Ichiro Suzuki Rumors
The Yankees have been eerily quiet so far at the 2013 Winter Meetings. Still, here's the latest from GM Brian Cashman's media briefing.
- Cashman confirmed he's talked to the representatives for Kevin Youkilis, A.J. Pierzynski, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, and Ichiro Suzuki (MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reporting).
- It's still probable that the Yankees' catcher is already on the roster, and the team is focused on a corner outfield replacement for Nick Swisher as well as left side infield depth (Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting).
- Cashman described the third base market as "a very limited sandbox to play in."
- GM Ruben Amaro told reporters he's more likely to land his center fielder through free agency than trade. Salisbury says Michael Bourn doesn't appear to fit the team's profile, while they're lukewarm on a Shane Victorino reunion. A corner player like Cody Ross could work.
- Amaro made a thinly-veiled reference to the one difference-maker on the market, understood to be Josh Hamilton. The GM skirted the question as to whether he is pursuing Hamilton. Salisbury considers it a long shot.
- Though the team has some interest in the major free agent center fielders, they're also eyeing Dexter Fowler and Peter Bourjos as potential trade targets. Bourjos is projected to start for the Halos, however. The Phillies and Rockies have discussed Fowler, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He notes that the Rockies would want pitching in return.
- There has been some communication between the Phillies and Ichiro Suzuki's camp, though it's unclear who reached out.
- The Phillies have interest in the Rangers' Michael Young for third base, but they'd need Young to approve the trade and the Rangers to pick up part of the tab. Young, 36, is owed $16MM in 2013, though part of his salary is deferred.
Here's a look at the some of the news out of the AL and NL East:
- David Wright will undergo a physical tomorrow that will complete his $138MM contract extension with the Mets, a Major League source tells ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
- R.A. Dickey told reporters, including Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, he wants to remain a Met, "That’s 100 percent my hope. That being said, you never want to be taken advantage of."
- GM Dan Duquette says the Orioles are "probably not" going to be able to sign Josh Hamilton, writes CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. Duquette adds he has some money to spend, but not enough for Hamilton.
- Heyman tweeted Ichiro Suzuki is reaching out to other teams, possibly including the Phillies, although there is a strong belief he wants to return to the Yankees.
- The Yankees have a starting catcher and right fielder atop their shopping list, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
- Non-tendered pitchers Jair Jurrjens, Jeff Karstens, and John Lannan could interest the Orioles, writes the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina.
- The question is not if but when will the Rays make a trade to fill their holes at first base, DH, and the outfield, opines Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- Earlier today, we learned the Yankees and Red Sox both have interest in free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.
News and notes out of the AL and NL East..
- Ichiro Suzuki's agent says he's ready to open the floor to other suitors as talks with the Yankees have stalled, but GM Brian Cashman says that Suzuki already knew that he would be put on the backburner for a bit, writes Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. "Now that our pitching has been settled, which was our priority on the front end, we'll move from the defense to the offense and engage all the players we have interest in and have interest in us," said Cashman.
- The Mets have fielded calls from six or seven teams are looking to meet and discuss a deal for R.A. Dickey, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Mets and Dickey have been trying to work out a contract extension for two months, but it appears general manager Sandy Alderson has the green light to now to more seriously consider trade alternatives instead. The Mets are expected to seek a catcher and outfield help in any trade.
- The Mets will are willing to get creative with backloaded contracts in order to entice free agents with more money and multiyear deals, a person with knowledge of the team's thinking tells Marc Carig of Newsday. That thinking could come into play at this week's winter meetings in Nashville. The Mets still won't splurge on a big ticket free agent but could try and get creative in order to improve their outfield situation.
- Brian Wilson has interest in the Red Sox as well as the Giants, Dodgers, and Angels a source tells Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Wilson is reportedly unlikely to re-sign with the Giants after being non-tendered.
Last week, Ichiro Suzuki's agent Tony Attanasio told George A. King III of the New York Post that his client was receiving interest from other clubs but still had a strong preference to play for the Yankees. A lot has changed in the last week, however, and Attanasio says that his client is no longer waiting on the Bombers, King writes.
“At the beginning we talked a lot but since that time, zero," said the agent. "As far as we are concerned we don’t care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like he will go through with it."
Of course, the dragging of contract talks doesn't mean that the 39-year-old is definitely out of the picture in the Bronx. The Yankees, who are working to get the 2014 payroll down to $189MM, don't see many desirable trade possibilities at right field that can fit their budget. At the same time, they are less-than-thrilled by the prospect of having Ichiro and Brett Gardner in the corner outfield spots full-time due to their lack power.
It's been a busy baseball day in New York, as the Mets made David Wright a nine-figure contract offer while the Yankees moved closer to re-signing Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Here's the latest out of the Big Apple...
- "Negotiations are progressing, that's all I can really say about it," said R.A. Dickey when asked about contract talks with the Mets during an appearance on ESPN's Mike & Mike (audio link). The knuckleballer admitted to being loyal to the club since they gave him a chance when others passed.
- David Lennon of Newsday says (on Twitter) it appears the Mets want to sign Wright to a new contract before wrapping things up with Dickey.
- Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York hears Russell Martin is seeking a four-year contract worth $9-10MM annually (Twitter link). He doesn't believe the Yankees will go that far.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports (on Twitter) the Yankees are not having serious talks with Ichiro Suzuki at this time.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com...
- The Yankees and Russell Martin are discussing a new contract, though Martin appears to be talking to at least one other team. Talks involving the free agent catcher are “heating up,” according to Heyman. The Yankees made progress with Martin over the weekend, though the sides were apart on dollars several days ago. The Rangers have Martin on their list and other teams, such as the Pirates, Mariners and White Sox, are considering catchers.
- The Yankees are confident they can re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, Heyman reports. The Yankees expect to reach a deal with the free agent outfielder, who has said he hopes to return to New York.
- The Red Sox, Braves and Giants appear to be looking at Nick Swisher, Heyman reports. The market for Swisher seems strong enough for him to obtain a deal of at least four years and executives see the outfielder signing for $12-14MM per season. The Red Sox like Swisher’s versatility since they have openings at first base and in the outfield. Meanwhile, the Braves and Giants are also looking for corner outfield help.
Although he is drawing interest from other teams around the league, Ichiro Suzuki prefers to re-sign with the Yankees according to his agent Tony Attanasio. Attanasio told George A. King III of The New York Post that his client is willing to wait to see if New York wants him back after working out new contracts with Mariano Rivera and potentially Andy Pettitte.
"They are going after pitching first which is what the Yankees normally do," said Attanasio. "There has been a lot of interest [from teams], but he enjoyed playing for the Yankees so much it’s hard for him to say no to the Yankees. His preference is to stay there instead of going someplace else, but we will wait and see."
Ichiro, 39, hit .283/.307/.390 in 663 plate appearances last season, but put up a .322/.340/.454 batting line in 240 plate appearances with the Yankees following the trade. He also agreed to move from right field to left and bat near the bottom of the order. King says if the Yankees want Ichiro back, he would have to agree to a one-year contract with a pay cut from the $17MM he made in 2012.
The Giants and White Sox were among the teams with interest in Ichiro prior to the trade deadline, and earlier this month we heard the Yankees have some interest in bringing him back as a replacement for Nick Swisher. Tim Dierkes ranked the long-time Mariner as the 40th best free agent on his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would sign with the Rays.
The Yankees are considering a defensive change for next season, shifting Curtis Granderson to left field and Brett Gardner to center, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Granderson's defense has declined in recent years, as he has posted negative UZR/150 ratings in four of the last five years, including a -18.2 UZR/150 in 2012. Gardner, on the other hand, has a career 30.6 UZR/150, ranking him amongst the best defensive outfielders in the game.
Here's the latest from both the Yankees and Mets...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't plan to offer Rafael Soriano a deal similar to the one he signed after the 2010 season that established Soriano as Mariano Rivera's set-up man and understudy at closer, reports ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. "I don't think Soriano would sign here if he's not going to be the closer," Cashman said. "And I don't think we would do again what we did before. He's going to want closer money and I doubt he would want to come back here as a set-up man." Soriano is a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal, and agent Scott Boras said Soriano is looking for a four-year contract to close. Soriano could still return to the Bronx, of course, if Rivera retires and the Bombers suddenly have a hole at the back of their bullpen.
- Also from Matthews, he reports that the Yankees will make qualifying offers to Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda. Swisher will almost surely turn this offer down but Kuroda "might accept it." The Yankees have interest in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez on short-term contracts, while the club also would like to re-sign Andy Pettitte and Russell Martin.
- The Yankees haven't received any calls from teams interested in Alex Rodriguez, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale. It could be a moot point, as Nightengale hears that Rodriguez isn't willing to waive his no-trade clause for any team.
- The Mets are continuing to talk to David Wright about a multiyear extension but talks are "stuck in neutral" and there is "nothing imminent" between the two sides, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (both links to Twitter).
- ESPN's Jim Bowden believes Wright and the Mets will agree to a new long-term contract, but if they can't, Bowden suggests five teams who could become trade destinations for Wright.
Ichiro Suzuki strongly wants to re-sign with the Yankees, a person close to the free agent outfielder told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Ichiro enjoyed playing in a winning atmosphere with players in his age range this past season, Sherman reports. It sounds as though Ichiro could be retained for a one-year deal in the $5-8MM range.
The Yankees still intend to build around left-handed power, Sherman reports. This will make it difficult to accommodate both Ichiro and Brett Gardner without shifting Gardner to a reserve role. Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently said the Yankees will have a better sense of how Ichiro fits in their plans when they hold their upcoming pro scouting meetings.