Derek Jeter Rumors
A setback in Derek Jeter's ankle injury will keep the Yankees shortstop out until after the All-Star break, Mark Feinsand of New York Daily News reports. Jeter's doctor found a "small crack" near where Jeter's injury originally occurred. He will not need surgery as a result of the setback, but this news ensures that the Yankees' lineup will be without its highest-profile star, in a season in which the lineup has frequently been filled with new Yankees like Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- Despite the news of Jeter's extended absence, the Yankees will stick with Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix at shortstop, GM Brian Cashman tells MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Not only is it difficult to make trades early in the season, but Cashman says he feels Nunez and Nix have earned more playing time (although neither of them have an OPS higher than .603). "Those guys have done a nice job. They've earned the right, and regardless, this time of year is certainly going to be a factor in anything that happens," says Cashman.
- Now the third-base coach of the Indians, former Astros manager Brad Mills returns to Houston Friday night with no regrets, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart writes. Mills was fired last August 18. There's been plenty of roster turnover since then, and the Astros are also playing in a new league. "It's going to be different, no doubt," says Mills. "It's going to be fun to see some of the fans, fun to visit with some of the players and some of the workers there at the stadium, people you gain a relationship in three years."
- The Angels are off to a 4-10 start, but we shouldn't expect them to make a trade anytime soon, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. As MLBTR noted last week, it's difficult to make early-season trades (and Gonzalez notes that the Angels' trade for Ernesto Frieri in May 2012 was tricky). Also, the Angels would prefer to stay beneath the Competitive Balance Tax threshold, and that gives them little flexibility. "We put ourselves in this situation, and we have to figure out a way to get ourselves out," says Angels GM Jerry Dipoto.
The Yankees made some last minute moves this week when they traded for Vernon Wells and picked up the recently-released Lyle Overbay. Both Wells and Overbay have made the club along with Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch, leaving Juan Rivera as the odd man out. Tbe first baseman/outfielder was cut loose, though he did cash in on a $100K retention bonus for staying on the roster beyond Tuesday's Article XX(B) deadline. Here's more from the Junior Circuit..
- It's time for the Yankees to start looking for a replacement for Derek Jeter, Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com writes. Eduardo Nunez, who is manning shortstop in Jeter's absence, is not a good solution for the long haul, Matthews argues, and Jeter's age and injury status are both worrisome. Matthews also suggests that the Yankees should have acquired Jose Reyes or Yunel Escobar in the offseason.
- Having gone in just days from being ticketed for Triple-A to being in the big-league rotation with a new contract extension, Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ is thrilled with his recent streak of good fortune, reports MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. "It certainly has been a great few days," says Happ. "There was a long time before that where it wasn't quite as easy, but this kind of makes it all worth it."
- After his team's signings of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, GM Chris Antonetti hopes the Indians will snag a playoff spot, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The organization felt it needed a splashy offseason to maintain the attention of its fanbase, Pluto writes. "There is risk whenever you make substantial investment," says Antonetti. "But for us, there was even more risk if we didn't."
GM Brian Cashman explains how the Yankees nearly traded Mariano Rivera for shortstop Felix Fermin in spring of 1996, as noted by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. To describe the deal as "franchise-altering" would be an enormous understatement, since it would have affected not only Rivera but also then-rookie Derek Jeter.
Cashman, then an assistant GM, says that then-owner George Steinbrenner was concerned about entrusting Jeter with the starting shortstop job, and "it was a fight to convince The Boss to stand down" and avoid trading Rivera or Bob Wickman to the Mariners for Fermin. "And it wasn't because we knew what we had in Mo or Wickman," Cashman says. "It was, we had committed to go with young Jeter, and thankfully we didn't do that deal." As it turned out, Jeter won the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year award, Rivera finished third in Cy Young balloting, and the Yankees won their first World Series title since 1978. The Mariners, meanwhile, released Fermin in April, and he only ended up posting 19 more plate appearances in the majors. Here are more notes from throughout baseball.
- David Robertson tops the list of potential Yankees closer candidates once Rivera retires at the end of the season, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma are also possibilities, Berry says. The Yankees have an entire year to choose a successor, however.
- The Orioles are on the lookout for catching depth, report Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com and Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. Matt Wieters is, clearly, entrenched as Baltimore's starter, and Taylor Teagarden will likely serve as his backup, but the Orioles are concerned about their depth beyond those two. The only other catcher on their 40-man roster is Luis Exposito, although manager Buck Showalter is also curious about new addition Luis Martinez, who spent much of 2012 with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock. With Wieters and several other options in the fold, it seems unlikely the O's will make a major move for a catcher, despite what Kubatko calls their "sloppy" play behind the dish this spring. Dubroff suggests that Eli Whiteside of the Rangers, Miguel Olivo of the Reds and Chris Snyder of the Nationals might be possibilities.
- The Dodgers' Aaron Harang says he isn't worried about rumors that he'll be traded, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes. "I don't even think about that," says Harang. "We know [scouts are] in the stands. I look at them as fans as well. I'm not worried about that." The Dodgers have a surplus of starting pitching, and Harang currently doesn't have a clear shot at a rotation job. The Brewers and Orioles could be potential suitors for Harang.
MLBTR’s offseason in review series is just getting started, but the AL East is now complete. Click here to see how the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles navigated their respective offseasons. Here are some more links from the division...
- The Red Sox aren't close to bumping up against MLB's luxury tax, as Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com shows. With commitments in the $163MM range, the Red Sox have $15MM separating them from the $178MM threshold.
- Ichiro Suzuki explained to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he wanted to re-sign with the Yankees because of the team's focused emphasis on winning. “Those are things that I wanted in a clubhouse and on a team, and I didn’t know that it existed,” Ichiro said. “I kind of had given up hope that I would find that ideal clubhouse, kind of how I felt how about a clubhouse should be. And I was able to find that last year, and that was here.”
- In a video blog Davidoff explains that Brian Cashman's recent misadventure won't stop him from doing his job as the Yankees' general manager. Cashman broke his right fibula and dislocated his right ankle after jumping out of a parachute to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project two days ago.
- Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner are among the ten most powerful people in baseball, Tom Verducci writes at SI.com. Commissioner Bud Selig tops Verducci's list.
- The Orioles like what they see from Jair Jurrjens this spring, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Jurrjens, who signed a minor league deal with Baltimore this past offseason, is one of 13 Orioles pitchers competing for a rotation spot this spring.
The Yankees could have another tricky negotiation with Derek Jeter on the horizon, writes Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. Jeter is entering the last guaranteed year of his current deal and he holds a 2014 player option worth $9.5MM ($8MM in base salary plus $1.5MM that Jeter has thus far earned in incentives). If Jeter comes back from offseason ankle surgery and continues to hit well, the Yankee icon will surely be looking for a longer commitment beyond 2014. Knowing the Yankees' stance on extensions, however, I'd expect the team to not discuss another deal with Jeter until after the 2014 season, when Jeter will be 40 years old and the Bombers will have a better idea if their captain is worth another multiyear contract.
Here are the latest items from around the AL East...
- The Yankees have "nothing alive" with the Nationals in regards to a deal for Michael Morse, reports Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog (Twitter link). New York was one of several teams interested in Morse, who has been on the trade block since the Nats re-signed Adam LaRoche.
- In an interview on WEEI radio's Hot Stove Show (partial transcription from WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane), Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that there is no news about the team and Mike Napoli. The Sox are continuing to talk with Napoli while also exploring other options at first base.
- Speaking of those first base options, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox "have explored" signing Casey Kotchman and Nick Johnson and also checked in with the Mariners about a trade for Justin Smoak.
- The Orioles are looking for pitching depth as they head into Spring Training, executive VP Dan Duquette tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. Though the O's haven't made any major transactions this winter, Duquette believes his team has improved itself, though he did vaguely mention a few deals that didn't happen. "We looked around the industry for that middle-of-the-order bat," Duquette said. "There was one free agent that was a significant player. There have been some other players available in a trade that I'm not sure they were better than what we had, and the cost of the acquisition has been a little pricey for us."
- Derek Jeter says that suggestions that he wants to play elsewhere are "comical," and that he obviously wants to end career with the Yankees, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (via Twitter). Yesterday, Jeter seemed to imply that he would be open to playing for another club once his contract expires. The shortstop is under contract for 2013 with an $8MM player option for '14.
- Most members of the Red Sox braintrust are keeping a close eye on whether the team will have a top-ten pick in this year's draft, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Outside of the obvious benefits of having a higher pick, top ten selections are protected, giving the Red Sox flexibility in the event that they wanted to pursue a free agent such as Josh Hamilton. In the case of Hamilton, multiple sources say that Boston is unlikely to join the fray for the 31-year-old, which is in line with what has been previously reported.
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star isn't quite sure if Alex Anthopoulos is the General Manager to take the Blue Jays to the next level. However, Griffin believes that Anthopoulos is ready to do more traditional things this winter like signing short-term veteran free agents and packaging prospects to land one solid major league talent.
Stephen Strasburg may not be there, but the Nationals are going to the playoffs. The Nats clinched a postseason berth with tonight's 4-1 win over the Dodgers and now have a magic number of eight to clinch the NL East. This is the franchise's first postseason appearance since reaching the NLCS (as the Expos) in 1981, and the first time a Washington baseball team has made the postseason since the Senators played in the 1933 World Series.
Here's the latest from around the majors...
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic talks to several executives and scouts about Justin Upton's trade value, with the general consensus being that the Diamondbacks can still command a high price for the outfielder, though Upton's disappointing 2012 campaign has hurt his value. Opinion was split on whether the D'Backs or Rangers would have to add players in such a possible Upton-for-Elvis Andrus deal.
- Upton discusses his season, his career development and his feelings about the trade rumors in an extensive profile by Robert Sanchez of ESPN The Magazine.
- John Axford believes the Zack Greinke trade was the inspiration for the Brewers' surprising turn-around, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Since Greinke was dealt to the Angels on July 27, the Brewers have surged back into the NL wild card race with a 32-18 record, including today's win over the Pirates. "Personally, I thought it was going to be more motivation for certain guys," Axford said. "There wasn't ever a thought on this team that this was a lost season. It was disappointing for a while....But there's no guy on this team that's going to lie down and give up. It's shown recently."
- "The sense now is that some teams would still be willing to take [Yunel Escobar] on provided he delivers a proper penance first," writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi. Escobar is scheduled to return on Friday from his three-game suspension for wearing eye black that contained a homophobic slur. This incident could spur Escobar's departure from Toronto, especially since the Blue Jays have promising shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria waiting in the wings.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden lists ten of the top managerial candidates, a compilation that includes nine men who have never managed at the Major League level and two-time World Series winner Terry Francona. Two names on Bowden's list (Tim Bogar and Dave Martinez) are reportedly the top candidates to become the Astros' new manager.
- Jim Thome's quest for a World Series ring has surprisingly taken him to the Orioles instead of the Phillies, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, but the slugger has dropped hints that 2012 may not be his last season.
- Derek Jeter told ESPN's Rick Reilly (passed on by Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News) that he would potentially be open to playing for a team besides the Yankees once his current contract expires. "Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes," Jeter said. "It's a business. People forget that." Jeter is under contract through the 2013 season with an $8MM player option for 2014; the shortstop turns 40 years old in June 2014.
Andy Pettitte will return to the mound against the Blue Jays tonight -- assuming the Yankees aren't rained out in New York. Meanwhile, the Mets will start Matt Harvey against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Here are today's New York Notes...
- Ike Davis was surprised and confused to hear that the Mets are concerned about his nightlife, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. “I have never missed games or not been ready to work because of anything to do with staying up too late,” Davis told Martino. Adam Rubin reported today that the Mets will consider trade offers for Davis, in part because they have questions about his lifestyle.
- Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger suggests the Mets will consider trading any player not named David Wright this winter (Twitter link). The Mets will reportedly consider trades for Davis and Lucas Duda this offseason.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains how Derek Jeter’s durability impacts other players on the 2012 Yankees. Jeter's hitting .323/.366/.444 in a league-leading 665 plate appearances.
Four AL East teams can be found amongst the top eight in ESPN's Future Power Rankings, which measure how well-positioned teams are for success over the next five years. The list can be found in two parts (ESPN Insider subscription required).
Here's the latest from the AL East...
- Larry Lucchino discussed his team's turbulent season both on and off the field in a radio interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show (WEEI.com's Morley Quatroche has a partial transcript) and the Red Sox president didn't rule out making large changes in the offseason. "I think we’ll examine all options, absolutely,” Lucchino said. “It’s not a question of fine tuning. It’s a question of looking back to the fundamental things....do we have the right kind of system in place? You need to build it all on pitching and we will focus heavily on that, but we’ll look at everything. We’ll look under every rock.”
- With Josh Beckett a sure bet to pass through waivers, the Nationals could be a good trade partner for the Red Sox, opines Fangraphs' Dave Cameron. Beckett could give the Nats an experienced arm in the rotation once Stephen Strasburg is shut down. Cameron thinks, however, that the Red Sox would only be able to move Beckett if they agree to eat at least $20MM of the approximately $36MM owed to the right-hander through the 2014 season.
- Derek Jeter is a good bet to finish in the top six of AL MVP voting this season, which ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews points out will earn Jeter an extra $2MM if he picks up his 2014 player option with the Yankees. That option is worth $8MM, though incentives could push the value to $14MM.
- "No chance. No chance. Nada. Zero. No, not a chance," is how Jeter described his interest in someday becoming a manager, reports CSN Chicago's Jeremy Lynn.
- J.J. Hardy "makes a ton of sense" as a trade target for the Diamondbacks this winter, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Orioles could unload Hardy to make room for Manny Machado at his natural shortstop position, while the D'Backs pick up Hardy as a "stopgap" for the next two seasons until prospect Chris Owings is ready for the majors. Arizona GM Kevin Towers said yesterday that his team would likely pursue a shortstop via the trade market in the offseason as the D'Backs look to replace Stephen Drew.
On this date 20 years ago the 1992 draft took place. A number of future stars, including Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi, were selected that day, but none impacted the American League East like the shortstop prospect the Yankees selected sixth overall. Here's the latest on the AL East...
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains how Derek Jeter fell to the Yankees 20 years ago. Though the Yankees were hoping Jeter would fall to them, they had prepared to start negotiations with right-hander Jim Pittsley in case another club selected their preferred target.
- Ben Cherington will be running his first draft as Boston's GM on Monday, but it'll be a familiar setting in some ways, Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald reports. The longtime Red Sox executive says his staff will seek the best available player with each pick. “The key with any draft is to do more with your picks than the 29 other teams do," he said.
- The Orioles will purchase the contract of utility player Bill Hall today and add him to the 25 and 40-man rosters, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports.
- Adam Lind could be ready to return to the Major Leagues "soon," GM Alex Anthopoulos said, according to Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun.