Jason Kubel Rumors
11:37pm: The Padres and D'Backs found no match in trade talks about Upton or Jason Kubel, reports Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter). San Diego doesn't want to move Headley and they don't have a spot for Kubel with Carlos Quentin on the roster.
3:27pm: The Padres and Diamondbacks have had on-and-off discussions about a deal involving Justin Upton and Chase Headley since July, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, those talks have yet to result in a deal.
Even though that deal hasn't worked out, the Diamondbacks continue to discuss Upton with other clubs, including the Rangers and Mariners while also considering offers for Jason Kubel. The Rangers want to build a package around third baseman Mike Olt rather than shortstop Elvis Andrus or infielder Jurickson Profar and they're willing to add a top pitching prospect and a third quality piece to the package, sources say.
However, sources tell Rosenthal that the D'Backs believe they could make an even better deal for Upton with another club like the Mariners, who are aggressively trying to add a power hitter. However, as we've heard before, Seattle is on Upton's four-team no-trade list and he's not inclined to approve a deal to the M's. The Mariners might be able to change Upton's mind with a lucrative contract extension.
Earlier this week we learned that the Braves have also inquired on Upton.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
It was on this day 40 years ago that the baseball world lost one of its greatest stars. Following a massive earthquake that devastated the country of Nicaragua, Roberto Clemente helped organize a relief effort for victims of the disaster and accompanied one of the aid packages on its flight on New Year's Eve 1972 to ensure that the goods reached the proper hands. Tragically, Clemente's flight crashed off the shore of Puerto Rico, costing the Pirates superstar his life at the age of 38. Clemente was posthumously honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal and a Congressional Gold Medal by then-president Richard Nixon and the U.S. Congress, and given immediate entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the BBWAA waived its usual five-year waiting period.
Here are some news items as we pay tribute to Clemente and look ahead to 2013...
- Counting arbitration raises and the $13MM they have tentatively agreed to pay Mike Napoli, the Red Sox 2013 payroll will almost exactly match the club's 2012 payroll, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- Speaking of arb raises, you can follow all of the arbitration cases and settlements on MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker, which has now been updated with the salaries of players who have already come to agreements.
- The Indians have "liked" Jason Kubel dating back to his days with the Twins, so Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer figures the Tribe probably discussed Kubel in their previous negotiations with the Diamondbacks this winter. Hoynes doesn't think the Indians should deal Asdrubal Cabrera for Kubel (a reader's suggestion) but he agrees that Cleveland could use Kubel's power.
- Also from Hoynes' reader mail piece, he thinks the Indians will take care of other business before considering re-signing Travis Hafner, and that Chris Perez will return in 2013 unless the Tribe gets "a big return" in a trade for the closer.
- Kubel isn't a fit for the Mets and the team doesn't have the prospect depth to get Justin Upton, but Michael Baron of Metsblog.com wonders if the Mets could make a play for another Diamondbacks outfielder in Adam Eaton. While I agree that Eaton would be a good fit for the Amazins, it would take a lot to convince Arizona to part such a talented, controllable player.
- Peter Moylan appears to have little chance of returning to the Braves, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as GM Frank Wren said the team's bullpen was set after trading for Jordan Walden. Moylan has a career 2.59 ERA over seven seasons with Atlanta but has appeared in just 21 games over the last two seasons due to a lower back injury and rotator cuff surgery. The right-hander was non-tendered by the Braves in October.
- FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi lists the Padres, Orioles, Yankees and seven other teams who still have significant roster holes to fill in January. In a seperate list, Morosi names his top 10 baseball newsmakers of the past year.
ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine opened up his latest online chat to reader proposals for trades that would send Justin Upton to the Cubs and Jason Kubel to the White Sox, which led to no shortage of creative ideas from fans. Amidst these plausible-to-very implausible trade proposals, Levine also shared a few hot stove items about both of Chicago's teams...
- The Blue Jays and Rangers have been Matt Garza's most ardent trade suitors and could again be interested in acquiring the right-hander if Garza shows he's in good health during Spring Training. I'd think that Texas might still be in the mix but Toronto's rotation seems set unless the Jays don't think Ricky Romero can return to form.
- If the Cubs have concerns that Garza won't be ready for Opening Day, Levine thinks the Cubs could try to sign a free agent starter like Shaun Marcum.
- Before the Cubs and Angels settled on the eventually-abandoned Carlos Marmol-for-Dan Haren trade, L.A. turned down the Cubs' offer of Marmol for Peter Bourjos and an infielder.
- The Cubs have "genuine concern about holding [their] fan base" given the team's recent struggles and rebuilding process, which Levine feels may have been the impetus for the Cubs' signing of Edwin Jackson and its pursuit of Anibal Sanchez.
- The Diamondbacks have interest in some White Sox prospects, which could be a hint towards a possible Kubel trade. We heard earlier this week that the Sox and D'Backs had discussed both Kubel and Upton in potential deals, though Kubel is the likelier of the two outfielders to be moved.
- While Gavin Floyd has again been the subject of trade rumors, Levine believes the White Sox won't look to deal Floyd until they're sure that John Danks is healthy.
Just before holidays, Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM that the club has had nothing but great conversations with the Diamondbacks about outfielder Justin Upton. However, despite talking for the bulk of the winter, the two sides have yet to hammer out a deal. Could Upton have a new home in the New Year? Here's more on that and other links on the Diamondbacks..
- It appears that a possible trade of Upton has become a reality again following the surprise signing of Cody Ross, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. General Manager Kevin Towers will almost certainly be entertaining offers and one person familiar with their thinking says that "someone will go.''
- Some have speculated that Jason Kubel could be the odd man out in Arizona, but one exec told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that he doesn't see the D'Backs getting much for him. Kubel posted a .910 OPS at home in 2012 but had a .757 OPS elsewhere. Advanced metrics, such as his career -12.7 UZR/150, also indicate that he plays a below-average left field.
- The Diamondbacks' offseason cannot truly be judged until we know what the club does to follow up on the Ross signing, writes Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.
The Diamondbacks signed Cody Ross to a three-year, $26MM contract earlier today, and GM Kevin Towers told reporters (including MLB.com's Steve Gilbert) the two sides didn't start talking until this past Monday (Twitter link). Arizona is already working to move one of their extra outfielders in the wake of the signing. Here are some notes and reactions to the deal...
- Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic has the contract breakdown (on Twitter). Ross will earn $5MM in 2013, $8.5MM in both 2014 and 2015, and a $3MM signing bonus. The $9.5MM club option has a $1MM buyout.
- Towers told Gilbert and others that his phone "blew up" with teams calling about his spare outfielders today (all Twitter links). Ownership has given him the okay to open the season with all of their current outfielders, which would mean an Opening Day payroll in the $95MM range.
- Ross told reporters (including Gilbert) that he did not take give the Red Sox a chance to match Arizona's offer (Twitter link). He told the D'Backs he would not shop it around.
- Jason Kubel is much more likely to be traded than Justin Upton, says Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). ESPN's Buster Olney speculates that the Rangers, Yankees, Mariners, and Rays could be fits for Kubel (all Twitter links).
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said he wanted to find more playing time for Gerardo Parra earlier this offseason, and Piecoro points out that the Ross addition complicates that plan even if they make a trade (Twitter link).
- Adam Rubin of ESPN New York asked Scott Hairston if he's any closer to signing following the Ross deal, and the free agent outfielder said it's still unclear (Twitter link).
3:01pm: The White Sox have talked about Kubel and also had talks about Upton earlier in winter, when Diamondbacks asked about Alexei Ramirez, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
2:56pm: The Rangers are not pursuing Kubel at present, a source tells Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
The Diamondbacks are looking to trade an outfielder in the wake of the Cody Ross signing, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Jason Kubel is regarded as the outfielder most likely to be moved.
Arizona is still overloaded with outfielders following the Chris Young trade as Ross joins Kubel, Justin Upton, and Gerardo Parra. The club also has prospects Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock waiting in the wings, giving them a rich surplus that can be parlayed into other areas of need.
Some have wondered if the Rangers could be players for Kubel if they can't come to terms on a long-rumored deal for Upton. Kubel is set to earn $7.5MM in 2013 with a mutual option for the same amount in 2014, significantly less than the $38.5MM owed to Upton through '15.
Baseball people who have had the Blue Jays decline past trade proposals involving Travis d'Arnaud are “completely shocked” that GM Alex Anthopoulos has agreed to send the catching prospect to the Mets for R.A. Dickey, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. "He's out of his mind," an AL official said of the Blue Jays GM. Here are some more notes from around MLB, starting with Dickey...
- One longtime agent not involved in the extension talks between the Blue Jays and the knuckleballer said a three-year extension in the $40-45MM range would be fair for both sides, Olney reports. It’d be a surprise of Dickey gets that kind of money, however. The Mets offered him an additional $20MM over two years and he sought an additional $26MM for that two-year period.
- Rival evaluators believe this could be an extraordinary return for the Mets.
- The A’s had interest in Stephen Drew, but didn’t want to overpay to keep him. Drew, who recently agreed to sign with the Red Sox, has declining range in the view of some rival scouts.
- Olney wonders if the Rangers might pursue Jason Kubel if they can’t agree with Arizona on a trade involving Justin Upton. Some MLB executives wonder if the Rangers overvalue their own prospects, according to Olney.
- Some evaluators say the Angels have an awesome offense but that their pitching staff lacks depth.
It's been another major day of hot stove news, headlined by Josh Hamilton's deal with the Angels and Anibal Sanchez's forthcoming choice between the Cubs and Tigers. Here are some final items as we hit Friday...
- Michael Bourn's market has become hard to determine, though MLB.com's Richard Justice notes that the Hamilton, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols signings have taught us that top free agents tend to get their paydays, sometimes with surprising teams.
- Nick Swisher has never seen the Red Sox "as a likely landing spot," reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). Boston is one of several teams -- including the Phillies, Orioles, Indians, Rangers and Mariners -- linked to the free agent slugger this winter.
- Cuban players Dariel Alvarez and shortstop Aledmys Diaz are both officially free agents, tweets Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. Alvarez, a 24-year-old outfielder, and 22-year-old shortstop Diaz were profiled by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez last month.
- MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli breaks down the contract details of the arbitration-avoiding deals signed by Taylor Teagarden, Alexi Casilla and Steve Pearce with the Orioles, plus the details of Mark Reynolds' one-year contract with the Indians.
- The Diamondbacks are more likely to trade Jason Kubel than Justin Upton at this point, opines MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (Twitter link).
- The Rangers may have lost Hamilton today but a rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that the Rangers could potentially sign Swisher, A.J. Pierzynski and Adam LaRoche to upgrade their lineup.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports looks at how the Phillies and Red Sox are planning to rebound in 2013.
The Orioles have found their left fielder, retaining Nate McLouth on a one-year, $2MM deal with $500K in incentives. McLouth is represented by The Sparta Group.
McLouth, 31, joined the Orioles in June after being released by the Pirates. He had a nice run for the O's, hitting .268/.342/.435 in 236 plate appearances. McLouth made the All-Star team in 2008 and signed a $15.75MM extension with the Pirates the following February. The Bucs traded him to the Braves a few months later, where he had a disappointing three-year stint. With the new Orioles contract, it was said McLouth sought only a straight one-year deal, as he looks to further re-establish his value.
Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com first reported the agreement, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first reported it was close, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added the amount. Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.
8:37pm: The Diamondbacks are more likely to trade Kubel than Upton, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
12:30am: Justin Upton's name has dominated Diamondbacks trade rumors recently, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes that the D-backs have had at least as many conversations surrounding a potential trade of Jason Kubel.
Morosi speculates that the Red Sox, Yankees, Orioles, Rangers, Rays and Mariners could all be in on Kubel, who is due to earn $7.5MM in 2013 with a mutual option for the same amount in 2014. That's significantly more affordable than the $38.5MM remaining on Upton's deal.
Kubel's first season in the National League saw the 30-year-old produce a .253/.327/.506 triple slash line with career bests in home runs (30) and walk rate (10 percent). His defense graded out poorly as usual, however, which might make him appealing to American League teams who can use him as a designated hitter as the Twins did frequently throughout his seven years in Minnesota.