C.J. Wilson Rumors
Two big name free agents came off the board within the first three weeks of the offseason, as CC Sabathia signed an extension with the Yankees and Jonathan Papelbon joined the Phillies. The two power-hitting first baseman are still on the market (Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder), as are the high-end shortstops (Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes) and left-handed starters (Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson). Looking for pure offense? There's also Carlos Beltran and David Ortiz.
The Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been a slow few days for the baseball hot stove, but think of it as the calm before the storm. The winter meetings are just over a week away, and clubs want to start patching the major holes on their rosters before the calendar flips to January. A full list of unsigned free agents can be found with our Free Agent Tracker, but only a select few qualify as big names. Which of those guys do you think will be the next to sign?
In case the fine distinction between Type A and Type B free agents wasn't confusing enough, MLB has added a new level of complexity to this offseason's class of ranked free agents. This year's Type A free agents have been divided into three groups and teams will only have to surrender draft choices for signing players from one of the the sub-groups. You can read about the details here and follow the arbitration offers with MLBTR's tracker, but if you're only concerned with the bottom line, look no further. Here are the six remaining players for whom teams will have to surrender a top draft pick this offseason:
Also note that the Phillies will surrender a draft pick for signing Jonathan Papelbon earlier in the offseason. No other free agents, even those who obtained offers of arbitration, will cost draft picks. This means fewer obstacles exist for teams wary of losing draft choices and more opportunities exist for ranked free agents looking to sign their next contracts. Middle relievers and second-tier position players are no doubt pleased that the MLBPA bargained for these changes.
At the beginning of the offseason, C.J. Wilson said there was a "great chance" that he would re-sign in Texas. Much has changed in the ensuing weeks. Wilson has drawn interest from a third of MLB teams and the Rangers have decided to shift Neftali Feliz to the rotation. Texas' need for starting pitching has diminished since the offseason began, so the Rangers may balk at Wilson's reported asking price of $120MM.
But some team will happily sign Wilson, even if the Rangers don't. Who will it be...
Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement will make it harder for teams to spend big on amateur talent, which leaves them looking for new ways to build a competitive advantage. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests clubs should invest in scouting to ensure that the money they do spend impacts the Major League roster. Here's more from Morosi on the Boston Red Sox:
- Morosi says it's more likely than not that David Ortiz will return to Boston for another season. The Red Sox offered the free agent DH arbitration in a climate that no longer rewards one-dimensional sluggers as generously as it once did.
- Bobby Valentine remains the favorite to be named Boston's next manager, according to Morosi. Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont and Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo remain in the mix as well.
- The Red Sox continue pursuing C.J. Wilson, according to Morosi. Many other clubs, including the Yankees and Blue Jays also have some interest in the free agent left-hander.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
WEDNESDAY, 10:55am: Gio Gonzalez trade talks haven't really started, reports ESPN's Buster Olney, who notes that the A's did not ask for Logan Morrison in brief check-in talks with the Marlins.
TUESDAY, 8:54am: The Marlins have pursued trades and free agents aggressively so far this offseason. Most recently, Gio Gonzalez has emerged as a possible trade target for the team. Here are the details on the Marlins’ offseason, via Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
- The A’s have demanded a package containing Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton for Gonzalez and the Marlins “flatly rejected” the possibility.
- C.J. Wilson will visit the Marlins after Thanksgiving. The free agent left-hander met with the Angels last night and has more visits scheduled.
- A's people mention the Dan Haren deal as a point of reference for Gio Gonzalez trade talks, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The A's obtained Carlos Gonzalez and Brett Anderson for Haren, so it's clear they'll be looking for top prospects in any deal involving the 26-year-old Gonzalez. Andrew Bailey is "more available" than Gonzalez, according to Slusser, but the A's aren't in a rush to make a move despite interest in both pitchers.
- Slusser suggests the A's could also trade Grant Balfour or Brian Fuentes.
- Kurt Suzuki's trade value isn't particularly high, so the backstop may stay put in Oakland, Slusser writes.
- Free agent left-hander Darren Oliver told Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that re-signing with the Rangers would be his “first choice, no doubt.” The Rangers will be looking to add lefty relievers this offseason.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters, including Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest that he's realistic about re-signing C.J. Wilson, though he hasn't ruled the possibility out (Twitter link).
- Click here to read about Joe Nathan’s deal with the Rangers and here for the latest on the Angels.
Angels GM Jerry Dipoto isn’t shying away from the free agent market in his first offseason on the job. Here’s the latest on the Angels from Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times:
- Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia will meet with free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson tonight. Another GM will meet with Wilson in L.A. this weekend and the 31-year-old starter will meet with multiple teams on the East Coast next week, according to DiGiovanna.
- Angels international scouting director Mark Russo watched Yoenis Cespedes work out in the Dominican Republic last week, according to DiGiovanna. However, 60-70 other scouts were also in attendance to evaluate the Cuban center fielder. It appears that Cespedes will cost more than $35MM.
- The Angels are believed to be interested in free agent relievers Scott Linebrink and Ryan Madson, according to DiGiovanna. They also appeared to have interest in Joe Nathan, who just agreed to terms with the Rangers. This is the first time we've heard of the Angels' interest in Linebrink and Madson.
- Relievers Francisco Cordero, Heath Bell, Octavio Dotel and Matt Capps also interest the Angels, as do starters Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt and Hiroki Kuroda.
Four years ago today, the Angels traded Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox for Jon Garland. The right-hander pitched to a 4.90 ERA during his lone season in Anaheim before joining the Diamondbacks as a free agent. The Halos selected Eastern Illinois left-hander Tyler Kehrer with the supplemental first round pick they received as compensation for Garland's departure. Here's the latest from the AL East...
- In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says the Rangers appear to be working on a similar track to last offseason. They'd like to re-sign C.J. Wilson just like they would have liked to re-sign Cliff Lee, but they have a salary threshold they do not want to cross. If Wilson leaves, they will look to improve their teams in other ways, a la Adrian Beltre.
- The Angels have hired Marcel Lachemann as a special assistant to new GM Jerry Dipoto, reports Jack Etkin of Inside The Rockies. Lachemann had served as a specialist assist to Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd for the last ten years.
- The Mariners had interest in Ryan Doumit before he signed with the Twins, but Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times says they have bigger fish to fry and "can't afford to spend too much money for part-time production."
Here's the latest from the City Of Angels (And Dodgers)....
- Ned Colletti wants to bring back Hiroki Kuroda next season, but isn't sure if the Dodgers can afford him or if Kuroda will return to Japan, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.
- The Dodgers' major offseason moves could be wrapping up but Jerry Dipoto's first offseason as Angels GM is just beginning, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.
- From that same piece, DiGiovanna notes the club will look at "second-tier starters" like Kuroda, Aaron Harang, Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen and Roy Oswalt. Kuroda, Harang and Francis are also known to be on the Dodgers' list of pitching options.
- Of bigger-name starters, the Angels have been connected to C.J. Wilson this winter, but Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles wonders if the Angels' courtship of Wilson just a "smokescreen" intended to drive up Wilson's price for the Rangers. I'm not sure this tactic would specifically work on the Rangers given how they seem prepared to let Wilson leave if his price gets too high, but it could force one of Wilson's several other suitors to up their offer.