Josh Willingham Rumors
Some links to check out as we await tomorrow night's non-tender deadline..
- As expected, the Yakult Swallows filed posting paperwork on outfielder Norichika Aoki Monday morning in Japan, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.
- Free agent Michael Cuddyer's decision will be huge news and could happen soon, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi adds that the decision will have a big impact on the Twins' and Rockies' plans.
- Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com spoke with Mark Buerhle who said that he hopes to return to the White Sox in some capacity after his four-year deal with Miami is through. The veteran also said that the Sox didn't make him an offer after the Marlins put their deal on the table.
- Free agent left-hander George Sherrill is drawing interest from the Royals, Phillies, Blue Jays, and Mariners, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Rockies were also said to be targeting the veteran last week.
- Even though the two sides were reportedly talking on Tuesday, the Red Sox aren't discussing a deal for Carlos Quentin with the White Sox, tweets Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Earlier today we learned that Quentin has come up in talks with the Blue Jays, though those discussions have apparently cooled.
- The Indians are in on all "non-[Prince] Fielder" bats, including Josh Willingham, but don't have much financial flexibility, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Tribe is after a right-handed bat and the club has been linked to Derrek Lee, Andruw Jones, and Mike Cameron among others.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post (via Twitter) doesn't see catcher Eliezer Alfonzo returning to the Rockies but could see the club going after someone like Jeff Mathis if he is non-tendered. Mathis, 28, was shipped from the Angels to the Blue Jays on December 3rd for left-hander Brad Mills.
- Craig Breslow, who was traded to the Diamondbacks along with starter Trevor Cahill on Friday, first heard of the deal via Twitter, not the A's front office, writes Katie Dowd of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Former Mets General Manager Steve Phillips likes the Astros' hire of Jeff Luhnow as GM and believes that he understands how to operate a small market team, writes Stephen Goff of Examiner.com.
1:36pm: The Rockies are focused on Cuddyer, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Should they lose out on the long-time Twinkie, they'll turn that focus to Willingham.
1:24pm: MLB Network's Jon Heyman adds the Rockies to the list of teams still eyeing Willingham, but doesn't go as far as calling them a "finalist" as Camino did with the Indians and Twins (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Willingham market hinges on Michael Cuddyer, because the Twins view Willingham as their top alternative. Rosenthal also mentions the Rockies as a player for Willingham.
SUNDAY, 11:57am: The Mariners are out of the running for Willingham, tweets Nick Camino of WTAM 1100. The outfielder's choice is down to the Indians and Twins, according to Camino.
SATURDAY, 10:32pm: The Mariners and Indians appear to be the front-runners for free agent outfielder Josh Willingham, reports Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (on Twitter). MLB.com's Jordan Bastian says (on Twitter) that other teams remain in the mix though, including the Indians. Cleveland has not yet made an offer though. The Rockies, Twins, Rays were also in the mix at one point.
Willingham, 32, hit .246/.332/.477 with a career-high 29 home runs in 2011. The right-handed hitter tallied 829 1/3 innings in left field, and also has experience in right field in 2009. First base and designated hitter could be options as well. Willingham's agent Matt Sosnick guessed in October that his client would sign a three-year deal.
The Rockies' willingness to consider a three-year offer to free agent right fielder Michael Cuddyer makes them a serious suitor, writes Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies freed up $7MM in yesterday's Huston Street trade. They have mild interest in Cody Ross as a complementary piece and are not pursuing Josh Willingham, writes Renck.
The Twins reportedly have a three-year offer worth $24-25MM on the table for Cuddyer. GM Terry Ryan told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger he still thinks they have a chance. Ryan would like to get something done sooner than later. Cuddyer's wife just gave birth to twin girls, however, so Cuddyer may be occupied with diaper duty.
The Twins, Indians, and Rockies are most likely to sign free agent left fielder Josh Willingham, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Indians are interested but have yet to make an offer, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
37 free agents were offered arbitration in November, but Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes, Matt Capps, Bruce Chen, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Mark Ellis, Frank Francisco, Freddy Garcia, Aaron Harang, Ramon Hernandez, Jose Molina, Jon Rauch, and Mark Buehrle have already reached agreements. The deadline is tonight at 11pm central time. For MLBTR's handy chart that can be filtered by team, type, and whether the player was offered and/or accepted, click here.
- Based on Heyman's tweet indicating only three players accepted arbitration, we can deduce that Prince Fielder (A), Albert Pujols (A), Jimmy Rollins (A), C.J. Wilson (A), Francisco Cordero (B), Octavio Dotel (B), Raul Ibanez (B), Edwin Jackson (B), and Darren Oliver (B) declined their respective teams' offers.
- Derrek Lee (B) has turned down the Pirates' offer, tweets MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.
- Kelly Johnson (A) has accepted the Blue Jays' offer, tweets Jon Heyman.
- Michael Cuddyer (A) and Jason Kubel (B) have declined the Twins' offers, tweets Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
- Francisco Rodriguez (A) has accepted the Brewers' offer, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Ryan Madson (A) will decline the Phillies' offer, tweets Jon Heyman.
- David Ortiz (A) will accept Boston's offer, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston confirms that Ortiz has officially accepted (Twitter link).
- Aramis Ramirez (B) officially declined the Cubs' offer, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Josh Willingham (A) will decline Oakland's offer, MLBTR has learned. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Willingham has officially declined.
- Dan Wheeler (B) will decline Boston's offer of arbitration, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Cherington confirmed the decision to reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).
- Carlos Pena (B) has decided not to accept the Cubs' arbitration offer, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. Cubs president Theo Epstein recently told reporters he did not expect Pena to accept, as he's likely to find a multiyear deal on the open market.
2:21pm: Nine teams have called on free agent outfielder Josh Willingham, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, including the Twins, Red Sox, Indians, and Reds. The Pirates have also been linked to him. Willingham is something of a backup plan for the Red Sox and Twins, suggests Crasnick, as those teams are trying to re-sign David Ortiz and Michael Cuddyer, respectively. ESPN 1500's Phil Mackey tweets that nothing is currently brewing with the Twins and Willingham. The Indians' interest has been mild, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The Reds' interest in Willingham is "simmering on the back burner, if that," GM Walt Jocketty told reporters including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
Willingham, 32, hit a career-best 29 home runs for the Athletics in 2011. A right-handed hitter, Willingham compiled a .246/.332/.477 batting line in 563 plate appearances. He tallied 829 1/3 innings in left field, and also has experience in right field in 2009. First base and designated hitter could be options as well. Willingham's agent Matt Sosnick guessed in October that his client would sign a three-year deal.
The Tigers, who agreed to sign Ramon Santiago to a two-year deal today, have interest in Coco Crisp. Here are the latest updates from their division, starting with a note on another possible outfield target for Detroit:
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski will watch Yoenis Cespedes play in the Dominican Republic, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, who suggests this is “very unusual” for Dombrowski (Twitter link). Cespedes isn’t yet a free agent, but he’s in the process of establishing temporary residency in the Dominican and may hit the open market soon.
- Before the Royals signed Jonathan Broxton, outfielder Jeff Francoeur and manager Ned Yost went hunting with the right-hander in Georgia, according to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. The outing helped convince Broxton to join the Royals.
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says the team is "making a mad effort" to sign Michael Cuddyer, according to Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 (on Twitter).
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle hears Josh Willingham may be a fit in Minnesota if the Twins don’t re-sign Cuddyer. Similarly, the Red Sox may have interest if they don’t re-sign David Ortiz, Slusser writes.
The Reds’ owners continue engaging in friendly debate with one another about Joey Votto’s future with the team, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Here are the details on the Reds’ first base situation and more of Rosenthal’s notes from around MLB...
- Cincinnati CEO Bob Castellini doesn’t want to trade Votto and appears to believe an extension is possible. However, some Reds owners believe the team should explore trades for the 2010 NL MVP. Votto is under contract through 2013.
- Rival GMs consider Yonder Alonso a one-dimensional player, not someone who could be a centerpiece in a trade for a starting pitcher like James Shields or Gio Gonzalez.
- The Rangers are considering assistant GM Thad Levine and former Astros GM Tim Purpura for their open farm director position, according to Rosenthal.
- Teams are “kicking the tires” on Alfonso Soriano and the Cubs are willing to pick up a substantial chunk of the $54MM remaining on the 35-year-old left fielder's contract. He posted a .244/.289/.469 line with 26 home runs last season and is under contract through 2014.
- Teams are calling the Rangers about right-hander Koji Uehara, but Texas may hold on to him, since they’re short on left-handed relief and Uehara is effective against left-handed hitters.
- The A’s won’t attempt to re-sign Josh Willingham, but they’re interested in re-signing another one of their free agent outfielders: Coco Crisp.
10 American League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll update them in this post throughout the day in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Blue Jays offered arbitration to Frank Francisco (B), Kelly Johnson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), Jose Molina (B) and Jon Rauch (B), according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter). They declined to offer Shawn Camp (B) arbitration.
- The Red Sox announced that they offered David Ortiz (A) and Dan Wheeler (B) arbitration. They declined to offer Jason Varitek (B) arbitration. Jonathan Papelbon (A) already signed with the Phillies.
- The Yankees offered Freddy Garcia (B) arbitration according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter).
- The Royals offered Bruce Chen (B) arbitration, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- The White Sox announced they've offered arbitration to Mark Buehrle (B) and not Juan Pierre (B).
- The Athletics announced David DeJesus (B) and Josh Willingham (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) were offered arbitration.
- The Rangers announced C.J. Wilson (A) will be offered arbitration. Modified Type B free agent Darren Oliver does not require an offer.
- The Orioles announced they will not offer arbitration to Vladimir Guerrero (B).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan said today on a conference call that he will offer arbitration to Michael Cuddyer (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Jason Kubel (B), and noted that no arbitration offer is necessary for modified Type B free agent Matt Capps.
Teams with decisions still due:
Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Hernandez and Darren Oliver were all Type A free agents under the Elias Rankings system, but they will now be treated as Type B free agents, the MLBPA announced. Teams won't have to surrender draft picks to sign them, but the players' former teams obtain a supplementary first round pick whether or not they offer arbitration tomorrow.
Meanwhile, clubs won't have to surrender a draft pick to sign one of the following six players: Heath Bell, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madson, Josh Willingham and Francisco Rodriguez. Teams that lose these players after offering arbitration will obtain first round picks in the slot before the signing team plus a supplementary draft pick for a total of two selections.
Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Roy Oswalt, Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins were also Type A free agents this offseason. They will cost one draft pick to sign. Their teams will obtain two total picks if they decline offers of arbitration to sign elsewhere, as expected. Takashi Saito and Carlos Beltran, two other Type As, cannot be offered arbitration. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the changes.