Curtis Granderson Rumors

AL East Rumors: Johnson, Bautista, Granderson, Choo

Yankees free agent Curtis Granderson joined Ken Rosenthal on MLB Network's Hot Stove to discuss his offseason thus far.  The outfielder told Rosenthal that the number one thing he's looking for is to sign with a winner.  More from the AL East..

  • With uncertainty over Alex Rodriguez and the future of Robinson Cano, the Yankees have contacted free agent Kelly Johnson, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Johnson has primarily played second base over the course of his career but he also offers experience at left field and saw some time at third base in 2013.
  • It's not a huge surprise, but teams are inquiring on Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).  Whether they are willing to move him is another story.
  • Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran are targets 1 and 1A for the Yankees, a person familiar with their thinking tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Fellow outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury sits a hair behind the other two stars.
  • Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (on Twitter) also hears that the Yankees are serious about their pursuit of Beltran.
  • Former Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves is working out in Mexico and drawing interest from multiple teams, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
  • The Blue Jays' priority is improving the rotation, but they're also keeping an eye out for help at second base and catcher, writes Heyman.  It's no surprise to hear that they're interested in Robinson Cano, but his price tag will probably prove to be too much since they need to direct their bucks towards starting pitching.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com explains why Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, and Stephen Drew all turned down the $14.1MM qualifying offer from the Red Sox.

NL Central Links: Pirates, Walker, Freese, Beltran

We heard earlier today that the Brewers explored a trade for Mets first baseman Ike Davis but talks went nowhere, and that the Brew Crew aren't going to deal Norichika Aoki.  Let's check in elsewhere around the NL Central…

  • The Pirates have been looking at "high upside" starting pitchers in their initial round of free agent calls, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter link).
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that his team is open to discussing a long-term deal with second baseman Neil Walker, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter link).
  • Also from Morosi (Twitter links), the Pirates will probably add a starter from outside the organization if A.J. Burnett retires or signs elsewhere.  Huntington said Burnett hasn't yet given the Pirates any indication if he will retire or pitch in 2014.
  • David Freese has seemingly gone from World Series hero to forgotten man in St. Louis.  Bernie Miklasz of the St Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Cardinals' options with their once-star third baseman and where he fits into the club's plans.
  • It has been assumed that Carlos Beltran will leave the Cardinals this winter but GM John Mozeliak tells reporters (including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch) that it isn't quite a done deal.  "I still think it's a situation where the door's open but we haven't made any decisions either way. In time, we'll see," Mozeliak said.
  • Jed Hoyer isn't surprised by the Jeff Samardzija trade talk, the Cubs general manager tells reporters (including ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers).  “Teams know we’ve had discussions with him and we haven’t signed him.  That's part of it," Hoyer said.  "I think teams will certainly inquire about him.  He’s really proved over the last two years he has great stuff and is a tough competitor. I think teams will ask us about him so to that extent there could be rumors."  Samardzija is reportedly unlikely to sign an extension and he has been linked to the Nationals and Diamondbacks in recent rumors.
  • Also from Hoyer, he says the Cubs will be looking to add veterans to replace Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus' clubhouse leadership.
  • Chicago native Curtis Granderson would be a big addition both on and off the field for Cubs or White Sox, yet as CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes notes, both teams' focus on adding younger talent makes them hesitant to give up the second round draft pick it would take to sign Granderson.

Mets Notes: Murphy, Davis, Duda, Hart, Granderson

The Mets are listening to offers on Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, but are not aggressively shopping them at this point, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter).  Here's more on the Mets…

  • Five or six teams have inquired about Davis and/or Lucas Duda, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports.  Duda is considered by some AL teams to be a fit as a designated hitter, Carig tweets.
  • Peralta appears to be the Mets' top free agent target, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes.  The club "really likes" Peralta but they don't know if he intends to sign soon or later in the offseason.
  • The Mets have talked to free agent Corey Hart, but Martino gets the sense that they either don't identify him as a top target or aren't that eager to get a deal done with him.  Carig (link) also hears from a source that the Mets aren't close to a deal with the Brewers first baseman.  "We haven't discussed him in depth enough to say where we'd put him if we got him," the source said.
  • The Mets have plans to meet with Curtis Granderson's agent this week, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter).  The outfielder is turning down the Yankees' $14.1MM qualifying offer.
  • The Mets have touched base with Marlon Byrd's representatives in the last few days, according to Carig (link).  Recently, Steve Adams examined the market for Byrd and concluded that he could fetch a deal in the neighborhood of $16MM over two years.
  • A source suggested to Carig (link) that it would make sense for the Mets to take their time in trading Davis and take advantage of a market that is starved for power.  Carig (link) hears that the Mets might do just that and hang on to him until later in the offseason when teams will be seeking out less costly alternatives to add power.
  • The Mets aren't actively talking to Mike Pelfrey about a possible reunion, but they are open to it, a team official tells Adam Rubin.  "I know he is on a long list of guys just like him," the team insider said.  The Mets non-tendered the hurler after he earned $5.7MM in 2012.
  • The Mets' top priority is shortstop, but they're hardly alone in that, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Possible options for the Mets include Peralta, Erick Aybar, Didi Gregorius, Rafael Furcal, and Jed Lowrie.


Qualifying Offer Decisions

13 free agents received qualifying offers a week ago, and I think they are all likely to decline by today's 4pm central time deadline.  If these players sign Major League deals elsewhere, their old teams stand to gain a draft pick in each instance.  The latest:


Yankees Notes: Granderson, Jeter, Chavez, Joba

By all accounts, it looks like the Yankees will be big players in free agency this winter, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes.  The Yankees may have at least a dozen players in mind, and Heyman adds the names of Scott Feldman and Bronson Arroyo to the long list of free agents who have already been linked to the Bombers.  One would suspect that Feldman and Arroyo would be backup plans should New York not be able to land a higher-profile starter like Masahiro Tanaka.  Here's the latest out of the Bronx…

  • The Yankees "obviously" want Curtis Granderson to reject the team's $14.1MM qualifying offer so they can pursue other free agent outfield options.  While Granderson says he's still considering accepting the one-year deal, he seems likely to find a solid multiyear offer on the open market, his injury-shortened 2013 season notwithstanding.
  • Hal Steinbrenner was the one who negotiated Derek Jeter's one-year, $12MM deal for 2014, Heyman reports.  Steinbrenner is "very involved" in the team's dealings this winter, according to a source.
  • The Yankees have discussed bringing back Eric Chavez, Dan Martin of the New York Post reports.  Chavez would provide needed bench depth, and he wouldn't require a big commitment since he only wants a one-year contract.  There does seem to be mutual interest between Chavez and the Diamondbacks for 2014, however.
  • Joba Chamberlain hasn't received any attention from the Yankees but over a dozen other clubs have checked in on the free agent reliever, WFAN's Sweeney Murti reports (Twitter link).  It has been widely reported that the Yankees will part ways with their former top prospect.
  • The 10-year contracts given to Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols when both men were in their 30's are reasons why the Yankees shouldn't make a decade-long commitment to 31-year-old Robinson Cano, MLB.com's Mike Bauman opines.

Martino On Granderson, Beltran, Mets, Yankees

Andy Martino shares some hot stove news in a pair of articles for the New York Daily News…

  • Curtis Granderson has drawn "preliminary interest" from the Mets, two sources tell Martino, though the depth of that interest will depend on how Granderson's market develops.  "When it comes to New York, this much is fair to say: [Granderson] is more likely to be a Met than a Yankee in 2014," Martino writes.
  • Carlos Beltran "would love to come back to New York, but I think he’d like Boston, too,” a friend of the veteran slugger tells Martino.  Both the Yankees and Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in Beltran's services.
  • The Mets have considered Andre Ethier as a trade option since at least last December, while the Dodgers have been open to dealing the outfielder since at least summer of 2012, rival executives say.  That timing is odd given that the Dodgers only signed Ethier to his current five-year, $85MM contract in June 2012.  There is no chance, Martino writes, that the Mets would move Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard for Ethier, though Martino speculates that the team could be more open to moving right-handed pitching prospect Rafael Montero.
  • Kevin Youkilis "is 100% healthy" and recovered from back surgery, agent Joe Bick says.
  • Joe Nathan is expected to draw strong interest this winter but agent Dave Pepe said he had "nothing to report" thus far about his client's free agency.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicts that Nathan will find a two-year, $26MM contract this offseason.

Yankees Notes: Cano, Grandy, Kuroda, Robertson

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post feels that the Yankees recent connections to Omar Infante and Brandon Phillips are perfect examples of why the team cannot afford to lose Robinson Cano. Davidoff writes that while both fallback options are fine players, neither is on Cano's level. The reason Cano can afford to make such seemingly outlandish contract demands, says Davidoff, is that he's dramatically better than alternative options. Here are some more Yankees-related links…

  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports doesn't think it makes sense for Curtis Granderson to accept a qualifying offer from the Yankees. Rosenthal points out that Granderson shares the exact same career OPS — .828 — that Nick Swisher carried into last offseason before signing a four-year, $56MM contract with the Indians. I agree with Rosenthal's take that Granderson can do much better than a one-year, $14.1MM deal on the open market, even with draft pick compensation attached.
  • Rosenthal also spoke with one GM who thinks that the threat of Hiroki Kuroda returning to the Hiroshima Carp will force the Yankees to make an offer more lucrative than the $14.1MM qualifying offer (Twitter link).
  • General manager Brian Cashman told Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News that the team isn't annointing David Robertson as the closer just yet. Cashman said he will consider all avenues of improving the team this winter, though he declined to comment on specific free agent relievers. The Yankees were connected to Grant Balfour yesterday.
  • History could give us a glimpse into the Yankees offseason plans, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees could have as much as $90MM to work with (depending on the fate of Alex Rodriguez), and Cashman has prioritized strikeout pitchers and left-handed power bats in recent free agent spending sprees.

Yankees Notes: Cano, Granderson, Jay-Z

Robinson Cano's agent, Jay-Z, may have inadvertently violated the MLBPA's agent regulations by giving his client a $33,900 watch as a birthday gift, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  The regulations state the following: "No Player Agent or Applicant shall provide, cause to be provided or promise to provide, any money or any other thing of value to any player, or any person related to or associated with such player, the purpose of which is to induce or encourage such player to use or continue to use any person's or firm's services as a Player Agent, Representative, or Draft Advisor.''  Agents are allowed to give their clients gifts, but anything with a value over $500 must be reported, writes Crasnick.  Here's more on the Bombers…

  • Cano's $300MM asking price was the cost for the Yankees to keep him from hitting free agency, not his contract demands for right now, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The ten-year, $300MM proposal was given to the Bombers before the All-Star break.  Meanwhile, a return to the Bronx is still the most likely outcome, Rosenthal writes.
  • In a radio interview earlier today, Curtis Granderson said he is considering accepting the Yankees' qualifying offer of $14.1MM, echoing what his agent said last week, writes Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News.  "Well, it's definitely something you've got to think about and I appreciate the Yankees extending that offer to me," Granderson said during an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. 
  • In today's mailbag, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com addresses the Yankees' potential pursuit of McCann and their bid to avoid the luxury tax.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Yankees Make Qualifying Offers To Cano, Granderson, Kuroda

The Yankees made qualifying offers to Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Hiroki Kuroda, according to a team press release.

As the top free agent on the market, making the $14.1MM qualifying offer to Cano was a no-brainer and ensures the Yankees will at least receive a draft pick if he signs elsewhere.  Kuroda was considered likely to get a qualifying offer, after the 38-year-old posted a 3.31 ERA in 201 1/3 innings.  There is a chance he could accept, although that would be a mild pay cut from this year's $15MM.  

Granderson was the biggest question mark, after a couple of broken bones limited the slugger to 61 games this year.  Agent Matt Brown recently admitted to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News there's "definitely a possibility" of his client accepting the offer.  I think Granderson will decline, however, as he can still do well in the free agent market with a draft pick attached.  Granderson has until 4pm central time on November 11th to decide whether to accept.

To keep track of all of today's qualifying offers, check out MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker and filter by Qualifying Offer Type.


AL East Notes: Red Sox, Lester, Granderson, Feldman

The Red Sox recipe for a championship has been discussed extensively, ever since it became clear that the team was going to be a real contender. But how does it work as a model for other teams? The New York Post's Joel Sherman, for one, thinks it was a one-time stroke. (He compares the lasting power of GM Ben Cherington's mid-tier free agent binge unfavorably to that of the Macarena.) As Sherman well explains, the circumstances for Boston's worst-to-first turnaround are fairly unique, including the Sox' preexisting talent base and nigh-unbelievable success rate in its free agent signings. While teams are likely to have taken account of the lessons that Cherington taught in occupying the market's midsection, says Sherman, no single one can replicate it. And teams will find their dollars won't go quite as far as did Boston's last time around. More from the American League East:

  • Boston had an offer on the table from the Royals that would have sent Jon Lester to KC in exchange for Wil Myers, reports the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber. When the Sox asked for time to think, Kansas City instead used Myers to bring back James Shields from the Rays. Lauber says that the Red Sox are lucky not to have acted on that tempting trade offer, arguing that Lester has turned into an "undisputed ace." While there is no question that Lester played a critical role in the team's World Series run, that characterization might be subject to some debate — Lester was tied with Jhoulys Chacin for 16th in fWAR among qualified starters this year, but ranked 52nd in ERA and 41st in FIP. 
  • On the other hand, Lester is eighth among starters in cumulative fWAR since 2008, making clear that he has been both excellent and durable. Lauber goes on to weight a possible new contract for the sturdy lefty. He points to two possible comparables: the five-year, $85MM deal signed by Jered Weaver of the Angels, and the six-year, $144MM pact handed Cole Hamels. According to Lauber, the Sox should be interested in an extension — in spite of their prospect depth — if they can get Lester for something more like the lesser of those two deals.
  • The Yankees have yet to decide whether to issue outfielder Curtis Granderson a qualifying offer, reports Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. Perhaps hoping to deter just that possibility, Granderson's agent Matt Brown said that "there's definitely a possibility" that his client would accept an offer. Of course, he also emphasized that Granderson remains "a pretty elite guy" who will be sought after on the free agent market. MLBTR's Steve Adams predicts that the market will value him in the three-year, $45MM range. A qualifying offer, and subsequent rejection of same, still seems the likeliest scenario.
  • Orioles GM Dan Duquette may have a lot of free agents clearing the books, but that doesn't mean he'll be rushing to act on most of them, says the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly. Mid-season starter acquisition Scott Feldman is the top target among them for a Baltimore club that does not figure to flash too much cash on the market, Connolly explains, but the O's aren't likely to go past two years for him.