Jacoby Ellsbury Rumors
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has been sharing a few Winter Meetings nuggets on this Twitter feed this morning, so let's dive right in and round them up (all links go to Twitter)....
- Heyman classifies both Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera as very available, as the Indians search for long-term assets.
- The Red Sox are very active this week and are willing to discuss anyone, even Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester.
- Ten teams are in on Jason Grilli, as the market for the right-handed reliever heats up. Grilli tweeted early this morning that he was heading for Nashville and has a "full day" on tap.
- The Royals are "one of many" teams looking at Shaun Marcum, who is a Kansas City product.
The Red Sox are interested in corner infielder Eric Chavez, reports WEEI's Alex Speier. Chavez could add balance to Boston's lineup and fit GM Ben Cherington's stated need: a versatile, left-handed hitting first baseman. But as Speier notes, Chavez could potentially find more playing time with the Yankees.
Elsewhere in the Red Sox rumor-verse, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe says the team is open to the idea of trading Jacoby Ellsbury, playing the newly-signed Shane Victorino in center field, and signing Cody Ross or another right fielder. Rival executives believe the Red Sox are laying the groundwork for a trade of Ellsbury for pitching, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
Here's the latest news from Fenway...
- The Red Sox are talking to Adam LaRoche, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. With the Sox reluctant to go beyond a three-year contract for Mike Napoli, LaRoche could be the team's fallback plan. A three-year deal would top the Nationals' best offer to the free agent first baseman, as the Nats "have been fairly steadfast" in not offering LaRoche more than two years. The Rangers have also been linked to both LaRoche and Napoli this offseason.
- Also from Heyman's piece, he notes that the Red Sox have "checked in" on Alex Gonzalez and Stephen Drew, though Jose Iglesias will get first priority at shortstop.
- Jacoby Ellsbury's name hasn't been mentioned in trade talks, team president Larry Lucchino said during an appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan radio show today (partial transcript from WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane). Lucchino also said that while the Sox haven't closed the door on any free agents, "what we have ruled out is the kind of long-term, gigantic commitment to players if at all possible....We are more concerned about years than we are dollars."
- From that same radio appearance (courtesy of The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber), Lucchino said the team is still interested in re-signing Cody Ross. Though Boston recently signed Jonny Gomes, Lucchino said the team wants to build "deep depth" after last year's injury-plagued season.
- The Red Sox will tender Alfredo Aceves a new contract before tomorrow's non-tender deadline, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The pitching-needy Sox value Aceves' versatility as a starter and reliever too much to let him go for nothing, despite Aceves' disciplinary issues in 2012. Lauber thinks Aceves could still possibly be a trade candidate.
Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Mets were discussing R.A. Dickey in trades with other teams. He hears that the club has not made a "substantial (extension) offer" yet, and if they get the right trade offer they may just move on. Here are the rest of Rosenthal's rumors from the GM Meetings...
- The Rays need B.J. Upton to reject his qualifying offer before making a serious run at his brother Justin. The elder Upton is drawing interest and figures to reject the offer by tomorrow's deadline.
- The Tigers are a darkhorse for Justin since they could offer top third base prospect Nick Castellanos and others, including guys like Avisail Garcia, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly.
- The Braves do not appear to be in serious pursuit of Upton.
- The Red Sox continue to be disinclined to trade Jacoby Ellsbury and the chances of moving him are slim. GM Ben Cherington is the type to listen on all of his players, however.
- Brett Myers is telling teams he wants to be a starter first, a closer second, and a setup man third.
- Jon Garland, who has not pitched since July 2011 due to shoulder surgery, intends to make a comeback. He threw for 10-15 teams in September.
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is one year removed from an MVP-caliber season and one year away from free agency, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says (on Twitter) the Red Sox are disinclined to trade him right now. His value is down at the moment and the team figures he'll be highly motivated in his walk year.
“We’ve already had a lot of conversations on the phone,” said GM Ben Cherington to Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald, talking about this week's GM Meetings and not Ellsbury specifically. “But face-to-face, we’ll talk a little more about concepts, both free agent concepts and trade concepts.”
Ellsbury, 29, missed most of this season with a shoulder problem and hit just .271/.313/.370 with four homers and 14 steals in 323 plate appearances when healthy. A year ago he hit .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers and 39 steals while finishing second to Justin Verlander in the MVP voting. Ellsbury missed most of 2010 with a rib injury, so he's played in only 250 of 486 games over the last three years.
Matt Swartz projects the outfielder to earn $8.1MM through arbitration next season before hitting the open market a year from now. Silverman says the Red Sox should listed to any and all inquiries for Ellsbury given his impending free agency and their long list of needs. Ellsbury is a Scott Boras client and figures to command a mammoth long-term deal for his next contract.
As the Rangers are still recovering from their disappointing finish to 2012, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan discussed a number of offseason possibilities for the club as part of a reader mailbag piece. Some of the hot stove highlights...
- Josh Hamilton will get at least one big-money, long-term offer this winter, leaving little chance that the Rangers would be able to sign him for any kind of relative discount, Hamilton believes. Rangers GM Jon Daniels said earlier this week that his team will wait to see what contract offers Hamilton receives from other clubs before making their own pitch to the free agent outfielder.
- Zack Greinke will be a top target for the Rangers this winter. "The Rangers made a strong push for him at the trade deadline...and this is still an organization that wants to build around pitching. That's where the club wants to spend its money," Sullivan writes.
- The Rangers are "unsure" about making a qualifying offer to pending free agent Mike Napoli since if he accepted, Texas would owe the catcher approximately $13.35MM for the 2013 season. If the Rangers didn't issue a qualifying offer and Napoli signed elsewhere, however, then the Rangers wouldn't receive any draft pick compensation. Sullivan argues that Napoli could accept the qualifying offer in the wake of his somewhat disappointing 2012 season and look to rebound in 2013 to set himself up for a larger long-term deal with Texas or another club.
- Though Mike Adams has been diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Sullivan thinks the 34-year-old reliever could still find a multiyear deal as a free agent. The Rangers would happily take Adams back on a one-year deal.
- Sullivan doesn't think Jacoby Ellsbury is a good fit in Texas and doesn't think the Rangers should or would trade Derek Holland or Elvis Andrus in exchange for the Red Sox center fielder. "[Nelson] Cruz for Ellsbury, maybe. But it would seem more logical to take a chance on Leonys Martin than give up substantial talent for an injury-prone outfielder who can walk after next season," opines Sullivan.
- Despite the numerous rumors about a Justin Upton trade, Sullivan isn't sure he's a fit for the Rangers since Cruz is already set at right field. Center field would be the only question mark for Texas next season if Hamilton leaves, as the Rangers have Cruz in right and David Murphy in left.
- Michael Young could receive some trade interest this winter from "a team in need of veteran leadership, as well as somebody who can play second base." Young hit .277/.312/.370 in 651 plate appearances last season, his lowest career OPS for a full campaign. Young turns 36 this month and is set to earn $16MM in 2013, the final year of his contract. He also has no-trade protection as a 10-and-5 player, adding another wrinkle to any possible trade talks.
The Rangers are one of three teams to win 90-plus games in each of the past three seasons (the Yankees and Rays are the others) but they’ll be spectators for the remainder of postseason following a loss to the Orioles in Friday night’s Wild Card play-in game. Here’s the latest from Texas...
- It wouldn’t shock baseball people if the Rangers walk away from Josh Hamilton altogether this offseason, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. The assumption around MLB is that the Rangers know Hamilton better than anyone else, so potential suitors will be carefully monitoring Texas’ bids. However, the Rangers intend to sit back and let other teams make the first move.
- It might be time for the Red Sox to use Jacoby Ellsbury as a trade chip for rotation help, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. GM Ben Cherington is expected to consider a multiyear extension for the center fielder, but agent Scott Boras figures to seek a deal in the $160MM range. The Rangers could find themselves in the market for a center fielder this offseason, so Lauber wonders if they'd make Derek Holland available in a deal for Ellsbury.
- One MLB executive said there’s “zero” chance the Red Sox sign Ellsbury to a contract extension before he reaches free agency at the end of the 2013 season, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reported last month. Ellsbury has one more season of arbitration eligibility after earning $8.05MM in 2012.
The Orioles assured themselves of a winning season with a win in Oakland over the Athletics yesterday. Baltimore's road trip continues in Seattle today, and with a win the O's can gain a half game on the idle Yankees. Here are today's AL East notes...
- Yankees starter Andy Pettitte says he’s not sure whether he’ll pitch next year, Brian Heyman of the Journal News reports. The left-hander, who is is scheduled to pitch against the Blue Jays tomorrow, will think about his options in the offseason. He indicated he’s more likely to return because injuries have limited him in 2012.
- Team president Randy Levine recently recently said the Yankees would discuss a contract with Pettitte if he decides to return for another season.
- One MLB executive said there’s “zero” chance the Red Sox sign Jacoby Ellsbury to a contract extension before he reaches free agency at the end of the 2013 season, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports. The rotation will be Boston’s offseason focus, but the team’s offense also has question marks, McAdam writes.
MLB executives don’t question Josh Hamilton’s ability on the field, but they’re hesitant to commit long-term to the outfielder, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. Hamilton figures to ask for $20-25MM per season and executives are wary of guaranteeing that kind of salary to a player with off-field questions, Olney writes. Here’s Olney’s latest on the market for Hamilton, who hits free agency for the first time this offseason:
- The Rangers have their doubts about how long they want to invest in Hamilton, Olney writes. They’ve done background work on outfielders such as Justin Upton and Jacoby Ellsbury since they realize they could be in the market for an impact outfielder within a few months.
- The Dodgers had no intention of bidding for Hamilton even before they acquired Carl Crawford. The Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Braves, Nationals and Orioles don’t seem like logical destinations for Hamilton, Olney writes.
- One GM said the Tigers could surprise rival teams and enter the bidding for Hamilton. Owner Mike Ilitch has a history of spending aggressively on free agents such as Prince Fielder and Magglio Ordonez.
- The Giants could have interest in Hamilton, but Olney suggests it’d probably be conservative. The Giants will make an effort to sign Buster Posey long-term, according to Olney. Mark Polishuk recently previewed a possible extension for the San Francisco catcher.
The Red Sox are on track to finish below .500 for the first time since 1997. Here’s the latest as a disappointing season winds down:
- Manager Bobby Valentine is now fighting a battle that he cannot win, opines Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Miller writes that Valentine couldn't possibly be back as skipper in 2013 because either the Red Sox will lose patience or he will.
- In a heated interview on WEEI, Valentine characterized the 2012 season as "miserable" but said he'd definitely like to manage the Red Sox again in 2013. "If that's what I'm asked to do, that's what I'm going to get paid to do," Valentine said. He also suggested he would like to punch radio host Glenn Ordway in the face and defended himself when asked about a late arrival to a game earlier this year (highlights via Alex Speier).
- Blue Jays manager John Farrell would be an excellent hire for the Red Sox, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. The Red Sox tried to acquire Farrell from Toronto twice last offseason, including once after the Blue Jays made it clear that Farrell was off-limits to teams seeking managers, Bradford reports. The Blue Jays asked for Clay Buchholz as compensation for Farrell, according to WEEI.com. Red Sox pitchers who worked with Farrell in Boston have a deep respect for their former coach based on both friendship and fear, Bradford adds.
- Farrell said yesterday he’s "unequivocally" focused on the Blue Jays.
- Ivan De Jesus Jr. wanted to get traded from the Dodgers leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. “I wanted a fresh start,’’ said De Jesus, who was sent to Boston in the recent blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers.
- The price tag on a potential extension for Jacoby Ellsbury would be “astronomical" should the Red Sox attempt to lock the outfielder up long term, ESPN.com's Buster Olney said on WEEI today (partial transcript via Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com). Olney said he's doubtful rival teams will overwhelm Boston with trade offers for Ellsbury, partly because he's a Scott Boras client.