Jorge Soler Rumors
- "Vladimir Guerrero has made it known to the Yankees that he wants their DH spot," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but Raul Ibanez remains the frontrunner. Ibanez had a slightly worse 2011 season, but the Yankees seem to prefer his left-handed bat.
- The Cubs and Red Sox submitted briefs regarding the Theo Epstein compensation issue, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and a decision could come this week.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told WEEI after the Ortiz settlement that he doesn't expect any major moves between now and when pitchers and catchers report Sunday, but added, "We're still working on some stuff." WEEI's Rob Bradford hears there's still no traction with Roy Oswalt.
- Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira will still fly to the Dominican Republic this weekend to scout six Cuban players, including outfielder Jorge Soler, he told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. The Orioles had interest in Yoenis Cespedes, but Ferreira isn't surprised or disappointed about not getting him.
- Matt Moore, Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado, Travis d'Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Manny Banuelos, Xander Bogaerts, Gary Sanchez, Brandon Jacobs, Daniel Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Dellin Betances, Hak-Ju Lee, Anthony Gose, Jonathan Schoop, Noah Syndergaard, Ryan Lavarnway, and Mason Williams are the division's best prospects, based on Kevin Goldstein's recently-released top 101 prospects list for Baseball Prospectus. Jacobs, Norris, and Syndergaard didn't merit mentions on Keith Law's top 100 or his "just missed" list for ESPN. On the other hand, Law included Drew Hutchison, Chris Archer, Enny Romero, Mikie Mahtook, Taylor Guerrieri, Aaron Sanchez, and Blake Swihart on his list and Goldstein did not.
The Marlins are exchanging contract figures with 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and two National League sources tell MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that the Cubs are no longer seriously in the mix. Chicago has apparently shifted its focus to 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, though he is not yet eligible for free agency.
Upon his recent visit to Miami, the Marlins made Cespedes an offer that was initially reported to exceed $40MM. That number has since been denied, and Frisaro confirms that the offer was under $40MM, saying the Fish are comfortable with a number in the $30-35MM range.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are willing to spend as much as $27.5MM to land Soler, though Frisaro's sources are unclear on the number of years they'd offer. New Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have already made one significant international splash this offseason, signing 18-year-old Cuban Gerardo Concepcion to a $7MM contract with another million dollars of incentives.
- The Red Sox signed 17-year-old Australian Daniel McGrath, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. The left-hander will visit Boston's Spring Training camp for a week before returning to finish high school in Australia. Bradford hears 15 MLB teams had interest before Boston completed the deal.
- Even after signing Hall, the Yankees continue to be focused on Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Last night we learned that they were in serious talks with Ibanez, and Heyman says the Yankees are in excellent position because all of their targets have interest in playing for a contender.
- Meanwhile, Joel Sherman of The New York Post reports that the Yankees are not offering more than $2MM for a DH-type and might not even want to spend more than $1MM.
- Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira will watch Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler in the Dominican Republic when he travels to watch Yoenis Cespedes play, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports.
- Dayan Viciedo says he tried to recruit fellow Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler for the White Sox, tweets Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune. Cespedes appears to be drawing substantial interest from Chicago’s other team.
- The representatives for Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibanez contacted the Yankees about their DH opening, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff tweets. The Yankees have also been in touch with the representatives for Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, though they aren’t inclined to spend big on a DH.
- Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com has the salary breakdown for Gio Gonzalez’s recent five-year, $42MM extension (Twitter link). The Nationals have two $12MM options for 2017 and 2018, Gonzalez’s second and third free agent years.
- Brewers GM Doug Melvin said right fielder Corey Hart will be asked if he's willing to play some games at first base, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mat Gamel is the Brewers’ projected first baseman, since Prince Fielder will almost certainly sign elsewhere.
Four of the five American League East teams could use starting pitching depth and though the Rays have enviable rotation depth, they need a bat or two. Here are the details on the division, starting with Tampa Bay...
- Coco Crisp, who agreed to a two-year, $14MM deal with the Athletics yesterday, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the Rays were a finalist for him (Twitter links). Tampa Bay was “in heavy on” the outfielder, but Oakland presented the better offer, according to Slusser.
- Carlos Silva would earn a base salary of $1MM if he makes his way onto Boston’s roster, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Silva, whose minor league deal with the Red Sox was announced yesterday, “will be part of a competition in Spring Training” GM Ben Cherington said.
- The Red Sox have scouted both Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler, but they’re likely to pass on Cespedes and bid for Soler instead, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Red Sox are intrigued by Soler’s talent and they don’t like Cespedes’ asking price.
- Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima appears to seek a couple of million dollars per season on a multiyear deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Heyman points out that Eric Chavez is an alternative for the Yankees if they don't work out a deal with Nakajima by this Friday's deadline.
- Click here for details on the Orioles.
It was on this day in 2009 that the Mets signed Jason Bay to a four-year, $66MM contract. The deal was almost immediately panned as one of the worst moves of the 2009-10 offseason and time has proven the critics right; Bay has hit just .251/.337/.386 in two injury-plagued years in New York.
Some news items as we head closer to 2012...
- Ryan Madson is "the loser of the offseason," writes Fangraphs' Eric Seidman. With no obvious teams still in need of a long-term closer, Seidman thinks Madson may have to settle for a one-year contract and try again for a multiyear deal next winter. 32.36% of MLBTR readers polled believe Madson will sign with the Angels, with just under 21% picking 'other' and 17.55% picking the Reds. Though LAA and Cincinnati have cheaper closing options in the fold already, they're also looking to win now. They'd both surely jump at Madson on a one-year deal and are probably Madson's only realistic suitors for a multiyear contract, though who knows what Scott Boras may yet pull out of his hat. (The 'other' voters clearly know all about Boras' relationship with the Mystery Team.)
- The Phillies aren't likely to bid on Yoenis Cespedes and Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that Jorge Soler (the other intriguing Cuban outfield prospect on the market the winter) is also too unproven and expensive for the potential $20MM+ contract he could receive from a team.
- Also from Brookover, he lists Jonny Gomes and Scott Hairston as potential targets for the Phillies as the team looks for a fifth outfielder. If the Phils want to spend more to fill the spot, Brookover suggests Cody Ross and Ryan Ludwick.
- The Rangers' January 18 deadline for signing Yu Darvish is also the day the "logjam will break" for Prince Fielder, opines Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. If the Rangers can't sign Darvish, they "will be all over Fielder" to counter the Angels' signing of Albert Pujols.
- There are "roughly six teams that have shown consistent interest" in Wei-Yin Chen, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles are one, the Pirates presumably still another, and the other four are yet unknown.
- Also from Connolly's piece, he predicts Edwin Jackson will find at least a four-year contract on the free agent market and notes that while "Jackson's upside intrigues the Orioles," team management has shied away from that long a commitment to free agent pitchers in the past.
- Pirates closer (and MLBTR fan) Joel Hanrahan tells Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he doesn't expect to receive a long-term contract offer from the Bucs this winter. Hanrahan is projected to earn around $4MM this winter in his second trip through the arbitration process. He said the team hasn't made contact with him or his representatives yet about his 2012 contract, but this was also the case during his first taste of arbitration last year.
The Athletics have strong interest in five-tool Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. She says Yoenis Cespedes' price tag is too high for the A's, and his desire for either a four or ten-year deal doesn't work for them.
Soler, 19, has also been linked to the Yankees, Phillies, Nationals, Cubs, and Rangers this offseason. Nationals Director of International Scouting Johnny DiPuglia has watched Soler for years, and told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, "He’s got a Hanley Ramirez-type body. Plus arm. Plus bat speed. He’s a good kid, a good-energy kid." Though Soler would need more minor league seasoning, it's been written he could have more upside than Cespedes. Soler is younger and more talented than the Rangers' Leonys Martin, wrote Baseball America's Jim Callis, so he figures to beat Martin's $15.6MM contract. Callis notes that the $2.9MM international signing cap installed in the new CBA doesn't begin until the 2012-13 signing period, so as long as Soler signs before July 2nd, there are no limitations.
Slusser also adds to the A's-San Jose story in another article. She talked to former Giants general managing partner Peter Magowan, who thinks San Jose is "wishful thinking" for the A's. She also learned from A's owner Lew Wolff and others that the stadium issue is not on the agenda for the owners' meetings in two weeks.
- If the high bid for Yu Darvish is substantial, "he will be far less likely to settle on a contract he believes fair," Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes. Darvish, who believes the posting system is unfair, would prefer to play for a West Coast team, Passan reports.
- Some teams prefer Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler to Yoenis Cespedes, Jim Callis of Baseball America writes. Had Soler been available in the 2010 amateur draft, Callis expects he would have been a top-five selection. Callis compares Soler to Royals outfield prospect Bubba Starling and says he's more talented than Leonys Martin of the Rangers.
The latest from the NL East:
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel hears that bidding for Jorge Soler could end up over $20MM and doesn't expect the Marlins to be involved at that price (Twitter link).
- The Mets have asked around and not received "even minor interest" for Jason Bay, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- A reunion of Endy Chavez and the Mets seems less likely following the club's acquisition of Andres Torres, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Mariners, Rangers, or Orioles could be landing spots for Chavez, says MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin tweets a similar notion, stating that a reunion between Chavez and the Mets is "not impossible" but that he's also not forecasting it (Twitter link).
- GM Mike Rizzo told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that the Nationals are "definitely" interested in Adam Jones and have done their homework on him (Twitter link). Orioles GM Dan Duquette has said he doesn't plan to deal Jones, however.
- The Nationals did add one outfielder today, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, who says the Nats signed Brett Carroll to a minor league deal (Twitter link).
- While the Winter Meetings have been quiet for the Braves, GM Frank Wren points out that there will still be plenty of time left in the offseason to make deals after this week. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution has the quotes.
- O'Brien also shares a Q&A with Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that touches on trade rumors, Jason Heyward, and a few other topics.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick posted a must read feature on a pair of Cuban outfielders today, 26-year-old Yoenis Cespedes and 19-year-old Jorge Soler. You do not need Insider to view the article. Here's a roundup of the pertinent hot stove news...
- Cespedes is moving closer to establishing residency in the Dominican Republic, which will then allow him to apply for free agency through MLB. His agent, Adam Katz of the Wasserman Media Group, declined to pinpoint a timetable for when that might happen.
- "The buzz in baseball circles is that it will take north of $50 million to sign Cespedes," says Crasnick, who notes that estimates have climbed higher in recent weeks.
- A large number of teams have expressed interest in signing Cespedes, and Crasnick says about two-thirds of those teams project him to play center field. The rest expect him to shift to right.
- Some clubs have turned their attention to Soler as Cespedes' price climbs, but Pirates director of Latin American scouting Rene Gayo says Soler is "not in the same class."
- "[Cespedes is] more likely to hit 30 homers than hit .300 and probably compares best to somebody like Cameron Maybin, but with more power if less range and speed," said one executive. "He's stronger and more stocky and may end up on an outfield corner in a few years, but for now he can play center field … For a club like the Yankees or Boston who can afford those investments, he makes some sense.''