Eric Chavez Rumors
Phillies general partner David Montgomery told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s not thinking about trading away established players since opportunity still exists for his 29-33 club. “Come August or something, maybe we feel differently,” Montgomery acknowledged, noting that the team’s current goal is to re-enter the playoff picture.
Here are more rumors and notes from Rosenthal...
- Though the Cubs want to add talent, they are reluctant to start a long rebuilding process. Of all the Cubs, Ryan Dempster is most likely to be traded, according to Rosenthal. One general manager said the right-hander seems like a “classic Ned Colletti buy,” so don’t be surprised if the Dodgers show some interest in Dempster.
- Rosenthal speculates that the Indians could be a fit for Alfonso Soriano. Though the Cubs would be paying most of the outfielder’s salary in any trade, Soriano can still hit, especially against left-handers. Rival teams expect the Indians to be aggressive this summer, and they could use a right-handed bat like Soriano.
- Teams aren’t sure that Wandy Rodriguez would succeed in the American League.
- One person said there’s “no chance” the Red Sox could obtain prospects for Kevin Youkilis without paying most of his salary.
- The Reds want to add a left-handed hitter, Rosenthal reports.
- Though Eric Chavez can still play, preparing for games has become “a huge hurdle to climb physically.” The Yankees and White Sox were the only teams to show interest in the 34-year-old this past offseason, and he would have been content to retire if necessary.
- Don’t be surprised if the Giants look to acquire a reliever, Rosenthal writes.
- One executive wonders if the Orioles could trade Brian Matusz in a deal for a more established starter.
News and notes out of the American League East..
- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters told reporters today that he doesn't hold a grudge against the club for renewing his contract, writes Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun. The Scott Boras client will be eligible for arbitration after this season and can hit the open market after the 2015 season.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post offers up two ideas for how the Yankees can stay below the $189MM threshold while keeping their core in tact. His first idea is to extend and rework Alex Rodriguez's after the 2013 season in order to lower the average value of his contract. Rodriguez is currently slated to make $86MM over four years starting in 2014 but Sherman suggests that the Bombers could turn $24MM in uncertain bonuses into a $14MM add-on for '18. The Bombers could also suppress the average salary of Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson by extending them under their current deals rather than after 2014.
- As he waited for the Yankees' call this offseason, Eric Chavez wasn't sure if he'd be playing this year, writes Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger. Chavez, 34, also had conversations with the White Sox but ultimately chose to return to New York.
- Bobby Valentine & Co. are working to solve the Red Sox bullpen puzzle, which involves several relievers who are out-of-options, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey took a long and strange path to wind up where he is today, writes Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.
Gonzalez, a Scott Boras client, remains unsigned with the season a few weeks away. Boras told me on Friday his client is "in play with a lot of teams right now," and "sometimes late doesn't mean demand, it just means choice." At this point, however, Gonzalez's ability to secure a Major League deal is in jeopardy. Last week, he turned down a minor league offer to return to the Rangers. The White Sox currently have 37 players on their 40-man roster, so they could add Gonzalez without losing anyone. Rhodes, 42, is more likely to settle for a minor league deal, in my opinion. He aims to pitch one more season before retiring.
Heyman also notes that the White Sox were the other team in on third baseman Eric Chavez at the end. Chavez ultimately re-upped with the Yankees.
Eric Chavez is returning to the Yankees for 2012, officially signing a one-year, $900K deal with incentives. Chavez, 35, will reprise his role as a backup corner infielder and DH for the Yanks. The left-handed hitter posted a .263/.320/.356 line with two homers in 175 plate appearances in the Bronx in 2011, his first season in New York after spending 13 in Oakland.
Though he was once one of the better all-around third basemen in baseball, Chavez has played in no more than 90 games over the past five seasons, so he is strictly a role player at this juncture of his career.
Four Yankees prospects -- Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, and Mason Williams -- made Baseball America's top 100 prospects list today. The quartet also cracked top 100 lists from Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein this month. The latest on the club:
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi accidentally talked about Eric Chavez as if he was on the Yankees' roster, in a discussion with reporters today. GM Brian Cashman said the team was not closer to signing the third baseman, though ESPNNewYork's Andrew Marchand still expects a deal. Sunday night, Chavez pegged his chances of returning to the Yankees at 50-50. Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard that through Monday, the Yankees had not talked to Chavez's agents in several days. He senses that the Yankees will stick to an offer in the $1MM range.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan analyzes the struggles of the team's rotation additions of the last 15 years, and wonders if Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda can "flip history the bird" as C.C. Sabathia has.
- Sherman looks at why the Yankees chose Raul Ibanez over Johnny Damon.
- The Yankees are now in talks with third baseman Eric Chavez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, who says it'd be a Major League deal. Speaking to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez last night, Chavez pegged his chances of returning to the Yankees at 50-50. ESPNNewYork's Andrew Marchand is more confident, writing, "Considering that Chavez thought about retiring and has plenty of dough, they are expected to come to an agreement."
- Closer Mariano Rivera on whether he will retire after this year: "I know now, but I don't have to tell you." ESPN's Buster Olney had the quote, among others. According to Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, Rivera also said, "This one is different. This is it," comparing his decision to previous retirement talk.
- Catcher Russell Martin told Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal he talked this winter about a three-year deal with the Yankees, but the discussion never progressed beyond the initial stages. Martin avoided arbitration with a $7.5MM contract for 2012.
- The Yankees have no interest in re-signing Damaso Marte and GM Brian Cashman could imagine Pedro Feliciano helping in September at best, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman looks at all the Yankees roster possibilities in this blog post.
- "The bullpen has become a cheap thing for me," Cashman explains in this article from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. On the other hand, Cashman spent plenty on his rotation this winter, whether through free agent dollars or the loss of Jesus Montero.
The Yankees agreed to trade A.J. Burnett to the Pirates yesterday, two days before their pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training. With less than 24 hours officially remaining in their offseason, let's round up the latest news surrounding the team...
- Burnett will take his physical tomorrow and final approval of the trade from the commissioner's office is likely to come Monday afternoon, reports Erik Boland of Newsday (on Twitter).
- Even after the Burnett trade, the Yankees have room in the budget for Eric Chavez or a left-handed DH but not both, according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post (Twitter links). Team executives plan to meet after the trade becomes official to discuss whether room can be made for both.
- The Yankees still prefer Raul Ibanez to Johnny Damon because he's better against right-handed pitchers and on defense, but Damon is not entirely off the board according to Sherman (on Twitter). MLBTR readers were split pretty evenly between those two (and Vladimir Guerrero) in this morning's poll about the club's DH spot.
- Hiroki Kuroda reported to camp today and spoke to reporters (including Chad Jennings of The Journal News) about his decision to stay with the Dodgers at the trade deadline last year. The 37-year-old right-hander also wouldn't commit to any plans beyond this season.
- Joe Brescia of The New York Times chatted briefly with Gene Michael, the team's former GM and current advisor to Brian Cashman. He talked about the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade, the difference between how the Yankees are run now compared to George Steinbrenner's heyday, and more.
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.