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It was on this day in 1982 that the Cubs acquired Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa from the Phillies in a trade for Ivan De Jesus. The Bowa-for-DeJesus component ended up being pretty even, but needless to say, Chicago won that trade — Sandberg went on to a Hall Of Fame career as one of the greatest Cubs of all time. Sandberg eventually returned to the Phillies organization in 2011, managing the team's Triple-A affiliate to an 80-64 record.
Here are some news items as we enter the last weekend of January…
- Bud Selig told reporters (including Ronald Blum of the Associated Press) at the Chicago SoxFest event that he believes baseball will add a second wild card team for 2012. "Clubs really want it. I don't think I've ever seen an issue that the clubs want more than to have the extra wild card this year," Selig said, adding that each league's two wild cards would compete in a one-game playoff to advance to the LDS. Blum reports that MLB and the Players' Association have agreed that a tie for a division lead would be settled by a one-game playoff, rather than a tiebreaker formula.
- The biggest obstacle standing in the way of an expanded postseason for 2012 would be finding room in the schedule for the extra wild-card game and potential tiebreaker games, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. “It’s going to be hard to do…but it’s still possible,” a source informs Rosenthal.
- At least eight potential owners looking to buy the Dodgers have advanced to the second round of the bidding process, reports Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Among those making the cut were Steven Cohen, Peter O'Malley and Stan Kroenke, as well as the groups fronted by Magic Johnson, Joe Torre and the Stanley Gold/Disney family group. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a group led by White Sox executive Dennis Gilbert were among the bids that didn't make the second round, Shaikin adds.
- More than one ownership group has expressed an interest in the Padres if the team's sale to Jeff Moorad can't be finalized, reports Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. None of these groups are any of the prospective Dodgers buyers, however, as those would-be owners want to specifically buy the Dodgers, not just any team.
- Also as part of Center's online chat with fans, he reports Padres GM Josh Byrnes is looking at signing a starter with big league experience to a minor league contract.
- Gavin Floyd tells Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times that he's trying to block out trade rumors, but says that he wants to remain with the White Sox. "I love Chicago, I want to be here,'' Floyd said. "I've been part of this organization for four or five years. I feel like I've grown and gotten better every year and established relationships I'll cherish the rest of my life."
- The Astros' hiring of Sig Mejdal as the director of decision sciences indicates a new, analytical direction for how Houston scouts and evaluates players, writes Zachary Levine for Baseball America.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a quick rundown of the American League's "super six" teams.
Some news items out of Fenway Park…
- The Red Sox weren't close to a deal with Edwin Jackson as of late Thursday evening, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. It was reported two days ago that the Sox had offered contracts to both Jackson and Roy Oswalt.
- Oswalt is Boston's "No. 1 target," reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, and if Oswalt signs elsewhere, the Red Sox will then explore a trade for White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd. Jackson would be "a long-shot option" to sign.
- Manager Bobby Valentine is satisfied with his current rotation and admits another starting pitcher is "not at the top of my wish list," reports Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston.
- "Free agency is not fun these days," Conor Jackson tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "Obviously at the end of the day you have to be a realist. That’s the big thing. I just want people to be honest with me where I stand with them. I understand nothing is going to be handed to me. I’ve had a couple of bad years so I have to prove I can play everyday again.” Jackson is looking to find a backup spot and doesn't think it will be in Boston since the Red Sox now have Cody Ross in the fold.
- The Red Sox are already projected to pass the luxury tax threshold, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier as part of his breakdown of the club's 2012 payroll and what the Sox hope to gain by sticking to their budget.
WEDNESDAY, 11:30am: The Red Sox are still showing interest in Floyd, tweets Morosi.
TUESDAY, 9:15am: We haven't heard a ton about righty Gavin Floyd lately, but the White Sox are still listening on the soon-to-be 29-year-old, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. White Sox GM Kenny Williams has traded Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos, and Jason Frasor this winter, but he's held onto his starting pitching and even extended John Danks.
This winter top young starters Michael Pineda, Mat Latos, Gio Gonzalez, and Trevor Cahill have been traded, but all came with at least four years of team control. Floyd and crosstown hurler Matt Garza are in the next tier along with Jair Jurrjens, with two years of control at higher prices. Two years of Floyd will cost $16.5MM in salary plus prospects. Floyd is capable of 30 starts and a sub-4.00 ERA, so he's still plenty valuable and may represent a more reasonable commitment than a four-year deal for Edwin Jackson. The Yankees figure to be done rotation shopping, but the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Pirates are potential fits in my opinion.
On this date in 1994, the owners implemented a salary cap and revenue sharing as the players were on strike. Those provisions were never put in place though, as the judge who ended the labor dispute ruled that the next two seasons must be played under the previously existing labor conditions. We do have revenue sharing nowadays, but a salary cap isn't going to happen anytime soon. Here's the latest from around the league…
- The Nationals are now focused on improving their bench, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson says (on Twitter) that it seems as though they are unlikely to sign Greg Dobbs. Washington expressed interest in Dobbs last week.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com listed (on Twitter) the Rockies, Marlins, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, and Blue Jays as clubs looking to add a starting pitcher. Earlier today we heard that both the Yankees and Red Sox are pursuing Hiroki Kuroda.
- Even after signing John Danks to an extension, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the White Sox could look to trade Gavin Floyd this offseason. The Red Sox expressed interest in the righty during the winter meetings. Floyd will make $7MM in 2012, then a $9.5MM club option for 2013 comes into play.
- In an Insider-only column, ESPN's Keith Law calls the Sean Marshall trade a win for the Cubs. "The Reds, meanwhile, continue what I can only assume is a rapid emptying of their farm system to try to win again in the two years before Joey Votto reaches free agency," he added.
- With several Japanese players slated to join MLB next season, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker takes a look at the players who will replace them on their former club in Japan.
In his latest column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo writes that the Red Sox have to be wary of an American League where the competition continues to get stiffer. With the Albert Pujols-led Angels and the improving Blue Jays aiming to contend for the postseason, the Red Sox may need to continue making moves to avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight year, says Cafardo. Here are some highlights from his piece:
- Other GMs say Ben Cherington has been active in discussing potential moves. The Red Sox have looked into a number of pitchers on the trade market, including Gio Gonzalez, Jair Jurrjens, Gavin Floyd, and John Danks. According to Cafardo, the Sox probably don't have the caliber of prospects the Athletics want for Gonzalez.
- An AL executive on how the Rays might fill their roster holes: "They could just continue to bottom-feed and keep all of their pitching. There's that January market that they've done very well with, and as long as they keep making the right decisions, their pitching is so good it will keep them in that playoff hunt every year."
- Cafardo is skeptical that the Cubs are legit contenders for Prince Fielder, saying right now the team's mindset is "let’s not spend until we’re ready to spend and right now we're not ready to spend." It makes sense then that Cafardo also hears Chicago's bid for Yu Darvish was low, as detailed in MLBTR's Darvish rumors.
- The Astros seem willing to take on some salary in a Wandy Rodriguez trade. We heard during the Winter Meetings that Houston didn't want to eat any of Wandy's contract to move him, so perhaps the club modified that stance after Jeff Luhnow took over as GM.
- One NL scout who watched Joel Zumaya pitch this week said the righty "didn't have much of a breaking ball but threw 93-96 on his fastball. Somebody will bite on him."
The White Sox and Red Sox are meeting to discuss Chicago starters John Danks and Gavin Floyd, tweets ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes. Yesterday White Sox GM Kenny Williams called the Sergio Santos trade "the start of a rebuilding," but said that he'd probably keep his pitching intact due to insufficient offers.
The White Sox are looking for a "Ubaldo Jimenez package" in return for John Danks, an executive told ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link). The Rockies' haul for Jimenez at this year's trade deadline consisted of four pitching prospects, including two former first-rounders in Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. However, Jimenez was still under team control for two-plus seasons when the Indians acquired him, while Danks' contract expires at the end of 2012.
Let's check out a couple more White Sox links (newest at the top)…
- Referring to the Santos trade, GM Kenny Williams told reporters (including Knobler): "It is the start of a rebuilding … And you guys know I have not used that word in 12 years."
- Danks, Gavin Floyd, Carlos Quentin, and Gordon Beckham could all be gone by Opening Day if Chicago's rebuild goes according to plan, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
- The White Sox have talked to Aaron Rowand's agent about bringing the outfielder back in 2012, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
- Neither Keith Law at ESPN.com or R.J. Anderson and Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus are overly enamored with the newest member of the White Sox, Nestor Molina, acquired today for Sergio Santos. Both pieces require a subscription.
The latest on the Orioles:
- Baltimore has interest in Carlos Quentin and Gavin Floyd, but it's unclear if they match up with the White Sox, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Sox would like young pitching and the O's don't want to give that up, Connolly adds. Brad Bergesen was one name floated by Baltimore in trade talks, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
- The Orioles are talking to the Rangers about re-acquiring Koji Uehara, according to Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com.
- A club official told Connolly that there's "no chance" the team wants Alfonso Soriano (Twitter link).
- The Orioles are telling other clubs that Adam Jones is off limits, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post hears that talks between the Orioles and Rockies about Huston Street have "no traction" (Twitter link).
- GM Dan Duquette says he has several offers out to free agent position players and pitchers, and adds that the club was in on Kevin Slowey before the Twins sent him to the Rockies, tweets Ghiroli.
- The O's have re-signed Brandon Erbe to a minor league contract, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
The White Sox are asking for big returns for starters John Danks and Gavin Floyd, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees like Danks, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, but they're unwilling to meet Chicago's request of top prospects Manny Banuelos and Jesus Montero. In fact, Heyman says the Yankees wouldn't trade either for Danks.
Though Danks is generally regarded as a better pitcher than Floyd, it's possible Floyd has more trade value since he's potentially under club control for 2013.
The White Sox went all-in in 2011, only to finish with a disappointing 79-83 record. Here's the latest on the team as preparations for Robin Ventura's first season in the dugout begin…
- Mark Buehrle has told the White Sox he's not going to give them a hometown discount, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter). Approximately ten teams, including the Marlins, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are interested in the left-hander.
- The White Sox are drawing trade interest in John Danks and Gavin Floyd, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Large-market teams may be drawn to Danks, the more expensive of the two, while small-market teams may prefer Floyd, who will earn $7MM in 2012 and can be retained for $9.5MM with a club option for 2013.
- The Rangers are believed to be interested in Danks, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Texas selected Danks with the ninth overall pick of the 2003 draft and traded him to Chicago for Brandon McCarthy in 2006.
- Outfielder Carlos Quentin may be the most likely White Sox player to be traded, as Rosenthal points out.
- The White Sox also announced that they signed left-handers Donnie Veal and Jose Quintana.