Jason Varitek Rumors
Some links as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- The Red Sox have not yet made catcher and captain Jason Varitek a contract offer, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Boston added Kelly Shoppach to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway on Tuesday, a move that likely spelled the end of Varitek's time with the Sox.
- There are clubs with interest in trading for both Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey and others with interest in both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, but Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the Athletics and Braves are likely to deal their players separately to maximize the return. Rosenthal and Morosi note that the Braves and Orioles have discussed a deal that included both Jurrjens and Prado.
- Interest in free agent closer Francisco Cordero has slowed down, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). His market could hinge on how clubs fill their other roster holes.
- The Pirates still have interest in first baseman Derrek Lee even after trading for Casey McGehee, reports CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Bringing Lee back at first base would allow them to use McGehee at the hot corner with Pedro Alvarez.
- Heyman hears that the Angels put a deadline on their ten-year, $254MM offer to Albert Pujols (Twitter link). The deal did seem to come together very quickly Wednesday night into Thursday morning last week.
- The Rockies do have some money to spend according to Heyman (on Twitter). In addition to Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer, they also have interest in Hiroki Kuroda, Joe Saunders, and various trade targets.
- Morosi says (on Twitter) that Andruw Jones could also be an option for the Rockies if Beltran and Cuddyer sign elsewhere.
- The Cardinals' interest in pitching upgrades is "understated," reports Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Both Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook remain on the trade block.
- The Yokohama Bay Stars have released right-hander Hiroki Sanada so that he may pursue a deal in MLB according to a report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. No teams bid on Sanada when he was posted last week.
- The Astros and Rays are possibilities for Ivan Rodriguez, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Though the Mets have discussed Rodriguez, they’re leaning toward relying on Mike Nickeas as their backup to starter Josh Thole.
- MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner says the Joint Drug Agreement should provide Ryan Braun with privacy and fair proceedings. “I urge all to reserve judgment on this matter until the JDA's process has played itself out," Weiner said in a statement.
- GM Ben Cherington's comments today suggest the Red Sox won't be bringing back Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, says Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
- The Sox have talked to other clubs about Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Red Sox and White Sox met to discuss a possible Carlos Quentin trade, but there's no match at the moment, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
- Boston has checked in on Brad Lidge, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- DeMarlo Hale, the club's bench coach for the last two seasons, won't be returning for 2012, writes ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. Hale is expected to take a job in the Orioles' organization.
The Red Sox seem "pretty confident" they'll be able to re-sign David Ortiz to a two-year deal, assuming he doesn't accept arbitration, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Here are a few more Red Sox updates from Ben Cherington's first Winter Meetings as Boston's GM:
- While Boston was thought to have interest in free agents like C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, Cherington said today that he doesn't anticipate the Red Sox pursuing high-end starting pitching options, as WEEI's Alex Speier writes.
- Cherington also said today that Daniel Bard had indicated a preference for his 2012 role, though it seems he and Bard may not have been on the same page. In a text message to the Providence Journal's Brian MacPherson, Bard said he stated a willingness to move to the rotation rather than a preference to do so: "I guess making it clear that I would be willing to start may have made it seem like a preference, but I just want to make it clear that I feel like I could thrive in either role."
- It doesn't appear that the Orioles will be signing longtime Red Sox backstop Jason Varitek. According to John Tomase of the Boston Herald, O's skipper Buck Showalter addressed the topic in Dallas: "Right now, it’s not a fit for us."
Heath Bell isn’t close to signing, despite last night’s rumors, but it’s not for lack of interest. Here’s the latest on Bell and a handful of other free agents, via Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter links):
- The Red Sox are content to wait out the market for closers, since so many of them are available.
- Mark Buehrle is drawing interest from 14 teams, Heyman reports.
- Opposing GMs expect the Cubs to trade Matt Garza.
- The Mets would offer Jose Reyes $80MM for five years, but would not guarantee a six or seven-year contract.
- Jorge Posada inquired with the Mets about a job and heard the team wasn't interested, according to Heyman. However, agent Seth Levinson told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that "there is no truth to that report. None" (Twitter link).
- The Marlins met with Bell and seem very aggressive. “This is no publicity stunt,” Heyman writes.
- Miami was interested in meeting with free agent closer Ryan Madson, but the right-hander declined, since their offer “wasn’t right.”
- The Mets and Orioles are among the teams showing interest in Jason Varitek, Heyman writes. The Orioles are definitely looking for backup catching help, but it appeared earlier in the week that they were uninterested in Varitek. GM Dan Duquette favors players who could catch every day if necessary.
The Orioles have expressed interest in left-hander Renyel Pinto, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Orioles director of international operations David Stockstill scouted the 29-year-old in his native Venezuela last week. Stockstill met with Pinto, a five-year veteran of the Major Leagues, and a deal remains possible.
Pinto has a 1.42 ERA with a 42K/16BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings as a starter in the Venezuelan Winter League this year, for what it’s worth. He last pitched in the Major Leagues for the 2010 Marlins. In parts of five seasons with the Marlins, Pinto posted a 3.62 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 5.9 BB/9 and a 42.4% ground ball rate in 231 innings (244 relief appearances).
The Orioles don’t currently have interest in free agents Jason Varitek or Jorge Posada as possible backup catchers, since they prefer someone who could catch every day if necessary. Matt Wieters is the lone catcher on the Orioles’ 40-man roster at the moment.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington suggested today that the Red Sox don't need wholesale changes. "This offseason is more about fixing what's under the hood than buying a new car," he told reporters. Here’s the latest on the team, starting with a note on their ongoing managerial search...
- Cherington doesn't expect to interview additional managerial candidates after he meets with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (all Twitter links).
- The Red Sox have asked the Brewers to extend their window to talk with hitting coach Dale Sveum, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a candidate for Boston's managerial opening, is "going to be a Major League manager, whether that's in 2012 or sometime after that," Cherington said, according to Speier.
- Cherington has exchanged messages with free agents David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links). However, he hasn't spoken with the representatives for Jonathan Papelbon recently.
- There's no resolution on compensation between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein, but the commissioner's office has given the sides more leeway, according to Lauber.
- Speier explains how Ryan Madson's possible deal with the Phillies affects Papelbon and suggests the likelihood that Papelbon has thrown his last pitch for the Red Sox would increase "if Papelbon wants to dig in for a contract that clears the bar set by Madson."
While the Red Sox's struggles so far this season have not been lost on GM Theo Epstein, the club doesn't plan to make any major moves at this time, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. Even though there still areas in which the club can improve, any additions likely will have to come from within the organization until after June 1st.
“A lot of it is dictated by opportunity,” the GM said. “You’re not going to make a blockbuster trade in April, for the most part, or May. Usually that’s something for the middle third of the season.”
The Red Sox could likely use an upgrade behind the plate, but Epstein isn't terribly concerned, citing that other clubs aren't receiving high offensive production from their catchers either. Backstops Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have a combined slash line of .181/.246/.244 thus far.
Rainfall on the East Coast has already postponed a couple games on Friday night, but here's some items of note to hold you over ...
- Mets third baseman David Wright's days in New York may be winding down, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Mets, who may be in full-on rebuild mode as soon as midseason, could opt to trade Wright because he is signed to team-favorable terms through 2013 and would therefore yield a better haul in a trade than Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran or Francisco Rodriguez, writes Rubin. That the Mets could entertain this is indicative of how far they've fallen the past couple years; it once seemed likely Wright would spend his entire career in Queens.
- Red Sox catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek have struggled so far this season, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com, but with underwhelming and unready in-house options and limited trade or free-agent targets out there, a move is not imminent. Bengie Molina, 36, is still unsigned, but as Speier points out, would he be much of an improvement?
- The Nationals have purchased the contract of infielder Brian Bixler from Triple-A Syracuse, tweets Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com. A corresponding move on the 40-man roster was to be announced. Bixler, a second-round pick of the Pirates in 2004 out of Eastern Michigan, last appeared in the bigs in 2009. In 166 career plate appearances, he has a .178/.238/.237 line.
- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has hired Steve Loy of Gaylord Sports Management to handle his marketing. As our Agency Tracker shows, A-Rod has not officially announced an agent since parting ways with Scott Boras, and he may not need one for a while considering he's signed through age 42. For a complete list of Scott Boras clients, click here.
Links for Saturday evening..
- New to Arizona, J.J. Putz tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he's a perfect fit for the Diamondbacks.
- Second baseman Josh Barfield is competing for a utility spot on the Phillies but isn't concerned with talk of Luis Castillo, writes Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
- Brian MacPherson and Tim Britton of The Providence Journal wonder how much longer Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will continue to play. Varitek could be asked to backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2011 but could still be given plenty of playing time in a platoon. McPherson set the over/under at 2.5 years but Britton takes the under, pointing out that the list of catchers who have played the most games is chock full of players who retired before reaching 40-years-old. The team captain will celebrate his 39th birthday in less than a month.
- Pirates left-hander Joe Beimel was scratched again due to elbow pain today, which seems to contradict what GM Neal Huntington said yesterday after picking up Garrett Olson off of waivers, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Huntington insisted yesterday that the addition of Olson was not motivated by concern about Beimel or Scott Olsen.
- Pittsburgh right-hander Kevin Hart was on the bubble for a roster spot with the club and out of options for 2011, but the club will now have more time to consider him after a shoulder injury sent him to the 60-day DL, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs rallies against the tyranny of the corner label.
- Red Sox veteran David Ortiz told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the pressure isn't off, even with the new additions.
- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) hears from a talent evaluator that the best way for Kevin Millwood to get back to the big leagues is by signing with a team and pitching in games. "That's no way to win a job -- sitting at home," said the source. Millwood's fastball was clocked at 85 mph during a recent workout.
- The Rangers ackowledge that Chris Davis has opened some eyes with his strong Spring Training, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. He's under consideration for a roster spot, though teams have inquired about his availability.
- Now without star second baseman Dan Uggla, the Marlins are once again in a transitional phase, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- While he really enjoyed his time in Houston, Lance Berkman is happy to be with the Cardinals, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.