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The Reds’ owners continue engaging in friendly debate with one another about Joey Votto’s future with the team, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Here are the details on the Reds’ first base situation and more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB…
- Cincinnati CEO Bob Castellini doesn’t want to trade Votto and appears to believe an extension is possible. However, some Reds owners believe the team should explore trades for the 2010 NL MVP. Votto is under contract through 2013.
- Rival GMs consider Yonder Alonso a one-dimensional player, not someone who could be a centerpiece in a trade for a starting pitcher like James Shields or Gio Gonzalez.
- The Rangers are considering assistant GM Thad Levine and former Astros GM Tim Purpura for their open farm director position, according to Rosenthal.
- Teams are “kicking the tires” on Alfonso Soriano and the Cubs are willing to pick up a substantial chunk of the $54MM remaining on the 35-year-old left fielder's contract. He posted a .244/.289/.469 line with 26 home runs last season and is under contract through 2014.
- Teams are calling the Rangers about right-hander Koji Uehara, but Texas may hold on to him, since they’re short on left-handed relief and Uehara is effective against left-handed hitters.
- The A’s won’t attempt to re-sign Josh Willingham, but they’re interested in re-signing another one of their free agent outfielders: Coco Crisp.
All three of the Athletics’ starting outfielders hit free agency this offseason and with so much uncertainty surrounding the team's future, retaining the trio won't be easy. Here's the latest on the Athletics from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
- Agent Matt Sosnick told Slusser that the A’s “aren’t going to make an offer” to Josh Willingham unless they get a decision on their stadium situation first. It doesn’t appear that the A’s are currently able to offer a multiyear deal, according to Sosnick.
- Coco Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, has a similar take on Oakland’s willingness to spend and says GM Billy Beane is limited by the the team’s uncertain stadium situation. “It is difficult,” Comte told Slusser. “I feel bad for any organization that is in the quagmire the A's are in because they do have to overpay to get good players to go there.”
- Crisp is looking to play for a competitive West Coast team and the Giants are a “viable” option for him, according to Comte.
- Slusser reports that Oakland's interest in bringing Hideki Matsui back has cooled off.
- The A’s are expected to offer Willingham (Type A) and David DeJesus (Type B) arbitration, as Slusser notes.
The Athletics currently project for the ninth pick in next year's draft, though that could change by the end of Wednesday. The latest A's info, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
- Coco Crisp's agent Steve Comte agreed with Matt Sosnick's comments about the Athletics' offseason spending hinging on MLB's decision on the team's new stadium. Comte hasn't spoken to A's GM Billy Beane recently, but noted the long-term impact of the stadium issue was apparent back in Spring Training. Nonetheless, Crisp and his agent will keep an open mind and "see what the market brings." Crisp, 31, has a .267/.317/.384 line in 575 plate appearances, with 48 steals in 57 tries. It's been Crisp's healthiest year since '07, but he's posted his worst walk rate since '06. UZR suggests his defense was slightly below-average this year, but Crisp's ability to simply play a passable center field regularly makes him valuable. Given the state of the free agent market at the position, I think a two-year deal is probable. Slusser's sources expect the Giants to be interested.
- Signing Brandon McCarthy for a $1MM base salary was one of the best moves of the offseason, and the 28-year-old righty considers his season a successful comeback. For less than $2MM in total, he's provided a 3.32 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9, and 46.7% groundball rate in 170 2/3 innings. His ERA ranks 13th in the American League and his five complete games tie him for second. The cherry on top: McCarthy is arbitration eligible for 2012 and should be affordable again.
- Slusser talked to A's outfielder David DeJesus, who said, "This year wasn't me. I want to break things down and understand what went wrong." DeJesus, 31, slipped to .237/.321/.374 in 502 plate appearances and may have been affected by losing his status as an everyday player. Slusser expects the Padres to be in the mix for the bounceback candidate, who will become a free agent shortly.
- Righty Rich Harden said he'd "definitely be open" to returning to the A's in 2012. The 29-year-old made all his starts since his July 1st season debut, posting a 5.12 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.85 HR/9, and 31.5% groundball rate in 82 2/3 innings.
- Hideki Matsui is not really proud of his numbers this year, the designated hitter told Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News through a translator. Matsui, 37, hit .251/.321/.376 in 576 plate appearances.
- In our latest Elias Rankings projections, Crisp, Harden, and Matsui projected for neither Type A nor B status, while DeJesus projected for Type B.
On this date in 1983, Steve Carlton of the Phillies won the 300th game of his career. The Phillies don't have any 300 game winners on their staff at this point, but it won't be surprising if one or two of their pitchers join Carlton in Cooperstown one day. Here are some links for Friday…
- Coco Crisp told Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times that he's looking for a winning team, a location he likes and a good "financial situation" when he decides where to sign this offseason (link via the Boston Herald). The 31-year-old California native says he enjoys playing in Oakland and believes the A's have a chance to win in 2012.
- The Orioles placed Troy Patton on the restricted list yesterday, according to MLB.com's Transactions Page. The left-hander left the team for a court-appointed orientation class that's related to his offseason DUI arrest, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. He should re-join the team in Detroit today.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Bob Klapisch of the Record that he's "comfortable but not expectant" of a new contract after the season, when his current deal with the Yankees expires. Klapisch says Cashman has earned another contract.
- Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer made the case for bringing Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona to the Indians next year. Though there are arguments in favor of each player, it's not easy to get excited about "the prospect of continued uncertainty."
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports that executives around MLB were stunned that Weaver accepted the Angels' five-year, $85MM extension offer. They expected the Scott Boras client to hold out for more or test his value on the open market.
- Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles examines the Weaver deal and what it means for the Angels and their ace before concluding that "Weaver and the Angels needed each other."
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs shows that Weaver pitches in one of the best environments possible for his skills. Though Weaver probably left money on the table, Cameron says the deal is a good one for Weaver and the Angels.
- Writing at U.S.S. Mariner, Cameron suggests the Mariners might want to spend their money on a third baseman this winter, even though they already have the disappointing Chone Figgins under contract for 2012. However, there's not much out there aside from Aramis Ramirez, so the Mariners will likely have to decide between so-so secondary options and in-house solutions.
- The A's demoted catcher Landon Powell to Triple-A Sacramento so that he could get some regular at bats, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Coco Crisp and Rich Harden were claimed on waivers and pulled back, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If Oakland puts the players on waivers again, they won't be able to pull them back. The A’s first placed Harden and Crisp on waivers a week ago.
A trio of Athletics were placed on waivers recently, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports: starter Rich Harden, center fielder Coco Crisp, and lefty reliever Craig Breslow. Placing the three on waivers does not necessarily mean the A's want to trade them. But if they were placed this afternoon then the clock is now ticking to make a claim, with the window closing after 48 hours.
The Red Sox pulled out of a trade deadline deal for Harden over physical concerns, but the 29-year-old righty continues to take his turn in the rotation for the A's. His big-time strikeout rate is back in an eight start sample, though Harden remains prone to free passes and home runs. Owed just $360K plus performance bonuses, claiming Harden would not be terribly risky despite his extensive injury history.
Crisp, 31, is hitting .274/.329/.392 in 441 plate appearances this season, already his highest total since '07. He leads the American League with 37 steals and his defense is typically well-regarded. He has a shot at Type B status, so the A's probably won't let him go for nothing. Crisp has about $1.39MM remaining on his contract.
Breslow is under team control through 2013, assuming he's tendered contracts for the next two seasons. The brainy 31-year-old has been hittable this year, especially against left-handed hitters.
Athletics outfielders Josh Willingham and Coco Crisp will not be traded, hears SI's Jon Heyman. As free agents after the season the two were considered prime candidates, but perhaps the A's prefer potential draft pick compensation.
The Braves are expected to add an outfielder today; here's the latest…
8:15pm: The Red Sox are out on Willingham and still trying on Harden, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
3:18pm: The Red Sox checked in with the A's on old friend Coco Crisp, tweets ESPN's Gordon Edes. He says the price is high for a player who may not bring draft pick compensation. Crisp does have a shot at Type B status though.
11:11am: The Red Sox talked to the Athletics about a possible trade for starter Rich Harden and outfielder Josh Willingham, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but it's unclear whether the deal currently has a pulse. The rumor mill has been quiet on Harden and Willingham, though they'd both be solid pickups for a contender.
The Braves offered a four-player package to the Astros for Hunter Pence, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Astros sought two of the Braves' top four pitching prospects and another good young pitcher, so a deal was not reached. With Pence and Carlos Beltran off the board, here's the latest on the Braves' hunt for a hitter…
- Byrd is not going to be traded, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark, though the Braves took a run at him. Stark says the Twins are set on receiving big league-ready players for Denard Span. Bourn, Upton, Crisp, and Quentin are on the radar, while there are no signs the Braves have pursued Ludwick or Willingham of late.
- The Braves are strongly in on Quentin, tweets Bob Nightengale, but the White Sox are still unlikely to move him. Chicago's asking price is very high, tweets Jon Paul Morosi, and the Braves are interested but not optimistic.
- Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd appears to be among the names on Atlanta's radar, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The Braves' talks for Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp slowed Friday, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but he wonders if they'll be rekindled now that the Phillies got Pence.
- The Braves are almost certain to land an outfielder before the deadline, reports Rosenthal. He cites the names you have been hearing for a while: B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin, and Josh Willingham.
- Bourn is on the Braves' radar, tweets Crasnick. Padres right fielder Ludwick is "more down the list of options." Would Astros GM Ed Wade deal another outfielder? He told reporters earlier tonight, "We’re going to be open-minded on all fronts. We’re going to be good listeners."
- The Braves are targeting a center fielder, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan, though it doesn't rule them out on corner guys.