discussed Kubel in their previous negotiations with the Diamondbacks this winter. Hoynes doesn't think the Indians should deal Asdrubal Cabrera for Kubel (a reader's suggestion) but he agrees that Cleveland could use Kubel's power.
- Also from Hoynes' reader mail piece, he thinks the Indians will take care of other business before considering re-signing Travis Hafner, and that Chris Perez will return in 2013 unless the Tribe gets "a big return" in a trade for the closer.
- Kubel isn't a fit for the Mets and the team doesn't have the prospect depth to get Justin Upton, but Michael Baron of Metsblog.com wonders if the Mets could make a play for another Diamondbacks outfielder in Adam Eaton. While I agree that Eaton would be a good fit for the Amazins, it would take a lot to convince Arizona to part such a talented, controllable player.
- Peter Moylan appears to have little chance of returning to the Braves, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as GM Frank Wren said the team's bullpen was set after trading for Jordan Walden. Moylan has a career 2.59 ERA over seven seasons with Atlanta but has appeared in just 21 games over the last two seasons due to a lower back injury and rotator cuff surgery. The right-hander was non-tendered by the Braves in October.
- FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi lists the Padres, Orioles, Yankees and seven other teams who still have significant roster holes to fill in January. In a seperate list, Morosi names his top 10 baseball newsmakers of the past year.
The latest from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com…
- Both the Dodgers and Red Sox have interest in Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, reports Heyman. He hears Los Angeles could also make a play for Indians closer Chris Perez or Mets right-hander Bobby Parnell as well.
- The Rangers were interested in Anibal Sanchez and Russell Martin before they signed elsewhere, Knobler reports. Now Texas is pursuing Edwin Jackson, A.J. Pierzynski and Cody Ross. Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse aren't thought to be "front-burner" items for the Rangers now, Knobler reports. Knobler suggests the Rangers are interested in a relatively short-term deal for Jackson, who's also drawing serious interest from the Cubs.
- The Dodgers have talked about trading Andre Ethier and signing Bourn to replace him, reports Knobler. Los Angeles is looking for a leadoff hitter. Earlier this week we heard they've considered trading Ethier and signing Nick Swisher.
- The Rangers may be the best bet for Pierzynski since the Yankees still can’t get excited about the backstop, Heyman reports (on Twitter). Instead, New York is looking to go with Austin Romine.
- The Braves continue eyeing a left fielder and would prefer to add a leadoff type, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Bobby Abreu, who is now playing winter ball, hopes to play for two or three more years, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Pierzynski | Andre Ethier | Anibal Sanchez | Atlanta Braves | Bobby Abreu | Bobby Parnell | Boston Red Sox | Chris Perez | Cleveland Indians | Cody Ross | Edwin Jackson | Joel Hanrahan | Kyle Lohse | Los Angeles Dodgers | Michael Bourn | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pittsburgh Pirates | Russell Martin | Texas Rangers
News out of the American League Central..
- The Royals are already $12MM over their stated breaking point, which means that money will be a factor in what moves they make, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Furthermore, they appear committed to starting the season with Jeff Francoeur in right field, limiting interest in possible alternatives (Twitter link).
- The adding of bullpen arms doesn't mean that the Indians are necessarily looking to move Chris Perez, General Manager Chris Antonetti told Glenn Moore of Cleveland.com. "We didn't look at it that way. I think we just looked at it as an opportunity to just improve our team. And Chris is our closer. As we sit here today, I have every reason to think he’s going to be our closer on Opening Day," said the GM.
- Tony Paul of The Detroit News looks at trade scenarios for the Tigers' Rick Porcello, including the Pirates, Rangers, and Angels. Several National League teams including the Padres have been said to have interest in the right-hander.
Here are some rumors from ESPN.com's baseball writers, starting with a note from Buster Olney (all links go to Twitter)…
- Ichiro Suzuki is turning down a two-year, $14MM contract offer from the Phillies to sign with the Yankees, according to Olney.
- Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Chris Perez will probably stay put in Cleveland now that the Indians have traded Shin-Soo Choo, Jerry Crasnick reports.
- Mike Adams could sign in the next couple of days, Jayson Stark reports. The Nationals, Blue Jays, Phillies, Rangers, Cubs, White Sox, Angels and Brewers have been linked to the free agent reliever, Stark adds.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Asdrubal Cabrera | Chicago Cubs | Chicago White Sox | Chris Perez | Cleveland Indians | Ichiro Suzuki | Justin Masterson | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Mike Adams | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Texas Rangers | Toronto Blue Jays | Washington Nationals