Miami Marlins Rumors
Yesterday' Brad Lincoln acquisition by the Phillies is precisely the type of move that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to continue to make, opines CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman. "Lincoln for $600,000 or less is a better gamble than an Edward Mujica-type for three years," writes Seidman, who praises Amaro for buying low on a talented arm at "the perfect time." Here's more out of the NL East...
- The Marlins are making an effort to re-sign former NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, who they non-tendered on Monday, president of baseball operations Michael Hill told the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer (Twitter link).
- The Brewers are expected to pursue Logan Morrison as a trade candidate this offseason, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reported earlier in the week. He notes that other teams like the Rays and Red Sox could jump into the mix as well.
- Now that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is on board, the Marlins' next target will likely be a third baseman, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo spoke with reporters yesterday regarding the team's acquisition of Doug Fister, stating that Fister was one of their primary pitching targets from the get-go this offseason. The Nationals' scouts and sabermetricians both love Fister, and when those two agree as strongly as they did in this instance, "it's a good day in the Nationals' office," said Rizzo, according to Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com.
In today's conference call to announce Tony Clark as the new executive director of the MLBPA, free agent Curtis Granderson didn't give reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter), the impression that they are right on the cusp of a deal with the Mets. "We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon … It was kind of what you could expect," said the outfielder. Here's more from around baseball..
- While the Red Sox have been engaged in talks with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team is unlikely to pursue a three-year deal for the 36-year-old, an industry source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The rival Yankees also won't go to three years, reportedly.
- The Angels are unlikely to trade Mark Trumbo, according to jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). The Halos believe that a fair return would be top notch young starting pitching for the slugger and that deal doesn't exist. The Angels also aren't sure if they can get a good enough starter in exchange for Howie Kendrick, which could leave them to try and net two starters on the open market with limited money (link).
- The Yankees' $153MM deal for Jacoby Ellsbury is supposed to put the squeeze on Robinson Cano, but it could backfire, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- The Red Sox's offer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia topped out at two years for about $18MM, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon to a minor league deal, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Ryan Webb was surprised to learn that he was non-tendered by the Marlins, writes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
- Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors (on Twitter) expected Luke Gregerson to fetch more than Seth Smith. The Padres and A's swapped the two in a one-for-one swap earlier today.
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe takes a closer look at the Red Sox's deal for A.J. Pierzynski.
6:52pm: Saltalamacchia will get $6MM in 2014, $7MM in '15, and $8MM in '16, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (on Twitter).
5:49pm: The Marlins have agreed to a three-year, $21MM contract with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (on Twitter). Saltalamacchia is represented by Munsey Sports Management, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.
Saltalamacchia, 28, also had serious interest from the Twins and some degree of interest from the Rangers, though they seem to have shied away from the idea of a reunion in recent days. With Brian McCann off the board, Salty was the top remaining catcher on the free agent market. On top of that, the former Red Sox backstop had extra appeal with nearly every other starting-caliber backstop already off the board. The switch-hitter batted .273/.338/.466 with 14 homers last season, but he also struck out in nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances and posted just a .628 OPS as a right-handed batter. Among all players with 400 plate appearances in 2013, Salty's 29.6% strikeout rate is the ninth-worst.
Another one of Salty's biggest drawbacks is his difficulty in hitting left-handed pitching, with a .206/.269/.338 line since 2011. Saltalamacchia is below average at throwing out attempting basestealers and preventing them from trying, according to FanGraphs. His caught stealing percentage of 21.2% was second-to-last among qualified catchers this year.
As Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link) pointed out earlier today, the Marlins might have had a leg up on Minnesota in their chase for Salty. Not only do Saltalamacchia and his family reside in Wellington, Fla. (less than 70 miles from Marlins Park), the state has no income tax, meaning the Twins might have had to outspend the Marlins by a significant margin to win out.
The Red Sox would have liked to have Saltalamacchia back in the fold, but they were reportedly unwilling to go beyond two years for a catcher.
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
4:27pm: Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports that the Marlins have offered three years and $21MM (Twitter link). Passan hears that the Marlins are "closing in" on a deal with Saltalamacchia that is in the three-year, $22MM range.
4:03pm: The Marlins are the "extreme" favorites to land Saltalamacchia after offering a three-year deal worth as much as $8MM per season, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
3:58pm: The Marlins have made a three-year offer to Saltalamacchia, who is in Miami to meet with the team today, a person with direct knowledge of the talks tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Berardino says that the Twins have moved on from their pursuit of catchers and will go with promising rookie Josmil Pinto as their main catcher in 2014 (Twitter links).
2:58pm: Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (on Twitter) hears that Salty is headed to the Marlins.
1:55pm: The Rangers won't pursue a reunion with Saltalamacchia, a source tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).
1:03pm: The Marlins have offered Saltalamacchia a two-year deal with a club option for a third season, according to Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link).
12:23pm: The Marlins and Twins remain in pursuit of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports (also via Twitter) that Salty's market is moving quickly enough that he could sign prior to next week's Winter Meetings.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities adds that there's an industry sense that the two teams will have to present Saltalamacchia with their final offers in the next day or so. According to Wolfson, the Twins will have to outbid the Marlins to land Saltalamacchia, who is a South Florida native. However, Wolfson also says that Saltalamacchia is "definitely on board" with becoming a Twin (Twitter links).
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press points out that not only do Saltalamacchia and his family reside in Wellington, Fla. (less than 70 miles from Marlins Park), the state has no income tax, meaning the Twins could have to spend significantly more than the Marlins (Twitter link).
Saltalamacchia is the top remaining catcher on the free agent market now, and nearly every other starting-caliber backstop has already found a new home early in the offseason. The switch-hitter batted .273/.338/.466 with 14 homers last season, but he also struck out in nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances and posted just a .628 OPS as a right-handed batter.
It's unclear whether or not the Twins have made an offer to this point, but the Marlins reportedly have already done so. Of course, another team could jump into the mix late in the game. The White Sox are one team that could still use an upgrade behind the plate, though that's solely my own speculation.
Justin Morneau sounded certain in stating that he will one day return to the Twins in some capacity but acknowledged that it's not likely to be in 2014, writes Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Said Morneau: "There’s no saying I won’t be back in the future. You never know what the opportunity is going to be, whether it’s as a player, later, or as a coach, or someone who comes down to spring training. Whatever it is, it’s a different chapter, but [Minnesota] is something that will stick with me forever." Morneau made his first Twin Cities public appearance since being traded over the weekend, signing autographs and thanking fans for donating to a drive that raised more than 3,000 coats for the Salvation Army. Morneau told Miller that he's spoken recently with longtime teammate and friend Michael Cuddyer, who put in a good word for the Rockies. More on the Twins...
- The Twins have asked their newest acquisition, Ricky Nolasco, about his former catcher John Buck, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Twins have reportedly moved on from the Jarrod Saltalamacchia sweepstakes and will deploy Josmil Pinto as their primary catcher in 2014.
- Though Minnesota had just three arbitration eligible players this offseason (all of whom were tendered contracts), they could have as many as nine next winter, writes Berardino. Berardino looks at the potential arbitration classes for the next three offseasons, noting of course that not every player included on his lists will accumulate the necessary service time to reach arbitration.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted yesterday that age was a big factor for the Twins in signing Phil Hughes to a surprising three-year, $24MM contract. The Twins are hopeful that they can fix Hughes up and thereby make him an important piece of improved teams in 2015-16 while he's still in his prime years.
- The Twins were "a close second" in the bidding for A.J. Pierzynski, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (on Twitter). Pierzynski agreed to a one-year, $8.25MM contract with the Red Sox earlier today.
Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2014 season. We'll run down the list of National League non-tenders here. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR's Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates as well. Also of use will be our Arbitration Eligibles series, which includes Matt Swartz's projected 2014 salaries for all arbitration eligible players.
- The Reds non-tendered outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson, according to the AP. Robinson had been designated for assignment last Thursday to open a roster spot for Skip Schumaker.
- The Rockies have non-tendered reliever Mitchell Boggs, tweets Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
- The Dodgers have non-tendered Ronald Belisario, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Marlins have non-tendered outfielder Chris Coghlan and reliever Ryan Webb, the club announced via press release.
- The Pirates have non-tendered Garrett Jones, Michael McKenry, and Kyle McPherson, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Giants have non-tendered Sandy Rosario and Francisco Peguero, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Cubs have non-tendered Mat Gamel, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. The club has also non-tendered Chang-Yong Lim, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com.
- The Mets officially announced their slate of non-tenders, which includes a few new names in Jeremy Hefner and Justin Turner (via tweet from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News).
- The Braves announced that they have non-tendered infielders Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish as well as right-hander Cristhian Martinez (Twitter link). Johnson, 29, batted .209/.255/.283 in 275 plate appearances between the Royals and Braves last season. Janish was less productive in 45 PAs, batting .171/.222/.220. Martinez, 31, missed nearly the entire season due to shoulder surgery. However, he posted a 3.63 ERA in 151 1/3 innings for Atlanta from 2011-12, making him a potential buy-low candidate for another club.
- The Mets have non-tendered Jordany Valdespin, Rubin reports. Valdespin has been a persistent source of drama for the Mets, lashing out at manager Terry Collins after being demoted and also being slapped with a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is a career .219/.271/.380 hitter in 350 big league plate appearances. Valdespin's non-tender comes despite him not yet being arbitration eligible, illustrating the Mets' frustration with the second baseman/outfielder.
- The Cubs will non-tender right-hander Daniel Bard, tweets Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. Bard was claimed off waivers in September and never threw a pitch for the Cubs organization. WEEI.com's Rob Bradford notes that Bard was pitching in the Puerto Rican Winter League but walked nine batters while recording just one out. The Cubs could still agree to a non-roster deal with Bard, he adds. Bard's control has vanished into thin air, as the formerly dominant setup man has also walked 56 batters over his past 47 1/3 minor league frames.
- The Mets have informed shortstop Omar Quintanilla that he will be non-tendered, Quintanilla told Jorge Castillo of the Star-Ledger. Quintanilla projected to earn $900K this offseason after batting .222/.306/.283 in a career-high 359 plate appearances last season.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets that the Mets will also non-tender Scott Atchison. The right-hander projected to earn $1.3MM coming off a 4.37 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 45 1/3 innings. Atchison will turn 38 in late March.
As many of the same teams appear to be in on both A.J. Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and several signings having left these two at the top of this year's remaining free agent catching crop, let's look at a few notes on the two backstops:
- The Twins are no longer pursuing Pierzynski, a major league official told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Minnesota has been heavily rumored to be chasing a veteran backstop after deciding to shift Joe Mauer to first. Recently, we had heard that the Twins were "making progress" on bringing Pierzynski back to Minnesota, but that appears no longer to be the case.
- Minnesota has also been rumored to be looking at Saltalamacchia, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that they are still in the mix. The other two front-runners for Salty are the Marlins and Red Sox, according to Jackson.
- Indeed, Miami recently made an offer to Saltalamacchia, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The terms of the offer are not known. As Rosenthal notes, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com previously reported that the Red Sox offered Saltalamacchia a two-year deal to return to Boston.
The Marlins are looking to fill voids at second base, third base, and catcher this offseason and it appears that GM Dan Jennings has a level of flexibility that predecessor Larry Beinfest did not, writes Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily. For their second base opening, Miami has discussed Mark Ellis, who would also provide the club with some needed veteran leadership.
The 36-year-old had his $5.75MM club option declined by the Dodgers after they finalized their deal with Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero. Ellis batted .270/.323/.351 with six homers and four steals in 126 games (480 plate appearances) for the Dodgers and, as usual, he was a standout defender at second base. Ellis posted marks of +7.6 in UZR/150 and +12 in The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric. The Tigers also have Ellis on their radar.
The Marlins have also approached the Red Sox about 22-year-old third baseman Garin Cecchini, even though he would appear to be similar to Colin Moran, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Cecchini spent time in Advanced-A and Double-A in 2013, hitting a combined .322/.443/.471 with seven homers. Baseball America ranked Cecchini as the seventh-best prospect in the Red Sox's system heading into the 2013 season. One executive covering the Arizona Fall League told Gammons that the youngster “has sneaky power that will play in the big leagues and will keep increasing in pro ball.”
The Mets surprised some observers when they gave outfielder Chris Young a one-year, $7.25MM contract to kick off their offseason. However, they weren't the only club with interest. Young says that the Cubs, Giants, Royals, and Red Sox all reached out to him, but the Mets were aggressive, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Here's a look at the latest out of the NL East..
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post makes the case for the Nationals to go after Robinson Cano. Some would argue that the Nats should go after a similarly high-impact player that will fill an actual hole for them, but Kilgore says that such a player may not come along for Washington in today's landscape.
- In today's inbox, a reader asks Joe Frisaro of MLB.com if there's a possibility that Dan Uggla could return to the Marlins this winter. Frisaro doesn't see the second baseman coming back to Miami since his cost and declining numbers over past two seasons raise red flags. Besides that, bringing him back would block Derek Dietrich and/or Donovan Solano from playing second.
- The Marlins announced two additions to their baseball operations staff. Mike Berger was named Vice President/Assistant GM while Jeff McAvoy will take over as the new Director of Pro Scouting.
The Marlins have discussed Mike Napoli and could get involved at the right price, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Napoli signing with Miami isn't likely if he has better options (link), but he's a South Florida native and he is good friends with Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis.
We recently heard that the Marlins were interested in free agent catcher Dioner Navarro (as well as pitcher Phil Hughes), but Napoli represents a much more ambitious target for Miami. While a big-name free agent like Napoli being connected to the Marlins will clearly be met with skepticism (and rightfully so), it's worth pointing out that they were very much in the mix for Jose Dariel Abreu before he signed with the White Sox. That pursuit, at the very least, indicates that the Fish may have some willingness to spend on a first baseman to pair with Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of their lineup.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.