Fred Lewis Rumors

Reds Sign Fred Lewis

The Reds announced that they signed Fred Lewis to a one-year deal (Twitter link). It's a $900K major league deal, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon (on Twitter).  Scott Leventhal and Damon Lapa represent Lewis.

Until last week, Jay Bruce was the lone left-handed hitter in the Reds' outfield. Drew StubbsJonny Gomes and Chris Heisey all bat from the right side, so the team signed Jeremy Hermida and Lewis, two left-handed hitters.

Lewis, 30, hit .262/.332/.414 in 480 plate appearances for the Blue Jays after they acquired him from the Giants early in the season. Though he mostly played left field, Lewis did play some center and right in 2010. He contributed 31 doubles and 17 steals, mostly as Toronto's leadoff hitter, before the Blue Jays cut ties with him at last month's non-tender deadline. 

Lewis has less than four years of big league service time, so the Reds can keep him through 2013 by offering arbitration.

The signing presumably eliminates the possibility that the Reds sign Scott Podsednik. The team also officially announced its one-year deal with Edgar Renteria.


Reds Notes: Renteria, Votto, Podsednik, Nix

Votto 
Let's take a look at some Reds-related tidbits courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay..

  • Fay writes that "it is believed" that the Reds have made an offer to free agent shortstop Edgar Renteria.  The veteran said that the Giants' offer of $1MM showed "a lack of respect", leaving the Reds with a chance of signing the 2010 World Series MVP.
  • The news of Carlos Gonzalez's impending seven-year, $80MMM deal with the Rockies will likely have a ripple effect on the Reds' talks with Joey Votto.  Reds GM Walt Jocketty says that he hasn't seen the numbers on Cargo's new contract but Cincy can expect Votto to ask for even more money.  The 27-year-old, Fay writes, had two very good years prior to his brilliant season in 2010 while last year was Gonzalez's first in the majors.  Jocketty says that he hasn't talked to Votto's representation in recent weeks however due to the holidays.
  • The Reds are reportedly close to signing Jeremy Hermida to a minor league deal but they may continue to look for a left-handed hitting outfielder.  Jocketty confirmed that he talked to the agents for Fred Lewis and Scott Podsednik before the holidays.  
  • Speaking of left-handed hitting outfielders, the Reds haven't had any recent contact with Laynce Nix.  The Reds were under the impression that Nix was Seattle-bound after receiving a contract offer from the M's in December, but no deal has been reached.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Indians, Tigers, Mets, Others Interested In Lewis

The Indians, Tigers and Mets are among the seven or eight teams showing interest in Fred Lewis, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). The Blue Jays non-tendered Lewis after acquiring Rajai Davis, making him a free agent.

Lewis, 30 this week, hit .262/.332/.414 in 480 plate appearances for the Blue Jays, who acquired him from the Giants early in the season. Though he mostly played left field, Lewis did play some center and right in 2010. He contributed 31 doubles and 17 steals, mostly as Toronto's leadoff hitter.



American League Non-Tenders

This post will list all the American League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.


Non-Tender Candidate: Fred Lewis

Next season in Toronto, the Blue Jays will likely roll out an outfield of Jose Bautista, Travis Snider, and Vernon Wells.  Meanwhile, Fred Lewis says that he considers himself an everyday position player.  The veteran will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and is due for a raise.

In 480 plate appearances this season, Lewis hit .262/.332/.414 with eight homers.  While the soon-to-be 30-year-old jumped out to a hot start with the Jays, he received less playing time late in the season. 

Even if Lewis does have a change of heart and agrees to stay on in a reserve role, Toronto could still go in a different (and cheaper) direction by using DeWayne Wise as their fourth outfielder.  While Wise likely won't bring the same offensive production as Lewis, his defense (career 8.4 UZR/150) tops what Lewis has been able to do in the outfield (career -2.6 UZR/150)

With all of this in mind, do you believe that the Blue Jays will non-tender Lewis this winter?  Click here to vote and here to view the results.


Blue Jays Notes: Overbay, Encarnacion, Bautista

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos met with reporters for an extended media session today, speaking about a wide range of topics. MLB.com's Jordan Bastian brings us the highlights…

  • Anthopoulos acknowledged Lyle Overbay's strong finish to the season, but the team's approach for first base is unchanged. They will explore trades and the free agent market with no guarantee that Overbay will return. 
  • Aaron Hill offered to change positions (third base) if it will help the team. The Jays have until Opening Day of next season to make a decision on the 2012 ($8MM), 2013 ($8MM), and 2014 ($10MM) options in Hill's contract. If they wait until after next season, the 2014 option is voided.
  • There is a chance that Edwin Encarnacion will be non-tendered given the raise he's likely to receive through arbitration. Encarnacion earned $4.75MM in 2010 and will be arb eligible for the final time before free agency.
  • The Jays are prepared to go to arbitration with 54 HR man Jose Bautista. He earned $2.4MM this year and his salary is likely to jump into the $7-9MM range after his monster season. Bastian doesn't think the two sides will work out a long-term deal this winter.
  • Fred Lewis was unhappy when his playing time diminished late in the season. If he's not in the team's plans as a bench player next year, a non-tender could be in order.
  • Even with Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs, and Jason Frasor all eligible to become free agents in a few weeks, Anthopoulos doesn't consider having veterans in the bullpen a top priority.
  • He'd like to add more balance to a lineup that relied primarily on the long ball this season. The Jays led MLB by a large margin with 257 homers, but they finished just ninth with 755 runs scored because of a pedestrian .312 OBP.
  • The possibility of keeping catcher John Buck will be explored, but Anthopoulos said he's earned a long-term deal and a starting job, something that might not work with top prospect J.P. Arencibia having nothing left to prove in the minors.
  • The Blue Jays are not operating with a specific payroll; the GM has the ability to adjust the finances as he sees fit. That gives them more flexibility when looking at free agent and trade scenarios.
  • There are no more front office hirings in the immediate future, but one thing they're considering is someone with more of a computer and statistical analysis background. 
  • Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press adds that Anthopoulos acknowledged the inherent riskiness of trades, but he still considers it the best way to improve the team and is willing to deal prospects for established big leaguers (Twitter links). 

Blue Jays Notes: Managers, Lewis, Scouting

The big news in Toronto continues to be the incredible Jose Bautista, who launched his 51st and 52nd homers of the season tonight against Baltimore.  J-Bau aside, here are some other items from MLB's Canadian representative…

  • Bob Melvin and Eric Wedge both interviewed for the manager's position this past week, reports Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.  Jays bench coach Nick Leyva is also scheduled for an upcoming interview.  Don Baylor and Juan Samuel have both expressed interest in the Toronto job after being asked by outgoing manager Cito Gaston.
  • Fred Lewis tells MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that he considers himself "an everyday position player" and doesn't know if he'll be back in Toronto in 2011.  Given the Jays' tentative 2011 starting outfield of Bautista, Vernon Wells and Travis Snider, it's hard to see Lewis taking one of those players' spots, but he could still return in a bench role.
  • Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press reports that the Blue Jays are putting a renewed emphasis on Latin American scouting and development.

Odds & Ends: White Sox, Lewis, Oswalt, Mets, Lee

Links for Saturday..

  • White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter) that the team has the financial freedom to add pieces, though he added the team  "might be good enough the way it is".  Meanwhile, Reinsdorf said that GM Kenny Williams has the power to fire the manager, though that isn't in his plans, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Fred Lewis told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that his improved performance in Toronto isn't a result of a change of scenery.  Lewis is OPSing .799 for the Blue Jays, a marked improvement over his OPS of .738 for the Giants in 2009.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) wonders aloud if Nolan Ryan's recent comments regarding Roy Oswalt could be considered tampering.
  • Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that a Mets scout was on hand to watch Lee last night, though it was said to be part of "normal coverage".
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post says that despite all the talk about Cliff Lee, the Yankees might need to fixate on adding a bat between now and the trade deadline.
  • Speaking of Lee, Ryan Divish of The News Tribune mentions that the lefty shrugs off all the trade talk. “It’s out of my control,” said Lee. “That’s a better question for Jack [Zduriencik]. He’s the one who makes those decisions, but I don’t.”
  • The Astros are pleased with how negotiations with top draft pick Delino DeShields Jr. are going, reports Bernardo Fallas of The Houston Chronicle. Houston selected DeShields with the eighth overall pick last week.
  • Daric Barton told Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's grateful for being included in the Mark Mulder trade because it created an opportunity for him. "For me, it was probably the best move that could have happened to me," said Barton. "I was catching then and (Yadier Molina) was back there then, and some guy by the name of (Albert) Pujols was at first. Obviously, I could never fill his shoes."

Odds & Ends: Sizemore, Lewis, Red Sox, Haren

Some links for Friday before Roy Halladay tries to restore order for the slumping Phillies…


Odds & Ends: Huff, Posey, Lewis, Yankees, Johnson

Congratulations to Dallas Braden on throwing the 19th perfect game in MLB history.  Let's check out some links from around the web..