Denard Span Rumors

Nationals Notes: Zimmermann, Vazquez, Span

Here's the latest news and stories making headlines out of Washington…

  • Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals continue to discuss financial figures for the right-hander, but the two sides remain far apart in their conversations, says Amanda Comak of The Washington Times (on Twitter). While Zimmermann would be open to a long-term contract, he wants to first address his arbitration deal for the upcoming season, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com (via Twitter).
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says there's nothing new to report regarding free agent Javier Vazquez's status, writes Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com (on Twitter). The veteran made mention of his desire to play for a contender earlier this month, but stated that he would not rush into signing with a team. 
  • Outfielder Denard Span, acquired this offseason from the Twins, enters the season highly optimistic about the Nationals' chances come October, says Bill Ladson of MLB.com.

The Denard Span Trade: Reaction & Fallout

The Nationals avoided the busy free agent center field market by acquiring Denard Span from the Twins today in exchange for highly-touted pitching prospect Alex Meyer.  Here is some of the early buzz about the trade and how it affects the Nationals, Twins and several other teams around the league…

  • The trade seems to leave Adam LaRoche without a spot in the Nationals' lineup, meaning the first baseman could go elsewhere as a free agent.  In a conference call with reporters (including Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider), Washington GM Mike Rizzo said the trade "gives us some options" with player moves and noted that the team is still talking to LaRoche.  Rizzo said teams have called about Michael Morse, so the Nats could potentially re-sign LaRoche and deal Morse instead.
  • While a Morse trade is a possibility, some executives feel the Span deal will lead to LaRoche signing with the Red Sox, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks at how the trade impacts LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton and the Phillies.
  • The trade was "a huge win" for the Nationals, opines Fangraphs' Dave Cameron, who thinks Minnesota could've gotten more than Meyer in exchange for an affordable center fielder.  "The Twins got a real talent back in return for Span, but it’s a talent with too many question marks to be the piece they’re getting back in return for a three win player under team control at a fraction of his market price," Cameron writes.
  • Conversely, ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) likes the trade for the Twins.  The club sorely needs young pitching and Meyer's potential is worth "an average regular in center whose value will fluctuate with his BABIP," as Law describes Span.  Law also notes that this deal should help the Rockies get more in a trade for Dexter Fowler, as Fowler is younger and has more power than Span.

Reds Notes: Span, Latos, Bailey, Ludwick

With B.J. Upton now a Brave and Denard Span now a National, the Reds' outfield/leadoff hitter options are thinning out, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.  The Reds tried to acquire Span from the Twins at last year's trade deadline, though Sheldon hadn't heard anything about the Reds continuing their pursuit for Span this winter.  Sheldon believes Michael Bourn and Angel Pagan are too expensive for the Reds and Shane Victorino may be as well, though Cincinnati is one of at least seven teams who have shown interest in Victorino's services.

Here are some more items about of the Queen City…

  • In a separate piece from Sheldon, the Reds' recent history of locking up young players before free agency makes Mat Latos and Homer Bailey seem like extension candidates this winter.  In his recent look at Cincinnati's arb-eligible players, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted that Bailey's injury history may keep the Reds from pursuing a multiyear deal with the righty, while Latos could receive a five-year, $60MM extension, though predicting a new Latos deal is difficult due to a lack of comparables.
  • Dustin Bledsoe, Latos' agent, tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds have yet to approach his client about an extension.
  • Also from Fay, he hears from agent Dan Horwits that the Reds have "been in contact" with his client Ryan Ludwick about a possible return to Cincinnati.  "There’s interest on both sides. Hopefully, we can [get] something done. We’re talking to other clubs. He has offers from other clubs,” Horwits said.


Nationals Acquire Denard Span

The Nationals announced that they acquired center fielder Denard Span from the Twins for minor league right-hander Alex Meyer. The Twins have confirmed the deal.

Span, 28, provides the Nationals with an established center fielder. His presence will presumably keep Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in outfield corners. It could also impact the Nationals' interest in Adam LaRoche, since Michael Morse's primary position might now be first base. Alternatively, the Nationals could move Morse to a team seeking offense and continue pursuing LaRoche.

Span posted a .283/.342/.395 batting line in 568 plate appearances with Minnesota in 2012, numbers that compare closely to his career mark of .284/.357/.389. The five-year MLB veteran will earn $4.75MM in 2013 and $6.5MM in 2014. His contract includes a $9MM club option for 2015 with a $500K buyout.

Meyer, the 23rd overall selection of the 2011 draft, pitched well in 2012, his lone season as a pro. He pitched at Class A, posting a 2.86 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 129 innings. The 6'9" 22-year-old might rank sixth among Twins prospects, John Manuel of Baseball America notes (on Twitter).


NL East Links: Pavano, Span, Hamilton, Wright

Here's the latest from the NL East…

  • Carl Pavano told Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post that he'd love to return to the Marlins in 2013. His agent, Dave Pepe, has spoken to the team recently, but it's unclear if that will lead to a contract.
  • The Braves agreed to sign B.J. Upton earlier today, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears the team discussed the idea of both signing Upton and trading for Denard Span (Twitter link). Talks with the Twins failed to progress, however.
  • "Watch out for the Phillies to surprise everyone and sign [Josh] Hamilton,'' said an agent to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). Crasnick notes that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is fond of big splashes.
  • The Mets should trade David Wright, argues MLB.com's Matthew Leach. He says the third baseman's value will never be higher, and the team needs an infusion of young talent.

Twins Notes: Morneau, Liriano, Span, Pavano

Here's the latest on the Twins, courtesy of ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson

  • "No. Obviously I love playing here. I love the city. I love the people. Hopefully it doesn't become a distraction," said Justin Morneau when asked if the team has approached his agent about an extension. The slugger can become a free agent next offseason, and he said he hopes to remain with the Twins through 2013.
  • The Twins have touched base with approximately 20 free agent pitchers so far, though a source downplayed their interest in a reunion with Francisco Liriano.
  • "Look for an active (Winter Meetings)," said one of Wolfson's sources. There's a belief Denard Span could be traded.
  • Carl Pavano's representatives will meet with the Twins during the Winter Meetings in Nashville next week. The right-hander's shoulder was cleared by doctors recently.
  • The Twins are looking for a third baseman. They could shift Trevor Plouffe to the outfield or find a left-handed hitting platoon partner.

Rosenthal On Royals, Uehara, D’Backs, Span, Catching

Here are the latest hot stove items from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal….

  • Teams in search of bullpen help have been looking at Royals right-handers Greg Holland and Aaron Crow, though Kansas City isn't likely to trade any of its Major League players unless they can move Jeff Francoeur.
  • The Royals bolstered their pitching staff by re-signing Jeremy Guthrie and trading for Ervin Santana, but Rosenthal still feels the team needs a true ace.
  • The Phillies are interested in free agent reliever Koji Uehara.
  • The Diamondbacks could deal Jason Kubel instead of Justin Upton, which would be an easier move to make though Kubel would bring back a lesser return.  A source tells Rosenthal that the Rangers are still interested in Upton but are waiting for the D'Backs to back down on their demands for Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar in return.
  • Denard Span could be a good trade target for a club that doesn't want to pay for one of the expensive center fielders on the free market.  With the Twins desperate for pitching, Rosenthal speculates that a team like the Braves (who need a center fielder and have pitching depth) could be a trade partner.
  • The free agent catching market is stalled since the Red Sox and Blue Jays have catchers available for trade, plus the Yankees are waiting to address their pitching before making a decision on Russell Martin.
  • Speaking of the Blue Jays' catching depth, Rosenthal thinks that Toronto is in no hurry to deal J.P. Arencibia, as a dependable catcher is needed if top prospect Travis D'Arnaud hasn't recovered from his season-ending knee injury.
  • Reed Johnson is drawing interest from several teams, including the Braves, who acquired Johnson from the Cubs last July.

AL Central Links: Willingham, Butler, Tigers, Cabrera

Here's the latest from the home of the American League champion Tigers….

  • The Twins might not receive much more than a No. 4 starter in exchange for Josh Willingham, an AL executive tells Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities Radio.  "There's no doubt Josh has a very good contract, but I really doubt a team would trade a viable starting pitcher for a guy with a strong bat but who is limited defensively," the executive said.  "It's a lot easier to find a left-field or DH-type than to trade a good starting pitcher for one and then have to backfill the rotation spot."  The 33-year-old Willingham is owed $14MM through 2014 and posted an .890 OPS last season, but another AL executive says Denard Span is a better trade chip for Minnesota.
  • The Orioles have asked the Twins and Royals about Willingham and designated hitter Billy Butler, reports MLB.com's Paul Hagen.  Both the Twins and Royals are desperate for pitching and while the O's have some good young arms, I don't think Baltimore has the pitching depth to spare in either the majors or minors.
  • The Tigers want to keep backup catcher Gerald Laird but he will probably leave for a team that will give him more playing time, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
  • The Tigers are generally active early in the offseason, though FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi (Twitter link) thinks this won't be the case this winter as the club's plans were pushed back by their World Series appearance.
  • Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sees Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera as a good trade target for the Cardinals, and he suggests a few young Cards prospects who could go to Cleveland in exchange for the All-Star.

NL East Notes: Span, Hamilton, Wright, Upton

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.

Central Links: Berkman, Reds, Span, Twins

Some links pertaining to baseball's two central divisions, as the White Sox and Tigers square off in the first game of a pivotal four-game series…