Gerald Laird Rumors

Torrealba, Rockies $400K Apart

The Rockies are just $400K apart on a new contract with catcher Yorvit Torrealba, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.  Torrealba wants to match Ivan Rodriguez's deal (two years, $6MM) while the Rockies are at two years and $5.6MM.

With the Royals apparently focused on Jason Kendall, Torrealba's other options are the Mets and Giants.  The Mets have an offer out to Bengie Molina, but Renck notes that Torrealba is "scheduled to travel to New York next week to resolve his pending grievance" with them.  He says the Giants like Torrealba on a one-year deal, and also made an inquiry on Detroit's Gerald Laird.

Tigers Notes: Needs, Cabrera, Jackson, Granderson

Steve Kornacki takes a late-night look at what Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski needs heading into the Winter Meetings. Not surprisingly, help at the back of the bullpen, a spark plug at the top of the lineup, and a shortstop top Kornacki's list. Here's the highlights of the piece:

  • With Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney expected to receive multi-year offers, Detroit will need to address its bullpen. Kornacki doesn't like the Tigers chances to sign the two. Lyon's agent has "guaranteed" his client will receive multiple years.
  • The Tigers could re-sign glove man Adam Everett if a shortstop can't be had via trade. Everett had yet another strong season at shortstop, posting a 13.6 UZR/150. They've also been linked to Bobby Crosby, but I don't think any team would feel comfortable entering the season with Crosby as their primary shortstop option.
  • Kornacki would be surprised to see Miguel Cabrera dealt anywhere. "Nothing even remotely possible has been reported," writes Kornacki.
  • If Edwin Jackson or Curtis Granderson is dealt, it will be in to make the team better and not to slash payroll. With Seattle's recent agreement with Chone Figgins pending, if the Angels want to acquire Granderson to fill the leadoff spot, the price may have just gone up.
  • Kornacki says the biggest offensive need is a leadoff man, and suggests scenarios for both Juan Pierre and Carl Crawford.
  • Kornacki suggests packaging Jackson and Carlos Guillen to bring Pierre and George Sherrill to Detroit.
  • He suggests a one-for-one swap of Granderson for Crawford, provided Dombrowski can extend Crawford. The thinking there is that Granderson will be more affordable for the Rays down the line.

Kornacki finishes up by reminding how active Dombrowski was at last year's meetings. If you'll remember, he acquired Gerald Laird on day one, signed Adam Everett two days later, and on the final day sent Matt Joyce to Tampa Bay in exchange for Jackson. He also spent a great deal of time attempting to acquire J.J. Putz.

Kornacki opines that the biggest move will come somewhere we're not looking, which always makes for fun discussion. Any thoughts on what Dombrowski may have up his sleeve? If you're still up with me, let's hear it in the comments.

Tigers Notes: Laird, Putz, Lyon

While the Edwin Jackson trade rumors are the biggest item out of the Motor City today, here are a few other Tiger-related tidbits…

  • The FOX Sports team of Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal are reporting that Detroit is also shopping Gerald Laird.  The catcher hit .225/.306/.320 last season while making $2.8MM, and the Tigers would like to save some money by finding another catcher who can hit the same (or, as they surely hope, better) for a lesser contract.
  • Michigan native J.J. Putz would be an attractive local-boy candidate for the Detroit bullpen, but Putz told's Jason Beck that he is interested in playing for several teams, not just his home-state club.  Putz and his agent said they had yet to be contacted by the Tigers.
  •'s Steve Kornacki reports there is "mutual interest" between the Tigers and free agent reliever Brandon Lyon about the right-hander returning to Detroit.  Lyon had a strong 2.86 ERA in 65 appearances for the Tigers last season and said that they are "the first team [he] will talk to," though he stressed that he wants a multi-year contract.

Eight More Avoid Arbitration’s Jon Heyman has seven more players who avoided arbitration today: Jeremy Accardo ($900K), Heath Bell ($1.225MM), Ryan Church ($2.8MM), Gerald Laird ($2.8MM), Javier Lopez ($1.35MM), Bobby Seay ($1.3MM), and Joel Zumaya ($735K).  I think next year we’ll put all of these in one constantly-updated post.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick says Angel Pagan signed for $575K.

Odds and Ends: Laird, Mitsui, Snyder

Links for Tuesday…

Jason Varitek Rumors: Tuesday

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald talked to Scott Boras, who said the Tigers’ acquisition of Gerald Laird actually improves Jason Varitek‘s prospects.  Perhaps Boras is implying that the Rangers are now less likely to deal an additional catcher.  But it’s still hard to figure out which team would be willing to give Varitek a decent-sized multiyear deal and surrender a draft pick.

Silverman runs through a slew of catchers the Red Sox like.  Jack Magruder says they could be a serious player for Arizona’s Miguel Montero.

Odds and Ends: Shelton, Laird, Baldelli

Links for Monday – Winter Meetings, Day 1.

  • Check out the minor league signings for the week at Baseball America.  Hey, Jerome Williams to the A’s!  Also, Chris Shelton signed with the Mariners.
  • Funny quote from Scott Boras: "There can be a lot of late-night meetings where you’re in a room and people are falling asleep.  And you’ll have some late-night GMs who want you to drink. I’ll allow them to do it, but I won’t do it. I do have some interesting things written on napkins over the years."
  • Dave Cameron likes the Tigers’ acquisition of Gerald Laird.
  • Buster Olney talked to some agents who believe "the stated concern about the economy is providing a nice cover for Major League Baseball to roll back salaries."  Another note from Olney, he’d be "shocked" if Rocco Baldelli doesn’t sign with Boston.
  • Tony Massarotti makes five recommendations for the Red Sox.
  • David Murphy asks ten questions about the Phillies.

Tigers Acquire Gerald Laird

1:21am: Morosi says the second pitching prospect is indeed Melo.

12:12am: Morosi says an agreement has been reached, and the second prospect is a pitcher.  There’s speculation that prospect could be Carlos Melo, as he fits Rosenthal’s description.

11:27pm: Ken Rosenthal says the Tigers acquired Laird for Moscoso and a second prospect.  The second prospect "is a 17-year-old who spent last season in the Dominican Summer League."  Could it be shortstops Samuel Ortiz or Domingo Gonzales?  Pitchers Rayni Guichardo or Carlos Melo?  The deal will be announced Monday.  Laird, a Scott Boras client, is under team control through 2010. 

Rosenthal adds that the Tigers are considering Adam Everett and Nick Punto as shortstop options.

9:26pm: According to Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press, "The Tigers and Texas Rangers have made significant progress toward a trade that would send catcher Gerald Laird to Detroit and pitching prospect Guillermo Moscoso to the Rangers."  It’s not known whether the Tigers would include anyone else.

Baseball America ranks Moscoso tenth among Tigers prospects, noting shoulder woes but suggesting a high ceiling.  They say he could end up a #3 or #4 starter.  He’s drawn some comparisons to Jair Jurrjens.

Winter Meetings Previews

We’ve added a few new Winter Meetings preview to the collection…

  • Yahoo’s Tim Brown runs through plans for all of the American and National League teams.
  • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says the Rockies are all about left-handed relief help.  They’ve got several trade chips to work with.
  • Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the Phillies covered.  You know the plan: starting pitcher, outfielder.
  • Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds us of the Cardinals’ wish list: starter, closer, lefthanded reliever.  Arthur Rhodes would fit, but he’s leaning toward the Reds.  Strauss wonders if John Mozeliak can match up with the Blue Jays to find relief help.
  • The Twins still want to add a shortstop or third baseman according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, though several options have already been eliminated.  Neal summarizes the players on the radar.  The Twins are also looking for bullpen help.
  • Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune discusses the Padres.  Kevin Towers will keep the Jake Peavy talks going with the Cubs while also searching for a shortstop and veteran catcher.
  • Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reminds us that Peavy and a left-handed hitting outfielder are on the Cubs’ wish list.  The bat comes first, says Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says Dayton Moore has already accomplished his main goals, and now looks to replenish his right-handed relief.  The Royals would also like to add a proven middle infielder and seem to have a glut of corner/DH types.
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and Jack Magruder of the East Valley Tribune analyze the Diamondbacks.  Josh Byrnes seeks a second baseman, left-handed reliever, and pitching in general.  Miguel Montero is the top trade chip.  They have about $10MM to spend, less if Brandon Lyon accepts arbitration.
  • Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the Rangers could trade Gerald Laird, Hank Blalock, Kevin Millwood, or Vicente Padilla.
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talked to Doug Melvin about C.C. Sabathia, who still hasn’t reacted to their offer.  If Sabathia and Ben Sheets leave, Melvin could add two starters.  Melvin also said it’d be too risky to trade J.J. Hardy and start Alcides Escobar at short.  Rickie Weeks has drawn interest, but Melvin would require "a pretty good hitter" in return.  Mike Cameron is a more likely trade chip.  As for the team’s closer search, Melvin doesn’t expect to be in on the big names.
  • Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Marlins probably won’t steal headlines at these Winter Meetings as they did in ’07.  Still, Jorge Cantu, Matt Treanor, and Jeremy Hermida may be dealt.  The Fish have been "actively shopping" Treanor and Hermida.  The Marlins have mild interest in free agents Ivan Rodriguez and Carl Pavano.
  • Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune says Ken Williams has asked the Reds about Homer Bailey.  Could the Reds match up for Jermaine Dye?  The White Sox hope to add more MLB-ready starting pitching and maybe a backup catcher.
  • The Orioles need starting pitching, with a slew of names under consideration according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun: A.J. Burnett, Paul Byrd, Jon Garland, Mark Hendrickson, Braden Looper, Randy Wolf, Kenshin Kawakami, Koji Uehara, Bartolo Colon, and Matt Clement.  The O’s also hope to extend Brian Roberts, trade Ramon Hernandez, and find a shortstop.  They have interest in Adam Everett.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASN Online explains what it’s like for a reporter at the Meetings.

Rangers Cutting Payroll?

While not making any drastic reductions, the Rangers may be shedding payroll says Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. This could make available Gerald Laird, Hank Blalock, Kevin Millwood, and Vincente Padilla.

"’I wouldn’t say we’re in cost-cutting mode, but we’re certainly conscious of all our expenditures,’ [GM Jon] Daniels said. ‘We’re going to look at all the ways to improve our club. For the most part, we’ve been focused on trying to add players who fit with our long-term plan. Those are younger players.’ … With more than $51 million committed to seven players and the desire to keep payroll at about the same level as last year ($67 million), some trimming may be necessary."

Rangers GM Jon Daniels said its "reasonable" the Rangers would trade a catcher before Christmas, they have the depth to trade from the position and would prefer to hold onto their younger cheaper options of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden. Says Grant of a possible Laird trade,

"If the Rangers are willing to accept a mid-level minor league pitching prospect, a deal could come together quickly."

Blalock’s $6.2MM option was exercised for 2009 but he’s in a logjam at first base with Chris Davis. His willingness to move back to third actually increases his appeal to other clubs not looking for a first base/designated hitter type.

Millwood and Padilla are due $11MM and $12MM respectively and are entering contract years.