Jimmy Rollins Rumors
- Jimmy Rollins, who turns 33 today, is seeking a five-year deal this winter, and the Phillies may have to commit that many years if they want to bring their longtime shortstop back. "I'm not sure if Rollins will get five years," said an NL evaluator. "But he's a safer bet for me than any starting pitcher on the free agent market -- and some of those (or at least C.J. Wilson) will get five years.... He will get paid. The only question is whether it will be four years or five years."
- An AL evaluator believes that, "while he's not the force at the plate that he used to be," Rollins is one of the more underrated defensive shortstops in the game.
- Olney tweets that neither Prince Fielder nor Albert Pujols is an ideal long-term target for the Cubs, noting that Fielder makes the most sense for an AL club that could move him to DH for the back half of a long-term contract.
- The Red Sox have narrowed their managerial search to two finalists, Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont. Olney says some of GM Ben Cherington's peers (with other teams) are wondering if Cherington prefers Lamont while his bosses prefer Valentine, and, if so, whether it's worth it for the GM to fight ownership for his choice.
Two big name free agents came off the board within the first three weeks of the offseason, as CC Sabathia signed an extension with the Yankees and Jonathan Papelbon joined the Phillies. The two power-hitting first baseman are still on the market (Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder), as are the high-end shortstops (Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes) and left-handed starters (Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson). Looking for pure offense? There's also Carlos Beltran and David Ortiz.
The Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been a slow few days for the baseball hot stove, but think of it as the calm before the storm. The winter meetings are just over a week away, and clubs want to start patching the major holes on their rosters before the calendar flips to January. A full list of unsigned free agents can be found with our Free Agent Tracker, but only a select few qualify as big names. Which of those guys do you think will be the next to sign?
In case the fine distinction between Type A and Type B free agents wasn't confusing enough, MLB has added a new level of complexity to this offseason's class of ranked free agents. This year's Type A free agents have been divided into three groups and teams will only have to surrender draft choices for signing players from one of the the sub-groups. You can read about the details here and follow the arbitration offers with MLBTR's tracker, but if you're only concerned with the bottom line, look no further. Here are the six remaining players for whom teams will have to surrender a top draft pick this offseason:
Also note that the Phillies will surrender a draft pick for signing Jonathan Papelbon earlier in the offseason. No other free agents, even those who obtained offers of arbitration, will cost draft picks. This means fewer obstacles exist for teams wary of losing draft choices and more opportunities exist for ranked free agents looking to sign their next contracts. Middle relievers and second-tier position players are no doubt pleased that the MLBPA bargained for these changes.
10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post 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 Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
Earlier tonight, the Phillies acquired Ty Wigginton from the Rockies. Here are a batch of links regarding the 2011 NL East champs, as well as an interesting tidbit on the Phils' previous history with Wiggy ...
- Having signed Jonathan Papelbon and traded for Wigginton, the Phillies' primary focus is now filling shortstop, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The Phils are "in negotiations" with Rollins, Salisbury reports, as well as other free-agent shortstops. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. characterized talks with Rollins as "slow" and said that he doesn't expect to have a shortstop signed by the outset of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 5.
- The Phils remain in search of an outfielder, according to Salisbury, so it's possible that they could still sign Michael Cuddyer, although it'd probably have to be on team-friendly terms.
- Finally, Salisbury notes the Phillies have long coveted Wigginton and tried to acquire him in 2010, when he was with the Orioles.
- Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that the Phils should re-sign Raul Ibanez, a favorite of both fans and Amaro, for something like one year and $4MM, as he could be useful as a platoonmate with the right-handed-hitting John Mayberry Jr. in left field.
- Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines the various ways the new CBA may affect the Phillies. One interesting possibility put forth by Gelb is that the Phils could become the first NL team in history to go over the luxury tax, which will be frozen at $178MM in 2012 under the new CBA rather than being increased by the usual $8MM anually.
The Brewers are looking for an upgrade over shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and are combing the open market for a solution. While it remains a longshot, the team sources make it sound as though they are more likely to land Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins than re-sign Prince Fielder, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
Meanwhile, GM Doug Melvin is doing his due diligence by talking with Rollins' agent Dan Lozano, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). The club is also set to meet with the agent for Clint Barmes today and the shortstop has quite a bit of buzz around him at the Milwaukee meetings. The Astros and Brewers are among the many teams after him and the Dodgers were also in the mix before signing Mark Ellis, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.
As usual, Jon Heyman is tweeting up a storm. His latest from Day 2 of the GM Meetings...
- The Brewers have added Jimmy Rollins to their list of potential shortstops. They're also eyeing Jose Reyes, Rafael Furcal, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Clint Barmes.
- The Yankees believe the prices on C.J. Wilson and Edwin Jackson are way too high thus far, and plan to wait them out. Wilson's agent Bob Garber requested a meeting with the Yankees in New York, during a discussion with GM Brian Cashman yesterday.
- The Marlins are telling teams Ricky Nolasco is not available now. Heyman wonders if they would change if they sign a free agent pitcher.
- One GM interested in Braves righty Jair Jurrjens does not believe he will be traded. The Braves seek an impact bat in return.
- Interest is picking up in Francisco Rodriguez, the third-best available reliever currently in Heyman's opinion.
The latest on the Phillies...
- The Phillies are looking for a backup catcher, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. They're talking to Brian Schneider and others.
- Jonathan Papelbon explained how his deal with the Phillies came about: "One day, I finally told [my agent] - I said, 'I want to play for the Phillies and let's make it happen.'" Asked Sunday by Jeff Skversky of WPVI Philadelphia about becoming the richest reliever in baseball, Papelbon said, "That doesn't really play a role. The biggest thing that plays a role is the ability to come here and win."
- The Phillies still have the flexibility to sign Jimmy Rollins, said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to reporters in response to a question about the shortstop.
- A Cole Hamels contract extension is "an agreement both sides want to forge," writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He doesn't see Papelbon's contract affecting Hamels.
- Michael Cuddyer visited the Phillies last week. Manager Charlie Manuel explained to Jeff Janiczek of the Philadelphia Daily News that Cuddyer told him, "Charlie, I'm a baseball player. I'll play anywhere you want me to play, and I'll do a good enough job that it will pass."
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday places Amaro tenth among all GMs in his annual rankings.
On a day when Jonathan Papelbon switched teams and the Miami Marlins were officially born, the biggest and best news was unquestionably Wilson Ramos' rescue from kidnappers in his native Venezuela. Here are a few other items as we head into the weekend...
- The Astros' potential sale to Jim Crane is on the agenda at next week's owners meetings, reports The Associated Press. Two sources say Crane, Drayton McLane and Major League Baseball have "reached an understanding" on how the Astros could move to the American League in 2013.
- Crane could be getting as much as an $80MM discount off his original price for the team by agreeing to move the Astros to the AL, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman.
- Grady Sizemore is looking for a one-year contract so he can re-establish his value for a longer-term deal next winter, reports Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Heyman makes the comparison to the one-year deal Adrian Beltre signed with the Red Sox before the 2010 season, which saw Beltre have a big season and earn a multiyear deal with the Rangers last winter. Sizemore won't match the $10MM Beltre got from Boston, but a $6-7MM deal with incentives seems reasonable.
- Heyman says the Athletics are interested in Sizemore but are worried about his health and his asking price.
- With the Phillies reportedly interested in both Sizemore and Jason Kubel, Fangraphs' Eric Seidman argues that Sizemore is the better choice for the Phils.
- The Phillies want to sign Michael Cuddyer and re-sign Jimmy Rollins but the club finds both players' asking prices to be too high, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Major League Baseball and the Players' Association are expected to "continue to negotiate amicably" about the new collective bargaining agreement over the weekend, reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Also from Rosenthal, he thinks teams take a major risk by hiring managers with little or no Major League managing or coaching experience.
- The Pirates' offseason moves will be influenced by the number of players on the roster who are out of options, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.
MLB executives expect Albert Pujols to re-sign in St. Louis, but predicting Prince Fielder’s next team is considerably more challenging. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark surveyed a dozen MLB executives about likely landing spots for the two free agent first basemen and the details are worth examining. Here they are, along with more notes from Stark:
- The average prediction for Pujols’ next contract was more than $28MM per season for 8.5 years. All but one respondent expect Pujols to re-sign with the Cardinals, though there’s buzz that the Cubs, Marlins and Rangers are “gearing up” for him.
- Executives expect Fielder to sign a seven-year deal in the $22-23MM range. Some doubt NL teams would commit more than five years to Fielder because of concerns that he’ll be incapable of playing passable defense once he hits his mid-thirties.
- Manny Ramirez tried out for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, but it didn’t go well, possibly because Japanese teams prefer to avoid players with baggage.
- The players and owners are considering significant changes to the schedule in talks for a new collective bargaining agreement. The sides are considering a proposal that would split MLB teams into six divisions of five teams, ensure identical schedules for teams within the same division and boost inter-league play considerably.
- Stark hears that the Nationals are focused on finding veteran starting pitching and a center fielder. One executive believes the team prefers Mark Buehrle to C.J. Wilson or Roy Oswalt.
- The Phillies have interest in Jason Kubel and have checked in on Grady Sizemore.
- More than six teams have expressed interest in Jimmy Rollins.
- The Braves seem interested in shedding salary and they continue to float Jair Jurrjens’ name. It appears that they’d move Martin Prado after his disappointing 2011 season.
- Rival teams say the Royals are no longer looking to trade for a top-of-the-rotation starter, according to Stark. They acquired Jonathan Sanchez earlier in the week and now prefer to hold their prospects and spend on back-of-the-rotation arms.
- The Red Sox are less likely to spend on a right fielder if they re-sign free agent DH David Ortiz.