Denard Span Rumors
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).
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.
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.
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...
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson told ESPN New York's Adam Rubin that he tried to acquire a reliever before the deadline, but to no avail (Twitter link). He would not rule out a trade before August 31st.
- The Red Sox will not have interest in Lyle Overbay, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The Pirates designated Overbay for assignment today, and as Cafardo notes, he has great numbers in Fenway Park: .323/.395/.500 in 177 plate appearances.
- Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (via Twitter) doesn't envision Jason Isringhausen re-signing with the Mets this offseason.
- The Astros are very confident that they'll sign first-round pick George Springer, but it may come down to the last week, tweets MLB.com's Alyson Footer. Last week we learned that Springer's father met with the independent league Long Island Ducks.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick names a bunch of waiver trade candidates in his latest article.
- The Twins wanted closer Drew Storen and minor league second baseman Stephen Lombardozzi for center fielder Denard Span, and the Nationals declined, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. I think that would have been a solid deal for Washington.
- The Indians announced they signed infielder Argenis Reyes to a minor league deal; he'd been playing independent ball. In slightly more important news, Ubaldo Jimenez will debut for the Tribe Friday in Texas.
- The extent of Boston's interest in Ubaldo? Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald says exec Allard Baird put in a call on Thursday and the Red Sox weren't in touch after that.
- Both sides have denounced the $30MM figure that was floated for Dylan Bundy, tweets MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. Talks are expected to start this week for the Orioles' fourth overall pick. Ghiroli has more on the topic here. Bundy is advised by Jay Franklin at BBI Sports Group; the company also employs his father.
- The Rockies were close to trading third baseman Ian Stewart to an undisclosed National League team yesterday, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, but the deal fell apart with a half hour to go.
- The Mariners and Red Sox are sharing the costs of Erik Bedard's incentives, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
- Newly-acquired players Zack Wheeler and Jonathan Singelton head updated top ten prospects lists for the Mets and Astros, courtesy of Baseball America's Jim Callis.
2:46pm: The teams are not close on a Span trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi.
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.
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).
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.
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.
2:32pm: The Yankees inquired on Twins center fielder Denard Span, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown. Brown imagines that this inquiry could be part of something bigger, since the Yankees are currently set on outfielders. Joel Sherman speculates that if the Yankees inquired on Span perhaps it was with the idea of flipping him to the Nationals in a deal involving Tyler Clippard.
The Braves offered a four-player package to the Astros for Hunter Pence, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Astros sought two of the Braves' top four pitching prospects and another good young pitcher, so a deal was not reached. With Pence and Carlos Beltran off the board, here's the latest on the Braves' hunt for a hitter...
- Byrd is not going to be traded, writes ESPN's Jayson Stark, though the Braves took a run at him. Stark says the Twins are set on receiving big league-ready players for Denard Span. Bourn, Upton, Crisp, and Quentin are on the radar, while there are no signs the Braves have pursued Ludwick or Willingham of late.
- The Braves are strongly in on Quentin, tweets Bob Nightengale, but the White Sox are still unlikely to move him. Chicago's asking price is very high, tweets Jon Paul Morosi, and the Braves are interested but not optimistic.
- Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd appears to be among the names on Atlanta's radar, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The Braves' talks for Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp slowed Friday, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but he wonders if they'll be rekindled now that the Phillies got Pence.
- The Braves are almost certain to land an outfielder before the deadline, reports Rosenthal. He cites the names you have been hearing for a while: B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin, and Josh Willingham.
- Bourn is on the Braves' radar, tweets Crasnick. Padres right fielder Ludwick is "more down the list of options." Would Astros GM Ed Wade deal another outfielder? He told reporters earlier tonight, "We’re going to be open-minded on all fronts. We’re going to be good listeners."
- The Braves are targeting a center fielder, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan, though it doesn't rule them out on corner guys.