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WEDNESDAY, 10:02am: Millwood update: Zrebiec says the Rangers originally wanted David Hernandez and a low-level prospect for Millwood, and were willing to pay $3MM of the $12MM owed to the veteran. Meanwhile Zrebiec's colleague Peter Schmuck says Chris Ray could be involved and the Rangers would pick up most of Millwood's salary, in one scenario.
TUESDAY, 9:36pm: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the O's are still exchanging trade proposals with the Rangers for Kevin Millwood. T.R. Sullivan reported that the Rangers wanted Chris Tillman initially, but talks have since developed. The Orioles are among the frontrunners for Millwood.
The O's met with the Marlins about Dan Uggla, but the Marlins want two pitching prospects in return and the Orioles are reluctant to hand that kind of package over. The Marlins have one less suitor for Uggla, according to Andrew Baggarly, who says the Giants aren't serious bidders, so that could lower the asking price for the arbitration-eligible infielder.
Here are even more O's rumors:
- Kevin Kouzmanoff and Garrett Atkins interest the O's to an extent.
- Joe Crede and Pedro Feliz remain options for Baltimore, but Adrian Beltre has priced himself out of reach.
- We heard about their interest in Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado and Nick Johnson earlier today.
- They also have "tepid" interest in Russell Branyan.
- The Orioles aren't particularly intrigued by Joe Blanton and Derek Lowe, who are both available via trade.
- Vladimir Guerrero, Adam LaRoche, Jose Valverde and Kevin Gregg all interest the O's slightly.
- They do have interest in Rafael Soriano, and spoke with the Braves about him.
- They're not interested in J.J. Putz.
- MLB.com's Spencer Fordin reports that the Royals engaged the O's in Felix Pie trade talks without ever coming close to a deal.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam LaRoche | Adrian Beltre | Atlanta Braves | Baltimore Orioles | Carlos Delgado | Chris Ray | Dan Uggla | David Hernandez | Derek Lowe | Felix Pie | Garrett Atkins | Hank Blalock | J.J. Putz | Joe Blanton | Joe Crede | Jose Valverde | Kansas City Royals | Kevin Gregg | Kevin Kouzmanoff | Kevin Millwood | Miami Marlins | Nick Johnson | Pedro Feliz | Rafael Soriano | Texas Rangers
More links for the evening…
- The Red Sox will find out tomorrow if their claim on Rays righty Ramon A. Ramirez went through, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. This isn't the same Ramon Ramirez that appeared in 70 games for Boston last year.
- Randy Johnson is still undecided about 2010, according to this AP report on ESPN.com.
- The Rangers discussed Arthur Rhodes with the Reds today, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The Rangers are on the lookout for lefty relievers.
- The Rangers are considering Jason Kendall and Rod Barajas behind the plate, according to Sullivan. ESPN.com's Keith Law says this is a problem for the Rangers. He doesn't think much of any of the free agent catchers they're considering.
- Coco Crisp would be up for signing with the White Sox, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Talks between the Twins and Joe Crede are progressing slowly, according to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier.
- The Mariners are keeping in touch with Rich Harden's agents, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Nats were interested in Jose Valverde, but they felt his asking price was too high, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Scott Boras will meet with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik tonight. Adrian Beltre is one of Boras' clients, so they'll presumably discuss him.
- White Sox reliever Matt Thornton tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that he's recruiting J.J. Putz. Thornton says he and Putz have a long-standing "bromance" that dates back to their Seattle days.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law says Justin Smoak and Neftali Feliz are too much to give up for Josh Johnson. Apparently, the Rangers offered the pair of top prospects up.
- Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus likes the Ivan Rodriguez signing for the Nats, partly because Pudge could help develop Stephen Strasburg.
- By the way, the deal is pending a physical, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- The Braves are interested in Xavier Nady, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says the Mets may be more inclined to pay top dollar for John Lackey now that they've seen the asking prices of some lesser starters.
- The Cardinals won't be involved with Lackey, but they have interest in signing a lefty bench bat, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adrian Beltre | Arthur Rhodes | Atlanta Braves | Boston Red Sox | Chicago White Sox | Cincinnati Reds | Coco Crisp | J.J. Putz | Jason Kendall | Joe Crede | John Lackey | Jose Valverde | Josh Johnson | Justin Smoak | Miami Marlins | Minnesota Twins | Neftali Feliz | New York Mets | Randy Johnson | Rich Harden | Rod Barajas | Scott Boras | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Washington Nationals | Xavier Nady
Random rumors collected from Twitter…
- The Brewers will meet with Mark Mulder's people today, says SI's Jon Heyman. Ken Rosenthal tweets that a meeting with the Royals already occurred today.
- Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says the Royals like Felix Pie, but are "finding it tough to meet Baltimore's needs."
- The Brewers are working to re-sign pitcher Claudio Vargas, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy learned. They view him as a reliever. UPDATE: McCalvy says the Brewers think they're close.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Ben Sheets' agent Casey Close will meet with both New York teams, among others. A throwing audition appears unlikely. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers would like a medical update on Sheets, who they almost signed before the season.
- Newsday's David Lennon says the Mets met with Yorvit Torrealba's agent this morning. He could be an alternative to Bengie Molina, if the Mets and Torrealba can settle their grievance. Torrealba had a signed term sheet with the Mets two years ago for a three-year, $14.4MM deal, but the Mets pulled out over concerns with the player's shoulder. Lennon's colleague Ken Davidoff says the Giants are still involved on Torrealba.
- The Brewers have a meeting with minor league free agent/knuckleballer Charlie Zink this afternoon, says Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says LaTroy Hawkins will meet with the Astros today in hopes of getting a deal done soon.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick finds the Brewers likely to tender a contract to righty Dave Bush on Saturday. Despite a rough year Bush could get a small raise on this year's $4MM salary.
- WEEI's Alex Speier says five to six teams have checked in on free agent outfielder Brian Giles, the Red Sox not among them.
- Joe Crede doesn't expect to sign until late in the offseason, reports Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Ben Sheets | Bengie Molina | Boston Red Sox | Brian Giles | Claudio Vargas | Dave Bush | Felix Pie | Houston Astros | Joe Crede | Kansas City Royals | LaTroy Hawkins | Mark Mulder | Milwaukee Brewers | New York Mets | New York Yankees | San Francisco Giants | Yorvit Torrealba
The latest from SI's Jon Heyman…
- The Giants, Mets, and Royals have interest in free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez, assuming he doesn't accept the Rangers' arbitration offer. Heyman says the Royals were trying to sign Brian Schneider before the Phillies signed him.
- Heyman names the Mets, Brewers, and Phillies as three clubs "believed to have some interest" in free agent lefty Randy Wolf. First we've read this winter of a possible Wolf-Phillies reunion.
- "At least the Orioles and Astros" are interested in free agent third baseman Joe Crede.
The latest from SI's Jon Heyman…
- The Phillies had a "brief talk" with the Red Sox about Mike Lowell, but Heyman finds a free agent signing more likely.
- A competing agent believes Fern Cuza might be able to get a three-year deal for Miguel Tejada, which seems unlikely to me. Heyman says Tejada is drawing interest from the Cardinals, Astros, Giants, Phillies, and Rangers. The Rangers keep getting linked to starting infielders, but they're really only looking for a backup.
- Heyman notes that the White Sox signing Andruw Jones represents a rare Kenny Williams-Scott Boras matchup. He says Boras tried to sell the Sox on bringing back Joe Crede, prior to their Mark Teahen acquisition.
- Kendry Morales apparently advised Aroldis Chapman to switch from API to the Hendricks brothers.
Links for Friday…
- Frankie Piliere of AOL FanHouse takes at Yankees prospects who could draw attention in trade talks.
- The Royals signed catcher Edwin Bellorin to a minor league deal, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Bellorin, 28 in February, hit .277/.308/.351 in 216 plate appearances in his fourth Triple A stint.
- David Waldstein of the New York Times profiles new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.
- Ronald Blum of the AP chatted with Aroldis Chapman, who doesn't mind beginning his pro career in the minors.
- MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince expects a quiet offseason for the Indians, though he wonders if they could bring back Omar Vizquel.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reiterates that Joe Crede and Jarrod Washburn are on the Twins' radar.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes the Cardinals will be involved with more than just Joel Pineiro among our Top 50 Free Agents, and he names many candidates.
- Click here to watch our mention as ESPN SportsNation's Site of the Day yesterday.
After working the lobby all week at the Chicago GM Meetings, SI's Jon Heyman has the latest hot stove chatter…
- The Giants "appear to have emerged as one potential competitor" for the services of Johnny Damon.
- The Rangers met with John Lackey's agent yesterday, though they're not expected to have that kind of money available. Heyman adds that the Brewers and Mariners haven't ruled out signing the righty.
- Joe Crede is among the third base candidates the Orioles will consider. We heard about Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Pedro Feliz earlier today.
- Lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez "appears very popular in the free agent market." If that's true, then the Braves figure to offer arbitration to Gonzalez, a Type A.
- Mets GM Omar Minaya said some teams have shown interest in second baseman Luis Castillo, and Heyman says the Dodgers have spoken to the Mets. Castillo has $12MM coming over the next two years and it might be time to sell relatively high.
12:55pm: A bunch of Tweets from the Brewers' side: Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he won't pursue re-signing Cameron, and will look to the free agent market for starting pitching. Melvin contacted Mark Mulder's agent but hasn't heard back. Melvin even mentioned John Lackey's name. (Reporting: Haudricourt and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy).
12:04pm: I asked Hardy if he's closed the book on the service time issue, and he said yes. A grievance does not seem likely; Hardy admitted it'd be hard to prove.
Twins GM Bill Smith said on today's conference call that he talked to free agent Orlando Cabrera this morning and told him Hardy will be the team's shortstop. Smith implied that re-signing Joe Crede is a possibility, as he has talked to Scott Boras. Smith added that Delmon Young is a lock to be tendered a contract.
10:57am: The Twins acquired shortstop J.J. Hardy for center fielder Carlos Gomez, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
While I expected the Brewers to snag a young pitcher for Hardy, I like the move for both sides. Center field was certainly a need for the Brewers with Mike Cameron eligible for free agency. Haudricourt notes that the money the Brewers saved on Cameron will probably go toward starting pitching. While Gomez hasn't had offensive success in his career, his stellar defense is unquestionable. He'll be eligible for arbitration this winter as a Super Two player, and is under team control through 2013.
Hardy is a huge addition for the Twins, who entered the offseason needing upgrades at shorstop, third base, and second base. Due to an August demotion by the Brewers, Hardy is under team control for 2010 and 2011 (Hardy says there are "no hard feelings.") He slumped offensively this year, but maintained his strong defense.
MLB.com's Kelly Thesier fielded questions from Twins fans in her mailbag today. Here are some of the more noteworthy tidbits:
- While the Twins may raise their payroll to about $85-90MM, most of that increase will go towards retaining their own players and, potentially, an extension for Joe Mauer. Thesier says that as a result, it is not likely to be a busy offseason for the team in terms of acquisitions. However, the team still may have enough space to add an infielder or starting pitcher.
- With that in mind, it is "very unlikely" that the Twins will pursue free agent Chone Figgins. The 31-year-old could possibly receive a deal worth $50MM over five years, which is more than the Twins are willing to spend. Figgins projects as a Type B free agent.
- It is unlikely that the club re-signs Joe Crede, who says his recovery from back surgery is going well. Third baseman Danny Valencia is close to being ready for the majors, making Crede's return less than probable. There is a "small chance" that Crede – who hit .225/.289/.414 with 15 HRs in '09 – could return if he comes at a bargain price.
- Brian Duensing will "more than likely" be a member of Minnesota's rotation in 2010, unless the team signs two starters on the open market. The 26-year-old recorded an ERA of 5.17 in 15 relief appearances but found more success as a starter, posting a 2.73 ERA in nine games. Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey "appear to be locks" in the starting five.
- For more on what lies ahead for the club, take a look at our Twins Offseason Outlook.
Links for Monday…
- The Astros received permission to interview Red Sox first base coach Tim Bogar for their managerial job, according to WEEI's Rob Bradford. Brad Mills and Manny Acta will also interview, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart (via Twitter). McTaggart adds Bob Melvin, Dave Clark, and Al Pedrique as other candidates, while Alyson Footer adds Ned Yost, Randy Ready, Phil Garner, and Pete Mackanin.
- Nationals scouting director Dana Brown has been hired away by new Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- Rockies owner Dick Monfort told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that the team's postseason appearance won't significantly affect payroll. The Rockies have impending free agents in Jason Marquis, Yorvit Torrealba, Rafael Betancourt, and Joe Beimel (among others), and must also decide whether to tender Garrett Atkins a contract. Torrealba and Betancourt have pricey club options.
- Astros catcher J.R. Towles is a potential buy-low candidate for the Rays, says R.J. Anderson of DRays Bay. Towles hit .276/.386/.455 in Triple A this year, but Jason Castro is the Astros' catcher of the future.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak hopes to take advantage of the exclusive negotiating period for his free agents, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In a separate article, Joe Strauss of the P-D notes that Rick Ankiel pulled a fast one on the media.
- Joe Crede is optimistic he'll have a quick recovery from his third back surgery, says MLB.com's Scott Merkin. Merkin says the Boras client "spoke more in generalities than about a specific return to Minnesota."
- Jack Morris almost signed with the Yankees in 1996, writes Jack Curry of the New York Times.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports speculates about the Red Sox trading closer Jonathan Papelbon.