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Eric Chavez Rumors
4:46pm: Heyman says the Yankees won't "finalize" things with Ibanez and Chavez until after Burnett has passed his physical and the league has approved the trade (Twitter link).
8:00am: The Yankees are "intent" on acquiring two hitters and "remain focused" on Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The team's attention will turn to adding hitting depth once the rumored A.J. Burnett trade with the Pirates is finalized.
New York has long been known to be targeting one left-handed hitter as a part-time DH and bench bat, but moving Burnett would free up the payroll space for the Yankees to add even more depth. Ibanez would be limited to DH, pinch-hitting and only very occasional outfield appearances, but in Chavez, the Yankees would also have an infield option capable of spelling Alex Rodriguez at third base. The Bombers were already in serious talks with Ibanez as of last week.
- The Red Sox signed 17-year-old Australian Daniel McGrath, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. The left-hander will visit Boston's Spring Training camp for a week before returning to finish high school in Australia. Bradford hears 15 MLB teams had interest before Boston completed the deal.
- Even after signing Hall, the Yankees continue to be focused on Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Last night we learned that they were in serious talks with Ibanez, and Heyman says the Yankees are in excellent position because all of their targets have interest in playing for a contender.
- Meanwhile, Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Yankees are not offering more than $2MM for a DH-type and might not even want to spend more than $1MM.
- Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira will watch Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler in the Dominican Republic when he travels to watch Yoenis Cespedes play, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports.
Here's the latest from the AL East…
- Brian Cashman said there is still a chance Eric Chavez could return to the Yankees, reports ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand. Chavez could have the edge over other DH types like Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui since Chavez can still play the field.
- Mike Axisa of the River Avenue Blues blog sees Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier as an intriguing trade deadline possibility for the Yankees. Ethier would ideally be paired with Andruw Jones as a lefty-righty DH platoon.
- The Yankees still see Phil Hughes as a starting pitcher long-term and aren't likely to trade Hughes given that his trade value is "at a low point," writes MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Last month for Roto Authority, I wrote that Hughes could be a nice dark horse fantasy option if he's healthy and able to win the No. 5 spot in New York's rotation.
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette tells MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski that he wants to get Adam Jones' 2012 salary settled before exploring a multiyear extension with the center fielder. "I've said several times that we like Adam Jones as a player and if we were to consider a long-term deal, that is something that we can certainly consider," Duquette said.
- Melewski also reports that Jones' arbitration case is set to be heard on February 17. The Orioles' other two outstanding arb cases (Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Bergesen) are scheduled for February 6 and 8, respectively.
- The Orioles are still looking for another bat, and it will probably have to come through the free agent market, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The O's had "tepid interest" in Casey Kotchman but had already moved on before Kotchman agreed to terms with the Indians today.
- The Red Sox have hired veteran scout Gary Hughes as a special assistant to the club, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Hughes has spent 45 years in a variety of different scouting and front office positions for numerous teams, including the last nine years as Jim Hendry's special assistant with the Cubs.
- The New York Times Co. has sold 100 shares of its ownership stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich. The sale will net $30MM for the Times Co. Between this and a larger sale in July, the Times Co. is down to roughly a third of the 750 units it bought in Fenway Sports Group in 2002. Major League Baseball still has to approve the sale.
Earlier today, we learned that Jorge Posada will announce his retirement in the next couple of weeks. The catcher spent his entire career with the Yankees and earned five All-Star nominations across his 17-year career. In his final year in the Bronx, Posada hit .235/.315/.398 with 14 homers in 387 plate appearances..
- Posada instructed his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES, not to make calls on his behalf this offseason, a source told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, the agents fielded calls and accepted offers as Posada waited until after the holidays to make his final determination.
- Speaking of members of the Core Four, closer Mariano Rivera has said he might know by Spring Training whether he intends to keep pitching when his contract expires after this year, but won't say which way he's leaning, writes Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger. The 42-year-old posted a 1.91 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 last season.
- General Manager Brian Cashman isn't sure if the club will have interest in Hiroyuki Nakajima when he'll be an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season, writes Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. As expected, the Yankees are now in on Eric Chavez after being unable to come to terms on a deal with Nakajima.
- McCarron also writes that Cashman & Co. believe that other teams are seeking too much on the trade market in return for pitching.
- Nakajima is a classic example of the flaws in the posting process, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While waiting one more year isn't a terrible outcome for the shortstop, it had serious consequences for another Japanese player, right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma nearly had a four-year, $36MM deal with the A's last offseason but wound up inking a one-year, $1.5MM deal with the Mariners this week.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) hears that Nakajima was offered about $1MM by the Yankees, but the bigger issue for him was the role he would have had with the Bombers. The infielder was a starter and a star player for the Saitama Seibu Lions.
Let's jump into the weekend with one last batch of news items….
- Arthur Rhodes is close to deciding where he will play in 2012, reports Anthony Andro of Fox Sports Southwest (Twitter link). Rhodes also confirms that he will play next year, making it 21 Major League seasons for the 42-year-old southpaw. The Cardinals and Mariners have both shown interest in Rhodes this offseason.
- Some teams aren't convinced that Hiroki Kuroda will pitch in the majors next season and will instead return to Japan, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Kuroda's asking price is reportedly $13-$14MM on a one-year deal, which is a slight increase from last month.
- Also from Heyman (via Twitter), Ryan Ludwick has received offers from at least four teams. The Reds, A's and Giants have been linked to Ludwick this winter, though it's unknown if any of those clubs actually offered the outfielder a contract.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune covers such Padres topics as a possible Carlos Quentin extension, the team's lack of interest in Eric Chavez and the Friars' plans for the newly-acquired Andrew Cashner in his weekly online chat with fans.
- The Tigers appear to be satisfied with Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn as their second base platoon, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says his team is looking for at least two "low-cost" starting pitchers to compete for the back end of the Boston rotation next year, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. As Cafardo notes, this would seemingly take the Red Sox out of the running for more expensive free agent pitchers like Kuroda, Edwin Jackson or Joe Saunders. We heard earlier today that the Sox were among several teams interested in Paul Maholm.
The Yankees aren’t the only team interested in free agent infielder Eric Chavez. The Nationals, Rays and Padres are among the other clubs interested in the Scott Leventhal client, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Chavez, 34, posted a .263/.320/.356 line in a reserve role for the Yankees last year, backing up at third and even appearing at first base. The Yankees, who failed to reach an agreement with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, have interest in re-signing the six-time Gold Glove winner. This is the first time the Nationals, Rays and Padres have been linked to Chavez this offseason.
Four of the five American League East teams could use starting pitching depth and though the Rays have enviable rotation depth, they need a bat or two. Here are the details on the division, starting with Tampa Bay…
- Coco Crisp, who agreed to a two-year, $14MM deal with the Athletics yesterday, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the Rays were a finalist for him (Twitter links). Tampa Bay was “in heavy on” the outfielder, but Oakland presented the better offer, according to Slusser.
- Carlos Silva would earn a base salary of $1MM if he makes his way onto Boston’s roster, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Silva, whose minor league deal with the Red Sox was announced yesterday, “will be part of a competition in Spring Training” GM Ben Cherington said.
- The Red Sox have scouted both Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, but they’re likely to pass on Cespedes and bid for Soler instead, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Red Sox are intrigued by Soler’s talent and they don’t like Cespedes’ asking price.
- Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima appears to seek a couple of million dollars per season on a multiyear deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Heyman points out that Eric Chavez is an alternative for the Yankees if they don't work out a deal with Nakajima by this Friday's deadline.
- Click here for details on the Orioles.
- Third baseman Alex Rodriguez recently traveled to Germany for an experimental therapy called Orthokine on his right knee, reported Mike Puma of the New York Post. Orthokine is similar to Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, which reliever Takashi Saito had done several years ago. The procedure, which was recommended by Kobe Bryant, came with the blessing of the Yankees and the commissioner's office. Puma explains, "Orthokine involves taking blood from the patient’s arm and spinning it in a centrifuge, a machine used in laboratories to spin objects around a fixed axis. The serum is then injected into the affected area." Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters the procedure was done on Rodriguez's left shoulder as well. For more on the topic, check out this article from Teri Thompson and Christian Red of the New York Daily News.
- Cashman appears to be waiting for a resolution on the Hiroyuki Nakajima situation before pursuing Eric Chavez any further, tweets MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. Hoch says the Nakajima situation will be resolved next week. The Yankees won the exclusive right to negotiate with Nakajima with a bid around $2MM earlier this month.
- Hoch notes that the Yankees are still talking about re-signing Andruw Jones but Cashman says he has nothing to report right now.
Here's the latest from the AL West…
- The Angels are considering a contract extension for the newly-acquired Chris Iannetta, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Iannetta is signed through 2012 and the Halos have a $5MM club option for 2013 that Iannetta can now void due to being traded before the start of the 2013 season.
- Also from Renck, the Rockies tried to acquire Angels right-hander John Hellweg in the Iannetta trade. Hellweg, 23, has a 3.83 ERA, an 11.4 K/9 rate and 7.6 BB/9 in four minor league seasons. He spent last season pitching for the Halos' Class A+ affiliate.
- Japanese shortstop Munenori Kawasaki wants to play in the Major Leagues, but only for the Mariners, reports MLB.com's Matt Weber. Kawasaki, 30, is a free agent so he can sign without a posting fee and he said he's willing to sign a minor league deal and play a different position if necessary.
- MLB.com's Greg Johns has more details on Kawasaki, who has a career .294 average but just hit .267/.310/.327 last season with Fukuoka. Johns says the Mariners have scouted Kawasaki in Japan so he is "at least on the Mariners' radar."
- The Athletics aren't one of the teams interested in Eric Chavez, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). "He wouldn't be a fit for them and vice versa," Slusser writes.
- In a mailbag piece, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan looks at the obstacles preventing the Rangers from making a move for Prince Fielder and Matt Garza. Sullivan also notes that it's only a matter of time before Ron Washington gets another contract extension from the club.
- The Mariners' deep minor league system seems to give them an advantage under the new collective bargaining agreement, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
Here are some notes from the AL East on the day the Red Sox officially introduced their new manager…
- The Red Sox and manager Bobby Valentine agreed on a two-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The Red Sox hold team options on Valentine for 2014 and 2015, tweets WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
- Valentine reached out to David Cone about becoming the new Red Sox pitching coach, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). Cone isn't expected to take the job but was "flattered."
- The Yankees turned down a request by C.J. Wilson's agent for a visit to Yankee Stadium, reports ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand. That's not a good sign for Wilson's chances of signing with the Bombers, which Marchand believes are "less than five percent."
- Erik Hahmann of the DRaysBay blog looks at the situation between the Rays and lefty J.P. Howell. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes listed Howell as one of this winter's non-tender candidates.
- The Blue Jays are still open to bringing back Kelly Johnson next year, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Also from Morosi, he thinks the Blue Jays could — and should — sign free agent first baseman Prince Fielder.
- Eric Chavez definitely wants to play in 2012 and a number of teams have strong interest in him, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). Some West Coast teams are interested in Chavez and the Yankees appear to be in the mix as well.
- The Rays have some interest in Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes, but probably can’t afford him, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times (on Twitter).
- The Orioles hired former Phillies GM Lee Thomas as a special assistant, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com first mentioned the possibility (on Twitter). It's worth noting that Scott Proefrock and Joe Jordan of the Phillies are former Orioles front office employees.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post