Jorge Cantu Rumors

Rays Notes: Matsui, Longoria, Cantu

The Rays formally introduced Hideki Matsui today, but they face the possibility that their best player will hit the disabled list. The details…

  • Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he's had interest in Matsui in recent offseasons, according to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter links). Though there's no formal out clause in Matsui's contract, Friedman said the Rays will treat the slugger with the respect he deserves. Presumably this means they'll release him if there's no room on Tampa Bay's roster and he asks to pursue other opportunities.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times suggested earlier today that Evan Longoria could miss six to eight weeks with a hamstring-related injury, but Friedman says it's "premature" to assume he'll even hit the disabled list. Reid Brignac and Will Rhymes are among the team's internal options in case Longoria does require DL time.
  • Jorge Cantu, who elected free agency yesterday, won't be a fit for the Rays, Topkin tweets. The Devil Rays signed Cantu as an amateur free agent soon after their inception in 1998, and the infielder played in Tampa Bay until 2007.

Rockies Notes: Cantu, Oswalt

The 11-11 Rockies are second in the National League in runs scored, but second-last in runs allowed. Here are some Rockies-related links as the second month of the season begins…

  • The Rockies are having internal discussions about the possibility of pursuing Jorge Cantu, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Cantu, who played for the Rockies' Triple-A team last year, elected free agency yesterday.
  • Renck notes that Roy Oswalt never reciprocated the Rockies' interest this past offseason and suggests the right-hander is more likely to sign with a club such as Atlanta, Boston or Texas. No NL team has obtained fewer innings from the rotation than the Rockies (120 innings in 22 games).

Jorge Cantu Elects Free Agency

Infielder Jorge Cantu has opted out of his minor league deal with the Angels and elected free agency, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports (Twitter link). The Wasserman Media Group client is now free to sign with any team.

The Angels, who signed Cantu to a minor league deal in January, assigned him to Triple-A, where he has a .291/.300/.488 line with four homers in 90 plate appearances. Cantu hit 28 homers in 2005 and 29 homers in 2008, but has struggled to produce at the plate since then. Cantu signed with the Padres last year, but they cut him after he posted a .194/.232/.285 line in 155 plate appearances. Cantu, a right-handed hitter, has hit lefties and righties at a nearly identical clip over the course of his eight-year career.



Los Angeles Links: Kershaw, Fielder, Cantu, Phillies

At least one of the five groups bidding to buy the Dodgers has asked about the possibility of selling the naming rights to Dodger Stadium, reports Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times.  Naming rights are commonplace in sports, but as Shaikin notes in his piece, it would be a poor PR move for a new owner to immediately change the name of one of baseball's most historic parks.

Here are a few more items from both the Dodgers and the Angels…

  • Clayton Kershaw was "less than thrilled" about making just $500K last season, which may be part of the reason the Dodgers signed their ace to a two-year, $19MM deal, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The Dodgers wanted to sign Kershaw to a four-year extension that would have covered the southpaw's first free agent season.
  • Heyman also calls Matt Kemp's eight-year contract extension with the team "possibly the best financial move anyone made this winter."
  • The Dodgers made an offer to Prince Fielder at the Winter Meetings for a four-year contract worth an average annual value of less than that of Alex Rodriguez, Ned Colletti tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link).  Rodriguez earns an AAV of $27.5MM on his current Yankees contract but one would think that L.A.'s offer couldn't have been much lower than that, given that they were just offering four years.
  • Also from Bowden (via Twitter), Fielder's agent Scott Boras said Colletti's recruiting meeting with Fielder was the best he's seen in 30 years.
  • Jorge Cantu hopes to be traded to a team with corner infield needs if he can't make the Angels' roster, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Cantu has the option of opting out of his contract with L.A. if he's in the minors on May 1.  He has also considered taking "a couple of months off this summer" as his girlfriend is due to give birth to their first child in June. 
  • If the Angels were to offer one of their backup infielders (Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis) to the Phillies, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez speculates that the Halos could look for Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton back in such a trade.  In Blanton's case, the Phils would have to cover a big chunk of his $8.5MM salary for this season.
  • Earlier today we covered the hot-stove highlights of Arte Moreno's recent interview with GQ.

AL West Notes: Young, Mariners, A’s, Cantu

The Rangersdeal with Dominican teenager Jairo Beras created a stir today, since MLB and many of its clubs thought the prospect was 16 and therefore ineligible to sign. Here are more notes from the AL West…

  • Michael Young told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that he embraces his role as a utility player and wants to remain with the Rangers long-term. Young wanted out of Texas a year ago this time, but he had a big season at the plate in 2011 and appears to have settled into his new role. You’ll find him on MLBTR’s newly-released list of 2014 free agents.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. said he told GM Jack Zduriencik that he’d put in a good word for the Mariners if Prince Fielder asked him about Seattle this offseason, according to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. In the end Fielder didn’t ask and Griffey left him alone. “Prince is his own man,” Griffey said. “You can't jeopardize relationships. If he had asked me about it, I would have talked about it.”
  • The Athletics want to take a real look at Josh Donaldson at third base and are unlikely to explore the free agent market for third basemen any time soon, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Miguel Tejada has said he’d like the chance to return to Oakland, but a reunion seems unlikely.
  • Jorge Cantu’s contract with the Angels includes a May 1st opt-out date, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com tweets.

Angels Sign Jorge Cantu To Minor League Deal

The Angels have signed Jorge Cantu to a minor league contract, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that the two sides were close to an agreement.

Cantu, who turns 30 on January 30, posted a .194/.232/.285 slash line in 155 plate appearances for the Padres last season before being released and finishing the year with the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs.  Cantu has played mostly first and third base in his Major League career and is still capable of playing second on a limited basis. 

Cantu isn't far removed from a very productive stint with the Marlins (a .283/.336/.462 line and 45 homers in 2008-09) and gives the Angels a more powerful option at third than incumbent Alberto Callaspo.  Cantu could also provide backup for Albert Pujols at first, given that Mark Trumbo is still recovering from a stress fracture in his foot and Kendrys Morales' health is a question mark after missing the last season and a half.

DiGiovanna also reports that the Angels have signed Doug Deeds to a minor league contract.  Deeds is still looking for his first cup of coffee in the Majors after posting a career .843 OPS in 3722 minor league plate appearances in the Twins, Cubs, D'Backs and Rangers organizations.


Angels, Jorge Cantu Nearing Deal

The Angels are nearing a deal with free agent infielder Jorge Cantu, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Wasserman Media Group represents the 29-year-old.

Cantu hit 28 homers in 2005 and 29 homers in 2008, but has struggled to produce at the plate since then. Cantu signed with the Padres for $850K about a year ago, but they designated him for assignment and the Rockies picked him up. He posted a .194/.232/.285 line in 155 plate appearances for San Diego, appearing at first, second and third base. Cantu, a right-handed hitter, has hit lefties and righties at a nearly identical clip over the course of his eight-year career.


Rockies Sign Jorge Cantu

The Rockies took a momentary break from the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes yesterday in order to sign veteran infielder Jorge Cantu to a minor league contract, according to Hector Bencomo at the Mexican magazine Puro Béisbol (link in Spanish). Bencomo reports that Cantu will head to a Triple-A affiliate but could earn the chance to start at third base for the Rockies, adding that the signing is "without a doubt" connected to the presence of another longtime Colorado infielder of Mexican descent, Vinny Castilla, as an adviser in the Rockies front office.

Cantu, 30, was released by the Padres in June after batting .194/.232/.285 in 155 plate appearances, splitting time mainly between third and first base. He was a legitimate source of power for the Marlins as recently as 2009, but struggled both in Florida and in Texas in 2010. In his career, he has a .261/.286/.391 line at Coors Field, nothing Castilla-like, but a step up from the .221/.273/.368 put up by Rockies third basemen this season. Ty Wigginton has been getting starts most recently at the hot corner for Colorado, after Ian Stewart faltered in his most recent promotion.

To read the latest hot stove news en español, check out MLBTR's sister site Rumores de Béisbol.


Padres Request Release Waivers For Jorge Cantu

The Padres announced that they have requested unconditional release waivers on Jorge Cantu, who was designated for assignment last Thursday. In related moves, the team designated Luis Durango for assignment, optioned Wade LeBlanc to the minor leagues, placed Brad Hawpe on the 15-day DL, recalled Kyle Phillips and promoted Josh Spence.

Cantu hit .194/.232/285 in 155 plate appearances this year, playing some first, second and third. The 29-year-old signed with the Padres in January, but was unable to reverse the offensive struggles that intensified last year. Cantu had a .788 OPS as recently as 2009, but he has just a .223/.260/.312 line in 382 plate appearances over the course of the last calendar year.


Padres Designate Jorge Cantu For Assignment

The Padres have designated infielder Jorge Cantu for assignment, reports Ted Mendenhall II of ESPN Radio 1700 San Diego (Twitter link).  As Mendenhall notes, the move opens a spot on San Diego's 40-man roster.

Cantu signed an $850K contract with San Diego in January and he hit just .194/.232/285 in 155 plate appearances for the Friars, making 37 starts (26 at first, 10 at third and one at second).  His versatility may entice another team to give him a look but his numbers have tailed off considerably since his .289/.345/.443 performance with Florida in 2009.