Jake Westbrook Rumors
Links on a busy Tuesday as the first day of the GM Meetings wraps up...
- Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer says (via Twitter) the Indians "kicked the tires" on Jake Westbrook, but never formally offered him a contract before he re-signed with the Cardinals.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets that the market for Jorge de la Rosa won't take shape until Cliff Lee signs. He's a fallback option for several teams.
- Former Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate is in talks to join the Hiroshima Carp according to MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Giants are currently in on just two players: Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe.
- Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer says that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro offered a lot of "no comments" when asked about the team's interest in retaining Chad Durbin.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman says (via Twitter) the trade market for Jonathan Papelbon is "very weak," but the Red Sox are willing to pay part of what will surely be a sizable 2011 salary.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman hears that the Yankees will bid at least three years to keep Derek Jeter (Twitter link). Owner Hal Steinbrenner added that "things are going well."
- Chad Jennings of The Journal News has a quote from Yanks GM Brian Cashman: “I’ve got a small player move that I’m working on that might get done at some point this week ... But it’s small.”
- Meanwhile, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yanks are still waiting to hear whether Mariano Rivera wants a one or two-year deal.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post tweets that the Athletics are not moving Conor Jackson, though he remains a non-tender candidate.
- Twins GM Bill Smith said it's "not at all" a question when asked if the team would tender Matt Capps a contract, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post (Twitter link).
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer says that Reds GM Walt Jocketty has talked to Arthur Rhodes' agent and plans to do the same with Miguel Cairo's, but he has yet to talk to any other free agents.
- SI.com's Tom Verducci lists players available on the "secondary market" that could have a big impact, starting with Jack Cust.
- Roy Halladay's Cy Young Award netted him $250K in bonus money, tweets Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The bonus was negotiated into his original contract with Toronto.
- In the wake of Justin Upton being made available, FanGraphs' Dave Cameron examines his trade value.
Links for Monday evening...
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets that the Royals have signed reliever Steven Shell to a minor league deal. Shell, 27, had a 3.59 ERA in 72.2 innings with the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate last season.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post lists the Cardinals, Phillies, and Rockies as some of the teams that were interested in Hiroki Kuroda before he re-signed with the Dodgers (Twitter link). Kuroda, however, re-signed without fielding offers from other teams according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.
- Add the Rangers to the list of teams showing interest in Victor Martinez says SI.com's Jon Heyman (via Twitter).
- WEEI.com's Rob Bradford tweets that Hideki Okajima is subject to a normal arbitration calendar this offseason. In the past the Red Sox had to offer him a contract by November 20th.
- Non-tender candidate Kyle Davies hopes to remain with the Royals, says MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. Davies hasn't heard anything from the team regarding his future.
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that Cliff Lee's agent Darek Braunecker is still unsure if he will attend this week's GM Meetings.
- MLB.com's Jane Lee provides a list of power bat the Athletics could potentially pursue as free agents this offseason.
- The Yankees don't believe that Derek Jeter will ultimately leave New York, but they're prepared for a long negotiation according to Heyman (Twitter link).
- Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets that there is still no word whether or not Andy Pettitte will return to pitch in 2011.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak doesn't expect any roster moves at this week's meetings according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com says the team is growing more optimistic about re-signing Jake Westbrook, however (Twitter link).
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer that it's too early in the offseason to tell whether his team's needs will be filled through trades or free agency.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith is on location at this week's GM Meetings in Orlando, and you can follow him on Twitter at @mlbtrorlando for the latest breaking news and analysis.
- There is mutual interest between the Marlins and free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, reports Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. Capozzi says the team might not be able to afford him, though they could free up payroll space by dealing Dan Uggla.
- FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says that the Dodgers are looking to add power to their lineup, and James Loney is the player they're most most willing to trade. They would then turn around and sign one of the many power-hitting first baseman available on the free agent market.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson said that the first round of manager interviews includes one or two more candidates while the second round will consist of three or four candidates according to Andy Martino of The New York Daily News (all Twitter links). The second set of interviews could begin in Orlando this week, and Alderson said his father's death on Sunday will not slow things down.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick profiles Giants GM Brian Sabean and the work that lies ahead following his team's World Series victory.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues looks at how signing Lee would impact the Yankees' future payroll. Meanwhile, Brian Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that he doesn't expect to get any deals done this week.
- Best of luck to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. He's trading in the Blue Jays' beat for the Indians' beat.
Links for Friday, four years to the day after the Cubs signed Aramis Ramirez to a five-year $75MM contract. He has 93 homers and a .287/.356/.510 line since signing the deal...
- MLB executives predicted the destinations for some top free agents along with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- Ivan Rodriguez told Raul Alzaga of Primera Hora that he works out for three or four hours per day and feels physically fit enough to play three more years (link in Spanish).
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Vincent M. Mallozzi of the New York Times that he's happy to help recruit free agents.
- The Royals announced that they promoted Lonnie Goldberg to scouting director.
- Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti has spoken to the agents for former Indian Jake Westbrook, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. When he was traded to the Cardinals, Westbrook said he was open to re-signing in Cleveland after the season.
- The Indians are looking for a third baseman, and they don't have much money to spend, but they have discussed potential trades.
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that the O's have talked to "a wide variety" of free agents already.
- Derek Jeter and GM Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that they're hopeful they can work out a contract.
- For what it's worth, Joe Torre, Jeter's longtime manager, told Peter Botte of the New York Daily News that he can't envision the shortstop playing elsewhere.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues that no team can "allow the heart to rule the brain in on-field decisions."
You’ve heard by now that the A’s acquired David DeJesus, but he was far from the only bat they considered trading for. GM Billy Beane was after Josh Willingham and considered making a deal for Dan Uggla, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The A’s probably aren’t done adding offense. Beane told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d still like to make an upgrade or two (Twitter link). Here are the rest of Rosenthal’s rumors.
- The Red Sox aren’t likely to offer Adrian Beltre a five-year deal.
- The Cardinals are still in contact with Jake Westbrook, but they would prefer to reach a two-year deal and Westbrook might be able to get three years from another club, so talks appear to be losing momentum.
- Orlando Cabrera and Juan Uribe are already drawing more interest than they did at this time last year, according to Rosenthal.
- The White Sox are checking in on Rafael Soriano and, as Rosenthal points out, that’s yet another sign that they’re open to trading or non-tendering Bobby Jenks.
The Rockies are interested in Jake Westbrook, Jon Garland and Hiroki Kuroda and will be in touch with the representatives for all three starters, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). Free agent left-handers Jeff Francis and Jorge de la Rosa may not return to Colorado, so the Rockies are exploring the open market in case they have to look elsewhere to solidify their rotation.
The Dodgers may also have interest in Westbrook, Garland and Kuroda, according to the LA Times. The pitchers figure to be looking for multi-year deals. Last week Garland turned down his side of a $6.75MM option with the Padres, which suggests he'll look for a longer term contract. The Cardinals were discussing an extension with Westbrook last month, but the sides didn't reach a deal.
None of the Rockies' three potential targets will cost a compensation pick; Garland and Kuroda are Type B free agents and Westbrook is not ranked. They are among the more attractive free agent starters other than Cliff Lee, De La Rosa and Carl Pavano. Click here for details on the free agent market for righty and lefty starters.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks free agency and trades in his latest column, suggesting that GM John Mozeliak will attempt to fill the Cardinals' holes with a mix of both approaches. Here are the other notes of interest from Strauss:
- No deal with Jake Westbrook is imminent, according to Mozeliak, but "sources familiar with talks" are optimistic about the negotiations. The two sides are currently discussing a two-year contract, perhaps with an option for a third year, Strauss says.
- The Cardinals are reluctant to sign Type A free agents and surrender high draft picks, which may prevent them from pursuing a player like Arthur Rhodes.
- With Jason LaRue retired and Matt Pagnozzi outrighted, the Cards will be in the market for a backup catcher. I don't think we can look at the backup from solely a catch-and-throw standpoint," Mozeliak said. "We need to consider offense, too."
- "Strong sentiment exists" to acquire a veteran third baseman as insurance for the oft-injured David Freese.
- Mozeliak sounds more likely to seek middle infield help through trades than free agency. According to Strauss, however, Orlando Hudson is a free agent who has received "internal support" as a second base target.
Kevin Baxter and Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times bring us the latest from Tinseltown...
- Pitching is the number one item on the Dodgers' shopping list this offseason. "Pitching is a priority — both starters and relievers," said GM Ned Colletti. "We're open-minded to both left-handers and right-handers."
- Colletti declined to give an exact number, but he promised that payroll would rise from the $95MM or so they spent in 2010.
- Ted Lilly might end up being the Dodgers' biggest pickup. They aren't likely to pursue Cliff Lee, and could instead turn to Carl Pavano, Javier Vazquez, and Jake Westbrook. Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla might also become options if their prices drop as the offseason progresses.
- Colletti also wants to add a left fielder, "full time or platoon," plus figure out his bench and catching situation. Russell Martin is a non-tender candidate, but they could look at Miguel Olivo.
- There is nothing to indicate that the Dodgers will make a run at either Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth.
- "We're going to be active. Whether it's via free agency or trades," said Angels GM Tony Reagins. "We're going to look at the opportunities and be aggressive when the opportunity presents itself."
- Owner Arte Moreno is expected to approve a 10% payroll increase, pushing it to about $135MM. The team already has close to $93MM committed to 2011 contracts, not including the arbitration eligible Jered Weaver, Howie Kendrick, and Erick Aybar.
- The Times' scribes call Werth and Adrian Beltre "more economical Plan B options" to Crawford, relatively speaking of course. Both Werth and Beltre are Scott Boras clients however, and the Angels still have a bad taste in their mouths from the Mark Teixeira negotiations two winters ago.
- Rafael Soriano might be an option after Fernando Rodney's terrible finish (6.08 ERA after Sept. 1st).
- Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter) doesn't think that Dana Brown, an "[Omar] Minaya disciple", has a good chance of landing the Mets GM job. Brown will reportedly meet with the club on Wednesday.
- RotoAuthority attempts to find the next Carlos Gonzalez for fantasy players.
- Cody Ross is expected to be tendered a contract this winter by the Giants, and he told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, "I'd like to stay for my career." Ross also revealed that he's been pushing former teammate Dan Uggla to sign with the Giants after next season.
- Forget about the Reds signing Carl Crawford, suggests MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Sheldon sees the Reds attempting to find a more affordable leadoff hitter.
- Patrick Newman of FanGraphs looks at the repertoire of starter Hisashi Iwakuma, who will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The righty, 30 in April, excels at limiting home runs. Newman estimates a posting fee in the $10MM range plus a contract of four years and $20MM.
- Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider examines Washington's 2011 payroll commitments and finds that they will have less than $50MM committed. He doesn't know if they'll bump payroll to the $80MM range, but if so they could be big offseason spenders. For MLBTR's look at the Nationals' twelve arbitration eligible players, click here.
- MLB.com's Matthew Leach spoke to Jake Westbrook about the future, shortly before the season ended.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines the battle for Cardinals 40-man roster spots.
- The Yankees' Jesus Montero is the best hitting prospect left in the minors, writes Baseball America's Jim Callis.
We've heard for a while now that the Cardinals would love to retain Jake Westbrook, whom they acquired at the trade deadline in a three-team deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that there's more to the situation than just interest now; the Cards are "making a push" to sign Westbrook and discussions are already taking place.
Westbrook, 33, totaled 75 innings over 12 starts with the Redbirds and posted a tidy 3.48 ERA in that span. His strikeouts trended upward and his control improved, while his sinker induced even more groundballs (62% vs. 53.3% with Cleveland) under Dave Duncan. While he would hit free agency for the first time this season, Westbrook has mutual interest in working out a deal with St. Louis and forgoing the process entirely.
Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro figure to be solid comparisons for Westbrook, meaning he could be in line for a two-year deal in the $16MM range. Locking up Westbrook early would allow the Cardinals to focus on offense this offseason. It would also likely set their 2011 rotation (barring injuries) to feature Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse, giving them potential for one of the better rotations in all of baseball, especially if Lohse can rediscover his 2008 form.
In an afternoon meeting yesterday, the Cardinals made an offer to Tony La Russa to manage the team in 2011, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold. Leach quotes GM John Mozeliak saying that he hopes to have a resolution within seven to ten days. La Russa indicated he would not manage another team next year, but would not rule out working for another team in a different capacity. But in the opinion of Goold, "All indications are pointing toward La Russa's return, from the All-Stars the Cardinals have coming back to the recent comments he's made about the team in 2011."
Perhaps of more interest to us hot stove junkies is Joe Strauss' take on the offseason in a separate piece. Strauss notes that the team has a small arbitration class (first-timers Kyle McClellan and Brendan Ryan) but almost $80MM committed to nine players. Among those nine is Albert Pujols, whose $16MM club option is a formality. Extension talks are expected to occur after the La Russa situation is resolved. The team's $94MM payroll appears to be on the rise, though retaining Jake Westbrook might compel the team to fill other holes internally and cheaply in Strauss' opinion. Strauss explains the team's needs:
The Cardinals go forward seeking a backup catcher, a lefthanded reliever, an upgrade at either second base or shortstop, a safety net at third base, heft for the bench and possibly a right fielder.