Curtis Granderson Rumors
The Yankees and Dodgers have far and away the game's highest Opening Day payrolls, but have had polar opposite results thus far. While the Yanks were supposed to be the team that failed to deliver performance commensurate with its big spending, they sit atop the AL East with a robust 29-18 record. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are buried seven games back in the basement of the NL West, sporting a 19-27 mark after a listless showing against the Cardinals last night at Dodger Stadium. Let's take a look at the latest on these clubs:
- It has been a comedy of injuries this year for the Yankees, with a steady flow of DL stints nevertheless failing to slow the team's winning ways. Last night brought more of the same, as two key players -- outfielder Curtis Granderson and starter David Phelps -- left the team's 9-4 drubbing of the Rays. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch had the story. Phelps, who was hit on the arm by a come-backer, appears to have escaped significant injury and is expected to make his next scheduled start. Granderson was not so lucky. After suffering a broken forearm on a hit-by-pitch during Spring Training, causing him to miss the first month and a half of the year, Granderson only logged 31 big league plate appearances before being struck by another inside pitch. This time, the ball broke a knuckle on his left hand. The preliminary word is that he will miss a minimum of four weeks. The path to a substantial free agent pay day is now murkier for the big left-handed bat, who is set to hit the market after the season. It seems unlikely, at this point, that Granderson will have more than half of a season of performance in his walk year. While he has been a consistent home run and stolen base threat for much of his career, teams will certainly watch closely to see whether his arm and hand injuries sap his power as he finishes off his age-32 season.
- For the Yankees, the loss of Granderson appears unlikely to warrant an immediate look outside the organization. As Hoch tweeted yesterday evening, and confirmed today, the club will call up outfielder Brennan Boesch. The Yanks nabbed Boesch late in the spring due in part to the fact that he still had an option year. He saw 45 unremarkable plate appearances early in the season, slashing .209/.244/.419, but was optioned in mid-May and has struggled to a .179/.343/.214 slash in limited action at Triple-A.
- A swirl of news around a manager is generally not a good thing, and that is certainly the case with the Dodgers' Don Mattingly. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times explains that, with Mattingly taking on an increasingly combative persona, the skipper may be going down with a fight, but seems to be going down nonetheless. Team president Stan Kasten, along with GM Ned Colletti, expressed agreement with Mattingly's attempts to light a fire under the team. And Kasten did say that Mattingly's job was not at risk. But he also made clear that it would be if the team can't reverse its fortunes: "I do expect us to turn it around, and because of that, I expect Donnie to be here for a long time. There's another side of that, if things don't go well."
- Meanwhile, internal discord seemingly failed to die down after Mattingly recently called out highly-paid outfielder Andre Ethier. While Ethier expressed surprise and hurt at the public questioning of his effort and toughness, and said he had not even discussed the issue with Mattingly, the manager continued to see things differently. "Guys who play the game right, they don't have any problem with anything I'm saying," said Mattingly. "So I can't even come close to backing off things I said the other day. I feel exactly that way." But was Ethier right that the manager had not even talked about his comments with the player? "I'm getting old and my memory is going, but we definitely talked." Needless to say, this public feud only further reduces L.A.'s leverage should it look to move Ethier's big contract and so-far sluggish bat.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner commented on contract talks with second baseman Robinson Cano to David Lennon of Newsday on his way out of the MLB owners meetings today in Manhattan, saying, "We've had several conversations with [agent] Brodie [Van Wagenen], just as we did with [former agent] Scott [Boras] and a lot of it is procedural. But we're going to continue in the weeks to come to work through things and try to come to an agreement." Steinbrenner later added, "We want him to end his career here." Cano has sat atop our 2014 Free Agents Power Rankings since the beginning. More on the Yankees:
- Can a team with a $228MM payroll earn the designation "scrappy?" Steinbrenner used that adjective, expressing admiration for the Yankees' young players and cheap veterans that have allowed them to successfully weather injuries to key players so far. As for getting below the $189MM luxury tax threshold next year, Steinbrenner said, "The math works to me if the young kids do their job. It has to happen. And I've been saying that for over a year now -- that's the goal we're going to push for. But again, I'll reiterate what I always reiterate, which is we're always going to field a championship-caliber team. That's what the fans expect. That's what we expect. It's going to happen. Not going to win every year. Nobody ever does. But we're going to do what we can to field the best team we can."
- "We're going to sit down and figure out what to do when this season ends, hopefully the beginning of November," said Steinbrenner in regard to manager Joe Girardi and his expiring contract.
- Yankees outfielder Brennan Boesch says he left his agent, Scott Boras, and returned to his old agent, Van Wagenen of CAA, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times on May 1st. Boesch will be arbitration eligible for the first time after this season and can hit the open market after the 2015 season. Stay on top of the representation for over 1,000 players with MLBTR's agency database.
- "He’s a good guy and I think he can be a really good player, too. He’ll be back. I just wanted to let him know that it’s up to him," Yankees infielder Jayson Nix told Waldstein, recounting a conversation with the recently-designated Chris Nelson.
- The shift from center to left field shouldn't damage Curtis Granderson's free agent value much, opined multiple executives in speaking with Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Granderson isn't concerned, saying, "Not an issue for me at all. Just want to help this team in any way I can. If they need me to go back to shortstop like I did in high school, I’ll do that."
The Yankees lost Curtis Granderson for 10 weeks over the weekend when he was hit on the forearm by a pitch in his first at-bat of Spring Training and suffered a fracture. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined ways in which the Yankees could replace Granderson in the short-term yesterday, and here's some more on the matter from the New York media...
- Missing significant time due to an injury will hurt Granderson's upcoming free agent stock, but as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, Granderson's impending shift to left field likely would have done the same. Any lack of power stemming from his forearm injury could be very detrimental to his stock. Granderson recently just missed out on the Top 10 in Dierkes' Free Agent Power Rankings.
- From that same piece, Sherman writes to keep an eye on Adonis Garcia, who signed with the Yanks for $400K last season. The 27-year-old Cuban import hit .263/.311/.424 in 57 games between Class-A Advanced and Double-A last season and has impressed the Yankees with his performance in the Venezuelan Winter League.
- Sherman also writes that Cubs officials he spoke with don't get the sense that the Yankees will be interested in Alfonso Soriano given the relatively small amount of time Granderson will miss. He goes on to speculate that that line of thinking also eliminates Jason Kubel or one of the Athletics' surplus outfielders from the equation.
- Johnny Damon appeared with Michael Kay on ESPN radio in New York and told Kay that he would welcome the chance to play with the Yankees in replacement of Granderson, even if the team sent him on his way upon Granderson's return (Andrew Marchand of ESPN with the write-up).
- Meanwhile, Damon told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that while he would definitely welcome the opportunity, he doesn't anticipate that the Yankees will have interest.
After Brian Sabean traded Matt Williams to the Indians for a package that included eventual San Francisco cornerstone Jeff Kent, the public reaction against the newly minted Giants general manager was so strong that he felt compelled to declare: “I’m not an idiot.” Sixteen years later, with two World Championships under Sabean’s belt, MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that he “has proven that, emphatically.” Sabean still abides by the credo he adopted while working for George Steinbrenner: “keep your head down and do your job.” Here are some notes on teams hoping to dethrone Mr. Sabean’s Giants in 2013:
- Having agreed yesterday to a minor league contract with the Pirates, 41-year-old reliever Jose Contreras reported to camp quickly with plans to take it slow, says Tom Singer of MLB.com. Still recovering from Tommy John surgery, and having just returned from his first visit to his native Cuba since defecting over a decade ago, Contreras said that the Pirates instructed him “to take my time and recover at my own rate.” Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, for whom the signing was a “low-risk” gambit to bolster the club’s bullpen, stated that Contreras would “rehab throughout Spring Training” and that the team would “be patient with him and get him back as quickly as his body allows.”
- The Indians have set up a three-way competition for the last spot in the team’s starting rotation, according to Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco, both of whom are attempting comebacks, will compete with recently-acquired prospect Trevor Bauer. All three pitchers appeared in today’s Cactus League game. While MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk maintains that Kyle Lohse could fit nicely in the Tribe's rotation, the team seems likely to utilize one of the options it already has on hand.
- With Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis likely out for more than six weeks with a fractured collarbone, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro discusses the club’s search for a new second backstop behind presumed starter Rob Brantly. In addition to considering internal options like Kyle Skipworth, “the club is combing through other rosters, exploring possible trade options and trying to figure out which teams have a surplus.”
- Other than Sabean, only one current GM has overseen multiple championship clubs: the Yankees’ Brian Cashman. Cashman revealed today that, contrary to his previously stated belief, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli is in fact out of options, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. MLBTR has labeled Cervelli as out of options from the start; check out our full list of players here. Of the three primary catchers competing to break camp with the Yankees, then, only Austin Romine can still be optioned. (Chris Stewart, like Cervelli, has had his options exhausted.) When asked to comment on the catching situation, Cashman wryly reported: “We’ve got two guys out of options and one guy with an option. I think the two guys are winning.”
- Of more immediate concern to Cashman and the Yankees, of course, is the injury to outfielder Curtis Granderson. In addition to the analysis of MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, other commentators have begun to weigh in. Bill Madden of The New York Daily News explores the options for replacing Granderson and worries that the club could face a power shortage. MLB.com’s Richard Justice opines that Cashman should stick to his winning strategy of “being smart and efficient” and “not overreacting to every crisis.” For FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, on the other hand, the injury “exposed the Yankees’ flawed roster construction” and leaves the club’s 2013 postseason prospects in doubt.
A J.A. Happ fastball struck Curtis Granderson's right forearm today in a Spring Training game, which will knock the Yankees' projected left fielder out until May. GM Brian Cashman intends to look at all possibilities, but of course the team will start by considering in-house corner outfielders such as Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera. YES Network's Jack Curry tweets a reality check: the Yankees' plan to replace Granderson will be made with the expectation that he's likely to miss 30 games, not the entire season.
That's why a relatively complicated deal for veterans such as Alfonso Soriano or Vernon Wells seems unlikely. Both players were quizzed by reporters today nonetheless, and both professed a desire to win with their current teams. Regarding Soriano, Cubs president Theo Epstein told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, "If we can get him to a winner and get a good package back we'd consider it. We haven't even been tempted yet. He's a valuable guy here. He's more valuable to us than anything we've been offered...by far."
A couple of ex-Yankees continue to toil in free agency: Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu. Scott Podsednik is available as well. They'd all be candidates for minor league deals, so the risk is minimal if Cashman wants to add some depth.
Out of options players are worth considering as well. A few notable outfielders on that list include Jordan Schafer, Ezequiel Carrera, Casper Wells, Gorkys Hernandez, Jose Tabata, Julio Borbon, and Xavier Paul. Tabata, a former Yankees farmhand, has $12.75MM in guaranteed money left on his contract, so the Pirates would have to be looking to cut bait and assume the vast majority. If not Hernandez, the Marlins might be able to spare former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan. The Diamondbacks recently added speedster Tony Campana to a crowded outfield, and perhaps Cashman will give Kevin Towers a call. Dewayne Wise, Scott Cousins, Eric Thames, Aaron Cunningham, Austin Kearns, Darnell McDonald, Felix Pie, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Travis Buck are some other outfielders fighting for jobs who could become available as camp progresses.
Cashman is in a tricky spot. Anyone who represents a clear upgrade over the team's internal options might come with a decent acquisition cost, which wouldn't make sense if Granderson will be out for one month. The best strategy might be to make a couple of low-risk acquisitions to give manager Joe Girardi additional options.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:
- The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
- The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
- If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard." Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.
The Yankees and the then-Kansas City Athletics swung a 13-player trade on this day in 1957, a deal that brought future Yankee regulars Clete Boyer, Bobby Shantz and Art Ditmar to the Bronx. This was one of many lopsided trades between the Yankees and A's during the 50's, as Kansas City owner Arnold Johnson's past business ties to the Yankees seemingly paved the way for several deals that saw the Yankees acquire promising young talents from the A's for virtually nothing of note in return. Boyer's case was especially controversial since the A's admitted they originally signed him in 1955 on the Yankees' behalf and dealt him to New York as soon as he gained minor league eligibility.
Here's the latest from around the AL East...
- Curtis Granderson says he wants to stay with the Yankees past 2013 but "all indications are the Yankees are inclined to bid farewell" to the outfielder, ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews writes. The Yankees aren't impressed by Granderson's declining non-power numbers and defensive value, plus the team wants to put its money towards re-signing Robinson Cano. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes didn't include Granderson as one of the top 10 available free agents next winter but noted that Granderson's stock could rise with a big season.
- Hiroki Kuroda said it was a "hard" decision to re-sign with the Yankees but he feels he made the right one since he enjoys the Yankees' veteran clubhouse, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reports. Kuroda said he weighed offers from other teams, including the Dodgers, but noted that he didn't consider pitching in Japan. "Actually, I have never said that I want to play in Japan at this stage of my career," Kuroda said. "I don't know; maybe it's the Japanese media that's talking about it. What I have said is that if I'm going back, I'm going to play for my former team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. I haven't thought about that at this stage. Who knows? I may end my career at the end of this year."
- The Blue Jays have taken several out of options players on the Opening Day roster in recent years to see what value these players had left, but the team says they won't employ that tactic this year, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports. The Jays have six out of options players in camp, and Chisholm doubts Toronto would let Brett Cecil hit the waiver wire.
- Fangraphs' J.D. Sussman breaks down the comparisons between Blue Jays pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez to Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard, who was traded by Toronto to New York as part of the R.A. Dickey deal.
- The Red Sox could possibly obtain Mike Carp from the Mariners in exchange for Alfredo Aceves, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. The Sox are one of several teams interested in Carp, though Aceves' trade value may be minimal thanks to his off-the-field behavior.
The Rangers enter Spring Training in search of a utility infielder and fear they may have to find the answer internally as free agents may be scared off by a lack of playing time, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. "We've been really fortunate to have great infields over the past decade," GM Jon Daniels said. "That's always been an issue and something we've heard about from free agents. That's why promoting guys from within gets around that, and trading for guys gets around that." Let's check in across league to catch up on the latest headlines and stories making news.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette believes his team stands to enjoy another strong season given the talent he has in his lineup as well as pitching staff even without making a major move this winter, says Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
- Curtis Granderson stands to collect quite the paycheck when he hits the free agent market this fall given his hitting prowess and the weak crop of center fielders set to become available, writes Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger.
- Matt Garza's tenure with the Cubs may extend beyond the 2013 season thanks to the draft compensation rules currently plaguing Kyle Lohse and his chances of signing with a team, says Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
We've already checked in on the NL East clubs this morning, but there's also lots of news from the AL East as players arrive in Florida to prepare for the 2013 season. Here are the details...
- Toronto manager John Gibbons told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that despite their offseason moves, it’d be premature to consider the Blue Jays AL East favorites. “You’ve got to look at the Yankees, they have earned that respect. You have to expect the Red Sox will bounce back and look what the Orioles and Rays have done,” Gibbons said. “Until we can do something like that, something like what the other teams have done, it’s better just to shut up. But we do like our talent.”
- The Rays will face harsh penalties for exceeding their draft bonus pool, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement limited teams to $2.9MM in international bonuses for 2012-13. The Rays spent more than $3.7MM internationally for the '12-13 period, which means they face a 100% tax on the overage and won't be able to sign a player for more than $250K in the coming year.
- Curtis Granderson told reporters he hasn’t been approached by his agent about any extension talks with the Yankees, Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger reports (on Twitter). Granderson, who is open to discussing a long-term deal, also said he’d consider moving to left field if necessary.
- Red Sox principal owner John Henry addressed a variety of topics earlier today and MLBTR has the details.
It was on this day in 1956 that Phil Rizzuto traded his glove for a microphone as the longtime Yankee shortstop agreed to become a radio and TV broadcaster. Rizzuto called Yankees games for the next 39 years, becoming arguably even more famous as an announcer than he was for his Hall-of-Fame playing career.
Here's the latest from the Bronx...
- There is "no chance" the Yankees will pursue Michael Bourn, a source tells ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. We heard over the weekend from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the Yankees would be interested in Bourn if his price dropped, though it's hard to imagine Bourn's price dropping enough to suit a team who is trying to keep payroll under the luxury tax threshold for 2014.
- Scott Hairston is apparently "the front-runner" amongst the right-handed hitting outfielders the Yankees are targeting, Matthews reports, though Hairston would prefer to return to the Mets in 2013.
- In a radio interview on WAAF's Hill-Man Morning Show, Kevin Youkilis said that his ideal choice would've been to play on the west coast near his Bay Area home, but his suitors were all eastern and midwest teams. Youkilis said his choice hinged on the Yankees having the best chance to win a World Series, not out of spite towards the Red Sox. (Hat tip to WEEI.com's Alex Speier for the partial transcript of Youkilis' interview.)
- Curtis Granderson's trade value is examined by Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog, who concludes that the Yankees will have a difficult time finding a trade partner who both needs and can afford Granderson, while also being able to send a good return back to the Bronx.
- The Yankees will pay an extra $400K after Major League Baseball recalculated the team's luxury tax payments for 2012, according to The Associated Press. New York will now pay just under $19.312MM in luxury tax for the previous season.