Jose Reyes Rumors

Quick Hits: Kuroda, Pagan, Reyes, Buehrle

Here's the latest from around baseball as we head into the weekend…

  • Hiroki Kuroda has told friends that his preference is to pitch in southern California to be near his daughters' grade school, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.  Saxon speculates this could make the Dodgers and Angels the favorites for Kuroda's services, with the Dodgers having the "presumptive edge" with Kuroda due to their past history.
  • Angel Pagan could sign before the start of the Winter Meetings on December 3, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.  Pagan's suitors include "many of the same clubs" who are interested in fellow free agent B.J. Upton, a market that includes the Phillies, Braves and Nationals.  The Giants are also in the mix to bring Pagan back to San Francisco.
  • Also from Rosenthal, the Marlins made verbal promises to Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle that neither would be traded when Miami was courting the two as free agents last winter.  The promises were made in place of formal no-trade clauses, which the Marlins don't hand out as a matter of club policy.  Reyes and Buehrle, of course, were traded to the Blue Jays on Tuesday as part of the big 12-player deal that has yet to be officially confirmed by the league.
  • Right-hander Ramon Ramirez will no longer be represented by the ACES agency, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Ramirez is the latest of several players to recently switch from ACES, which may be due to MLB's ongoing investigation of the agency for its alleged role in the Melky Cabrera fake website scandal, though the players' union cleared ACES earlier this month.
  • Dodgers president Stan Kasten discussed such topics as his plans for the club's minor league system, his career history and MLB labor issues with Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels talked with Michael Moye (Josh Hamilton's agent) earlier this week, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, though it seems as if both sides were just checking in on the other.
  • The Blue Jays have generated the most headlines of any team this offseason, but FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi notes some of the holes the Jays still have to fill.

Marlins Notes: Samson, Nolasco, Boras, D’Backs

The baseball world is still reacting to Tuesday's stunning trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays, and here's the latest batch of news out of south Florida…

  • Team president David Samson discussed the trade, management's reasoning behind the move and how the Marlins are reacting to the negative publicity in a radio interview with Dan Le Batard on 790 AM Radio (Steven Cuce of SportsRadioInterviews.com has a partial transcript).
  • Also from the interview (passed on by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post), Samson said that Ricky Nolasco won't be traded this winter and will be a Marlin in 2013 unless "the phone rings and something crazy happens."
  • The Marlins' team policy of not giving no-trade clauses has kept Scott Boras from directing his clients to Miami for the last 16 years, Boras tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  "I've never had a franchise player there because it was just not something my client wanted to risk," Boras said. "They (Marlins executives) were always upfront about it. They told me, 'We don't do no-trade clauses.' But it's very difficult to sell an expectancy to a player knowing that it might last for only one year."
  • The Marlins talked to the Diamondbacks about Jose Reyes before eventually including Reyes in the Toronto deal, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  The D'Backs are known to be looking for help at third base and shortstop, despite acquiring Cliff Pennington earlier this month.  We heard yesterday that Miami had also discussed Reyes with the Red Sox prior to the big trade.

Red Sox Links: Ross, Reyes, Nolasco, Morrison

Here's the latest out of Boston…



Blue Jays To Acquire Johnson, Reyes, Buehrle From Marlins

The Blue Jays have reached agreement on a deal with the Marlins that will send right-hander Josh Johnson, left-hander Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck to Toronto for shortstop Yunel Escobar, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino, outfielder Jake Marisnick, catcher Jeff Mathis, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.  The deal, which will also call for the Marlins to send $4MM to the Blue Jays, is awaiting MLB approval.

The shocking trade effectively means that the Marlins are hitting the reset button on a team which had a payroll in the range of $100MM on Opening Day last season.  The Marlins brought out the checkbook last winter to draw fans to their brand new stadium, signing Reyes to a six-year, $106MM deal and Buehrle to a four-year, $58MM deal.  Neither player had a no-trade clause as per club policy.  Miami now has roughly $16MM in non-arbitration commitments heading into 2013.

Meanwhile, the blockbuster deal could make the Blue Jays a serious threat in the AL East.   Johnson, the first player first known to be involved in the deal, turned in a solid 2012 season after missing the bulk of 2011 with inflammation in his right shoulder.  The 28-year-old wasn't as quite as sharp as he was in 2009 and '10 but still posted a 3.81 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he obviously didn't receive from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production came back to earth in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a boatload of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto brass ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

The trade was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports with additional details coming from ESPN.com's Buster Olney, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, and Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.


NL East Links: Dickey, Nationals, Contracts

It was on this day in 1997 that the state of Florida got its first taste of the Fall Classic, as the Marlins hosted Game One of the 1997 World Series.  The Marlins got off to a winning start, scoring a 7-4 victory over the Indians and eventally capturing their first title after seven dramatic games.  Here's the latest from around the NL East…

  • "[R.A. Dickey's] situation does not compare to any in baseball history," writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, noting Dickey's late-career success, the historical precedent of knuckleballers pitching well past age 40 and the price of high-quality pitching.  Dickey, 38, underwent minor surgery today to correct a torn abdominal muscle, a procedure that won't factor into the Mets' decision about signing Dickey to a multiyear contract.  The Mets hold a $5MM club option on Dickey for 2013, but DiComo thinks that if an extension can't be reached, the Mets could think it better to trade Dickey rather than pick up the option and see him potentially leave after the season.
  • Adam LaRoche's free agency creates some questions surrounding the Nationals' first base and left field situation, writes Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com.  The Nats could let LaRoche go and install Tyler Moore in left or at first, or they could re-sign LaRoche and either keep Moore on the bench or possibly use Michael Morse as trade bait. 
  • Carlos Beltran, his agent Dan Lozano and the Giants have been arguing over how much contact the Giants had with Beltran last winter, a dispute that Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog argues "speaks to the disconnect in language between reality, reporting and how sports fans form opinions about what goes on in the free agent and trade market."  Cerrone uses last offseason's negotiations between the Marlins, Mets and Jose Reyes as an example.

Quick Hits: Mets, Reyes, Cardinals, Escobar

If you're among MLBTR's 202,000 Twitter followers then thanks for following. If you aren’t yet following, we’d recommend it. But you don't have to take our word for it. Sports Illustrated named @mlbtraderumors one of the 100 essential Twitter accounts for those seeking “news, information and entertainment from the sports world.” Here are today’s links…

  • MLB is nearing agreements with FOX and Turner Sports on new eight-year broadcasting contracts according to the AP (via ESPN). Revenue from the two networks is likely to double to $800MM annually.
  • Commissioner Bud Selig isn’t worried about the Mets, Newsday's Marc Carig reports (Twitterlinks). "I don't consider the Mets a problem in any way, shape or manner,” Selig said. “They're on the right track." Selig went on to express confidence in the Wilpon family and general manager Sandy Alderson.
  • The Mets should be open to trading Ike Davis this winter, especially if they can fill multiple holes by sending the first baseman to another team, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. The Mets have too many needs to rule out possible deals involving Davis.
  • The first year of Jose Reyes’ deal with Miami would have to be called a success, Davidoff writes. The Marlins shortstop leads the team with 147 games played despite previous concerns about his durability.
  • One well-connected person estimates the Cardinals are worth $1.5 billion, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch reports (on Twitter). The Dodgers recently sold for a record $2 billion in a positive development for other MLB owners.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Greg Brady and Jim Lang on Sportsnet 590 the FAN that Yunel Escobar’s decision to write a homophobic slur on his eye black was “stupid, selfish, shameful, insensitive.” Anthopoulos acknowledged that he thought about suspending Escobar for a year or releasing him (hat tip to John Lott of the National Post).

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


Loria On Front Office, Guillen, Third Base

The Marlins occupy last place in the NL East with a 63-79 record after entering the season with as much hype as any team in recent memory. It’s been a disappointing year, but owner Jeffrey Loria says he expects his team to contend again in 2013, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Here are more notes from Loria (via Spencer):

  • Loria declined to discuss any potential changes to his front office staff. He also refused to offer a public assessment of manager Ozzie Guillen. “I just don’t want to get drawn into that until the end of the season,” Loria said. “There’s good and bad with every situation.”
  • Loria acknowledged that the team has holes. “We need to fill them to complement some of the other really good parts that are here,” he added. The Marlins will likely consider upgrades at third base this offseason, Spencer writes.
  • Loria said he’s been thrilled with Jose Reyes’ performance and impressed by Mark Buehrle’s approach. He also mentioned infielder Donovan Solano and outfielder Justin Ruggiano as “pleasant surprises” in an otherwise trying season.

NL East Notes: Bourn, Reyes, Stanton

The Braves and Nationals have positioned themselves as likely playoff teams for 2012 with less than two months to go before the end of the regular season. Baseball Prospectus calculates that the Nationals have a 96.4% chance of making the postseason and gives the Braves a 78.5% chance of being in the playoffs. Here are today's NL East links…

  • One MLB official told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that the Phillies would like to re-acquire a player they once drafted and developed. "You know who they want, right?" the official asked Olney. "They love Michael Bourn." Bourn also figures to draw interest from the Nationals when he hits free agency this offseason, and the Braves will likely have some interest in retaining him. Bourn and agent Scott Boras might have tremendous leverage as the three NL East teams bid for his services. Olney suggests Bourn figures to get a multiyear deal in the $16-22MM per season range, and I agree.
  • Both Jose Reyes and the Marlins seem happy with the six-year contract they agreed to last offseason, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. "I'm happy in Miami," Reyes said. "No regrets for me." The Marlins seem satisfied with Reyes and are unlikely to trade him, Knobler reports. 
  • Though they have a policy of listening to trade offers for any player, the Marlins seem to like the idea of building their lineup around Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton, according to Knobler.

Olney On Buehrle, Reyes, Red Sox

The Marlins expected about 25 percent more fans than they’ve drawn this year, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. The Marlins are averaging 28,406 fans per game, an improvement of more than 10,000 people per game that amounts to the largest increase in the game since last year. Here are more notes from Olney, starting in Miami…

  • Marlins president David Samson has said the team isn’t making financially motivated trades, but Olney suggests Miami will have to manage its money carefully to field a competitive team. This could include shedding the contracts of the team's best-paid players.
  • The Marlins will likely look to dump the contracts of players like Jose Reyes at some point in the coming years, and they won’t be offered much in return. The salaries of players like Reyes and Mark Buehrle are back-loaded and will soon spike, which will reduce interest from rival clubs. Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson and Heath Bell are among the other Marlins who have significant money remaining on their current contracts.
  • Olney points out that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has as much opportunity as any manager to shape his team. Valentine shouldn’t have accepted the job if he wanted more control than he’s getting, Olney writes.

NL East Notes: Phils, Victorino, Braves, Reyes, Buehrle

Here's the latest out of the NL East…

  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told reporters (including Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com) that his plan is to keep his team's rotation intact, though plans can change.  The Phillies have a "lot of balls in [the] air trade-wise."
  • The Phillies are listening to offers for Shane Victorino though they haven't yet indicated that they're willing to move him, tweets ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.  The Dodgers, Giants, Pirates and Reds are among the teams interested in the center fielder.
  • The Braves are still looking to upgrade their rotation, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  The Braves have shown interest in Edinson Volquez and James Shields, though Bowman notes that a less-pricey pitching option like Rays right-hander Wade Davis could fit Atlanta's needs.  Multiple teams have asked about Davis, though he's pitched out of the bullpen all season and wouldn't be able to immediately help a team looking for a starter.
  • Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen told reporters (including Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post) that despite the Marlins' struggles, they don't regret coming to Miami.
  • The Mets are focused on acquiring players who can help the team beyond just the 2012 season, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.  Both Rubin's source and manager Terry Collins didn't think any deals were imminent before the deadline.
  • Scott Hairston told Rubin that the Mets haven't approached him about a contract extension.  A team insider tells Rubin that "Nothing I know of was accomplished" when the Tigers and Mets recently discussed a Hairston trade.