Curtis Granderson Rumors
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:
- Curtis Granderson is "100 percent" turning down the Yankees' qualifying offer, a person involved in the situation tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).
- Kendrys Morales will turn down the Mariners' QO, people familiar with the situation tell Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- As expected, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew will allow the 5pm deadline to pass without accepting qualifying offers from the Red Sox, a baseball source tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter).
- After an MRI on his hips showed no signs of further deterioration, Mike Napoli has decided to decline the Red Sox's qualifying offer, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- Starting pitcher Ervin Santana declined the Royals' qualifying offer, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Catcher Brian McCann will decline his qualifying offer from the Braves today, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman. This was an easy choice for McCann, who has a good chance at a five-year contract.
- Right fielder Nelson Cruz informed the Rangers he will decline his qualifying offer, tweeted Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram earlier today.
- You can also keep track of all the qualifying offer decisions using MLBTR's free agent tracker.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As always, New York will be an interesting market to watch this season, highlighted by the Yankees' attempts to re-sign Robinson Cano and the Mets' desire to aggressively participate in the free agent market. Here's the latest on both teams, courtesy of Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Andy Martino of the New York Daily News...
- The Yankees have already been linked to big fish like Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran, but Heyman adds that they've also had internal discussions about Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza and Stephen Drew. As Heyman points out, Drew would be a peculiar target given Derek Jeter's $9.5MM player option for 2014.
- According to Heyman, the Yankees are still the favorites for Cano, but there's a sizable gap between his eye-popping $305-310MM asking price and the Yankees' current thinking. Heyman says the Yankees have only shown a willingness to go to $160MM or so to this point.
- According to Martino, no one from either camp has denied the fact that Cano's camp began negotiations by asking for $300MM+.
- Martino adds that the Mets aren't likely to pursue Ellsbury on the free agent market, as his sources have indicated that GM Sandy Alderson simply isn't comfortable with the type of contract that Ellsbury will ultimately end up signing. Instead, expect the Mets to pursue trades and free agent signings of corner outfielders, as they're very pleased with Juan Lagares' glove in center field. This marks the second instance in the past six weeks or so in which we've heard specifically that the Mets aren't a likely match for Ellsbury.
- General manager Brian Cashman worries that Hiroki Kuroda will return to Japan, writes Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger. He adds that one baseball official to whom he spoke would "be blown away" if Curtis Granderson didn't receive a series of lucrative offers on the open market despite his lost season.
While David Price has resigned himself to being traded, the Rays appear to be trying to figure out ways to make their ace the focal point of their pitching staff for many years to come, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo notes, however, the Rays' front office realizes it could be a losing battle, so a trade is likely with nearly half of baseball rumored to be interested in the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. "It's a big name, a big-time pitcher," one National League GM told Cafardo. "Even if you feel you don't need that level of pitcher, you look into it because he's so special and such a game changer. You do more than kick the tires. You try to make something happen, and I think you'll see teams that don't even need him step up." Here's more from Cafardo's column:
- The Red Sox will likely trade one of their veteran starters to make room for their young arms. Cafardo suggests Jon Lester and Jake Peavy could be available while Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, and Felix Doubront are also vulnerable.
- Jacoby Ellsbury is a perfect fit for the Mariners and Carlos Beltran likewise for the Orioles.
- Curtis Granderson will likely receive a qualifying offer from the Yankees and there's a strong possibility he would take it because he could post his biggest numbers at Yankee Stadium.
- The Dodgers will make Andre Ethier and/or Matt Kemp available this winter. Kemp will come with injury concerns, but that shouldn't prevent a team from taking a chance on his talent.
- James Loney has rebuilt his value with a strong season in Tampa (.299/.348/.430 with a 2.1 oWAR in 158 games and 598 plate appearances). Loney could find a market with the Rangers, if the Rays don't re-sign the free agent first baseman.
- Reds pitching coach Bryan Price appears to be the front-runner to replace Dusty Baker as manager in Cincinnati while Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr is in a strong position to take over from Davey Johnson, unless ownership wants a bigger name as its new manager.
The White Sox will have a lot of holes to fill this offseason, and Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the they're expected to push hard for free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson. The connection makes sense not only based on team needs but because Granderson is an Illinois native who played college ball at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Granderson recently donated a new baseball facility to UIC, and that facility is roughly three miles from U.S. Cellular Field, writes Van Schouwen.
Granderson, who turns 33 next March, played in just 61 games this season due to a pair of fluke injuries. He suffered a fractured forearm when he was hit by a pitch in his first Spring Training plate appearance, and another HBP broke his pinkie finger in just his eighth game of the regular season. That fracture wound up requiring surgery that would sideline Granderson until Aug. 2.
When on the field, Granderson hit .229/.317/.407 -- a noticeable decline the robust .247/.342/.522 he slashed from 2011-12. However, hand and forearm injuries have been known to diminish offensive output upon initial return, and it's not as if U.S. Cellular Field is a pitcher-friendly stadium that would cause Granderson's power to greatly decline. White Sox GM Rick Hahn would have good reason to believe that Granderson could return to form were he to sign with the South-Siders this winter.
A serious pursuit of Granderson would likely mean that the Sox view Alejandro De Aza as a fourth outfielder or as trade bait, notes Van Schouwen. I would imagine that coming off a .264/.323/.405 season with 17 homers and 20 steals, Hahn would be able to find some interest, even if advanced defensive metrics didn't care for De Aza's glove work.
Granderson will be one of the main beneficiaries of Hunter Pence's lofty five-year, $90MM extension this offseason. Not only did Pence's deal set a high precedent for corner outfielders, it also removed one of Granderson's main competitors from the free agent market before the season even ended. Granderson and agent Matt Brown will still have to contend with the likes of Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran and perhaps Nelson Cruz, who is expected to receive a qualifying offer from the Rangers. I profiled Granderson's free agent case last month and estimated that he could fetch three years and $45MM based on his track record, though that was before Pence's contract was signed. Granderson said recently that his preference is to stay with the Yankees, but it remains to be seen if they will make a serious push to retain him as they attempt to lower payroll.
Also within Van Schouwen's piece, he reminds us that the Sox are keeping tabs on Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu. Former GM and current VP Kenny Williams was on-hand for the 26-year-old first baseman's two-day showcase in the Dominican Republic. Abreu would fit Hahn's desire for "long-term, sustainable success," but he's being pursued by numerous clubs and is expected to command a hefty price tag.
The price tag will be key in the pursuit of both free agents, as Van Schouwen's source admitted: "[Granderson's] a Chicago kid with a name on the back of the jersey to create a buzz. Are they going to come up with the cash? I don’t see that happening."
One thing the White Sox do have going in their favor is their protected pick in the 2014 draft. The Sox, who select third overall in 2014, would only have to forfeit their second-round selection to sign Granderson. That could make them more willing to spend than teams who would be forced to surrender their top pick.