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Jeff Francis Rumors
The Reds are close to signing free agent left-hander Jeff Francis to a minor league deal, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Last week it was reported that Francis was gaining interest from clubs, including the Reds, Mariners, Blue Jays, and Mets.
Francis spent 2011 with the Royals, posting a 4.82 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 across 31 starts. His 183 innings of work last season was his highest total since 2007, the season prior to suffering a shoulder injury.
Friday night links..
- The Giants and the agent for Tim Lincecum have made significant progress since exchanging arbitration figures and both sides are confident that a resolution can be reached before a hearing would be scheduled, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
- The Reds could look to land an infielder via trade, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- It appears that talks between the Rockies and Red Sox regarding Marco Scutaro are dormant, but Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes that Boston's possible motivation for a move involving Scutaro would be to free up payroll. The club has reportedly expressed interest in White Sox starter Gavin Floyd and free agent outfielder Cody Ross, but neither move could be made unless a trade was made to offer budgetary relief according to a source.
- The Royals and Alex Gordon aren't particularly close on a deal but talks remain cordial and both sides want to get something done, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Left-hander Jeff Francis is starting to attract more interest from teams in the market for a starting pitcher including the Mariners, Reds, Blue Jays, and Mets, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter links)
- Jesus Montero has dealt with his visa issue and is scheduled to travel from Florida to Seattle today for his Mariners physical, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.
- Braves GM Frank Wren doesn't believe that his club has a major personnel need, writes Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wren also believes that this year's bullpen figures to be even deeper that last year's.
- Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post (via Twitter) is told that the Marlins have no interest in bringing Ivan Rodriguez back.
The Rockies offered Kevin Millwood a guaranteed $1MM prior to acquiring Kevin Slowey at the Winter Meetings, reports Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. The Millwood offer included approximately $1MM more in incentives, but the 37-year-old righty sought $3MM guaranteed. With Slowey having agreed to a $2.75MM salary, Renck says the Rockies have little room in the budget for Millwood.
The Rockies have not ruled out Millwood, but their budget for veteran starting pitching depth doesn't seem to have much flexibility. It'd be surprising to see Millwood score $3MM guaranteed on the strength of nine big league starts, but he does have baseball's toughest agent in Scott Boras.
The Rockies are not currently pursuing a reunion with free agent lefty Jeff Francis, writes Renck. As of right now, all projected members of the Rockies' 2012 rotation are under 30.
Cornelius Alexander "Connie" Mack was born on this day in 1862. After an 11-year playing career, Mack went on to become the manager and co-owner of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901 and was a fixture in the A's dugout for the next half-century. Between his 50 years with the A's (and three years managing the Pirates from 1894-96), Mack won five World Series titles and compiled a 3731-3948 record. Needless to say, Mack's records for managerial wins and losses will never be broken.
Some news from around the majors…
- The Indians made "an aggressive" two-year contract offer to Carlos Beltran worth "very close" to the $26MM Beltran received from the Cardinals, a source tells Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- The Braves have been rather quiet this offseason but "the fact is we like our team," GM Frank Wren tells David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We continue to have some conversations,” Wren said. “We’d have liked to have gotten something done in November in some areas, but just weren’t the matches….We’re continuing to work different options. This was not a good free-agent year, not a lot of players that impacted teams, especially in the areas we would like to get better in.” Wren said the Braves may wait to see how their players perform during Spring Training before deciding if they need to bring in some new acquisitions.
- The Padres still have around $7-$9MM to spend this winter, observes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune as part of his weekly chat with fans.
- Center also discusses Anthony Rizzo trade rumors, citing the Rays and Cubs as the most interested parties. Center thinks teams who miss out on Prince Fielder (such as possibly the Mariners and Orioles) could look at Rizzo as well.
- The Reds will use Sean Marshall as a setup man, not as a closer, once their deal with the Cubs is finalized, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Fay also wonders if the Reds are working out a contract extension with Marshall, as the price of Travis Wood plus two prospects seems high for a reliever who is only under control through 2012.
- The Mariners are still interested in Jeff Francis, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Seattle wants a veteran like Francis for the rotation to serve as a bridge for the team's young pitchers. We heard about the Mariners' interest in Francis earlier this month, and the Twins, Pirates, Cubs and Rockies have also been linked to the Canadian left-hander.
- Patrick Ebert of Perfect Game runs down the 10 biggest stories that emerged from this year's amateur draft.
- Former Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez told Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio (as reported by MLB.com's Joe Frisaro) that he didn't agree with Miami's signing of Jose Reyes. "You already have an All-Star shortstop, why spend money on another All-Star shortstop?" Rodriguez asked. "Why not put the money into another player, like Albert Pujols or a front-line pitcher?” Rodriguez also wondered how "a very proud player" like Hanley Ramirez would handle switching positions and having Reyes be the center of media attention in Miami.
- The Giants haven't spent much to address their lack of hitting this winter, writes Fangraphs' Wendy Thurm.
The Cubs have talked to Jeff Francis about filling a spot in the back end of their rotation, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick says the team has also had discussions with Paul Maholm, which we heard last week from Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
Multiple reports last night suggested that the Cubs and Reds were close to working out a trade involving Travis Wood and Sean Marshall. If the two sides were to reach an agreement, the Cubs' acquisition of Wood would likely take them out of the running for arms like Francis and Maholm. However, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears from a source that no trade is imminent yet.
- The Twins are considering Jeff Francis and Joel Pineiro, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Morosi says Jon Garland is an option as well if he checks out medically after missing most of last season due to shoulder surgery.
- Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune says Kerry Wood's return to the Cubs is "considered inevitable." Wood wants a market value contract after taking a discount last year, and Sullivan says Octavio Dotel's one-year, $3.5MM deal with the Tigers could serve as a decent comparable.
- Earlier today we learned that the Reds have some interest in Jason Kubel, and that the Royals discussed Joakim Soria with the Red Sox before deciding they weren't a trade match.
1:06pm: Francis' agent will also meet with the Pirates and Twins this week, tweets Morosi.
11:19am: The Pirates are among the teams with interest in free agent lefty Jeff Francis, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Bucs were in on Francis a year ago, but with a healthy season in the books he'll certainly require more than a one-year, $2MM guarantee this time.
- The Rockies are out of the running for Roy Oswalt, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post. They remain aggressive in their pursuit of a starting pitcher though, and have interest in Kevin Millwood and former Rockie Jeff Francis. The Twins are in on Francis as well.
- Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka will remain in Japan, reports Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports (on Twitter). The Rockies had expressed initial interest in the free agent according to Morosi.
- The Braves want good prospects along with Seth Smith in return for Martin Prado, reports SI.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter), so the two clubs have some work to do if they're going to make a trade.
The Twins were among the finalists for Chris Capuano before the left-hander signed with the Dodgers, and now they're turning their attention to Jeff Francis and Edwin Jackson according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. They've had preliminary discussions with Francis' agent and are likely to continue talks at the winter meetings next week.
Jackson, a Scott Boras client, would not a cost draft to sign as a Type-B free agent, but Minnesota is wary of his price tag according to Morosi. At the moment, the Twinkies have Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, and Brian Duensing as potential starters, but Baker, Liriano, and Blackburn have injury concerns and Slowey is a non-tender candidate.
Here's the latest from the City Of Angels (And Dodgers)….
- Ned Colletti wants to bring back Hiroki Kuroda next season, but isn't sure if the Dodgers can afford him or if Kuroda will return to Japan, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.
- The Dodgers' major offseason moves could be wrapping up but Jerry Dipoto's first offseason as Angels GM is just beginning, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times.
- From that same piece, DiGiovanna notes the club will look at "second-tier starters" like Kuroda, Aaron Harang, Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen and Roy Oswalt. Kuroda, Harang and Francis are also known to be on the Dodgers' list of pitching options.
- Of bigger-name starters, the Angels have been connected to C.J. Wilson this winter, but Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles wonders if the Angels' courtship of Wilson just a "smokescreen" intended to drive up Wilson's price for the Rangers. I'm not sure this tactic would specifically work on the Rangers given how they seem prepared to let Wilson leave if his price gets too high, but it could force one of Wilson's several other suitors to up their offer.