J.P. Ricciardi Rumors

NL East Links: Kaneko, Cuddyer, Ricciardi, Braves

Japanese right-hander Chihiro Kaneko is visiting the United States to get a first-hand look at the atmosphere of Major League Baseball by visiting the World Series, according to Yahoo Sports Japan (Japanese link). The 31-year-old Kaneko is the ace of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Orix Buffaloes and is eligible to be posted this offseason, if his team agrees to post him (and, if he expresses a desire to jump to MLB). Kaneko has been scouted personally by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. in September as well as the Red Sox and Padres, according to the Yahoo report. In 184 innings this season, Kaneko posted a sparkling 1.91 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9, allowing a minuscule seven homers in an excellent season. In parts of nine pro seasons, Kaneko has a 2.69 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9 in 1279 1/3 innings.

Here’s more pertaining to the National League East…

  • Some familiar with the Mets‘ thinking believe that the team would be interested in adding Michael Cuddyer on a two-year deal, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Mets are known to be hesitant to deal from their crop of high-upside young arms, and Cuddyer would provide them with a fairly versatile piece that can add some punch to the lineup. Martino also notes that the Mets are monitoring Yoenis Cespedes and consider Rafael Montero more tradeable than Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom. For what it’s worth, Cuddyer grew up in the same town as David Wright and the two have long been friends and offseason workout partners. MLBTR’s Zach Links recently profiled Cuddyer and projected a two-year, $22MM contract.
  • More from Martino, who wrote yesterday that the Mets could be nearing an extension with assistant GM J.P. Ricciardi. The former Blue Jays GM has been with the Mets since 2010 and currently oversees the club’s pro scouting operations while also serving as an adviser to GM Sandy Alderson.
  • There’s been a great deal of speculation that Evan Gattis could be trade bait this winter, but MLB.com’s Mark Bowman takes a long look at whether or not the Braves should entertain offers for Justin Upton and/or Jason Heyward as well. Each corner outfielder is set to become a free agent next winter. Moving one would allow the team to keep Gattis and play him in the outfield, although as Bowman notes, that would significantly weaken the club’s defense. Still, with each dangerously close to the open market, the front office could move one for a group of prospects that would further position the team for success as it heads into a new stadium in 2017, Bowman writes.

Odds & Ends: K-Rod, Gibbons, Ricciardi, Uehara

Links for Halloween Sunday, as we prepare to take in our last October baseball game of 2010….

  • SI.com's Jon Heyman says (via Twitter) the early feeling is that Francisco Rodriguez will be back with the Mets this year. There has been speculation that they would try to trade the closer following his late-season arrest, but that would have proven difficult with his contract. 
  • John Gibbons has informed the Mets that he's not a candidate for their managerial opening, tweets Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record. The former Blue Jays' manager is happy with his role as Kansas City's bench coach.
  • The Mets are still trying to lure J.P. Ricciardi to their new front office, reports ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
  • Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com notes that it doesn't appear as if the Orioles have made much of an attempt to keep Koji Uehara. Uehara finished 2010 as the team's closer, but he is scheduled to be a free agent in the not-too-distant future.
  • Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun recaps the Orioles' coaching situation, and tells us that if Don Wakamatsu doesn't land a managerial job, he'll likely be Buck Showalter's bench coach. Showalter would like the coaching staff to be finalized by mid-week.
  • Dave Eiland, who was fired as the Yankees' pitching coach last week, told Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger that a reported falling out between he and Joe Girardi was "totally, absolutely false," and "ridiculous."
  • How potential free agents have been performing, and continue to perform, in the postseason will have an impact on the Giants' offseason decisions, Brian Sabean tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, and Pat Burrell are a few Giants who are facing possible free agency.
  • Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reminds Phillies fans that if Jayson Werth signs elsewhere, it wouldn't be the first time the club has lost a star outfielder to free agency. As Brookover notes, things turned out pretty well for the Phils in 2007, when Aaron Rowand signed with the Giants after having a career year in Philadelphia.
  • In a piece for the Detroit Free Press, Josh Huebner explains why signing Carl Crawford should be the Tigers' number one priority this winter.
  • Derek Jeter will likely still be playing shortstop in New York in 2011, but as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News writes, the Yankees view Eduardo Nunez as Jeter's eventual successor.

Odds & Ends: Yankees, Brewers, Mets, Paulino

Some links for Tuesday evening…

GM Trade Histories: AL East

Brendan Bianowicz has more updates to the GM Trade History series.  Today he covers the AL East.  Check out the Excel spreadsheets below to see trades, free agent signings, and notable draft picks for each GM.

Odds & Ends: Ricciardi, Sabathia, Chapman

Links for Monday…

  • Former Padres GM Kevin Towers told Bill Madden of the New York Daily News recently "it's just a matter of when" the team trades first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
  • The Astros claimed outfielder Jason Bourgeois off waivers from the Brewers, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart via Twitter.  Bourgeois, 28 in January, hit .316/.354/.401 in Triple A while playing all three outfield positions.  In other Brewers-related news, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the team retained Mike Burns and Adam Stern on minor league deals.
  • Don Mattingly is discussing his future with the Dodgers, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
  • I missed this October 5th article from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.  Elliott talked to former Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey, who was frank in his opinions of ex-GM J.P. Ricciardi.
  • Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times says the Angels bid $140MM for C.C. Sabathia last winter, but Olney says "the Angels bid a firm $100MM and discussed increasing their offer to $120MM."
  • Andy Pettitte admitted to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times, "I think everybody knows I wasn't real happy with the contract.  But I wanted to take it and come back here and have a chance to do this."  Pettitte ended up earning about $10MM in 2009, but only $5.5MM was guaranteed.
  • ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. says on Twitter that Aroldis Chapman "had good conversations" with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and other team execs at yesterday's game.  Meanwhile, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian says that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos finds signing Chapman unrealistic for his club.  Logically, the Chapman bidding should heat up after the World Series.  The 21-year-old lefty is meeting with the Cardinals, Orioles, and Red Sox this week.
  • Aaron Gleeman says it's reasonable for fans to call for Twins closer Joe Nathan to be traded, but not because he allowed a postseason home run to Alex Rodriguez.
  • NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman says reliever Scott Atchison hopes to return to MLB in 2009.  Atchison, 34 in March, elected free agency in November of 2007 after posting a 4.11 ERA in 30.6 relief innings for the Giants.
  • Jim Seip of the York Daily Record writes about the beginning of Ken Rosenthal's career.
  • John Bonnes attempted to extract info about Joe Mauer's future with the Twins, talking to GM Bill Smith.

Minaya Interested In Hiring Towers, Ricciardi

Mets GM Omar Minaya has interest in hiring two of his former counterparts, Kevin Towers and J.P. Ricciardi.  Joel Sherman of the New York Postsays Minaya contacted the ousted GMs "to express his support…and also to lay the groundwork to speak to both soon about possible jobs in the Mets' organization."

Sherman notes that Minaya is on thin ice, and bringing in his potential replacement is a double-edged sword.  Plus, Minaya would have to deal with Towers ribbing him about the Heath Bell trade.

In other Mets news, Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reported on Twitterthis morning that Minaya fired coaches Sandy Alomar Sr. and Luis Alicea while retaining Howard Johnson and Dan Warthen.  Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News has a few more details.

Odds & Ends: Nationals, Towers, Marlins

A few links on the second to last day of the regular season…

  • Even though they'll finish with the worst record in baseball, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo indicated that it's not a lock the team will draft Bryce Harper first overall next year, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Says Rizzo: "I haven't seen him yet. He certainly hasn't separated himself like [pitcher] Stephen Strasburg did last year."
  • CBSSports.com reports that Kevin Towers said he wasn't given a specific reason for his termination, but KT did say that he's "been around long enough to know why."
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of The Sun Sentinel says that Florida's final 2009 payroll was just under $35.6MM. Hanley Ramirez ($5.5MM) and Dan Uggla ($5.35MM) were the only Marlins to make more than $3.5MM this year.
  • Matthew Carruth at FanGraphs weighs in with his opinion of the Towers and J.P. Ricciardi firings.

Odds & Ends: Towers, Ricciardi, Jenks, Barajas

Some links on a surprisingly busy Saturday morning…

  • Here's a link to this morning's post containing comments from Padres CEO Jeff Moorad about the firing of Kevin Towers. It was quickly buried by the news of J.P. Ricciardi being let go, so you may have missed it.
  • FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal says that Towers "should be relieved to be out of an organization in which he constantly faced ownership interference, payroll reductions and other forms of nonsense."
  • Stoeten at Drunk Jays Fans provides some fan reaction to the Ricciardi move. Moral of the story: it was a move that had to be made, but what took so long?
  • MLB.com's Scott Merkin says that we could once again hear Bobby Jenks' name mentioned in trade rumors this offseason. The team has a capable replacement in Matt Thornton, and Jenks figures to get a raise on his $5.6MM salary through arbitration.
  • Rod Barajas has interest in returning to Toronto next season, and indicated that he wasn't sure if the rift between players and manager Cito Gaston would influence his decision, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.

Ricciardi Out As Blue Jays GM

According to MLB.com's Noah Coslov, J.P. Ricciardi is leaving his position as Blue Jays Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager effective immediately. SI.com's Jon Heyman adds that assistant GM Alex Anthopoulos has been promoted.

From TSN and a team press release:

"This was a tough decision and a difficult one for me personally as I have enjoyed J.P.'s friendship and his perspective on the game,” said Blue Jays acting President and CEO Paul Beeston in a statement. "J.P. has put an incredible amount of effort into improving the team and he has brought along a number of great young players. However, I feel that it is time for a change and accordingly we have decided to move on."

The TSN article mentions that Anthopoulos is taking over on an interm basis, however the press release does not confirm that. Brent Gambill, producer of Sirius XM Radio's MLB Home Plate, tweets that Anthopoulos will remain GM as long as Paul Beeston is the team president. Make sure you stay tuned for confirmation.

Ricciardi has been running the show in Toronto since the 2001 season, and only once has his team finished above third place in the brutal AL East. His most memorable (and regrettable) move may be the seven year, $126MM extension given to centerfielder Vernon Wells, who has hit just .266/.318/.428 since the ink dried.

Odds & Ends: Astros, Tribe, Tracy, Ricciardi

Another hearty batch of links…

  • The Astros have not contacted Red Sox first base coach Tim Bogar about their vacant managerial position, according to the Boston Globe's Adam Kilgore.  He's interested, but too focused on the 2009 season to consider such a major change at this time.
  • MLB.com's Alyson Footer says Bogar is "at the top of everyone's speculation list," for the gig, but the "club isn't tipping [its] hand on anything." 
  • Larry Stone of the Seattle Times thinks the Indians' managerial post, assuming Eric Wedge is let go after this season, might fall to former Mariners skipper Mike Hargrove.  Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell is also being mentioned for the job.
  • According to Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star, the Diamondbacks aren't likely to pick up Chad Tracy's $7MM option for 2010.  He's played in just 91 games this season and Brandon Allen has already arrived in the major leagues.
  • Bruce Arthur of the National Post believes the Blue Jays have no choice but to fire GM J.P. Ricciardi this winter.  "If Ricciardi's time is not over," Arthur writes, "then it will be nothing short of a betrayal."