Cleveland Indians Rumors
Let's take a look at the latest from the MLB's Central divisions:
- Multiple teams have approached the Indians with interest in Drew Stubbs, Buster Olney writes in an article for ESPN Insiders (sub. req'd). MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected that Stubbs is on track to earn $3.8MM in arbitration this offseason after hitting just .233/.305/.360 in 2013. However, Olney says a salary in that range in today's market is acceptable for a player like Stubbs, who's a strong defender with power and speed and can handle all three outfield positions.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian considers a rumored swap of Indians righty Corey Kluber and two minor leaguers for the Angels' Mark Trumbo, which was later shot down by Angels GM Jerry Dipoto. While Trumbo's right-handed power would help the Indians, such a deal undervalues Kluber, who was one of the better starters in the AL for much of 2013, Bastian says.
- Pitching is the highest priority for the Indians this offseason, Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer notes in a reader mailbag column. The Tribe faces the possibility of losing free agents Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir from the rotation, while Joe Smith, Chris Perez, Rich Hill and Matt Albers could all depart from the bullpen.
- A Wednesday night deadline looms for teams to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 draft, and for the Royals, that means deciding who from a list of approximately six players is worth protecting, The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton says. As Dutton notes, it can be easier to stash an arm than a position player on the 40-man for an entire season, as pitchers can be used in a mop-up role in the bullpen.
- Some have suggested that Darwin Barney may not be long for the Cubs' roster, Carrie Muskat writes in response to a reader question for MLB.com. On the cusp of arbitration after slashing just .208/.266/.303 in 2013, Barney is a non-tender candidate, though MLBTR's Tim Dierkes believes that may be a bit hasty given that Barney's only likely to earn around $2.1MM in his first go at the arbitration process. If the Cubs do decide to part ways with the infielder, Luis Valbuena would be one possible replacement, Muskat says.
Today's news out of the AL and NL Central..
- The Brewers are considering bringing back Corey Hart to fill their first-base need and it appears they may favor him over other first base options like Mets first baseman Ike Davis and free agent Justin Morneau, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A Brewers person didn't look overly enthused when asked about Davis or Morneau and added that the rumored trade of Norichika Aoki for Davis would not be happening.
- Agent Scott Boras says that he's gotten good interest from a "variety of teams" on client Mike Pelfrey and said the Twins are amongst those clubs, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. He also claims that Pelfrey holds a multi-year offer.
- The Cubs don’t plan to drop big bucks on a free agent catcher like Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia and sources tell Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com they have their eye on a cheaper target: Kurt Suzuki. The Cubs are seeking out a veteran backstop to complement Welington Castillo.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) there's been ongoing trade interest in Nate Schierholtz since mid-season.
- Justin Masterson will listen if the Indians want to approach him with a multi-year offer, writes Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.
General Manager Brian Cashman told reporters, including Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (on Twitter), that you can rule out the Yankees signing Brian Wilson after his agent told the team he won't shave his beard. While you ponder that, here's the latest on Wilson..
- Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) hears that the most interested teams are the Giants, Dodgers, Indians, Tigers, Rockies, Mariners, and Red Sox. The Reds could also jump in, depending on whether Aroldis Chapman moves to the rotation.
Here's a look at the latest from Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, with all links going to Twitter..
- The Yankees are talking to the Cardinals about a deal for third baseman David Freese, a source tells Feinsand (via Twitter). The Cardinals could theoretically part with Freese since they can move Matt Carpenter to third base and use Kolten Wong at second. Freese, 30, would give the Yankees a solid plan B in the event that Alex Rodriguez's suspension is upheld. Even if the suspension isn't upheld, A-Rod will probably have to play a good amount of DH. Freese hit just .262/.340/.381 with nine homers last season but his career slash line of .286/.356/.427 is much stronger.
- A source says the says Mariners have "no interest" in Jacoby Ellsbury but the Cubs appear to be stealthily waiting in the wings (link). The Cubs are probably targeting 2015 to make a move towards contending but its possible that they'll look to make a splash this winter in advance of that.
- According to Rangers source, the club is working to schedule Carlos Beltran for a visit to Dallas (link). Two other teams are believed to be working on the same thing. Feinsand lists the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, Indians, and Mariners as the other clubs showing serious interest and notes that they're all AL clubs (link).
Clint Hurdle of the Pirates and Terry Francona of the Indians have won the Manager of the Year awards in their respective leagues, MLB.com announced Tuesday night. The other finalists in the National League were the Braves' Fredi Gonzalez and the Dodgers' Don Mattingly. In the American League, the other finalists were John Farrell of the Red Sox and Bob Melvin of the Athletics.
Hurdle led the Pirates to a 94-win season, making 2013 their first winning season and first playoff berth since 1992. The team exceeded expectations in 2013 thanks to strong pitching and an aggressive approach to defensive shifts. Hurdle received 25 of 30 possible first-place votes. Francona, who led a revived Indians team to 92 wins, received 16 of 30 possible first-place votes. He narrowly beat out Farrell, who had 12 first-place votes.
Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com hears the Mets aren't considering a reunion with Scott Kazmir. Earlier today, we heard that the Indians don't expect to hang on to the left-hander as he's likely to command a multi-year pact and they're not willing to go beyond one. Here's more from around baseball..
- Royals manager Ned Yost told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (Twitter links) that his priorities are starting pitching and second base. Yost also indicated that Carlos Beltran, Brandon Phillips, and Ervin Santana have popped up in discussions.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti is scheduled to talk to agent Dan Lozano about two of his clients, closers Fernando Rodney and Brian Wilson, according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. Cleveland is looking into out-of-house closing options after parting ways with Chris Perez.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman says he's looking to add "400 innings" to the rotation this winter, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says he has scouted Masahiro Tanaka extensively and hopes to be in the mix for him, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
- If Carlos Ruiz really has a two-year, $20MM offer on the table, then he probably shouldn't let it sit for too long, opines MLBTR's Tim Dierkes (on Twitter).
- Nationals assistant GM and VP of player personnel Roy Clark has the club to take a job with the Dodgers, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
The latest from the AL Central..
- Free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf had breakfast together at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Florida, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) cautions not to read into it.
- The Indians aren't optimistic about their chances of re-signing Scott Kazmir this winter, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Tribe would be interested in a one-year deal for the left-hander but believe he's certain to have multi-year offers after resurrecting his career in Cleveland this past year, posting a 4.04 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
- The Royals would like to reunite with Carlos Beltran but they fear being outbid by large market clubs like the Yankees, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if the Twins might give Bronson Arroyo a three-year deal to anchor their rotation. Meanwhile, sources tell Rosenthal the Giants are among the teams considering Arroyo, but they would prefer to strike a quick, affordable two-year deal for a No. 4 starter.
- The White Sox like Curtis Granderson, but they may feel that he's not worth the type of contract that he will command or losing a second-round pick, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
- Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer looks at some of the Indians' internal candidates that could help fill the void if Ubaldo Jimenez goes elsewhere. “I think Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister are capable of doing that,” said pitching coach Mickey Callaway. “But we need them to stay healthy and log innings like Ubaldo did the last two years.”
- Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press examines Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays as a possible trade target for the Twins.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs tackles the question of whether the Tigers should trade Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello this winter. Yesterday, we learned that Detroit is open to dealing one or the other.
Here's the latest baseball news from the Buckeye State's two teams...
- "We talked about a lot of different ways to bring Ubaldo [Jimenez] back,” Indians GM Chris Antonetti told reporters (including Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer). Hoynes interprets this as meaning that the Tribe made Jimenez a multiyear offer in addition to the $14.1MM one-year qualifying offer, but Jimenez is very likely to sign elsewhere.
- Once a top prospect and the key part of the Brewers' trade package to the Indians for C.C. Sabathia in 2008, Matt LaPorta is now a minor league free agent and may not return to the Tribe. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer looks at LaPorta's career and talks to Indians director of player development Paul Atkins, who doesn't sound optimistic about LaPorta re-signing with the organization.
- Also from that piece, Antonetti didn't comment on whether the team was looking to sign Justin Masterson to a multiyear extension. “I will tell you how much we value Justin and what he’s brought to this team since we acquired him in 2009,” Antonetti said. Masterson emerged as the Tribe's ace last season and is a free agent next winter.
- The acquisition of Brayan Pena means that the Reds "are obviously up to something" in regards to a catcher trade, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. The consensus has been that Ryan Hanigan will be dealt but Fay wonders if "a major trade" is in the works that would send Devin Mesoraco elsewhere.
- Fay also notes that if the Reds trade Brandon Phillips, speedster Billy Hamilton could be a potential replacement at second base. Hamilton was originally drafted as a shortstop but was seen by some in the Reds organization as a future second baseman.
- The Reds will hire Jay Bell as their new bench coach, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter). Bell was serving as the Pirates hitting coach and previously worked as the Diamondbacks' bench coach. Bell and new Cincinnati manager Bryan Price both worked in Arizona's organization at the same time.
Matt Murton and Randy Messenger are close to extensions with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, Kyodo News reports. It's possible that both could have drawn interest from major league teams, as each was excellent in 2013 for the Tigers. Murton, who had a nice .297/.365/.444 campaign all the way back in 2006 with the Cubs, led Japan's Central League in hits in 2013 for the third time in four seasons. Here's a look at the latest from MLB's Central divisions:
- Cubs hitting coach James Rowson will leave for the Yankees organization, a source tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Rowson, who was named the Cubs' top hitting instructor in June 2012, will assume the title of minor league hitting coordinator in the Bronx.
- Rick Renteria's journeyman career included stops in four organizations and three tours in Mexican baseball, Gonzales writes in a profile of the new Cubs manager. Padres first base coach Dave Roberts had high praise for his former colleague, commenting that "there's not a player who has come across Rick Renteria and hasn't gotten better."
- Gonzales and Colleen Kane, also of the Tribune, preview the offseasons ahead for the Cubs and their South Side neighbors. In the article, Cubs President Theo Epstein reiterated that free agent signings must help the Cubs both now and in the future. "We wish there were a free agent market for young players ... There's not," Epstein lamented. While the Cubs' strategy is to bide time and wait for "that one guy who might make sense," the front office may target a starter or bullpen help this offseason, Epstein adds.
- While the White Sox's signing of Jose Dariel Abreu in October will likely be their largest offseason move, they must still address team legend Paul Konerko's status with the club, Kane and Gonzales write. Catching also looms as a prominent need for the Sox, and could be addressed via the trade market. As the article notes, the Blue Jays are believed to have interest in second baseman Gordon Beckham.
- The Twins will have to add minor leaguer A.J. Achter to their 40-man roster by Nov. 20 if they want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Achter looks to vie with around 10 other players for two Twins 40-man spots.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that money was likely a factor in the Indians' decision to draft Tyler Naquin, whom they selected 15th overall in 2012, over Michael Wacha. A teammate of Naquin's at Texas A&M, Wacha was eventually selected with the 19th pick by the Cardinals and signed for the full slot value of $1.9MM.
The Indians' best free agent pitchers -- Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, Joe Smith, and Matt Albers -- are all expected to be lured away by better offers to throw elsewhere in spite of the club's interest in retaining them, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Here is Hoynes' take on that group of arms, and other news out of Cleveland:
- Jimenez is expected, unsurprisingly, to reject the Indians' $14.1MM qualifying offer. MLBTR's Steve Adams predicted that Jimenez would be able to find three years and $39MM on the open market, and could possibly even score an Edwin Jackson-like four-and-$50MM+ deal.
- Kazmir and Smith are both seeking more years than the Indians want to give. Cleveland wants to do a one-year deal with the former and would go to two for the latter, but they are seeking at least one additional guaranteed season.
- GM Chris Antonetti feels the club is protected if these pitchers find greener pastures, however, noting that the organization has "seven quality major league alternatives in the starting rotation with Justin Masterson, Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, Zach McAllister, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer." Nevertheless, a veteran starter and pen pieces are definitely on Antonetti's wish list, says Hoynes. The club has already made contact with Tim Hudson, and Hoynes lists a series of other possible targets.
- As for the relief corps, Hoynes says to expect an internal candidate -- most likely, Cody Allen or Bryan Shaw -- to be tapped as the closer. As MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth has explained, Allen looks to profile as a worthy replacement for outgoing ninth inning man Chris Perez. Antonetti said that the team has "some talented pitchers in the back end of the bullpen." An opportunistic move on one of the closer types that are available in free agency is certainly possible, but seems not to rank atop the club's priorities.
- Indeed, a pricey spend on a closer may not make sense for a club that -- according to Hoynes -- projects to maintain a payroll in the $80MM range. With about $70MM already wrapped up after consider the team's arb-eligibles, Antonetti doesn't have a ton of room to work with. Though last year's free agent binge was made possible by ownership's TV network sale, Hoynes adds, the anticipated $25MM national broadcasting cash infusion will be enjoyed by every other club as well. It is worth noting, also, that the annual salaries of both of last year's big free agent signees -- Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn -- take big jumps this year ($4MM and $6.5MM, respectively), which accounts for a substantial part of the increased payroll pressure.
- Finally, look for the Indians to open discussions with Justin Masterson about an extension, says Hoynes. As he notes in the piece, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently opined that it would probably take a five year pact somewhere between the $65MM given John Danks and Jered Weaver's $85MM.