John Buck Rumors

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.


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).