Grady Sizemore Rumors
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines that the Red Sox should go after a Josh Hamilton or Joe Mauer. Boston has made it clear that they are focused on being fiscally responsible and only targeting good value deals, but a strong bat would help elevate the club's lineup and energize the fan base. Here's more from today's column..
- The Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Cubs, and many more are inquiring on rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton, a major league source tells Cafardo. However, commissioner Bud Selig is watching the situation closely after the club's colossal salary dump in the Blue Jays deal. He didn't move to block that trade, but he may not be fond of a deal for the Marlins’ biggest draw.
- The Red Sox have had ongoing negotiations with Nick Swisher and his agents. The outfielder, who has at least seven teams interested in him this winter, would serve as a more than adequate replacement for Cody Ross.
- Agent Joe Urbon tells Cafardo that all is quiet on Grady Sizemore. The 30-year-old has bad knees but there is hope that he can turn the corner. The agent says his client will play again, but it seems he would have to come in on a minor league/major league deal with incentives, similar to Jason Bay.
- Carlos Pena may have to accept being a platoon player for a team like the Red Sox after a weak offensive campaign. The Sox still haven't closed the door on fellow first baseman James Loney, who offers strong defense but lacks the big bat potential of a player like Pena.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun says that the Orioles can't afford to take a risk like signing Josh Hamilton given their resources relative to the rest of the AL East. Yesterday we heard that Baltimore was targeting Hamilton and Cody Ross in their search for a left fielder.
- The Red Sox have interest in Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The 32-year-old is a true free agent and has been the country's top closer for nearly a decade.
- The Red Sox are casting a wide net in their search for outfield help and even checked in on Grady Sizemore, writes WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Yesterday we heard that Sizemore will try to play next season after missing all of this year due to injury.
- “Right now we’ve got some gaping holes," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi wrote about the team's challenge of building a competitive roster in 2013 while trying to get under the 2014 luxury tax threshold.
- Ken Davidoff of The New York Post writes that while the Yankees intend to offer him a pay cut, talks with Mariano Rivera should go smoother than they did with Derek Jeter two offseasons ago.
- Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain has left the Hendricks Brothers and followed agent Jim Murray to Excel Sports Management, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox are eyeing Tino Martinez for their hitting coach job, reports Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston. The team is considering hiring two hitting coaches.
Wednesday night linkage..
- Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens is drawing some trade interest, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM last season and could be a non-tender candidate for next season. While he finished the year healthy, he may not have a spot in Atlanta's deep rotation next year.
- Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey now sounds very optimistic about his future with the Mets, a marked change from his tone just a couple of months ago, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Twitter) hears that the Blue Jays may sign a second baseman in the next few days, though it's not clear who it might be.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says that he is “probably unlikely” to trade for a starting pitcher this winter and might instead address that need in the free agent market, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers are looking to add a No. 2 or 3 pitcher to put alongside ace Clayton Kershaw.
- Earlier today, the Dodgers formally announced that they have hired Mark McGwire as their hitting coach. McGwire previously served as the Cardinals' hitting coach but hooked on with the Dodgers as he can now work closer to his home in Irvine, California.
- Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has hired Praver Shapiro Sports Management to represent him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. You can keep track of every player's representation with MLBTR's Agency Database.
- Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson interests the Cubs, but they don't have the trade chips to land him, Heyman tweets.
- The Red Sox announced that they have named Juan Nieves as their new pitching coach. Nieves spent the last 14 seasons in the White Sox organization and most recently served as their bullpen coach.
- Agent Joe Urbon told Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter) that outfielder Grady Sizemore plans to play in 2013. Indians GM Chris Antonetti has said that he is open to bringing Sizemore back, but for less than the $5MM he received last year.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco says that the club won't rush to fill their void in the outfield, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Instead, the Mets plan to let the market define itself first.
A source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (via Twitter) that Jason Bay would be very interested in returning to the Red Sox. Earlier today, the Mets reached an agreement with the outfielder to make him a free agent this winter in exchange for deferring some of the $21MM owed to him. Here's more on the Red Sox..
- While Bay would like to return to the Red Sox, signs point towards him preferring a west coast team, tweets Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
- The Red Sox have expressed interest in free agent outfielders Torii Hunter and Grady Sizemore, tweets Silverman.
- General Manager Ben Cherington says the club has not yet discussed Bay, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- The Red Sox will listen on Jacoby Ellsbury but they will listen on him, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. One rival official noted that the club won't be overly anxious to move Ellsbury as they're already in need of two outfielders.
- Boston is expected to be in the mix for Justin Upton this offseason, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. It's not yet known if the Red Sox have had talks with the Diamondbacks about the outfielder previously or at the GM meetings, however.
- Manager John Farrell says the club is thinking about hiring two hitting coaches and would even prefer it, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. "I think it's evolved into more than a one-man system. We're going in that direction," Farrell said (Twitter link).
- Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com looks at the decisions facing the Red Sox in advance of the Rule 5 draft.
MLB executives tell ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that they make sure to consider the differences between baseball’s two leagues when evaluating trade candidates. “I think it's safe to say you can look a lot smarter taking a pitcher from the American League to the National League than the other way around," one executive told Stark. Here are some highlights from his latest ESPN.com column:
- Baseball people expect the Mariners to sign Felix Hernandez long-term instead of trading him, Stark reports. Hernandez is under contract through 2014.
- Two scouts said they’d recommend signing Grady Sizemore if it doesn’t require much guaranteed money. The outfielder’s season is over and he figures to obtain a one-year, incentive-based contract this winter.
- One scout said he’d be nervous about trading for Johan Santana given his health issues. The Mets recently shut the left-hander down for the remainder of the season.
- Cardinals executives have told people they’re going to let Kyle Lohse’s contract situation play itself out. Lohse, who is headed for free agency this offseason, hasn’t had recent contract talks with the team, so it’s a safe bet he’ll hit the open market.
Here's a look at the latest from Buster Olney of ESPN.com (all links go to Twitter)..
- Rival teams say the Phillies' asking price for Shane Victorino is extremely high right now, Olney tweets. Last week, people familiar with the club's thinking told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that whether he is dealt before the deadline or plays out the year in Philadelphia, he doesn't appear to be long for the organization.
- Victorino would be a fit for many teams including the Indians, Pirates, and maybe the Yankees, but it's not clear if anyone would give them value equal to the draft pick they would receive as compensation, tweets Olney.
- Speaking of the Indians and their outfield situation, they're not completely ruling out a return for Grady Sizemore this year, Olney tweets. They're also not necessarily expecting to see him back in action as his legs haven't responded in rehab.
- It makes total sense for the Braves to pursue Mariners infielder Brendan Ryan, says Olney. The 30-year-old is making $1.75MM on the back end of a two-year pact.
Some links from around MLB...
- ESPN's Keith Law posted a list of the top 100 prospects in this year's amateur draft. High school outfielder Byron Buxton and high school shortstop Carlos Correa top the list.
- "I love this game and I don't see myself calling it quits anytime soon," said Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (Twitter link). Sizemore is currently on the DL with a back issue, the latest problem in a long line of injuries in recent years.
- Royals owner David Glass says he hasn't spoken to anyone about selling his team despite rumors to the contrary, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. "I've not talked to anyone, nor has any of my family talked to anyone," he said.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America explains how teams and player representatives are working to side-step the international spending restrictions imposed under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement. MLB is aware of the loopholes and would object more strongly to some than others.
- Recent extensions talks haven’t taken place for Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels or Tim Lincecum, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. Greinke and Hamels are eligible for free agency this offseason, while Lincecum is under team control through 2013.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that Edinson Volquez of the Padres looks like a trade candidate (Twitter link). However, six of the right-hander’s seven starts have been at Petco Park, a generally forgiving environment for pitchers.\
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Indians CEO Paul Dolan recently spoke to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer about a number of topics concerning business both on and off the field...
- Dolan wasn't "shocked" to hear about Roberto Hernandez (a.k.a. Fausto Carmona) living under a false identity, saying that the team had heard an unsubstantiated rumor about the situation last year.
- Grady Sizemore will miss at least one month of the regular season after undergoing minor back surgery, but Dolan doesn't regret re-signing the outfielder. "It's disappointing that he got hurt again," Dolan said. "But we thought it was worth the risk because no one else on the [free agent] market had even close to Grady's upside for that price."
- Though recent long-term signings like Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Jake Westbrook have suffered injuries, Dolan said he is still open to signing players to such deals, though not without some caution. "If Chris [Antonetti] and Mark [Shapiro] comes to us with a long-term deal they want to make, we will seriously consider it. They have not done that [lately]," Dolan said. "We will remain open, but in totality, how successful have those kind of deals been? More often than not, they have been failures."
- Dolan disputed a recent Forbes article that claimed the Indians made a $30MM profit in 2011, arguing that while the club "made a little bit" of profit, that money went back into the team. Dolan said the MLB Players Association cited the Indians as a franchise that was properly using the league's revenue sharing system.
- Dolan was surprised when GM Chris Antonetti approached him about the Ubaldo Jimenez deal last summer. "Like most fans, I'm used to us trading for prospects -- not trading some of our best prospects," Dolan said. "I was happy to see us take that approach and try to win."
- It doesn't concern Dolan that the Indians don't have any players under contract past 2013, as the CEO notes that the team has control over many of its young stars like Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis for years to come.
- Dolan didn't address rumors that the team was looking to sell cable network Sports Time Ohio, but said, "We are always looking to add revenue on the TV side of things."
- It doesn't sound as if Dolan was totally satisfied with baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. "We achieved labor peace," said Dolan. "But we didn't address the fundamental problems [such as a lack of a salary cap]."
- Dolan said that there have been no "serious buyers" interested in purchasing the team during his ownership stint. He would possibly have interest in a minority investor, should such an interested investor come forward.
- The Tigers' signing of Prince Fielder dwarfed the Tribe's modest payroll increase of $50MM to $70MM. "I understand that makes us look bad," Dolan said. "I don't understand the foundation of what they are doing ... OK, in the short term, I do understand it, but long term ..." The Tigers' desire to win now makes them "operate much different than most franchises. Even the teams in major markets tend to operate as we do -- they spend what they take in and don't go way above that."
Now that the calendar has flipped to March, Opening Day seems that much closer. Here are some links from around MLB, starting with a pair of injury updates...
- The Pirates announced that A.J. Burnett has an orbital fracture of his right eye and will require surgery. The club didn’t provide a timetable for the right-hander, who was acquired from the Yankees last month.
- The Indians announced that Grady Sizemore underwent a “minimally invasive low back procedure” and is expected to miss two to three months.
- Agent Jeff Berry told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that no discussions about a multiyear deal for Giants catcher Buster Posey are expected to take place before Opening Day. Posey hasn't played since last May 25th, so it's more likely that an extension would become a priority next offseason.
- Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner confirmed to reporters, including Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger, that he is intent on lowering payroll below $189MM by 2014 for luxury tax purposes (Twitter link).
Here's a look at some items out of the Central divisions..
- Even though the outfielder has suffered yet another setback, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com doesn't see the re-signing of Grady Sizemore as a mistake for the Indians. The 29-year-old is set to earn $5MM with as much as $4MM in incentives in 2012.
- Jason Kendall enjoys serving as a coach for the Royals but still hopes to play again, writes Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. The 37-year-old hasn't played since his stint with Kansas City in 2010.
- Reds CEO Bob Castellini also gave a solid endorsement of skipper Dusty Baker, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The manager is in the final year of his contract.
- Castellini says that there's mutual interest between the club and Joey Votto in completing a new deal, tweets Morosi. The slugger has been tight-lipped on contract talks but acknowledged that they are something of a distraction. Ben Nicholson-Smith recently wrote that it could cost as much as $160MM to keep Votto signed through 2020.
- Castellini also acknowledged that the club is active in talks with second baseman Brandon Phillips, Morosi tweets.
- Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio wants to wrap up contract extensions for GM Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke before Opening Day, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Meanwhile, Attanasio didn't say much about free agents-to-be Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.