Cincinnati Reds Rumors
Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips have been two of the offseason's biggest names rumored to be on the trade market, and there was a chance the two could've been dealt for each other in a blockbuster. The Dodgers and Reds "briefly spoke about" swapping the two All-Stars earlier this winter, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but the Dodgers didn't have much interest. L.A. wasn't keen on adding an older player (Phillips is 32) who is owed $50MM through 2017, plus the Dodgers felt the deal wouldn't have been a fair swap if Kemp returned to full health.
Here are some more items from Chavez Ravine...
- There isn't any truth to rumors of a Dodgers/Royals trade that would sent Dee Gordon to Kansas City in exchange for Justin Maxwell, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports (via Twitter).
- The Dodgers fully intend to rebuild their minor league depth, team president Stan Kasten said tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, and while they've moved some minor leaguers in trades, Kasten is pleased that "we kept adding pieces while keeping the guys we valued the most." Speaking in general, Kasten said "what would have interested us — and might still — is to trade one of our veterans if we can get back young, controllable players and prospects." In addition, while Kasten says the Dodgers don't plan to trade any of their key youngsters, "there are deals on the table that include top prospects."
- The Dodgers could consider trading pitching prospects in order to obtain more position player prospects, Kasten said, as the club is lacking in youngsters who can play the field.
- Earlier today on MLBTR, the Dodgers acquired righty Seth Rosin from the Mets, and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal shared a few items about the Dodgers in his most recent column.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that a surprising name has popped up on the list of suitors for Omar Infante; according to Nightengale, the Reds are "quite interested" in Infante but would obviously need to move Brandon Phillips in order to pursue him (Twitter link).
The Yankees and Royals are said to be the strongest suitors for Infante at this time, with the Yankees reportedly having offered three years and $24MM to Infante shortly after Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners. Infante, however, is said to be seeking a four-year, $40MM pact similar to the extension signed by Martin Prado last winter.
Phillips' name has been on the block, and though the Reds have publicly downplayed his availability, recent reports have indicated that he's still in play. Phillips' name surfaced in a prominent rumor last night, as it was said that the Yankees turned down a swap of Phillips for Brett Gardner. There was more to the story than the initial report, as Phillips has the Yankees on his no-trade list and tried to re-open his contract talks to get more money in order to facilitate the deal.
Phillips is owed $50MM over the next four years, which isn't much more than the $40MM sought by Infante over the same term. However, such an offer doesn't appear to be on the table for Infante, so in the event that they find a taker for Phillips, perhaps the Reds could swoop in, sign Infante for $30-35MM and save $15MM or more.
10:37pm: Phillips has a no-trade clause that allows him to block a deal to the Yankees but the Reds did not ask him to waive his no-trade, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Meanwhile, the Yankees continue to say that they are reluctant to trade Gardner, who will earn a little more than $4MM in his walk year (link).
10:05pm: Before the Yankees turned down the proposed swap, Phillips asked for his contract to be re-opened to pay him more money to agree to the deal, a National League source tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
9:22pm: Both Brandon Phillips and Brett Gardner have seen their names pop up in trade rumors recently, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that the two of them actually had their name in the same deal. The Yankees, according to Heyman, turned down a Phillips-for-Gardner swap that was proposed by the Reds.
Phillips, 32, regressed to a .261/.310/.396 batting line with 18 homers in 2013. Always one of baseball's best defenders at second base, Phillips didn't disappoint on that front, turning in a strong +8.5 UZR/150 mark. The Yankees are a logical suitor for Phillips, given the fact that they just lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners late last week. However, though he's cheaper than Cano, Phillips is still owed $50MM over the next four years -- his age-32 through age-35 seasons.
Gardner, 30, also saw his role come into question due to the Yankees' free agent decisions. New York inked Jacoby Ellsbury to a massive seven-year, $153MM contract, giving them an outfield mixture of Ellsbury, Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells. Gardner is viewed as superior to most of those options and likely appeals to Cincinnati because he could play center field for a season while top prospect Billy Hamilton gets some additional minor league seasoning. Gardner batted .273/.344/.416 with eight homers, 24 steals and a league-leading 10 triples in 2013. That would make him a dynamic leadoff option to replace Shin-Soo Choo atop Cincinnati's lineup while delivering elite center field defense.
The trade would fill a need for both teams, so it'll be interesting to see if they revisit the framework down the line, perhaps adding other pieces to make it more appealing to the Yankees.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told reporters, including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter), that he has met with "far more agents than teams" at the winter meetings. He added that he doesn't expect any deals to go down before leaving tomorrow.
- Although the Reds have met with Bronson Arroyo's agent in the last 24 hours, they're telling clubs they expect him to sign elsewhere, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
- Giants assisstant GM Bobby Evans says the club is "equally close" on trade and free agent options for a left fielder, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Indians are believed to have made an offer to free agent reliever John Axford, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Earlier tonight, we learned that the Orioles have also made an offer to Axford, though they prefer Grant Balfour.
- The Rays have expressed interest in Kevin Youkilis, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Youkilis would fit the Rays' mold as a player on the rebound.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told MLB Network Radio (on Twitter) that he's focused on winning a championship but he's still in a spot where he has to keep finances in mind.
Reports yesterday indicated that both the Diamondbacks and Tigers are likely out of the Shin-Soo Choo sweepstakes (though I personally question whether or not the signing of Rajai Davis truly removes Detroit from the equation). The Rangers are still said to be in the mix, however. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick provided a rundown of potential Choo suitors yesterday, cautioning never to bet against Scott Boras. Here are Wednesday's Choo rumors...
- A Rangers source says the club isn't optimistic about their chances of signing Choo, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Texas doesn't have a seven-year offer out to the outfielder, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram.
- The Rangers have a seven-year offer on the table to Choo and he is giving it serious consideration, a source tells T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The deal is worth less than the $153MM deal that Jacoby Ellsbury inked with the Yankees but it's strong enough for Choo to mull over.
- The general sense among teams involved in the Choo sweepstakes is whichever team goes to eight years will land him, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. He's believed to have a seven-year offer in hand already.
- The Mariners are likely out of the picture on Choo after adding Corey Hart and Logan Morrison today, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Boras spoke with more than 100 reporters today and said that he's received multiple offers for Choo, who wants to his time and discuss all of his options with his wife. Boras said he's received offers from teams that are rebuilding and also for teams that are looking to win in 2014. "He really is a player I think is revered," said Boras (ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett reporting).
- "I think we have to move on," Reds GM Walt Jocketty told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer when asked about Choo (Twitter link).
- The Rangers like Choo but not at his asking price, which Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram hears is $22MM annually (Twitter link). Nelson Cruz is a more viable option for Texas, Wilson adds.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today has heard that Choo is looking for $140MM over seven years (Twitter link). Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets that he's heard the same.
- One executive told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Mariners and Rangers "are the lead dogs" in the Choo market (Twitter link).
- The Reds met to discuss Choo last night, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, their inability to clear some payroll by dealing Brandon Phillips first has dimmed their chances, he adds.
Despite the fact that Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters the team won't be trading Homer Bailey, some within the organization feel they'll have to overpay to sign him to an extension at this point, which could eventually change Jocketty's stance, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that the Reds would only move Bailey if they felt it improved their 2014 club (All Twitter links). More from the NL Central...
- The Brewers are one of a few teams to have shown interest in Carlos Marmol, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
- The Brewers could get jump back into the Ike Davis market, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Much like their interest in Logan Morrison, Milwaukee's interest is contingent upon Corey Hart's decision, says Martino.
- The Cubs will be in on Masahiro Tanaka, tweets Bruce Levine of WSCR. As he notes, the potential ace could greatly accelerate their timeline to compete.
Reports this offseason have gone back and forth on whether or not the Reds will trade Brandon Phillips. Earlier today it was reported that the Reds' ability or inability to trade their second baseman could impact their chances at retaining Shin-Soo Choo. We'll run down rumors on Phillips right here...
- Phillips is "definitely" in play, tweets Rosenthal, adding that Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty will move his second baseman if it improves the club in 2014.
- The Reds aren't ruling out a trade of Phillips, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They've yet to have any discussion with the Yankees at this point after New York missed out on Robinson Cano, though.
WEDNESDAY: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that there's a sense that Arroyo could be signed by the end of the Winter Meetings, and the expectation is that he will land a deal in the three-year, $36MM range. The Twins, Reds and a few others remain in the mix for Arroyo, he adds.
3:28pm: Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears that the Pirates are probably out on Arroyo (Twitter link).
2:46pm: GM Walt Jocketty told reporters, including C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, that he met with Arroyo's agent, Terry Bross, around 2:00pm today (Twitter link).
TUESDAY, 1:40pm: Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN hears the Mets and Reds are also making pushes for Arroyo (Twitter link). The Twins have yet to make a formal offer, he adds.
Despite already having added Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to their 2014 rotation, the Twins don't appear to be content with their starting five. They've been connected to Arroyo on and off throughout the offseason to date, with a guaranteed third year seen as a potential sticking point. Arroyo is also said to be of interest to the Pirates and the Phillies, as the right-hander himself recently told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon (Twitter link).
Arroyo, who will be 37 in February, posted a 3.79 ERA with 5.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and a 44.4 percent ground-ball rate in 202 innings this past season. With the exception of a 199-inning campaign in 2011, he has pitched at least 200 innings each season dating back to 2005. It's worth noting that former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky is currently a special assistant to Twins GM Terry Ryan.
Here are some quick notes from around the Central divisions.
- Bronson Arroyo's agent, Terry Bross, says he expects the Reds to make an offer to re-sign his client, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. That leads Rosenthal to wonder whether the Reds might deal a starter, even though GM Walt Jocketty has said they would not trade Homer Bailey, who will be a free agent after the season (Twitter links).
- The Twins do not have a pending offer to Arroyo or Johan Santana, tweets 1500ESPN's Darren Wolfson. They have made an offer to re-sign starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger tweets. Pelfrey posted a 5.19 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for the Twins in 2013.
- The Cardinals, who have already acquired Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos, aren't likely to be big players in the Winter Meetings, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch tweets. "We’re fishing is in the shallow end," GM John Mozeliak says.
- Now that they've acquired Adam Eaton, the White Sox will listen to offers on fellow outfielder Alejandro De Aza, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). The Giants have already asked about De Aza, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Indians would like to re-sign pitcher Tyler Cloyd to a minor-league deal, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets.
1:15pm: While talks aren't dead, concerns over Marshall's health could ultimately kill the deal, tweets Renck. The Rockies were "aggressively" pursuing the lefty as recently as last night, he adds.
TUESDAY, 12:39pm: The Rockies and Reds discussed Sean Marshall at length last night, and a trade appeared close at one point, according to Renck. However, those talks have idled for the time being. It's not clear whether the Reds would have included any salary relief to help offset the remaining $12MM on Marshall's deal, Renck adds.
MONDAY: As they search for relief help, the Rockies appear to have shifted their focus from the free agent market to trade talks, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. According to Renck, Colorado is "pushing hard" to acquire a hard-throwing relief pitcher to add to the back end of its bullpen.
Renck noted earlier today that Joaquin Benoit and Grant Balfour were among the free agent power arms that interested the Rockies, but the price tags on those players and other top relievers will likely be too high for Colorado.
The Rockies' current plan is for LaTroy Hawkins to close games, so the club is looking for another arm to complement Rex Brothers in a setup role. Renck mentions Royals pitchers Wade Davis, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Luke Hochevar as possible fits, though Kansas City is far from the only team willing to move relievers.