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David Freese Rumors
The NL Central features a pair of matchups this afternoon each at a different end of the spectrum. The division-leading Cardinals are hosting the Pirates and lead Pittsburgh by one-half game while the Brewers and Cubs are at Wrigley Field battling to avoid the cellar. The Brewers sit in fourth place by only one game. In other news and notes from the NL Central:
- The first place Cardinals can thank their deep farm system (especially in terms of pitching reinforcements) for their place in the standings, but it has had a ripple effect throughout the entire system, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Bernie Miklasz, Goold's colleague at the Post-Dispatch, agrees the Cardinals' young talent has been a tremendous resource; but, with Allen Craig nursing a sprained foot, the club will turn to a grizzled playoff veteran: David Freese.
- The Brewers have a glaring hole at first base with seven different players starting there this season, but Juan Francisco's audition to win the job for 2014 hasn't gone well, opines Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Since a two-home run, four-RBI game against the Rangers on August 14, Francisco has slumped with only seven hits in 44 at bats (.159), two RBIs, and 23 strikeouts.
- In an recent online chat, Rosiak explained trading either Yovani Gallardo or Kyle Lohse this offseason wouldn't make sense because it would create more holes in a rotation which already doesn't have enough proven arms.
- Within that same chat, Rosiak can envision the Brewers cutting ties with Rickie Weeks citing the recent examples of Bill Hall, Jeff Suppan, and Randy Wolf. Rosiak notes those three cases occurred in the final year of their contracts, which is what Weeks is entering in 2014.
- Right-hander Daniel Bard, claimed on waivers by the Cubs last Wednesday, threw his second bullpen session today, but there is still no timetable for him to see any game action, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "It’d be nice to see but it’s his timetable and we’ll evaluate and we’ll find out how he’s doing and how he’s feeling," said manager Dale Sveum. Bard is eligible for arbitration this winter.
- Earlier today, the Cubs designated infielder Cody Ransom for assignment to create roster space for right-hander Scott Baker, who is making his first MLB appearance in two years.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has lots of good stuff in this weekend's edition of Full Count. Here's a look at some of the highlights..
- The Cardinals' promotion of Kolten Wong could be the first step towards the club trading David Freese. Obviously, Freese isn't having a good year, but the free agent market at third base this offseason will be very thin this season and will be headlined by veterans such as Juan Uribe and Michael Young. Freese is under club control through 2015 and while he's not an All-Star, it's easy to see teams making a play for him.
- Mark Reynolds had interest from a number of clubs but he signed with the Yankees because they offered him the best opportunity of any interested club. The Orioles thought about a reunion, but he only would have DH'd against left-handed pitching. The Royals also thought about Reynolds, but they expect Mike Moustakas to come back soon from his calf injury and the Rangers checked in but didn't have an immediate major league opening.
- The Dodgers will be the x-factor in Robinson Cano's free agency and they could be spurred by their recent success to make a play for him. The Dodgers have been indicating that they won't spend like crazy forever and could dedicate their resources to new deals for Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez. However, they could also move one of their surplus outfielders and find the spare cash for the second baseman.
The Indians had a visit today from Crash Davis. Kevin Costner, star of the movie Bull Durham and in Cleveland for the filming of his new movie Draft Day where he plays the GM of the Cleveland Browns, played catch in the outfield, gloved some ground ball at third base, and took batting practice. "I was actually glad I made contact," Costner said with a smile to reporters including MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. "I hadn't swung in a couple years. I thought my chances of swinging through the ball were just as good as fouling it off." With filming in Cleveland, Costner said he has seen several Indians games at Progressive Field and likes what he has seen, "I really think this team can win the division. I've watched a lot of baseball and they have a couple good pieces of DNA. One of them is they come from behind. Not all teams can do that. They've got the right amount of athletic arrogance to do that. I think they can run Detroit down." I wonder if Billy Chapel would agree. Speaking of the Tigers and the rest of baseball's Central Division teams:
- The Tigers had a scout at the Marlins-Giants series this weekend, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com. The Tigers are said to have interest in Miami relievers Steve Cishek and Ryan Webb.
- Injuries and back-loaded contracts with deferred money have diminished the value of the Brewers' trade chips, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt. The Brewers do have some productive players on team-friendly contracts such as Yovani Gallardo, Norichika Aoki, and Jonathan Lucroy; but, Haudricourt questions what the return would be for them or for relievers Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford.
- Bronson Arroyo is well aware financial constraints could force the Reds not to re-sign him, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I talked about it very briefly in the offseason," Arroyo said. "The feeling I got was: ‘Hey, we’d love to have you, Bronson.’ I think everybody around would love to keep me here the rest of my career. But monetarily there’s question marks there."
- The Cubs could designate Henry Rodriguez for assignment to make room for another position player, tweets Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald.
- Like Arroyo, Cardinals third baseman David Freese told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he is aware he could become a payroll casualty because of the young and inexpensive infield talent the club has. Freese is arbitration eligible once again this winter and isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Here are some notes from a new video by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal …
- Despite the Brewers' 23-37 record, manager Ron Roenicke does not appear to be in immediate danger, Rosenthal says. The Brewers have struggled with injuries, and Rosenthal suggests that Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin don't like firing managers during the season.
- Second baseman Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals is emerging as a top hitter for the Cardinals, who have another second baseman, Kolten Wong, waiting in the wings. That leads Rosenthal to wonder about the possiblity that the Cardinals could deal David Freese in the offseason and move Carpenter to third. Freese will make $3.15MM this season, and will almost certainly receive a raise in arbitration in the offseason.
- The Mets would make sense as a destination for Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, Rosenthal says. With Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco coming off the books, the Mets could have the financial flexibility to deal for Ethier and a chunk of the four years and $71.5MM that will be left on his contract by the time this offseason rolls around.
Yesterday, the Cardinals avoided arbitration with David Freese on a one-year, $3.15MM deal, which took care of all of their unsigned arbitration eligible players. However, the third baseman says that he wants to be in St. Louis for life, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "If a long-term deal is going to happen I know for a fact that I have to do some things. I have to be a leader. I have to do what I do on the field. I have do the things expected of me," Freese said. Here's more from around baseball..
- Teams are interested in Scott Podsednik but he likely will need to wait for one that wants more help, suffers an injury, or misses out on a free agent like Michael Bourn, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Earlier today, we learned that the Twins haven't ruled out making a play for the outfielder.
- Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette says he hopes to have the Jair Jurrjens situation resolved by the start of spring training, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. The Orioles have yet to finalize their one-year, $1.5MM agreement with the pitcher and are believed to be concerned about his knee.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers says he approached Paul Goldschmidt about a long-term deal but the 25-year-old wanted to wait before talking about it, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Goldschmidt won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2014 season and isn't scheduled to hit free agency until the winter following the 2017 season.
6:01pm: Freese's deal is worth $3.15MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
2:32pm: The Cardinals have agreed to a one-year deal with David Freese, avoiding arbitration, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter). CAA Sports represents the third baseman.
Freese filed for $3.75MM with the Cardinals offering $2.4MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows. The Cardinals don't have any unsigned arbitration eligible players remaining now that they've agreed to terms with Freese. The 29-year-old remains on track to go to arbitration two more times and hit free agency following the 2015 season.
Check out MLBTR's post on Arbitration Basics for an introduction to the process.
Cardinals legend Stan Musial died on the weekend at the age of 92, and the seven-time batting champion will be remembered as one of the best hitters of all-time. Here are some notes about the present-day Cardinals as they prepare for the 2013 season…
- As Carlos Beltran enters the final season of his two-year contract, he’d like to know if he’s part of the club’s long-term plans, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. However, Beltran won’t try to accelerate talks unless the Cardinals want to do the same. “They don't really have to come to me, explain it to me,” Beltran said. “It depends how this year will go. We'll see what happens. I really love playing here.” Beltran will earn $13MM in 2013 before hitting free agency next offseason.
- David Freese said he has decided not to discuss his contract talks publicly, Goold reports. The arbitration eligible third baseman asked for $3.75MM with the Cardinals countering at $2.4MM. He acknowledged that he’s aware of talks between the team and his agent, adding that he’d like to reach an agreement if possible. "If you can get it done, the quicker the better." CAA represents Freese, who’s arb eligible for the first time this winter.
Teams and players submitted corresponding arbitration figures today, and leading up to the noon CDT deadline many players avoided arbitration. This post offers a look at some of the players who avoided arbitration, this post has filing numbers for teams and players and MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker provides the complete breakdown. Now for some additional notes about arbitration eligible players…
- There’s much more momentum toward a contract between Jason Motte and the Cardinals than there is between the team and David Freese, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter). Marc Rzepczynski, Freese and Motte are St. Louis' three remaining arbitration eligible players, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.
- Though the Reds discussed a multiyear deal with outfielder Chris Heisey, the sides are more likely to agree on a one-year deal, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Heisey has a projected $1.3MM salary as he goes to arbitration for the first time.
The Red Sox are now under new GM Ben Cherington's watch, and they figure to again be one of the most active teams during the offseason. Here's the latest from Boston…
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier spoke to sources both inside and outside the organization who said the Red Sox are not expected to move third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis will turn 33 next month, and although he's missed time with injury in each of the last three seasons, he remains productive (.258/.373/.459 in 2011) and affordable ($12MM in 2012 with a $13MM club option for 2013).
- Within the same piece, Speier notes that the Sox will "almost surely kick the tires on [pitchers] with the stuff and/or track record that suggests an ability to compete in the American League East," as long as they're open to short-term contracts.
- CEO and team president Larry Lucchino appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show this morning; Jerry Spar of WEEI.com provides a transcript. Among other things, he said talks with the Cubs about compensation for Theo Epstein are taking so long because "the parties have different views of what is significant compensation."
- Meanwhile, Bud Selig told reporters (including Scott Miller of CBSSports.com) he expects the compensation dispute to land on his desk this coming Tuesday (Twitter link).
- David Freese is busy providing the Cardinals with postseason heroics, but Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres says the Red Sox had a loophole deal in place to sign the third baseman for $90K before the 2006 draft. The commissioner's office stepped in and nixed the deal, however.
The latest on the Cardinals, as third baseman David Freese makes his first spring start…
- Freese is now represented by CAA, tweets the agency. Phil Tannenbaum was his previous agent. Freese, 28 next month, is a ways off from arbitration eligibility.
- Chris Carpenter felt a twinge in his left hamstring during yesterday's bullpen session, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He's looking doubtful to start Friday, but there's no timetable for his return. Carpenter's hamstring first became a concern six days ago in a start against the Marlins. Perhaps by the weekend the Cardinals will decide whether to explore external options with Adam Wainwright out of the season and Carpenter's status unknown.
- Kiko Calero's slider looked good in his Cardinals audition, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, but the team told the righty they have a full roster.