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Daniel Murphy Rumors
The Mets are looking for players to buy into their offensive philosophy, and that means finding guys with discipline at the plate, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. That might help to explain why the free-swinging Daniel Murphy has found himself on the pages of MLBTR over the last week or so. Marlon Byrd, who signed a lucrative two-year deal with the Philies, didn't show up on the Mets radar because he also doesn't fit the bill for what the Mets are looking for. Possible target Curtis Granderson, however, boasts a solid walk rate. Here's more out of the AL and NL East..
- It was hard to find an executive at the GM Meetings who didn't expect to see Robinson Cano back with the Yankees, but almost everyone expects a leverage battle between the two sides, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman suggests that the Bombers could invoke a similar strategy to what they did with Andy Pettitte after the 2008 season. The Yanks offered the hurler a pay cut from $16MM to $10MM and when he declined, they cautioned that the offer would go down if they signed someone else. After they spent megabucks on Mark Teixeira, Pettitte (reluctantly) accepted a $5.5MM deal.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson told Mike Francesa of WFAN Radio that he wouldn’t trade Noah Syndergaard under virtually any circumstances, according to Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog.
- The Nationals have interest in free agent Oliver Perez, a person familiar with the situation tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Left-handed batters hit .238/.358/.288 against the 32-year-old reliever last season.
- After numerous conversations with player agents and other teams, Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman headed home from the GM Meetings with a better sense of potential moves, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays are looking for a first baseman, catcher, and one or two late-inning relievers. Friedman isn't sure if their next move is a trade or signing, but he "would be surprised" if nothing happened between now and the winter meetings on December 8th.
Here's a look at the latest news from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Major league sources say it's not a surprise that the Orioles are willing to deal Matt Wieters. The bigger question is how Baltimore would reshape the roster if they made such a move. The O's don't have much breathing room to spend, but Rosenthal suggests the Orioles could gain flexibility by moving the catcher and also closer Jim Johnson, who projects to earn $10.8MM through arbitration. The O's could then find cheaper alternatives at both positions and be aggressive on the open market.
- If the Royals sign Carlos Beltran or another right-handed slugger, they could afford to trade designated hitter Billy Butler, who is signed for $8MM in 2014 with a $12.5MM club option for ’15. The Mariners are among the teams that covet Butler, a major league source tells Rosenthal.
- The Reds haven’t given up on re-signing Shin-Soo Choo, but they probably would need to trade Brandon Phillips and possibly Homer Bailey to create the necessary room, sources say. We've heard that Phillips is a likely a goner, but Bailey a more difficult call since losing him would require the Reds to move Aroldis Chapman to the rotation, unless they acquired another starter. All that might be too much to ask to accommodate the signing of a $100MM+ free agent, but they'd ideally like to have Choo back to give them another year before putting Billy Hamilton in center field. If they lose Choo, they likely would go with Hamilton and seek out a veteran complement in center.
- The Mets appear likely to trade Ike Davis, who is drawing interest from a number of clubs. Rosenthal also cautions not to be surprised if they move Daniel Murphy as well.
- Opinions are split on Jacoby Ellsbury's value. One rival exec's statistical analysis rated Ellsbury as the top Red Sox player last season, ahead of Dustin Pedroia. Others in the industry, however, are wary of Ellsbury’s diminished power since he has hit only 13 home runs over the past two seasons.
- One rival exec described the Rangers' infield logjam as an untenable situation.
- 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.
- Robinson Cano is the only player the Mets value as a $100MM-plus player this offseason, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Since they won't be in on Cano, the Mets may also not be able to afford Shin-Soo Choo due to agent Scott Boras' nine-figure contract demands.
- A Mets source tells Heyman that none of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier are currently part of the team's offseason plans. We heard earlier today that the Dodgers were open to dealing any of the three veteran outfielders and the Mets have been linked to Ethier in the past.
- Joe Saunders is a good fit for the Mets as a relatively inexpensive veteran innings-eater, several rival talent evaluators tell Mike Puma of the New York Post. A pitcher like Saunders would help the Mets rotation in the short term while still allowing the team to spend larger dollars on hitters.
- The Mets could "aggressively shop" Daniel Murphy this winter, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo writes as part of a reader mailbag. The Mets could be looking to sell high on Murphy as team COO Jeff Wilpon didn't mention the second baseman when discussing players guaranteed roster spots for 2014. In other mailbag topics, DiComo also doesn't see the Mets spending big on a single player like Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, and he outlines the club's shortstop depth issue (though re-acquiring Jose Reyes is not a solution).
Earlier today, the Mets officially announced their two-year extension of manager Terry Collins' contract. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that pitching coach Dan Warthen also received a two-year contract, making him the only coach on the Mets' staff to secure a multiyear guarantee. Here's more on the Amazins…
- The team will be open to trading Daniel Murphy this offseason, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. He cautions that the Mets don't necessarily expect to trade Murphy, but adds that they'll be open to moving him if the trade fills a larger hole like shortstop or the outfield. New York would move Eric Young Jr. to second base in that scenario to keep his much-needed speed in the lineup. Rubin feels that Young, who swiped a league-leading 46 bases this season, will be a starter on next year's team in some capacity.
- Rubin also notes, once again, that Shin-Soo Choo is the only free agent the Mets would surrender a pick for (he would cost the Mets their second-rounder, as their first is protected). Choo will likely be too expensive for the Mets, however, especially in light of Hunter Pence's five-year, $90MM extension, so the Mets are likely to instead follow Boston's model from last offseason and sign multiple middle-tier free agents to shorter-term deals. Rubin points out that the Mets could make several external additions and still see a decrease in payroll due to the huge contracts they have coming off the books.
- The Mets have upped their international scouting efforts, which could be a sign that they'll be more active on the global market this winter, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday.
- Along those same lines, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have three scouts in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to watch Jose Dariel Abreu. They also plan to do due diligence on Masahiro Tanaka, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Sherman is careful to add that the Mets are still seen as a long-shot to land Abreu.
- After talking with a club official, Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter) feels that the Mets will try to "get creative" in a trade for a big-ticket item before going the free agent route. Carig chimes in as well, adding that with so much money coming off the books, the Mets could take on a big contract should they go that route (Twitter link).
- GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including DiComo, that he's hopeful the team will be able to make a splash in free agency this offseason (Twitter links).
Zach Links contributed to this post.
It's been 731 days since the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants in exchange for Zack Wheeler, and while that trade looks brilliant now, it also represents the last July trade that involved the Amazin's. Here's more on New York's National League club…
- Tim Byrdak's contract contains a clause that allows him to leave the Mets should another team offer him a Major League roster spot, MLBTR has learned. After being contacted by an interested team, the Mets would have 48 hours to add Byrdak to their own big league roster. If they chose not to do so, Byrdak would be free to join the new team, and the Mets would receive no compensation. The clause is similar to the one that allowed Jason Grilli to leave the Phillies and join the Pirates in 2011. Byrdak currently has a 2.45 ERA and 11-to-3 K/BB ratio in 11 innings at High-A St. Lucie as he works his way back from shoulder and knee surgeries in late 2012.
- A Mets executive told Mike Puma of the New York Post that he would be surprised if manager Terry Collins were replaced after the season. The Mets are happy with the job that Collins has done, and the executive says the team is doing a good job of "sprinting to the finish line" with Collins at the helm (Twitter links). Collins still only under contract through the 2013 season.
- Puma's colleague, Joel Sherman, tweets that left-handed relief is in such high demand, the Mets actually received calls checking in on how Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano were progressing in their rehab.
- Nothing has changed on the Marlon Byrd and Bobby Parnell front, according to Sherman (on Twitter). The Mets have received nibbles on both, but not nearly enough to make a deal likely.
- The Mets are seeking a "Wheeler type" top prospect in exchange for Parnell, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Given that exborbitant price tag, it's no surprise that interest hasn't picked up much.
- Sherman adds that the Mets had hoped to see interest in Daniel Murphy, John Buck and Eric Young Jr., but to this point they haven't received calls on that group. As such, they're likely to simply try to win as many games as they can with the current group in the season's second half.
The Phillies aren't considered to have a particularly deep farm system but one upcoming gem could exist in the form of 20-year-old third baseman Maikel Franco. A scout tells CBS Sports' Danny Knobler (Twitter link) that Franco is the "best impact bat I've seen in minors this year." Franco posted a .259/.322/.395 line over his first three pro seasons but delivered a .925 OPS in 289 PA at High-A ball this year and already has two homers in four games since being promoted to Double-A. Baseball America ranked Franco as the Phillies' eighth-best prospect before the season, saying "he has a ceiling of a power-hitting corner infielder, but he'll have to continue to make offensive adjustments, especially in recognizing offspeed stuff."
Here's the latest from around the division…
- Danny Espinosa played two Triple-A games at shortstop this weekend, leading a few rival evaluators to tell Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that it seems as if the Nationals could be showcasing Espinosa's shortstop ability for a possible trade. Kilgore isn't sure, since the Nats need Espinosa for infield depth and "trading Espinosa now would be the epitome of selling low." Espinosa has just a .465 OPS though 167 PA and has battled both a torn rotator cuff and a fractured wrist this season.
- The Mets offered Collin Cowgill to the Angels in exchange for right-hander Matt Shoemaker but the Halos weren't interested, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (Twitter link). Cowgill was designated for assignment last week and the Mets are known to be exploring trades for the outfielder. Shoemaker, 26, has a 4.49 ERA, 7.6 K/9 and 4.89 K/BB ratio in 16 starts at Triple-A Salt Lake City this season.
- As part of a reader mailbag, MLB.com's Anthony DiComo opines that a long-term extension for Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy doesn't seem like "a realistic expectation at this point." This could open the door for prospect Wilmer Flores, who currently has an .853 OPS in his first Triple-A season. Murphy will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and is controlled through the 2015 season.
- In NL East news from earlier today, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported that the Phillies had outrighted Michael Martinez to Triple-A, we heard some Ricky Nolasco rumors, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that he is putting a high price tag on his star pitchers and The New York Daily News' Andy Martino shared a few items about the Marlins, Mets and Nationals.
Acquiring Andre Ethier "would be a solid gamble" for the Mets, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone opines. Ethier could be forced out of the Dodgers outfield by Yasiel Puig and Scott Van Slyke, making him expendable at a discount price since it is believed the Dodgers would have to absorb at least half of the roughly $80MM remaining on Ethier's contract. The Mets would be paying around $10MM per season to a player Cerrone sees as "a nice compliment to Lucas Duda in left field," but it would be the first step in the Mets upgrading their outfield now and this winter in the free agent market.
Here's some more on the Amazins from ESPN New York's Adam Rubin, who covered a number of topics during a live chat with readers today…
- Ike Davis could be a trade candidate if the Mets thought he wouldn't be worth his growing salary over his arbitration years. A Rubin source on another team projects Davis to earn $6.1MM in his second year of arbitration eligibility this winter, "assuming his production normalizes somewhat the rest of the way." This could be a big if, as Davis has managed only a .509 OPS through 201 PA this season. Davis signed a one-year, $3.125MM deal last winter in his first taste of arb-eligibility.
- Rubin isn't sure if the Mets see Daniel Murphy as an extension candidate since "a New York team doesn't normally have to be consumed with locking up a player's arbitration years." Murphy signed a one-year, $2.925MM deal last winter and is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. The second baseman has been a bright spot for the Mets this season, hitting .290/.323/.439 and tying for the NL lead with 19 doubles.
- Pedro Feliciano has been on the minor league disabled list since May 9 with a "very serious" type of food poisoning that "can affect the person off and on for years." The southpaw hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2010 after suffering a variety of arm injuries as a member of the Yankees in 2011-12. Feliciano signed a minor league deal with the Mets in January.
Despite the optimistic financial future that principal owner Fred Wilpon recently outlined to reporters, the Mets might not have as much flexibility as anticipated. The team projects to make $22MM this coming season, once debt payments for Citi Field, diminishing attendance and TV revenues are factored in, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reports. Kosman hears that there's "little room this year to raise salaries." Here are some more Mets-related notes as Spring Training continues…
- There was a time last month that GM Sandy Alderson expected the Mets would add Justin Upton or Michael Bourn, John Harper of the New York Daily News reports. The Mets discussed the possibility of trading Daniel Murphy or Ruben Tejada plus younger pitching prospects to Arizona for Upton, who was ultimately dealt to Atlanta. It's not clear how close the Mets were to acquiring Upton, but some say Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers "indicated strong interest" at a certain point.
- MLB also gave the Mets "favorable signals" that they'd be able to sign Bourn without surrendering the 11th overall draft pick, Harper reports.
- Alderson said the organization's top pitching prospects will make an impact at the MLB level, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reports. "It’s a marker of future success,’’ Alderson said. Manager Terry Collins added that he envisions some of the prospects becoming power arms for his bullpen.
We'll keep track of today's arbitration agreements under $3MM right here..
- The Mets have avoided arbitration with Daniel Murphy by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $2.925MM, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports (Twitter links). The final total is a bit less than the midpoint between the figures exchanged by the two sides; Murphy asked for $3.4MM, the Mets offered $2.55MM. This was Murphy's first year of arbitration eligibility. Murphy, an ACES client, was the last of three arb-eligible Mets players to agree to a deal, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.
- The Angels and reliever Kevin Jepsen have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1,181,250. The contract includes awards-based bonuses, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Jepsen. The deal now means that the Angels have wrapped up all of their arb eligible players this offseason, as the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker shows.