Joaquin Arias Rumors
5:15pm: Club officials say there is a one-hundred percent probability that Greene's replacement will be internal, according to Sullivan (via Twitter).
4:58pm: Rangers officials say they have no interest in Lopez, tweets MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
10:58am: Infielder Khalil Greene "will not be joining the team and will not report to spring training camp," according to a statement from the Rangers. They'll leave the door open for Greene, who signed for $750K as a free agent in January after missing much of '09 with social anxiety disorder. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that "options on Greene could include the restricted list and voiding his contract."
According to another Grant tweet, the Rangers will give Joaquin Arias a longer look for a utility role. The 25-year-old, who came to the Rangers in '04 as part of the Alex Rodriguez deal, didn't hit much in his second Triple A stint. Though he had shoulder surgery a few years back, Arias could still be a plus defender. Also, he's out of options.
Grant also tweets that the Rangers reached out to Felipe Lopez and are surveying the thin free agent market. They've got Esteban German around as a non-roster invite, but lost Joe Inglett to a Brewers waiver claim in January.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that the Royals would like to leave themselves some wiggle room for in-season financial flexibility. As such, they're likely to enter the 2010 season with a payroll in the $66MM-$67MM range, as opposed to last season's $70.5MM payroll. Dutton quotes general manager Dayton Moore:
The Royals currently have $50.4MM allocated to Jose Guillen, Gil Meche, Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz, Joakim Soria, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Willie Bloomquist. They have eight more players eligible for arbitration, although Mike Jacobs, John Buck, and John Bale are all non-tender candidates after disappointing 2009 campaigns. All of this projects to about $63MM before the Royals can even think about making moves.
“I think we can be better positioned to improve our team for 2010 and into the future if we have more flexibility... That may be as simple as being more aggressive in the draft or being more aggressive internationally to build our farm system. And, certainly, it allows us the flexibility to make a deal to take on some money when necessary. I just think it makes more sense right now.”
They'd obviously love to be free of Guillen's $12MM owed in 2010, but much like Farnsworth ($4.5MM) and Cruz ($3.25MM), he'll be tough to move after a poor 2009. Meche could be moved as well - he's owed $24MM over the next two seasons - but his salary and injuries in 2009 will likely mean a poor return in any trade. They'll listen on DeJesus, but the Royals would miss his strong defense and solid bat and would like a replacement in any deal..
Alberto Callaspo may be the club's sole appealing trade chip. Kansas City hopes that Callaspo's strong offensive skills and the fact that he's not even eligible for arbitration will outweigh his defensive woes and yield a catcher or center fielder.
The Royals remain interested in Erik Bedard, Ivan Rodriguez, and Scott Podsednik, but it's tough to imagine them having the cash for those three without making some moves first. Any future GMs out there have some insight as to how Dayton Moore could free up the payroll to make it happen?
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan has a few Rangers rumors tonight.
- Aside from Gary Sheffield, the Phillies have interest in Rangers outfielder Andruw Jones. Sullivan says the Phils "have been scouting Jones extensively this spring."
- Also, having unloaded Jeff Keppinger, the Reds are looking for utility infield help. One person of interest is Rangers shortstop Joaquin Arias. Arias, who came to Texas in the Alex Rodriguez trade, has strong defensive tools and may yet establish himself as a regular according to Baseball America.
- In another post, Sullivan says reliever Derrick Turnbow has decided to accept his assignment to Triple A Oklahoma.
With so many rumors, there's a need for a daily Odds and Ends post to catch 'em all.
- Buster Olney talked to Freddy Garcia's agent. He's looking at a June return from shoulder surgery.
- Indians GM Mark Shapiro made an offer on Brad Lidge. The Astros didn't even reply. They did hear back from the Marlins on their Miguel Cabrera inquiry. The price is seemingly too high for talks to continue. Peter Gammons says that before the Astros got Michael Bourn, the White Sox pushed for a Chad Qualls for Ryan Sweeney swap.
- Evan Grant notes that the Rangers have discussed trading shortstop Joaquin Arias to the Royals for Joey Gathright. They've also talked to the Brewers about Tony Gwynn Jr. GM Jon Daniels needs to have options if he can't afford Torii Hunter or the other free agents. Grant adds that the Rangers have already been in touch with Kerry Wood.
- Jose Guillen declined his $5MM option with the Mariners - that's no surprise. So far the Royals have expressed interest.
- Khalil Greene is under the Padres' control through 2009, but his salary is going to jump significantly in arbitration for the '08 and '09 seasons. The Padres want to sign him to a multiyear deal, perhaps buying out one year of free agency. GM Kevin Towers is also posturing that he might use Scott Hairston as the regular center fielder next year, which seems a stretch. Also, Geoff Jenkins is on Towers' radar.
- Ed Wade and the Astros have asked the Marlins about Dontrelle Willis. However the 'Stros probably do not have the goods.'
- One way or another, the Marlins will ditch Miguel Olivo. They hope to bring Yorvit Torrealba aboard, which would take an offer better than two years, $6MM. The Mets, Brewers, and Blue Jays also like Torrealba. The Marlins are serious about upgrading behind the plate and will spend some money to do so.
- Jorge Posada seems set on testing the market, which never bodes well for the incumbent team.
- David DeJesus is a hot commodity as an affordable center fielder, but Dayton Moore expects to hang onto him. Maybe he'll change his mind once some big names are off the board.
Evan Grant writes for the Dallas Morning News, but he posted this column at night. Go figure. He's got some new info regarding the Rangers.
- As you know, the Rangers have had difficulty finding a long-term center fielder. That's the main focus of this offseason. The team has already shown interest in Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand, the top center fielders available. Other free agents such as Andruw Jones and Mike Cameron appear to be in play as well. Grant's trade candidates: Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Mark Kotsay, and Carlos Beltran. We've speculated on DeJesus to Atlanta in the past. With DeJesus signed cheaply through 2011 and the market at the position robust this winter, it might make sense for Dayton Moore to wait a year to shop him aggressively.
- Grant adds that Jon Daniels is considering some affordable options for first base. They've already talked to Mike Lamb's agent and like Kevin Millar as well. Lamb came up through the Rangers' system but was traded to the Yankees in '04. Millar is under contract for '08 but it's in the $3-4MM range and the Orioles should be open to a trade. Grant says Ben Broussard could pique the Rangers' interest if he's non-tendered.
- Grant concludes with five Rangers whose names will be bandied about in trade talks: Gerald Laird, Vicente Padilla, Joaquin Arias, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Nelson Cruz. Salty's not being shopped but Grant expects teams to ask. He proposes some kind of bad contract swap for Padilla - Jason Giambi, Richie Sexson, or Adam Eaton are named. I still think it's funny the way Padilla crawled away from the brawl he started this year.