Johan Santana Rumors
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos sat down for an interview with Sportsnet.ca (video link), discussing (among other things) the club's rotation battle between Ricky Romero and J.A. Happ. The GM said that while Happ will "factor into this club, and it doesn't mean that he can't factor into this club on opening day in some role, some capacity," the team will "do everything we can with Romero" in the spring before taking him out of a starting role.
- Further addressing the issue of rotational depth, Anthopoulos acknowledged that the club lacks "household names" in that area. While the Jays "have 4-A guys," the GM says he wants to add "someone who is a little bit better than that, ... a Happ type of guy." The team is "active ... trying to do some things, trying to make some trades" for a starting-caliber arm that can be used in the bullpen or stashed in the minors, although some player on the current roster "wouldn't be happy, because somebody would be out of a job."
- The Mets appear prepared to enter the season without adding to their mix of outfielders, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “I think we’ve got a sense of who the five or six are who might be on the team," said GM Sandy Alderson. "What we have is what we’re going to have, and we’re not entirely displeased with that.”
- Rubin also notes that the Mets could be dealing with a long absence from starter Johan Santana, who is still a ways away from returning to the mound, let alone doing so in a big league game. Santana acknowledged that his absence is indefinite: “I’m making progress. It’s just I don’t know when I’m going to be pitching again.” According to Rubin, “there is now an open question about whether Santana’s shoulder and his career will ever be the same.”
- After sending Darin Ruf down to work on his defense, Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that there is a chance the Phillies may look to acquire another outfielder via trade, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “There’s a lot of time left. If we can improve the team we’ll do it.”
- The Yankees have made their signing of Chien-Ming Wang to a minor-league deal official, according to a team press release. Wang will enter his age-33 season looking for another chance to pitch in pinstripes, and to regain the success he had during his first stint with the club.
The Nationals won the NL East in 2012, displacing the Phillies atop the division after Philadelphia's five-year run. As impressive as the Phillies' streak of consecutive division titles was, it doesn't compare to the Braves' record of 14 in a row. Here’s the latest from the NL East as the Nationals look to prolong their stay atop the division instead of becoming a one-and-done winner like the 2006 Mets...
- The Mets' relationship with Johan Santana is deteriorating and some liken the situation to the relationship between the Mets and one of their former stars. “This is Carlos Beltran all over again,” one longtime Mets official told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
- Jose Reyes said he has "unbelievable memories" from his one year in Miami, Newsday’s David Lennon reports (on Twitter). But the Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter and shortstop doesn’t seem to mind that he’s now playing elsewhere. "I know I don't want to play for the Marlins no more," he said.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that the bullpen could be a team strength for the Phillies after some offseason changes. "We've got to hope that we're better. We designed our bullpen to be better this year, and hopefully it will be," Amaro said. The Phillies signed Mike Adams to a two-year deal to improve their setup relief options.
The Indians have a new-look offense and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer examines it in detail following a busy offseason for GM Chris Antonetti. After signing free agents Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn, the Indians have more speed and power than they did in 2012. "I don't think we'll be entirely reliant on any one way to score runs," Antonetti said. Here are some more links from around MLB...
- The Red Sox are looking good after completing last summer's blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes (on Twitter). Not only did the Red Sox send the cumbersome contracts of Carl Crawford and others to Los Angeles, they obtained promising right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster in the deal.
- Questions surround Johan Santana and Frank Francisco, the Mets' two highest-paid pitchers, Ken Belson of the New York Times writes. Santana, who will earn $25.5MM this year, didn't arrive to Spring Training in top form, and Francisco, who will earn $6.5MM, could also open the season on the disabled list.
- Carlos Villanueva told reporters that he signed with the Cubs as a free agent because he likes the direction of the franchise (video link via the Chicago Tribune). Villanueva said he seeks information on people running teams, just as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer do their homework on players.
Recently, I crunched the numbers on vesting options from the last three years and found that just over 29% of them were triggered. Which players can lock in their 2014 options based on their performance this season? Let's take a look..
- Kurt Suzuki, Nationals: $9.25MM option vests with 113 starts in 2013.
- Jamey Carroll, Twins: $2MM option vests with 401 plate appearances.
- Wilson Betemit, Orioles: $3.2MM option vests with 324 plate appearances (combined 700 between 2012 and 2013).
- Lance Berkman, Rangers: $13MM option vests with 550 plate appearances.
- Roy Halladay, Phillies: $20MM option vests with 259 innings pitched (combined 415 innings pitched between '12 and '13).
- Barry Zito, Giants: $18MM option vests with 200 innings pitched.
- Johan Santana, Mets: $25MM option vests with 215 innings pitched or winning the 2013 Cy Young Award.
It's also worth noting that Francisco Liriano has a $8MM club option for 2014 with the Pirates, but it can vest at any of three levels, $5MM, $6MM, or $8MM, based on the number of days he is not on the DL this year with a recurrence of his right arm injury.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters today that his team is capable of winning 95 games and the World Series. "If we play up to our capabilities, I believe we're a very good team," Girardi said (via Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News on Twitter). Here are some more links from New York as the Yankees and Mets begin Spring Training...
- Girardi said one of his biggest Spring Training concerns is finding a right-handed designated hitter, Feinsand reports (on Twitter). Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz could provide offense from the right side to complement lefty bats such as Travis Hafner and Dan Johnson.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports expects Derek Jeter to be a valuable contributor for the Yankees in 2013, even if this is the year the Yankees falter as a team.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes the Mets' interest in Michael Bourn "was essentially an empty pursuit" since the team wasn't about to sign Bourn without assurances that they'd keep their 11th overall draft pick. The Mets never made a firm bid for Bourn, and their suggestions did not include options for 2017. Sherman reported last night that the Mets made Bourn a four-year offer before he agreed to terms with the Indians.
- Johan Santana said he's not thinking about the trade deadline or free agency, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The left-hander will earn $25.5MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $25MM club option for 2014. Presumably the Mets will choose the $5.5MM buyout over the option.
Here are a few Wednesday morning NL East updates out of Nashville:
- The Mets would be open to eating a portion of the money remaining on Johan Santana's deal in a trade, but so far the team hasn't received any inquiries, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- The Braves are seeking a pair of bench players, one right-handed hitter and one lefty, says David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Reed Johnson appears to be the team's top target as a righty bat, though he's still exploring his options, according to GM Frank Wren: "We’ve expressed an interest in bringing him back. He’s expressed an interest in coming back. But we’re just not there yet."
- Atlanta also continues to explore trades for impact bats, according to O'Brien, who says the Braves are believed to have inquired on Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, and Shin-Soo Choo, among others.
- Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com looks into the remaining items on the Nationals' offseason to-do list.
Sandy Alderson met with reporters (including Adam Rubin of ESPN New York) at the general managers' meetings today to discuss various Mets-related topics. Here are some of the highlights of Alderson's talk and also some other Mets items...
- Talks with David Wright's representatives are "ongoing," with Alderson noting that both sides have agreed to keep negotiations out of the media. Alderson noted that "there's much more engagement" with Wright than the Mets had last year with free agent Jose Reyes, who ended up signing with the Marlins.
- Despite reports saying the Mets are looking into trading R.A. Dickey, Alderson said "our focus -- almost exclusive focus -- has been to try to re-sign him at this point."
- "We're not looking to go out of our way" to trade pitching, Alderson said, though the GM admitted that pitching depth is the team's strength and the Mets could move an arm in the right deal to enhance their lineup.
- Jason Bay's release from his contract "probably enhances" Scott Hairston's chances of returning to the Mets, Alderson said.
- Reports that Dickey is looking for an extension similar to Oliver Perez's three-year, $36MM contract with the Mets from 2009 is "completely incorrect," a team source tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Mets believe they can lock up Dickey to a shorter and less expensive deal. Dickey is already under contract for 2013, as the Mets picked up their $5MM option on the knuckleballer.
- J.P. Ricciardi has signed a three-year extension to remain as a special assistant to Alderson, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). Ricciardi, the former Blue Jays general manager, has been with the Mets since November 2010.
- Also from Cafardo, there have been "no bites" from teams about Johan Santana. Though Santana pitched very well over his first 16 starts of the 2012 season, it's hard to see teams lining up to acquire him given that Santana was hit hard from July onward and spent most of the second half on the DL, not to mention his $25.5MM salary in 2013.
The fourth-place Mets will wrap up their season against the Marlins this afternoon, a season that saw them sit in second place and 4.5 games out of first as late as July 7th. GM Sandy Alderson spoke to the media earlier today, saying he is "not prepared to blow up the team and start over again." Let's recap the full media session with some help from ESPN New York's Adam Rubin...
- "I don't want to give the impression that we're going to be out in the free-agent market looking for significant additions," said the GM. "We have lots of payroll tied up in a handful of players. That's a situation that gradually has to resolve itself."
- Alderson said he believes the team is headed in the right direction, but they are not yet in a position to spend lavishly or "pay for today with deferrals until tomorrow."
- The Mets will make every effort to retain both David Wright and R.A. Dickey. The team holds affordable club options for both players, but they can become free agents after 2013.
- Alderson would not rule out a contract extension that takes Wright to the end of his career, and he acknowledged that both sides have already had "informal conversations."
- The team's goals are to first build through the farm system, retain core players, and add players from the outside on a "fairly judicious basis."
- "I think it's possible, given what we have, that we'll be more active in the trade market," said Alderson. "But that's not a given, necessarily. I really do believe some of our players are on the verge of making bigger contributions." Alderson said they would be cautious with their starting pitching depth, however.
- The team's payroll for 2012 ended up being about $100MM, and the $9MM in total buyouts owed to Jason Bay and Johan Santana will be considered part of the 2013 payroll. Both players can become free agents after next season.
- Manager Terry Collins is under contract through next year and there have not yet been any talks about signing him to a contract extension.
There’s “zero” chance the Mets will release Jason Bay or ask him to compete for a job next Spring Training, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Mets executives have already decided to stick with Bay, Puma reports. “He’s a part of this team,” a Mets person said.
The Mets aren’t likely to trade Bay or left-hander Johan Santana, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports. Both players have no-trade clauses and tens of millions remaining on their current contracts. Bay will earn $16MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $3MM buyout for 2014. Santana, who's now on the disabled list with lower back inflammation, will earn $25.5MM in 2013 and his contract includes a $5.5MM buyout for 2014.
Rubin also surveys MLB rosters for bad contract swap candidates the Mets could consider. GM Sandy Alderson will likely be looking for a new center fielder this offseason and the team could also pursue a right fielder, Puma writes.
MLB executives tell ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark that they make sure to consider the differences between baseball’s two leagues when evaluating trade candidates. “I think it's safe to say you can look a lot smarter taking a pitcher from the American League to the National League than the other way around," one executive told Stark. Here are some highlights from his latest ESPN.com column:
- Baseball people expect the Mariners to sign Felix Hernandez long-term instead of trading him, Stark reports. Hernandez is under contract through 2014.
- Two scouts said they’d recommend signing Grady Sizemore if it doesn’t require much guaranteed money. The outfielder’s season is over and he figures to obtain a one-year, incentive-based contract this winter.
- One scout said he’d be nervous about trading for Johan Santana given his health issues. The Mets recently shut the left-hander down for the remainder of the season.
- Cardinals executives have told people they’re going to let Kyle Lohse’s contract situation play itself out. Lohse, who is headed for free agency this offseason, hasn’t had recent contract talks with the team, so it’s a safe bet he’ll hit the open market.