John Buck Rumors

Marlins Close To Signing John Buck

3:53pm: Buck's three-year deal with the Marlins will be worth $18MM, tweets Rosenthal.  This will be Florida's biggest free agent signing since Carlos Delgado in 2005.

2:03pm: The Marlins are close to signing Buck to a three-year deal, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  We had speculated on the three-year possibility just a few hours ago

10:26am: The Marlins are working hard to sign free agent catcher John Buck, an official from another team told Ed Price of AOL FanHouse (Twitter link).  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Marlins are definitely interested in Buck, but not close to a deal.  Yesterday, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos described Buck's market as "very, very strong" and implied his agents at ACES seek a multiyear deal.  Buck, 30, hit .281/.314/.489 with 20 home runs in 437 plate appearances for Toronto this year.  He signed for $2MM after being non-tendered by the Royals.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reported yesterday that the Marlins and A.J. Pierzynski share mutual interest, but he might be too pricey for the Fish.


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Anthopoulos Talks Encarnacion, Buck

Alex Anthopoulos spoke to Jeff Blair of The Fan 590 before his plane took off for Orlando yesterday, and the Blue Jays GM said he was trying to get a signing done right before the radio show call.  Some have speculated on Manny Ramirez, who's been hanging out in Toronto lately, while others point out that at the very least the Jays would wait a week until after the White Sox have declined to offer him arbitration.  At this point we know Manny likes the Blue Jays but not whether interest is mutual.  It does appear Manny needs the Jays more than they need him.  If a Blue Jays signing of any kind is to happen before the 23rd, it'd have to be a free agent not ranked as a Type A.

Anthopoulos went on to say that his talks with agents over the last week suggest the free agent market might move faster than in years past, as people "try to jump out early and get things done."

On the topic of Edwin Encarnacion, Anthopoulos explained that the third baseman is in line for an arbitration raise of $1-2MM on top of this year's $4.75MM salary.  That salary, plus Encarnacion's desire to play every day, wasn't a fit for the Jays.  Encarnacion was claimed by the Athletics, but he could still be non-tendered on December 2nd.  Anthopoulos has not closed the door in the event that happens.

Anthopoulos described the market for John Buck as "very, very strong" after talking to his agents at ACES.  He says Buck is "sitting on years and dollars that might be a little steep for us," but that the catcher's agents will give the Jays a chance to match before he signs.  We saw extra contract years tossed around for multiple free agent catchers last year; could a 30-year-old Buck find a three-year deal?


Rosenthal On Brewers, Doubront, Marlins, Barmes

In case there was any doubt, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Brewers aren't going to trade Ryan Braun. However, the Brewers are open to trading any of their other top hitters for rotation help. That means Rickie Weeks, Casey McGehee and, of course, Prince Fielder would be available in the right deal. Here are the details and the rest of Rosenthal's rumors:

  • The Brewers don't want to trade top players for back-of-the-rotation starters, but teams are reluctant to include top young pitchers in potential deals.
  • The Padres have spoken repeatedly to the Brewers about minor league infielder Brett Lawrie, who could be obtained for young pitching.
  • Adrian Gonzalez is still drawing trade interest, even though he won't be ready to swing a bat until the end of Spring Training.
  • Two GMs tell Rosenthal that the Red Sox are open to trading Felix Doubront. One says Boston would part with the left-hander "in a heartbeat" and the other guaranteed the Red Sox will trade him by mid-summer. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein told Rosenthal that the Red Sox "value Felix tremendously" and that the report "couldn't be further from the truth."
  • Every young Orioles pitcher "could be in play for the right bat," Rosenthal reports. 
  • If the Marlins trade Dan Uggla, they would use the savings to sign at least one free agent. John Buck is a target for the Marlins regardless of whether they trade or extend Uggla.
  • The A's don't have interest in Mark Reynolds.
  • The Rockies are drawing lots of interest in Clint Barmes. They could trade or non-tender the infielder if they aren't able to sign him to a multi-year contract.
  • Cody Ross and Javier Lopez are strong candidates to receive extensions from the Giants.


Olney On Huff, Uribe, Upton, Buck, Downs

One talent evaluator told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Aubrey Huff posted impressive numbers in 2010 because he “got better as a player." Huff has set himself up for a nice payday and he isn’t the only Giants free agent who stands to cash in this offseason, as Olney explains:

  • One GM says players like Juan Uribe, who can hit 20 homers and play in the middle infield, are becoming harder to find. “Five years ago, you could find a lot of guys who could do what he does,” the GM said. “But not now.”
  • Olney surveyed scouts and executives about the A’s-Royals trade and everyone said it was a good deal for both clubs.
  • Rival teams believe the Rays are willing to trade B.J. Upton. What’s more, Tampa Bay wouldn’t have to be overwhelmed to agree to a deal.
  • The Yankees are interested in John Buck, but the catcher could likely command a two-year deal (possibly from the Red Sox) and it seems unlikely that the Yankees would offer more than a one-year contract.
  • In a series of tweets, Olney explains that the Blue Jays may only obtain a second or third round pick for losing Type A free agent Scott Downs (they will also get a compensation pick if they offer arbitration). There's a chance that Downs' new team will sign another free agent with a higher ranking, which would prevent Toronto from getting a first rounder.

Red Sox Rumors: DeJesus, Matsuzaka, Crawford

There's been lots of chatter about the Red Sox and Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, but Boston isn't necessarily committed to acquiring an outfielder through free agency. Here's the latest:


Red Sox Eyeing John Buck

The Red Sox have had extensive internal discussions about John Buck and are expected to pursue him aggressively in case Victor Martinez signs elsewhere, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. Boston’s front office expects the Tigers to make a “major push” for Martinez.

The Red Sox have Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but will likely add a second catcher since Martinez and Jason Varitek are free agents. Buck, who would not cost a pick to sign, batted .281/.314/.489 with 20 homers for the Blue Jays last year after the Royals non-tendered him. The 30-year-old threw out 28% of would be base stealers and made the All-Star team for the first time in his career.

The Blue Jays will have Jose Molina and J.P. Arencibia in uniform next year, but they haven't ruled out bringing back Buck or Miguel Olivo (who became Blue Jays property in a surprising trade last week). Toronto will obtain a supplementary first round pick if Buck declines arbitration to sign elsewhere.


Renck On Buck, Lopez, Giambi, Mora

It's already been a busy day for the Rockies what with their declined options on Jeff Francis, Octavio Dotel and (possibly) Miguel Olivo, but the Denver Post's Troy Renck has even more news from the Mile High City.  All of Renck's links are from Twitter…


Blue Jays Exercise Jose Molina’s 2011 Option

The Blue Jays exercised Jose Molina's 2011 option, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The club chose to retain the 35-year-old instead of buying him out for $200K.

Molina hit .246/.304/.377 last year with six homers after signing with the Jays in February. Alex Anthopoulos' low-risk investments in Molina and John Buck paid off this season, but the GM now has a decision to make. J.P. Arencibia appears ready to catch in the big leagues and Buck has expressed interest in returning. It seems unlikely that both Arencibia and Buck will have spots on the team's opening day roster, but Anthopoulos called Buck to tell him the club still has interest in working out a deal (Twitter link).


Blue Jays Rumors: Manager Search, Buck

The Blue Jays are searching for the successor to Cito Gaston, and they're not rushing the process. An unnamed source points out to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that the Blue Jays "want to get it right" (Twitter link). Here are the details on the team's search for a new manager, plus other notes:

  • Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun has a summary of the Jays’ search: the team has already interviewed Rockies hitting coach Don Baylor, Red Sox third base coach Tim Bogar, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, former manager Bob Melvin, Padres coach Rick Renteria, Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, Yankees third base coach Rob Thomson, former manager Bobby Valentine and former Indians manager Eric Wedge plus internal candidates Brian Butterfield, Sal Fasano, Nick Leyva and Luis Rivera. The club has yet to interview White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle, Nationals third base coach Pat Listach, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, Juan Samuel, Ryne Sandberg, and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. That's a whole lot of candidates to consider.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that he's expecting clubs to ask about Hurdle, though no team has formally requested permission to interview the former Rockies manager just yet.
  • The Blue Jays will consider bringing John Buck back next year and the catcher says he would love to return, but as MLB.com's Jordan Bastian shows, J.P. Arencibia's presence may mean that Buck's best offers come from other teams. 

Cafardo’s Latest: Matsuzaka, Managers, Konerko

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe spoke to nearly a dozen scouts and executives and found that there would be substantial interest in Daisuke Matsuzaka if the Red Sox made the righthander available in a trade this offseason. Most of those polled believe Boston would have to kick in some money to offset the two-years and $20MM left on his deal, but it's unclear what they would want in return. As Cafardo reminds us, there's no such thing as too much pitching depth, so the Sox could simply hold onto him.

As far as teams that could have potential interest in Dice-K, Cafardo names the Mariners, Mets, Dodgers, Brewers, Rangers, and Tigers. Here are the rest of his rumors…

  • There's talk that the Red Sox might go after Yu Darvish if he's posted this winter, and there is a little bit of a New England connection there: Darvish's father attended school in the area.
  • Doug Melvin said he will go outside the organization to replace departed manager Ken Macha, which rules out Dale Sveum and Willie Randolph.
  • Jim Hendry and Cubs ownership likes what interim manager Mike Quade got out of his players down the stretch, so the sentiment to retain him is growing.
  • Fredi Gonzalez turned down a chance to interview with the Cubbies, and it's looking more and more likely that he will take over for the retiring Bobby Cox in Atlanta.
  • Alex Anthopoulos is looking at third base/bench coaches for his next manager, while Neal Huntington might dip into his Indians' roots to fill the Pirates' managerial vacancy.
  • Paul Konerko indicated that contract length won't be much of a factor when he hits free agency this winter because he isn't sure how much longer he wants to play. Kenny Williams indicated that there might not be enough room in the budget for the White Sox to bring back their captain, especially if they seeks out a lefty bat as expected.
  • Jason Varitek wants to return to the Red Sox but the team is thinking bigger picture with Jarrod Saltalamacchia on board. Cafardo suggests the Marlins as a potential landing spot for Varitek, where he would work with the team's young pitchers.
  • Meanwhile, the Sox could sign John Buck as a stopgap while they wait for Salty to establish himself.
  • Teams in need of a second baseman are very interested in Jed Lowrie, though at least one scout thinks he can stick at shortstop. The 26-year-old hit .287/.381/.526 in 197 plate appearances this year.
  • Despite a strong finish (1.41 ERA in his last ten starts), the Cubs would still like to move Carlos Zambrano. Of course, they're going to have to eat some of the $55MM left of his contract to do so.
  • Cafardo thinks that Carl Pavano could command a three-year deal worth $30MM as a free agent this winter, but he'd have to give a bit of a discount to return to Minnesota. The Twins have shown a willingness to spend in the last year, so this will be an interesting negotiation for them.