David Wright Rumors
After a relatively quiet Thanksgiving week, it’s time for MLB teams to resume their offseasons. The Rays completed a historic deal today, signing Evan Longoria to an extension that will keep him in Tampa Bay through at least 2022. Here are some more news items as teams gear up for next week’s Winter Meetings...
- The Giants each obtained $377K for winning the World Series and the Tigers obtained $284K each for winning the AL pennant, according to the Sports Network (via the Miami Herald). Check out the article for the complete details on how the $65MM players' pool was divided between the ten playoff teams.
- Speaking of the Giants, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle hasn’t heard anything to suggest the Giants are in on Michael Bourn or B.J. Upton (Sulia link).
- The Cardinals continue looking for a left-handed reliever, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. GM John Mozeliak said he believes in Marc Rzepczynski but intends to find another lefty reliever. "When he was a one-man band out there he didn’t pitch as well," the GM said. "That’s why we need to find someone.” Mozeliak repeated that he's open to signing a reliever to a multiyear deal.
- The Mets haven’t yet seriously explored trade options involving David Wright, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reports (on Twitter). The club could explore potential trades eventually, but for now they remain hopeful of signing the third baseman to an extension.
- Teams are concerned about Dan Haren’s hip, not his back, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Haren’s bad hip won’t prevent teams from showing interest, according to Olney.
- Jason Grilli and Stephen Drew are among the undervalued free agents remaining on the open market, Jim Bowden writes at ESPN.com.
- "Everyone [I] talk to seems confident [Andy Pettitte] will return" to pitch in 2013, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Pettitte will surely want a significant raise from his $2.5MM salary in 2012, Sherman warns.
- Also from Sherman, he believes the Yankees will make "bold" one-year contracts akin to their deal with Kuroda, as the team is comfortable signing veterans to short-term deals. The Yankees will also look for less-expensive "Freddy Garcia type" pitchers later in the winter to add depth, though Sherman doesn't mean Garcia specifically. Sherman suggests Dallas Braden as a possible candidate to fit this mold (both links are to Twitter).
- David Wright's chances of signing an extension with the Mets are no better than 50-50, an industry source tells Mike Puma of the New York Post. Wright and his representatives are dissatisfied with the length and guaranteed value of the Mets' offer, as Wright is looking for a contract in the neighborhood of seven years and $125MM. It has been previously reported that the Mets were going to offer Wright a deal worth at least $100MM and that the two sides had exchanged offers.
- Also from Puma, a Mets official is "not sure" if R.A. Dickey wouldn't be traded even if he did sign an extension. Some in the industry believe Dickey could look for some type of no-trade clause in any new contract with the team.
- Mets COO Jeff Wilpon told reporters (including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo) that he is "more optimistic" than he was two months ago about completing extensions for Wright and Dickey. Wilpon said that trading either player would be the Mets' third option, behind signing them long-term and beginning the season with both men still on the roster. "They're both under contract. This is not a free-agent situation. This is not an arbitration situation. They're both under contract. We have all the flexibility in the world with that," Wilpon said.
The Mets continue negotiating a potential contract extension with R.A. Dickey, but there's also a chance the team will trade him. Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young winner, has considerable trade value even if there are questions about how long he can continue pitching at an elite level. Here are today’s Mets-related links...
- The Mets would want a “monster package” if they trade Dickey, an MLB executive tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Mets are letting other teams come to them with offers and probably would not trade Dickey unless they get a substantial return for him. In other words, don’t expect a trade unless someone offers the Mets a few highly regarded prospects or MLB players. However, two executives told Martino that they doubt teams will offer a “monster package” for the 38-year-old.
- Mets executives Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi are fielding most trade inquiries related to Dickey and John Ricco has been leading contract talks with the knuckleballer and his agent.
- The Mets must invest significantly in their team, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. That doesn't mean they have to extend Dickey and David Wright at any cost, but doubts about ownership's commitment will linger until the club starts spending again.
The easiest decision of the Mets' offseason came on October 30 when the team picked up their options on David Wright (worth $16MM) and R.A. Dickey ($5MM) for the 2013 season. The much trickier move has been in extending both players beyond next season, as the Mets have yet to lock up their longtime third baseman and the 2012 NL Cy Young winner.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman recently observed that while Wright and the Mets weren't making much progress, "there's always been a feeling something will get done," as the Mets seem committed to keeping Wright as the face of their franchise for the rest of his career. Last month we heard the team was willing to offer Wright a deal worth around $100MM, so it would seem that length, not money, is the issue. Wright turns 30 in December and you would think the team is looking for a six- or seven-year commitment, whereas Wright and his representatives at ACES would want at least an eight-year deal akin to the kind that Wright could find on the open market.
As for Dickey, his situation is much more complicated, befitting his unique status as a late-blooming Cy Young winner. Dickey has broken out as a star during his three years in New York, though at age 38, the Mets have concerns about how long Dickey will be able to continue his knuckleballing magic. The Mets have at least floated Dickey's name in trade talks to see what he could bring back in a deal, as Dickey's $5MM salary makes him a very attractive target for teams looking for immediate pitching help.
With both players under contract for 2013, the Mets have lots of time to negotiate extensions, so it's too early to say that Wright or Dickey are in imminent danger of being traded. Dealing Dickey is understandable from a short-term perspective, though moving Wright would be a much bigger move and essentially a signal that the Mets don't plan to contend until at least 2015. Do you think Wright and/or Dickey will still be at Citi Field come 2014, or is their time with the Mets coming to a close?
We've already had one collection of NL East Notes today, but there's no shortage of news coming out of the division. Here's the latest...
- Giancarlo Stanton is still upset about the Marlins' sudden rebuild, telling Peter Gammons of MLB.com that "former Marlins come back and they warn us" about the club's history of firesales and that it is a constant source of discussion amongst current players. "This is the 'winning philosophy?' Then to say it's not about money? What is the motivation? There comes a breaking point. I know how I feel. I can't imagine how the city and the fans feel," Stanton said.
- The Marlins and Blue Jays have officially filed the paperwork about their big 12-player trade with the league, reports Rogers Sportsnet's Shi Davidi (via Twitter). Monday is the most likely date for the trade to be finalized, though it could happen over the weekend.
- The Nationals have been in contact with free agent outfielder B.J. Upton, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, and are "expected to have increased communication" as the offseason progresses. Upton visited the Braves and Phillies earlier this week.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson said his team will need "a little more clarity" on the contract situations of David Wright and R.A. Dickey by the time the Winter Meetings roll around, reports Newsday's Marc Carig. "At some point we need resolution on these discussions to be able to move on. But that time is not now," Alderson said, aiming at the 10 days between Thanksgiving and the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3 as a prime negotiating period.
- Edward Salcedo received a $1.6MM bonus from the Braves as an 18-year-old in 2010, though the 21-year-old hasn't yet lived up to his potential in the minors, writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Here's a look at some news out of the NL East following the Marlins' shocking trade earlier this evening..
- The Mets made an offer to David Wright and the third baseman's representatives responded with a counter-offer, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The $15MM that is being deferred to Jason Bay will be paid out over a two year period, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That means that the Mets are only saving about $850K on the full $21MM Bay is owed.
- The Phillies are wide open in their search for a third baseman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The club could look at multi-position types like Marco Scutaro and Jeff Keppinger as well as someone like Kevin Youkilis.
- At a charity event earlier today, Mets owner Jeff Wilpon said that the the Mets remain focused on signing David Wright and R.A. Dickey, but added that they would be remiss to not explore the trade market in the process, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Wilpon said that the club hopes to sign both Wright and Dickey with a trade of one or both as their backup plan, Mike Kerwick of the Bergen Record tweets.
- A Mets source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (via Twitter) that "nothing has changed" for the club since the GM meetings.
We've already had one batch of NL East notes today but there's no shortage of news coming out of the division. Here's the latest...
- The Braves are looking at center field options to replace Michael Bourn and the Twins' Denard Span "is likely high on the list of potential trade target," writes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves and Twins match up well as trade partners, as Minnesota is desperate for pitching and Atlanta is one of the few teams with available young arms. The Braves "haven’t entirely given up" on re-signing Bourn, but the club is unlikely to match the demands from Bourn and agent Scott Boras.
- Despite a report last week that claimed the Braves were "intrigued" by Josh Hamilton, O'Brien doesn't think Atlanta has much interest, as Hamilton is too expensive and the club would prefer to add a right-handed hitting bat.
- While the Mets have begun to explore trade possibilities for R.A. Dickey, the Mets aren't yet looking to deal David Wright, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. While the two sides aren't close to a contract extension, "there's always been a feeling something will get done with Wright, and while talks are taking much longer than expected or predicted, that hasn't changed," Heyman writes.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro spoke to Larry Reynolds (B.J. Upton's agent) at the general managers' meetings and the two sides plan to stay in contact, a source tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. One executive told Salisbury that Upton "was the Phils' priority" this offseason.
- The Phillies are close to a new contract with Kevin Frandsen, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). The 30-year-old Frandsen hit an impressive .338/.383/.451 in 210 plate appearances for the Phillies last season, taking over as their regular third baseman in the second half of the year. Frandsen is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, and MLBTR's Matt Swartz projected Frandsen would earn $800K.
Sandy Alderson met with reporters (including Adam Rubin of ESPN New York) at the general managers' meetings today to discuss various Mets-related topics. Here are some of the highlights of Alderson's talk and also some other Mets items...
- Talks with David Wright's representatives are "ongoing," with Alderson noting that both sides have agreed to keep negotiations out of the media. Alderson noted that "there's much more engagement" with Wright than the Mets had last year with free agent Jose Reyes, who ended up signing with the Marlins.
- Despite reports saying the Mets are looking into trading R.A. Dickey, Alderson said "our focus -- almost exclusive focus -- has been to try to re-sign him at this point."
- "We're not looking to go out of our way" to trade pitching, Alderson said, though the GM admitted that pitching depth is the team's strength and the Mets could move an arm in the right deal to enhance their lineup.
- Jason Bay's release from his contract "probably enhances" Scott Hairston's chances of returning to the Mets, Alderson said.
- Reports that Dickey is looking for an extension similar to Oliver Perez's three-year, $36MM contract with the Mets from 2009 is "completely incorrect," a team source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Mets believe they can lock up Dickey to a shorter and less expensive deal. Dickey is already under contract for 2013, as the Mets picked up their $5MM option on the knuckleballer.
- J.P. Ricciardi has signed a three-year extension to remain as a special assistant to Alderson, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). Ricciardi, the former Blue Jays general manager, has been with the Mets since November 2010.
- Also from Cafardo, there have been "no bites" from teams about Johan Santana. Though Santana pitched very well over his first 16 starts of the 2012 season, it's hard to see teams lining up to acquire him given that Santana was hit hard from July onward and spent most of the second half on the DL, not to mention his $25.5MM salary in 2013.
Here's the latest from Joel Sherman of The New York Post...
- The Mets are making progress, albeit slowly, in contract talks with David Wright and R.A. Dickey. The impression is that there is still a substantial gap in talks with Dickey, and they've been gauging his trade value during the GM Meetings. They are not doing the same with Wright, however.
- The Yankees would not do a two-year deal worth $20MM or so for Torii Hunter since they want to get under the luxury tax threshold next year. They are fixated on one-year contracts this offseason and could fill their right field hole with a low-cost platoon.
- "The Yankees are not on him," said a source about Justin Upton, in part because they're unsure if he's a good fit for New York (Twitter link). The Rangers and Rays are strongest early players for Upton, and Sherman gets the sense that the D'Backs want to act quickly (Twitter links).
- The Diamondbacks want high-end, MLB ready players in return for Upton and would love to get Jurickson Profar or (more likely) Elvis Andrus from the Rangers. They don't love Mike Olt, however (Twitter links). GM Kevin Towers likes Yankees prospect Mason Williams, but he is several years away from the show and unlikely to be enough to headline a trade package (all Twitter links).
- Next year's crop of free agent starting pitchers is weak, which could benefit Zack Greinke since teams won't be able to find a stopgap and reassess next year. Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum highlight next winter's pitching crop, and both come with question marks.
- The Mariners, who have young pitching, are said to be talking to the Royals and Twins, who have young hitting. Seattle would love to pry Wil Myers, Aaron Hicks, and/or Ben Revere loose.
- Jason Bay didn't produce with the Mets, but he lived up to his billing as a hard worker and good teammate. Sherman expects the outfielder to take a low-salary, change of scenery deal (Twitter link).
- Mets officials think Scott Hairston will get a two-year deal worth between $8-10MM this winter.
The Nationals and manager Davey Johnson continue to work toward a new contract for 2013, and based on the most recent reports it sounds as though the sides have a good chance of reaching a deal. Here's more from the NL East...
- The Mets aren't close to completing extensions with David Wright and R.A. Dickey, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports. The Mets remain hopeful that they can complete long-term deals with the players instead of trading them away.
- Todd Zolecki of MLB.com explains why Angel Pagan and Torii Hunter could be solutions for the Phillies this offseason. Zolecki doubts that Michael Bourn will return to Philadelphia this offseason and points out that B.J. Upton's far from a perfect player.
- Former Braves and Marlins starter Javier Vazquez will pitch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico and see if he wants to make a comeback, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). The right-hander didn’t pitch in 2012, but pitched quite well for the Marlins in 2011, posting a 3.69 ERA in 192 2/3 innings.