Jonathan Sanchez Rumors

Giants Notes: Cabrera, Crawford, Beltran, Sanchez

The Giants acquired Melky Cabrera from the Royals today, sending Jonathan Sanchez to Kansas City in the process. Here’s the latest on the team, starting with some comments GM Brian Sabean made on a conference call with reporters…

  • Sabean said the Giants have never been close to trading Sanchez in the past, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • Though the Giants are comfortable with Cabrera in center field, Sabean didn’t say where he fits into the lineup or outfield, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (all Twitter links). It’s unclear how the move affects the future of Andres Torres, a non-tender candidate with a projected salary of $2.5MM. 
  • Sabean said the Giants haven’t decided whether to pursue starting pitching.
  • Baggarly hears that the Giants are strongly considering making Brandon Crawford their shortstop if they can improve their lineup at other positions. Though Crawford doesn’t project to do much at the plate, he’s considered a strong defender.
  • Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that the Giants are shopping for bargains this winter (Twitter links). He doesn’t expect Sabean to pursue Jimmy Rollins or Jose Reyes and even Carlos Beltran may be a stretch for San Francisco.
  • Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles suggests the Giants would have been better off trading Sanchez for a prospect. This would have kept Torres in center field and pushed the Giants to focus on other needs.
  • Alex Speier of WEEI.com hears that the Red Sox had some interest in Sanchez, though they weren't a match in the end.

Royals Acquire Jonathan Sanchez For Melky Cabrera

The Royals acquired lefty Jonathan Sanchez and minor league starter Ryan Verdugo from the Giants for outfielder Melky Cabrera, announced the team.

Sanchez, 28, may have been a non-tender candidate for the Giants after a disappointing 2011 season that saw him walk 5.9 per nine innings and miss significant time with biceps tendinitis and a sprained ankle.  The southpaw is tough to hit and has big-time strikeout numbers, but control has always been a problem.  In Sanchez, Felipe Paulino, and Danny Duffy, Royals GM Dayton Moore has strong strikeout potential for three-fifths of his 2012 rotation.  Sanchez projects to earn $5.2MM in 2012, after which he'll be eligible for free agency.  That he was traded for one year of Cabrera shows how much his trade value slipped during the '11 season.  Sanchez was set to battle Barry Zito for the Giants' fifth starter job next year.

Cabrera had the opposite experience in 2011, as he had a resurgence after being non-tendered and signing a $1.25MM free agent deal.  The 27-year-old hit .305/.339/.470 with 18 home runs in 706 plate appearances for the Royals, playing mostly center field.  UZR suggests he is a below-average defender there, though there seems a good chance the Giants continue to use him in center.  If so, Andres Torres could become expendable.  Cabrera is projected to earn $4.4MM in 2012, after which he'll be eligible for free agency.  With the deal, the Royals opened up center field for prospect Lorenzo Cain.  

Verdugo, a 24-year-old Double-A southpaw, went to Kansas City along with Sanchez in the deal.  Baseball America ranked him 25th among Giants prospects prior to the season, describing him as a deceptive lefty who misses bats but has minus command.  Verdugo was a starter in college and returned to that role last year. 


Giants Open To Trading Jonathan Sanchez

With a need for offensive upgrades pretty much all over the field, the Giants are open to trading Jonathan Sanchez to free up some money according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Our projections forecast a $5.2MM salary for the southpaw in 2012, his third time through arbitration.

Sanchez, 29 later this month, battled injuries and his usual control problems in 2011. He missed more than two months due to biceps tendinitis and an ankle sprain, and also walked 5.9 batters per nine innings. Among the 145 pitchers who threw at least 100 IP this past season, none had a higher walk rate than Sanchez. On the bright side, he did strike out more than a batter per inning for the third straight season and fourth time in five years.

The Giants have enviable pitching depth, with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner fronting a staff that also includes Sanchez, Ryan Vogelsong, Eric Surkamp, and Barry Zito. Their offense will improve next season just because Buster Posey will be back, but they could stand to improve all three outfield spots and the middle infield.

The Mets, Nationals, Blue Jays, and Brewers have all shown varying levels of trade interest in Sanchez in the past. The lefty can become a free agent after next season, but he is a non-tender candidate if the Giants are unable to trade him.



Giants Notes: Pujols, Cain, Lincecum, Zito

Giants GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy discussed the 2011 season at a year-in-review press conference today and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the details:

  • The Giants are going to focus on the pitching staff before addressing the offense this winter.
  • There are strong indications that the Giants won’t push for free agents Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, according to Schulman.
  • Sabean won’t rule out a long-term deal for Tim Lincecum, but negotiations with Matt Cain will be a higher priority, since Cain is eligible for free agency one year from now. Lincecum appears to prefer short-term deals anyway.
  • Barry Zito and non-tender candidate Jonathan Sanchez will be in Spring Training competing for the rotation, according to Sabean. This is the strongest indication yet that Sanchez will be tendered a contract this offseason. His salary will likely surpass $6MM in 2012.
  • Sabean and Bochy said Aubrey Huff didn’t do enough to get in shape last offseason and they have told him to do more this winter.
  • The Giants have said they want to upgrade in center field and the leadoff spot. They don’t consider Justin Christian to be the solution, so Schulman wonders if Coco Crisp could be a fit.
  • If the Giants don’t pick up Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option, they’ll renegotiate another deal with him. As I explained earlier in the month, Affeldt would be in position to command a multiyear deal in free agency if the Giants allow him to hit the open market.
  • The Giants will look to add second base depth, though they may not be willing to meet Jeff Keppinger’s asking price.
  • Sabean says the Giants will give Cody Ross "due consideration" as a free agent, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter).

NL West Notes: Kemp, Sanchez, Street, Villalona

The first-place Diamondbacks had a magic number of 2 to clinch the NL West entering Thursday's action and could pop the champagne as soon as Friday. Here are some notes regarding three of the division's other ballclubs:

  • Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, echoing what his agent said recently, told Beto Duran of ESPN 710 radio in Los Angeles that he hasn't yet begun discussing a possible contract extension with the club but he'd like to spend the rest of his career there (Twitter link). Kemp is eligible for free agency after 2012.
  • Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez won't return in 2011 and may have thrown his last pitch for the Lads, writes Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. The Giants may non-tender Sanchez, or, if they do go through the arbitration process with him, could decide to trade him for a bat, according to Baggarly. Sanchez, 28, dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness this season, making just 19 starts, while earning $4.8MM. Sanchez does possess a big arm, so he won't have trouble finding a new job if and when the Giants decide to move on.
  • The Rockies will seek a trade partner to offload closer Huston Street, perhaps in return for a starting pitcher, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. However, Renck notes it won't be easy to shop Street considering the depth of relief pitching on the free-agent market, so he could just as easily return to Colorado in 2012 (Twitter links).
  • Giants first base prospect Angel Villalona, who recently had murder charges against him dropped in his native Dominican Republic, has reportedly changed agents from Boras Corp. to Para Sports, tweets Baggarly. Para Sports represents Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon, as Baggarly notes, who also had murder charges against him dropped in the Dominican.

Giants Notes: Burrell, Ross, Sanchez, Whiteside

The 2011 Giants closely resembled last year’s World Championship team, but change lies ahead for San Francisco. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle explains that health considerations and the rising cost of arbitration eligible players will shape next year’s Giants team. Here are some highlights from Schulman's piece:

  • Pat Burrell could again sign a one-year deal when he hits free agency after the season (he earns $1MM this year), but he may have to retire because of a foot injury. Burrell says he’ll play as long as he’s healthy enough to take the field.
  • Schulman says it’s hard to imagine the Giants offering Cody Ross a raise from $6.3MM or agreeing to a multiyear deal when the outfielder hits free agency.
  • Mark DeRosa is hoping to sign closer to Atlanta, where he makes his home, and realizes he may be in line for a minor league deal.
  • The Giants will probably decline Jeremy Affeldt’s $5MM option for 2012, but they’ll “almost certainly” pursue him in free agency, according to Schulman.
  • Jonathan Sanchez and Andres Torres are non-tender candidates. When MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes identified Sanchez and Torres as non-tender candidates last month, he pointed out that Sanchez’s salary would rise over $6MM (he now earns $4.8MM) through arbitration. 
  • Eli Whiteside is another non-tender candidate, Schulman writes.
  • Jeff Keppinger, who’s arbitration eligible, will likely return in 2012 and it’s hard to imagine the Giants cutting Nate Schierholtz after seeing him progress in 2011.
  • The Giants may not have room on the roster for both Mike Fontenot and Emmanuel Burriss.

Carlos Beltran Rumors: Wednesday

Yesterday's Carlos Beltran learnings: the Indians offered to pick up all of Beltran's contract and include a good player, but nothing was presented to the player; the Phillies won't trade Jonathan Singleton for Beltran and many other top prospects can't be had either; the Mets' asking price has come down from two weeks ago and they're talking two and three-prospect deals with suitors.  The latest:

  • Beltran is not going to the Rangers, tweets Rosenthal.  The Giants are his presumed frontrunner.  He says the Mets had asked about Giants prospects Zack Wheeler and Gary Brown.  They won't get Wheeler, but Rosenthal says "we'll see" on Brown.
  • Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez could go to the Mets as part of a Beltran trade, tweets Sherman.
  • Some executives believe Boras is trying to direct Beltran to the Giants, a team that has the money to retain him after the season, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Meanwhile Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Rangers are offering the Mets a greater number of players for Beltran than the Giants, who are offering fewer players but more quality.  The Phillies are still serious, tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
  • The Indians walked away from the Beltran talks convinced that agent Scott Boras is controlling the process, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  They won't shut the door on Beltran but believe he won't change his mind, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets have "moved off A-level prospect requests" for Beltran, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News has a high-level source who denies the Mets have lowered their asking price.
  • The Mets are making progress in negotiations with the Rangers and Giants, reports ESPN's Buster Olney.  The Braves remain involved.

Heyman On Lincecum, Cano, Votto, Weaver, Dodgers

Ryan Braun's $105MM, five-year contract extension through 2020 seemed like it came out of nowhere, but a ton of other young stars also appear to be in line for new deals, writes Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.  Heyman runs down the 20-somethings that could get hefty contract extensions and touches on a few other things in today's column..

  • Giants ace Tim Lincecum won't be a free agent until after the 2013 season, but San Francisco would be wise to lock him up before his arbitration numbers get out of hand.  A third Cy Young season could potentially bring Lincecum from $14MM into the $25MM range and possibly to $30MM in '13.  Heyman expects a deal to get done, even if it costs the club a fortune.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes touched on the Lincecum situation here and here, and will have much more on the topic next week.
  • Similarly, there's no reason to think the Yankees would let Robinson Cano leave in the prime of his career.  The Bombers have options for 2012 and '13 at $14MM and $15MM, respectively, and will obviously exercise them. Look for the Yanks to get a deal done with the second baseman, but only after the Scott Boras client files for free agency.
  • Reds slugger Joey Votto will hit the open market after 2013 and it would be wise for the club to lock him up as the youngster continues to improve.  This winter he signed a three-year, $38MM to take care of his arbitration years, but his rate will presumably rise after that deal is up.  Heyman believes that the Reds will lock up Votto, just as they did with Jay Bruce.  This winter, Cincinnati signed the right fielder to a six-year, $51MM deal.
  • Even though the Marlins' poor attendance would seem to indicate that the club doesn't have the funds to sign Josh Johnson to a new deal, they are on their way to a brand-new facility in the near future.  Putting that aside, they're still in the black. His $39MM, four-year deal goes through 2013 but his next contract should easily top that.
  • If you're a Halos fan looking to purchase a Jered Weaver jersey, you may want to reconsider.  Heyman writes that the right-hander is all but a goner in two years.  Agent Scott Boras is talking his client up and the Angels don't have a history of keeping their top free agents anyway.  It's possible that the next Dodgers owner, assuming there is one, could talk the Simi Valley product into a homecoming.
  • It may come as a surprise to some, but Heyman predicts that Andre Ethier will remain with the Dodgers beyond 2012.  GM Ned Colletti is believed to want to lock up Ethier along with Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw.  Even though the Dodgers' situation is probably too messy for anything to get done right away, they have to act fast to keep the 29-year-old. 
  • You can also expect the Dodgers to work something out with Kemp, who is also a free agent after 2012. 
  • Of the 33 players that Heyman profiles, he expects most to get new deals done with their respective clubs.  Some of the players that we may see elsewhere: John Danks, Shin Soo-Choo, Jonathan Sanchez, Justin Morneau, Grady Sizemore, and Shaun Marcum.
  • TV magnate Burt Sugarman is one name believed to be in the mix among potential buyers of the Dodgers.  Investment banker Jason Reese and billionaire Ron Burkle are also in the mix.  Burkle is teaming with former Dodgers great Steve Garvey.

Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

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Sosnick On Bruce, Willingham, Nolasco, Dunn

Agent Matt Sosnick appeared on the Diamond Hoggers' Baseball Show today, and spoke at length about how he became involved in baseball, his experiences in the sport, and a few of his clients. Here are the highlights from the discussion, which you can listen to here:

  • Jay Bruce is open to signing a long-term contract with the Reds. "If the Reds felt the same way," Sosnick said. "We'd be open to doing something that was five or six years."
  • Sosnick acknowledged that locking up Joey Votto would likely be a higher priority for the club, but cited deals signed by Justin Upton and Troy Tulowitzki as potential starting points for a Bruce extension.
  • As we heard earlier today, Josh Willingham is interested in signing an extension with the Nationals. Sosnick feels that if Willingham were hitting the open market this winter, the 31-year-old could land a multi-year deal worth $10MM annually.
  • According to Sosnick, when the Giants made a push for Willingham, the Nats asked for either Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner in return.
  • Regarding a possible Ricky Nolasco extension, Sosnick says he and the Marlins agreed on the years, but were off by "about 20%" on salary. The two sides will resume extension talks in November or December, working on a one-year deal in the meantime.
  • Adam Dunn is not a Sosnick client, but the agent predicts that Dunn will receive about $40MM for three years this offseason.