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Derrek Lee Rumors
Derrek Lee has turned down the Yankees' contract offer and decided to remain retired, Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown reports. The Yankees recently approached Lee about returning to action, and the veteran first baseman gave the offer a few days of thought before declining.
Lee, 37, was still an elite first baseman as recently as 2009, when he posted a .972 OPS in 615 PA with the Cubs. Lee began to decline afterwards, though he still hit a respectable .263/.337/.436 with the Cubs, Braves, Pirates and Orioles in 2010-11. He couldn't find a Major League contract last season and he didn't officially retire, saying he was holding out for "a perfect situation" to continue playing.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman admitted that he wasn't too optimistic that Lee would sign with the club, so with Lee now officially out of the picture, the Yankees can focus their efforts on other corner infield options. The Yankees have been linked to other veterans like Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen, though the former is staying retired while Rolen may want more playing time and guaranteed money than the club is willing to offer.
It’s no secret that the Yankees are searching for corner infield depth following Mark Teixeira’s wrist injury. GM Brian Cashman updated reporters on the team’s search earlier today, detailing interest in some veteran players. All links courtesy of Jack Curry of the YES Network and Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Twitter, unless noted otherwise..
- Jones got a "good chuckle" upon learning of the Yankees' interest in him, agent B.B. Abbott told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- Cashman called Derrek Lee a Yankees type because of his approach and makeup, Curry reports. The Yankees recently reached out to Lee to see if he’d come out of retirement to play in New York. Asked about the chances of completing a deal, Cashman noted that Lee isn’t with the Yankees now. The GM is not currently optimistic about signing Lee, according to Sherman.
- Cashman said he’d sign Chipper Jones if the third baseman were willing to come out of retirement, Sherman reports. The GM said his interest in Jones was serious and that he intended to call his agent, Curry notes. However, B.B. Abbott told Sherman that he can’t see his client coming out of retirement. "I don't think [playing for the Yankees] is something he would consider, but he would be flattered,” Abbott said.
- Cashman also investigated the possibility of signing free agent third baseman Scott Rolen, Curry reports. The GM hinted that Rolen wants a guarantee of playing time and/or money, however.
- The Dodgers and Reds both offered Rolen $4MM only to have him turn the proposals down, according to Sherman, who has heard that Rolen would only play for a guaranteed salary.
The Yankees, who are hunting for a corner infielder to replace the injured Mark Teixeira, have asked Derrek Lee if he would be interested in returning to baseball, David Waldstein of the New York Times reports. Waldstein reports that Lee did show interest, although no deal is in place. Lee last played in 2011 for the Orioles and Pirates, hitting .267/.325/.446. Here are more notes from the American League:
- Fewer scouts watched Rick Porcello's start on Sunday with the Tigers than the dozen or so who watched his last one, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports. Beck notes, however, that scouts generally don't watch the same players over and over in the spring. Porcello has been the subject of trade rumors for the past several weeks, and the Rangers have reportedly shown interest.
- Signing Jim Thome or Bobby Abreu might be options for the Red Sox as they attempt to replace the injured David Ortiz, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. Abraham suggests, however, that the Sox's in-house options, which include using Mauro Gomez, Ryan Lavarnway or J.C. Linares at DH or moving Mike Napoli or Jonny Gomes to DH in order to create a lineup spot for Lyle Overbay or Jackie Bradley Jr., might be more appealing. That makes sense, since it isn't yet certain that Ortiz's injured heels will cause him to miss more than a few weeks of the regular season.
Earlier today the Dodgers officially announced the signing of Cuban outfielder Yasel Puig to a seven-year deal. The news of the agreement sent shock waves through baseball this week and clearly shows that the club is very serious about getting back into signing top Latin American players. Here's more out of Los Angeles..
- The Puig deal could be just the start of major moves to come from the Dodgers, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. According to major league sources, they have talked multiple times to the Cubs, Astros, and Brewers. They've also touched base with a number of other teams, including the Mariners, Royals, Twins, Blue Jays and Padres, sources said. The Dodgers would like to add a hitter, a starting pitcher, and a left-handed reliever.
- Speaking of the Cubs, the Dodgers are viewed as a favorite to land Ryan Dempster once he returns from the disabled list, sources suggest to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The two sides haven't talked since the week before Dempster went down but a person familiar with the situation says Los Angeles has a very good chance to land the right-hander.
- The Dodgers are lukewarm to the idea of signing Derrek Lee, and would prefer to explore other options first, a major league source told Rosenthal. Lee would require time at Triple-A and the Dodgers seem to prefer more certainty and perhaps a more immediate solution at first base.
Let’s not let the day’s biggest story — that the Cubs will sign Jorge Soler to a nine-year deal worth $30MM — overshadow some other notes and rumors from around MLB. Here are the latest links…
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan checks in on the players heading toward free agency, noting that the stock for players such as Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera and Andre Ethier is way up.
- Derrek Lee would be open to returning for the “right opportunity,” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Pirates could be interested in re-signing Lee, who joined the team in a midseason trade last year.
- Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Bryan LaHair are all in play as the trade deadline nears, Rosenthal notes (on Twitter). The Cubs could look to supplement their core of young players by dealing established Major Leaguers for controllable players this summer.
Giants reliever Guillermo Mota is appealing his 100-game suspension due to a positive drug test, reports Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. In a statement issued through Adam Katz, Mota's agent, the right-hander claims that children's cough medicine was responsible for the banned substance (clenbuterol) that was found in his system. Since this is his second drug-related suspension, Mota will not be allowed to continue playing while waiting for an appeal.
Here's the latest from around the majors….
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Trenni Kusnierek of WTMJ 620 radio in Milwaukee that the team "had a discussion" with free agent first baseman Derrek Lee but a signing is "not going to happen." The team will look internally to fill its hole at first base with Mat Gamel out for the season.
- Melvin also said that the Brewers have the financial resources and farm system depth to make trades if necessary, though the club will wait until about a week before the July trade deadline before deciding if any moves need to be made. Melvin predicts less deadline activity in general around baseball this year due to both the Cardinals' late-season hot streak last year and the extra wild card that will have more teams unwilling to give up on their season.
- Jamie Moyer thought he had a deal worked out with the Orioles last fall but Dan Duquette's hiring scuttled the move, reports Caleb Hannan of the Denver News. "They said one thing one day and by the next it was completely different," Moyer said. "They pulled a complete 180." One of the reasons may have been due to an incident between Moyer and Duquette in 1996 when both men were with the Red Sox.
- Jeremy Bonderman tells Chris Iott of MLive.com that he was "burnt out" and didn't expect to return to baseball when he sat out the 2011 season but he's now eager to pitch again. Bonderman underwent Tommy John surgery last month and is hoping to catch on with a team in 2013.
- Teams that write off several seasons in the name of a long rebuilding process run the risk of permanently alienating their fans, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
Here's a look at the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero could be the next to end up in a tug of war between the Angels and Rangers. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, of course, used to be with Arizona and the Rangers could lose Mike Napoli on the open market. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are looking for a young catcher as insurance if they lose Montero.
- The Pirates should be in position to trade Alex Presley or Jose Tabata once Starling Marte refines his strike zone judgement in Triple-A. Presley will increase his value if he can prove that he is a solid leadoff option. As for Tabata, he is under a club-friendly deal through 2016 with club options through 2019.
- The addition of a second wild card in each league could reduce the number of sellers at the deadline which could put the Rays in position to extract maximum value for one of their starters such as Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, or Alex Cobb. The Rays will be more willing to part with rotation depth when they're looking at the final few months of the season.
- Derrek Lee has continued working out and is said to be in excellent shape. Rosenthal wonders if he would want to play for the Brewers after they lost Mat Gamel to injury as he turned down offers from the Pirates and several other teams last offseason. Lee would probably need to be convinced that Milwaukee is ready to win and will likely seek a contract similar to what Johnny Damon got from the Indians – $1.25MM plus $1.4MM in incentives.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers thought Vladimir Guerrero performed well in his tryout with the team but will have to consult with team management before deciding whether to offer Guerrero a contract, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Towers speculated that Guerrero's only possible role with the club could be as a DH during interleague games, a role that Wily Mo Pena filled for the Snakes last season.
- The Brewers may check in with Derrek Lee in regards to their hole at first base, GM Doug Melvin told reporters (including Scott Miller of CBS Sports) earlier this week. Lee said he didn't plan to officially retire despite a lack of interest this offseason, though he seemed to be holding out for "a perfect situation." The Pirates, Lee's last team, would receive a compensatory draft pick if Lee were to sign a Major League deal, though it's likely that Lee would only be offered a minor league contract, if anything, by the Brewers or another club.
- Torii Hunter tells Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he would consider returning to the Twins next season if he doesn't re-sign with the Angels. Given that Hunter's stated goal is to play for a contender in 2013, it's hard to see him returning to Minnesota unless he gets no other offers (and, of course, presuming that the Twins would be interested).
- Carl Crawford has been moved to the 60-day DL to create a 40-man roster spot for the called-up Aaron Cook, the Red Sox announced tonight. In a corresponding move, Jose Iglesias was sent down to create space for Cook on the 25-man roster.
- Right-hander Carlos Torres has been called up by the Rockies and filled the last spot on their 40-man roster, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Jhoulys Chacin has been sent down to Triple-A in a corresponding move that opens a spot for Torres on the 25-man roster. Torres last pitched in the majors in 2010 as a member of the White Sox.
- Major League Baseball and the NCAA are in talks regarding increased partnership between the two entities, such as MLB providing funding for scholarships, reports Bryan Fischer of CBS Sports.
- White Sox starter John Danks told reporters (including MLB.com's Scott Merkin) that he isn't feeling any additional pressure from his offseason contract extension. After allowing six earned runs in seven innings against Cleveland tonight, Danks' ERA stands at 6.51 through six starts.
It was on this day in 1985 that the Blue Jays and Dave Stieb finalized one of the more unique contracts in baseball history — an 11-year deal worth a guaranteed $16.6MM and (with incentives) possibly worth as much as $25MM. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looked back at the contract in 2010, noting that while the Jays absorbed some criticism for the deal at the time, they got a bargain in the long run when Stieb developed into one of the best pitchers of his era. In 1991, the Jays reworked three years of the contract to pay Stieb an extra $4.35MM as a gesture of gratitude for his performance.
Here's some news from all around the AL East…
- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera denied a New York Post report from yesterday that claimed he would announce his possible retirement plans before the All-Star Break. Rivera told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that "nothing's changed" about his future plans and that he will "tell everybody what my plans are at the same time after the season."
- Brian Roberts isn't sure when, or even if, he'll be able to return to the Orioles following a series of concussions, he tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Roberts says he has stopped trying to guess when he may be able to resume his career, though he notes that his recovery is "progressing" and he "has more good days than bad days."
- Rays southpaw Matt Moore tops Baseball America's preseason list of the top 20 rookies in the game. Moore is the only AL East representative on the list, though former Yankee prospect Jesus Montero (now with the Mariners) clocks in at the #3 position.
- "We need some guys to step up on our pitching staff," Red Sox GM Ben Cherington tells MLB.com's Ian Browne. The Sox will be looking at pitching or outfield depth as they conduct their usual scouting of other teams' Spring Training camps. Also in this in-depth interview, Cherington discusses his first winter as a general manager, the difficulty in parting with long-time Red Sox stars Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, and what he learned from Theo Epstein.
- The Blue Jays may be the only team that could be a fit for Derrek Lee, writes Fangraphs' Chris Cwik. Lee could be an alternative to Adam Lind at first if Lind struggles, or Lee could at least platoon if Lind again struggles to hit left-handed pitching. Though Cwik was pretty hesitant about Lee's chances of playing anywhere in the Majors in 2012, I'm not sure Toronto works as a landing spot either; the Jays have Edwin Encarnacion backing up at first, Travis Snider or Eric Thames as DH candidates, plus Ben Francisco and Rajai Davis as right-handed bench bats.
The Yankees signed Orlando Hernandez to a four-year, $6.6MM contract on this date 14 years ago. El Duque posted a 3.96 ERA in six seasons with New York and also made a number of memorable postseason starts as the Yankees won three consecutive World Series titles. Hernandez expressed interest in making a comeback as recently as last year, before officially retiring in August. Here are today's links…
- Agent Fern Cuza told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that Vladimir Guerrero “still wants to play.” Guerrero is waiting the right opportunity and has a strong preference for contenders (Twitter links).
- Free agent first baseman Derrek Lee is open to the right opportunity and doesn’t plan to officially retire, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
- Negotiations between the Royals and Alex Gordon are in their early stages, but are expected to pick up later this spring, according to Rosenthal. Gordon will almost certainly look to sign for more than $55MM, the current Royals record, Rosenthal writes.
- It’s too early to predict which team will select high school right-hander Lucas Giolito, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America (on Twitter). Giolito sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow yesterday.