Jose Dariel Abreu Rumors

Rosenthal’s Latest: Sandoval, Pirates, Cubs, Abreu

Here are a few tidbits from Ken Rosenthal's latest video from FOX Sports:

  • There aren't many good third base options available this offseason (Chase Headley is available, and Aramis Ramirez has a mutual option), so retaining Pablo Sandoval makes sense for the Giants.
  • Rosenthal wonders if the Pirates could sign either Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales after the draft in June, at which point they wouldn't have to worry about the draft-pick forfeiture attached to each of them. After a quiet offseason, the Pirates should have the financial wherewithal to pursue a bigger-name player. In a tiny sample size, Jordy Mercer has not hit well so far this year as the Pirates' starting shortstop. The team is currently platooning Travis Ishikawa and Gaby Sanchez at first base.
  • Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are off to good starts with the Cubs, who could trade either player by the end of July. The Cubs dealt Matt Garza and Scott Feldman in-season last year, and Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm the previous season.
  • Tyler Thornburg is off to an excellent start out of the Brewers' bullpen, which makes clear why they were unwilling to trade him to the Mets this offseason.
  • In a separate video, Rosenthal says that five teams bid upwards of $60MM for Jose Abreu: the White Sox, Astros, Rockies, Brewers and Red Sox. The Red Sox still wanted to keep Mike Napoli, however, which would have meant that Abreu might have started the season in the minors if he had signed with them. Abreu is currently hitting .273/.365/.659 in his first couple weeks with the White Sox.

Quick Hits: Angels, Alderson, Dodgers, Ruiz, White Sox

In a must-read piece for ESPN The Magazine, Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus provides a riveting look into the Angels' efforts to turn around the organization's languishing farm system. Focusing on the philosophies of assistant GM (and former big leaguer) Scott Servais, Miller explores how the Halos hope to emulate the shockingly simple methods of the Cardinals while infusing deep, data-driven analysis into their player-development efforts. 

Here are more links from around the game to finish the day:

  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson hopes to stay in his role for two or three more years, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post. The 66-year-old, who took the helm in October of 2010, is currently under contract for the following season with a club option for 2015.
  • New Dodgers TV network SportsNet LA has yet to reach agreement with many local pay-TV distributors, reports Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, which means that a majority of Los Angeles viewers would be without Dodgers games if the season started today. Though the network expressed confidence that deals will be in place by the onset of the 2014 campaign, Flint explains that negotiations promise to be tense.
  • In an interesting profile of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that little notice was given to the fact that Ruiz has been cleared by MLB to use Adderall in the coming season. That is the very substance for which Ruiz was suspended at the start of last season. Brookover paints a picture of a genuinely passionate backstop who is ready to earn his new three-year, $26MM contract.
  • A major factor in the White Sox' rebuilding plans is number-two starter Jose Quintana. As MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes, the work of scouts Daraka Shaheed and Joe Siers was responsible for bringing Quintana into the Chicago organization as a minor league free agent from the Yankees, and for setting him on the trajectory to serve as a starter. The 25-year-old, who notched a 3.51 ERA in an even 200 innings last year, is likely to become arbitration-eligible next season as a Super Two. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at the excellent work of Shaheed and Siers in examining the increasing number of Major League deals for minor league free agents.
  • Busy as the Sox were this off-season, no single addition carries as much risk (and, perhaps, upside) as 27-year-old first baseman Jose Abreu. As Merkin reports, the big Cuban — who inked a six-year, $68MM deal in late October — has drawn rave early reviews for his professionalism both at the plate and in terms of effort.

Quick Hits: Lambin, White Sox, Yankees, Tanaka

Infielder Chase Lambin is looking to latch on with a team on a minor league deal, MLBTR has learned. The 34-year-old is the oldest active minor leaguer without any Major League experience despite a solid .272/.345/.438 career line in the minor leagues. Lambin played well in 24 games for the independent Atlantic League's Sugar Land Skeeters in 2013, leading to a minor league deal with the Royals, where he appeared in 22 games at the Triple-A level. After 11 seasons in the minors (and one in Japan), Lambin still hopes to achieve his dream of donning a Major League uniform. Here are some more notes from around baseball.

  • The White Sox aren't likely to pursue Masahiro Tanaka, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com writes. The money may be prohibitive, and it would be surprising if the White Sox were to take huge risks on both Tanaka and Jose Dariel Abreu in essentially the same offseason.
  • Abreu impressed his new organization at the team's minicamp, reports MLB.com's Cash Kruth. "We try to keep in mind that it's Jan. 14 and we still have a ways to go," says GM Rick Hahn. "But just watching Jose go through his work, you saw that professionalism as well as the plus-plus power on display today in only his first couple of rounds of BP. He's a very serious hitter."
  • The Yankees' brass agrees it needs to add talent to its rotation, but still hasn't reached a consensus about Masahiro Tanaka, Dan Martin of the New York Post writes. "We’ll find out soon enough, but it’s not like he’s a sure-fire thing," says one team official. "I’d like to think so, but I’m not convinced." Martin notes, however, that the Yankees haven't seriously pursued Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • Chone Figgins worked out for teams on Wednesday in Tampa, and the Twins were in attendance, 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson tweets. The Dodgers watched as well, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes. Figgins, who will be 36 next week, did not play in the Majors in 2013 after struggling through the 2010-2012 seasons with the Mariners.

Steve Adams contributed to the intro to this post.



Marlins Links: Morrison, Qualls, Cishek, Hill, Abreu

Yesterday, MLBTR's Matt Swartz detailed why he projects Giancarlo Stanton will earn $4.8MM in arbitration this offseason.  It's a number that could fluctuate, as Swartz notes that Stanton's salary could range between $4-6MM and that he could earn more from a new team if he's traded, as his new club would likely want to avoid "breaking rapport with an ugly negotiation."  Here's some more on the team from South Beach…

  • Logan Morrison is receiving a lot of trade interest, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report (Twitter links).  Morrison was Miami's most asked-about player at the GM Meetings besides Stanton, and while no deal is close, the Marlins are listening to offers.  Morrison is projected to earn a modest $1.7MM in his first time through the arbitration process and hit .242/.333/.375 in 333 PA last season.
  • The Marlins are interested in re-signing right-hander Chad Qualls, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports.  Qualls posted a 2.61 ERA, 2.58 K/BB, and 7.1 K/9 in 62 relief innings last season, and the veteran reliever "is weighing all of his options" in free agency.
  • Also from Frisaro, closer Steve Cishek is "not available as a trade piece."  The Marlins were adamant about keeping Cishek last summer and it appears their stance has not changed, even though Cishek will get expensive as a Super Two player.  Cishek is projected to earn $3.2MM as a first-time arbitration eligible player this offseason.
  • Michael Hill, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, told The Miami Herald's Clark Spencer that his club would prefer to acquire experienced players who still have three or more years of team control remaining.  That Major League experience is key, Hill said: "We want talent, but we’ve done our prospect deals. We’re trying to get better and acquire players that help us now, and in the future."
  • Hill also seemed to hint that Justin Ruggiano could be a trade chip this offseason.
  • The Marlins weren't very close to signing Jose Dariel Abreu, Spencer reports.  Miami "dropped out of the bidding early" after they "made a legitimate initial offer" for the Cuban slugger.  Abreu eventually signed a six-year, $68MM deal with the White Sox.

White Sox Won’t Trade Sale, Garcia, Quintana

As the White Sox look to rebound from their 99-loss season, everyone is available on the trade block.  Well, almost everyone.  Avisail Garcia, Chris SaleJose Quintana, and the newly-acquired Jose Dariel Abreu are off limits, executives told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.

Meanwhile, multiple MLB execs confirmed that the White Sox are open to any and all avenues to reconstruct the roster, outside of moving those four players, of course.  General Manager Rick Hahn wouldn't comment on three of the four but he did take the time to say that Sale is off limits.

There’s a group of guys that we feel are part of our long-term success and having Chris at the front of our rotation we think is a big part of that potential for success,” Hahn said. “Obviously he’s signed for the next six years if we exercise both his options and we fully intend to win within that window. So while we have to not close off any avenues and have to hear other clubs when there is certain valuable commodities, moving him is not something we’re looking to do.

While those players apparently won't be going anywhere, trades involving second baseman Gordon Beckham, shortstop Alexei Ramirez, and outfielder Alejandro De Aza might make sense.


Astros Notes: Luhnow, Free Agents, Abreu, Castro

The Astros might not aim on contending in 2014, but don't be surprised if Houston is one of the offseason's busier teams as the team continues its extensive rebuilding project.  Evan Drellich of the Houstron Chronicle has the latest from Astros GM Jeff Luhnow…

  • The Astros will look to add some pop to their lineup, Luhnow said, with the outfield being the most logical spot given that most of their infield is set.
  • The club could also add a hitter to the first base/DH mix, which is why Luhnow said the Astros were contenders for Jose Dariel Abreu, who ended up signing a six-year, $68MM deal with the White Sox.  “We pursued that player and we came up short,” Luhnow said. “That particular case was interesting because the player’s never played in the United States, but the track record in Cuba is pretty impressive, and we had done our homework and felt like that player should produce immediately.”
  • The Astros intend to raise their 2014 payroll, and Luhnow said this allows the team to pursue some new avenues.  “We have the resources to sign players and agents reach out no matter what,” Luhnow said. “(The level of communication has) not changed. We’re able to engage in a lot more conversations that we weren’t the past couple years. It opens up a different caliber of pool of players for us.”
  • The Astros' first overall draft pick is protected but the team would still have to give up its second round pick if they signed a free agent who has rejected a qualifying offer.  Luhnow said the Astros would "have to think hard" about giving up such a valuable young asset for such a veteran who could help immediately but would come at a high price.  There have been rumors that Houston is willing to make a big splash this winter by pursuing Shin-Soo Choo.
  • Whle the Astros are still focused on adding young talent, they could be open to trading some of that young talent if they feel they have a surplus in a certain area.  "So we’re not going to do anything to block any of our players or disrupt their development. But you can argue that we’re in a position where we have some areas of excess in terms of future talent, and we could potentially use some of that to get something," Luhnow said.
  • The team hasn't begun talks with Jason Castro's representatives about a long-term extension and none are expected until around January when arbitration decisions are nearing, Luhnow said.  Castro is arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and is Houston's lone remaining arb-eligible player.  MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Castro to receive a $2.2MM salary for 2014.

Giants Notes: Abreu, Vogelsong, Lopez, Tanaka, Belt

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com participated in a live chat with fans today and shared a number of Giants-related hot stove items…

  • The Giants "went hard after" Jose Dariel Abreu and offered the Cuban slugger a contract that paid him roughly the same average annual value of his six-year, $68MM deal with the White Sox.  The catch was that the Giants' offer wasn't six years long as they didn't want to make that long a commitment to a player that is projected by many scouts to be a future designated hitter.
  • Ryan Vogelsong's $6.5MM option won't be picked up by the Giants but Baggarly thinks the veteran righty will re-sign on a cheaper one-year deal with incentives.
  • There is mutual interest between the Giants and Javier Lopez, and the money saved by declining Vogelsong's option could help the club afford the veteran southpaw.
  • The Giants are "probably not" realistic players for Masahiro Tanaka, as Baggarly figures that his posting price will exceed what the Giants are willing to offer, plus big spenders like the Dodgers and Yankees are in the mix.  Baggarly reported in August that San Francisco had an interest in the Japanese righty.
  • Brandon Belt could be approached about a contract extension in Spring Training but the Giants will just work out a one-year deal in the meantime to cover Belt's first year of arbitration eligibility.  MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Belt to earn $2.4MM in 2014 and MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggests that Allen Craig's extension could be a model for a Belt extension, though with some adjustments since Belt is a Super Two player.
  • The Giants are looking only for "reliable innings guys" in their rotation so the likes of Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson and Josh Johnson will only draw the club's interest if they're healthy.
  • Though the Giants are looking for a right-handed power bat and might trade prospects to get one, the club is unlikely to move the likes of Kyle Crick, Edwin Escobar or Adalberto Mejia.
  • When it comes to left field, the Giants may prioritize defense.  Baggarly expects San Francisco to look for a left fielder in a trade rather than free agency.
  • Baggarly hasn't heard Scott Kazmir's name mentioned as a possibility in San Francisco.
  • Mark Trumbo "has his admirers in the [Giants] front office."  While the Angels are known to be willing to move Trumbo for young pitching talent, I'm not sure the Giants are a good trade partner given that they're looking for arms themselves.
  • Given Marco Scutaro's age, Brandon Phillips "makes a lot of sense" for the Giants.  Baggarly makes it clear that he's only speculating, however.  Phillips is rumored to be on the shopping block but Reds GM Walt Jocketty recently denied that he's talked about Phillips with other teams.
  • The Giants are very unlikely to surrender their first round (14th overall) draft pick to sign a free agent who has rejected a qualifying offer.  This could have a major impact on the chances of the team pursuing Bronson Arroyo, who could be extended a qualifying offer by the Reds.  Baggarly feels that Arroyo and Dan Haren are the free agent pitchers who are most likely to be San Francisco targets.
  • Recent Pablo Sandoval trade rumors are "total scuttlebutt," in Baggarly's opinion.

NL Notes: Mozeliak, Mets, Zambrano

John Mozeliak followed an unusual career path that led him to the Cardinals' GM job, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post writes. Mozeliak's career in baseball began when a connection led to him taking then-Rockies pitcher Bryn Smith on a fly-fishing trip. That led to an invitation to pitch batting practice for the Rockies, and from there, Mozeliak worked his way into baseball operations. He headed to St. Louis in 1995, after Rockies assistant GM Walt Jocketty took the Cardinals' GM job. Mozeliak then took over for Jocketty in 2007 and has since led the Cardinals to one World Series title. Now, of course, they're pursuing a second one. Here are more notes from around the National League.

  • Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon says that his team would have made an offer to Jose Dariel Abreu if he were a corner outfielder rather than a first baseman, Newsday's Marc Carig tweets. The Mets could certainly use a powerful corner outfielder, but they also have little stability at first base, where Ike Davis and Lucas Duda were disappointing last season. Wilpon also told Carig the Mets had a "glut" of first basemen, but none of them performed particularly well last year, perhaps with the exception of depth piece Josh Satin. One wonders why these players might have impeded the Mets from making a major signing.
  • Wilpon says the Mets have received calls from teams trying to trade for a first baseman, tweets Carig.
  • Former Cubs star Carlos Zambrano wants to keep pitching, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. "He’s playing winter ball and wants to continue his career," says agent Barry Praver. Zambrano, who last appeared in the big leagues in 2012 with the Marlins, pitched in the Phillies system in 2013, but his comeback attempt stalled due to shoulder issues.

AL Central Notes: Cabrera, Konerko, Abreu, Twins

The Tigers announced today that Miguel Cabrera underwent successful core muscle repair surgery (a.k.a. sports hernia surgery) this morning. The operation was performed by Dr. Bill Meyers in Phialdelphia, and Cabrera's timetable for recovery is expected to be six to eight weeks. The Tigers anticipate that their perennial MVP candidate will be healthy in time for Spring Training. Here's more out of the AL Central…

  • At today's press conference to announce the signing of Jose Dariel Abreu, White Sox general manager flatly said that the Abreu signing does not preclude the team from bringing back Paul Konerko in 2014. Hahn added that he spoke with Konerko about the potential of signing Abreu back in September, and Konerko was his first call after they had officially reached an agreement with Abreu.
  • Also from the conference, Abreu himself stated (through his translator) that the history of Cuban players finding success in the White Sox organization was an important element for him in choosing to sign with the Sox.
  • Abreu's agent, Barry Praver, tells Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago that eight teams made offers to his client, and five of the offers hit $60MM (Twitter link). It's already been reported that the Rockies were surprise contenders, offering $63MM over six years.
  • Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks at the Twins recent hiring of Larry Corrigan, noting that he is the latest of GM Terry Ryan's former associates to be brought back into the fold. Corrigan had served as a Major League special assignment scout for the Angels but declined a one-year extension, according to Berardino. Ryan has also brought former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky back to the Minnesota front office as a special assistant. The three men were at the helm for the Twins from 1995-2005 and played a large role in building the successful core that brought the Twins to prominence in the 2000s. Corrigan has spent more than two decades with the Twins in the past, signing both Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins.

White Sox Sign Jose Dariel Abreu

The White Sox have officially announced the signing of Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68MM contract. According to the team's official release, the first baseman will receive a $10MM signing bonus before earning $7MM in 2014-15, $10MM in 2016, $10.5MM in 2017, $11.5MM in 2018 and $12MM in 2019. Abreu, who isrepresented by Praver Shapiro Sports Management, can opt out of the guaranteed salaries in lieu of arbitration after three years if he wishes, according to Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (on Twitter).

Within the release, White Sox GM Rick Hahn offered the following quote:

"We are very excited to add a talent like Jose to our roster for the next several years. His skill set should translate very well to our ballpark, and we expect him to be a part of successful White Sox teams throughout his time in Chicago."

The Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, Marlins and Giants all reportedly showed interest in Abreu. The White Sox, however, were able to lure him with a contract that's the biggest ever for an international free agent. The contract easily tops the seven-year, $42MM contract Yasiel Puig received from the Dodgers last year.

Abreu, 26, posted video-game-like numbers in Cuba's Serie Nacional, and his power is very highly regarded. Athletics assistant GM David Forst, for example, favorably compared Abreu to Ryan Howard. Some experts have had concerns about Abreu's bat speed, however, and many have been critical of his athleticism and defense. Tim Dierkes' free agent profile predicted Abreu would get six years and $54MM.

In the short term, the signing should help the White Sox generate fan excitement after a miserable 99-loss season in 2013. Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn shared the first base position for the White Sox last season, and both struggled. Konerko is now a free agent, and it's unclear whether he will return next year. If he does, he could get at bats at designated hitter. The White Sox still owe Dunn $15MM for 2014.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports originally reported (via Twitter) that Abreu would sign for six years and $68MM, and that the White Sox were the likely team. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez was the first to confirm the official agreement and that the White Sox were indeed the signing team (also on Twitter).

Steve Adams contributed to this post.