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Four years ago today, the Rockies avoided arbitration with third baseman Garrett Atkins by agreeing to a one-year, $7.05MM contract making him the second-highest paid player on the team behind only Todd Helton. The Rockies, however, didn't get their money's worth. After averaging a slash line of .301/.363/.480 the previous four seasons, Atkins' 2009 numbers dropped to .226/.308/.342 and was non-tendered that winter. He played just 44 games with the Orioles in 2010 before being released midseason and hasn't seen any MLB action since. Let's take a look at the news and notes coming out of the Mile High City today:
- Coming off an injury-plagued 2012, Troy Tulowitzki was the subject of several trade rumors this offseason. "It was a weird thing – the first time I had ever had any trade rumors," Tulowitzki told MLB.com's Thomas Harding. "Any normal person is going to start to think, 'What if this? What if that?' But I can't control those things. Whatever happens, happens, but I definitely want to stay."
- Jason Giambi has received calls from a few teams and is working out five days a week, as he is determined to continue his playing career, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- Better health of the pitching staff and improved defense are two reasons why fans should have hope for the Rockies, Renck writes within the same article. Renck cites Jhoulys Chacin as a prime candidate for a bounceback year because of his strong finish last season, his new two-year, $6.5MM contract, and a repaired relationship with the front office.
- Renck feels right-hander Chris Volstad will receive a long look in Spring Training, especially with his former Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley now working for the Rockies as their new pitching coordinator (via Sulia).
Buster Posey is eligible for arbitration for the first time off the heels of his MVP campaign. The Giants would obviously like to lock the catcher up for the foreseeable future, but the club has yet to begin contract discussions with agent Jeff Berry, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). For more on Posey's unique case, check out Matt Swartz's arbitration breakdown. Here's more from around baseball..
- Michael Gonzalez's one-year, $2.25MM contract with the Brewers could pay him up to an additional $400K in performance bonuses, according to the Associated Press. Gonzalez will earn $50K for 25 games finished, $75K each for 30 and 35, and $100K apiece for 40 and 50. The reliever told reporters today that he prefers to be called Michael rather than Mike, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- Jason Giambi is working out and told Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter) that he hopes to play this season. The 42-year-old will likely have to go to camp with a club on a minor league deal. Giambi was said to be drawing interest from three or four teams in early December.
- Ugueth Urbina threw live batting practice in Venezuela yesterday and former Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was on hand to scout for several teams, writes Luis Carlos Gonzalez of El Nacional. "I told people from the Marlins, where I left behind some friends, and other teams, that Urbina was going to take the mound, and they told me to go see him," Guillen said (translation courtesy of Nick Collias). Guillen added that Urbina looked good, though he needs to "keep working".
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looked at five GMs that could be on the hotseat in 2013, including Neal Huntington of the Pirates and Royals GM Dayton Moore.
- If the Pirates do not finalize their deal with Francisco Liriano, reliever-turned-starter Chris Leroux is another option for the rotation, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Liriano suffered an arm injury in December, leading the Bucs give second thought to the two-year, $12.75MM agreement.
Here's the latest from the American League's newest team, the Houston Astros…
- Lance Berkman remains atop the team's DH wishlist according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). There are still issues to be resolved before a reunion takes place.
- Crasnick notes that if the Astros can't bring Berkman back, they're likely to seek a late-20s player who's been blocked and needs an opportunity to serve as DH (Twitter links). They don't have interest in players like Luke Scott, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, and Travis Hafner.
- A few teams are considering right-hander Bud Norris as a back-end rotation option, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The 27-year-old pitched to a 4.65 ERA in 168 1/3 innings last season and projects to earn $2.9MM through arbitration next winter.
Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:
- Roy Oswalt is unsure about whether he'll pitch in 2013, one of his agents tells Morosi.
- The Mariners checked in on Delmon Young, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi reported previously that Young might wait until January to sign given his November ankle surgery.
- Grady Sizemore had been drawing interest from a few clubs, including the Red Sox, but he won't be a real option until midseason, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Agent Joe Urbon confirmed to Castrovince that his client underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September.
- Besides being interested in Scott Hairston, the Yankees are also eyeing Cody Ross, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- The Mariners have checked in on Ryan Ludwick, among other hitters, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Cesar Izturis' reps are expected to meet with the Mets this week and there could be a match there, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Orioles' interest in righty Brett Myers appears minimal, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, and they have no meetings set up with his reps.
- The Twins are one team with early interest in southpaw John Lannan, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Pirates also have an eye on Lannan, reported Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier today.
- The Cubs are talking to many agents about bullpen help and they like Jason Grilli, tweets Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
- Solid interest in Jason Bay (from teams other than Boston) may lead to a Major League deal, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.
- The Marlins are interested in utility man Mark DeRosa, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 37-year-old had indicated at season's end that he was unsure what his future held.
- The Royals are "sending out signals" that they have the money and the motivation to pursue a pitcher who could be considered a No. 1, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. A run at Anibal Sanchez isn't out of the question for Kansas City, according to Knobler.
- Tigers people continue to say the team isn't even considering Rafael Soriano, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, Sherman notes that owner Mike Ilitch's great relationship with Scott Boras still makes Detroit a wild card in the Soriano sweepstakes.
- Rival executives view the Nationals as a good fit for Mike Pelfrey, especially considering GM Mike Rizzo and Scott Boras have a history of working out deals, says Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks).
- Teams are showing "no hesitation whatsoever" in pursuing Jeff Keppinger, who underwent surgery to repair a right fibula fracture, agent Keith Grunewald tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitterlinks).
- Jason Giambi would like to continue his playing career, and is drawing interest from three or four teams, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Anibal Sanchez | Baltimore Orioles | Brett Myers | Cesar Izturis | Chicago Cubs | Cody Ross | Delmon Young | Detroit Tigers | Grady Sizemore | Jason Bay | Jason Giambi | Jason Grilli | Jeff Keppinger | John Lannan | Kansas City Royals | Mark DeRosa | Miami Marlins | Mike Pelfrey | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pittsburgh Pirates | Rafael Soriano | Roy Oswalt | Ryan Ludwick | Seattle Mariners | Washington Nationals
Buster Posey was named the NL MVP today, becoming the first Giant since Barry Bonds in 2004 to capture the leagues highest honor. It was a solid year overall for the NL West when it came to postseason awards, as Clayton Kershaw and Wade Miley each had runner-up finishes in the NL Cy Young and Rookie of the Year races, respectively.
Here's the latest from around the division…
- Scott Boras introduced client Hyun-Jin Ryu to the media (including Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times) today and compared Ryu to Mark Buehrle in terms of body size and ability. The Dodgers won the rights to the Korean southpaw with a $25.737MM posting bid and have until December 10 to work out a contract, or else Ryu will return to the Korean Baseball Organization. As Hernandez notes, Boras and Ryu were both vague about the likelihood of Ryu signing with L.A., though the Buehrle comparison could be a hint about Boras' contract expectations.
- Janie McCauley of the Associated Press (Twitter link) has the salary breakdown of Jeremy Affeldt's new three-year contract with the Giants. Affeldt receives a $3MM signing bonus and will earn $5MM per season in 2013-15.
- Jason Giambi withdrew his name from consideration to be the Rockies' next hitting coach, and Giambi told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that "it could be a PR nightmare" if the team struggles under new manager Walt Weiss and Giambi (a finalist for the manager's job) is already on the staff. Giambi had said he wanted to keep playing if the Rockies didn't hire him to manage but now admits to Renck that "I have no idea what I am going to do next."
- The Rockies have finalized their 2013 coaching staff, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Jim Wright, the club's pitching coach in 2002, returns to the job after most recently serving as Colorado's bullpen coach.
Jason Giambi was a surprise candidate to become the Rockies' next manager, but now that the job has gone to Walt Weiss, the team has offered Giambi the job of hitting coach, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Giambi had said he would continue playing if he wasn't hired as manager, though he's taking a few days to consider Colorado's offer. If he turns it down and wants to keep playing, agent Joel Wolfe tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that "several teams" have shown interest in his client, who will be 42 years old on Opening Day.
Here are some more items from a very busy day around baseball…
- Robinson Cano believes he has already signed one team-friendly contract with the Yankees and will look for market value in his next deal, a "confidant" of the second baseman tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Cano's last contract with the Yankees ended up paying him $57MM over six years once New York exercised its two club options for 2012 and 2013.
- The Blue Jays' waiver claim of Bobby Wilson as catching depth "suggests J.P. Arencibia is in play on the trade market," writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi.
- Also from Davidi, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos said that Mike Aviles drew "pretty good demand…the Indians weren't the only team that asked about him," before the infielder was traded to Cleveland last weekend.
- Though Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said earlier today that he preferred signing players to making trades this offseason, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News thinks the trade market might be the best way for the Phils to solve some roster problems.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto likes his core of position players, leaving Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times to conclude that the Halos will pursue rotation depth through free agency, not trades.
- Jose Veras has switched agents, going from Bryce Dixon to the Praver Shapiro agency, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The veteran righty chose to become a free agent after he was outrighted off the Brewers' 40-man roster.
- Minor league free agent Collin Balester is "in demand," reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter). Balester, 26, had a 6.50 ERA in 11 relief outings for the Tigers last season but posted strong numbers at Triple-A Toledo.
- Walt Weiss and Matt Williams are the two remaining candidates for the Rockies' position, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports. Weiss remains the favorite, according to Saunders. Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells and veteran slugger Jason Giambi are no longer in the running for the job.
- Williams, the Diamondbacks third-base coach, told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that his interview for the Rockies' managerial opening went "very well." Rockies owner Dick Monfort, GM Dan O'Dowd and senior VP Bill Geivett asked Williams about his philosophy on managing in Coors Field.
- The Rockies had some talks with former Rockies player Eric Young Sr. and Steve Buechele, who manages the Rangers' Double-A team, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports. There's no indication those two candidates will receive more extensive consideration, Harding writes.
- Former MLB manager and player Art Howe told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that he'd like to manage the Blue Jays. The 65-year-old has some connections in Toronto and says the Blue Jays can compete before long. “They have some nice talent and were very competitive until they fell off with those injuries to their position players," Howe told Elliott.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reported yesterday that the Blue Jays are in no rush to find a manager. They'll resume their search following this week's GM Meetings.
Ken Davidoff of The New York Post ranked the top 30 free agents by value, with Michael Bourn topping the list. Davidoff predicts the outfielder will sign a five-year, $85MM deal with the Nationals. Here's the latest from the only league Bourn has known as a big leaguer, the NL…
- “Attractive and realistic … Guys we want and think we can get. We went through a list of 40 pitchers to come up with 8-10 we’re really trying to get," said Padres GM Josh Byrnes to Bill Center of The San Diego Union-Tribune. San Diego figures to focus on arms this winter, and Center believes Dan Haren is near the top of that list.
- Jason Giambi will still deciding whether to play or manage next season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The Rockies are only considering him as a manager, however.
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com looked at Cody Ross as a potential free agent target for the Phillies. In our Offseason Outlook, Ben Nicholson-Smith noted that the Fightin's figure to seek outfield help this winter.
- The Cardinals have had discussions about expanding Jim Edmonds' role in the organization, reports Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That could mean more time in Spring Training or something else for the team's long-time center fielder, who currently serves as a special instructor.
- Mike Redmond will interview with the Marlins for their managerial opening tonight, Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel reports (on Twitter). Redmond and Bryan Price are in the running for the job, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported last night. Redmond, a minor league manager for the Blue Jays, appears to be an early favorite for the position, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes.
- Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr hasn't been contacted by the Blue Jays about their vacancy, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Blue Jays are still in information gathering mode, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Sandy Alomar Jr., Tim Wallach and DeMarlo Hale are among the names in play.
- The role of the manager has changed with the increased use of social media, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Outspoken skippers like Guillen and Bobby Valentine risk alienating their players in today’s media environment.
- Jason Giambi blew the Rockies away in his interview for the team’s managerial opening, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. The veteran power hitter left no doubt about his preparation and desire to get the job. Wallach, Alomar, Mike Gallego and Brad Ausmus are among the external candidates the Rockies are expected to contact, according to Renck.
- President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said the Marlins will consider candidates without previous experience managing at the MLB level, Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports. Valentine is not a candidate and former Marlins Mike Lowell and Jeff Conine have indicated they aren't seeking MLB managing jobs.
John Farrell is back in a Red Sox uniform, but that's far from the only managerial and coaching news we'll see this offseason. Here's the latest on some of the open situations throughout the league…
- The Mariners have announced the hiring of Dave Hansen as their hitting coach, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. Hansen, who has been serving as the Dodgers' hitting coach, finished his Major League career with the Mariners in 2005. In parts of 15 seasons, he batted .260/.360/.369.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock spoke with Brad Ausmus earlier today and was told that Ausmus is happy where he's at and isn't currently pursuing another position (Twitter link). Ausmus has been a popular name among managerial candidates.
- Jason Giambi is a real candidate to manage the Rockies next season and would make a good Major League manager, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Renck runs down several players he's covered throughout the years that thinks could also step into a managerial role with success, including Matt Holliday and Todd Helton. Renck also notes that a decision from the Rox could come prior to the start of the World Series, as MLB frowns on major announcements being made during the Fall Classic.
- As of this afternoon, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. had not received a call about interviewing to replace former Blue Jays manager John Farrell, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that if Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo follows Farrell to the Red Sox, it would likely be to serve as Farrell's bench coach.