James Shields Rumors
As it stands now, the Mets don't have a great deal of money to spend in free agency after exercising the options on David Wright and R.A. Dickey for 2013. However, the club could free up cash by opting to trade one or both if they are unable to come to terms on contract extensions. The Mets have a serious need for outfield help and multiple baseball officials told Mike Puma of the New York Post that they see Cody Ross as a possible free agent target for the team. Here's more from the AL and NL East:
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers told MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom that "the Blue Jays have kicked the tires about possibly interviewing" Matt Williams for their managerial vacancy, but have yet to formally ask for permission. Williams is scheduled to meet with top Rockies officials at Coors Field and will be the final candidate to do so, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com.
- James Shields, who is set to become the highest-paid player in Rays' franchise history, is prepared to be a prime subject of the Hot Stove rumor mill this winter, writes the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin. "Obviously my name's been thrown around a lot," the right-hander said. "I'm just going to go about my business and not really worry about it. Obviously I want to be a Ray. I've been here 12 years, this is my home. If it does happen, it'll be a sad day."
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald suggests that the Red Sox should trade Jacoby Ellsbury as they are unlikely to come to terms with him on a contract extension. The Red Sox could find a partner in the Rangers as they may prefer to give Ellsbury a long-term commitment rather than Josh Hamilton and can afford to part with shortstop Elvis Andrus.
- The Red Sox are bolstering their scouting department in anticipation of having, for the first time since 1993 and just the second time since 1967, a top ten pick in the amateur draft, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier. The team rehired John Booher, the person most directly involved in the scouting process of Ellsbury in 2005 and Nick Hagadone in 2007, and hired former MLB pitcher Brian Moehler as an area scout for Georgia.
- Tom Kotchman, who resigned last week as a manager and scout in the Angels organization, interviewed with the Red Sox on Thursday, tweets Conor Glassey of Baseball America. Glassey points to former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane's position with Boston as the club's new Special Assistant to Player Personnel for the mutual interest.
- The Red Sox wanted to hold on to reliever Michael Olmstead, but their current 40-man roster crunch made it impossible, explains Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The 6'7", 245-pound right-hander signed with the Brewers as a minor league free agent last night.
- For now, people familiar with the Nationals’ thinking expect them to either trade arbitration-eligible John Lannan or allow him to walk, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nats could instead convert Christian Garcia from a reliever to a starter to fill out the rotation, but his history of arm trouble may make that too risky.
After 25 years as a General Manager and president of the Twins, Cubs, and Orioles, Andy MacPhail stepped away from baseball last season to take care of his ailing father. Now, MacPhail tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he wants to return to baseball in some capacity. The executive was often viewed as a future commissioner and it would make sense for him to get involved with the league office. He also won't rule out working as a GM again, but he has yet do discuss that with any team and most clubs already have their front office leadership in place. Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Twins have already inquired on Rays pitcher James Shields. Tampa Bay will field plenty of other calls on Shields in the coming weeks but whether they pull the trigger to obtain offense remains to be seen. The Dodgers say they're not shopping Andre Ethier, but it may make sense to use him to get Shields if they have their eye on Josh Hamilton. The problem there is that the Rays may not be able to carry Ethier's contract.
- The Angels are shopping Vernon Wells in an effort to clear some of the $42MM still owed to him. The Halos have tried to start talks with the Red Sox and would like to get John Lackey back, but the Sox are curious to see what Lackey looks like after Tommy John surgery.
- There was speculation that the Red Sox were trying to include Alfredo Aceves in a deal for Dan Haren. The Red Sox love Aceves' arm and stuff, but could do without the high maintenance. Aceves is very much available, but they won’t give him away for nothing. The pitcher can fill different roles, but he still prefers to start.
- The Dodgers would love to reunite with free agent Hiroki Kuroda. The hurler could have more suitors than any other pitcher this winter if the Yankees don't tie him up quickly.
- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is taking a wait-and-see approach on his agents, the Levinson brothers. A few clients have already jumped ship but Pedroia noted that they have been good to him and his family.
- The Red Sox would like to re-sign Vicente Padilla, but he is on the radar of a few teams, including the Angels, who are desperately looking to retool their bullpen. Padilla ran out of gas late in the year but turned in a decent year in total.
Executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the Rays can afford to keep both James Shields and David Price on next year's roster, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (Twitter link). As I explained this morning, it could be tempting for the Rays to address other needs by trading a frontline starter. For example, the Dodgers are among the teams that could try to obtain Shields from Tampa Bay. Here are today’s links...
- Mark Reynolds would like to play for the Orioles next year, but he’ll explore his options if he hits the open market, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. "If they non-tender me it wouldn't be very smart of me to not see what else is out there," Reynolds said. The Orioles declined their club option for Reynolds today, and they now have a month to determine whether to tender him a contract through the arbitration process.
- GM Chris Antonetti suggested there's a slim chance the Indians will re-sign Roberto Hernandez this offseason, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (Twitter links). The chances of re-signing Travis Hafner seem more remote, Bastian writes. The Indians, who declined club options for Hernandez and Hafner earlier today, are not working with a set payroll, according to the GM.
- All Bases Covered Sports now represents free agent reliever Chad Durbin, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter link). Check out MLBTR's Agency Database for current information on players and their agents.
- Earlier in the week I previewed the top offseason storylines at MLBTR. In case you missed it, there’s a parallel piece running online at USA Today and in this week’s edition of Sports Weekly.
Both Molina ($1.8MM) and Shields ($10.25MM) were expected to have their options picked up. The 35-year-old Rodney pitched to a 0.60 ERA with 48 saves this year, so his $2.5MM option was a no-brainer. Scott, 34, hit .229/.285/.439 with 14 homers and will receive a $1MM buyout rather than a $6MM salary.
The Dodgers have identified James Shields as their top target, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports (hat tip: Rays Index). The Rays will exercise the right-hander’s 2013 option, but could consider trading him as a way of freeing up payroll and addressing other needs.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti aims to add a starting pitcher this offseason, Saxon writes. Shields would be an excellent fit, as I suggested when previewing the Dodgers’ offseason. The 30-year-old posted a 3.52 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 227 2/3 innings this past season and his contract includes an option for 2014.
Shields, 30, posted a 3.52 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 227 2/3 innings this past season. His name will no doubt surface in offseason trade rumors in the coming months.
The Rays have three remaining contract options. They'll exercise Fernando Rodney's option at $2.5MM and Luke Scott will probably obtain a $1MM buyout instead of a $6MM salary. The Rays also have an option for Jose Molina valued at $1.8MM.
The Upton brothers made history tonight as both Justin and B.J. hit their 100th career home runs. They become the sixth pair of brothers to each hit 100 Major League homers and the first to reach the plateau on the same evening. Here are some more news items from around the majors as we head into the weekend...
- Ichiro Suzuki's trade to the Yankees has spurred rumors that the Mariners' ownership group may be considering selling the team, writes CBS Sports' Scott Miller. Team CEO Howard Lincoln recently called the rumors "absolute nonsense."
- The Diamondbacks' search for an ace pitcher at the trade deadline involved a serious pursuit of James Shields and "kicking the tires" on Matt Garza, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The D'Backs asked the Red Sox about starting pitching (Piecoro presumes Josh Beckett and Jon Lester) but the talks went nowhere since the Snakes weren't willing to trade their top prospects.
- Garza, Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Vargas, Chase Headley and Cliff Lee are five stars who would be on different teams had five deals "that should have happened but didn't" actually taken place before the deadline, writes ESPN's Jim Bowden (ESPN Insider subscription required).
- Jack Moore of Fangraphs looks at three hitters and three pitchers who could be trade targets in August.
- Mark Appel holds the #1 spot on Baseball America's ranking of 2013 amateur draft prospects. In general, the draft class is not thought to be overly deep, given a "generally underwhelming collection" of hitters and a high school class projected to be weaker than last year.
Links from the AL East, which remains the only division without a sub-.500 team...
- The Rays are 'cooler' on the idea of trading James Shields, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (onTwitter). It's difficult for Tampa Bay to act as a buyer because the positions at which they might seek upgrades, shortstop and catcher, are positions of scarcity in MLB.
- Ty Wigginton isn't at the top of the Yankees' list of potentially useful third basemen, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Yankees are looking for someone who can provide defense at the hot corner.
- The Yankees haven't contacted the Rockies about Rafael Betancourt, and it's doubtful the Rockies will trade him at all, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (on Twitter). The Orioles, Athletics, Rangers,Braves, Red Sox and Blue Jays have all been linked to Betancourt.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees can't take on a substantial contract, so Bryan Hoch of MLB.com says Yankees fans shouldn't expect to see Cliff Lee in navy pinstripes anytime soon (Twitter links). Cashman said it's possible but unlikely that the Yankees will make a trade before tomorrow's deadline, Hoch writes. "I highly doubt it," the GM said.
- The Blue Jays are unlikely to complete a trade for Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Marlins expect to keep Johnson instead of trading him.
- Here are the latest Red Sox-related rumors.
If the Rays trade James Shields, they'd be looking to exceed the package of prospects the Brewers obtained for Zack Greinke, according to Jon Heyman. Greinke, who was traded for prospects Jean Segura, Ariel Pena and John Hellweg, is headed for free agency, but Shields is under team control through 2014 with a pair of club options. The Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers, Indians and Rangers are among the teams with interest in Shields. Here are the latest rumors surrounding the 30-year-old. The most recent items are up top:
- Teams have started to wonder how serious the Rays are about trading Shields, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
- The Rangers don't believe Shields will be traded, so they could focus on relief help instead of attempting to add to their rotation, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports.
- The Rangers were far more interested in Shields than Josh Johnson even before Johnson walked six Padres today, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- Manager Joe Maddon says he doesn't expect the Rays to make any deals, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "We talk a lot and it always takes two to dance, and at the end of the day it's difficult to match up all the time," Maddon said. "So I would bet that nothing really happens.''
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported today that some executives believe the Rays will trade Shields before the trade deadline.
A player’s contract status can affect his trade value substantially this time of year, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Players under team-friendly contracts, like Denard Span, are much harder to acquire in trades. "It's really hard to place a value on a contract like that," one GM told Olney. Here are Olney’s latest notes from around MLB:
- The Blue Jays say Yunel Escobar has been a good team guy for them, despite his reputation as a difficult player. Escobar is under contract for $5MM per season through 2013 and his contract includes two club options valued at $5MM each for 2014-15. That’s good value for a 29-year-old who handles an up-the-middle position and has a history of providing league-average offense, Olney writes.
- There’s interest in James Shields, but the Rays could decide to hold their pitching staff together to make a run at the playoffs if Evan Longoria’s rehab assignment goes well. Some executives believe the Rays will trade Shields this month, according to Olney.
- The Marlins aren’t especially motivated to trade Josh Johnson, Olney writes. They’re content to keep him if they don’t get the trade offers they’re looking for.
- Anything the Indians do now will be done to help them win in 2013, not just in 2012.
- The Padres aren’t far down the road in trade talks regarding Chase Headley, Olney tweets. San Diego might table trade talks until the winter, he suggests.