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Dexter Fowler Rumors
The Giants are fans of free agent catcher Brian McCann, but they won't move former MVP Buster Posey to a new position to make room for him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, they could shift center fielder Angel Pagan to one of the corners and look into outside options like Jacoby Ellsbury. Meantime, their emphasis is on the rotation and they have already shown interest in Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and many other free agent starters. Here's more out of the NL West..
- Right now, there's no evidence that the Rockies will consider trading stars Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, one GM tells Heyman. That GM said he has been told Gonzalez is "definitely" not available and was left with the impression that Tulowitzki isn't being traded either. Rockies Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer & General Counsel Bill Geivett said of Tulowitzki today, "He's not going anywhere," tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Geivett suggested the same of CarGo. Morosi adds that Geivett indicated he'd need to be overwhelmed to trade center fielder Dexter Fowler, but he did not explicitly rule that out.
- Along the same lines, Geivett shot down rumblings connecting Tulowitzki to the Cardinals, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Geivett believes that with the right additions, the Rockies can put themselves in position to contend. "We like our core group of guys. We feel like we have a good crew to build around. I know some people disagree, but we don't feel that we are that far away," Geivett said. "We have to be healthy. We can't have our two main guys missing too much."
- Starting pitching and a power outfield bat are among the items on the Diamondbacks' wish list, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. General Manager Kevin Towers believes that he is poised to be active in trade talks with depth in the middle infield and center field.
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis offers his thoughts on this year's World Series contenders in a special piece for the Los Angeles Times. In the article, Ellis breaks down the Dodgers' loss to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series, as well as the approaches of the St. Louis and Boston offenses. More Saturday night National League links:
- Congratulations to the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran, who was presented with the Roberto Clemente Award earlier this evening for his contributions on and off the field. As Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, the high school that the outfielder established in Puerto Rico, has graduated its first class of students.
- Many of the players that Tony La Russa led to a World Series victory in 2011 as manager of the Cardinals are no longer with the team, but La Russa says that the organizational culture remains unchanged. The team is “set up real well for the next three to four years," he comments in an article by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. La Russa also offers praise for current Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny and his thoughts on the role of the manager in today's game.
- Sources tell Troy Renck of The Denver Post that the Rockies bid as much as $63MM for Jose Dariel Abreu, who eventually signed with the White Sox for $68MM over six years. Renck says the revelation that the Rockies are willing to go as high as $10MM annually for a player is an "intriguing development" and notes that the club is expected to sift through possibilities in the outfield and at first base. The Rockies also appear to ready to listen to offers for Dexter Fowler, Renck writes.
The Rockies (57-65) and Padres (54-67) are playing out the string on the 2013 season and already looking ahead to 2014. Here's the latest from these two NL West clubs…
- Rafael Betancourt is set to come off the disabled list and Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link) speculates that the Rockies could put Betancourt on waivers to gauge trade interest in the closer. Colorado and Betancourt have a $4.25MM mutual option for 2014 and through the 38-year-old has two separate stints on the DL this year, he has still pitched effectively. With a younger and cheaper closing option in Rex Brothers, however, the Rockies may want to make a change.
- Dexter Fowler should be made available on the trade market this winter, The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla opines. Fowler is hitting .268/.376/.428 with 12 homers, 67 runs scored and 18 steals in 430 PA, and has spent time on the DL with hand and wrist injuries. As Kiszla notes, the Rockies shopped Fowler last offseason but didn't find any takers after asking for a big return. Fowler signed a two-year, $11.6MM deal with Colorado in February and the 27-year-old still has one final year of arbitration eligibility following the 2014 season.
- Chase Headley's disappointing season has left the Padres with a bit of a conundrum this winter, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Rumors have been rampant over the last year that the Padres would either sign Headley to a long-term extension or trade him, though the Padres would be selling low if the moved Headley now. Center speculates that the Padres might try to lock Headley up to a bargain of an extension and then re-explore the trade market if he returns to form next season.
- Also from Center, he notes as part of his weekly Padres chat that he expects the Padres actively pursue trades this winter. Center sees the Friars offering packages of a young pitcher and a position player, and says the club will certainly pursue corner outfield help. Third base could also be a possibility given Headley's situation.
Jayson Stark leads his latest column for ESPN with a discussion of the ten managers currently in the last year of their contracts, noting that teams these days are more willing to allow skippers' contracts to expire. Also from Stark's column:
- One American League executive would rather give a $100MM contract to James Shields than Zack Greinke, because Greinke sometimes "seems a little disinterested" while Shields is regarded as more of a competitor. Shields is on track for free agency after the 2014 season, assuming the Royals exercise a club option for about $13.5MM after this season.
- An NL exec wouldn't give up Travis D'Arnaud or Zack Wheeler for Giancarlo Stanton.
- A Justin Masterson-Dexter Fowler trade between the Indians and Rockies "was talked about extensively early in the offseason," according to Stark. Masterson is under the Indians' control through 2014, while the Rockies control Fowler through 2015.
- In regard to shortstop Jean Segura, Brewers GM Doug Melvin commented, "I see people talk about the [Jurickson] Profars and even the Dee Gordons. But they never talk about him. He's an exciting player." Melvin acquired Segura, John Hellweg, and Ariel Pena from the Angels for Greinke last summer.
The Marlins were questioned about their decision to overlook service time considerations when they added Jose Fernandez to their Opening Day roster. So far, the gamble is working for Miami. The 20-year-old, who is making the jump from High-A ball and is the youngest player on a 2013 Opening Day roster, was outstanding in his MLB debut striking out eight (a franchise record for a debut) while allowing only three hits and one walk in five innings of the Marlins' walkoff loss to the Mets. Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel notes Fernandez is just the seventh starter under the age of 21 to record at least eight strikeouts in his MLB debut since 1916 and only the fourth pitcher in the past 13 years to record six or more strikeouts in his debut joining Oliver Perez, Clayton Kershaw, and teammate Jacob Turner (Twitter link). In other news and notes from the National League:
- Dexter Fowler credits his early season success to the security of his recent two-year, $11.6MM contract extension, writes the Denver Post's Troy E. Renck. Fowler believes the investment shows the Rockies now see him as part of their core and not just a trade chip for pitching.
- A former minority owner of the Pirates believes owner Bob Nutting "is too rational a businessman to ever spend more money to build a winner," reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Conventional wisdom says the economic playing field is too uneven for the Pirates to be competitive without a larger payroll. Ex-Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg, a Pittsburgh native, disagrees telling Biertempfel, "The days when any franchise was revenue-challenged are long over. There is so much revenue in baseball, not just at the local level but also national revenues that sustain every franchise as well as enormous amounts of revenue sharing. Every franchise has the ability to compete without losing money."
- The Giants held their World Series ring ceremony today and and there were some notable no-shows. According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Brian Wilson was invited, but never responded dampening the prospects of a reunion when the Giants' former closer fully recovers from Tommy John surgery. Guillermo Mota meanwhile had a prior family committment, but Baggarly writes he has thrown for the Orioles and could sign a Triple-A contract with them.
- Reliever Mike MacDougal has signed a minor league deal with the Reds, reports Baseball America's Matt Eddy. MLBTR reported exclusively in February the 35-year-old would throw a bullpen for interested teams. MacDougal appeared in just seven games for the Dodgers in 2012, but he posted a 2.05 ERA in 69 appearances with them in 2011.
The Rockies have avoided arbitration with Dexter Fowler by agreeing to a two-year deal, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). The contract is worth $11.6MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The 26-year-old Fowler is represented by Excel Sports Management.
Fowler enjoyed a career year in 2012, posting a robust .300/.389/.474 triple slash line to go along with 13 home runs and 12 stolen bases. As a Super Two player, Fowler was eligible for arbitration for the second time this season. The new contract buys out his second and third years of arbitration eligibility, though he'll be under control for one more season following the completion of this deal.
Fowler had filed for $5.15MM, and the Rockies countered with a $4.25MM offer. The Rockies took a similar approach to Jhoulys Chacin's arbitration situation. The right-hander recently signed a two-year deal that will buy out his first and second arbitration years but does not include his final year of eligibility.
As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, Fowler was the Rockies' final unresolved arbitration case. The team has successfully avoided a hearing with all six of its arbitration-eligible players.
Earlier today, the Padres signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal and announced that they've avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson by agreeing to a one-year deal. Here's some more news out of baseball's West divisions…
- The Rockies are open to a multi-year deal with Dexter Fowler if Fowler and his agents at Excel Sports Management come up with a proposal to the club's liking, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. Colorado recently signed Jhoulys Chacin to a two-year deal despite previously saying they preferred one-year deals.
- Vernon Wells would prefer to remain with the Angels and prove to fans what he's capable of rather than be traded elsewhere with a chance to start (Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times reports on Twitter). Wells says he knows he has to earn a spot to play and that he has to work hard in order to do so.
- Major League Baseball isn't happy with the Dodgers' reported new TV deal, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale reports that the previous fair-market value for a new deal called for an $84MM annual value. The Dodgers agreed to a deal with Time Warner Cable earlier today that would provide the team with roughly $280MM annually. That number has created significant revenue-sharing concerns among MLB officials.
Several teams have shown interest in the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, but the club hasn't had trade discussions on either player in recent days, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Colorado heard from a number of parties interested in Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings but they reportedly told teams that he wasn't available. Meanwhile, Fowler's name has popped up quite a bit in trade rumors in recent months with the Braves, Reds, and Phillies all showing interest earlier this offseason. Here's more from around baseball..
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said at last night's BBWAA dinner that he was caught off guard by the club's signing of Rafael Soriano, writes James Wagner of the Washington Post. "That kind of surprised me,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know we were needing a closer. I thought we were done” this offseason."
- The Rangers are basically paying Matt Harrison as just a slightly above-average starting pitcher in his new deal and even if his results fall back to his peripherals, he'll still outpitch his contract, writes Jack Moore of Fangraphs. Texas agreed to a five-year, $55MM extension with the 27-year-old last week.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider sub. req'd) writes that there are interested teams champing at the bit to get involved in the Justin Upton conversations with the Diamondbacks. The D'Backs spent the early part of the month talking with the Mariners and Cubs, who are both on his no-trade list.
Many players will avoid arbitration today, and dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Marlins, Blue Jays and Braves are known for their 'file and trial' policies. For players on those teams this marks the last chance at negotiations before a hearing.
MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Now for the details…
- Clayton Richard filed for $5.55MM while the Padres offered $4.905MM, according to CBSSports.com.
- Martin Prado filed for $7.05MM while the Braves countered with $6.65MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Sergio Romo filed for $4.5MM and the Giants countered at $2.675MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Max Scherzer filed at $7.4MM and the Tigers offered $6.05MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Jason Hammel filed at $8.25MM and the Orioles offered $5.7MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter). Jim Johnson filed at $7.1MM and the Orioles countered at $5.7MM.
- Homer Bailey filed at $5.8MM and the Reds filed at $4.75MM, Heyman tweets.
- Jordan Zimmermann filed at $5.8MM and the Nationals offered $4.6MM, Heyman tweets.
- Dexter Fowler filed at $5.15MM with the Rockies offering $4.25MM, Heyman tweets
- Shin-Soo Choo filed at $8MM and the Reds offered $6.75MM, Heyman tweets.
- Chase Headley filed for $10.3MM with the Padres countering at $7.075MM, Heyman tweets.
- Mat Latos asked for $4.7MM and the Reds offered $4.15MM, Heyman tweets.
- Jason Motte filed at $5.5MM and the Cardinals offered $4.5MM, Heyman tweets.
- David Murphy filed at $6.5MM and the Rangers offered $5.05MM, Heyman tweets.
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The Rays are still looking for a center fielder, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (Twitter link). However, there's not much out there at this stage in the offseason. Stark wonders if the Rays could be a landing spot for Michael Bourn, the top free agent position player remaining.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post notes that the Rockies are among the many clubs that like Jeremy Hellickson and wonders if the Rays could have interest in Dexter Fowler (Twitter link). As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, Bourn, Scott Podsednik and Grady Sizemore are the only free agent center fielders still available. Gerardo Parra comes to mind as a trade candidate capable of playing center field.
Desmond Jennings, who played 21 games in center field this past season, would presumably start in center if the Rays don't add another player at that position. If the Rays do acquire a center fielder, Jennings might shift back to left field with Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer assuming reserve roles. B.J. Upton played center for the Rays for years before signing with Atlanta as a free agent this offseason.