Denard Span Rumors

Rosenthal’s Latest: Morneau, Ruiz, Upton, Hamilton

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's recap…

  • Don't be surprised if the Twins consider trading Justin Morneau. The first baseman is owed $14MM both this season and next, and Minnesota likely needs the position for Joe Mauer long-term. Denard Span, Matt Capps, and Carl Pavano could also be on the block, but Morneau offers hard-to-find power. He has a no-trade clause but the extent is unknown.
  • The Phillies hold a $5MM option for 2013 on catcher Carlos Ruiz and an extension is warranted, but at 33 years old, Chooch is three years older than Yadier Molina and four years older than Miguel Montero. They aren't contract comparables.
  • This year's crop of free agent center fielders stand to benefit from Adam Jones' new six-year, $88.5MM extension, but age will again be a factor. B.J. Upton will be 28 next season and is two years younger than Michael Bourn and four years younger than Shane Victorino. All three will hit the open market after the season.
  • Josh Hamilton is unlikely to sign a contract extension with the Rangers, and the lack of comparable players (both on and off the field) make him even more likely to hit the open market. It's possible the only way to determine his actual value is to let other teams bid for his services as a free agent.

Stark On Chapman, Twins, Lind, Braves

Reds GM Walt Jocketty told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that he doesn’t mind the constant discussion surrounding Aroldis Chapman’s role. "I like it. It creates interest in our club, and that's all good,” Jocketty said. “Everybody has a theory on it.” The GM says Chapman would like to start, and that the left-hander will remain in the bullpen for the 2012 season. Here are the rest of Stark’s notes and rumors:

  • Twins people have told rival teams they aren’t likely to trade Justin Morneau this summer.
  • When teams have asked about Denard Span, the Twins have said they aren’t interested in making trades right now, Stark reports. However, there are indications the Twins will listen on Span if the offers are good enough.
  • Stark hears that the Nationals don’t consider Bryce Harper the answer in center field.
  • Scouts and executives from three teams say they don’t have interest in Adam Lind, who was recently optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.
  • The Braves are more likely to pursue an impact starting pitcher than a hitter this summer, according to rival teams. GM Frank Wren maintains that Kris Medlen is “probably better than any arm who will be available.” Medlen could join the rotation midseason, according to Wren.
  • Rival teams say the Orioles would like to upgrade at first base and/or third base.
  • Stark hears that Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t have to worry about his job security. The skipper is under contract through 2018.

Antony On Cuddyer, Kubel, Young, Nathan, Span

Twins assistant GM Rob Antony discussed the team's offseason moves, players who signed elsewhere over the winter, plans for 2012, and more in an interview with Jesse Lund of the Twinkie Town blog.  Here are some of the highlights…

  • Michael Cuddyer was the Twins' "number one priority all off-season" but moved on once it became clear that the team wouldn't be able to re-sign him.  Antony "always believed he wanted to be a Twin for his entire career" and thinks Cuddyer was "disappointed" to ultimately leave the team for Colorado.
  • Jason Kubel shared his concerns with Antony about how Target Field is a tough stadium for power hitters, and the assistant GM believes this was a factor in Kubel leaving the team.
  • The Twins dealt Delmon Young to the Tigers last season simply because the team put a priority on re-signing Cuddyer and Kubel, so they wanted to get some return for Young rather than possibly non-tender him after the season.
  • Joe Nathan didn't give the Twins a chance to match the $14.75MM contract he received from the Rangers.  Antony said there were no hard feelings about Nathan leaving, since the veteran closer was focused on playing for a contender.  We heard in November that Minnesota's best offer to Nathan was "a bit less" than Texas' offer.
  • The Nationals were "definitely interested" in Denard Span at the trade deadline last summer, but Antony doesn't "think we were ever close to doing anything."
  • Antony said that some internet rumors about players on the trade market often lead to exploratory conversations between GMs about said players.  "There are a lot of names that pop up where we do a lot of that same thing. 'Look, if you're looking to move this guy, he could be a fit over here. I don’t know what’s fact and what’s rumor, but if you are serious in trading a player we’d like to be kept in mind, we have some interest,' " Antony said.  He brought up this point in regards to a question about Martin Prado, which would seem to hint that the Twins and Braves perhaps had such a conversation about the utilityman.
  • Antony thinks Tsuyoshi Nishioka will give Alexi Casilla a strong battle for the starting second base job and that Nishioka "deserves a mulligan" for his tough 2011 season.  Nishioka suffered a broken leg in his first season in the Major Leagues.
  • "We have had more meetings with our training and medical staff this season than in the ten years prior to," Antony said in regards to how the Twins responded to last year's injury-riddled season.  Still, Antony doesn't lay blame on the training staff: "These are the guys who were in place the year before, and the year before, and the year before that, so it’s not like all of a sudden they don’t know how to do their job. And last year, it was a perfect storm of everything that could do wrong, did go wrong."


AL Central Links: Indians, Fielder, Span, Thome

Happy birthday to right-hander Gavin Floyd, who is 29 years old today.  With the number of Floyd trade rumors we've heard this winter, you wonder if this could be Floyd's last birthday as a member of the White Sox.  Here's the latest from the AL Central…

  • Indians manager Manny Acta told reporters at a Town Hall event today (including MLB.com's Jordan Bastian) that he wants the team to pick up another bat.  "I do hope that something happens," Acta said.  "Chris [Antonetti] has worked really hard…about trying to acquire a hitter or two. It's not a secret, we need some help offensively."  For his part, Antonetti said he was "hopeful that we'll be able to improve the team between now and the start of Spring Training," (all Twitter links).
  • The Tigers' nine-year, $214MM contract with Prince Fielder "was an ownership-driven, impulsive deal, which is why the Tigers will contend for a World Series and why the contract makes poor baseball sense," writes Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci.
  • John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press recounts the history between Tigers owner Mike Illitch and agent Scott Boras.
  • The Tigers apparently have no plans to move Brandon Inge, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck.  The team sees Inge as a fallback option if Miguel Cabrera can't handle playing third base.
  • Denard Span told media (including MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger) he's feeling better after suffering a concussion last July and offered to play a different position if it helps the Twins.  Manager Ron Gardenhire, however, said he plans to use Span in his usual center field spot.
  • White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf tells Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com that he and Jim Thome have a handshake deal in place for Thome to work for the Sox in some capacity after he retires.
  • White Sox GM Kenny Williams said his club is "maxed out" of money for the Major League roster, reports Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter).  Williams "played coy" when discussing Cuban free agents, however — the Sox are known to be one of Yoenis Cespedes' suitors.

Quick Hits: Mills, Madson, Twins, Danks, Prado

On a day when the Blue Jays adopted a familiar-looking "new" logo, here are some news items to carry us into the weekend….

  • If the Astros fire Brad Mills, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports believes Mills could reunite with Terry Francona as the latter's bench coach for a future managing vacancy.  Morosi also lists Rangers executives A.J. Preller and Thad Levine and Rays executives Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker as wish list candidates for Jim Crane if he removes Ed Wade as Houston's general manager.  It would be the second stint as Astros' GM for Hunsicker, who ran the team from 1996-2004.
  • Ryan Madson could be one of several free agents to lose his Type A status under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  Such an adjustment would help Madson, as clubs with unprotected first-round draft picks currently have to give up that pick in order to sign the closer.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Denard Span and Ben Revere won't be traded this winter.  Minnesota could lose both Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel to free agency this offseason.
  • The White Sox didn't add Jordan Danks to their 40-man roster, and Jim Margalus of the South Side Sox speculates that this could be a hint that Chicago is preparing to part ways with John Danks.  The elder Danks brother has drawn strong interest on the trade market.
  • The Braves "seem to undervalue [Martin Prado's] skills," writes Fangraphs' Jason Roberts, who thinks Atlanta may not get proper market value in exchange for the utilityman in a deal. 
  • Right-hander Darrell Rasner has signed a new contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, reports NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman.  Matt Sosnick, Rasner's agent, tells Newman the contract is worth $1.5MM plus performance bonuses.  Rasner last appeared in the majors as a Yankee in 2008 and has pitched for Rakuten ever since.
  • The Blue Jays, Cardinals, Mariners, Red Sox and Twins are all listed as possible suitors for Kelly Shoppach by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).

Rosenthal’s Full Count: Cubs, Zimmerman, Minor, Rox, Span

Ken Rosenthal has his weekly Full Count Video up over at FOXSports.com, so let's take a look:

  • All GMs — past, present, and prospective — would love a crack at the Cubs' recent opening, says Rosenthal. Some GMs who are in their last contractual year, like Brian Cashman of the Yankees, line up better than others. Rosenthal feels the Rays might let Chicago interview Andrew Friedman, but finds it highly unlikely that the Red Sox would allow the Cubs to interview Theo Epstein, who is under contract through 2012.
  • While the Nationals have spent almost $40MM on the Amateur Draft in the past three seasons, Rosenthal says they'd be wise to check in with their first draft pick ever: Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is controlled through 2013, but Rosenthal likens him to another prominent young star, saying that Zimmerman is to the Nats what Troy Tulowitzki is to the Rockies. He feels the Nats should approach their cornerstone about a similar extension before he gets so close to free agency that he considers testing it.
  • The Mets were far from the only team interested in Mike Minor at the July 31st trade deadline. The Indians offered the Drew Pomeranz to the Braves in exchange for Minor, thinking that with Atlanta trying to acquire Hunter Pence at the time, the Astros may prefer Pomeranz to Minor. Cleveland would get a more Major League-ready arm in return, but the Braves had no intention of dealing Minor.
  • The Rockies will look to add a big bat this winter, preferably at third base or a corner outfield spot. If they can find a third baseman despite a weak market, they may be inclined to pursue a leadoff hitter like the Twins' Denard Span. Rosenthal says the Rox have long coveted Span, and almost drafted him in 2002, but instead took Jeff Francis due to concerns over Span's asking price. Minnesota grabbed Span 11 picks later at No. 20 overall, though they showed a willingness to move him at this year's deadline when negotiating with the Nats.

Stark On Twins, Kuroda, Phillies

The Twins were willing to listen to offers for Francisco Liriano leading up to the trade deadline, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. However, Minnesota wanted a massive prospect return for the left-hander and no club met their asking price. Here’s the latest on the Twins with more of Stark’s notes from around MLB…

  • The chances that the Nationals can restart talks with Minnesota about Denard Span over the winter are not good, Stark reports. Minnesota wanted Drew Storen for their bullpen in an attempt to win now, but the Twins’ sense of urgency figures to disappear this offseason.
  • Rival teams say the Tigers and Red Sox each believed they were closing in on a deal for Hiroki Kuroda before the right-hander decided not to waive his no-trade clause.
  • The Red Sox and Rockies discussed an expanded deal that would have sent Josh Reddick to Colorado and Seth Smith to Boston while considering possible moves involving Ubaldo Jimenez. Talks between the 2007 World Series foes had essentially stopped by Saturday, though.
  • Though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has publicly said Domonic Brown was not available, Stark hears from three different teams that the Phillies were willing to move the young outfielder in the right deal.
  • Teams that have spoken with the Phillies don’t expect them to be active on the waiver wire this month, since they want to avoid paying MLB’s luxury tax.

Quick Hits: Mets, Overbay, Springer, Storen, Stewart

Thanks to our loyal readers, MLBTR generated 3.1 million pageviews over the weekend!  We appreciate you making MLBTR a regular stop, and have a lot of cool things planned in the coming months.  On to today's links…


Nationals, Twins Not Close On Span Trade

2:46pm: The teams are not close on a Span trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi.

12:29pm: The Twins don't currently believe this deal can get done, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.  The Nationals so far will not include Storen, tweets Scott Miller.

9:43am: ESPN's Tim Kurkjian tweets that the chances of a Storen/Span deal are less than 50/50.  The Nationals are still in the mix for B.J. Upton.

7:59am: Nationals closer Drew Storen is in the Denard Span trade with the Twins, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but the hangup is over the other players in the deal.  Yesterday we heard names such as Roger Bernadina and Stephen Lombardozzi of the Nationals.


Nationals Making Headway On Acquiring Span

10:47pm: The Nationals are more likely to go after Span than Michael Bourn or B.J. Upton at this point, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the sides are in a "staredown" (Twitter link). The Twins want the Nationals to include Storen in their offer.

9:22pm: The deal is "no closer than any other day," an MLB official told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

6:31pm: A deal featuring Span and Storen continues to look close, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

6:08pm: The Twins are insisting on acquiring Storen with Bernadina and minor league infielder Stephen Lombardozzi for Span, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

5:18pm: There are lots of mixed signals about the talks, but no deal is close, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

3:28pm: The Nationals are making headway with the Twins on a deal for Span, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark.  The Twins are insisting Storen be included along with a second player.

1:50pm: The Twins want Roger Bernadina along with a reliever in any deal that sends Span to the Nationals, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

10:45am: The Nationals are pushing setup man Tyler Clippard on the Twins for center fielder Denard Span over closer Drew Storen, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports.  He says the Twins won't trade Span for a setup man, however.

Aside from saves, Storen comes with one more year of team control than Clippard.  Still, we're talking about 2015 and 2016, and there's no telling what can happen with relievers in the course of several years.