Howie Kendrick Rumors
Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times has been named Rumor Royalty for the Angels; he is the best source of Halos hot stove buzz. He was kind enough to answer three questions for MLBTR.
MLBTR: What do you make of the Paul Konerko rumors? Do you think the Angels and Sox have had post-Meetings discussions about him, despite Kenny Williams' claim otherwise?
DiGiovanna: I had heard the White Sox and Angels might be up to something four or five days before that report came out. I made several calls looking into the matter, as did my counterpart from the Chicago Tribune, White Sox beat writer Mark Gonzales, and after two or three days, we determined that there had been exploratory conversations between the teams during the winter meetings but nothing substantive since. Neither of us decided to write anything on it. Then a report was published claiming the Angels and White Sox were discussing a deal that would send Howie Kendrick and Ervin Santana to Chicago for Konerko. I was very skeptical about it because the Angels would not trade Kendrick straight up for Konerko, let alone Kendrick AND Ervin Santana. Then that afternoon, Kenny Williams shot down the rumor forcefully, saying on the record that there had been no talks with the Angels since the winter meetings and that he hasn’t discussed Konerko. I know GMs don’t always tell the whole truth, but when a GM knocks down a rumor so forcefully, I tend to believe him.
I know Angels Manager Mike Scioscia likes Konerko a lot, but Konerko will be 32 this season, he’s got three years and some $30 million left on his contract, and I don’t think his power projects as well outside of U.S. Cellular Field, a known hitter’s haven. The Angels might get almost as much production, though without as many homers, from first baseman Casey Kotchman for a lot less money over the next three years.
MLBTR: Will the Angels will make a push to sign Francisco Rodriguez to an extension during the season? What kind of dollars and years would you expect?
DiGiovanna: New GM Tony Reagins does not seem at all motivated to secure Rodriguez to a long-term deal, and since the two sides were unable to come to terms on a 2008 contract before exchanging arbitration figures last week—Rodriguez wants $12.5 million; the Angels offered $10 million—that’s an indication that they are still far apart on a multiyear deal. Rodriguez believes he is one of the top closers in the game and thinks he should be paid like one, so I would not be surprised if he is seeking a deal similar to the three-year, $45-million contract Mariano Rivera signed this winter. The Angels like Rodriguez and would love to lock him up for a few years, but I don’t think they want to pay him $15 million a year. I think Rodriguez will become a free agent after the season, the Angels will move Scot Shields into the closer role and, if there is still no spot for him in the rotation, convert Ervin Santana to a set-up man.
MLBTR: Is Ervin Santana the odd man out as far as the Angels' six starters? Do you expect him to be with the organization on Opening Day?
DiGiovanna: Barring injury to any of the other starters, yes, I think Santana will be the odd man out unless he has a phenomenal spring training and Joe Saunders struggles. John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Jon Garland and Jered Weaver are rotation locks, so Saunders and Santana will battle for the fifth spot. But in talking to Angels scouts and front-office executives, I get the sense they think Saunders—now that Bartolo Colon is out of the picture—has earned a big league spot, that he has done all he can in the minor leagues, and that another demotion to triple-A Salt Lake would be detrimental to the left-hander. They also like having at least one left-hander in their rotation.
However, I think Santana will not only be with the organization on opening day but on the big league roster. He has shown during his brief stints as a reliever that he can be very effective coming out of the bullpen, and he would be valuable as a swing man, a guy who could pitch long relief or spot start in case of injury. The Angels also may use this season to start grooming Santana into a short reliever.
UPDATE, 1-10-08 at 9:45am: This one isn't dead quite yet. According to Buster Olney this morning:
Heard that while the Paul Konerko-Angels talks are not blistering hot now, there is a chance they will get hot sometime in the future.
UPDATE, 1-5-08 at 10:17pm: Kenny Williams said tonight that he hasn't spoken to anyone with the Angels since the Winter Meetings, and that he hasn't had trade talks about Konerko this winter. Nor has he been asked about his first baseman.
UPDATE, 1-5-08 at 10:33am: Doug Padilla of the Daily Breeze has a source confirming the talks described below.
FROM 1-4-08 at 7:41pm:
Just got a solid tip that the Angels and White Sox are discussing a possible Paul Konerko deal. No idea how serious these talks may be.
The Angels made an offer to Konerko in the winter of 2005-06, when he was a free agent. Konerko does have a limited no-trade clause to consider.
Some names being bandied about include Ervin Santana, Howie Kendrick, and Chone Figgins. Of course, all three would not be in the deal. The Sox also seek relief help. Moving Konerko would mean putting Nick Swisher at first base, while Figgins could be the leadoff hitter the Sox are after.
A few good reads that I didn't know how to fit elsewhere.
- LENIII does a Johan Q&A. I can't say much has changed but he does dissect the situation well.
- Mike DiGiovanna also does a mailbag, with tidbits about Howie Kendrick, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Konerko, and many others.
- I know I said I like to skip minor signings, but it's interesting to see Gabe Kapler out of retirement, signing with the Brewers.
Gammons says the Marlins and Angels are "serious about moving Cabrera to the Angels." The current rumor: Howie Kendrick, Nick Adenhart, Jeff Mathis, and one other prospect.
UPDATE, 12-3-07 at 10am: Peter Gammons says the Marlins are no longer insisting on both Adenhart and Santana. He thinks the deal can work.
FROM 12-2-07 at 2pm:
Jon Heyman has the latest on the Miguel Cabrera situation. As you know, the Angels are frustrated but have left the door open for the Marlins to approach them regarding their offer.
We also knew that the offer had both Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis in it. The other players: one of Nick Adenhart or Ervin Santana, plus a "mid-level" pitching prospect. The Marlins wanted both Adenhart and Santana, prompting the Angels to throw up their hands. Marlins ownership (Loria and Samson) are the ones pushing for both pitchers.
The Angels' original offer stands, and they'll wait to see if the Marlins decide to take it. Heyman lists the Angels, Dodgers, Giants, and White Sox as those most serious in Cabrera, with the Rangers, Indians, and Mets also placing calls. The Mets, eh? That's a new one.
The Angels are a bit frustrated in the Miguel Cabrera dealings. According to Jayson Stark, they've told the Marlins to come swing by their suite whenever they're ready to give a little on their demands.
In the deal for sure: Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis. One of Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders, and Nick Adenhart would be included as well. However, the Fish want two of those starters. The Halos won't do it, but might be able to give one starter plus Reggie Willits. Either way it's going to be a major haul.
It wouldn't be impossible to get Cabrera for three players, but they'd have to be damn good ones. It's always fascinating to watch the Marlins replenish their system.
Angels owner Arte Moreno isn't happy with the way the Marlins dealt with his club on the Miguel Cabrera negotiations. Twice already the Angels thought they had deals only to have the Marlins come back at the last minute asking for more. Moreno also believed this happened to the Dodgers and the Fish are playing the two teams off each other.
None of this seems outside the realm of negotiation; it's just curious that Moreno went public with it. Perhaps that's strategy, his way of telling the Marlins he won't take any more BS.
Moreno said the Marlins' demand is four players. Three of them must be Major Leaguers and two pitchers. If the Angels are to give up two good young pitchers, they won't also include both Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis.
It hasn't really been said but it seems like the Cabrera negotiations may stall now unless the Marlins come down a bit. Or maybe some other dominoes will fall at the Winter Meetings and a team will get desperate.
UPDATE: Some added info from yesterday's Miami Herald. It sounds like the Angels are willing to part with Reggie Willits, Howie Kendrick, and a catcher. Not a bad haul. However the Marlins are apparently insisting on the inclusion of top pitching prospect Nick Adenhart as well.
Just because the Angels dropped $90 million on Torii Hunter doesn't mean they won't continue to make deals this off-season. Specifically, the two players most linked to them -- Miguel Cabrera and Miguel Tejada -- are still hot on the radar, according to GM Tony Reagins.
"All I can say is I'm going to be looking at some other things to make us better," Reagins said. "The winter meetings are coming up, and I'm sure we'll have more discussions. I'm going to be open-minded."
Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times opines that the acquisition of Hunter could make it easier to incur the loss of Howie Kendrick, a potential major chip in a Cabrera trade. Other players sought by the Marlins are catcher Jeff Mathis, pitcher Nick Adenhart, and one of Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver, or Ervin Santana. That's quite steep asking price, but in line with the Marlins demands from the Dodgers of Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Andy LaRoche, and one more prospect.
The deal for Tejada would be less costly, but could cost the Angels SS Erick Aybar. Since the Halos want to move Tejada to third, that could mean starting Chone Figgins at short, or, as Tim mentioned the other day, bringing back David Eckstein.
Joe Pawlikowski is co-author of River Ave. Blues.
UPDATE, 11-15-07: MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says the Angels are in the lead now, and trade talk for Cabrera is picking up with A-Rod on the verge of signing. Frisaro says a deal could be done by Thanksgiving, in contrast to Joe Capozzi's suggestion that this would happen at the Winter Meetings. The L.A. Times explained several Dodgers/Angels scenarios on Wednesday; that's also worth a read.
Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Dodgers and Angels are leading the pack in the Miguel Cabrera derby. Four other clubs are said to be in the mix. The Marlins will continue to field offers and hope to trade Cabrera at the Winter Meetings in a few weeks.
Both the Dodgers and Angels are also in the mix for Alex Rodriguez. Scott Boras must love Cabrera messing up his market. A friend of Tommy Lasorda's told me today that Lasorda puts the Dodgers' chances of signing A-Rod around 25%.
From the Angels, the Marlins want Howie Kendrick, Nick Adenhart, another pitcher, and an outfielder. Now that's a tall order! Ervin Santana or Joe Saunders could be in the mix. Maybe the Marlins like Terry Evans, Nathan Haynes, or Reggie Willits as well.
The Dodgers are being asked to pony up four of Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Andy LaRoche, James Loney, and Matt Kemp. Capozzi suggests the Dodgers would probably only include one of the pitchers. Even so, a Kershaw/LaRoche/Loney/Kemp package is insane for one player. That has to be well over $100MM of value - a bit less than 20 team-controlled seasons. Three of the five would still make for a sweet bounty. The team acquiring Cabrera would probably be compelled to lock him in past 2009.
An educated guess at the other four teams in the mix for Cabrera: White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees, and Giants. I'll guess that the Indians have bowed out.
Another random collection of rumorage...
- The Braves have "many millions more" to spend on players this winter. One emailer suggested that maybe the Braves will offer arbitration to Andruw Jones and he'll accept.
- Corey Patterson and the Nationals have mutual interest. Baseball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan considers him a possible bargain, noting that he is only 28.
- We figured the Padres and Matt Clement had mutual interest. Now it's official. Clement wants a one-year deal with incentives.
- Tracy Ringolsby confirms that Yorvit Torrealba wants a three-year deal. He says the Rockies are at two years, $7MM, the Marlins are in the same range, and the Mets are at two years, $9MM. UPDATE: The Denver Post says Torrealba will have a decision Thursday.
- Interesting Miguel Cabrera stuff from the L.A. Times. Howie Kendrick is not considered untouchable, but the Marlins might have to include Dan Uggla. Basically if the Marlins are to get four players back, they'll have to add Uggla or Dontrelle Willis to the deal.
- Our friends at Gotham Baseball say if the Mets were to acquire Dan Haren, the package would start with Billy Beane favorite John Maine. Mark Healey figures Lastings Milledge and Aaron Heilman would have to go also.
- Ken Rosenthal thinks a one-year, $8MM offer from Atlanta would be enough to secure Tom Glavine.
- The D'Backs' main trading chip is outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. It appears that the team explored what they could get for Conor Jackson and decided to keep him.