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In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has some extremely kind words about MLBTR and founder Tim Dierkes. "Call it American ingenuity, or a great business model for start-ups, but it has been incredible to watch the growth of mlbtraderumors.com — to the point where it’s now the go-to site for major league executives, reporters, and fans," Cafardo writes. Here's more from today's column..
- Backstops Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, Bobby Wilson, and Austin Romine won't light up the scoreboard, but that's alright with Yankees GM Brian Cashman. “We’re not looking for catching. We just know our offensive production at that position isn’t going to be as good as in the past," Cashman said.
- Despite some interest in free agent second baseman Freddy Sanchez, teams have not been willing to commit to him. The former NL batting champion has had numerous injuries and surgeries in the past.
- One AL GM offered up his prediction on where Kyle Lohse will land. "[The Rangers] missed out on a couple of guys. While you don’t want to overpay or give him an extended contract, they seem to be the most motivated to get a deal done with him.”
- Some teams may not be anxious to add Red Sox reliver Alfredo Aceves to their club house, but one American League GM says that someone will pull the trigger. “He’s a talented pitcher who can do a lot of things,” said the GM. “The baggage is there, but some team will put up with the baggage. Who knows? If he gets to start somewhere, maybe all of the problems go away.”
- Cafardo believes that Brian Wilson will be the Tigers' fallback option when he's ready to return after surgery. Until then, Bruce Rondon will have the opportunity to close in Detroit.
- Free agent left-hander Joe Beimel wants to make a return and has auditioned for some teams. The 35-year-old is coming back from Tommy John surgery last May.
- The stock of minor league catcher Christian Vazquez is rising so rapidly that Cafardo wonders if the Red Sox will pursue deals for Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway. Vazquez will likely start the year at Double-A but could move up quickly.
Jurickson Profar tops Baseball America's newly-released list of the top 100 prospects in the game. The Cardinals, Marlins and Twins each placed six prospects amongst the top 100, and BA's John Manuel and J.J. Cooper discussed the list in a reader chat. If there was any doubt that Profar was the cream of the minor league crop, the Rangers shortstop also ranked first on the top 100 prospect lists recently released by MLB.com and ESPN's Keith Law.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- The 133 players who filed for arbitration last month received an average salary increase of 119%, according to a report by The Associated Press. Buster Posey had the biggest raise, going from $615K in 2012 to $8MM in 2013. The AP also examines why no arb cases went to hearings this winter, the first time this has ever happened. You can check out the results of every arbitration case on MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.
- The Denver Post's Patrick Saunders looks at a number of Rockies-related topics in a reader mailbag, including how the Rockies largely stood pat with their pitching staff over the winter, instead hoping that improved health from incumbent starters upgrades the rotation. Saunders also doesn't see Kyle Lohse as a fit with Colorado, as Lohse likely has no interest in pitching at Coors Field and the Rockies aren't keen to spend big money on a free agent starter.
- Theo Epstein talks to CSN Chicago's David Kaplan about his first 16 months as Cubs president, the progress that the franchise has made and what still has to be done to make the team successful.
- Right-hander Seth McClung has been throwing for teams, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reports (Twitter link). McClung, 32, last pitched in the Majors in 2009 as a reliever and spot starter for the Brewers and has since pitched in the minors for the Brewers, Rangers and Cubs.
- Freddy Sanchez is looking to keep playing and has turned down minor league offers in hopes of finding a Major League job as a utility infielder, Sanchez's agent Paul Cobbe tells Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area. Sanchez, 35, hasn't played in a game since June 2011 due to shoulder and back injuries but around 20 teams reportedly asked to see his medical records this offseason. Cobbe says Sanchez would love to re-sign with the Giants but they don't want to sign him to a guaranteed contract.
It's been almost exactly 19 months since Freddy Sanchez appeared in a Major League game, but the former NL Batting Champ is drawing heavy interest, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (Insider required). Sanchez's agent Paul Cobbe tells Crasnick that roughly 20 teams have asked to see Sanchez's medical reports.
Sanchez, 35, hasn't played a game since June 2011 — the result of operations on his shoulder and back. He won the National League batting title in 2006 when he hit .344/.378/.473. In 3,686 career plate appearances between the Pirates and Giants, Sanchez is a .297/.335/.413 hitter.
Sanchez has extensive experience and third base and second base, though he hasn't manned the hot corner since 2006. In terms of fielding, Ultimate Zone Rating is a fan of his glove at both positions, though the Fielding Bible pegs him as a slightly below-average defender at second base.
Cobbe tells Crasnick that Sanchez is healthy and has been keeping himself in good shape, playing pick-up basketball for two-to-three hours a day, six days per week.
The Indians are the latest team to get a financial boost from a new TV contract, as the club announced that it has sold SportsTime Ohio (and the broadcasting rights to Indians games) to FOX Sports Media Group. The Tribe's contract with FOX will run for at least 10 years and the team will receive at least $400MM over the course of the deal, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Indians will get $40MM from FOX in 2013, up from the $33MM the team received from STO in 2012. While it isn't the multi-billion dollar deal that other teams have received in recent TV rights deals, the extra funds have already played a role in the Indians' operations, namely the $56MM contract given to Nick Swisher.
Here are some items from around baseball as we head into the final weekend of 2012…
- Hideki Matsui told reporters (including Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News) that he received offers from several Japanese teams but decided to retire since he felt he wasn't able to play up his standards. Amongst Major League clubs, only the Astros were known to have shown any interest in Matsui this winter.
- The Mariners could be in on Andre Ethier, tweets CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, though there is "no real evidence" that the Dodgers have any interest in dealing the right fielder.
- Matt Sosnick, agent for infielder Freddy Sanchez, tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his client is healthy and has received some interest from teams, though no offers. Sanchez, 35, has been plagued by injuries over the last two seasons and was limited to just 10 minor league plate appearances in 2012.
- The Brewers signed righty Alfredo Figaro to a minor league deal last week but they were unaware that Figaro's rights were still controlled by the NPL's Orix Buffaloes, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Milwaukee assistant GM Gord Ash said that the Brewers have told Orix that they will retract their offer if the Buffaloes choose to retain Figaro.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden lists five possible transactions that he thinks make sense for contending teams, such as the Cardinals trading for Carlos Gonzalez or the Orioles signing Kyle Lohse.
- Twins assistant GM Rob Antony tells La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the team could still make further additions to its pitching depth. "I wouldn't say we're done," Antony said. "I wouldn't say were pushing hard. We have our feelers out there. If the situation is right, we could do something else. If not, we're OK too.'' Minnesota has already added Kevin Correia, Rich Harden, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley this winter but Neal doesn't think the team is willing to give a two-year, $14-$15MM contract to the likes of Joe Saunders, Shaun Marcum or Brett Myers.
Here are some notes from both divisions out west…
- Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda shrugged off speculation from the Japanese media that he'll return to Japan to pitch a farewell season with Hiroshima in 2012, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Kuroda put the odds of him pitching in MLB or going home next season at 50-50.
- Expect lots of teams to talk with the agent of Giants reliever Javier Lopez, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The 34-year-old has postseason experience and teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Brewers, and Cardinals have been after a good matchup lefty this year.
- Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez expect to be ready for opening day but manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean already have discussed the importance of covering themselves with other options at the position, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
- Rich Harden would like to return to the Athletics and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says that’s something that could happen. The injury-prone veteran would likely sign for an inexpensive one-year deal.
- With his strong work down the stretch, Jerome Williams has become the leading in-house candidate to assume one of the spots behind Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana in the Angels' 2012 rotation, writes Lyle Spencer of MLB.com.
If they continue at their current pace, the Pirates will win 69 games this year, a level they haven't reached since 2004. That year, Oliver Perez posted a 2.98 ERA with 239 strikeouts, Jason Bay slugged .550, and Jose Mesa saved 43 games. Today's Bucs links:
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports has a feature on the Jeff Clement, one of few draft picks among the first dozen in 2005 who has yet to become at least a big league regular. The Mariners nearly chose Troy Tulowitzki third overall instead of Clement, but GM Bill Bavasi apparently drafted for need. Clement's agent Brodie Van Wagenen believes his client didn't get a legitimate opportunity with the Mariners. Clement is trying to move forward as a first baseman for the Pirates, once he recovers from knee surgery.
- Regarding recent low-risk pickup Brandon Wood, GM Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Our scouts still see the authority off the bat, they still see the raw power, they still see the impact. Obviously the guy with this kind of pedigree, sometimes a change of scenery helps these guys. Our due diligence we did said it's a good person, it's a hard worker who needed a change of scenery." Wood's Pirates debut will come tonight at third base, batting sixth against John Lannan and the Nationals.
- Freddy Sanchez took his '09 trade from the Pirates to the Giants hard, he told Brink's colleague Dejan Kovacevic. It didn't help that he wasn't able to contribute much to his new team due to knee and shoulder injuries.
- Be sure to check out MLBTR's Pirates Facebook and Twitter pages and RSS feed. For my look at the team's 2012 contract issues, click here.
Giants GM Brian Sabean told Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News that he doubts there will be talks with Tim Lincecum about a contract extension during the season (Twitter links). He added that "you never say never," but it would require "more of a meeting of the minds."
Lincecum is in the second year of a two-year, $23MM contract he signed before last season, but he'll remain under team control in both 2012 and 2013 as an arbitration-eligible player. He'll earn $13MM this season, so his starting point is high for a player with under five years of service time. Of course Lincecum is no ordinary player. He won the Cy Young Award in each of his first two full seasons, and he's led the league in strikeouts in each of the last three seasons.
Sanchez's previous contract, signed in October of 2009, runs through this year, and the new deal extends him at the same salary through the 2012 season. According to our source, Sanchez turned down a 2013 club option with an accompanying buyout, preferring to retain control of his contractual status after the '12 season. Sanchez is represented by Sosnick Cobbe Sports.
Sanchez, 33, hit .292/.342/.397 in 479 plate appearances for the Giants last year, batting second most of the time. He's known for his ability to hit for average, with a .298 career mark and a batting title in 2006. He's also solid with the glove, based on UZR. The one recent concern has been durability, as he's missed time with back, knee, and shoulder injuries the past few years.
The extension pushes Sosnick Cobbe Sports into the $90MM range for total contracts brokered this offseason, putting the firm in play for top ten overall placement for the second consecutive winter. Though it's a small agency, Sosnick Cobbe has done about the same volume of business this winter as Wasserman Media Group and Octagon due to contracts for Jay Bruce, Ricky Nolasco, and others. Josh Willingham is an extension candidate with Oakland, which could push their total higher.
Some links for Friday before Roy Halladay tries to restore order for the slumping Phillies…
- Grady Sizemore will miss the rest of the season as he recovers from today's operation on his left knee, according to the team. He is expected to be ready for spring training next year.
- Rogers Sportsnet reported last weekend that the Blue Jays finalized their Fred Lewis acquisition for cash, according to John Lott of the National Post.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Yankees will likely seek a bat with a high on base percentage and wonders if David DeJesus could fit (Twitter link).
- Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe speculates that Mike Lowell and Boof Bonser could be trade bait.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says it's a "long shot" that the D'Backs deal Dan Haren.
- Cuban player Yadil Mujica could sign soon, according to Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald (Twitter link).
- Ebro reports (via Twitter) that the Phillies are eyeing Dominican pitcher Yunesky Maya.
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun presents 12 possible replacements for Dave Trembley, including Eric Wedge, Bobby Valentine and Bob Melvin.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says firing Dave Trembley won't be enough for the Orioles. He says the club needs to hire a "high-profile, kick-ass manager."
- David Ortiz told John Tomase of the Boston Herald that he "definitely" hopes to see Lowell traded, since it would be "a wonderful thing" for Lowell's sake.
- As Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports, the Red Sox have more high picks than usual this year, partly because Type A free agents Jason Bay and Billy Wagner signed elsewhere last winter.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wouldn't give up more than one 'B' prospect to acquire Derrek Lee if he were running the Angels.
- Freddy Sanchez, who will play in Pittsburgh for the first time since the Pirates traded him last summer, tells Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he loved playing in Pittsburgh and can't wait to return.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Baltimore Orioles | Boof Bonser | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Cleveland Indians | Dan Haren | David DeJesus | Derrek Lee | Fred Lewis | Freddy Sanchez | Grady Sizemore | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Mike Lowell | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Francisco Giants | Toronto Blue Jays | Yadil Mujica | Yunesky Maya
A quick rundown of some of the day's items…
- In an appearance on WEEI's Dale & Holley Show, ESPN's Keith Law said that the Red Sox are the clear front-runners if and when Adrian Gonzalez hits the trade market. "I really think that Boston could top anybody if Adrian Gonzalez becomes available, and he will," Law said. The transcript of Law's appearance is available here.
- It looks like Washington might still be the only team interested in Kris Benson. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that the Indians have no interest in the right-hander.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark polled "20 baseball wise men" to get their take on the offseason moves. The panel picked Seattle and Arizona as the most improved teams in their respective leagues, while Cleveland and the Dodgers were the least improved. John Lackey was named the winter's best free agent signing, while Brandon Lyon's deal with Houston was considered the worst.
- Giants infielder Freddy Sanchez underwent shoulder surgery on December 23, but the news of the procedure didn't come out until almost a month later. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News believes the club wanted to keep Sanchez's condition a secret in order to help them sign Juan Uribe to a more team-friendly contract. Uribe signed a one-year, $3.25MM deal on January 5.
- MLB.com's Jim Street answers some Mariner-related questions in a fan mailbag. Some topics of note include the possibility that the M's could deal one of their surplus outfielders, and Chad Cordero could also be trade bait if he doesn't make the Seattle bullpen but otherwise appears recovered from shoulder surgery.
- Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs thinks "Arizona overpaid a bit" in the arbitration settlement between the Diamondbacks and Edwin Jackson, but also notes that "there is reason to believe this deal is fair to both sides."
- Miguel Olivo took less money to play in Colorado because he wanted to be on a contending team, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
- "It's decision time" for teams to negotiate with players entering the last year of their contracts, says USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
- Wandy Rodriguez and the Astros had their arbitration hearing today, and The Associated Press reports that a decision should be reached by tomorrow. Rodriguez wants $7MM, while Houston has countered with an offer of $5MM.
- Jane Lee of MLB.com breaks down the dollars and reasoning behind Oakland's quick flip of Willy Taveras earlier this month.
- There are no new developments between Jonny Gomes and the Reds, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that the two sides are still talking. GM Walt Jocketty is hopeful the team and player "can get something done this weekend."
- Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at some of the issues facing the Pirates this spring, and notes that the club's young players could be helped without the pressure to win starting jobs.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adrian Gonzalez | Arizona Diamondbacks | Boston Red Sox | Brandon Lyon | Chad Cordero | Cincinnati Reds | Cleveland Indians | Colorado Rockies | Edwin Jackson | Freddy Sanchez | Houston Astros | John Lackey | Jonny Gomes | Juan Uribe | Kris Benson | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miguel Olivo | Oakland Athletics | Pittsburgh Pirates | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | Wandy Rodriguez | Washington Nationals | Willy Taveras