Denard Span Rumors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters, including B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com and Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that Lance Berkman will have season-ending surgery on his knee tomorrow. As Strauss points out, the procedure puts Big Puma's career in serious jeopardy (Twitter links).
- Reds minor leaguers Ernest (Niko) Vasquez and Jamie Walczak both tested positive for amphetamines and received 50-game suspensions, according to this Associated Press report (hat tip: Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News). Vasquez, a third baseman, and Walczak, a right-handed pitcher, will begin their suspensions next season.
- The Twins' lineup should be able to produce in 2013 even if they bolster their pitching staff by trading Denard Span this coming offseason, Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com writes. Mackey notes that the move would give Chris Parmelee a spot in the lineup by letting him play right field. He also notes that the Twins have a surplus of outfielders with both Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks having turned in strong Double-A seasons.
- Glen Perkins was in high demand today, but it's not like GM Terry Ryan to extend a player and trade him that same season, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick writes (Twitter links). The Twins would have had to be overwhelmed to trade the left-hander. The Dodgers made a late push for Perkins, but nothing materialized, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports (on Twitter).
- Ryan said he wasn't close to trading Denard Span, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The Reds and Twins discussed a swap involving the center fielder.
- The Twins and Rangers discussed a deal involving Jared Burton.
2:19pm: Span to the Reds isn't happening, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
1:29pm: A Reds source downplayed the Span talk, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
12:52pm: The Reds and Twins are discussing center fielder Denard Span, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. One Miller source sees a 50-50 chance of a deal. Span, 28, is hitting .290/.356/.396 in 420 plate appearances for the Twins. He's guaranteed just $12.8MM through 2014, unless his '15 option is picked up.
The Phillies acquired Hunter Pence from the Astros for prospects Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid and a player to be named later on this date last year. Here are the latest links as we look forward to yet another busy trade deadline...
- The Twins are listening to offers for Denard Span, but won’t move him unless they get a Major League starter in return, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams says the White Sox are still looking to add, Nightengale reports (on Twitter). The White Sox, who traded forFrancisco Liriano last night, would look to acquire a position player this time, Nightengale writes.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cliff Lee and Ervin Santana are among the players who could clear waivers and be traded in August, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
- Willie Bloomquist, Brendan Ryan and Ty Wigginton are thought to be on the Yankees' long list of potential infield options, Heyman reports. Yunel Escobar, Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez and Cody Ransom are also thought to be on New York's list.
- One team that’s spoken with the Mariners reports that "they want everybody," Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets.
A player’s contract status can affect his trade value substantially this time of year, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Players under team-friendly contracts, like Denard Span, are much harder to acquire in trades. "It's really hard to place a value on a contract like that," one GM told Olney. Here are Olney’s latest notes from around MLB:
- The Blue Jays say Yunel Escobar has been a good team guy for them, despite his reputation as a difficult player. Escobar is under contract for $5MM per season through 2013 and his contract includes two club options valued at $5MM each for 2014-15. That’s good value for a 29-year-old who handles an up-the-middle position and has a history of providing league-average offense, Olney writes.
- There’s interest in James Shields, but the Rays could decide to hold their pitching staff together to make a run at the playoffs if Evan Longoria’s rehab assignment goes well. Some executives believe the Rays will trade Shields this month, according to Olney.
- The Marlins aren’t especially motivated to trade Josh Johnson, Olney writes. They’re content to keep him if they don’t get the trade offers they’re looking for.
- Anything the Indians do now will be done to help them win in 2013, not just in 2012.
- The Padres aren’t far down the road in trade talks regarding Chase Headley, Olney tweets. San Diego might table trade talks until the winter, he suggests.
The Reds have “kicked the tires” on Denard Span, but have yet to have substantial talks with the Twins, a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking told Ken Rosenthal of the FOX Sports. Cincinnati had scouts with an eye on the outfielder for the Twins' series against the White Sox.
However, Rosenthal opines that potential free agents Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre are probably are more realistic targets for the Reds as they look for a leadoff hitter. Meanwhile, Span's affordable contract could make his asking price higher than it would be for a rental. The 28-year-old will make $3MM this season, $4.75MM in 2013, and $6.5MM in 2014, with a $9MM club option for ’15.
If the Reds do decide to make a run at Span, they could use left-hander Tony Cingrani to entice the Twins, who are in need of young pitching.