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Joba Chamberlain Rumors
Pirates GM Neal Huntington and Rays GM Andrew Friedman claim that their decisions to leave Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Wil Myers (Rays) in the minors to start the 2013 season were motivated not by service-time concerns, but by those players' readiness, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reports. Mayo says the scouts he's spoken to can't blame Huntington for sending Cole to Triple-A Indianapolis, since Cole has very limited experience at that level. Friedman, meanwhile, says that he needs to be sure a player is ready before having him compete in the tough AL East. "The AL East will expose very quickly any weaknesses that you have," he says. "So when we bring someone here, we need to feel that he's ready to step in and help us win right away."
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in contrast, says his organization promoted Jackie Bradley Jr. to start the season — even though doing so could affect Bradley's timetable for free agency — because Bradley is one of the organization's 25 best players, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. "At the end, if there was that level of confidence that he was part of the best 25-man roster, then we felt he should be on the team. That’s part of our responsibility to the fans and to the organization," Cherington says. In addition, Cherington notes, the Red Sox begin their season with plenty of games within their division, and it's especially crucial that they do well in those games. Their first four series against the Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles and Rays, all AL East opponents. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Giants have locked up catcher Buster Posey with an eight-year, $159MM extension, but in Keith Law's latest podcast for ESPN, Posey's agent, Jeff Berry of Creative Artist Agency (CAA), contemplates what might have happened if Posey and the Giants had decided to go year-to-year through the arbitration system. Berry argues that Posey's situation would have been unique, because Posey has won an MVP and a Rookie of the Year award and has played for two World Series-winning teams, but after missing much of 2011 to injury, he doesn't have particularly impressive career bulk counting stats, which are a factor in arbitration hearings. "The challenge, first and foremost, in the arb system was looking at, 'Wow, this guy has accomplished things that no one else has ever done, but [among superstars in the arbitration process] he's also played less than anyone,'" Berry says.
- Reacting to Robinson Cano's decision to fire Scott Boras and hire CAA and the rapper Jay-Z as his representation, one agent says that "Jay-Z doesn’t know s— about baseball," Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News writes. "You don’t hire a real estate agent to do neurosurgery," the agent continues. O'Keeffe goes on to note that, of course, Jay-Z will not be negotiating a deal for Cano, who will be a free agent after the season. That duty will go to CAA, which represents Posey and a number of other MLB stars. Here are more reactions to Cano's agency switch.
- This year's Indians are excited about the team's offseason spending spree, Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. "Hats off to Chris Antonetti and the Dolan family, after losing 94 games [in 2012] they very easily could have folded up shop and said, 'Let’s wait for a few more young kids to develop and see what we’ve got,'" says Jason Giambi, who signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland in February. Instead, he says, "[t]hey went out and got some guys and spent some money. They put together a good ballclub, now we have to answer the bell and play good."
- The Rangers had scouts watching pitcher Joba Chamberlain in spring training, but the Rangers and Yankees never ended up discussing a deal, George A. King III and Zach Braziller of the New York Post write. King and Braziller note that Chamberlain impressed the Yankees with a spring training performance that included nine strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ranks all 30 managers in the major leagues. In Cafardo's view, you're doing something right if you're managing in MLB, so there are no negative comments for any of the skippers. Buck Showalter takes third place for his work with the surprise Orioles last season. Rays manager Joe Maddon takes second for his innovative ways. The top spot, however, goes to the Giants' Bruce Bochy. Here's more from Cafardo..
- We learned last week that the Rangers are scouting Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees and one AL scout believes that the Bombers believe they have gone as far as they can with the right-hander. “They would deal him in a heartbeat and then fill in with one of their starters in the bullpen,” said the scout. “If Texas would give up Mike Olt, a deal could get done there.”
- The Marlins' Steve Cishek is drawing considerable interest from teams looking for a reliever. One scout says that the side-arming sinker baller is likely on most wishlists around baseball.
- The Royals are open to moving Luke Hochevar (albeit, for a higher-than-expected price) but they're also willing to trade projected No. 5 starter Bruce Chen.
- The Phillies' Yuniesky Betancourt has improved his visibility and it wouldn't be shocking to see a team deal for him before Opening Day. The shortstop has a March 24th opt out date and he is on the Cardinals' list as they look to replace Rafael Furcal.
- Cafardo believes that there is an obvious trade to be made involving Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello and the Red Sox's Andrew Bailey. However, Boston's rotation is full right now and they already have Allen Webster waiting in the wings.
- One National League GM says that teams will be kicking themselves for missing out on Kyle Lohse, despite the draft pick compensation that he will cost. “That’s the way it’s going to go,” said the GM, “but you also don’t want to overpay for a pitcher who has been hanging around that long. If you can’t get him at your price, then you look foolish paying what he was asking two months ago.” In Cafardo's view, the Rangers are still the most logical destination.
- Manny Acta, who is now serving as an analyst for ESPN, has said that he hopes to get back into managing. However, he says that he's not interested in becoming a GM.
While it’s possible to replace Mariano Rivera for a day or even for a season, replacing him for 15 to 20 years represents another challenge altogether, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out. “You are replacing someone who has done things in the game that may never be done again,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Sherman. “You are replacing someone who is basically irreplaceable.” Rivera will retire following the 2013 season.
Here are more Yankees-related notes…
- The Rangers are scouting Joba Chamberlain, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Texas special assistant Don Welke was assigned to watch Chamberlain pitch against the Cardinals earlier in the week, according to King.
- The Yankees will look at left-handed hitting first baseman David Cooper, Sherman reports (Twitter links). The Blue Jays released the 26-year-old earlier today, making him a free agent. However, Cooper is battling a back injury that could end his career.
- Sherman has been told the Yankees will also look into Brennan Boesch (Twitter link). The Tigers released the left-handed hitting Boesch earlier today and he’s already drawing lots of interest.
MLBTR’s Offseason in Review series began today with a look at the Rays’ busy winter. Here are some notes from the rest of the AL East…
- The Yankees are tired of the physical and verbal risks surrounding Joba Chamberlain in the view of Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The team expects to benefit from having Chamberlain in the bullpen this year, but won’t want to invest multiple years in him when he hits free agency next offseason.
- Teams were once willing to overlook Johnny Damon’s below-average defense to obtain his bat, but Damon hit poorly in 2012. As Sherman notes, teams like the Yankees want offense, yet are passing on the 39-year-old because of doubts regarding his ability.
- The Red Sox haven’t called on free agent third baseman Scott Rolen, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. However, there’s a belief that Rolen would be interested in talking to the Red Sox. It’s not something the Red Sox are expected to consider unless Will Middlebrooks’ wrist injury turns out to be more serious than initially anticipated.
There's no denying that David Ortiz has been the game’s top designated hitter over the course of the last decade. You arrive at the same conclusion whether you use home runs, OPS or wins above replacement; no one has been better than Ortiz. Yet the rest of the designated hitters in the AL East aren't nearly as imposing: Adam Lind, Luke Scott, Travis Hafner and Wilson Betemit. Here are the latest links from the division…
- MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner told reporters, including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, that he has his doubts about the Yankees’ plans of avoiding the MLB luxury tax by 2014 (Twitter link). "I imagine Mr. Steinbrenner is sincere when he says that, but like a lot of things, I’ll believe it when I see it," Weiner said, in reference to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner.
- Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues expects some team to give Joba Chamberlain the chance to start next offseason, when the right-hander hits free agency. Axisa suggests a two-year, $10MM deal such as the one Carlos Villanueva signed could be enough to land Chamberlain. Don’t expect the Yankees to sign him for that kind of money, though.
- The Red Sox didn't sign free agents just to trade them midseason, Nick Cafardo writes in a mailbag at the Boston Globe. However, Cafardo could imagine the Red Sox trading Stephen Drew if Jose Iglesias blossoms into a passable offensive contributor.
7:27pm: The contract includes an attainable $275K bonus for games finished, Davidoff tweets.
6:56pm: Chamberlain's deal will pay him $1.875MM, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday (on Twitter).
6:33pm: The Yankees announced that they have avoided arbitration with Joba Chamberlain by agreeing to terms on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal. There's no word on the dollar amount just yet.
Chamberlain has suffered a number of setbacks over the years, including Tommy John surgery in 2011 and a dislocated ankle prior to the 2012 season. The once-promising prospect has made just 49 relief appearances across the last two seasons, posting a 3.47 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9.
The right-hander recently changed representation, following agent Jim Murray to Excel Sports Management after his departure from the Hendricks Brothers firm. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows that the Bombers have two remaining cases in David Robertson and Boone Logan.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun says that the Orioles can't afford to take a risk like signing Josh Hamilton given their resources relative to the rest of the AL East. Yesterday we heard that Baltimore was targeting Hamilton and Cody Ross in their search for a left fielder.
- The Red Sox have interest in Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The 32-year-old is a true free agent and has been the country's top closer for nearly a decade.
- The Red Sox are casting a wide net in their search for outfield help and even checked in on Grady Sizemore, writes WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. Yesterday we heard that Sizemore will try to play next season after missing all of this year due to injury.
- “Right now we’ve got some gaping holes," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi wrote about the team's challenge of building a competitive roster in 2013 while trying to get under the 2014 luxury tax threshold.
- Ken Davidoff of The New York Post writes that while the Yankees intend to offer him a pay cut, talks with Mariano Rivera should go smoother than they did with Derek Jeter two offseasons ago.
- Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain has left the Hendricks Brothers and followed agent Jim Murray to Excel Sports Management, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox are eyeing Tino Martinez for their hitting coach job, reports Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston. The team is considering hiring two hitting coaches.
Roger Clemens won his 300th MLB game and joined the 4,000 strikeout club on this date in 2003, when he pitched the Yankees to victory against the Cardinals. Here are today's AL East links…
- Kevin Youkilis said this year hasn't been fun and realizes he might be traded, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. “If I get traded, I get traded. Nothing you can do,” Youkilis said.
- Steve Tolleson, Miguel Gonzalez and Xavier Avery are candidates to join the Orioles should Endy Chavez go on the disabled list, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. Baltimore could also call on Lew Ford or Nate McLouth, but doing so would require opening a spot on the 40-man roster.
- The perception that the Yankees' handling of Joba Chamberlain led to his Tommy John surgery frustrates GM Brian Cashman, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The right-hander has started throwing bullpen sessions and is "clearing all the hurdles" to return to the Major Leagues in 2012.
Mariano Rivera suffered an apparent right knee injury while shagging fly balls during batting practice today in Kansas City. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch has the details about the injury, which has been initially diagnosed as a twisted knee (Twitter link), though Rivera will undergo an MRI tonight. If the injury requires Rivera to miss time, it would be the legendarily durable closer's first DL stint since 2003. Follow @CloserNews for the latest on Rivera's status and how his possible absence would impact the Yankees' bullpen.
Here's some news from both Big Apple teams…
- Joba Chamberlain has been transferred to the 60-day DL, the Yankees announced today. In corresponding moves, Jayson Nix has been called up from Triple-A and Eric Chavez has been put on the seven-day DL due to a possible concussion.
- The Mets have no plans to call up star prospect Matt Harvey to become the team's new fifth starter, GM Sandy Alderson told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. “Aside from Matt himself — and I love that he thinks this way — there is no one in the organization who feels he is ready to be in the major leagues,” Alderson said. "When we bring him up, we hope to do so and not have to send him back. This is not about filling an immediate need. This is about the long-term stability of the organization and the team.” To that same end, the Mets will also not call up any of their other top pitching prospects like Zack Wheeler or Jeurys Familia.
- "There are no other options" for the Mets in regards to Jason Bay other than to hope that he returns from the DL fit and starts hitting, writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo as part of a reader mailbag. I wouldn't say Bay is completely untradeable, as the Mets may be able to move him for another bad contract, though that wouldn't really help the situation. Bay is owed approximately $13.3MM over the remainder of this season and $16MM in 2013, though as DiComo notes, Bay's injury problems make it unlikely he will get the necessary plate appearances for his 2014 $17MM club option to vest.
Ten years and one day ago today, the Marlins traded Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs for Julian Tavarez, Ryan Jorgensen, Jose Cueto, and Dontrelle Willis. Willis alone made the deal worthwhile for the Fish. Here's the latest from around the league…
- When Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein first called former Padres CEO Jeff Moorad for permission to speak to a member of his front office, he asked about assistant GM Josh Byrnes according to Dan Hayes of The North County Times. Epstein was instead allowed to speak to GM Jed Hoyer because "he was the GM of a last-place team," said Moorad.
- There has been some recent "back and forth" between the Giants and Matt Cain about a contract extension, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Cain did say that his upcoming free agency is "an exciting part of your career."
- Outfielder Mike Baxter, catcher Mike Nickeas, and lefty Danny Herrera are front-runners for roster spots with the Mets, writes ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Baxter and Herrera are not on the team's 40-man roster.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman declined to comment when asked about Joba Chamberlain's contract situation according to Marc Carig of The Star-Ledger (on Twitter). The right-hander suffered an open dislocation of his right ankle playing with his son last week and could miss the season.
- When the Blue Jays and Athletics discussed Gio Gonzalez this offseason, Oakland asked for 19-year-old right-hander Noah Syndergaard according to Jeff Blair of The Globe and Mail. Baseball America ranked Snydergaard as Toronto's seventh best prospect in December.