Jimmy Rollins Rumors
- We heard last night that the players and owners made significant progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement. The sides could complete a CBA this week, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
- ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick polled MLB executives on some fun baseball questions and the results are worth checking out. The executives preferred Prince Fielder to Albert Pujols over the life of a long-term contract and their response suggests Rays left-hander Matt Moore is every bit as coveted as Stephen Strasburg.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law explains that Aramis Ramirez is the top free agent third baseman of the offseason, but cautions that Ramirez's new team "will either have to live with below-average defense at third or contemplate moving him to first or to DH." I examined the trade and free agent market for third base late last month.
- Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette says he expects to add people to his front office before the Winter Meetings take place in early December, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Duquette has been impressed by director of baseball operations Matt Klentak.
- The Royals are open-minded regarding a possible return for free agent left-hander Jeff Francis, GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. The Royals would prefer to sign Bruce Chen, according to Dutton.
- Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies have had preliminary contract talks, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link). The shortstop continues to seek a five-year deal.
GM Frank Wren told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that the Braves will increase their payroll in 2012, but that doesn’t mean they’ll pursue top free agent shortstops (all Twitter links). Wren indirectly ruled free agents Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes out by expressing a strong preference for one-year deals.
Though the Braves remain open-minded regarding possible trades, Wren explained that a free agent signing is more likely. Shortstop prospect Tyler Pastornicky is not ready for full-time MLB duty, according to Wren. Alex Gonzalez, Atlanta's shortstop since July 2010, hits free agency with a Type B ranking (Reyes and Rollins are Type As).
Heading into the offseason, it appeared Wren would have as little as $7MM to work with. The Braves spent $91MM on payroll in 2011, when they won 89 games and narrowly missed the playoffs. I recently examined the trade and free agent market for shortstops.
Congratulations to the 2011 Gold Glove winners. Here are some notes from around MLB...
- Brandon Phillips ($250K), Adrian Beltre ($100K) and Adrian Gonzalez ($100K) were among the winners to obtain bonuses for their fielding excellence, according to the AP (via SI.com).
- Jamie Moyer threw for scouts last Thursday, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Reports on the left-hander, who’s nearly a year removed from Tommy John surgery, are excellent.
- Patrick Newman of FanGraphs explains what you need to know about Yu Darvish, the Japanese starter who could be posted this offseason.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs makes the case that teams should treat Darvish as a super two player by guaranteeing him two or three years at an average annual value of approximately $10MM.
- Jim Margalus of South Side Sox isn't thrilled that the White Sox exercised Jason Frasor’s 3.75MM option and explains what the decision means for Chicago.
- The Yankees expect to be heavily involved in trade talks this offseason because they have prospects to trade and are willing to deal pitching, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters, including MLB.com's Jason Beck, that he'd like to re-sign free agent infielder Ramon Santiago. Though the Tigers like Santiago, they don't see him as an everyday solution.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says he’d like to re-sign free agents Ryan Madson and Jimmy Rollins if possible, according to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We've had discussions with the agents of both players," Amaro said.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest repeated that he can consider major expenditures this offseason, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
On this day three years ago, the Phillies sewed up a World Series title by finishing off the Rays in the resumption of a rain-suspended Game 5. Here's an item regarding that Philly team's shortstop, and a few others from around the NL East ...
- Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins tells CSNPhilly.com that he expects the Phils to make him an offer before he officially hits free agency (video link), though he's not sure what the terms of that offer might be.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo thinks his club can contend for the NL East title in 2012 with the addition of an outfield bat and a starting pitcher, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Washington might also pursue Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, opines Ladson, as the Nats have made "no promises" to Adam LaRoche.
- Closer Joe Nathan, whose $12MM 2012 option was declined this week by the Twins, said the Mets will be on his radar during his foray into free agency, according to Greg Logan of Newsday. Nathan is a New York native and attended Stony Brook University on Long Island.
- Marlins president David Samson said Florida plans to have a busy but prudent offseason and raise its payroll in 2012, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. "We're going to be very aggressive, but we're not going to be foolish. That's the key. When you raise your payroll, you've got to do it smartly, because if you don't, you are losing 90 games at a higher payroll." Frisaro speculates the Marlins' payroll will be roughly $85MM in 2012, which would be a $27MM increase from 2011's $58MM.
When the Red Sox and manager Terry Francona parted ways, Blue Jays skipper John Farrell was the preferred candidate to manage the team, a major league source told Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. There's conflicting information on how much the Red Sox have explored this possibility but they've internally considered a few managers and the one who would fit best would be Farrell. One source said the BoSox wouldn't want to give compensation to a division rival while another thought the issue already had been brought up and the discussions didn't get very far.
The Red Sox have been hesitant to turn to bench coach DeMarlo Hale for the job because of a feeling that he’s too close and tied into Francona, but Cafardo notes that Farrell also learned his managerial style from him. Farrell took the Toronto job because it appeared that Francona was deeply entrenched in Boston. Had he known that Francona and the team would part ways, Cafardo wonders if he would have stayed. Here's more from Cafardo..
- Free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins will have to back off from his desire for a five-year deal for the Phillies to seriously consider re-signing him. They probably won’t be interested in free agent Jose Reyes because of his price tag. If they don't retain Rollins, the club may find a cheaper stopgap to replace him such as Marco Scutaro if the Red Sox don’t pick up his option ($6MM club/$3MM player, $1.5MM buyout).
- Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt could become available in free agency as he is due $16MM on a mutual option and the team will likely either buy him out for $2MM or try to negotiate a lesser deal. If he becomes a free agent, one major league talent evaluator said that he would be a great acquisition for anyone on a two-year deal, but obviously not at a $16MM rate.
- In the event that the Red Sox decide on Farrell and reach agreement with the Blue Jays, there are an endless number of candidates the team could hire to replace him. Those options include current bench coach Don Wakamatsu and third base coach Brian Butterfield.
- Since the Padres have allowed Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod out of their respective contracts, Cafardo wonders if they'd let Bud Black walk to become the Red Sox's next manager. Black could straighten out the pitching staff and got the most out of John Lackey as pitching coach for the Angels.
- Francona probably needs to sit out a half-year before taking on another managerial job sometime next season. In the meantime, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he took on a job as a special assistant. An American League GM said that the former Red Sox skipper would have "an endless number of opportunities" along those lines.
- DeMarlo Hale has a year remaining on his contract and eventually he'll meet with new GM Ben Cherington to determine his fate. Hale hopes to interview for the Sox managerial job and could also could be a candidate with the Cubs under Theo Epstein. Davey Johnson is still expected to return to the Nationals job but there may be an interview process and Hale will likely be a candidate given the strong backing he’ll receive from Nats special adviser Bob Schaefer.
- Don't be surprised if Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum emerges as a top candidate for the Boston job.
Here are a handful of items out of the AL and NL East ...
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson cites three different sources in reporting that Wally Backman, who currently manages in the Mets minor league system, was never offered a position with the Nationals' Major League club.
- Backman told Ed Randall of New York's WFAN radio that he will remain in the organization rather than accepting a position on another team's Major League staff, according to MetsBlog. Backman interviewed for the Mets' managerial vacancy before it went to Terry Collins last year.
- The Red Sox are not expected to interview former Diamondbacks skipper A.J. Hinch for their managerial vacancy, a source familiar with the situation tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Hinch is currently vice president of pro scouting for the Padres.
- The Rays are unlikely to make quick decisions on whether to re-sign free agents Johnny Damon and first baseman Casey Kotchman, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Tampa will look to improve its offense, according to Topkin, but that won't be easy without detracting from its deep well of pitching talent, which it won't want to do. Andrew Friedman will likely do most of his roster shuffling via trade, writes Topkin.
- As their core position players are getting older and dealing with injuries, the Phillies' window of opportunity may be closing, opines Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. One talent evaluator told Brookover that the Phillies should let Jimmy Rollins walk in free agency. "It might be time to find out about a guy like Freddy Galvis," the scout said. "I saw him this year and he really is improving. I don't know if he's ready to be an everyday player in the big leagues, but I just think they need to get younger."
- Former Yankees pitching prospect Brandon Weeden, now 28, has resurfaced as the starting quarterback of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, writes Tom Spousta of the New York Times (cap tip to Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues). Weeden was a second-round pick of the Yanks in 2002 (a compensatory selection for Tino Martinez signing with the Cardinals), but he washed out of baseball by 2007 due to injuries and ineffectiveness.
Phillies shortstop and impending free agent Jimmy Rollins met with the media at Citizens Bank Park today. Rollins' quotes will be easier to parse once a full transcript is available, but in the meantime here are a few nuggets from the team's beat writers.
- Rollins reiterated that he's seeking a five-year deal, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. The shortstop said he's open to a fifth-year option, however. Zolecki indicates that it'd have to be Rollins' option, so perhaps a player or vesting one. Rollins turns 33 next month. He talked about his five-year goal to SI's Jon Heyman on September 28th.
- Rollins says there's a "good chance" a deal with the Phillies happens, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Zolecki has Rollins saying he can't picture wearing another uniform, but noted that the shortstop also said it's about years and money.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said he plans to keep talks with Rollins private. Asked what losing Rollins would mean, Amaro said, "I will say that it will be a huge blow for us, but not insurmountable." Amaro said some in the organization feel Freddy Galvis is ready to play shortstop every day, and some do not, so he's not sure whether they'd go outside the organization for a replacement.
Some links pertaining to baseball's Eastern divisions for your Sunday evening reading:
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun wonders if the reason we've yet to hear anything regarding Thursday's summit involving Orioles owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is because Angelos has convinced MacPhail to stay with the club in an advisory capacity. MacPhail will give up his current title, but Schmuck believes Angelos would give him any title he desired short of co-owner to keep him around.
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports believes Buck Showalter should remain the manager of the Orioles, not take over the position of GM. That said however, Showalter needs to work closely with the new GM to honestly evaluate the organization on all levels to turn the franchise around.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon endorses his bench coach Davey Martinez wholeheartedly for the White Sox managerial opening, and told Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune that he'd "do somersaults" if Martinez got the job, despite how difficult he'd be to replace.
- It's probably implied by the five-year deal he's seeking, but Jimmy Rollins won't be offering the Phillies a hometown discount, according to this MLB.com report from Todd Zolecki, Brian McTaggart, and Nate Mink.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes that Cliff Lee is one of the most popular athletes in recent Philadelphia history, and spoke with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and the $120MM man himself about his decision to return to the Phillies last offseason.
- The Miami Sun Sentinel's Juan C. Rodriguez questions whether pitching for Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins and getting away from Chicago would make Carlos Zambrano a better citizen. While Zambrano could change in Miami, Rodriguez points out his declining K/9 and increasing WHIP as red flags that need to be considered along with his character.
The National League portion of the playoffs don't start until tomorrow, but there's plenty of news coming out of Senior Circuit. Let's round up some links from the NL East...
- "That's a tough call, a tough call" joked Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies when asked by Newsday's David Lennon if he would play in New York (Twitter link). Rollins will become a free agent after the season, like Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Derek Lowe is not projected to have a spot in the rotation next year (Twitter link). The bullpen or a trade are options. Lowe is owed $15MM next year, the final one on his contract.
- Wren also said that Jason Heyward is not guaranteed to start in right field next year, but the GM told MLB.com's Mark Bowman that the Braves have never talked about trading the 22-year-old (Twitter link).
- Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com looked at five issues the Nationals must deal with this offseason, including settling on a manager.
Jimmy Rollins finds the prospect of free agency "exciting," and the shortstop told SI's Jon Heyman, "Five [years] would be great. Five would be the number." Rollins, however, guesses the number of years will be the sticking point in upcoming negotiations.
Rollins, 33 in November, is hitting .271/.340/.403 with 16 home runs in 624 plate appearances this year. His defense continues to be a positive. A pair of executives gave Heyman contract estimates ranging from three years and at least $12MM per year to four years and $14MM annually. I think five years is unrealistic even on the open market, but at least one team would commit to four. Rollins' only real competition will be Jose Reyes, who figures to get at least five years and $18MM per season.
As I showed yesterday, it appears that the Phillies can afford Rollins without raising their payroll.