Eric Chavez Rumors
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
Let's round up the latest rumors on a few members of this winter's free agent class:
- Agent Paul Kinzer told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link) that, while Aramis Ramirez has a limited market, there are at least two teams very interested in the third baseman.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter) that Eric Chavez's agent told Yankees GM Brian Cashman his client wants to play in 2012. Presumably, since the call went to Cashman, Chavez has some interest in rejoining the Yanks.
- Plenty of teams are interested in Craig Counsell for a coaching or front office position, but Counsell hopes to play one more year, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. We heard yesterday that Counsell was listening to both playing and "non-playing" offers.
- Barry Meister, Tim Wakefield's agent, told reporters today that he and Wakefield have talked about the possibility of the knuckleballer signing with a National League team. Meister added that a lot of clubs have called, but he thinks "it would be a shame" if Wakefield didn't pitch for the Red Sox. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com has a transcript of the conversation.
- Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes isn't officially a free agent yet, but that didn't stop agent Adam Katz from talking to reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, about his client. While there have been some questions about whether Cespedes would need to spend time in the minors, Katz said he believes the 26-year-old is ready for the bigs.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to reporters while at a charity function earlier today, and Marc Carig of The Star Ledger provided a recap. Here are the highlights...
- The Yankees were aware that Jonathan Sanchez was on the trade block, but Cashman said the team did not have discussions about acquiring him. The Giants traded Sanchez to the Royals for former Yankee Melky Cabrera earlier this week.
- Clubs have already inquired about the Yankees' young catchers, such as Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, and Francisco Cervelli. "I've had a lot of teams express 'Hey, if you're ever going to do something there, mark us down,' that type of things," said Cashman.
- Cashman said it's too early to know if the best pitching options are available via trade or free agency. "I haven't talked to every team and I haven't talked to every agent yet," said the GM. "And I certainly haven't had any agent tell me what they want financially. So, no one's made any demands to me, no one's made me an offer, so I don't know what these current free agents are looking for yet in terms of years and dollars."
- The Yankees have requested the medical information for some players, which Cashman said is standard procedure.
- Cashman has not had any talks with Jorge Posada or Eric Chavez yet, and he doesn't know if either will continue playing or retire. Posada told Carig that he's undecided about playing in 2012, but he's resigned to the fact that it would not be with the Yankees. He believes he can still serve as a backup catcher and DH, and he told Newsday's Erik Boland that he's been contacted by five or six teams (all Twitter links).
- Posada's wife hinted that the Marlins could be a fit, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). "We live in Miami, so… We love Miami. Nice transition," she said.
- The Yankees have the flexibility to stretch the budget, if needed. "There's no set number where you can't exceed it that obviously exists in other environments," said Cashman.
- The team has a ton of scouts in the Dominican Republic this week, and they are there to see more players than just Yoenis Cespedes.
A few items of note from around the Northeast Corridor ...
- The Yankees have contacted the agent for free agent starters Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. Bombers GM Brian Cashman, however, cautioned that he's "in the process of talking to everybody." Oswalt and Wilson are both represented by Bob Garber of Select Sports Group, as our Agency Database shows.
- As well, Cashman has already communicated with free agent starter Freddy Garcia's representatives, according to Carig, and the parties are mutually interested in seeing the veteran right-hander in the Bronx again in 2012. Cashman also expressed interest in bringing back reserve infield Eric Chavez, backup outfielder Andruw Jones and right-hander Bartolo Colon.
- The Phillies have had discussions with free agent closer Ryan Madson, Madson's agent Scott Boras tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Boras termed the talks with the Phillies as "good dialogue" and said Madson is receiving a lot of interest - even from clubs that weren't thought to be in need of a closer.
- Newest Phillie Jim Thome is good friends with former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer, whom the Phillies are seriously pursuing, so Thome could help recruit Cuddyer to Philly, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "We've texted a little bit," Thome said. "We've talked." ... "I'm sure we will talk going forward."
- The Mets will refrain from doling out potentially crippling contracts under GM Sandy Alderson, but they shouldn't draw that line in dealing with their homegrown star Jose Reyes, opines Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Writes Rubin: "If the ultimate verdict with Reyes is a calculated baseball decision, so be it. But shame on the Mets if he departs and it is primarily payroll-constraint induced."