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Detroit Tigers Rumors
The Royals have yet to begin extension talks with manager Ned Yost, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports. “There’s a progression in the offseason. There’s a sequential way we’re doing things. Right now, we’re focused on other things,” GM Dayton Moore said, in reference to the team’s roster. Whenever negotiations take place, there’s no doubt Yost will eventually get a fresh new contract from the team in the wake of the Royals’ unexpected postseason performance. Here’s the latest from the AL Central…
- Also from McCullough (Twitter links), a group of Royals officials are en route from the GM Meetings to organizational meetings in the Dominican Republic where they could watch Yasmany Tomas work out. The Royals are a recently new addition to the list of teams interested in Tomas, though McCullough says K.C. has “scouted Tomas extensively, but quietly, leading up to this winter.”
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn will listen to other teams’ offers for Alexei Ramirez as he would for any player, though Hahn tells reporters (including Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune) that the Sox aren’t looking to trade their shortstop. “Being strong up the middle is the priority for any good club, and we don’t intend to take a step back there,” Hahn said. “We’re open-minded and we have depth in the area, so it’s reasonable to hear his name out there. I get that, but it’s certainly not something we’re pursuing on our end or are eager to convert on.”
- The Tigers have been talking to Joel Hanrahan about a minor league contract, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (via Twitter). Hanrahan signed a one-year, $1MM Major League deal with Detroit in May but didn’t pitch at all last season as he suffered a setback in his recovery from May 2013 Tommy John surgery.
- Scott Bream is staying in his current position as the Tigers director of pro scouting, Turner Sports’ Scott Miller tweets. The Dodgers had reportedly been on the verge of hiring Bream to join their front office.
- Twins righty Ricky Nolasco‘s three-team no-trade clause has been updated for this offseason, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (Twitter link). All three teams are “big-market” AL clubs, so Berardino speculates that the Yankees and Red Sox are included.
- The Twins have hired Gene Glynn as their third base coach, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link).
- The Indians could look for small upgrades rather than a big splash in free agency, GM Chris Antonetti told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Bowman). “I think what we would look for from the free-agent market is something to complement our roster,” Antonetti said. “I don’t think we are going to be in the free-agent market to add a cornerstone player.”
Talk about the market’s top free agent, Max Scherzer, has been scarce to this point, but agent Scott Boras tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that he’s not worried about the quiet air surrounding his client. “Premium free agents are rarely talked about at the GM meetings,” Boras said. “This is an owners’ decision. Every GM wants him. There’s always a place for him on every team. The issue is not whether the player is wanted. The issue is whether the owner will make the commitment to try to win the World Series.” Heyman’s piece contains many examples of the litany of stats Boras will use when pitching Scherzer to owners around the league. The Tigers are said to love Scherzer, but indications at this time are that they’re out on Scherzer. That, of course, could change as the offseason progresses, though one Tigers source told Heyman that Boras’ counteroffer to the team’s six-year, $144MM extension offer was “way, way” north of that sizable $144MM sum.
A few more notes on some free agents…
- While many top free agents take their time to see how the market plays out, a source tells MassLive.com’s Jason Mastrodonato that Jon Lester is willing to sign as soon as the right offer presents itself, “whether it is tomorrow or April 1.” While the Red Sox are known to have a preference to shy away from commitments of four-plus years to pitchers in their 30s (following their five-year deal for John Lackey), GM Ben Cherington implied that the team might be willing to make an exception for Lester, noting that it’s never been a hard policy.
- Andrew Miller‘s agent, Mark Rodgers, tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that he plans to be “methodical” in discussions with teams and doesn’t envision signing a contract in the near future. Miller is open to pitching in a setup capacity for a contending team with an entrenched closer, but he’s also generating interest from teams in need of a closer.
- The Twins prefer to add a right-handed bat to their outfield this offseason, and while Torii Hunter has been listed in connection to Minnesota, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that Alex Rios is another name to watch.
Rebuilding is no longer a word the White Sox want to be associated with, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. “We sit here on the one hand realizing that we have the prime of Chris Sale‘s career ahead of us, the prime of Jose Abreu‘s career ahead of us and wanting to make sure we’re in a position to capitalize and win within that window,” Hahn said. “We want to win, we want to win again quickly and we want to win again repeatedly in the coming years. … We still have work to do to continue that process.” At the same time, Hahn emphasized today that the team has to avoid the “dangerous allure to wanting to make a splash,” as Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports in the course of an interesting look at the team’s options.
Here’s the latest from the AL Central after a busy news day:
- The White Sox are currently focused on acquiring a right-handed starter, bullpen additions, and a left-handed hitter, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. While the club has in the past looked into dealing for backstops such as Jason Castro of the Astros and Yasmani Grandal of the Padres, that does not appear to be the priority at present, per Rosenthal. Nevertheless, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com indicates on Twitter that the team does have present interest in Castro.
- Hahn said today that Chicago is interested in multiple relief acquisitions, as MLB.com’s Phil Rogers reports. “We don’t feel the need to go out and get a so-called proven closer,” said Hahn. “We certainly want to have multiple upgrades, and if some of those upgrades give us viable back-end options, that’s great.”
- Word is that the Royals will meet with the representatives of lefty Brett Anderson this week, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports on Twitter. GM Dayton Moore declined to confirm or deny that or any other meetings. I picked Anderson to go to Kansas City in the MLBTR free agent prediction contest, and think he makes sense for a club that has some added cash to spend on an upside play.
- The Royals have told Raul Ibanez that they would be interested in employing him in a non-playing capacity, tweets McCullough. Ibanez, of course, is in the hunt for the Rays’ open managerial position, and perhaps it is still to early to rule out a return to an active roster as well.
- Victor Martinez is at the top of the Tigers‘ list of priorities, writes Paul Hagen of MLB.com, as GM Dave Dombrowski made clear that the team will make every effort to re-sign the DH. The team is still interested in outgoing free agents Max Scherzer and Joba Chamberlain, per Dombrowski, but he said the club is sitting back while both assess their markets.
The Yankees made closer David Robertson the one-year, $15.3MM qualifying offer, which he officially declined yesterday. GM Brian Cashman told reporters, “I thought it was 50-50 when we made the offer. We were comfortable obviously if he accepted it and we wanted to be protected if he didn’t. To be honest, I had no idea what the position would be.” More on the free agent market’s top reliever…
- The Tigers are out of the running for Robertson, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. GM Dave Dombrowski told Sherman that part of the reason he exercised Joakim Soria’s $7MM club option was to keep out of the race for late-inning relief on the free agent market. Detroit also considers Bruce Rondon a wild card that could make an impact on their bullpen next season.
- Robertson has attracted interest from at least a half-dozen teams, a source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. He says among those is at least one with a protected draft pick, meaning the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Rangers, Astros, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, Phillies, or Reds. Of those, the Rockies, Astros, White Sox, and Cubs are known to be seeking relief help.
- Cashman mentioned last night that he intends to meet with Robertson’s agent Scott Leventhal this week in Arizona. The two sides have yet to discuss a multiyear deal.
“They’re trying to blow the whole thing up. Everyone is for sale,” a rival executive tells CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury about the Phillies’ offseason plans. The Phils will listen to offers on any player, though Cole Hamels and Ken Giles would require the most in return. The rival exec wasn’t sure if the Phillies would find that desired price for Hamels, though he predicted that Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd would be moved this offseason. “Detroit and Cincinnati are two teams to watch on Byrd,” Salisbury writes.
Here’s some more from the City of Brotherly Love…
- The Royals have had internal discussions about acquiring Howard if the Phillies cover most of the $60MM remaining on Howard’s contract, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports. Kansas City sees Howard as a possible replacement for Billy Butler at the DH spot. UPDATE: The Royals’ interest in Howard is overblown, a source tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- The Phillies haven’t yet made an offer to Yasmany Tomas, agent Jay Alou told reports (including Salisbury). Alou said that he and GM Ruben Amaro spoke today and negotiations are ongoing between the two sides. Alou cited the Phils as one of “several teams that I could say are frontrunners” for Tomas, and noted that the Phillies had seen the outfielder work out a second time since his private workout for the club in September.
- Amaro hasn’t spoken to Jimmy Rollins about the shortstop waiving his 10-and-5 rights to facilitate a trade to another team, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. “If it is ever the right time, I will have the conversation, but Jimmy will be the one who decides where he is going,” Amaro said.
- A trade of Domonic Brown for Jeremy Hellickson would make sense for both the Phillies and Rays, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News opines. Lawrence makes it clear that he is just engaging in idle speculation about this proposed deal, as there is no evidence the Phillies are the NL team reportedly close to acquiring Hellickson.
To the surprise of no one, star free agents Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez turned down qualifying offers from the Tigers yesterday. Re-signing Martinez seems to be a priority for GM Dave Dombrowski. More on the Tigers…
- The door is not closed on a new deal with free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain, says Dombrowski, but it’s not a priority right now.
- Dombrowski said he has not talked about an extension with lefty David Price, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Dombrowski said he knows both sides will want to see free agent prices first. That’s a reference to the current free agent class, says Rosenthal. Price is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.
- Dombrowski has four prominent starting pitchers under control for 2015 in Price, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Anibal Sanchez. According to Rosenthal, the GM says he is happy with his starters and not looking to move anyone, but will always listen as he has in the past.
- The Tigers announced they have named former big leaguer David Newhan assistant hitting coach to Wally Joyner, replacing the departed Darnell Coles.
A few notes on some free agents on a busy first day of the annual GM Meetings…
- Octagon agent Alan Nero and his team are ready to advance talks regarding clients Victor Martinez, Jason Hammel and Asdrubal Cabrera, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. While we don’t typically see too many free agents come off the board this early in the offseason, it sounds as if Octagon is being aggressive.
- Corey Hart has received interest from several teams despite his down season in 2014, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The market is thin on power hitters and Hart, 32, was a 30-homer threat from 2010-12 before undergoing surgery on both knees and sitting out the 2013 campaign.
- Jason Grilli has had some interest from multiple clubs, but the bullpen-hungry Tigers aren’t among them, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
- Ichiro Suzuki has switched agents and is now represented by John Boggs, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Suzuki had previously been represented by Tony Attanasio.
- Also from Rosenthal, Alberto Callaspo has switched agents and is now represented by Praver Shapiro Sports Management. Callaspo had previously been represented by Eric Goldschmidt. For agency info on over 1,700 players, check out MLBTR’s oft-updated Agency Database.
Last Monday, 12 players received one-year, $15.3MM qualifying offers. Max Scherzer, Victor Martinez, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, James Shields, Russell Martin, Nelson Cruz, David Robertson, Ervin Santana, Francisco Liriano, Melky Cabrera and Michael Cuddyer were all on the receiving end of the offer. The deadline to accept or reject the offer is today at 4pm CT.
A quick primer for those who are unfamiliar: Baseball’s newest collective bargaining agreement did away with the old Type A/B designations for free agent draft pick compensation. The newer system, which is now in its third year, allows teams to make qualifying offers to a player that has spent the entire season with that organization (i.e. players traded midseason are ineligible). That offer is set at the average salary of baseball’s 125 highest-paid players. Should the player reject, a new team will be required to forfeit its top unprotected pick to sign that player (the top 11 picks of this year’s draft are protected). His former team then receives a comp pick at the end of the first round. To this point, none of the 22 players to receive a QO have accepted.
The expectation is that most of the players who received the QO, with the possible exception of Cuddyer, will reject. We’ll keep track of the players that reject the QO here…
- Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio tweets that no player has accepted this year’s qualifying offer.
- MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports that Martinez has rejected the qualifying offer (Twitter link).
- Robertson has turned down the Yankees’ qualifying offer, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link).
- Cuddyer, of course, has essentially rejected his qualifying offer by agreeing to a two-year deal with the Mets.
- Ramirez has rejected the Dodgers‘ QO, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times tweets. As perhaps the top position player on this year’s open market, the move comes as little surprise. Ramirez figures to seek a contract north of $100MM+ as a free agent.
- Santana will reject the Braves‘ qualifying offer and search for a multi-year deal on the open market, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The move was widely expected after Santana enjoyed a solid season with the Braves. As he showed last winter, even if the market doesn’t materialize for him in the form of a multi-year deal, a one-year offer at or near the value of a QO is still attainable, so there’s little downside in trying to cash in.
- Both Sandoval and Martin have reportedly rejected their QOs prior to today’s deadline. Sandoval rejected his in the middle of last week, while news of Martin rejecting came last night.
At least ten teams have reached out to express interest in Torii Hunter, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today, and the free agent’s most aggressive suitors are in the very familiar AL Central. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals, Twins, Tigers, Cubs, Giants, Rangers and Mariners have all shown some early interest in Hunter (Twitter links). Hunter’s preference is to remain in Detroit, he adds, but his fate may be tied to that of Victor Martinez, as the Tigers likely can’t re-sign both.
Though Hunter turns 40 next July, he still enjoyed a productive season at the plate in a fairly pitcher-friendly home environment, hitting .286/.319/.446 with 17 homers in 586 plate appearances. His defensive game, however, appears to have slipped as Defensive Runs Saved pegged him at -18 runs and Ultimate Zone Rating agreed (-18.3).
Given his age, I’d think Hunter’s priority would be signing with a team he expects to contend in 2015 rather than maxing out his contract or perhaps making a sentimental return to his former Minneapolis stomping grounds.
Earlier this morning, reports indicated that the Mariners are interested in, if not prioritizing Victor Martinez (as well as Hanley Ramirez), which meshes with previous reports that the team will likely show interest. As one of the top free agents on the market, Martinez will likely find his name swirling about the rumor mill, and we’ll keep track of today’s V-Mart talk here…
- The Blue Jays are now among the teams interested in Martinez, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Though the team perhaps has a greater need in the infield, Heyman writes that the trade of Adam Lind has opened a door for Martinez to fit into the picture in Toronto. Heyman hears that the Tigers and Mariners are the other two primary suitors in the early stages, noting that Martinez is high on Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik’s wish list.