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Cody Ross Rumors
We've already had one batch of AL East Notes on MLBTR today, but here are some more items on a busy day around the division…
- The Orioles have had a quiet offseason while their division rivals have been spending, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. While the O's didn't make any major signings en route to a playoff appearance last year and face a payroll increase due to several arbitration-eligible players, Schmuck thinks spending on a big free agent like Adam LaRoche would help the team contend again.
- A Dodgers official flatly denied that the Dodgers and Red Sox could make an Andre Ethier/Jacoby Ellsbury swap, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Ethier's name has come up in recent rumors but L.A. isn't shopping the outfielder and doesn't appear eager to move him.
- Also from Cafardo, he hears from an AL general manager that the Red Sox may be trying to deal Ellsbury so they can shift Shane Victorino to center field and then sign Cody Ross. Several teams are interested in Ross but none have yet met his desired price of a three-year, $21-$31MM contract.
- Jose Iglesias has "always been available, but nobody has knocked down [Boston's] door," writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe about the Red Sox prospect's trade value. Given that Stephen Drew was signed to just a one-year contract, it's too early to say that the Sox have given up on Iglesias as a long-term solution at shortstop.
- Also from Cafardo's piece, he thinks that Rafael Soriano and Matt Garza could both still be targets for the Red Sox.
- Right-hander Daniel McCutchen has received multiple offers to play in Japan, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes has learned. McCutchen’s minor league deal with the Orioles permits him to accept an offer from a Japanese team. The 30-year-old appeared in one game for the Pirates this past season, but he spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he posted a 2.98 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 63 1/3 innings.
- The Blue Jays were picked as the 2013 AL East champions by 13 of 20 scouts and executives polled by FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. In that same poll, the Orioles were picked to finish last by 10 voters, while the Red Sox received six last-place votes and were the only team that didn't get at least one pick as division winners. Morosi himself picks Toronto for first place and Boston for last.
- From earlier today, the Rays signed Roberto Hernandez, the Red Sox finalized the signing of Koji Uehara and I compiled some Yankees-related notes.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post
The Phillies are still pursuing free agent Cody Ross and also have interest in acquiring Angels outfielder Vernon Wells, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. As Heyman notes, Philadelphia is looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder who can be slotted behind Ryan Howard in the lineup. Ross would be the ideal fit for this role, as it's hard to expect Wells to serve as suitable lineup protection given how his production has dropped off in each of the last two seasons.
Besides the Phillies, the Mets, Mariners and Braves have also been linked to Ross this offseason. The Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox also had interest but may be out of the running now since both clubs have made other outfield signings (Ichiro Suzuki, Nate McLouth and Shane Victorino, respectively).
Wells would be a cheap addition for the Phillies, as the Angels would still have to cover most of the $42MM owed to Wells through the 2014 season. The Yankees have also been rumored as another possible trade destination for Wells. It has been presumed that Wells would waive his no-trade clause to receive more playing time and a fresh start away from Anaheim.
There is plenty of room in the Philadelphia outfield, as only center fielder Ben Revere is thus far slated for an everyday spot in the lineup. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told media (including Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News) that all options are being considered, including not having everyday corner outfielders.
"We’re still trolling through the possibility of adding another piece there. And we’re also considering the possibility with a double platoon. That’s a possibility as well," Amaro said. "We’ve done some things that have helped our club at a couple of different levels. I don’t think the process of trying to help improve our club stops until the end of the season."
Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) that the Phillies are intensifying their pursuit of Cody Ross. Of course there’s other clubs strongly pursuing the outfielder, including the Mariners. Here’s more out on the Phillies and the rest of the NL East..
- There were no trade talks brewing this weekend between the Braves or Rangers on Dexter Fowler, a Rockies source told Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The Braves have been in trade talks this week with several clubs and are believed to be targeting Fowler.
- The Mets may be on the verge of acquiring Travis d’Arnaud from the Blue Jays, which shows how bad they want R.A. Dickey, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Two other execs that asked for d’Arnaud this offseason were told flat-out no.
- After picking up Mike Adams and John Lannan, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer looks at what is left for the Phillies to spend on an outfield upgrade. By Gelb’s math, the Phillies could sign an outfielder with an average annual salary of approximately $7MM and be right up against the tax threshold.
Here's the latest on the World Series champions, courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle's Hank Schulman…
- The Giants aren't close (Twitter link) to a deal to bring back former closer Brian Wilson. The club assumes that Wilson will only consider a return once he's closely looked at his other choices. Schulman reported earlier this month that Wilson had some hard feelings towards the Giants for non-tendering him and was looking to pitch elsewhere, preferably for the Red Sox or one of the Los Angeles teams.
- Nick Swisher doesn't appear to be a target (Twitter link) for the Giants.
- Cody Ross, Scott Hairston and Reed Johnson were all considered by the Giants as right-handed hitting outfield options, but the three players "either were not willing to take a part-timer's salary or not what the Giants wanted defensively." San Francisco instead reached agreement with Andres Torres to a one-year, $2MM contract earlier today.
- Giants president Larry Baer said his club feels no pressure to make any big moves to counter the Dodgers. "Our strategy is just different, developing guys and bringing them through the system and sprinkling in free agents and trades when it makes sense," Baer said. "We've done free agents before, but we're trying to do more of a homegrown thing…You can't let what any other team does alter your strategy. That would be a mistake. If we're going to look at the Dodgers spending all this money and say we're going to be free-agent-centric, we don't think that would be smart."
- In news from earlier today, the Giants are believed to have offered Ichiro Suzuki a two-year, $15MM contract, but Ichiro is on his way to taking a slightly smaller contract to re-sign with the Yankees.
5:25pm: The deal appears to be a longshot to happen, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Phillies were uninterested in Soriano when first presented with the possibility but warmed up to it enough to consider it.
4:31pm: The Phillies have discussed a deal with the Cubs that would net them Alfonso Soriano in exchange for Domonic Brown, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Phillies might be more inclined to sign a free agent, such as Cody Ross or someone else.
The Cubs are believed to be willing to pay $26MM of the $36MM remaining on Soriano's deal if they can get quality prospects in return. The Phillies like Soriano offensively but have reservations about his defensive play, despite his improvement last season. Soriano, who will turn 37 next month, hit .262/.322/.499 with 32 home runs in 615 plate appearances.
Ross would be a better fit for the Phillies' budget than fellow free agent outfielders Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton. Earlier today we learned that the Mets have kicked the tires on Ross, but would be unwilling to make a commitment to him beyond two years. The Phillies, Braves, Mariners, Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles have all been linked to Ross so far this offseason.
The Mets are "kicking the tires" on free agent outfielder Cody Ross, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. It's unlikely the Mets would make a commitment of more than two years to any free agent, including Ross, according to Puma.
The Phillies, Braves, Mariners, Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles have all been linked to Ross so far this offseason. Earlier in the offseason it was reported that the SFX client has an asking price of $25MM over three years.
Ross, 31, posted a .267/.326/.481 batting line in 528 plate appearances for the Red Sox this past season. He contributed 22 home runs and 34 doubles while playing all three outfield positions and earning $3MM. He ranked 22nd on MLBTR’s list of top 50 free agents.
The Phillies have made a couple of significant trades in the past week, acquiring Ben Revere from the Twins in exchange for Vance Worley and Trevor May, and also landing Michael Young and cash from the Rangers for Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla. Here's the latest on the Phils…
- During a press conference today, Young told the media that the Rangers were only going to give him 300 at-bats this season (Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting on Twitter).
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is happy with the additions of Young and Revere but would like general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to make one more big splash, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- In a separate piece, Gelb writes that the Phillies figure to sign one of Cody Ross, Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton to fill a corner vacancy. They've long coveted Ross, but aren't as big on Swisher, perhaps due to his price tag. Gelb notes that the Phillies could offer Hamilton a shorter-term deal with a high annual value if his demands decrease.
Here's the latest on Philadelphia's offseason dealings, courtesy of CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury…
- Before the Phillies acquired Ben Revere from the Twins, they attempted to also get Josh Willingham in either the same trade package or in a separate deal.
- The club is still in the market for a corner outfielder. The Phillies "have seriously considered" signing Ichiro Suzuki and "have long liked" Cody Ross.
- Any further upgrades may have to come via the free agency market since the Phillies don't have much prospect depth aside from possibly at catcher. Salisbury notes that Tommy Joseph, the most well-regarded of the team's young catchers, "probably isn't going anywhere."
- The Red Sox approached the Phillies about a trade of Jacoby Ellsbury for Cliff Lee, but the Phillies said that Lee wasn't available. I can't blame the Phils for turning that offer down; even if they did want to move Lee, he would fetch far more on the trade market than just one year of Ellsbury, who hits free agency next winter.
Could Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton end up re-signing in the AL West? The answer to that question will have ramifications within the division and throughout the sport. Here are today’s AL West links…
- Texas GM Jon Daniels said the Rangers are looking at various options in free agency and on the trade market, Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports. While Daniels isn't going to rush a move, the Rangers could strike soon.
- The Mariners are among the teams interested in free agent outfielder Cody Ross, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Seattle has been linked to just about every free agent bat as they attempt to add offense. So far the Mariners have agreed to a one-year, $1MM deal with Jason Bay.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests signing Hamilton wouldn’t solve all of the Mariners’ problems. If they aren’t prepared to increase spending up and down the roster, adding a player like Hamilton would not be the answer. Morosi suggests the Mariners might want to pursue a trade for David DeJesus of the Cubs.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington held court with reporters today; here's the latest:
- Trading center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury "is not our intent," Cherington said. The GM sees Ellsbury as a big part of the 2013 team. There's been recent speculation about Ellsbury as a trade candidate given Shane Victorino's ability to play center field and Ellsbury's impending walk year.
- The starting pitching market is starting to move a bit, and Cherington says it's his top priority now. It's known that the Red Sox made an offer for Dan Haren before he signed with the Nationals, and they've shown some interest in Ryan Dempster and Carl Pavano.
- Cherington is open-minded about outfielder Cody Ross, but the team has not been in contact with him since news of the Victorino agreement broke.
- Cherington acknowledged meeting with a player this week, who Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston believes was Josh Hamilton. The Sox indeed met with Hamilton before he left Nashville, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.