Miami Marlins Rumors
- Mike Napoli is such a good fit for the Red Sox and in Boston that the club needs to re-sign him, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald opines. It was reported earlier today that Napoli will test the market, though the Sox have already offered him a multiyear deal.
- If the Red Sox signed Carlos Beltran, however, they wouldn't necessarily need Napoli, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Beltran could play left field, causing a few lineup shifts that would settle on Daniel Nava as Napoli's replacement at first base.
- Center field is the most logical place for the Phillies to add offense, according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, so the Phils should pursue someone like Curtis Granderson as an upgrade over Ben Revere.
- Giancarlo Stanton is a "pie-in-the-sky target" for the Phillies, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury writes. A somewhat more realistic trade option could be Mark Trumbo, though Salisbury notes that the Phils lack the young pitching that the Angels want in return. The Halos have been linked to Kyle Kendrick in the past, so Salisbury opines that Kendrick could be part of a Trumbo trade package.
- Speaking of Stanton, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill again reiterated that the slugger isn't available for trade offers, Hill tells MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Hill says the team is having "an ongoing discussion" about approaching Stanton with a long-term extension offer.
- The Marlins' maximum payroll is expected to be in the low-to-mid-$40MM range, Frisaro reports. This is a slight increase over Miami's $38MM payroll from 2013.
- The Blue Jays haven't been very active in free agency under Alex Anthopoulos' watch but the Toronto general manager tells Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that this could change this winter. "It seems like with all the different things we’re looking to do, half of the scenarios are in free agency, half of the scenarios are in trade," Anthopoulos said. He feels the Jays also still have enough minor league depth to offer in trades, though the farm system was thinned by last offseason's blockbuster deals.
- It doesn't make sense for the Orioles to shop J.J. Hardy, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski argues, since Hardy's importance to the O's is even greater in the wake of Manny Machado's injury.
- In East division news from earlier today, MLBTR's Matt Swartz broke down Chris Davis' arbitration case, the Nationals could use their minor leaguers to acquire a starting pitcher, ESPN's Buster Olney discussed the Red Sox and the David Price trade market, the Yankees aren't interested in Ervin Santana but are prioritizing Masahiro Tanaka,
The Marlins announced that they have claimed infielder/outfielder Jimmy Paredes off waivers from the Astros. Miami's 40-man roster now stands at 33 players.
Paredes, who turns 25 at the end of this month, batted just .192/.231/.248 with a homer and four steals in 135 plate appearances for Houston this season but was much better in the minor leagues. In 86 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, Paredes slashed .287/.345/.462 with eight home runs and 16 stolen bases. Paredes spent most of his time in right field, but he graded out poorly at the position per UZR and DRS. He also has experience at second base and third base.
Here are some National League notes to round out the evening ...
- The Marlins are not going to trade star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason, newly minted GM Dan Jennings emphatically asserted. As ESPN's Jim Bowden reports (via Twitter), Jennings said that "Mr. Stanton is not available" and that the team is "building around him."
- The Rockies are making a run at free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Incumbent Wilin Rosario would presumably get some or all of his playing time at first or in the outfield if Colorado were to land Ruiz. The soon-to-be 35-year-old backstop landed at number 29 on the list of MLB's top fifty free agents compiled by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who sees a return to Philadelphia as the most likely scenario.
- Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers said yesterday that he was "curious" about free agency but "open-minded going into the off-season," Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported. He also expressed some frustration with the recent reports that he turned down a $300MM deal from the club. Now, says Hernandez's colleague Steve Dilbeck, the team may be facing something of a catch-22: the team surely must sign him at some hard-to-fathom rate, but the risks are enormous.
- Though the Cardinals' future remains unquestionably bright given the organization's array of young talent, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the club faces some significant questions. If Carlos Beltran can be brought back on a reasonable deal, Miklasz writes, it is possible that the club will use super-prospect Oscar Taveras in center with a combination of Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday at first base and the corner outfield. But if Beltran leaves, he says, it is not unrealistic to think the club might pursue Jacoby Ellsbury.
- The club's greatest hole, of course, is at shortstop. GM John Mozeliak needs to make a proactive move at this point, says Miklasz, either by signing a player like Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta or by trading from the team's pitching depth. Fellow Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel looks at some possible trade targets for the team.
- For the Phillies to return to contention, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the club must spend big in free agency. Gelb says the club has ample room to increase spending above the $189MM luxury tax line if it wants, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has expressed hesitation. "Obviously, we had a lot less people coming to the ballpark this year," Amaro said at season's end. "We have to be cognizant of that. We have been greatly supported - our payroll was, what, $165MM? That should be enough to put a contender on the field." Dierkes sees the Phils as the front-runners for Nelson Cruz, Ricky Nolasco, Ruiz, and Edward Mujica, though he notes that it all depends whether the team is willing to tack on $40MM+ to its 2014 obligations.
Don't count the Phillies out in 2014, cautions Dan Szymborski of ESPN in an Insider-only piece. Szymborski points out the similarities between the Phillies and Red Sox at the end of the 2012 season, noting that the Red Sox elected to pursue an intricate rebuild while the Phillies stood pat. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. can restore his team's status as a contender if he's bold this offseason, writes Szymborski, adding that with Roy Halladay off the books, the team has the wherewithal to do just that. Szymborski lists Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann as impact additions Amaro could make and also wonders if the team could pry David Price away from the Rays with a package fronted by Jesse Biddle and Maikel Franco. Here's more out of the NL East...
- Roger McDowell's name has come up frequently in the Phillies' search for a pitching coach, but Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that McDowell will remain with the Braves as their pitching coach (Twitter link).
- As part of their pitch to keep McDowell, the Braves erased his one-year contract and awarded him a two-year deal, according to Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).
- While there's yet to be a formal announcement, O'Brien tweeted yesterday that he expects the Braves to exercise their $1.6MM club option on Reed Johnson. Johnson's contract comes with a $150K buyout, essentially making it a $1.45MM decision for Atlanta GM Frank Wren.
- In his primer for the upcoming offseason, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes that the Marlins will look to upgrade at catcher and third base, with an eye on getting more power into the lineup. The team's payroll isn't expected to be drastically different from last year's $38MM now that they failed to land big fish Jose Dariel Abreu, but the team will have some flexibility to pursue bargain free agents. Frisaro expects the Marlins to address catcher via trade, as they're no longer sure that Rob Brantly is their future at the position. At third base, he thinks that a one-year stopgap is likely, with 2013 first-rounder Colin Moran expected to be ready for the position in 2015. Some candidates for such a deal (and this is my own speculation) would include Wilson Betemit, Casey McGehee (who had a big season in Japan), Mark Reynolds and Kevin Youkilis.
The Marlins have exercised their $1MM club option on right-hander Jacob Turner, the team announced. Turner earned $1.175MM in 2013 -- the final season of a four-year, $5.5MM contract that he signed as a first-round draft selection of the Tigers in 2009.
Turner, 22, was acquired by the Marlins in a July 2012 trade that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit. Turner made 20 starts for the Fish this season and looks to have earned himself a place in the 2014 rotation after posting a 3.74 ERA in 118 innings. His 5.9 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 could both stand to improve, though he posted a solid 45.7 percent ground-ball rate and averaged a respectable 91.9 mph on his fastball.
Going forward, Turner figures to be a part of a young Marlins rotation that will be anchored by Rookie of the Year front-runner Jose Fernandez and will also contain Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez.
The Boston Red Sox are the 2013 World Series champions, just a season removed from a last-place finish in the AL East. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman details how the Sox focused on acquiring less-heralded free agents who could handle the pressure of playing in Boston, and almost all of those free agents delivered big contributions throughout the season and through the playoffs. While the return to good health and good form by several holdover Red Sox stars also played a huge role, several teams will be looking to replicate Boston's free agent strategy in the coming offseason.
Here are some notes from around baseball as the Hot Stove League has officially begun...
- The Red Sox were immeasurably helped by the "payroll miracle" of their August 2012 blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Yankees could get a similar "financial reset" if all or most of Alex Rodriguez's 2014 salary is removed from the books via suspension, allowing the Yankees to re-sign Robinson Cano, sign other free agents and also avoid the $189MM luxury tax limit.
- Rodriguez's appeal hearing may not be decided until late December, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports, which could impact the Yankees' offseason spending plans.
- Adrian Cardenas, drafted 37th overall by the Phillies in 2006, walked away from a promising career at age 25 and with just 67 Major League PA to his name. In a fascinating piece for the New Yorker, Cardenas details the thought process that went into his decision and his gradual disillusionment with the professional side of the game.
- The Diamondbacks don't have much payroll flexibility for 2014, as The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro notes in his breakdown of the Snakes' salary obligations. Piecoro suggests that the D'Backs could sign free agents by backloading their contracts for 2015 and beyond, when the club has more money coming off the books.
- The Dominican Republic recently passed a law stating that children of undocumented Haitian immigrants would no longer be considered Dominican citizens, even if they were born in the country. Jorge Arangure of Sports On Earth investigates how this ruling could make it harder for amateur ballplayers of Haitian descent to obtain the proper visa or citizenship information to play in Major League Baseball.
- The Pirates can afford to be more patient this offseason, GM Neal Huntington tells Jenn Menendez and Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A.J. Burnett's future needs to be decided first, however, since his status will determine the rest of the Buccos' moves. "If we retain A.J, that will be a significant positive, but also it's going to cost us a good chunk of the available money, and we'll have to react accordingly," Huntington said.
- The Marlins could fill a few needs by targeting the Angels' Mark Trumbo and Chris Iannetta in trades, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro opines as part of a reader mailbag.
- The Blue Jays have hired Kevin Seitzer as their new hitting coach, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports. Seitzer previously worked as the hitting coach for the Diamondbacks and Royals, and he and Jays manager John Gibbons worked together on the K.C. staff from 2009-11.
The Mets were focused on position players in the 2012 draft, which is why they took shortstop Gavin Cecchini with the draft's 12th overall selection and didn't take Michael Wacha, the New York Post's Mike Puma writes. Paul DePodesta, the Mets' VP of player development and amateur scouting, tells Puma that "we really liked Wacha, and he was high up on our board," but the team felt it had enough minor league pitching depth already and needed help around the diamond. Wacha, of course, ended up going to the Cardinals with the 19th overall pick and has already emerged as a star during St. Louis' postseason run.
Here's some more from around the NL East...
- "The Braves certainly will entertain shopping" Dan Uggla, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports, and he looks at the chances of Uggla re-joining the Marlins as part of a reader mailbag. Frisaro suggests the Braves would move Uggla if a team agrees to pay $6MM of the $26MM owed to Uggla through the 2015 season, and if the trade partner pays more, Atlanta could add a prospect. I'd suggest that the Braves would have to sweeten the pot to move Uggla, who turns 34 in March, is a defensive liability at second base and has only hit .201/.330/.374 over the last two seasons. The Braves have been linked to a possible deal of Uggla and a prospect to the Reds for Brandon Phillips.
- The Braves have "been lucky of late" to remain competitive despite overspending on Uggla and B.J. Upton, Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Bradley warns that the team can't afford any more of these overpriced deals, and suggests that re-signing Brian McCann would create another payroll albatross in a few years' time.
- The Phillies' chances of re-signing Carlos Ruiz, their limited payroll and a suggestion about a David Price trade are all addressed in a Phillies-centric reader mailbag from MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.
- That limited Phillies budget could make it hard to upgrade their rotation since there won't be many bargains to be found on the pitching market this winter, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.
- Matt Williams "seems to be the best available choice" to be the Nationals' next manager, and though Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post notes some of the risks involved in the impending hiring, he feels it could be a bold move for the team.
Despite a 100-loss season in 2013 and the departure of president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, Marlins president David Samson says the team will not lose 100 games again in 2014, Christina De Nicola of FOX Sports Florida reports. "I promise you this: We're not going to lose 100 games next year. Not close," says Samson, who also praises Michael Hill, who was promoted to president of baseball operations after Beinfest's departure, and new GM Dan Jennings. "Mike Hill and Dan Jennings are really tremendous heads of baseball organizations, and they're going to work really well together to help us win," Samson says. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- The Nationals just outrighted former first-round pick Chris Marrero, but at least one scout believes he still has potential, writes the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore (on Twitter). "I would not give up on Marrero. He can still hit. Just needs the right opportunity with right team, preferably in AL," the scout says. Marrero hit .270/.331/.402 for Triple-A Syracuse this season.
- The Giants had a number of reasons for giving Tim Lincecum a two-year, $35MM contract this week, assistant GM Bobby Evans tells the New York Post's Joel Sherman. The Giants thought Lincecum would have a number of suitors on the free agent market, perhaps including the Mets and Yankees. Also, with Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain as the only sure things in their 2014 rotation, the Giants did not want to have to piece together three-fifths of a rotation this offseason. Finally, the Giants feel that Lincecum's upside would have been hard to replace elsewhere on the free agent market.
We'll keep track of today's minor moves here..
- Infielder Ryan Roberts, 1B/OF Shelley Duncan, outfielder Jason Bourgeois and right-hander J.D. Martin have all elected to become free agents, MLBDailyDish.com's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter links). All four players were outrighted off the Rays' roster earlier this season.
- Also from Cotillo (Twitter links), catcher J.C. Boscan and outfielder Darnell McDonald have elected to become free agents. Both players were outrighted off the Cubs' 40-man roster last week.
- The White Sox announced they have outrighted David Purcey to Triple-A Charlotte. Purcey, 31, posted a 2.13 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9 in 24 relief appearances. The club's 40-man roster is now at 36. Purcey was one of Chicago's arbitration eligible players this winter.
- Left-hander Hideki Okajima and right-hander Chris Resop have elected free agency from the Athletics, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (Twitter link). Okajima, 38 in December, pitched in five big league games for the A's but spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A where he posted a 4.22 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 37 appearances. Resop, 31 in November, also spent the lion's share of the year in Triple-A and had a 6.81 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.
- Reds right-hander Jose Arredondo, Angels right-hander Robert Coello, and Marlins third baseman Gil Velazquez have elected free agency under Article XX(D), according to Eddy (via Twitter). Arredondo struggled at the Triple-A level in 2013, posting a 5.87 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 6.5 BB/9. Coello made 16 big league relief appearances in 2013 and put up a 3.71 ERA with 12.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.
- At Baseball America, Eddy has the full list of the past week's minor league transactions.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The Mets were said to be intrigued by Jose Dariel Abreu's power but ultimately, they weren't one of the finalists for him and they weren't the team to sign him. Why didn't GM Sandy Alderson take the plunge? The Mets figure that they have first base covered between Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, and Josh Satin with possible support from Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Mets weren't the only team in their division intrigued by the Serie Nacional star, however. Here's more out of the NL East..
- The Marlins were among the finalists for the Cuban slugger, but they bowed out of the bidding when it went north of $60MM, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. The Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Giants were also said to be among the clubs in the mix this week.
- The Nationals had interest in Abreu, but the dollar amount got "crazy" in their view, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
- Dusty Baker isn't expected to be a candidate for the Nationals' managerial job, Kilgore tweets. Baker contacted GM Mike Rizzo last week about his interest in the position but there doesn't seem to be any interest on Washington's end.
- A talent evaluator with knowledge of the Nationals' manager search tells ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that he would be shocked if Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams isn't hired.
- Braves GM Frank Wren recognizes that he needs to add experience to his rotation, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Atlanta considered making a play for Jake Peavy at the trade deadline but those thoughts quickly fizzled when it became apparent that they didn't have the pieces necessary to close that deal.