Jose Lopez Rumors
We're officially less than a week away from the start of the 2011 season! Here are some news items to tide you over as we start the countdown to another great year of baseball...
- Ramon Santiago "is available in the right deal," an anonymous scout tells Steve Kornacki of MLive.com. The long-time Tigers middle infielder started 78 games last season, posting a .662 OPS in 367 plate appearances. Santiago's competition for the utility job, Danny Worth, "has made a great impression on Jim Leyland," Kornacki writes.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post isn't hearing much "trade buzz" (Twitter link) from scouts about Jose Lopez, contrary to a Ken Rosenthal report from earlier today. Renck reiterated his item from earlier this month about how Eric Young Jr. would draw interest if the Rockies wanted to put him on the trade market.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy rounds up the week's minor league transactions.
- The Giants "might be the deepest team in baseball," but Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks their "big flaw" is Miguel Tejada and Mike Fontenot at short. Cameron suggests San Francisco should try to move one of their excess outfielders for "a real Major League shortstop."
5:42pm: The Rockies "have [an] open mind about dealing" Lopez, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post, though the club feels "no urgency" to make such a move.
5:19pm: The Rockies have received some trade interest from other teams about infielder Jose Lopez, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Lopez is slated to be in the Rockies' second base mix, but if dealt, the job would fall to Ty Wigginton and Jonathan Herrera, Rosenthal notes.
Lopez was dealt to Colorado last December from Seattle, and his name surfaced in trade talks again in February when he was rumored to be part of the package the Rockies had offered the Rangers for Michael Young. Lopez will earn $3.6MM this season, and since Colorado signed Wigginton to a two-year, $8MM deal in December, Wigginton could take priority as the club's top right-handed utility option.
Given Chase Utley's injury woes, the Phillies leap to mind as a team that could be interested in second base help, their recent signing of Luis Castillo notwithstanding. While Lopez is best known as a second baseman, he started 142 games at third for the Mariners last season and fielded his position very well -- his UZR/150 was an impressive 7.5. The Marlins may have a hole at third base, though they were "not initiating trade talk about third base options with other clubs" and Lopez's salary is rather high for Florida.
After hearing his name in countless trade rumors and seeing his infield position filled by Adrian Beltre, Michael Young has "grown disillusioned with his diminished role" on the Rangers and wants out of Texas, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown. According to Brown, Texas has told Young that they will push to trade him in the coming days.
The Rockies and Angels remain the primary potential destinations for Young. Any trade would have to include salary relief, as he's owed $48MM over the next three years. Young would likely slot in as the everyday second baseman in Colorado or the everyday third baseman in LA, though Texas would probably prefer to avoid dealing him within the division. We heard yesterday that Jose Lopez would be a part of Colorado's latest offer.
Young's name originally hit the trade rumor circuit back at the Winter Meetings when he was first connected to the Rockies. The longtime Ranger has a lifetime .300/.347/.448 slash line and has played second base, shortstop, and third base regularly at various points throughout his career.
In today's blog post at ESPN (Insider req'd), Buster Olney notes that something has changed in the relationship between Michael Young and Rangers, possibly because of trade talk this winter. He speculates that the Athletics and Blue Jays could be fits in a deal. Let's keep tabs on the latest regarding Texas and their third baseman here throughout the day...
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan says the Dodgers are interested in Young, but their unstable ownership situation is standing in the way.
- A well placed source told Renck (via Twitter) that he doesn't think the Rockies will get Young. Renck also hears (via Twitter) that the Rockies would need Texas to eat $20MM or more in a deal.
- A source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that talks between the Rangers and Rockies have reached an "advanced stage," and a trade could come as soon as Monday. Texas is not talking to any other club, and a source confirmed that Jose Lopez is in the latest offer.
- Renck says it's "very, very unlikely" that Dexter Fowler would be involved (on Twitter).
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that the Rangers have not reached out to Rockies as of Friday, contradicting what we heard yesterday.
- Renck notes (on Twitter) that Colorado would be willing to give up Lopez in a trade, but not Aaron Cook. That is subject to change, however. The Rox are understandably leery of surrendering big league starting pitching.
7:31pm: The Rangers and Rockies are talking about a trade of Young again and one source says the talks have reached an advanced stage, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, other sources are painting a less optimistic picture of the discussions, saying the Rockies are confused by the Rangers’ “mixed messages” on Young.
3:56pm: The Rockies like Young, but are confused about the Rangers' plans and might not have the money to acquire the infielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. One source told Rosenthal that tallks with the Rockies are dormant. The Rockies would likely have to send Jose Lopez and another well-paid player to Texas in any deal.
3:02pm: The Rangers have not re-engaged the Rockies about a possible deal as of this afternoon, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
11:52am: The Rangers have recently continued discussing the possibility of trading Michael Young, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Once again, the Rockies are a potential destination for the infielder.
Young, who became expendable when the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre, has three years and $48MM remaining on his contract, which includes a partial no-trade clause. Once Young gains ten and five rights this May, he will have the power to veto any trade.
The Rangers told Young he was staying put last month and president Nolan Ryan has since said he expects Young to be with the club Opening Day. Young, 34, would DH and back up around the infield, potentially spelling Chris Davis and Mitch Moreland against tough southpaws.
FRIDAY, 12:25pm: Lopez already signed a $3.6MM deal for 2011, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). That's a $1.3MM raise from the $2.3MM salary he earned in 2010.
"Chaz is a former first-round pick with a nice arm, a 24-year-old sinker ball pitcher," GM Jack Zduriencik said in a press release. "We look forward to seeing him in a Mariners uniform."
It appeared that the Mariners were going to non-tender Lopez, so they did well to get something for the 27-year-old infielder. He batted .239/.270/.339 in 622 plate appearances last year and saw his homer total drop from 25 to 10. Lopez has always had trouble reaching base, as his career .297 OBP shows. He has experience at second and short, two positions the Rockies could use depth at.
Roe, 24, posted a 5.98 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 158 innings at Triple-A last year. It was his first season at Triple-A and the highest ERA of his pro career.
The Mariners will non-tender Jose Lopez tomorrow, according to Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle. The M's declined their option for Lopez earlier in the offseason and were not expected to offer the infielder a contract through the arbitration process.
The 27-year-old batted .239/.270/.339 in 622 plate appearances last year and saw his homer total drop from 25 to 10. Lopez has typically displayed more pop than he showed in 2010, but he has always had trouble reaching base, as his career .297 OBP shows. Lopez, who is eligible for free agency after 2011, played third last year, but has spent most of his career at second base. The Rockies have some interest in signing him.
Click here to check out our new non-tender tracker.
- The Rockies are interested in Troy Glaus, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (on Twitter). Glaus could be a right-handed version of Jason Giambi, who wasn't a natural complement to Todd Helton since both bat from the left side.
- The Rockies are still "in the mix" for David Bush, but probably not for Aaron Harang, according to Renck (on Twitter). Both pitchers appeared on Renck's recent list of pitching targets for the Rockies.
- Renck reminds us that Jorge Cantu, Jose Lopez and Kevin Kouzmanoff are options for the team (Twitter link). Only Cantu is a free agent; Kouzmanoff and Lopez are non-tender candidates.
- Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd says he has told Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez that he wants to lock them up long-term, according to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post. O'Dowd has discussed a long-term deal with Gonzalez's agent, Scott Boras, but he doesn't have to worry about locking Jimenez up. The right-hander is under team control through 2014.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears (on Twitter) that De La Rosa turned down multiple offers for more money to re-sign in Colorado.
The Rockies have expressed interest in Athletics' third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post. He adds that Jose Lopez, Jorge Cantu, and Ty Wigginton are also on Colorado's radar in a second tweet, calling the team "quietly aggressive" during the GM Meetings.
Kouzmanoff is a non-tender candidate, even moreso now that the A's have brought in Edwin Encarnacion and are aggressively bidding on Adrian Beltre. Renck adds that he would fill the role of Melvin Mora for Colorado, pushing Ian Stewart at third base and potentially platooning with him. Cantu, Lopez, and Wiggington could all do the same as well. Earlier today we learned that the Rockies also have interest in Alex Gordon.
It's already been a busy day for the Rockies what with their declined options on Jeff Francis, Octavio Dotel and (possibly) Miguel Olivo, but the Denver Post's Troy Renck has even more news from the Mile High City. All of Renck's links are from Twitter...
- John Buck is not a candidate to play for Colorado next season, but Renck "knows for a fact" the Rockies like the Angels' Mike Napoli.
- The Rockies are interested in Jose Lopez, among several other right-handed hitters. Lopez had his 2011 option declined today by Seattle and could be non-tendered next month.
- Lopez could be a right-handed option at first base to platoon with Todd Helton, which would make Jason Giambi "unlikely to return." Then again, Renck notes Giambi "really didn't fit last year" in terms of a platoon situation and he was very popular in the clubhouse.
- Melvin Mora wants to come back next season, but there might not be enough playing time available to satisfy him.
- Renck says there's about a "60%" chance that Francis returns to Colorado. He notes that Pittsburgh could be interested in Francis if former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle is hired to manage the Bucs and if Zach Duke is non-tendered.
- It's "uncertain" if Joe Beimel will be pitching for the Rockies next year.