Derek Jeter Rumors
Red Sox ownership already spoke to the media this morning, so now let's check in the on the rest of the AL East...
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette wouldn't comment on the team's interest in Jorge Soler, telling Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com that tipping his hand wouldn't benefit the team. The O's watched the 19-year-old outfielder work out earlier this month.
- The Orioles lead all clubs with ten out of options players, and manager Buck Showalter told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that he estimates they'll have to make "2-4 moves" before the end of camp (Twitter link).
- Daisuke Matsuzaka told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he still wants to pitch until he's 40. The right-hander is in the final year of his contract with the Red Sox, and is expected back from Tommy John surgery at midseason.
- “If I didn’t think that I was capable of playing the game at a high level I would go home," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter to reporters yesterday, including George King of The New York Post. "If I wasn’t enjoying myself or enjoying the competition I would go home. Right now I am an enjoying myself. I can’t comment on what would force me to retire because I have a lot of confidence and if that starts to waver I would do it."
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post wrote about Alex Rodriguez, wondering what kind of contract the Yankees third baseman would have received had he been a free agent his offseason.
The defending AL East Champion Rays are 47-38, which gives them the third best record in the American League. Unfortunately for the Rays, they're third in the AL East, behind the only two AL clubs with better records, the Yankees and Red Sox. Here's the latest on the division:
- The Orioles' reliance on Mitch Atkins and Chris Jakubauskas as starters shows that Baltimore's rotation has been a disappointment, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen have not pitched as well as expected, so the rotation has become a consistent weakness.
- The Orioles will purchase Atkins' contract today to add him to the active roster and they could consider designating Jakubauskas for assignment to create space, according to Connolly.
- Derek Jeter, who returned to the Yankees' lineup from the disabled list last night, told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he's unhappy with his first half performance and intends to improve "everything" in the second half.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com looks back at Boston's free agent additions under GM Theo Epstein and concludes that "the pricier investments have offered suspect returns." That's certainly true of two free agents the Red Sox signed before the 2010 season: Mike Cameron and John Lackey.
Even before reports of David Einhorn's $200MM investment in the Mets surfaced, things could've been worse in Queens, writes Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. Vaccaro points out that New York's baseball history includes plenty of stretches more dismal than the one endured by the present-day Mets, and breaks down his top five. Here are some other Sunday morning notes on the Mets and Yankees:
- Einhorn got a first-hand look at Jose Reyes on Saturday, but refused comment when asked about the possibility of re-signing the shortstop, says Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.
- Whenever Felix Hernandez faces the Yankees, as he did Saturday night, it seems invariably to lead to speculation about King Felix someday wearing pinstripes. However, as Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News writes, that's not about to happen anytime soon.
- Phil Hughes took "a step in the right direction" this weekend, throwing off a mound for the first time in over a month, according to Feinsand.
- The New York Post's Steve Selby argues that if there's one player who deserves to be cut some slack when he struggles, it's Derek Jeter.
Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon are closer to settling on a limited partner who will bring cash and keep the organization running, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Unlike the Dodgers, whose ownership situation “seems to be deteriorating,” the Mets are doing fine, according to Commissioner Bud Selig. Here’s the latest from Heyman:
- If Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has support, it’s either “minute or nonexistent.”
- People who know Mets GM Sandy Alderson expect him to trade Jose Reyes and others if he believes it’s best for the organization.
- There’s no indication yet that the Cubs would be willing to offer Albert Pujols $200MM or more in free agency, Heyman writes. However, the Cubs have money and no long-term answer at first base.
- Some baseball people believe Aroldis Chapman and Mike Leake could use time in the minors.
- Though the Yankees aren’t concerned with Derek Jeter’s bat, they are “very concerned” about Jorge Posada. The DH has a .162/.273/.352 line with 6 homers this year.
The latest from New York includes reaction to Derek Jeter and a reminder that the Yankees could have had one of the NL's hottest hitters last offseason. Here are the details...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman said this afternoon on ESPN 1050's "Ruocco and Lundberg" show that Jeter is an above-average MLB shortstop. "He's not the same player he used to be, and how many people are when they start to get older? But I think he's a championship-caliber contributor and an above-average shortstop, and that's more than enough,” Cashman said. Mike Mazzeo has quotes and audio at ESPNNewYork.com.
- After a strong weekend at the plate, Jeter ranks in the top 15 in OBP, wOBA and WAR among all qualified shortstops.
- As Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out, it’s easy to forget that the Yankees declined their 2011 option for Lance Berkman. The switch-hitter has been among the best hitters in baseball this year, but the Yankees couldn’t have known that in the fall. At the time, they had a DH of their own (Jorge Posada) and Berkman’s $15MM option seemed steep, even for the Yankees.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that interest in a minority share of the Mets is surprisingly strong (Twitter link). Commissioner Bud Selig expressed confidence in the Mets organization and their financial issues yesterday.
Let's catch up on the latest links relating to the first-place Yankees and the last-place Mets....
- Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post argues that Jose Reyes is the kind of player the Mets should be building around, and that cutting ties with him via trade or free agency would be risky.
- John Harper of the New York Daily News takes a similar stance, pointing out that, given the lack of star shortstops around baseball, Reyes is "too valuable not to be part of the Mets' future."
- Within a piece about slow starters, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says he talked to 12 scouts or officials and not a single one believes Derek Jeter will "approach his old self."
- Despite his recent struggles, Boone Logan, the only lefty in the Yankees' bullpen, received a vote of confidence from manager Joe Girardi, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff says Jason Pridie exemplifies the sort of roster depth the Mets will need if they're going to have any chance of contending.
Ten years ago today, the Rockies signed an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic named Ubaldo Jimenez. Now the 27-year-old ace boasts a 3.59 career ERA and 669 strikeouts in 744 innings. Today's links:
- Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays is in the mix as the best hitter in the American League, writes Dave Cameron of FanGraphs. If that's true, his five-year, $65MM contract will turn out to be a significant bargain.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Derek Jeter in a November 30th meeting: "You said all you wanted was what was fair. How much higher do we have to be than the highest offer for it to be fair?" That's from Ian O'Connor's source; the ESPNNewYork.com writer has a new book out next month on Jeter.
- The Wichita Wingnuts signed former big league outfielder Brent Clevlen, announced the team. The independent league club is partially owned by a former teammate of Clevlen's, Nate Robertson.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart looks at the potential roster moves the Astros could make when Clint Barmes is activated off the disabled list, possibly as soon as this coming weekend.
Casey Close, the agent for prominent MLB Players including Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard will join NBA agent Jeff Schwartz at Excel Sports Management, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Close left CAA Sports in February.
Close is expected to represent Jeter, Howard and Derrek Lee on baseball matters, but the agent will share the marketing responsibilities for Jeter and Howard with CAA going forward, according to Mullen. Paul Pierce and Blake Griffin are among Schwartz’s notable NBA clients.
Jeter (through 2014) and Howard (through 2016) are under contract long-term, but Lee is on a one-year deal and will become a free agent again after the season. MLBTR's Agency Database has agency information for all teams and players.
As ESPN.com's Buster Olney points out, the Giants would have to have a legitimate alternative in place before dumping Barry Zito and the $64.5MM remaining on his salary. If Jeff Suppan earns a rotation spot or someone else pitches unexpectedly well, the Giants could consider releasing Zito, but until then they can use the durable left-hander. Here's more on the Giants and other notes from Olney:
- Olney says now is the time for the Giants to dump Zito if they're ever going to do it. The Giants are coming off of a World Series title, so Olney argues that they're working from a position of credibility. They aren't likely to cut Zito, however.
- As Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes, manager Bruce Bochy says Zito is the team's fourth starter and GM Brian Sabean says the team isn't frustrated with him.
- One talent evaluator says "the athleticism has been taken out" of Domonic Brown's swing.
- Derek Jeter's relationship with the Yankees will be defined by the team's perception of what's required to win, writes Olney. The team will likely be willing to put Jeter at the bottom of the order or switch him to another position if his performance declines.
- It's for that reason that Jose Reyes could become a solution for the Yankees when he hits free agency after the season.
Agent Casey Close is leaving CAA Sports when his five-year contract expires at the end of the month, reports Liz Mullen of The Sports Business Journal (subs. req'd). A hat tip goes out to Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball.
Mullen says that CAA and Close are still trying to work out the details of his departure, "which may involve CAA and Close sharing the representation of some of the clients going forward." Close represents Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Michael Cuddyer, and Derrek Lee, among others.
It's unclear if Close will join a new a firm or work independently, though Brown notes that high profile agents (such as Dan Lozano) have been going out on their own recently. Close was one of the first sports agents that CAA hired when it launched its sports division in April 2006. It is primarily a Hollywood talent firm.