Craig Counsell Rumors
In today's blog post at ESPN, Buster Olney speculates about some possible trade targets for the Rockies now that Troy Tulowitzki is going to miss the next six to eight weeks with a fractured wrist. Among those mentioned: Dan Uggla, Craig Counsell, Julio Lugo, and Cesar Izturis. Uggla would obviously be the most expensive, but Colorado would boast a dynamic offensive middle infield once Tulo returns.
Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Sources tell Olney there is no clear signal from the Mariners indicating that they're ready to trade Cliff Lee, but presumably that will come soon. He compares a potential Lee trade to the CC Sabathia trade, meaning that the sooner he's dealt, the more Seattle will receive in return.
- The Diamondbacks continue to gather intel about possible trades, but they are not close to making another deal at the moment.
- The Royals have a pair of outfielders in Rick Ankiel and David DeJesus who could be fits for the Red Sox. J.D. Drew suffered a hamstring injury yesterday, and Boston was already without Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida, who are both on the disabled list. Mike Cameron is playing through an abdominal tear as well.
2:05pm: Haudricourt tweets that Counsell will receive $2.1MM plus a possible $500K in incentives for games played.
12:38pm: The Brewers re-signed Craig Counsell, tweets Tyler Barnes, the team's VP of Communications. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets that it's a one-year pact worth "a bit more than $2MM." A new deal had been expected. Counsell is coming off a fine season in which he hit .285/.357/.408 for the Brewers and played second base, third base, and shortstop.
Some Brewers tidbits courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt:
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Haudricourt that he called the Padres earlier today and inquired about Kevin Correia. Even though he made his interest known, San Diego never followed up and instead signed the righty to a one-year deal.
- Melvin also confirmed that he has a tentative agreement in place for veteran Craig Counsell to return in 2010. He expects it to be finalized Monday.
- The decision to non-tender Seth McClung, Mark DiFelice, and Mike Rivera was not financially motivated, according to Melvin. For up-to-the-minute news on other players not being tendered, check out our running post.
Barry Meister, who represents free agent infielder Craig Counsell, told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy that his client may have a deal finalized with the Brewers (or possibly another team) by Monday. Milwaukee made an initial offer to the 39-year-old veteran on Dec. 4, and then reportedly upped it yesterday. The conventional wisdom has been that Counsell will re-sign with the Brewers, given that he lives in the Milwaukee area and that both the player and team have seemed eager to work out a deal. No dollar amounts have been mentioned, but it would surely be a raise from the one-year/$1MM contract that Counsell received from the Brewers last winter. Despite Counsell's age, the offer may also be for more than one year in length.
Counsell has spent the last three seasons in Milwaukee and also played for the Brewers in 2004. He hit .285/.357/.408 over 459 plate appearances in 2009, notching a career-high in OPS for a season in which he had more than 189 PAs. Solid numbers aside, Counsell's value to the Brewers in 2010 will be to provide veteran leadership backing up the club's young infield corps of Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar and Casey McGehee.
ESPN's Buster Olney kicks off his latest blog post with a poignant look at his relationship with Peter Gammons. As for the rumors...
- Olney says the Yankees and Johnny Damon appear to be far apart in early contract negotiations. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News believes the Yanks will turn to Hideki Matsui, Mike Cameron, or Mark DeRosa if Damon won't take a two-year offer within two weeks or so. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Damon seeks three or four years at $13MM annually, while the Yanks are at two years, $19MM (Bobby Abreu's contract).
- Olney heard the Blue Jays' asking price of the Phillies for Roy Halladay "is about the same" as it was in July. That doesn't seem logical, but we are talking about two different GMs here. Olney was able to confirm the reported Halladay demands the Jays made of the Yankees: Jesus Montero, Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, and more.
- The Mets' initial offer to catcher Bengie Molina contains a vesting option. Olney doesn't speculate, but do you think the Mets were willing to guarantee the first two years?
- The Dodgers, Indians, and A's are among the teams eyeing Jamey Carroll, who seeks a two-year deal. Carroll may look at Craig Counsell's yet-unsigned deal as a precedent.
- Surprisingly, Ken Davidoff of Newsday writes of an "increasing expectation around MLB" that the Yankees will eventually re-sign Hideki Matsui.
- Crasnick talked to one exec who says Scott Boras wants three years and big money for outfielder Rick Ankiel.
- The Royals talked to the Dodgers about Juan Pierre, writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, but the Dodgers would have to eat too much money to make it work.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Phillies are now looking hard at John Smoltz as a possible "back-of-the-bullpen weapon." Smoltz's agent apparently told the Phils that the pitcher has no problem with Citizens Bank Park.
- ESPN's Buster Olney heard "the Yankees are in the process of negotiating with Johnny Damon's camp." He adds that the Yanks "intend to use market forces to pressure Damon to make a decision quickly." I'm sure Scott Boras will love that.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin plans to visit free agent lefty Mark Mulder in January to discuss a possible contract, says Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says there have been no Felix Hernandez negotiations this week after an initial four-year offer from the Mariners.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that they'll tender contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players. No big surprise, though it's a large group of players.
- Scott Lauber of the News Journal talked to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said Astros GM Ed Wade stole Brandon Lyon from the Phillies. The Astros committed three years and $15MM to Lyon despite holes at shortstop and third base.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy says the Brewers upped their offer to Craig Counsell this morning and GM Doug Melvin is confident they'll get it done. The Reds are still in the mix for Counsell, says MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune heard last night that Twins infielder Alexi Casilla is available.
The Reds like that Counsell can play short, but they worry that another target doesn't have enough recent experience at the position. We found out yesterday that Jamey Carroll would love to play for the Reds, but they feel that Carroll, who hasn't played short since 2007 cannot be relied upon there, so they won't pursue him.
Meanwhile, Jonny Gomes still hopes to return to Cincinnati, but the team hasn't made any progress with its arbitration-eligible outfielder.
Looking for more rumblings and analysis? These tidbits are all 140 characters or less...
- The Rangers are talking to Jason Kendall, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. The Royals have made the veteran backstop a two-year offer.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Brandon Lyon is asking for $9MM over two years. Speaking of Lyon, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says the Phillies are pursuing him and Fernando Rodney with equal interest.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports that the Blue Jays expressed interest in Craig Stammen. However, the Nats aren't likely to trade him.
- Yahoo's Steve Henson hears that the Yankees will be strong players for Matt Holliday.
- The Brewers still have interest in Craig Counsell, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the two sides met and continue to talk. He expects them to reach a deal.
- The Indians have no money to spend, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
- Ruddy Lugo signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com.
- Arangure's colleague, Jayson Stark, has a similar update. The Dodgers could soon sign Jay Gibbons to a minor league deal.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't consider Aroldis Chapman an option for the team's rotation next year, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. They'll still watch him throw in Houston, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
- The Red Sox will be there too, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock reports that the Padres are considering some options in the Rule 5 draft.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Royals inquired on Brett Gardner after the Yankees acquired Curtis Granderson.
- The Phillies asked Cliff Lee's agent to fly to Indianapolis this week to discuss an extension, according to Scott Lauber of the Journal News.
- You can expect the D'Backs to pursue Bob Howry, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.
Dodgers hot stove info courtesy of Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times...
- Why didn't the Dodgers offer arbitration to Type A free agent Randy Wolf? They feared he'd accept and get $15MM. Do you agree with that logic? The Dodgers were given one last chance to sign Wolf this morning, but GM Ned Colletti passed.
- Free agent possibilities at second base: Ronnie Belliard, Juan Uribe, Craig Counsell and Jamey Carroll.
- The Dodgers offered only a minor league deal to Juan Castro, so he went with the Phillies.
- The Mets have inquired on Dodgers relievers Ronald Belisario and Cory Wade.
A fresh batch of Twitter rumors, for those of you with extra-short attention spans...
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch learned that the Pirates plan to tender a contract to Matt Capps.
- Stubborn Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he has no regrets about not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hernandez also notes that the Dodgers are considering Ronnie Belliard, Craig Counsell, Juan Uribe, and Jamey Carroll as second base options. The Reds also like Carroll, says MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Rockies are open to re-signing Jason Marquis at a reduced number (less than the $9.875MM he made in '09).
- SI's Jon Heyman believes Felix Hernandez is seeking six years and $100MM, while the Mariners are thinking four years plus an option at less than $50MM. That phrasing makes a possible divide seem larger than it is, since those last two years of the deal would be the most expensive (more than $15MM per year). At any rate, Shannon Drayer and Mike Salk learned that no numbers have been exchanged on Felix yet.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wants Mike Redmond to back up A.J. Pierzynski.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert says the Rangers may have interest in arbitration-eligible D'Backs infielder Augie Ojeda. The Rangers added Joe Inglett off waivers, but were said to still be looking at utility infield candidates.
- Morosi tweets that Rich Harden is "willing to sign a one-year deal with a lot of incentives." Will he exceed Brad Penny's $7.5MM base salary? Morosi names the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mariners as the most serious suitors.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Tigers have interest in Juan Pierre, and are "looking for a third team to supply the pitcher L.A. needs." Odd, since the Tigers have more bad pitching contracts than anyone. The Tigers apparently prefer to unload Carlos Guillen.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Pirates are not interested in bringing back Brian Giles.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Red Sox "have two or three teams they could trade Mike Lowell to right now" if they'd take a similar contract back. Looking at our Bad Contract Swap Meet I don't see any obvious matches for one year and $12MM.
- There's been some tire-kicking with the Phillies and Ron Mahay, writes Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Red Sox were linked to Mahay by Michael Silverman on Monday. Martino also says the Phillies met with John Smoltz's agent this morning, "but discussions remain informal."
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star characterizes the White Sox and Red Sox interest in Coco Crisp as "low-level," but says that's still more than the Royals have shown. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the White Sox would consider Crisp, Mike Cameron, and Marlon Byrd. ESPN's Mike Salk notes that the Mariners spoke to Byrd's agent.
- Dutton also has the Red Sox eyeing Ryan Shealy on a minor league deal.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports names the most asked-about Padres: Heath Bell, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Adrian Gonzalez (in that order). He says the Padres are "not hearing anything compelling on Bell." MLB.com's Corey Brock says about eight teams inquired on Kouzmanoff. Surprised not to see Kevin Correia mentioned by Rosenthal. He'd be a great affordable option for a team like the Brewers. ESPN's Buster Olney heard from rival execs who expect the Padres to get second-line prospects for Kouzmanoff and Correia.
- The Mets appear to find a Luis Castillo deal unlikely, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Yankees are shopping their #1 pick in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, which they acquired for Brian Bruney. If they don't trade the pick, Yahoo's Steve Henson says the Yankees could use it on pitcher Arquimedes Caminero.