Jason Kubel Rumors
A few notes on the Orioles..
- The Orioles considered trading pitching for a hitter last offseason, but decided not to deal their young hurlers, Jayson Stark of ESPN reports. Stark says the Orioles would not include Dylan Bundy in a deal with the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton, and also ultimately passed on Jason Kubel. “Some of the bats that we could get would have improved our team,” says executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. “But it wasn't a huge improvement. And we wanted to hold onto the pitching depth and see if we could utilize the pitching depth to have a competitive team. And we could always take a look at that [later].”
- Koji Uehara thought he might return to Baltimore this offseason, Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reports. "I thought that there would be a possibility [of playing in Baltimore], but I didn't especially put a lot of weight on each team or one particular team," says Uehara. "I thought that every team had a chance." The Red Sox signed Uehara to a one-year, $4.25MM deal in December.
- Outfielder Henry Urrutia has finally arrived in the United States, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports writes. The 26-year-old Cuban defector received a $779K bonus from the Orioles in 2012, but had been in Haiti and has only now received a work visa. He will take a physical, then head to Orioles minor-league camp in Sarasota. The O's had intended to send Urrutia to Double-A Bowie last year, Kubatko notes.
On this day in baseball history in 1987, Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly won his arbitration hearing against the team to secure a contract of $1.975MM. The figure represents the highest in Major League history, eclipsing the previous record set by Jack Morris merely four days prior. Let's catch up on the latest news and happenings around the league on the Sunday without a baseball game until November.
- Jason Kubel dealt with trade rumors all offseason that had the slugger being dealt to another squad thanks to a crowded Diamondbacks outfield, writes Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Luckily for Kubel, Justin Upton was traded to the Braves and the veteran no longer needed to worry about where he would be playing in 2013.
- Angel Pagan's new found fame as a World Series champion led to young men in his home country of Puerto Rico wanting to work out with him, and so he did, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. "They ask me, my personal trainer. I tell them to come over, do the same thing I do. (The trainer) doesn’t charge them. I want them to understand what it takes to get ready, to be a champion. It’s about your work ethic, how you prepare to be successful."
- The Indians can point to a series of key moves this offseason as the reason for optimism heading into 2013, says Tracy Ringolsby of MLB.com. "We realized at the end of last year we needed to make adjustments," said general manager Chris Antonetti. "We were not good enough. We needed to improve."
The blockbuster trade of Justin Upton is dominating headlines around baseball today. We've already looked at one batch of reaction to the deal as well as Arizona's hopes of quickly signing Martin Prado to an extension, but here are some more news items out of the desert...
- The Diamondbacks are "a team stressing culture over talent," writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, dealing Upton and Trevor Bauer because neither player fit the club's preference for "the dirt-on-the-uniform, all-out, get-concussed-or-go-home sort of player."
- The D'Backs will keep Jason Kubel, GM Kevin Towers told reporters during a conference call, including USA Today's Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). This comes as no surprise, as it was expected that Arizona would only move one of Kubel or Upton from a crowded outfield that also includes Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton, Cody Ross and A.J. Pollock in the mix. Kubel had drawn interest from a number of teams, including the Padres, Orioles, White Sox, Mariners and Mets.
- Speaking of the Mets, they talked to the D'Backs about Upton at various points this winter but the two teams never got far, Metsblog's Matthew Cerrone reports. The Mets didn't have the Major League-ready young infielder that Arizona wanted, nor were the Mets willing to trade Zack Wheeler or Matt Harvey.
- The Diamondbacks' payroll in 2013 "will start with a nine," according to managing general partner Ken Kendrick, reports Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (via Twitter). This would represent a significant bump from the Snakes' 2012 payroll, which Cot's Baseball Contracts lists as a little more than $75.4MM.
Pedro Martinez is returning to the Red Sox as a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington, the club announced today. The future Hall-of-Famer told reporters (including MLB.com's Ian Browne) that he will be helping instruct the organization's pitchers during Spring Training and throughout the season. "I hope to be a friend to most of those kids that probably have some questions or if they have uncertainties about what they're going to be facing," Martinez said. "What kind of things they should be aware of? I think I'm very well prepared and armed to actually help them with it."
Here are some more items from around the AL East...
- In an interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show (partial transcript here), Cherington said the Red Sox addressed a number of weaknesses over the winter and he thinks the Red Sox can contend. "Maybe we didn’t make the one headline move or haven’t to this point...but I do think we’ve added strength to a lot of different areas to the roster, a lot of areas we had holes in," Cherington said. He also defended Boston's ownership against recent criticisms from ex-manager Terry Francona.
- The Orioles had interest in Justin Upton but weren't prepared to move top prospects like Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy in return, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports.
- Connolly also outlined the talks between the Orioles and Diamondbacks about Jason Kubel, saying that the O's never had more than "lukewarm" interest in Kubel's services. The Orioles felt they were Arizona's "backup plan" to trade an outfielder as the Snakes' preference was to swap Upton.
- Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told Hillsborough County Commission officials that "Major League Baseball at this point no longer believes in the Tampa Bay area," reports Stephen Nohlgren of the Tampa Bay Times. Sternberg reiterated his belief that a new stadium is needed to make his franchise viable and said he is committed to keeping the team in the Tampa area. MLB released a statement today expressing disappointment in the Rays' attendance, saying, "The status quo is simply not sustainable."
- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos discussed the team's winter moves, plans for the upcoming season and more in an online chat with Toronto Sun readers. Included is a nice compliment for MLB Trade Rumors, as Anthopoulos says he reads our website, "All the time, and I'd venture to say that almost every front office person in baseball does the same. Great site and great way to stay connected with what's happening."
- The Yankees are running out of options if they want to add right-handed hitting outfield depth, opines Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog.
Here's a look at the latest Justin Upton rumors with all links going to Twitter..
- Arizona GM Kevin Towers is going on vacation this Friday, Rosenthal reports. While Towers would prefer to trade Upton or Kubel by then, it's not a deadline.
- The Braves are now waiting to hear back from the Diamondbacks about their offer, Rosenthal reports. It's a "sensitive" time in the trade talks. For much of the offseason, the Braves had trouble getting the Diamondbacks to return their calls, Rosenthal reports. Things have evidently changed.
- The Rangers haven't talked to the Diamondbacks about Upton in weeks, Heyman reports.
- The Diamondbacks could make a trade involving Upton or Kubel with the next few days, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Heyman notes that the Braves seem seriously interested in Upton and adds on Twitter that they're trying hard for him and have offered a "strong" package of players. The Rangers, Rays and Padres have also shown interest, Heyman writes.
- The Diamondbacks have an offer on the table for Upton, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The offer is believed to be from the Braves, Rosenthal writes. Arizona likes Evan Gattis' power, but the team continues weighing various options. For example, Diamomdbacks executives discussed Kubel with the Orioles today.
- The Diamondbacks want to make a decision on trading Jason Kubel or Upton by Friday, people involved in the process tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney. Arizona had an agreement with the Mariners on an Upton deal earlier this offseason but the 25-year-old used his limited veto power to shoot the trade down.
- Meanwhile, Arizona's talks with the Braves on Upton have resumed (Twitter link). Atlanta is said to be aggressive about acquiring Upton and they're likely the frontrunner for the outfielder if he is dealt. The D'Backs have been reviewing the Braves' offer and some folks involved believe that it's a strong proposal, according to Olney.
- The asking price for Kubel is dropping and Baltimore would be a logical landing spot for him, Olney tweets. Earlier today it was reported that the O's are pursuing Kubel but talks are not yet at an advanced stage.
12:21pm: It's unlikely the Orioles would acquire both Kubel and Porcello, Rosenthal writes in an expanded piece at FOXSports.com. Free agent left-hander Joe Saunders and trade candidate Alfonso Soriano are also possibilities, according to Rosenthal. Saunders seeks a three-year contract, but Soriano is the least likely option for Baltimore.
10:17am: The Orioles are pursuing a trade for Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). However, talks are not at an advanced stage. The Diamondbacks were looking to obtain young pitching from the Orioles for Kubel earlier in the month.
If the Orioles were to acquire Kubel, he'd be in the running for playing time at left field and DH along with Nate McLouth, Nolan Reimold and Wilson Betemit. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks would no longer have surplus outfielders if they send Kubel to Baltimore.
The Diamondbacks continue to weigh offers for Kubel and Justin Upton, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported yesterday. The Diamondbacks want to deal one of the outfielders sooner rather than later and they feel as though there’s a good chance of getting “suitable value” for Kubel if they decide to deal him, Olney reported. Rival executives view the Orioles as a possible match for Kubel.
Rosenthal notes that the Orioles also like Tigers starter Rick Porcello. However, the Tigers don't appear to be in a rush to trade the right-hander Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported yesterday. The Diamondbacks are also among the teams that have been linked to Porcello this winter.
The latest from ESPN.com's Buster Olney...
- If the Mariners’ attempt to acquire Justin Upton had been successful, Seattle would have traded John Jaso to Oakland as part of the deal, Olney reports (on Twitter). Instead, Upton blocked the proposed trade and the A's acquired Jaso in a three-way trade with Washington.
- The Diamondbacks continue to weigh offers for Upton and Jason Kubel, Olney reports (Twitter links). The Diamondbacks want to deal one of the outfielders sooner rather than later and they feel as though there’s a good chance of getting “suitable value” for Kubel if they decide to deal him.
- Rival executives view the Orioles as a possible match for Kubel, Olney reports (Twitter links). In Olney's view the Rays are another potential destination for Kubel.
- The 2002 Braves and the 1995 Indians had some of the best outfields in baseball history, Olney wrote at his Insider-only blog today.
Yesterday, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik told reporters, including MLBTR's Mark Polishuk, that while he liked what John Jaso brought to the table for the team, it was worth parting with him in order to acquire an impact hitter like Michael Morse. Morse will now join Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay, and Raul Ibanez in the middle of Seattle's lineup for 2013 but Jack Z says that he isn't done yet. Seattle would still like to add veteran depth at catcher in support of Jesus Montero. Here's today's news out of the American League West..
- Before acquiring Morse and before Justin Upton vetoed the deal that never was, the Mariners had serious talks about getting Jason Kubel, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. The D'Backs are said to be seeking young pitching in return for the outfielder and recently had talks with the Orioles about him.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looked at the five outfielders most likely to be traded this season, including Chris Young and Coco Crisp of the A's and the Angels' Vernon Wells. If manager Bob Melvin is committed to Crisp, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Young is shipped to the first team that loses its starting center fielder to injury. And for his part, Crisp has said that he wouldn't mind a trade to a contender.
- In conversations with several agents and executives about young stars who might agree to contract extensions in the near future, the Angels' Mike Trout and the Mariners' Felix Hernandez came up fairly often, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. "If I'm [the Angels]," said one exec of Trout, "I'm already talking about a crazy long deal. I don't think anybody knows what his ceiling is. You could be looking at the greatest modern player in the game."
Monday: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds (via Twitter) that the Orioles have also shown serious interest in Justin Upton over the past few weeks, but talks between the two sides have sputtered. The Orioles are shifting their focus to starting pitching. They've expressed interest in bringing Joe Saunders back recently.
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun adds (via Twitter) that the Orioles find Arizona's asking price for Upton too high.
Saturday: The Diamondbacks are looking to get young pitching from the Orioles in a trade for outfielder Jason Kubel, but Baltimore has been disinclined to do that to this point, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Arizona has a surplus of outfielders and some believe that they would prefer to trade Kubel than Justin Upton at this stage.
Kubel hit .253/.327/.506 with a career-high 30 home runs in 141 games with Arizona last year. The 30-year-old is due to earn $7.5MM in 2013 with a mutual option for the same amount in 2014.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
The Mets talked to the Diamondbacks about potential trades involving outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Kubel, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). However, Arizona’s asking price is too high on Upton and Kubel isn’t a perfect fit for New York, according to Heyman. This suggests the Diamondbacks won’t be sending one of their surplus outfielders to the Mets, who continue seeking outfield depth.
The Padres, Braves, Mariners and Rangers have expressed some interest in trading for Upton this offseason. The right fielder can block trades to certain teams, including the Blue Jays and Mariners. Meanwhile, Kubel has also drawn trade interest from teams such as the Orioles.
In a recent poll of more than 13,000 MLBTR readers, voters were split on whether Upton or Kubel would be dealt. There’s an expectation that GM Kevin Towers will make a trade since Arizona has numerous internal options including Cody Ross, Gerardo Parra and prospects Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock.
The Mets have been eyeing outfielders all offseason, but Andrew Brown and Collin Cowgill have been their highest profile additions to date. If the season opened today, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda and Mike Baxter would be among the leading candidates for regular playing time in New York.
Upton, 25, will earn $38.5MM through 2015, including a $9.75MM salary in 2013. Kubel, 30, has one more guaranteed year on his contract, which includes a 2014 team option. He'll earn $7.5MM this coming season.