Cleveland Indians Rumors
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.
The Cubs are among the clubs with interest in free agent pitcher Mitchell Boggs, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. The Phillies, Indians, Mariners, and Mets are also in on him. The Rockies non-tendered the right-hander after a subpar 2013. Here's more from the NL Central...
- According to a club source, the Pirates' deal for Edinson Volquez won't preclude them from re-signing A.J. Burnett, tweets Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- A rival exec says that the one-year, $5MM pact for Volquez makes sense, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The exec says that Volquez boasts a Francisco Liriano-type profile with his strikeout rate and ability to induce groundballs.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTR (on Twitter) wonders if the Volquez deal could hamstring Pittsburgh somewhat financially in their effort to re-sign Burnett if he calls for a $10-12MM commitment.
- The Cardinals signed right-hander Angel Castro for bullpen depth, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Terms of the deal aren't known, but it's presumably a minor league pact. Castro spent last season with the Dodgers' Triple- A affiliate, posting an ERA of 3.48 with 7.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 19 starts and six relief appearances.
3:00pm: MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that Terry Francona called Masterson to tell him that he isn't going to be traded this offseason.
10:21am: The Indians have yet to engage Masterson in extension talks, but those could come as part of the upcoming arbitration negotiations, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian notes. Cleveland is prepared to go with a one-year deal if necessary, he says (Twitter links).
8:56am: There are no legs to the Yankees-Masterson trade talks, a source tells ESPN's Buster Olney. He adds that Cleveland isn't close to trading Masterson or any other player at this time (Twitter links).
7:47am: The Indians are said to be open to listening to offers on Justin Masterson, and the Yankees have emerged as a possible suitor, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale reports that the Yankees would be interested in acquiring Masterson in a deal involving Brett Gardner. A third team would likely be required, since the Indians don't have a need Gardner (Twitter links).
Indians GM Chris Antonetti indicated yesterday that he'd like to keep Masterson in Cleveland long-term, but acknowledged that he'd be willing to consider offers on just about any player. The Yankees appear to have a similar stance on Gardner -- a Tuesday report suggested the team would prefer to trade Ichiro Suzuki, but presumably the Yankees would have to consider moving Gardner if the price is right.
The Yankees aren't the only team reported to have a keen interest in landing Masterson. Joel Sherman of the New York Post said this morning that the Diamondbacks would "love" to find a way to acquire him from Cleveland.
WEDNESDAY: The Phillies are "selling the crap out of [Papelbon]," one executive told Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly. The Phillies are willing to pay some of Papelbon's salary to facilitate a trade, according to Salisbury. One source told Salisbury that the Phillies approached the Indians and offered to pay part of Papelbon's salary, but the Indians weren't interested.
SUNDAY: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also hears that the Phils are shopping Papelbon, adding that there's a belief that the Phils would like to reallocate Papelbon's salary to a starting pitcher (Twitter link).
FRIDAY, 6:45pm: The Red Sox are one of the teams on Papelbon's no-trade list, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports (Twitter link). With Koji Uehara closing and the likes of Junichi Tazawa and the newly-acquired Edward Mujica as bullpen depth, it's very unlikely the Sox would've had interest in bringing Papelbon back anyway.
2:47pm: The Phillies are trying to trade Jonathan Papelbon, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Phillies could move the right-hander, who is set to earn $13MM in each of the next two seasons, and look to sign a more affordable closer, Rosenthal adds in a second tweet. Papelbon's deal also has a $13MM vesting option for the 2016 season that triggers if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 games between 2014-15. Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly adds (via Rosenthal) that Papelbon's no-trade protection allows him to select 12 teams to which he will approve a deal.
Papelbon, 33, saved 29 games and posted a 2.92 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 61 2/3 innings for the Phillies in 2013 -- the second season of a four-year, $50MM deal. Though his superficial numbers appear strong, Papelbon's average fastball velocity dropped to a career-low 92 mph, and his 10.6 percent swinging-strike rate was also the lowest of his career.
Papelbon's name surfaced in trade rumors over the summer, as he was believed by some to be available with the Phillies looking to shed payroll and get younger. Papelbon made some incendiary remarks about the direction of the Phillies in July, flatly stating, "I definitely didn't come here for this." Asked about the contract in retrospect, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said in August that he would make the signing again and had no regrets other than they way the team has played as a whole. In an interview later that month, Amaro called Papelbon "crucial" to the Phillies' success and said he expected to see Papelbon closing out games for the Phils in 2014.
It's a tough time to be shopping an expensive closer, as the market bears plenty of options in the form of Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Fernando Rodney, Chris Perez, Jose Veras and John Axford. Amaro could likely increase interest if he were to show a willingness to sweeten the pot by eating some of Papelbon's salary. Otherwise, Papelbon is a tough sell at two years and $26MM in a market where Joe Nathan commanded just a two-year, $20MM contract.
The Indians are reportedly open to trading Justin Masterson and have been in contact with the Yankees, but there are reportedly no legs to those talks and Cleveland isn't near a trade of any player. A couple of other Tribe notes...
- General manager Chris Antonetti told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the Indians would love to have Ubaldo Jimenez back and aren't ruling out a return for the right-hander (Twitter link). Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway is a big factor for Jimenez, Heyman notes.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at the Tribe's surplus of outfielders (on Twitter) with Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, David Murphy, Drew Stubbs and Ryan Raburn all in the fold, noting that something is likely to give. Rosenthal notes that Cleveland is listening on virtually all of its players.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the top left-handed relievers on the market -- J.P. Howell, Boone Logan, Eric O'Flaherty and Scott Downs -- should begin to start coming off the board in the next 24 to 48 hours. It's already been reported that O'Flaherty is in talks with the Braves about a return to Atlanta. Here's the latest on the market for relievers...
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweets that there's a sense that the Nationals will land a left-handed reliever today.
- The Orioles have had talks with John Axford, tweets Morosi. They're also said to be the current favorites for Grant Balfour.
- A rival executive estimated that the Phillies would have to eat about 40 to 50 percent of Jonathan Papelbon's remaining salary to trade him, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Papelbon is owed $13MM in each of the next two seasons and has a vesting option for a fifth year.
- The Rockies have had discussions with Joaquin Benoit but are a ways apart in terms of salary, Morosi reports. Talks between the two sides are fading, as Benoit appears likely to seek a more lucrative deal elsewhere (Twitter links).
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted yesterday that when the dust settles from the Winter Meetings, Matt Guerrier's name could be a of interest to the Indians.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that even after re-signing Juan Carlos Oviedo and acquiring Heath Bell, the Rays are still looking to improve their bullpen. One option could be injured lefty Jordan Norberto, who underwent Tommy John surgery last season.
It's still early on Day Three of the Winter Meetings in Orlando, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post is coming out of the gate with a few items of note. Let's dive in and round them up...
- An increasingly crowded first base trade market may make it difficult for the Mets to acquire a solid return for Ike Davis, as Sherman outlines in a column.
- Sherman adds in the same piece that the Mets have placed a "significant return cost" on Daniel Murphy, but people around the league continue to believe he could be dealt.
- With Tyler Skaggs headed to the Angels, the Diamondbacks may no longer have the trade pieces to pry Jeff Samardzija away from the Cubs. However, Sherman says (via Twitter) that the D-Backs would now "really love" to acquire Justin Masterson from the Indians.
- The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott reported on Tuesday that the Blue Jays had offered Colby Rasmus to a pair of teams in exchange for starting pitching, and it sounds as if Rasmus remains in play. Sherman tweets that the Jays will use Rasmus to try to land a starter.
Carroll, 39, endured the worst season of his 12-year career this past year, recording a .211/.267/.251 slash line in 249 total plate appearances for the Twins and Royals. However, he posted an OBP of .357 in the five seasons prior to 2013. While he's very unlikely to earn a starting job anywhere, Carroll could still have some value as a utility infielder.
Carroll's previous contract was worth $6.75MM over two years, but he figures to come cheaper this time around.
Acknowledging that he'd listen to offers for anyone and everyone on his roster in the right scenario, Indians GM Chris Antonetti suggested it'd be difficult to move Justin Masterson, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer details. Antonetti declined to comment on the possibility of offering Masterson an extension, but added, "What I can say is how much we appreciate the contributions that Justin has made to our organization and we’d love for him to be an Indian long term."
Here are a few more overnight links from around MLB:
- If Bronson Arroyo decides he wants to be in Minnesota, he'd be the Twins' top choice of their potential starting pitching targets, says Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter).
- The Rockies have expressed interest in free agent reliever Ryan Madson, but remain more likely to trade for a bullpen arm than sign one, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- After missing most of last season, Brett Myers is healthy and is seeking a job this winter, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
- The Diamondbacks' acquisition of Mark Trumbo is the latest example of how the team operates, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. As Piecoro points out, Arizona generally doesn't care about getting what the industry would consider "full value" for their trade chips.
- The uncertainty surrounding Masahiro Tanaka continues to slow the pace of negotiations for the top starting pitchers already on the market, tweets Berardino.
- A Monday report suggested another NPB starter, Kenta Maeda, could play for an MLB team as soon as 2015, but the latest word on Maeda indicates the right-hander might even be posted this winter. Ben Badler of Baseball America has the details.
- Badler also writes that changes are coming to the limits on international spending in 2014, with MLB teams set to lose up to $300K in signing money that had previously been exempt from bonus pools.
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.