Edwin Jackson Rumors

Quick Hits: Saunders, Cubs, Soriano, Gonzalez

The Orioles would like to re-sign Joe Saunders and have continued talks with him, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  They'll have plenty of competition for the left-hander, however, as he is drawing high interest from three other clubs.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • On today’s edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast, MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the MarinersAngels trade, the Cubs’ new-look rotation, and some recent trade rumors.
  • The Dodgers are still kicking the tires on Joel Hanrahan of the Pirates and free agent Brian Wilson as they look to deepen their bullpen, but they aren't in the mix for Rafael Soriano, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Nationals continue to talk to Mike Gonzalez about returning and the Reds are also in pursuit, Bowden tweets.
  • Sources tell Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter) that the Rangers were never serious bidders for Edwin Jackson.  The right-hander signed a four-year, $52MM contract with the Cubs earlier today.
  • Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik has landed a bigger bat for the middle of his lineup, but that doesn't mean Seattle is done with its roster maneuverings, writes Greg Johns of MLB.com.  The Mariners still have financial flexibility since they should several million dollars in the difference between what Kendrys Morales ($4.8MM) will earn compared to Jason Vargas ($7.4MM) in their final year of arbitration eligibility.  
  • Dexter Fowler told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) that Rockies General Manager Bill Geivett told him that it would take a lot in return for them to deal him to the Braves.  Atlanta is targeting Fowler along with Emilio Bonifacio and other outfield options.

Strong Progress For Cubs, Edwin Jackson

The Cubs are the frontrunners for free agent right-hander Edwin Jackson, but as of last night they weren't the only team pursuing the Legacy Sports Group client. The Indians were still talking with Jackson yesterday, and it wasn’t long ago that the Rangers and Padres had serious interest, too. The bidding is up to $50MM for Jackson, who turned 29 in September. Here are the latest Jackson-related rumors, with the most recent updates up top…

  • The Cubs have made "strong progress" on a four-year, $52MM deal with Jackson, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). Jackson is just about off of the board, Olney adds.

Cubs Front-Runner For Edwin Jackson

10:03pm: Bowden reports (on Twitter) that the Cubs are now the front-runner for Jackson. He says a four-year deal worth approximately $52MM is in the ballpark.

WEDNESDAY, 7:31pm: The Indians are in talks with Jackson and the right-hander should get at least four years, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears the bidding is up to $50MM (Twitter link). Rosenthal adds that while Cleveland also has interest in Nick Swisher, they probably can't afford both players.

TUESDAY: The market for free agent starter Edwin Jackson has narrowed to the Cubs and Rangers, reports ESPN's Jim Bowden (Twitter link). The Padres dropped out of the running for Jackson since the team didn't want to make a four-year commitment to the right-hander. The Angels, Twins, Blue Jays and Brewers have also been rumored to be interested in Jackson at various points this offseason.

Jackson represents a backup plan for both Chicago and Texas, as the two teams were recently outbid for other major free agent starters (Anibal Sanchez and Zack Greinke, respectively). In the Cubs' case, their pursuit of Jackson represents another sign that the team is prepared to spend significant money in on free agent pitching and their willingness to spend $77MM for Sanchez wasn't just a singular offer for a particular player, though Jackson's eventual deal will be much less than $77MM.

While Jackson isn't the ace-level starter that the Rangers were looking for in Greinke, Jackson would still be a very solid innings-eating addition to a rotation that already includes Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis. Acquiring Jackson would mean that Texas could keep Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez in the bullpen or the minors as rotation depth.

We heard last week that the Padres were "strongly pursuing" Jackson but FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that San Diego weren't prepared to offer a $12-$13MM average annual salary or a commitment of four or five years. As MLB.com's Corey Brock puts it, Padres GM Josh Byrnes is "unwilling to go [as long as] four years on anyone." The Friars have signed Jason Marquis to a one-year contract this winter and have been connected to such pitchers as Shaun Marcum, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

Heyman & Knobler On Hanrahan, Rangers, Bourn

The latest from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com…

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

Quick Hits: Mickelson, Jackson, Hamilton, Tigers

As the newly-signed Hiroyuki Nakajima becomes a comic hit during his introductory press conference with the A's, here's the latest from around baseball…

  • Phil Mickelson will not be part of the Padres' ownership group, reports Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  The golf star said he isn't "able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team."
  • It doesn't seem logical for the Rangers to give Edwin Jackson (what would have to be) a four-year, $50MM contract, opines MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  We heard earlier tonight that the Rangers and Cubs were the final two contenders for Jackson's services.
  • Major League Baseball has ruled that the $2MM the Angels will donate to Josh Hamilton's charitable foundation will count towards the team's luxury tax payments and be counted as "noncash compensation," reports The Associated Press.  FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal noted the charitable portion of Hamilton's contract earlier today.
  • It can be difficult for players to mentally adjust to the "baseball limbo" that is the offseason rumor mill, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes.
  • Money has been no object for Tigers owner Mike Ilitch as he pursues a World Series title, but ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Tigers' next owner will be able to keep the club's payroll in the $150MM range given the limitations of Detroit's market.  (An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read Olney's column.)
  • Nick Swisher will not be visiting the Giants during his tour of potential destinations, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  With the Giants not having enough payroll space left to pursue Swisher, I think we can finally put this rumor to bed.
  • The Twins and Carl Pavano don't appear to be a fit, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger writes.  The two sides met during the Winter Meetings and though Pavano has pitched well in Minnesota, he turns 37 in January and missed most of last season with an injured shoulder.  I agree with Bollinger that the Twins would probably want a more reliable option than Pavano given that several other projected members of the Twins rotation are also coming back from injuries.
  • Baseball people suggest Trevor Bauer has a better chance of becoming an impact player than Didi Gregorius, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. The Diamondbacks sent Bauer to the Indians last week in the three-team deal that brought Gregorius to Arizona.  As Piecoro explains in detail, however, there were some questions about Bauer's personality and his ability to be a team player.

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post

Padres “Strongly Pursuing” Edwin Jackson

MONDAY: The Padres are trying to sign Jackson to a multiyear deal, but talks are "just chatter" now, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).

SUNDAY: The Padres and Jackson continue to negotiate towards a three-year deal, a team source tells Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets the Rangers also have interest in Jackson.

THURSDAY: The Padres are "strongly pursuing" free agent starter Edwin Jackson, two rival executives tell FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.  San Diego is only prepared to go so far for the right-hander, however, as they will likely drop their pursuit if the "strong market" for Jackson produces a four- or five-year contract with an average annual value of $12-$13MM.  (Both links are to Twitter) 

The Twins, Angels, Blue Jays, Rangers and Brewers have all been connected to Jackson this winter, and with so many teams (and so many big markets) in the mix, the Padres may be hard-pressed to land the right-hander.  The Padres were known to be looking for starting pitching this winter, signing Jason Marquis and showing interest in such pitchers as Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Shaun Marcum, Dan Haren and Hiroki Kuroda.

Jackson failed to find a suitable multiyear contract last winter and took a one-year deal with the Nationals, but after a solid 2012 season, it seems unlikely that the 29-year-old would have to settle for another short-term deal.  On the other hand, Jackson could look to establish even more value for himself by spending a season or two at pitcher-friendly Petco Park, plus Jackson is familiar with Padres executives Josh Byrnes and A.J. Hinch from their collective time with the Diamondbacks.

Quick Hits: Rangers, Youkilis, Swisher

The latest links from around MLB on a day Josh Hamilton obtained a $125MM deal from the Angels

  • The Rangers haven’t pushed hard for free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). It appears that they’ll look at other options following the departure of Hamilton. However, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that LaRoche's name came up today and that Texas might be willing to offer three years (Twitter link).
  • The Rangers would like to add a pitcher, and are looking at mid-rotation starters, including Edwin JacksonJon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
  • Managers Robin Ventura and Bobby Valentine reflected on Kevin Youkilis' 2012 season with Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Also within the piece, Sherman shows that the Giants won the 2012 World Series without spending more than $1.25MM on a free agent during the winter of 2011-12. Yes, Ryan Theriot was San Francisco's most expensive free agent signing a year ago.
  • Multiple teams continue pursuing Nick Swisher, but the free agent outfielder is “not even close” to making a decision, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). At least three clubs are in the mix and a fourth may be involved. The Indians appear to be pursuing Swisher aggressively, and the Red Sox, PhilliesMarinersRangers, and Orioles have also been linked to him.

Melvin On Marcum, Dempster, Jackson

If Ryan Dempster signs with the Red Sox, the Brewers might not pursue other free agent starters, Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Melvin indicated free agent starters have shown limited reciprocal interest, according to Haudricourt. "This may be one of those years when we don't do too much,” the GM said. “We're still looking at relievers but we might see if we get a surprise in Spring Training.” Here are the details on the team’s search for starting pitching…

  • Though Shaun Marcum recently indicated he’d consider returning to Milwaukee, Melvin said he hasn’t talked to the right-hander’s agent. Marcum hadn’t been on the Brewers’ radar, Haudricourt reports. “I always thought he'd engage in talks with a team and get something worked out, and he probably will," Melvin said.
  • Melvin confirmed that he offered Dempster a two-year contract and said he hasn’t heard back from the right-hander’s agent. "It doesn't appear that he'll be coming to Milwaukee," Melvin acknowledged.
  • There’s “some intrigue” with respect to right-hander Edwin Jackson. The Brewers spoke with Jackson’s agent, though it doesn’t sound as though talks developed from there.

NL West Notes: Greinke, Dodgers, Padres

The defending World Series champions play in the NL West, but the Giants are not the ones making the biggest headlines. Here’s the latest from the division, starting in Los Angeles…

  • Barring something unexpected, the Dodgers are finished in the starting pitching market according to Olney (on Twitter).
  • Zack Greinke signed for $147MM over six years, and he could earn even more money by opting out three seasons from now, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains. The Dodgers awarded Greinke the opt-out as a compromise, as the right-hander initially sought a seven-year deal with a no-trade clause, Rosenthal reports.
  • One evaluator told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the Giants are still a better team than the Dodgers despite Los Angeles' aggressive spending. The Dodgers have questions on the left side of the infield and might be vulnerable against left-handed pitching, Olney writes.
  • The Dodgers have discussed Kevin Youkilis and Anibal Sanchez, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Sanchez may be more of a longshot given the Dodgers' internal rotation options. The team appears to have interest in dealing Aaron Harang, but Chris Capuano has drawn more trade interest, Knobler reports.
  • The Dodgers have talked to the Pirates about Capuano, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).
  • Rosenthal wonders if the Padres could be a fit for Edwin Jackson, but concludes that San Diego probably won’t sign the free agent right-hander if he’s positioned to command a four or five-year deal (Twitter links). Padres executives Josh Byrnes and A.J. Hinch previously worked with Jackson in Arizona.

Free Agent Rumors: Dempster, Ichiro, Jackson, Tejada

Approximately half of the free agents on MLBTR’s top 50 list remain unsigned, which means there will be lots of action in the next few weeks. Here are the latest free agent updates from around MLB…

  • The Brewers, Red Sox and Royals are the "three main teams" looking at Ryan Dempster, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).  This would seem to eliminate the Cubs, who we recently heard weren't negotiating with Dempster.
  • The Yankees are still talking to Ichiro Suzuki as they continue waiting to hear from Kevin Youkilis, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Youkilis is weighing multiple offers and the Indians are also bidding for his services.
  • The Royals and other teams seem “very cool” to Edwin Jackson, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter). In other words they aren't overly eager to spend aggressively on him.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren said he has interest in certain outfielders as one-year stopgaps, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). The Braves need another outfielder, even after signing B.J. Upton.
  • The Diamondbacks are very interested in Miguel Tejada, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reports (on Twitter, in Spanish). The team offered Tejada a minor league deal, but he’d like a guaranteed contract.
  • The Marlins are only interested in Carl Pavano if he’ll accept a low base salary of $3MM or so plus incentives, Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 reports (on Twitter). Pavano’s agent met with the Twins yesterday,  Mackey adds.