Colorado Rockies Rumors
After making strong plays for free agents Jose Dariel Abreu, Brian McCann, and Carlos Ruiz, the Rockies are searching hard for impact bat and relief help. The Rockies have talked with the Angels about slugger Mark Trumbo and called the Royals about their surplus of relievers, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
Trumbo, of course, will be hard to pry away and has drawn interest from several clubs in need of a power bat. A deal with KC might be easier to swing, writes Renck, as Colorado's main trade piece, center fielder Dexter Fowler, could be a fit in Kansas City. Opposing execs have said for weeks that the Rockies are open to trading Fowler and they've already talked with Carlos Gonzalez about playing in center if necessary.
Royals relievers Aaron Crow and Tim Collins are reportedly "very available" via trade, and Wade Davis could be a trade candidate after the signing of free agent starter Jason Vargas. Both Crow and Collins are headed into the first year of arbitration eligibility and MLBTRs Matt Swartz projects them to earn $1.9MM and $1MM, respectively. Davis will make $4.8MM in 2014 and has three club options for 2015 through 2017. Renck adds that the Rockies attempted to acquire Davis from the Rays multiple times prior to his inclusion in last winter's James Shields-Wil Myers blockbuster.
Fowler was hampered by multiple hand injuries in 2013 and he started just three games in September because of a knee injury. Fowler, who will make $7.35MM this season, posted a .263/.369/.407 slash line in 2013.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
For the latest on negotiations between MLB and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball on the posting fee arrangement -- which has major implications, in particular, for highly-regarded starter Masahiro Tanaka -- check out this update from Ben Badler of Baseball America. We'll round out the evening with a variety of links from around the National League:
- Alexander Guerrero is dealing with a hamstring injury in his Dominican Winter League stint, tweets Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, and GM Ned Colletti indicated that the missed time could postpone the Dodgers' decision as to whether he'll play short or second next year. That decision -- or, potentially, the inability to make it -- could seemingly have an impact on Los Angeles' off-season shopping list.
- The Diamondbacks are down on the free agent market, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. "I've spoken a little to our own free agents," said GM Kevin Towers. "But from the looks of where this free agent market is right now and where it's headed, it's not a place where I want to do a lot of business." Gilbert notes that the club has made an offer to infielder Eric Chavez, but that he is still mulling interest from other landing spots.
- The Rockies are implementing a new player development structure, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com. In lieu of roving instructors, the standard in baseball, Colorado will employ "developmental directors" who will each be responsible for a given team and look to prioritize skill development rather than minor league game outcomes.
- Discussing the club's recent signing of Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak explained that a thin shortstop market left Peralta as the best fit for the club. While he said the club considered his PED suspension, he opined that "I don't think it's the Cardinals' responsibility necessarily to be the morality police on potentially future employment." As Peralta admitted his violation of the league's policy and paid his penance, said Mozeliak, "at this point in the game, there's nothing that says he can't go play or isn't free to go sign with another club."
- Mozeliak also said that the club looked around at possible trades, but found the cost prohibitive, tweets Stan McNeal of FOX Sports Midwest.
- In a well-argued set of responses to fan questions, Adam Kilgore and James Wagner of the Washington Post took stock of a wide range of issues facing the Nationals. Among the thoughts offered relate to the second base position. The Nats are well-situated to add Robinson Cano, says Kilgore, and the move makes some sense. But Kilgore explains that such a scenario remains largely unlikely. Meanwhile, fallen keystoner Danny Espinosa has relatively minimal trade value, Wagner offers. His value to the organization, in terms of upside and as a competitor/backup option to Anthony Rendon, probably outweighs what he'd return.
- The Marlins are mulling over a minor league offer to infielder Scott Sizemore, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel. Certainly, Miami would figure to have the inside track on players looking for a legitimate chance to see big league time at second or third.
- Miami has not only lured "superscout" Jeff McAvoy away from the Rays, but sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that the club will add Mike Berger from the Diamondbacks in a vice president role (Twitter links). This makes for a quiet but outstanding off-season, opines Passan, who notes that the organization could look quite different if owner Jeffrey Loria gives new GM Dan Jennings more authority than was afforded predecessor Larry Beinfest.
After the signing of reliever Joe Smith and their recent trade for David Freese and Fernando Salas, the Angels will only have about $8MM more they can spend before hitting the luxury tax threshold, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports. The Angels will likely continue to look for starting pitching, and they could trade Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar or Mark Trumbo in order to acquire pitching and clear salary. Here are more notes from the West divisions.
- The Angels are interested in signing Bronson Arroyo and/or Bartolo Colon, but a deal is not close with either player, ESPN's Jim Bowden tweets.
- With Brian McCann (Yankees) and Carlos Ruiz (Phillies) now off the market, the Rockies are likely through looking for a catcher, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post guesses (via Twitter). Those two, along with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, were the big names on the free agent market, and with McCann and Ruiz gone, Renck suggests that the Rockies will try to upgrade at other positions instead.
- With Josh Johnson in the fold, the Padres have the makings of a good rotation in place, and Matt Calkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune argues that should empower them to be bold for the rest of the offseason. With Johnson, Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross at the big-league level, and Max Fried, Matt Wisler and Burch Smith behind them, the Padres can use their pitching depth to acquire a power hitter, Calkins argues. Of course, Padres starters had the worst WAR of any team last season, and Johnson is coming off an injury-plagued year, so it's questionable how much depth they really have.
- Padres GM Josh Byrnes tells MLB Network Radio, in fact, that Johnson hasn't even thrown since having surgery on his elbow in October. Byrnes also suggests that "if this year doesn't go well, we'd like to get a discounted look at next year" (Twitter links). Johnson is signed to a one-year deal, but the Padres will receive a $4MM option for 2015 if Johnson doesn't start at least seven games in 2014.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post tweets that the Rockies were "very aggressive" in angling for McCann but weren't prepared to offer $100MM to a player that will probably be DHing by the contract's end.
- While the Rangers lost out on McCann, there are still players available that would boost the team's offense, Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News writes. Texas continues to seriously consider Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran for their left field job, while Jacoby Ellsbury and re-signing Nelson Cruz are also possibilities.
- With McCann off the board, the Rangers could also target a catcher who bats from the left side on a short-term deal, then platoon him with Geovany Soto, Grant writes. As a switch hitter, Dioner Navarro would appear to fit that bill.
- The Red Sox were interested in McCann, but their offer wasn't close to what he ended up getting, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe tweets.
- In a post for ESPN Insiders (sub. req'd.), Keith Law writes that the signing addresses the Yankees' most pressing need and projects that the deal will ultimately be "one of the most sensible" agreements of the offseason. While Law admits that five years is a lot to commit to a catcher, McCann should be able to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's short right porch to boost his power numbers. His article also suggests that McCann's strong framing skills add value in a way that isn't reflected in current defensive metrics.
- The Braves remained in discussions with McCann's agent, B.B. Abbott, as recently as Friday, David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says (Twitter link). However, they weren't invovled in the multi-year bidding for the catcher. The Braves will receive a draft pick after the first round becuase of the signing, O'Brien notes.
We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves here:
- The Royals announced a series of minor league signings, including for third baseman Brandon Laird, outfielder Paulo Orlando and right-hander Wilking Rodriguez. Laird, 26, is the younger brother of Gerald Laird and joins the Royals from the Astros, where he received major league playing time in 2013. Orlando, 28, is re-upping with the Royals after six seasons in the organization. The 23-year-old Rodriguez will transition to the Royals after seven seasons in the Rays' farm system. He has a career 3.90 ERA, mostly as a starter, but has never reached Double-A.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has updates on a number of clubs' minor league signings. Among those with MLB experience (with links to Twitter): The Rockies will return Bobby Cassevah and Matt McBride, and have added righty Greg Burke. Headed to the Tigers is righty Jhan Marinez, while Gorkys Hernandez and Edinson Rincon will stick with the Royals organization. The Phillies have brought back shortstop Andres Blanco. And the Dodgers inked utility infielder Brendan Harris. Other clubs with new signings include the Orioles, Reds, Marlins, White Sox, and Athletics.
- The Cubs have signed outfielder Casper Wells, according to a tweet from Eddy. The team also added righties Paolo Espino and Carlos Pimentel, along with shortstop Jeudy Valdez. Wells got 102 plate appearances with three different clubs last year, posting a meager .126/.186/.147 line that is perhaps understandable given his constant movement and scant playing time. In 2012, over 316 plate appearances with the Mariners, Wells was good for a .228/.302/.396 slash.
- In addition to bringing back righty Benino Pruneda and catcher Jose Yepez on minor league deals, the Braves have added former Phillies backstop Steven Lerud, tweets Eddy. Lerud appeared in nine games for the Phils between 2012-13. At Triple-A last year, he had an interesting .217/.353/.311 line over 219 plate appearances, as he drew nearly as many walks (35) as he had hits (39).
- Cutting ties with a major international acquisition, the Nationals have released righty Yunesky Maya, Eddy tweets. Washington saw little return on its $6MM investment in Maya, who had been outrighted off of the club's major league roster early in the 2013 season. After struggling in two brief call-ups in 2011-12, Maya's last stint with the Nats was even more regrettable. In his only MLB appearance of the 2013 season, Maya retired one batter in the bottom of the tenth before surrendering a walk-off home run to Pablo Sandoval.
- The Cubs have released outfielder Dave Sappelt, tweets Eddy. As Eddy notes, Sappelt was one of the pieces -- along with lefty Travis Wood and second baseman Ronald Torreyes -- picked up by Chicago in the deal that sent Sean Marshall to Cincinnati. The 26-year-old Sappelt has a .251/.301/.343 slash line in 274 plate appearances spread over the 2011-13 seasons. He has spent most of his time in Triple-A over that time frame, and posted a sub-.700 OPS in each of his two years at Iowa.
5:09pm: The deal is for five years and $85MM and has a sixth-year vesting option that could boost the contract's value to $100MM, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The deal is simply pending a physical, Rosenthal adds in a second tweet.
4:51pm: The deal could be worth close to $90MM, if not more, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
4:41pm: McCann is closing in on a five-year, $80MM+ deal with the Yankees, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Two other sources tell Rosenthal (Twitter link) that the Rockies made a late, strong run at McCann.
4:13pm: Brian McCann is on the verge of a long-term deal with the Yankees, two sources tell Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. McCann’s agent, B.B. Abbott, told Grant that he could not confirm that his client had agreed to terms with any team.
McCann, soon-to-be 30, is also said to be on the radar for the Red Sox and Rangers this offseason. The veteran hit .256/.336/.461 in 102 games for the Braves last season and has been widely regarded as this winter's top free agent catcher over Boston's Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The backstop ranks fourth on Tim Dierkes' Top 50 Free Agents List for this offseason.
Thursday: Hawkins has passed his physical, and the deal is now official, Hawkins himself tweets.
Monday: The Rockies have agreed to terms with right-hander LaTroy Hawkins on a one-year, $2.25MM deal, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter links) The contract also carries a $2.25MM option for 2015 with a $250K buyout and will be official if Hawkins passes a physical on Thursday. Hawkins is represented by Reynolds Sports Management.
Hawkins will serve as the Rockies' closer, Nightengale reports. The club was known to be looking for back-end relief help, and though Rex Brothers pitched well as a replacement close for Rafael Betancourt, Colorado will instead use Brothers as a setup man with an eye towards slowly easing him towards the closer's job (according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post). Since Hawkins is a righty and Brothers is a lefty, it's possible manager Walt Weiss could platoon his two closing options depending on the situation.
This is the well-traveled Hawkins' second stint in Colorado, as the veteran righty threw 55 1/3 relief innings for the Rockies' pennant-winning team in 2007. Hawkins turns 41 in December but is coming off one of his stronger seasons --- he posted a 2.93 ERA, 5.50 K/BB and 7.0 K/9 in 70 2/3 IP with the Mets in 2013. Hawkins has done a good job of keeping the ball on the ground over his career, with a 47.8% grounder rate and an 8.6% HR/FB rate over his 19 Major League seasons, so he projects well at Coors Field.
There was solid demand for Hawkins, as Nightengale reports that the Mets, Braves and Indians were all interested in his services and 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson notes that the Twins "had [a] brief talk" of signing the veteran as well.
The Giants and Javier Lopez have finalized a three-year, $13MM contract, pending a physical, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the exam may not take place until next week. Here's more out of the NL West...
- Matt Kemp doesn't want to be traded, but he's accepted the fact that it's a possibility and rumors of potential deals aren't going away, agent Dave Stewart tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Mariners have been linked to Kemp, and Rosenthal adds that the Rangers spoke with the Dodgers at the GM Meetings as well, though they consider Kemp's contract too prohibitive. Kemp's preference, should he be traded, is too end up with a winning team, but Stewart made it clear that Kemp's desire is to spend his career in Dodger blue.
- Even though they have a deal in place for veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to be their closer, the Rockies say the job of rebuilding their bullpen is not complete, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. "We don't look at it like our bullpen is closed," assistant GM Bill Geivett said. "It's only Nov. 19, and we've just made one move, so we are still looking for ways to improve our club." Joe Smith and Edward Mujica are among the options available, but they'll likely be seeking three-year comittments.
- A left-handed hitter remains the Padres' priority, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com. A starting pitching upgrade wasn't at the top of the Pads' list this offseason, but Josh Johnson was a clear upgrade at the top of the rotation.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Midnight tonight is the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in next month's Rule 5 Draft. There should be no shortage of players being added, and we'll run them down here in this post...
- The Brewers announced that they've added first baseman Hunter Morris, first baseman/outfielder Jason Rogers and right-handers Brooks Hall and Kevin Shackelford to their 40-man roster.
- The Braves announced that they've added left-hander Carlos Perez, right-hander Luis Vasquez and infielder Elmer Reyes to their 40-man roster. MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the Braves had only recently signed Vasquez, 27, to a minor league deal. His entire career to this point has come in the Dodgers' minor league system.
- The Reds have added catcher Tucker Barnhart, right-hander Chad Rogers and outfielders Juan Duran and Ryan LaMarre to their 40-man roster, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- In addition to McGuire, the Blue Jays announced that outfielder Kenny Wilson has been added to the 40-man roster as well (Twitter link).
- Catcher Tommy Joseph, left-hander Rob Rasmussen and outfielders Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan have been added to the Phillies' 40-man roster, the team announced.
- Right-hander Kirby Yates and southpaw C.J. Riefenhauser have been added to the Rays' 40-man roster, according to their agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council (Twitter link). The Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney reports that infielder Vince Belnome and righty Jesse Hahn have been added as well (also on Twitter).
- In addition to Aguilar, the Indians announced that they've added right-handers Bryan Price and Austin Adams, infielder Erik Gonzalez and outfielder Carlos Moncrief to the 40-man roster (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox announced that right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, outfielder Bryce Brentz and third baseman Garin Cecchini have been added to the 40-man roster. Ranaudo (No. 79) and Cecchini (No. 82) each rank among the Top 100 prospects in the game, per MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
- The Twins have added left-hander Logan Darnell, outfielder Max Kepler, middle infielder Jorge Polanco and first baseman Kennys Vargas to their 40-man roster, the team announced via press release.
- The Rangers announced that they have added right-handers Lisalverto Bonilla and Ben Rowen to the 40-man roster as well as infielder Luis Sardinas. Bonilla was acquired from Philadelphia in exchange for Michael Young last offseason. Sardinas currently ranks as the No. 70 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
- Badler tweets that the White Sox have added second baseman/shortstop Carlos Sanchez to their 40-man roster. Sanchez batted just .241/.293/.296 in his first full season at Triple-A this year, but he did so as one of the league's youngest players, as he didn't turn 21 until late June. The White Sox also announced that outfielder Trayce Thompson has been added to the 40-man roster.
- John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group tweets that the Athletics have added right-hander Raul Alcantara to their 40-man roster. Alcantara had a tremendous rebound campaign in 2013, pitching to a 3.11 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 156 1/3 innings between Class-A and Class-A Advanced. Alcantara is one of the players they received along with Josh Reddick in the Andrew Bailey trade, which I profiled in retrospect prior to the season.
- Badler tweets that the Rockies have added 20-year-old Jayson Aquino to their 40-man roster. Though Aquino has just 64 innings of full-season ball, all coming at Low-A, Badler feels he's a good arm to protect. The left-hander posted a 4.34 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
- The Blue Jays have added right-hander Deck McGuire to their 40-man roster, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportnet. The 2010 first-rounder has struggled in since reaching the Double-A level last season, though he improved in 2013 to post a 4.86 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. The Jays now have 38 players on their 40-man roster, Nicholson-Smith adds.
- The Pirates have added top prospects Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson to their 40-man roster, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America (on Twitter). Polanco currently ranks 13th on MLB.com's list of Top 100 Prospects, and Hanson comes in at No. 39 on the list.
- The Indians have added first baseman Jesus Aguilar to their 40-man roster, tweets Badler. The 23-year-old slashed .275/.349/.427 with 16 homers at Double-A Akron in 2013 and is enjoying a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League, according to Badler.
- The Tigers announced that they have added left-hander Kyle Lobstein, right-handers Justin Miller and Jose Valdez, first baseman Jordan Lennerton, shortstop Eugenio Suarez, center fielder Daniel Fields and right fielder Steven Moya to their 40-man roster. As MLB.com's Jason Beck points out, this places their 40-man roster at 39 players (Twitter link).
Corey Hart told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (Twitter link) that his agent has talked with the Brewers, Red Sox, Rays, and Rockies amongst other interested teams. Hart added that he won't officially get 100% medical clearance until December 3rd when he visits his doctor in Los Angeles, but he's fully healthy (link).
The CAA Sports client doesn't consider himself to be an injury prone player but admits that he's in a holding pattern until he's cleared physically, tweets Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links). Hart says that he's dropped 20 pounds and that he should be able to run around better than he had the past few years, so he'll be open to playing in the outfield (link).
Also from Rosiak, Hart says that a winning team would be nice, but he's a family man first and will do what he feels is best for them. As MLB.com's Adam McCalvy points out in his transcript of Hart's interview, Harts and his family live in Arizona, which could factor into his decision. McCalvy notes that of the four teams mentioned by Hart, the Rockies and Brewers both have Spring Training facilities in the Phoenix area. The Spring Training facilities for Tampa Bay and Boston are each in Florida.
Hart last played in 2012, batting .270/.334/.507 with 30 homers, 35 doubles and four triples, illustrating why he can still be considered one of the most promising power bats on this year's free agent market even after missing the 2013 season.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.