Derrek Lee Rumors
The city of Montreal will pay tribute to former Expos great Gary Carter by naming a street or other public place in his honor, reports Linda Gyulai of the Montreal Gazette. City officials will consult with the Carter family to find an "appropriate" location to bear the Hall of Famer catcher's name. Carter passed away last Thursday after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.
Some news from around the majors....
- Jim Callis of Baseball America breaks down how much each team will have to spend in the first 10 rounds of the 2012 draft. The Twins top the list, able to spend as much as $12.37MM to sign their 13 picks over the initial 10 rounds, while the Angels ($1.645MM) have the least to spend on their eight picks over the same stretch.
- The draft pool totals will shift if Derrek Lee -- the last free agent with compensation attached to him -- signs a Major League deal with a new team. As Callis notes, however, it's pretty unlikely that Lee will find such a deal at this point.
- The Pirates and Phillies both passed on signing Dmitri Young after working him out in Florida this months, reports MLB.com's Matthew Leach. Even if Young's baseball comeback falls short, he says the real victory is his improved health, having lost over 70 pounds.
- Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado are both pleased to still be Braves after a long winter of trade rumors surrounding both men, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
- Ivan Rodriguez isn't prepared to retire and is keeping in shape for a possible job this season, he tells the Associated Press. "It has been a tough market for veterans," Rodriguez said. "There are a lot of guys who have won championships and have playoff experience to offer teams with no jobs. It's hard to believe.''
A few news items to wrap up a busy Monday...
- The Cubs, Marlins and Tigers are the three teams most actively targeting Yoenis Cespedes, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). Last week, Cespedes said the Cubs were his most ardent suitor, with the Marlins, Tigers, Orioles, White Sox and Indians also showing "more interest" in him.
- White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he plans to continue playing after 2012. Pierzynski, 35, has spent the last seven years with the Sox and is a free agent after this season.
- Yadier Molina's future with the Cardinals is debated in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch roundtable.
- Bud Selig's two-year contract extension was officially finalized and announced today, Major League Baseball announced. Selig will remain commissioner through the 2014 season. The extension was approved by a unanimous 30-0 vote amongst team owners.
- Derrek Lee could retire if he doesn't find "a perfect situation," tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Yesterday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post said Lee could be in for a Jermaine Dye-esque "forced retirement" since no team would be willing to meet his desired price.
- The Rays reportedly have interest in Edgar Renteria for a bench spot, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- The Astros will consider uniform changes and even possibly a name change for 2013, new club owner Jim Crane announced at a press conference today (passed on by Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle).
- Indians catcher Lou Marson could see a lot of playing time against left-handed pitching, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Regular catcher Carlos Santana could play at first base on the days the strong-armed Marson (who threw out 33.3% of baserunners last year) is behind the plate. The right-handed hitting Marson has a .285/.367/.395 career line against southpaws and would add balance to an Indians lineup that is very heavy on left-handed bats.
2:22pm: Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN tweets that the Tigers are also considering Juan Pierre. The thought would be to add a table-setter type and then let Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young drive in the extra runs rather than trying to add a middle-of-the-order hitter.
Detroit lost designated hitter Victor Martinez for the 2012 season last week when the switch-hitter tore his ACL during his offseason workouts, leaving a hole in their lineup. Though Damon turned 38 this offseason, he still posted respectable offensive numbers last season, batting .261/.326/.418 with 16 homers and 19 steals in 647 plate appearances for the Rays, most of which came as a DH.
A signing would make for a reunion between the two sides, as Damon spent the 2010 season as Detroit's primary DH, though he did make 36 outfield appearances that year. His outfield time was even more sparse in Tampa, with only 16 appearances to his credit.
Since becoming a full-time player in 1996, Damon has never played in fewer than 141 games in a season; he's averaged 655 plate appearances per season and played for six different teams in that time.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
On this day in 2006, the Mets traded Kris Benson to the Orioles for Jorge Julio and John Maine. Benson, who pitched for five different teams in his 12-year career, announced his retirement earlier this month. Here's a look at today's links..
- Yoenis Cespedes has yet to establish residency in the Dominican Republic and a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) there is no guarantee it will happen this week.
- A surprising number of baseball executives think that the Dodgers will ultimately be in play for Prince Fielder, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- More from Sherman (via Twitter) as he writes that some executives think Derrek Lee could end up in something of a forced retirement, similar to Jermaine Dye. Lee wants to continue playing, but only at price that he likely won't get.
- The silence surrounding the Nationals' pursuit of Fielder is in line with GM Mike Rizzo's standard operating procedure, writes Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com.
- The oft-traded Aaron Cunningham has a positive outlook on getting dealt and views each deal as an opportunity to start fresh, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. The 25-year-old, who was recently acquired by the Indians, has been dealt four times in his career.
- No team has gone through a more significant clubhouse-culture makeover this winter than the Rockies, who have added Michael Cuddyer, Casey Blake, Ramon Hernandez, and Marco Scutaro, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
Last night's news was highlighted by the Yankees' signing of Hiroki Kuroda and the four-player trade that sent Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners in exchange for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that it might not be until next week that the trade is announced (as teams wait for completion of physicals), and opines that it may be the Blue Jays who are hurt most by this trade, as their rotation once again looks too thin to compete in the AL East. Here's a look at the highlights from Olney's latest blog (ESPN Insider required)...
- Both the Yankees and Mariners believe that Montero will be able to stick at catcher, which many in the industry feel is a must in order for the trade to make sense for Seattle.
- One executive posed the question: "Why is Yoenis Cespedes playing in any Winter ball games?" Olney says Cespedes' first few games have looked rough, as he hasn't played for a long time. With questions about his ability to pick up a breaking ball, he could potentially hurt his value with a poor showing, and doesn't stand to gain much if he plays well.
- The Indians seem to be in position to land a good first baseman, writes Olney. Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, and Derrek Lee all remain unsigned, and if the Nationals sign Prince Fielder, Adam LaRoche will become available as well. Olney points out that all four are regarded as good fielders, which is crucial to Cleveland's groundball staff (Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe, and Fausto Carmona are all extreme groundball pitchers). Olney writes that there were indications earlier this offseason that Lee did not want to play for the Tribe.
- With the Diamondbacks showing interest in Bartolo Colon, GM Kevin Towers, who spent a year working for the Yankees, will "presumably get an honest read about what [the Yankees] feel Colon could contribute."
Here's the latest from the NL Central...
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer wants to add more depth to his pitching staff, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "At this point, we're still very much in the process of gathering as many quality arms as we can, and we'll put those pieces in place as we get closer to Spring Training," Hoyer said. "We have worked hard, and we continue to work hard, and hopefully we'll have even more starting-pitching acquisitions....We want to go seven, eight, nine deep in the rotation and we hope to replenish the bullpen as well."
- ESPN's Keith Law gives the Cubs the "slight edge" in today's Anthony Rizzo-for-Andrew Cashner trade. Law says he would rather have Rizzo than Yonder Alonso, who the Padres acquired from the Reds last month as part of the package for Mat Latos.
- The Cardinals announced Derek Lilliquist will become the team's new pitching coach, with Dyer Miller taking Lilliquist's old job as bullpen coach. The moves may or may not be permanent as former pitching coach Dave Duncan is on an indefinite leave of absence to be with his wife, who underwent brain surgery last August.
- The Pirates have shown some interest in bringing back Derrek Lee but "the first baseman doesn’t seem to have reciprocated that interest," writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Of the five remaining Pirate free agents, Langosch thinks only Paul Maholm has a chance of returning, but the Bucs will likely be outbid by one of Maholm's several other suitors.
- Incumbent Reds left fielder Chris Heisey talks to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who thinks Heisey has earned "a long trial" at the everyday job. The Reds have recently been connected to free agent outfielders Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross.
- The Reds have announced the signings of catcher Corky Miller and left-hander Jeremy Horst to minor league contracts with invites to the Major League spring training camp. Miller, a 10-year veteran, was originally drafted by the Reds in 1998 and has spent the last three years in Cincinnati's system. Horst, 26, made his Major League debut last season with the Reds, posting a 2.93 ERA in 12 relief appearances. Previously-announced signings Brian Esposito, Sean Gallagher, Daryl Jones, Chad Reineke, Clayton Tanner and Kanekoa Texeira were also confirmed as non-roster invitees.
The Cubs have traded Sean Marshall, Carlos Zambrano and Andrew Cashner in recent weeks. Could Matt Garza be next? Ken Rosenthal of FOX breaks down the market for Garza and offers more rumors from around the league:
- Cubs execs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are alarmed by the lack of minor league talent in their own system, so trading Garza might appeal to them. The Yankees, one possible suitor for the right-hander, have had concerns about Garza’s ability to handle New York in the past, Rosenthal reports.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has said he’s not looking to trade Jacob Turner, but Rosenthal hears the young right-hander is available in the right deal.
- A contender like the Cardinals could make a surprise play for Ryan Madson, but the market for the free agent closer currently looks thin. Agent Scott Boras may wait until Spring Training to find a deal, as he has done in the past.
- Free agent first baseman Derrek Lee expects to land a full-time job, Rosenthal reports. I examined the first base market yesterday.
- The Mariners, who added Hisashi Iwakuma yesterday, are open to signing a veteran at the right price, Rosenthal tweets.
The Cubs and Reds agreed to swap left-handed pitchers today in a deal that sends reliever Sean Marshall to Cincinnati for starter Travis Wood and two minor leaguers. Here are more notes from the NL Central...
- A big bidder for Prince Fielder could emerge, but it now seems that the first baseman’s suitors are waiting for his asking price to drop significantly, tweets ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. I don’t expect the Brewers to re-sign Fielder, even if his asking price -- a ten-year deal -- falls significantly.
- B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com makes the case that the Cardinals should sign Yadier Molina to an extension. The backstop is set to hit free agency after the 2012 season.
- The Pirates had interest in Derrek Lee earlier in the offseason, but are now said to be a long shot for him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Lee, an Excel Sports Management client, doesn’t necessarily fit in Pittsburgh now that the Pirates have traded for Casey McGehee.
Happy birthday to Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, who turns 33 on December 17. Utley is looking to rebound from his most disappointing full season in the majors, as he posted just a .769 OPS and didn't play until May 23 due to an unusual knee injury.
Some news from around baseball as we head into the weekend...
- Carlos Beltran has at least one offer worth $10MM per year on the table, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. With the Rockies out of the picture after signing Michael Cuddyer, Beltran's known market includes the Blue Jays, Cardinals and two mystery teams.
- Responding to fans on his Twitter feed, Omar Vizquel says he plans to play in 2012, isn't returning to the White Sox and would "go now" if the Giants offered him a one-year deal (all links are via Twitter).
- Pirates players and officials took part in a Q&A period at today's Piratefest fan event and Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was there to tweet some pertinent hot stove information. Manager Clint Hurdle said the team is still interested in re-signing Derrek Lee and team president Frank Coonelly said the Pirates were prepared for the cap on draft signings in the new collective bargaining agreement.
- Reggie Willits intends to play in 2012 and has discussed opporunities with MLB teams, tweets MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
- GM Neal Huntington said the Pirates want to keep Andrew McCutchen "as long as we can (but) we've got to be smart about it" (via Biertempfel's Twitter account). McCutchen's name was floated in trade rumors earlier this winter but they were quickly shot down by Bucs management.
- The Tigers should keep pursuing Gio Gonzalez, writes John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press, even though he doesn't think the Tigers would deal the Athletics' asking price of prospects (Jacob Turner, Drew Smyly and Nick Castellanos) "for any one player."
- The Rule 5 draft is losing relevance and could soon be abandoned "in history's dustbin," writes Baseball America's John Manuel.
- The Astros, Athletics, Cubs, Padres and White Sox are "the five most intriguing sellers" in baseball according to FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, who lists each club's biggest trade chips and what teams could fit as trade partners.
Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- The Red Sox have not yet made catcher and captain Jason Varitek a contract offer, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Boston added Kelly Shoppach to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway on Tuesday, a move that likely spelled the end of Varitek's time with the Sox.
- There are clubs with interest in trading for both Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey and others with interest in both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, but Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Athletics and Braves are likely to deal their players separately to maximize the return. Rosenthal and Morosi note that the Braves and Orioles have discussed a deal that included both Jurrjens and Prado.
- Interest in free agent closer Francisco Cordero has slowed down, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). His market could hinge on how clubs fill their other roster holes.
- The Pirates still have interest in first baseman Derrek Lee even after trading for Casey McGehee, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Bringing Lee back at first base would allow them to use McGehee at the hot corner with Pedro Alvarez.
- Heyman hears that the Angels put a deadline on their ten-year, $254MM offer to Albert Pujols (Twitter link). The deal did seem to come together very quickly Wednesday night into Thursday morning last week.
- The Rockies do have some money to spend according to Heyman (on Twitter). In addition to Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer, they also have interest in Hiroki Kuroda, Joe Saunders, and various trade targets.
- Morosi says (on Twitter) that Andruw Jones could also be an option for the Rockies if Beltran and Cuddyer sign elsewhere.
- The Cardinals' interest in pitching upgrades is "understated," reports Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Both Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook remain on the trade block.
- The Yokohama Bay Stars have released right-hander Hiroki Sanada so that he may pursue a deal in MLB according to a report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. No teams bid on Sanada when he was posted last week.
- The Astros and Rays are possibilities for Ivan Rodriguez, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Though the Mets have discussed Rodriguez, they’re leaning toward relying on Mike Nickeas as their backup to starter Josh Thole.
- MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner says the Joint Drug Agreement should provide Ryan Braun with privacy and fair proceedings. “I urge all to reserve judgment on this matter until the JDA's process has played itself out," Weiner said in a statement.