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News from the AL and NL West..
- Agent Scott Boras says he'll talk to the Angels about signing Kendrys Morales, writes the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin. The Angels say they are not interested, however, because they need to rebuild a depleted minor league system and they would have to forfeit their first-round draft choice to sign Morales. "We're much more comfortable with the idea of maintaining our first-round pick and continuing to build the organization in a much more positive way," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said.
- In an interview on MLB Network (Twitter link), Dodgers GM Ned Colletti attemped to throw water on Matt Kemp trade rumors, saying that L.A. is higher on the outfielder than anyone.
- Pablo Sandoval's brother, Michael, has recently been certified as an agent and will join his current agent, Gustavo Vazquez, in representing him, writes Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. If the Giants want to discuss an extension, Michael says that his team will listen. Yesterday, GM Brian Sabean indicated that they'd be open to a new deal if he comes to spring training in shape.
- The Giants say they haven't talked to Jeff Baker's agent in a little over a week, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
- Giants vice president Bobby Evans tells Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com (on Twitter) that the club would like to sign a left fielder tonight. Baggarly hears that they like Franklin Gutierrez.
- Rockies manager Walt Weiss says that they have talked to Carlos Gonzalez about possibly playing center field and they think he might be able to manage it, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Sulia).
Here are some quick notes from around the West divisions:
- The Mariners have interest in re-signing outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, likely to a one-year, incentive-based deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. (Twitter links).
- M's GM Jack Zduriencik also says the Mariners might attempt to improve their outfield via trades, Divish tweets.
- The Dodgers are discussing Michael Young as a possible option in their infield, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes (via Twitter).
- Mike Morse wants $7MM or $8MM on a one-year contract, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. That seems to be a lot to pay a player who hit .215/.270/.381 with poor defense last season. The Astros are reportedly among the teams interested in Morse.
- The Astros have also recently spoken with representatives of outfielder Grady Sizemore, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart writes (via Twitter). Sizemore, 31, last played in the big leagues in 2011.
- The Rockies are interested in both Morse and Young, the Denver Post's Troy Renck tweets.
- Now that the Mark Trumbo trade is complete, the Angels are likely to keep second baseman Howie Kendrick, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean says that if infielder Pablo Sandoval comes to spring training in good shape, the Giants would consider signing Sandoval to an extension, MLB.com's Chris Haft tweets.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz doesn't owe the Rangers special consideration despite missing 50 games in 2013 after being suspended, reports ESPN's Richard Durrett. "He had a decision to make," says Daniels. "[W]e all understood the position he was in. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t view it that way. I don’t think he owes us." Cruz could have appealed his suspension and continued to play for the Rangers last season, but he chose not to.
- If the Diamondbacks are unable to trade for a pitcher, they could pursue Matt Garza, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets.
The Red Sox are planning to wait out the market for Stephen Drew, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Though Boston remains interested in Drew, there's a belief that he could eventually find a limited market due to his ties to draft pick compensation. Here's more on the 2013 World Series champions…
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Drew has a market, but not as big as the one initially expected (Twitter link). As such, the Red Sox feel they have a good shot at retaining the Scott Boras client.
- Bradford also tweets that Mike Carp is generating a lot of trade interest. As Bradford notes, given the dearth of quality options on the free agent market for first basemen, that's not exactly a surprise.
- If the Red Sox are intent on adding a shortstop or third baseman as well as a right-handed hitting outfielder, they'll need to free up room by moving someone off their bench, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier provides an offseason reset for Red Sox fans, looking at what's been done already and what moves are still to come. Speier says the Red Sox will add an infielder, whether it's Drew or a versatile backup to support Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts.
- Also from Speier, if the team does wish to bring back Drew, it would be necessary to free up some money by dealing a potentially superfluous starter such as Ryan Dempster or Jake Peavy.
- Franklin Gutierrez has been connected to the Red Sox previously, and while he's a logical fit in Boston, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com argues that he simply doesn't fit on the roster. Boston will allocate five spots to outfielders in Carp, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes as it is. Of course, the potential to move Carp, as alluded to earlier by Bradford, could alter that picture.
Who's the most valuable trade asset in baseball? Not to spoil the ending of Jonah Keri's MLB Trade Value rankings for Grantland (Part 1 here, Part 2 here), but it's almost certainly Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who posted over ten wins above replacement for the second straight season while making barely more than the league minimum. Not only is he the best player in the game, but even without a long-term deal, the Angels can control him for the next four years at what will likely be below-market rates. Figuring out who else ought to go in the top ten, based on their age, contract status and all-around performance, is a fun exercise. The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen and his now-extremely-team-friendly-looking deal are there, as is 21-year-old stud Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. The order of the rest isn't nearly so obvious. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- Now that Jacoby Ellsbury is gone, the Red Sox are looking for an outfielder to pair with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Curtis Granderson wouldn't work since both and Bradley hit left-handed, so the Red Sox are looking at righty outfielders. One of those, Lauber writes, is Franklin Gutierrez, who has a .256/.306/.391 career batting line but has a strong defensive reputation and a career .818 OPS against lefties. The Red Sox could also still acquire Carlos Beltran (although he certainly wouldn't be a candidate to play center field) or trade for an outfielder.
- The Marlins would like to see outfielder Chris Coghlan return, but Coghlan is deciding what to do next after being non-tendered, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill suggests that Coghlan would need to accept a minor-league contract to stay with the Marlins. If another team offers him a big-league deal, Coghlan will likely leave Miami behind. It seems unlikely, however, that he'll get one, given that he's coming off a .256/.318/.354 season, isn't a strong defensive player, and hasn't posted an OPS above .718 since his Rookie of the Year-winning debut season in 2009.
- Contrary to recent rumors, the Royals haven't offered Carlos Beltran three years and $48MM, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Royals ownership would have to be involved if the team wanted to offer that much money.
Here's the latest from the City of Brotherly Love…
- The Phillies intend to avoid more expensive free agents like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Brian McCann in favor of "mid-level" free agents, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports. The Phillies are wary of how much it would cost to sign Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran or Curtis Granderson even though they like all three players.
- Also from Salisbury, the Phillies have discussed signing Franklin Gutierrez, Marlon Byrd, Joaquin Benoit, Joe Smith and Bronson Arroyo.
- GM Ruben Amaro told reporters (including Salisbury) that the team could wait to see what kind of a market there is for Roy Halladay's services before deciding whether or not to pursue the former Cy Young Award winner. “We’re keeping our eyes open on him. We’re not sure how the market is going to develop for him. But we haven’t ruled out bringing him back," Amaro said.
- The Phillies have "long-standing interest" in Mike Morse and see Morse as "a potential Jayson Werth-like late bloomer," CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman writes. Despite this interest, Morse could just be a backup plan for the Phillies if they can't sign a more higher-profile hitter.
- Carlos Ruiz could make a decision about his next contract soon, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link). We heard earlier this week that the Phillies wanted a quick decision from Ruiz so they could figure out their catching situation.
- If Ruiz doesn't re-sign, Morosi tweets that John Buck could be a more realistic backup plan for the Phillies than A.J. Pierzynski. Not only would Buck be cheaper, Philadelphia is in need of right-handed bats.
- Trading Domonic Brown and bringing back Ryan Madson are two of the topics addressed by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki as part of a Phillies-centric reader mailbag.
Free agents are not allowed to negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs until 11:01 pm (CT) Monday, but agent Scott Boras says his phone was ringing off the hook regarding Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew within hours of the Red Sox winning the World Series, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Yankees will be the most interesting team during free agency, according to Cafardo, but will be hamstrung until a decision is made on Alex Rodriguez's appeal. Cafardo also lists the Phillies, Tigers, Giants, Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rangers as active participants in the free agent market. In other tidbits from his Sunday Baseball Notes column:
- Both LA teams are interested in acquiring David Price from the Rays. The Angels may have a slight edge because they can put together package with bats like Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick while the Dodgers have an overstocked rotation.
- Joe Nathan should be of interest to both the Tigers and Yankees even though the latter seems to have settled on David Robertson as Mariano Rivera's replacement.
- There may be no better time for the Red Sox to trade John Lackey than right now.
- The Red Sox may consider re-signing Joel Hanrahan after he recovers from Tommy John surgery to provide protection for incumbent closer Koji Uehara.
- Franklin Gutierrez, whose $7.5MM club option was declined by the Mariners, is an intriguing player who can still perform at a high level when healthy. Staying healthy has been an issue for Gutierrez with six trips to the disabled list in the last four years.
- Johan Santana, whose $25MM club option was declined by the Mets, is another pretty good low-cost gamble.
The Mariners have issued a press release to announce that they have declined their half of Joe Saunders' $8.3MM mutual option and also declined Franklin Gutierrez's $7.5MM club option. Saunders will receive a $900K buyout, while Gutierrez will receive a $500K buyout.
Saunders' option was originally for $7.5MM with a $500K buyout as well, but he boosted those numbers by reaching incentives for starts made and innings pitched. After signing a one-year deal with that option last winter, Saunders posted a 5.26 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 183 innings. Opponents batted .311/.365/.507 against Saunders and swatted 25 homers in 820 plate appearances.
Gutierrez, 31 in February, signed a four-year, $20.5MM extension with the Mariners after an outstanding 2009 season in which he batted .283/.339/.425 with 18 homers, 16 stolen bases and the best center field defense in the game (all totaling a stellar six wins above replacement). Unfortunately for both Gutierrez and the Mariners, he's had six separate DL stints over the life of that contract, dealing with hamstring, pectoral and oblique issues as well as a serious concussion.
Gutierrez can't be counted on to stay healthy, but as a low-risk option for a team in need of outfield help this winter, he would represent a high-upside gamble.
Here's a look at the latest news from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- Mariners reliever Oliver Perez has drawn interest from the Orioles, Braves, and other clubs, according to Heyman. Perez has reinvented himself as a bullpen arm in the last two years with the Mariners, posting a 2.00 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 across 63 innings in Seattle. Competing execs note that Perez is more cost-efficient in terms of prospects and cash than a guy like Matt Thornton. The veteran would cost another team the prorated portion of his $1.5MM for the rest of the year.
- Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez could also bring a strong return to General Manager Jack Zduriencik & Co and the Rays are among the clubs that have inquired on their hitters. However, parting with them would cause them to go into a free fall and also adversely affect the top prospects on the big league roster. For his part, Jack Z isn't anxious to move anyone. "We'll see how this week goes. I'm not going to be the aggressor,'' the GM told Heyman earlier this week. "I'm not shopping anyone.''
- Seattle people have been wondering if the Yankees might call about Morales thanks to their rash of injuries. The Rangers could also come calling.
- A Mariners person said they've gotten calls on injured center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, but his injury history hurts his value. Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has drawn interest and the Red Sox have had interest in the past, but Zduriencik is said to be hesitant to trade him since he's under control for a few more years. Brendan Ryan, who is no longer the starting shortstop, could also be of interest to someone as a defensive specialist in the infield.
- Opinions are mixed, but one rival executive tells Heyman that Phil Hughes could fetch quite a bit in a trade. Another rival exec quipped that the Bombers might trade Joba Chamberlain for a pine-tar rag. We learned earlier today that the Yankees are aggressively pushing both pitchers.
Earlier today, we learned that the Angels dismissed assistant GM Ken Forsch and special assistant Gary Sutherland. This comes after the Halos parted ways with GM Tony Reagins on Friday. Here are some notes on their GM search and other items out of the American League West..
- Today's dismissals make the possibility seem unlikely, but if the Angels decide to fill their GM vacancy from within, two candidates stand out above all the rest, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Gary DiSarcina, the former shortstop who is a special assistant to the GM, and Tory Hernandez, the team's manager of baseball operations, would have the best crack at the job. Meanwhile, Oakland assistant GM David Forst and Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn are believed to be very interested in the position.
- The Halos are fighting perception that team is run in total by manager Mike Scioscia, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. A competing GM remarked to Heyman that "[Scioscia is] the GM" of the club.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter) echoed similar sentiments, wondering aloud if the Angels will hire an actual GM or another figurehead for the position.
- The Mariners used this past season as a developmental year for their young players, but GM Jack Zduriencik is open to bringing in key veterans to bolster that group next season, writes Greg Johns of MLB.com. Of course, Zduriencik expects a major boost from within with a healthy return of Franklin Gutierrez and a stronger year from Justin Smoak.
Players take a lot of pride in individual awards. While most will say that team success outweighs winning a Cy Young, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, or MVP, there's no question that these achievements still serve as highlights in any player's career. There's more to it than just that, though. Many players have clauses in their contracts which award them extra cash for taking home these individual marks of excellence. As we're in the midst of award season currently, let's take a look at who's cashed in so far:
- Mark Buehrle: The Chicago lefty took home his second Gold Glove and was rewarded with an extra $25K on top of his $14MM salary.
- Joe Mauer: Minnesota's catcher earned his third Gold Glove and his fourth All Star nod, each netting him another $25K on top of his $12.5MM salary.
- Evan Longoria: Longo grabbed his second Gold Glove and his third All Star appearance, bringing in $25K and $50K, respectively, for an additional $75K on top of his ridiculously affordable $950K salary.
- Franklin Gutierrez: Seattle's standout center fielder finally took home a Gold Glove after missing out last season despite a terrific performance, and he'll bring home $50K to go along with his $2MM salary.
- Yadier Molina: Both Molina's second straight All Star selection and third straight Gold Glove will earn him $50K, for a total of $100K, pushing his 2010 earnings to $4.35MM.
- Albert Pujols: The NL's best player took home $25K for his All Star selection, $50K for his second Gold Glove, and $50K for his sixth Silver Slugger. Depending on where he finishes in the MVP voting, he'll take home $50K (third), $100K (second), or $200K (first).
- Brandon Phillips: His second Gold Glove earned him a whopping $250K, as it caused his 2011 salary to increase from $11MM to $11.25MM.
- Scott Rolen: Gold Gloves are nothing new for Rolen. He earned his eighth this season, and took home an additional $50K as a result. He also earned $25K for his sixth career All Star selection, for a total of $75K on top of his $6.5MM payday.
- Troy Tulowitzki: It was a big year for Tulo, who earned his first All Star selection ($25K), Gold Glove ($25K), and Silver Slugger ($50K) to go along with his $3.5MM salary.
- Michael Bourn: Bourn's second Gold Glove was good for $25K on top of his $2.4MM salary.
- Shane Victorino: The Flyin' Hawaiian's third consecutive Gold Glove gave him a $50K bonus on top of his $5MM salary.
- Matt Holliday: His fifth NL Silver Slugger brought in $50K, as did his All Star Selection, netting him $100K in addition to the $17MM he had already earned.
- Felix Hernandez: King Felix's 2010 Cy Young earned him a cool million dollars, as his 2011 salary will now increase from $10MM to $11MM.
- David Price: The sensational lefty's second-place Cy Young finish earned him $80K on top of his $1MM salary.
- Jered Weaver: The AL strikeout king's fifth place finish in the Cy Young voting earned him $50K.
- Adam Wainwright: A second place finish in the 2010 Cy Young voting earned Wainwright an additional $100K on top of his meager $4.65MM salary.
- Ubaldo Jimenez: His third-place finish in the Cy Young voting added $50K to his dirt cheap $1.25MM salary.
Obviously, this isn't a complete list, as not all players' award clauses are available to the public. Still, that's a total of over $2MM in award bonuses, with the MVPs still to come this week.
Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.