Grady Sizemore Rumors
MLB executives expect Albert Pujols to re-sign in St. Louis, but predicting Prince Fielder’s next team is considerably more challenging. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark surveyed a dozen MLB executives about likely landing spots for the two free agent first basemen and the details are worth examining. Here they are, along with more notes from Stark:
- The average prediction for Pujols’ next contract was more than $28MM per season for 8.5 years. All but one respondent expect Pujols to re-sign with the Cardinals, though there’s buzz that the Cubs, Marlins and Rangers are “gearing up” for him.
- Executives expect Fielder to sign a seven-year deal in the $22-23MM range. Some doubt NL teams would commit more than five years to Fielder because of concerns that he’ll be incapable of playing passable defense once he hits his mid-thirties.
- Manny Ramirez tried out for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, but it didn’t go well, possibly because Japanese teams prefer to avoid players with baggage.
- The players and owners are considering significant changes to the schedule in talks for a new collective bargaining agreement. The sides are considering a proposal that would split MLB teams into six divisions of five teams, ensure identical schedules for teams within the same division and boost inter-league play considerably.
- Stark hears that the Nationals are focused on finding veteran starting pitching and a center fielder. One executive believes the team prefers Mark Buehrle to C.J. Wilson or Roy Oswalt.
- The Phillies have interest in Jason Kubel and have checked in on Grady Sizemore.
- More than six teams have expressed interest in Jimmy Rollins.
- The Braves seem interested in shedding salary and they continue to float Jair Jurrjens’ name. It appears that they’d move Martin Prado after his disappointing 2011 season.
- Rival teams say the Royals are no longer looking to trade for a top-of-the-rotation starter, according to Stark. They acquired Jonathan Sanchez earlier in the week and now prefer to hold their prospects and spend on back-of-the-rotation arms.
- The Red Sox are less likely to spend on a right fielder if they re-sign free agent DH David Ortiz.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- The Phillies have serious interest in free agent Michael Cuddyer, although Rosenthal is skeptical of them adding a player who turns 33 in March. Rosenthal says other left fielders are in the mix, but none are ideal. One player Rosenthal did not mention is Josh Willingham, who I can see the Phillies considering. As for a splash at shortstop, Rosenthal says Jose Reyes' leg problems scare the Phillies.
- The Orioles were desperate to find a new GM and Dan Duquette was desperate to be a GM again, writes Rosenthal. A press conference is expected this week to announce Duquette's three-year deal.
- The Royals view Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer as their 3-4 hitters long-term, so don't look for Butler on the trade market this winter. The 25-year-old is potentially under team control through 2015 on an extension signed in January.
- Rosenthal sees Grady Sizemore landing with a high-revenue team for an amount close to the $9MM option Cleveland passed on. I'd be surprised if he tops $7MM guaranteed. Sizemore's agent Joe Urbon said his client prefers to play center field, but is open to a corner spot.
- The Orioles are trying to add pitching depth via the six-year minor league free agent market. Here's the list of minor league free agents from Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
- Rosenthal says to look for Ryne Sandberg to be promoted to Phillies bench coach of Pete Mackanin is hired by the Cubs or Red Sox. He also thinks recently-fired Cubs manager Mike Quade would then be a possibility to manage the Phillies' Triple-A club.
The Rockies won’t commit to players over 30 on long-term deals, according to Dave Krieger of the Denver Post. Here are some more notes on the Rockies:
- The Rockies have expressed interest in free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who may prove to be too expensive for Colorado’s budget.
- The Rockies will be looking for third base help this offseason, but Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd indicated no interest in Aramis Ramirez at the length of contract he’s looking for, according to Krieger.
- Cuddyer is a Type A free agent and will probably cost a draft pick, while Ramirez is a Type B and definitely won't cost a pick.
- Grady Sizemore intrigues O’Dowd as a potential value signing.
- Third base prospect Nolan Arenado has impressed O’Dowd by hitting well in the Arizona Fall League. The 2009 second round pick may be accelerating his minor league development with his production in the AFL.
- Generally speaking, O’Dowd doesn’t intend to force trades for the sake of trades. “I personally think a lot our issues are internal, not external,” he told Krieger.
- For a close look at the Rockies check out Tim Dierkes offseason outlook.
Three years ago today, the Marlins claimed Dan Meyer off waivers from the Athletics. The left-hander went on to enjoy a strong season out of Florida's bullpen in 2009 (3.09 ERA with 8.6 K/9 in 58 1/3 innings) before struggling in 2010. Here's the lastest from the NL East...
- The Mets are unlikely to target Grady Sizemore as a center field solution according to Andy McCullough of The Star Ledger (on Twitter). He says it's not much of a surprise given Sizemore's injury problems over the last three seasons.
- It's "50-50" as to whether former Expos and Marlins hurler Javier Vazquez will play in 2012, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The right-hander strongly prefers the east coast, and his return would depend on the team and its competitive environment.
- Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post broke down the Nationals' current payroll commitments. Tim Dierkes did the same and more in his Offseason Outlook post.
Congratulations to this year’s Silver Slugger winners. Here are the latest links from around MLB...
- Agent Joe Urbon told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Grady Sizemore is "open to anything" and "not limiting his choices at all." Several teams have already expressed preliminary interest in the free agent outfielder. Ideally he would play center field, but he's open to playing left or right.
- Over at FanGraphs, MLBTR writer Mike Axisa explains why Andrew Brackman was the most expensive draft bust in baseball history. The Yankees cut ties with the former first round pick yesterday.
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner offers his offseason plan for the Mariners. It revolves around acquiring Joey Votto from the Reds and includes contract offers for former Seattle left-handers Jamie Moyer and Erik Bedard. In my offseason outlook for the Mariners, I suggested it makes sense for the team to pursue rotation and bullpen depth.
- Second baseman Brandon Phillips told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he has “some leverage” in contract talks with the Reds. Fay suggests Phillips is looking for a deal in the $38-62MM range. The Reds, who picked up Phillips’ $12MM option for 2012 earlier in the week, intend to continue discussing an extension.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Fay that he remains hopeful that the team can reach a deal with Francisco Cordero. Jocketty nearly arrived at an agreement with the closer earlier this week, but the sides didn't agree to terms and the Reds declined their option on Cordero.
- The Fielding Bible recently announced its 2011 winners. Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre and Troy Tulowitzki were among those rewarded for defensive excellence.
The latest Red Sox rumors, courtesy of Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald...
- The Red Sox are expected to explore signing free agent Grady Sizemore as a right field option, a team source tells Silverman. Sizemore would not rule out playing a corner outfield position for the first time in his MLB career, said agent Joe Urbon. An incentive-laden contract for Sizemore would likely include a player option, writes Silverman. Sizemore ranks 26th on my top 50 free agents list.
- Predict which top free agents the Red Sox and other teams will sign in our new contest for a chance to win awesome prizes.
- In declining Dan Wheeler's $3MM option yesterday, new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said, "We didn’t feel like we could commit to that money this early in the offseason."
- Cherington hinted that the team's shortstop surplus could be helpful on the trade market.
- The Red Sox made no offer for Derek Lowe, said Cherington.
- The Red Sox were "expected to go after C.C. Sabathia hard, if only to drive his price tag in New York higher," hears Silverman. Sabathia completed a contract extension last night.
- Though Commissioner Bud Selig could step in as early as today to resolve the Theo Epstein compensation talks, Silverman doesn't think it's a hard deadline.
The Indians started their offseason off with a few major moves today, acquiring Derek Lowe from the Braves, picking up Fausto Carmona's option and declining Grady Sizemore's. Here are some more notes about the Indians...
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he visited Sizemore's Arizona home to tell him that the Indians had decided to decline his option. The decision was "very difficult" for Antonetti, but he determined that there were better ways for the Indians to spend the $8.5MM they saved.
- The Indians will pursue a "quality outfielder" through free agency, Antonetti said. There's still a chance that the Indians will re-sign Sizemore.
- The Indians are expecting better results from Carmona in 2012, since the groundballer has bounced back from difficult seasons in the past.
- Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer says the Indians should make Michael Brantley their everyday center fielder and shop for a corner outfielder this offseason.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law breaks down the Lowe trade and says it helps the Indians, since they get another groundball pitcher who makes his starts. Lowe isn't much more than a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, Law writes, so Atlanta's willingness to part with him for salary relief and lefty reliever Chris Jones is understandable.
- Jason Roberts of FanGraphs explains that there's reason for the Indians to expect Lowe to rebound from his ugly 5.05 ERA in 2012.
- When I looked ahead to the Indians' offseason last week I explained that adding rotation depth was a significant part of the team's offseason challenge. Now that they've acquired Lowe and declined Sizemore's option, their next job will be to re-establish outfield depth.
Carmona would have earned more than the $7MM option price as an arbitration eligible player, and the Indians made the expected choice to retain him.
Sizemore spent his entire career with the Indians, peaking in 2008 with a tenth-place finish in the MVP voting. Due to Sizemore's health concerns, the Indians chose a $500K buyout over a $9MM option for 2012. Sizemore has had several surgeries in recent years but expects to be ready for Spring Training, so he'll be appealing on a one-year deal to many teams.
The Indians are expected to decline their $9MM 2012 option on center fielder Grady Sizemore and exercise their $7MM 2012 option on right-hander Fausto Carmona, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Sizemore will be owed a $500K buyout.
Sizemore, 29, was a cornerstone player for the Tribe from 2005-08 (.281/.372/.496) but has seen his stock plummet after three consecutive injury-riddled campaigns. Bastian notes that the Indians will likely be interested in bringing back Sizemore on a lesser deal, and as Tim Dierkes wrote earlier today, the three-time All-Star should garner interest - perhaps in the form of an incentive-laden deal - from teams in need of help in center field.
Carmona, 28 in December, will apparently return for a seventh season in Cleveland. The groundballer (58.6% career rate) has seen pretty wild fluctuations in his yearly ERAs, although his FIPs usually sits in the mid-4.00s. He averaged 200 innings over the past two seasons, however, so the Indians are hoping that he can shoulder a similar workload again and pitch competently at what is a reasonable salary. The Indians also hold options on the right-hander for 2013 ($9MM) and 2014 ($12MM).
Last night we learned that all option decisions - regardless if it's team, player, or mutual - must be made by 11:59pm ET on Monday.
After one of the greatest, wildest, sloppiest and most exciting games in baseball history, we're going to see a Game Seven tomorrow night. It will be the first seventh game in the Series since the Angels needed the maximum to beat the Giants in 2002.
As we prepare for the last game of 2011, here are some news items....
- In an interview with 620-WDAE radio (reported on by Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times), James Shields says he thinks the Rays will pick up his $7MM option for 2012 and he will pitch for the team next season. The Rays are a near-lock to pick up Shields' option but they could shop the right-hander for a trade this winter.
- Smith also notes that Shields' option could be worth as much as $8MM depending on an innings-pitched incentive clause and how Shields fares in AL Cy Young voting.
- Jason Giambi is considering declining his side of his $1MM mutual option for 2012, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. We heard last month that the Rockies were going to pick up their side of the option, so the decision appears to be up to Giambi.
- If Grady Sizemore had played his exact career with another team and the Indians had a chance to sign him, the Tribe wouldn't even consider the move, argues Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. That's how Pluto frames the Indians' decision about Sizemore's $9MM option for 2012.
- The Red Sox and Giants will both be contenders for Carlos Beltran this winter, reports Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).
- The Angels should rehire former scouting director Eddie Bane, opines Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. Bane was fired by then-GM Tony Reagins last year but still has a good relationship with owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino.
- The week's minor league transactions are recapped by Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
- After getting burned on the Michael Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg signings, "it’s unlikely that the Orioles will spend big money on a closer" this winter, says Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.