Hideki Matsui Rumors
Incoming Astros owner Jim Crane has ordered a decrease in payroll from $76MM to $60MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Here’s the latest on Houston’s deadline plans and other notes from around MLB:
- The Astros are looking for at least three pieces for Hunter Pence. They’d probably demand young, MLB-ready talent, so a deal appears unlikely.
- Houston is shopping Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers harder than Pence
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer told Heyman that he’d have to be “blown away” to trade Mike Adams and that he’d prefer to keep the setup man.
- The Rangers are in talks with the Padres about Heath Bell, who is also drawing interest from the Cardinals, Angels and Reds.
- No one has called the A’s about Hideki Matsui and Oakland isn’t looking to trade Grant Balfour.
- The A’s are taking calls on Michael Wuertz, Brian Fuentes and Craig Breslow.
- The Yankees’ wish list includes a right-handed bat along with a lefty reliever and a starter. Perhaps the newly-signed Marcus Thames will help the Yankees at some point in 2011.
Jemile Weeks collects walks just like his older brother Rickie, but while the elder Weeks hits for power, Jemile is more of a contact hitter, writes Fangraphs' Jack Moore in his analysis of the two Weeks brothers. Jemile went 0-for-4 in his Major League debut last night for the A's, leading off and playing second base.
Here are some more items from Oakland, courtesy of Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle...
- "Hideki Matsui's future is cloudy" with the A's, but the veteran may get one more stint of regular playing time to see if he can turn around his disappointing season. As Slusser notes, Matsui has been a better hitter in the second half of the season (a career .855 OPS after the All-Star break), but the team might not want to wait that long. I'd suggest Oakland could probably trade Matsui to a contender for a low-profile prospect rather than release him for nothing.
- Right-hander Graham Godfrey will make his Major League debut in a start against the White Sox on Friday. The A's will have to make a 40-man roster move to make room for Godfrey and Slusser guesses the team will have to designate someone for assignment. That is, unless, the A's have already gotten word that Brett Anderson will need Tommy John surgery and he can be moved to the 60-day DL. Anderson will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week.
- While the A's are struggling right now, "I don't see Billy Beane pulling the plug in early June no matter how many injuries they've absorbed, or even if Anderson does need Tommy John surgery." Slusser notes that "Josh Willingham's name is definitely out there" in terms of trade rumors.
- Oakland's late-round draft picks included Brett Geren (manager Bob Geren's son) in the 42nd round and Shane Boras (son of agent Scott Boras) in the 39th round. Shane is the second Boras child to be drafted in this year's amateur draft; his brother Trent was taken in the 30th round by the Brewers.
- Andy LaRoche has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, Slusser tweets. LaRoche was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Monday.
Links for Wednesday as the Phillies adjust to the possibility of losing Chase Utley for a while. Click here for Tim Dierkes' list of alternatives for the Phillies and keep reading for today's links...
- Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Pat White retired from baseball, according to the AP (on ESPN). The 26-year-old signed a minor league contract with the Royals in September.
- Other teams showed interest in Hideki Matsui, but the DH told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that the A's were the only club to make him a formal offer.
- Kendry Morales tells Kevin Baxter of the LA Times that his first name is actually Kendrys. His birth certificate reads "Kendrys Morales," but he never corrected the Angels' documents.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports compares Zack Greinke's injury to the one Cliff Lee suffered last year. The Brewers are hoping the parallels end there, since the Mariners lost 101 games last year. As Rosenthal explains, Greinke's injury isn't the only concern for Milwaukee.
- Tim Dierkes lists 30 starting pitchers to watch for fantasy purposes at RotoAuthority.
On this date in 1997, the Red Sox traded Tony Armas Jr. and Carl Pavano to the Expos for reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez. A case can be made that Pedro's 1999 and 2000 seasons were the two best pitching seasons in baseball history, in which he held batters to a .186/.231/.274 batting line with 597 strikeouts in 430.1 innings.
It's highly unlikely that we'll see a pitcher of Pedro's caliber traded anytime soon, but that Zack Greinke kid is pretty good in his own right. Here are today's links...
- Two days ago we heard that the Rockies had interest in David Aardsma, Grant Balfour, and Todd Coffey, and now Troy Renck of The Denver post throws Jon Rauch's name into the mix.
- Marc Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times has some quotes from Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, who called the size of free agent contracts being handed out this winter "discouraging." He also commented (briefly) on the team's 2011 payroll.
- Bobby Jenks will take his physical on Monday, tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. It was originally scheduled for today but was pushed back, and it's necessary to finalize his contract with the Red Sox.
- Renck also has the goods (Twitter links) on two recent Rockies signings. Ty Wigginton took less money to sign in Colorado, earning $3.5MM in 2011, $4MM in '12, and a club option for $4MM in '13 ($500k buyout). Meanwhile, pitcher Eric Stults has an out in his $435k minor league deal that will allow him to sign with the Hiroshima Carp if he does not make the big league roster.
- Richard Durrett of ESPN.com applauds the Rangers' efforts to bolster their starting depth.
- Dan Wheeler is happy to be a member of Boston's improved bullpen, writes MLB.com's Ian Browne.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Seth McClung's deal with the Rangers will pay him $700K if he makes the team. There are another $700K available in bonuses tied to the number of starts he makes.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a report (via Twitter) indicating that Hideki Matsui's contract with the A's has a limited no-trade clause preventing trades to the Mariners, Orioles, Twins, Blue Jays, Indians, and Royals.
- Mariano Rivera told Erik Boland of Newsday that he plans to give long-time teammate Andy Pettitte a call to try to convince the lefty to come back for another season.
- Finding a left-handed bat off the bench is one of the last remaining items on the Marlins offseason agenda, but MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says they might already have that guy on their roster. Catcher John Baker, who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, said he would be up for the job until he's cleared to catch again.
- Former Mets GM Omar Minaya told Ian Begley of ESPN New York that he plans to sit down with new GM Sandy Alderson after the holidays to discuss a potential new role with the team. Minaya said he has several offers on the table, including interest from the Diamondbacks.
- Hey iPhone users, do you have the MLBTR app yet? Jason Bartlett does, and that's how he found out his trade to the Padres was in the works.
The Athletics have officially signed Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal, $4.25MM deal. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle broke the news yesterday and ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted the amount today. Agent Arn Tellem of WMG represents Matsui.
The 36-year-old Matsui arrived in the AL West last year and batted .274/.361/.459 in 554 plate appearances, mostly while serving as the Angels' designated hitter. Matsui hit 21 homers and 24 doubles in his first MLB season on a team other than the Yankees.
NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman passes along a report (via Twitter) indicating that Matsui's contract with the A's has a limited no-trade clause preventing trades to the Mariners, Orioles, Twins, Blue Jays, Indians, and Royals.
MONDAY, 6:54am: Slusser writes that "the deal might be finalized today, with a news conference likely to be held Tuesday if the details are finalized in time." SI's Jon Heyman believes a deal would be for around $7MM a year.
SUNDAY, 10:46pm: Slusser says that even though Matsui has not yet visited Oakland, the A's are the front runner to sign him with no close second. She's heard about a possible one-year, $5MM contract, but believes that might be low given the two-year, $16MM offer they made to Berkman.
9:35pm: Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle says that the two sides could reach an agreement as early as this week (Twitter links). She adds that Arn Tellem, Matsui's agent, wanted to get proposals this weekend with a decision to follow.
8:10pm: The Athletics could be close to an agreement with Hideki Matsui, tweets Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group. Oakland has had trouble getting free agents to take their money this offseason, most notably getting spurned by Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman.
Matsui has been connected to the A's pretty much all offseason. The 2009 World Series MVP hit .274/.361/.459 with 21 homers for the Angels this past season, though he was much more impressive after the calendar flipped to June (.300/.392/.498). The 36-year-old Matsui could slot right in at DH for Oakland, though he did make 18 appearances in the outfield in 2010.
- The Rangers have had internal discussions about Magglio Ordonez, Jim Thome, Troy Glaus, Marcus Thames and Manny Ramirez, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. They're also interested in bringing back Vladimir Guerrero, of course.
- Angels GM Tony Reagins wouldn't rule out a possible reunion with Vlad, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. The Angels also have interest in re-signing Hideki Matsui.
- Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he expects to start fielding formal offers for his client this weekend.
- Agent Scott Boras hinted that Ramirez may not be cheap, even if he signs a one-year deal, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. “I think there are short-term contracts for players and there are short-term contracts for players with a history like Manny Ramirez,” Boras said.
- The Blue Jays are intrigued by what Adam Lind can do as a first baseman, so GM Alex Anthopoulos says the team would ideally add someone who can be a hybrid first baseman/DH, according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.
- The team did not offer Carlos Pena or Paul Konerko contracts before the first basemen signed in Chicago, according to president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.
- It's likely that the team's shortstop will be Hardy, Jason Bartlett, Brendan Ryan or Cesar Izturis, MacPhail said. The Padres appear to be close to a deal for Bartlett, which would limit the Orioles' options.
- MacPhail says the club has expressed interest in a number of DH types. Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui and Jim Thome are believed to be among the team's targets.
- The team, which selects fourth in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, is considering a number of players.
- There are no updates on Kevin Gregg, but Zrebiec reported yesterday that the team has offered the former Blue Jays closer a two-year deal.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post hears (on Twitter) that Nick Green could end up in Baltimore.
5:36pm: The A's are confident they can sign Matsui, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
2:32pm: This morning, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle posted the latest on the Athletics' search for a designated hitter:
- Vladimir Guerrero is now open to a one-year deal with any AL West team. The Mariners are probably not a match given the Jack Cust signing, and the Angels probably aren't planning a reunion, so this news really only affects the Athletics. Meanwhile, the Rangers still consider Vlad their best DH option and are optimistic about a deal according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
- The A's still have Hideki Matsui atop their list, though he's drawn interest from the Orioles and possibly Rangers.
- Nick Johnson, said to be fully recovered from wrist surgery, is also in the mix for Oakland.
The Athletics are looking for offense with Vladimir Guerrero and Hideki Matsui on their list, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The A's prefer free agents to trades, Morosi notes. Lance Berkman turned down a two-year offer from the A's; Vlad may require at least that long of a deal to sign.
The A's are also in on Josh Willingham and Derrek Lee, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but the Nationals' asking price for Willingham is said to be absurd. Rosenthal feels that the A's could offer Lee more than the Padres or Diamondbacks.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that A's GM Billy Beane met with Matsui's agent Arn Tellem. Tellem tells her the A's are not the only team in on him. The Orioles are in, but Matsui prefers a contender. She considers Nick Johnson and Lee "among the other potential options." The A's don't find Carlos Beltran a realistic option, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. They don't believe he'd waive his no-trade clause to come to Oakland.