Denard Span Rumors
The Twins have the worst record in the AL and lots of pieces to offer at the trade deadline. Here's the latest from Minnesota, courtesy of 1500ESPN.com's Phil Mackey...
- The Angels and Blue Jays are among the teams who have shown legitimate interest in Francisco Liriano. The Red Sox had internal discussions about the left-hander as far back as Spring Training, but their current level of interest is unknown.
- The Twins have no interest in taking on Jonathan Sanchez and his pro-rated $5.6MM salary, but he is a "possibility" if he clears waivers and becomes a free agent. The Royals designated Sanchez for assignment yesterday.
- The Reds have been looking for a leadoff man and have been scouting Denard Span.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com...
- Several teams would target Edwin Encarnacion if the Blue Jays make him available in trades, Heyman writes. However, the Blue Jays’ main priority is putting together an effective and healthy rotation.
- Teams see Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs as a designated hitter, not an outfielder, Heyman writes. One general manager says the Cubs could trade Soriano if they absorb all but $2MM of his contract. The Cubs are indeed willing to pay a “very substantial portion” of the $45MM or so remaining on the contract, Heyman writes. One scout suggested the Rays could be a fit for Soriano, who seems willing to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal to a contender.
- The Twins are believed to be more willing to trade Denard Span than Josh Willingham, writes Heyman. They do not appear to be actively engaged in talks yet, but they would seek a young starting pitcher in return for Span.
- The Dodgers are one of several teams inquiring about Chase Headley, writes Heyman. The Padres are willing to listen on their third baseman and Heyman says they will consider intra-division trades.
The Twins are looking to add pitching depth to their organization, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. General manager Terry Ryan said he’s not set on acquiring a certain type of pitcher -- he’s just looking for outs.
"We don't have enough pitching," Ryan said. "We need pitching, and we need it bad."
The Twins are 29th in baseball with a 5.05 team ERA. Only two teams have obtained fewer innings from their starters and no team induces fewer strikeouts per nine innings (5.8 K/9).
The Twins selected pitchers with seven of their first nine selections in this year's draft and they’ve signed every one of those arms except J.T. Chargois and Luke Bard. Executives from other teams have wondered if the Twins would trade players such as Denard Span and Josh Willingham for young pitching, according to Olney.
- The Cubs are shopping starter Ryan Dempster to multiple teams, including the Dodgers. Chicago is willing to include significant amounts of cash in any trade in hopes of landing better prospects. Dempster has 10-and-5 rights, however, and thus can veto any deal, although he's willing to move to a contender.
- The Orioles are pursuing starting pitching and scouted both Dempster and Matt Garza this week, although the Diamondbacks' Joe Saunders may be a better trade fit for Baltimore.
- The Blue Jays are asking around for pitching help, although they may end up sellers before the non-waiver trade deadline.
- The Astros are willing to listen on "virtually all of their players." Younger players like Jed Lowrie and third baseman Chris Johnson are all in play, although it would take a huge offer to pry away second baseman Jose Altuve.
- The Indians are unlikely to make a move for a DH type like Vladimir Guerrero or Manny Ramirez. Their bigger need is a player who can play left field -- perhaps someone like Carlos Quentin -- but they first need to figure out where they stand with Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, who are both injured.
- The Marlins will have trouble bolstering their weak offense because of a depleted farm system. With Emilio Bonifacio injured, their most obvious need is center field. The Twins' Denard Span and perhaps the Phillies' Shane Victorino are potential targets.
- The Angels no longer have room in the starting lineup for the injured Vernon Wells now that Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout have solidified the outfield, and one rival GM thinks Wells could be released when he's ready to return from the disabled list.
After 8,020 games, the Mets finally have their first no-hitter in franchise history thanks to Johan Santana's brilliant performance tonight against the Cardinals. Santana's bid was saved in the seventh inning by Mike Baxter as he sacrificed his body to make an incredible catch against the leftfield wall. The left-hander threw 134 pitches in total but said after the game that he had no intentions of coming out of the game early. Here's more out of the Eastern divisions..
- According to a baseball source, there is a feeling that Bryce Harper is not the long-term answer in center field for the Nationals and the club still has interest in Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos and Twins outfielder Denard Span, a source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com. However, the source said there haven't been any talks between the Nats and those clubs and wouldn't be the surprised if nothing happened until the offseason.
- Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis told Ian Browne of MLB.com that he's not fazed by the recent trade talk surrounding him. Boston GM Ben Cherington denied a report saying that they are telling teams that the veteran is available but the White Sox and Rangers are among the clubs that have checked in on him.
- The Red Sox could be forced to cut veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik once Darnell McDonald or Cody Ross return, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. For his part, the 36-year-old doesn't sound ready to hang 'em up just yet. "Until I can't go out and steal a base, until I'm not running that well, I'd be doing myself an injustice by not trying to go out and play," Podsednik said.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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).