Dexter Fowler Rumors

West Notes: Fowler, Wells, Dodgers

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.

Quick Hits: Gonzalez, Fowler, Harrison, Nationals

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. 

Arbitration Filing Numbers

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…



Rays Seek Center Fielder

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.


Braves Still Involved In Multiple Trade Talks

The Braves have already made one notable trade this offseason (Tommy Hanson for Jordan Walden), and Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says they are still involved in multiple trade talks (Twitter links). Emilio Bonifacio and Dexter Fowler are believed to be among their targets.

O'Brien notes the Braves did make a strong push for Shin-Soo Choo before he was traded to the Reds, but the team wasn't going to overpay for a player one year away from free agency. Atlanta has been seeking outfield help this offseason, though Martin Prado's versatility also allows them to seek a third baseman if they choose.


Rockies, Reds Have Discussed Fowler

2:19pm: Talks between the Phillies and Rockies never got serious, Renck reports (on Twitter). Talks with the Reds could pick up, but Colorado's demands haven't changed.

1:18pm: The Phillies had some serious talks with the Rockies about Fowler before acquiring Ben Revere, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter links). The Mariners have also checked in on Fowler, who seems to be a backup plan for Seattle.

11:21pm: The Rockies and Reds have engaged in preliminary trade talks about Dexter Fowler, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Cincinnati could trade players from its MLB roster, but right-hander Homer Bailey will likely remain with the Reds, according to Rosenthal.

Any Reds package would start with Mike Leake and involve at least two more prospects, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported last night. The Reds maintain interest in Fowler and the Braves can't be ruled out, Renck adds.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty recently downplayed the chances of trading for Fowler, saying he hasn’t really talked to the Rockies. “I’m not sure Colorado is moving Fowler,” Jocketty said, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer suggested this week that the Reds could make a run at acquiring Fowler.

From a financial standpoint trading for Fowler would be more affordable than signing Michael Bourn. Fowler, a 26-year-old switch hitter, posted a .300/.389/.474 batting line in 530 plate appearances this past season. He's second time arbitration eligible with a projected salary of $4MM and will remain under team control through 2015.

Rosenthal suggests the Reds could trade MLB players such as Leake and outfielder Drew Stubbs


Rockies Notes: Cuddyer, Francis, Fowler

Some early-morning Rockies news, courtesy of the Denver Post's Troy Renck (Twitter links)…

  • A trade is still the more likely means for Colorado to acquire starting pitching help, according to Renck. Teams are calling about Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer. Renck notes that the two years and $21MM remaining on Cuddyer's contract may be appealing to teams, given the inflated prices we've seen in this year's free agent market.
  • The one-year deal signed by Jeff Francis last night will pay the southpaw somewhere north of $750K salary that he earned in 2012.
  • Renck also writes that the team included Alex White in this week's Wilton Lopez trade because they no longer viewed White as a starter.
  • Within that same piece, Renck reports that in trade talks prior to the Winter Meetings, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor and one of Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in exchange for Fowler. Needless to say, the price on Colorado's center fielder remains high.

Latest On Reds, Ludwick

WEDNESDAY, 4:25pm: The Reds are "still a little ways apart" with Ludwick, GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.

9:59pm: Ludwick remains in discussions with the Reds and others, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

9:32pm: Ludwick and the Reds are getting close on a deal, hears Yahoo's Jeff Passan.

TUESDAY, 4:12pm: "We're in the ballpark," Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the team's offer to Ludwick.  The team is now waiting on Ludwick and Jocketty expects resolution this week (John Fay reporting).

MONDAY, 5:01pm: The Reds have an offer out to free agent outfielder Ryan Ludwick, manager Dusty Baker tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link).  Reds GM Walt Jocketty told reporters he's optimistic, and he'll meet with Ludwick's agent tomorrow morning.  A signing is possible this week. 

Meanwhile, the Mets have interest in the 34-year-old, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Jocketty also cleared up rumors about the Reds' interest in Dexter Fowler and Coco Crisp, telling reporters, "We really haven’t talked to either club if that’s any indication.  I’m not sure Colorado is moving Fowler."  Jocketty said the Rockies have not brought up Homer Bailey's name to him, either.


NL East Notes: Santana, Braves, Reed Johnson

Here are a few Wednesday morning NL East updates out of Nashville:

  • The Mets would be open to eating a portion of the money remaining on Johan Santana's deal in a trade, but so far the team hasn't received any inquiries, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The Braves are seeking a pair of bench players, one right-handed hitter and one lefty, says David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Reed Johnson appears to be the team's top target as a righty bat, though he's still exploring his options, according to GM Frank Wren: "We’ve expressed an interest in bringing him back. He’s expressed an interest in coming back. But we’re just not there yet."
  • Atlanta also continues to explore trades for impact bats, according to O'Brien, who says the Braves are believed to have inquired on Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, and Shin-Soo Choo, among others.
  • Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com looks into the remaining items on the Nationals' offseason to-do list.

West Notes: Giants Payroll, Escobar, Fowler

Tuesday was a busy day for Western Division teams, with the Rockies landing Wilton Lopez, the Giants signing Marco Scutaro, and the Dodgers and Rangers both fervently pursuing Zack Greinke. Here's the latest from the two divisions…

  • Now that they've retained Scutaro, Jeremy Affeldt and Angel Pagan the Giants would like to add one more arm to their bullpen, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (on Twitter).
  • John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, however, notes that even after shedding the contracts of Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, Brian Wilson and Aaron Rowand, the Giants' payroll is too high to look at any more costly free agents (Twitter links). Perhaps they can find a bargain reliever later in the offseason.
  • Knobler adds that the Athletics thought long and hard about Yunel Escobar but elected to pass on him for the second time this year. As a result they're still unsure of who their 2013 shortstop will be (Twitter links).
  • Troy Renck of the Denver post tweets that the Rockies are still trying to land a starting pitcher, but they'd need to be overwhelmed to move Dexter Fowler. They do like Phillies hurler Vance Worley, he notes in a separate tweet, though I imagine it'd take more than Worley to "overwhelm" them. Worley is reportedly available in trades.