Conor Jackson Rumors

Quick Hits: Rockies, Pirates, Kuroda

Here's some late-night linkage as the Rays and Red Sox head to extras in Tampa …


Gammons Talks Trade Market

Peter Gammons spoke with a host of scouts, general managers, and MLB executives, all of which is compiled in his latest piece at MLB.com, which is chock full of trade-related news:

  • The Astros are asking for as much in return for Wandy Rodriguez as the Rockies are for Ubaldo Jimenez. General manager Ed Wade is in a difficult position, caught between an ownership change.
  • Half a dozen teams are looking for right-handed offense, but the Rockies won't trade Ryan Spilborghs and the Cubs are holding onto Jeff Baker. Gammons says that reduces that market to Conor Jackson, Josh Willingham, Reed Johnson, Lastings Milledge, and Jeff Francoeur. The Twins recently announced they won't trade Michael Cuddyer as well.
  • The Dodgers want to shed salary, but don't have much to shed besides Jamey Carroll and Hiroki Kuroda. Gammons spoke with two East coast executives that said Kuroda, who has a full no-trade clause, won't accept a deal to an East Coast team.
  • The Athletics will move veteran bats and probably a reliever or two.
  • The Mariners won't have a fire sale, and aren't likely to get much for Erik Bedard in light of his injury.
  • The Nationals are willing to trade Tyler Clippard, and have been continually pursuing Michael Bourn. They're also one of several teams who showed interest in Julio Borbon prior to his injury.
  • Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is in a tough spot because he doesn't know which way owner Peter Angelos wants him to go, according to a rival GM.
  • Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario make it possible for the Rockies to trade Chris Iannetta, but the Red Sox seem content wth their catching options.

Athletics Notes: Fuentes, Jackson, San Jose

On this day in 1931, the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League traded catcher Ernie Lombardi to the Brooklyn Robins (who later became the Dodgers).  Lombardi, an Oakland native, only played one season in Brooklyn, but he went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career spent mostly with Cincinnati.

Here are some news items about the modern-day Oakland nine…

  • Brian Fuentes' now-finalized two-year contract is worth a guaranteed $10.5MM with a $6.5MM club option for 2013, reports The Associated Press.  Fuentes will earn $5MM in both 2011 and 2012 and be paid a $500K buyout if the option isn't picked up.  The left-hander can also earn escalating six-figure bonuses relating to games finished and will be paid $200K if he's traded at any point during the life of the contract.
  • In spite of the games-finished bonuses, Fuentes says he has no problem serving as a set-up man for incumbent A's closer Andrew Bailey, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  "I was told he's the closer," Fuentes said. "There is no competition in my mind."
  • Slusser also has details on the plate-appearance bonuses in Conor Jackson's new Oakland contract.  The A's avoided arbitration with Jackson on Tuesday.
  • Slusser hears from assistant GM David Forst that the club might be in the market for a backup infielder, though the Athletics want to keep Steve Tolleson, who was designated for assignment today.
  • Major League Baseball needs to faciliate the Athletics' desired move from Oakland to San Jose for both the sake of the franchise and the league as a whole, argues Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.   


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

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Odds & Ends: Westbrook, De La Rosa, Papelbon

Links on a busy Tuesday as the first day of the GM Meetings wraps up…


Rockies Rumors: Martinez, Jackson, Wigginton

Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post that he’s looking for the "right player" this offseason, not the "best player." As Armstrong explains, that could be bad news for the Rockies fans hoping to see Victor Martinez in Denver:

  • The Rockies aren’t likely to make the winning bid on Martinez, though he caught the team’s attention as a potential free agent target.
  • Colorado would pursue an innings eater if Jorge de la Rosa proves too expensive to re-sign. The lefty is drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Yankees and Nationals.
  • Joe Beimel could return to Colorado, but the Rockies have other left-handed relievers including Matt Reynolds and Franklin Morales, so their need for Beimel isn’t pressing.
  • Adding a right-handed hitter is a priority for the Rockies. Their list of candidates includes Conor JacksonTy Wigginton and Jermaine Dye. Jackson is a non-tender candidate and may join Wigginton and Dye on the free agent market within a few weeks. The Rockies have already contacted Dye about a potential deal.

Rockies Interested In Martinez, Jackson

Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies want to add an “impact bat” this offseason. According to Renck, Colorado has interest in Conor Jackson and will target Victor Martinez if the Red Sox don’t lock him up.

Jackson, a non-tender candidate, can play first base or left field; Martinez can catch and play first. The Rockies appear to want a right-handed complement to Todd Helton and Martinez, a switch hitter, would satisfy that requirement. But Colorado has Chris Iannetta under contract and a mutual option for Miguel Olivo's services, so the team isn't desperate for catching help.

Adding an outfielder is a priority for the Rockies, according to Renck. Seth Smith isn’t conisdered an everyday player because of his late summer struggles, so the Rockies will consider free agent outfielders and trades.

The Rockies already have two electrifying hitters: Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, but Tulo told Renck that he’d like to see some of the organization’s young players improve so the Rockies can reach the postseason in 2011.


Non-Tender Candidate: Conor Jackson

When Billy Beane traded for Conor Jackson this June, he was presumably hoping to see the left fielder return to his 2006-08 form. For three years, Jackson combined patience and doubles power to be a productive piece of the Diamondbacks offense, so the former top prospect clearly has the ability to handle major league pitching.

But the player Beane acquired for reliever Sam Demel did not produce. Jackson, who missed all but 30 games in 2009 with Valley Fever, posted a .228/.362/.316 line in Oakland with one homer. He's now out for the season with a sports hernia, and he only batted 69 times, but his numbers weren't noticeably different in Arizona. Jackson doesn't have much to show for 2009 or 2010, consecutive injury-plagued seasons that have turned him into a non-tender candidate.

The D'Backs raised Jackson's salary from $3.05MM to $3.1MM last offseason, but the A's may not feel comfortable paying him over $3MM in 2011, Jackson's final season as an arbitration eligible player. In fact, Jackson's injuries and poor performance suggest the A's are likely to non-tender him. Click here to vote on Oakland's choice and here to view the results.


A’s Acquire Conor Jackson

The A's acquired Conor Jackson from the D'Backs for righty Sam Demel, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (Twitter link). The A's note that they are receiving cash to cover part of Jackson's $3.1MM salary (Twitter link). ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the D'Backs will cover about $400K of the remaining $1.85MM (Twitter link).

Jackson, 28, is hitting .238/.326/.331 in 172 plate appearances this year. He missed most of last season with Valley Fever and has had some hamstring problems in 2010. Jackson has spent most of the season in left field, though he has considerable experience as a first baseman, too. 

Despite Jackson's slow start at the plate and history as an average defender, the A's weren't the only interested team. The Rangers were also exploring a deal for Jackson, who will be a non-tender candidate after the season.

D'Backs GM Josh Byrnes says the club acquired Demel since he's "another quality arm in [the team's] attempt to improve the bullpen." The 24-year-old righty has pitched well at Triple A this year. Demel has a 1.26 ERA in 28.2 innings, with 8.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. It's the best season the 2007 third rounder has had as a pro. Demel was not ranked among Oakland's top 30 prospects by Baseball America before the season, but the D'Backs (7.33 bullpen ERA) need relievers badly.

Arizona is considering major moves and one executive tells Jon Heyman of SI.com that the club is ready to "blow things up" (Twitter link).


Rangers Exploring Deal For Conor Jackson

The Rangers are exploring a deal for outfielder Conor Jackson according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, but "nothing is remotely close." Texas has been looking for a righthanded bat for their bench basically all year, and have been linked to Mike Lowell since the winter. They are also considering other options beyond Lowell and Jackson.

Of course, the Rangers must consider finances more than most clubs, and Jackson is still owed close to $1.9MM during the remainder of the season. He is under team control for 2011, which is certainly a nice benefit. Rosenthal mentions that Texas has prospects to spare, so perhaps they could convince the Diamondbacks to kick in some money by offering up a higher quality player.

The 28-year-old Jackson is hitting .238/.326/.331 in 172 plate appearances this season, spending time in left and at first. The Rangers already tried Ryan Garko as the righty bat off the bench, but he was waived after hitting .094/.171/.094 in 37 plate appearances.