Chris Perez Rumors
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.
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.
One AL GM said the Indians got “incredible value” for Shin-Soo Choo by obtaining Trevor Bauer in last night’s three-team trade, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. While evaluators love Didi Gregorius’ glove, they wonder if the Diamondbacks’ new infielder will hit enough to merit an everyday job. Here's the latest from Olney (some Twitter links)...
- Free agent right-hander Brian Wilson is expected to have opportunities to close, Olney writes. The Giants non-tendered their longtime closer last month, making him a free agent.
- Agents and executives wonder what will happen with free agent center fielder Michael Bourn, Olney reports(on Twitter). In my view the Rangers and Mariners appear to be two possible destinations for the Scott Boras client.
- The Indians could still trade Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Vinnie Pestano, as Olney points out (on Twitter). There’s “not much action” on Chris Perez, however.
- Some evaluators say the Red Sox are poised to move on the pitching market as prices drop, according to Olney(on Twitter). GM Ben Cherington figures to add starting pitching depth at some point, as his projected rotation consists of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey and Franklin Morales.
- It’s apparent that the Mariners aren’t the top choice of the best free agent hitters. Olney suggests Seattle will end up signing a leftover player, though they’re pressing to land someone of note.
- Phillies officials have privately maintained that they’d be prepared to offer Josh Hamilton a three-year deal.
There's arguably no better shortstop available via free agency or trade than Asdrubal Cabrera, and the Indians' asking price reflects that reality. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer writes that the Tribe is looking to get three-to-four prospects in exchange for their 27-year-old shortstop -- preferably four.
Hoynes writes that the Indians had a deal in place to acquire a Major League pitcher and two high-level prospects for Cabrera. That trade fell through when Cleveland asked that a third prospect be included in the package. The potential acquiring team would have switched Cabrera's position, for those who would like to play the speculation game.
Cabrera has two years and a total of $16.5MM remaining on his contract. Over the past two seasons, Cabrera has batted .272/.335/.443 with 41 home runs and 26 stolen bases.
In addition to Cabrera, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez and Shin-Soo Choo are drawing interest. The asking price on Perez is substantially lower than Cabrera's, one scout told Hoynes. Like Cabrera, Perez has two years of team control left. He's arbitration eligible for the third time as a Super Two player this offseason, and Matt Swartz has him projected at $7.2MM.
Hoynes notes that the Padres have called regarding both Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez. Masterson can become a free agent after the 2014 season and is projected to earn $5.7MM in arbitration this season. The Indians picked up Jimenez's $5.75MM option this offseason despite a dreadful season and drastically reduced fastball velocity. The Padres are likely attracted to Jimenez's durability and hopeful that a return to the NL West can help restore his numbers.
The Indians are already drawing trade calls on Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, and Asdrubal Cabrera according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Chris Antonetti acknowledged that they will listen to offers for those four and others.
"I'm not looking to move those guys,'' said the GM. "But we have to be open-minded.''
The 30-year-old Choo will be a free agent after next season, but he needs to play for his new team all season for them to be eligible to receive draft pick compensation next winter. Heyman speculates that outfield-needy teams like the Yankees, Pirates, Red Sox, Tigers, and Phillies could be in the mix. The 26-year-old Cabrera should be a hot commodity given the dearth of quality free agent middle infielders.
Masterson, 27, figures to draw a ton of interest as a workhorse starter who is one year removed from a 3.21 ERA in over 210 innings. It's been speculated that his former team, the Red Sox, could have interest in bringing him back. The 27-year-old Perez might have talked his way out of Cleveland with some late-season comments. Mark Polishuk analyzed his trade stock in September.
Matt Swartz projects Choo to earn $7.9MM through arbitration next season before becoming a free agent. Masterson and Perez are under team control through 2014 and project to earn $5.7MM and $7.2MM through arbitration next season, respectively. Cabrera is under contract through 2014 and will earn $6.5MM next year and $10MM the year after.
Let's take a look at the latest news and notes on what could be the final day of the 2012 baseball season.
- Jim Leyland's future as manager of the Tigers is still unclear, tweets Tom Gage of the Detroit News. Before tonight's World Series game, Leyland said nobody puts a team together better than team President/CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski adding "hopefully he feels I'm the guy to manage it."
- The Orioles' most pressing needs for 2013 are a frontline starter, a second baseman, and dealing with the unsettled positions of left field and first base, writes MASN.com's Roch Kubatko.
- Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are among the Orioles who could make a big step in 2013, according to Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- The Indians should only trade Chris Perez if they feel Vinnie Pestano can replace him as closer, opined Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer as he delved into his readers' mailbag. Hoynes also believes Lonnie Chisenhall will be given every opportunity to be the everyday third baseman and Sandy Alomar, Jr. would have been the slam-dunk choice as manager, if Terry Francona hadn’t been so adamant about getting back in the dugout.
- In the wake of Shohei Otani's announced intention to pursue a MLB career rather than play in Japan, Japanese baseball officials are considering stricter rules for amateur players who want to do the same, reports the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald).
- Tom Kotchman denied he was forced out by the Angels insisting his decision to leave was due to a desire to find something closer to his Tampa-St. Petersburg area home, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- Congratulations to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, who was named the first female president in the 104-year history of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
- Manny Ramirez's quest to resurrect his baseball career has the slugger heading to the Dominican Republic in hopes of catching the eye of a potential suitor during a tryout for three Japanese teams, writes George A. King III of the New York Post.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
Earlier today, the Indians interviewed Sandy Alomar Jr. about their full-time managerial vacancy. General Manager Chris Antonetti didn't put a timetable on making a hire, but he was quick to tip his cap to Alomar for the job he did guiding the club at the end of the 2012 season, according to the Associated Press. Antonetti addressed the media today and we have the highlights courtesy of MLB.com's Jordan Bastian..
- Antonetti confirmed to reporters, including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (via Twitter), that closer Chris Perez wants to remain in Cleveland. Perez said earlier this week that he wasn't looking for a way out this year by commenting on issues concerning the club.
- The GM wouldn't rule out bringing back Grady Sizemore or Travis Hafner on reduced deals, but Bastian (Twitter link) believes that Antonetti was just saying the right thing in regards to two long-time Indians.
- As of right now, Antonetti anticipates Shin-Soo Choo being back with the Indians in 2013 (Twitter link). Choo will hit the open market after next season and it has been said that the club will consider trades for him as they are not optimistic about an extension.
- The GM said that the decision on Roberto Hernandez's option will be difficult given the limited amount of time they had to evaluate him, Bastian tweets. Hernandez has been sidelined both by his suspension and injury.
- Matt LaPorta is out of minor league options going into next year and the GM said (Twitter link) that this will be a very important offseason for the first baseman/outfielder.