John Buck Rumors

Rangers Interested In Arencibia, Buck

The Rangers are known to be seeking catching help this offseason, and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com tweets that both J.P. Arencibia and John Buck appear to be on their list of targets.

The Blue Jays have three serviceable catchers on their Major League roster following this past week's blockbuster trade, including top prospect Travis d'Arnaud. With nearly every position on the field accounted for following the Melky Cabrera signing, it's safe to speculate that the Blue Jays would seek more pitching in return for one of their backstops.

Texas' primary catcher for the past two seasons has been Mike Napoli, but it appears there's a good chance that he'll sign elsewhere via free agency. General manager Jon Daniels acquired Geovany Soto from the Cubs over the summer, but the former Rookie of the Year's projected $4.6MM salary and dwindling production make him a non-tender candidate.

Arencibia, who will turn 27 in January, has averaged 29 homers per 162 games to date in his young Major League career, but also has an underwhelming .275 career on-base percentage. He won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season.

Buck, 32, cashed in on his career year in 2010 (.281/.314/.481 with 20 homers) to the tune of a three-year, $18MM contract with the Marlins that offseason. He has one year and $6MM remaining on his contract, but has slumped since signing his deal. In two full seasons with the Marlins, he batted just .213/.308/.358 with a more than half of his walks coming from the eighth spot in the order, ahead of the pitcher.

The Rangers have also been connected to Russell Martin so far this offseason.


Blue Jays, Marlins Complete Blockbuster Trade

Commissioner Bud Selig has approved the blockbuster trade that the Blue Jays and Marlins agreed to last week.  The Blue Jays announced the 12-player trade, which sends Jose ReyesJosh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and cash considerations to Toronto for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino, Anthony Desclafani and Jake Marisnick.

The deal, which calls for the Marlins to send the Blue Jays $4MM, required the approval of the commissioner's office.  The Blue Jays are taking on tens of millions in future payroll obligations, while the Marlins are moving the contracts of Reyes and Buehrle less than one full year after signing them as free agents.

Ultimately the deal "represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs," Selig said in a statement approving the trade.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he didn't end up receiving from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production regressed in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a substantial amount of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto executives ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post.


Silverman’s Latest: Greinke, Royals, Rays, Blue Jays

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald that he was unsure if he'd be able to acquire Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis) in 2007. “A lot of clubs were involved and I didn’t think it was going to work for us for where we were financially,” said Dombrowski. “Once we sat down with the Marlins, it took us just a day to work out that deal. It happened very fast.”

Here are Silverman's rumors…



Blue Jays To Acquire Johnson, Reyes, Buehrle From Marlins

The Blue Jays have reached agreement on a deal with the Marlins that will send right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck to Toronto for shortstop Yunel Escobar, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino, outfielder Jake Marisnick, catcher Jeff Mathis, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.  The deal, which will also call for the Marlins to send $4MM to the Blue Jays, is awaiting MLB approval.

The shocking trade effectively means that the Marlins are hitting the reset button on a team which had a payroll in the range of $100MM on Opening Day last season.  The Marlins brought out the checkbook last winter to draw fans to their brand new stadium, signing Reyes to a six-year, $106MM deal and Buehrle to a four-year, $58MM deal.  Neither player had a no-trade clause as per club policy.  Miami now has roughly $16MM in non-arbitration commitments heading into 2013.

Meanwhile, the blockbuster deal could make the Blue Jays a serious threat in the AL East.   Johnson, the first player first known to be involved in the deal, turned in a solid 2012 season after missing the bulk of 2011 with inflammation in his right shoulder.  The 28-year-old wasn't as quite as sharp as he was in 2009 and '10 but still posted a 3.81 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he obviously didn't receive from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production came back to earth in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a boatload of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto brass ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

The trade was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports with additional details coming from ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, and Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.


NL East Notes: Phillies, Suzuki, Bell, Bay

The Braves became the latest team to beat the struggling Astros tonight, winning a 4-1 result on the back of 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball from Tim Hudson.  With the Braves' win and the Nationals' split of a double-header with the Marlins today, Washington is only two games up on Atlanta in the NL East.  Here's the latest from around the division…


Rosenthal’s Latest: Bay, Bell, Buck, Lee, O’s, K-Rod

The Mets and Marlins discussed a change-of-scenery trade that would have sent Jason Bay to Miami for Heath Bell and John Buck, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. A deal was never close, though the contracts and the money matched up well. Bell is signed through 2014, Bay and Buck through 2013. Rosenthal notes that all three players are likely to clear waivers this month, so the two sides could revisit the deal. Here are the rest of his rumors…

  • The Astros are paying virtually all of the $9MM left on Carlos Lee's contract, but one club that spoke to the Marlins said Miami wanted as much as $2.5MM in return for the slugger. Talks never progressed.
  • The Orioles spoke to the Mariners about Kevin Millwood, but Seattle wanted a better return than what was offered given the right-hander's bargain $1MM salary.
  • The Orioles also discussed a deal with the Royals that would have sent one of their young arms to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Broxton. Rosenthal speculates that it may have been Jake Arrieta.
  • The Brewers were close to trading Francisco Rodriguez to the Giants about a week before the deadline, but San Francisco backed off after the right-hander blew two saves and allowed six runs in Philadelphia last week.

Red Sox Notes: Gonzalez, Buck, Matsuzaka

When the Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez three months ago, he was recovering from shoulder surgery and wasn't a lock to be ready for Opening Day. Yesterday, having not experienced any setbacks, Gonzalez played in his first game of the spring, a strong sign that his rehab has been a success. Speaking to reporters today, the slugger suggested he doesn't expect his health to be an issue this season. In fact, he wants to play in all 162 games, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

"I'm a first baseman," said Gonzalez. "How much energy do you really put out there? I don't steal bases. I don’t run fast. I play first base. As long as my legs can take it, I'm good."

More Sox-related links:

  • In a separate column for WEEI, Speier looks back at the other trade involving Gonzalez, one that helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series.
  • John Buck was keeping an eye on Victor Martinez and the Red Sox this winter, according to Speier. Alhough contract talks with the Sox never got serious, Buck was intrigued by the possibility of replacing V-Mart behind the plate in Boston: "Who doesn’t want to play for the Red Sox? Being a kind of historian of baseball, regardless of all the money and all that other stuff, it would just be a cool place to play."
  • The Red Sox are making changes to Daisuke Matsuzaka's throwing routine in hopes of turning his spring around, says Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Yesterday, Theo Epstein shot down a report that Boston was open to trade offers for Dice-K and others.
  • The starting rotation in Boston is becoming clearer, writes Britton in another ProJo blog entry.

East Notes: Lackey, Crawford, Dickey, Buck

Some links from the East – both AL and NL..


Quick Hits: Young, Ortiz, Blue Jays, Chicago Teams

Congratulations to Jack Gillis, Jim Howard, Terry Reynolds and Mike Toomey on their induction into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame!  The four long-time scouts will be inducted individually during separate ceremonies through August.

Some news items…

  • The Rockies and Rangers were close enough on a Michael Young trade package earlier this winter that a Colorado player who would've gone to Texas, Eric Young Jr., was asked to take a physical, reports Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com.  Texas was concerned by the stress fracture that sidelined Young Jr. for half of last season and the two sides couldn't settle on a deal.
  • With Vladimir Guerrero struggling to find a contract, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal wonders if a similar fate awaits David Ortiz in next winter's free agent market.
  • The Blue Jays' decision to start John Buck over prospect J.P. Arencibia in August and September of last season was an organizational call, Alex Anthopoulos tells MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm.  The Jays GM said he promised Buck an everyday job if he signed with Toronto, and Anthopoulos wanted to stand by his agreement.  "When we give our word to someone … that's part of our brand," Anthopoulos said. "When I'm negotiating with an agent or I'm trying to recruit a player, and we have to tell them something, whether it's good or bad news, they know that we're going to honor our word and we're going to be straight shooters."
  • Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago discussed several Cubs and White Sox topics in a chat with fans.
  • Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com gives his list of the offseason's biggest winners and losers.  I'm not sure if I agree with Urban's designation of Manny Ramirez as the biggest individual "loser" this winter — he took a big pay cut, but the Rays should still be a contending team.

Marlins Sign John Buck

The Marlins made an early strike to fill their need for a starting catcher, officially signing John Buck to a three-year, $18MM deal today.  The three-year term comes as no surprise, given the extra years given to free agent catchers last offseason.  It's the Marlins' biggest free agent splash since Carlos Delgado's four-year, $52MM deal in January of 2005.  Nice work by Buck's agents at ACES; players signing early are doing well so far this offseason.  The Marlins' pricey free agent expenditure was made possible in part by their removal of Dan Uggla's salary.

Buck provides the Fish certainty behind the plate with John Baker going down in September for Tommy John surgery and Ronny Paulino a non-tender candidate.  The Red Sox were also known to be interested in Buck.

Buck, 30, hit .281/.314/.489 in 437 plate appearances for the Blue Jays this year, logging 933 innings behind the dish.  He signed with Toronto for just $2MM after being non-tendered by the Royals.  Buck is a Type B free agent, so the Blue Jays will receive a supplemental round draft pick for their loss.

Ed Price of AOL FanHouse first tweeted the Marlins were working hard to sign Buck, while Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post tweeted that the signing was official. In between, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provided all other developments and details.