John Axford Rumors
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's round up the rumors...
- The chances of the Phillies trading Shane Victorino may be greater than the chances of them trading Cole Hamels. The Dodgers, Reds, and possibly the Yankees could be fits for the outfielder, who originally asked Philadelphia for a five-year extension. They're unwilling to give him a contract that long.
- The Red Sox are likely to be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline. If they keep Franklin Morales in the rotation, they're likely to seek another left-hander for the bullpen. They could also acquire a starter and shift Morales back into a relief role.
- The Braves are not as adamant about not trading their top young pitchers as they were at this time last year mostly because there are more appealing choices on the market. They're looking for consistency and could part with one of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, or Randall Delgado if they view someone like Matt Garza as a difference-maker.
- The Brewers remain more likely to sell than not, but they would still like to return to contention quickly. They could ask for big league pitching instead of prospects for Zack Greinke, plus Francisco Rodriguez figures to have value on the trade market. GM Doug Melvin is getting calls about John Axford and Jose Veras, and the trio of Randy Wolf, George Kottaras, and Shaun Marcum (if healthy) remain trade bait.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he talked to Casey Close about Zack Greinke yesterday and will speak to the agent again Monday. There's no deadline for talks between the Brewers and Greinke, Close's new client.
- Melvin doesn't see "major weaknesses" on his team.
- Owner Mark Attanasio suggested the club will have the flexibility to add payroll midseason if necessary.
- Attanasio said the club is progressing nicely toward extensions for Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke. Melvin's contract expires after the 2012 season and the Brewers hold a 2013 option for Roenicke.
- Melvin confirmed extension talks will also continue with closer John Axford, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports.
- "I don't care if it does," said John Axford to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy when asked if he minds if extensions talks with the Brewers carry over into the regular season. "I'm open to still talking [during the season], for sure, and it doesn't affect me if we don't talk."
- "What I'm telling you is that we don't definitely have any trades in place," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland to MLB.com's Jason Beck. Detroit appears to be taking as much time as possible before announcing their final roster moves.
- With Alex Gordon now signed to an extension, the Royals will try to convince Eric Hosmer to sign a long-term deal according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd). I looked at Hosmer as an extension candidate in January, but the first baseman recently said he's not in a rush to sign a new deal.
On this date 20 years ago, the Cubs released 29-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer. The southpaw didn't pitch in the Major Leagues again that year, but he returned in 1993 and has since pitched 3,300 innings and won 233 games. His career isn't over yet, as the Rockies may add him to their rotation. Here are today's links...
- The Red Sox had complete access to Chris Carpenter's medical records before acquiring him from the Cubs, Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe report. The reliever also passed two physicals earlier this year, so the Red Sox aren't likely to obtain a different player from the Cubs as compensation for Theo Epstein even though Carpenter underwent elbow surgery yesterday.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wonders if the Indians could pursue free agent Johnny Damon instead of trading for Bobby Abreu (Twitter link). Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explores the Damon-Indians possibility and says it's hard to argue he’s a worse option than Abreu.
- The Brewers have exchanged figures with closer John Axford regarding a possible extension, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. "I'm not going to jump at anything," Axford said.
For two of baseball’s 30 teams, the 2012 season opens in a matter of hours. Here are the latest links from around MLB...
- The Royals acquired Humberto Quintero last week, but they continue looking for catching depth, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney asked a number of baseball people why the trade market has been slow this spring and came up with a variety of possible answers. "I think teams value their young players more, and they value the older guys less," one GM told Olney. "The lower middle class [of players] has taken a hit this winter."
- The Brewers have stayed in contact with agent Dan Horwits, the representative for closer John Axford, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. I previewed a possible extension for Axford earlier in the year.
- Justin Upton, Eric Hosmer and Bryce Harper have a good shot at being top-ten players five years from now, ESPN.com’s Keith Law writes.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today discusses failure and expectations with a number of MLB players who have struggled after signing massive free agent deals. "You cannot have a worse feeling in sports," Adam Dunn told Nightengale. "It's tough, just so tough," Alfonso Soriano said.
The latest on extension talks around MLB...
- The Angels and Erick Aybar have made a bit of progress toward an extension, but agent Fern Cuza says they are “not close,” Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
- Josh Hamilton told Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio that the Rangers can sign him now for considerably less than he’ll cost as a free agent after the season (Twitter links). Hamilton says his loyalty lies with the Rangers and that they will get the first chance to sign him should he reach free agency.
- Mike Napoli told Bowden he’s letting his agent handle contract talks, but that he would like to sign a long-term deal with the Rangers (Twitter link).
- The Brewers met with John Axford's agent yesterday, but the closer’s in no rush to sign an extension, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “If conversations keep going [after Opening Day], then they keep going,” Axford said. “I’m not going to be bothered by it.”
A few items of note out of MLB's Central divisions ...
- The Indians are interested in signing free-agent reliever Mike Gonzalez, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, although it may depend on the health progress of dinged up relievers Rafael Perez and Chris Perez. Rafael has battled left shoulder soreness while Chris was sidelined early in spring by a left oblique injury.
- The Tigers appear unlikely to acquire a fifth starter via trade, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Andy Oliver and Drew Smyly are the front runners to be Detroit's fifth starter, Knobler adds.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said there were recent talks between the organization and John Axford's agent, Dan Horwits, but Melvin characterized them as "just a conversation," tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The Brewers and Axford have been rumored to be discussing an extension, and MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently examined what such an extension might look like.
- Reds closer Ryan Madson still believes that the Phillies offered him a $44MM contract in November, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro denies that any sort of proposal was offered while agent Scott Boras has a different story.
- Brewers closer John Axford expects extension talks to begin soon as his agent, Dan Horwits, is in town to meet with the club, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel. Axford also says that he won't set a deadline for the talks as he doesn't believe that they would be a distraction to him during the season.
- Multiple scouts told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter) that the Mets haven't been looking for a backup lefty hitting outfielder as of late. Right now it looks like the club will turn to Adam Loewen or Mike Baxter rather than add someone from the outside.
- The Indians are looking for a leftfielder but have no interest in Johnny Damon because of his lackluster defense, a Cleveland front office executive told Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In an interview with Bowden on MLB Network Radio this week, the veteran said that he plans to take his time in choosing a team as he looks for an everyday job.
- The Red Sox's signing of Simon Mercedes marks a change in the club's approach to the international amateur market under new director of international scouting Eddie Romero, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Speier writes that former VP of International Scouting Craig Shipley would never have signed Mercedes because the right-hander lied about his documentation.
Links for Saturday afternoon..
- Yoenis Cespedes' deal with the Athletics is now official, according to the club's Twitter account. Cespedes' deal is for four years and is reportedly worth $36MM.
- In a corresponding move, the A's opened a spot for Cespedes on the 40-man roster by placing Scott Sizemore on the 60-day disabled list. Sizemore will miss the entire 2012 campaign after tearing his left ACL.
- Outfielders Rick Ankiel and Brett Carroll, who are both on minor league deals, are making a solid case to make the Nationals' major league squad, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
- Although people in the Nationals organization like Davey Johnson wanted him to return, Livan Hernandez says that he knew early on that his time was up in Washington, tweets Ladson.
- The Brewers renewed the contract of right-hander John Axford this afternoon and the two sides continue to talk about a multiyear deal, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Right-hander Kiko Calero is considering a procedure similar to what Bartolo Colon underwent as he weighs a comeback, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Both the Yankees and Red Sox are operating differently in 2012 thanks to the luxury tax threshold of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. The new provision, Speier writes, creates the possibility for more payroll parity than the game has seen in years.