Justin Morneau Rumors
Some links for Tuesday...
- Justin Morneau will miss the rest of the season because of a stress fracture in his lower back, according to ESPN.com's Jim Caple.
- Ian Desmond, who could figure into the Nationals' middle infield plans next year, has taken some good-natured heat from his teammates for wearing these around, writes Chico Harlan of the Washington Post. Desmond has reached base in nine of his 14 major league plate appearances, but the Nats may look for a free agent shortstop after the season.
- Doug Mientkiewicz tells Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates have made the right decisions this year, as difficult as some of them have been for the fans.
- Neither Kevin Millwood nor Rangers manager Ron Washington is expressing concern over Millwood's 2010 option, according to Anthony Andro of the Dallas Morning News. Millwood, who is less than 5.0 innings away from guaranteeing himself a $12MM payday next year, could start as soon as Friday.
Rumor machine Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count Video up at FoxSports.com. Let's dive on in...
- The outcome of this weekend's games could determine which team the recently released Brad Penny signs with. The Giants and Marlins are the two teams pursuing him the most, but the Giants are in a better position in the NL Wildcard standings.
- The Yankees, Twins, and A's are also expressing interest in the righthander, but "what pitcher in his right mind would want to stay in the American League?"
- The A's and Padres have even "floated the idea" of signing Penny beyond the rest of this season, but Penny's best bet might be to go to a team like the Giants and reestablish himself in a pennant race, then go back into the free agent pool this winter on a high note.
- The Cubs are more open to dealing Rich Harden to the Twins than you might think. The Cubs could receive two high draft picks if they offer Harden arbitration after the season and he signs elsewhere, but that's a risky strategy. Given his injury history, the club might not want to take a $10MM or so hit if he accepts, even for only one year.
- The bigger question with Harden may be how aggressive the Twins will be in trying to deal for him. Remember that stars Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan have said the team needs more to contend, with Morneau mentioning that the team needs to impress Joe Mauer since he's due to become a free agent after next season.
- Yes, the Yankees were messing with the Red Sox when they claimed Chris Carter off waivers, but Boston's 40-man roster only has 38 players on it at the moment. Daisuke Matsuzaka will assume one of those spots when he comes off the 60-day DL, and the other is reserved for Paul Byrd.
- People might need to relax when it comes to Brad Lidge's struggles. His recent blown save against the Pirates might be the result of overuse, as Lidge was pitching for the fourth straight day. He had done it twice before this season, but he entered game three of that stretch with a four-run lead. Manager Charlie Manuel may need to be more careful with how he uses his closer down the stretch.
They're a game under .500, but the AL Central title remains well within reach for the Minnesota Twins. Historically the team has been quiet at the deadline, but the Twins' biggest stars hope this year's different. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan all say they hope GM BIll Smith can add to the team by Friday, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Links for Tuesday...
- The weekly chat has been moved to Wednesday at 2pm CST this time.
- I'll be on Seth Stohs' radio show tonight around 8pm CST.
- From NPB Tracker: Kenshin Kawakami has switched to Dan Evans as his agent, while Koji Uehara wants a rotation spot and multiple years.
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s agent, Brian Goldberg, has been in contact with nine teams (six AL, three NL). The Mariners were one of the AL teams.
- It's been over a decade since the White Sox signed a free agent from another team for more than $20MM.
- Justin Morneau would like the Twins to add one more bat.
- East Windup Chronicle has scouting reports on Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.
- Things are quiet with the Dodgers - no recent talks for Manny Ramirez, "no real movement" on C.C. Sabathia.
- Rany Jazayerli questions the Royals' nonchalance toward signing Zack Greinke.
- Nothing is close with the Tigers and Joe Beimel, and the team will not make an offer to Junichi Tazawa (partially to preserve their relationships in Japan).
- The Brewers signed Jason Bourgeois to a minor league deal. Bourgeois, 27 in January, hit .286/.335/.404 in Triple A this year.
- Quietly, the Indians signed reliever Greg Aquino. He pitched well in Triple A this year but missed time with a hamstring strain.
2:07pm: LEN3 has details. He says it's $11.25MM per year for 2008-11. He's unsure of the amount of the 2012 option, but it has a $2MM buyout. Since Nathan was set to earn just $6MM in '07, it seems that's been overwritten or increased.
1:19pm: MLB.com reports the deal as done. It's a three-year extension with a club option for a fourth.
MONDAY, 8:22am: La Velle E. Neal III says only minor details remain on Nathan's extension. They still need to figure out what to do about a no-trade clause. Buster Olney says the deal will have "significant no-trade provisions."
SATURDAY: ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider required) reveals in his blog that the Twins have all but re-signed Joe Nathan to a four-year deal, paying $11-12MM per.
Olney considers this a surprising move for a mid-market team. It's particularly unusual for the Twins, as they re-signed Justin Morneau earlier in the year (and Joe Mauer last year), but couldn't hold on to Torii Hunter or Johan Santana.
UPDATE, 1-25-08 at 4:35pm: Cuddyer gets a $2.75MM signing bonus, $5MM in '08, $6.75MM in '09, and $8.5MM in '10. The Twins have a $10.5MM option for '11 with a $1MM buyout. As far as I can tell Cuddyer would've become a free agent after the '09 season.
Morneau gets six years, $80MM, a Twins record both in years and dollars. I believe this buys out three years of free agency. This should generate some good PR and help brace the fans for the loss of Johan Santana. Plus, Bill Smith can say he made a solid offer to Santana.
UPDATE, 1-25-08 at 1:35pm: Charley Walters says Morneau will get six years and about $75MM while Cuddyer's deal is for three years and about $23MM plus a club option for the fourth year.
FROM 1-25-08 at 12:10pm:
The Twins are planning a press conference to announce multiyear contracts for Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer; these deals were certainly reached quietly. According to KARE 11 TV's Twins source, the players will be with the Twins "deep into the new stadium."
Morneau signed for '08 at $7.4MM recently, while Cuddyer had yet to sign. LEN3 had reported about a week ago that the Twins would discuss multiyear deals with both, but not until after the Johan Santana situation was settled.
With today's deadline for arbitration-eligible players, it only makes sense that all sorts of long-term contract discussions are going on. Even players and teams who do agree to one-year deals for '08 may find themselves with groundwork laid for bigger deals.
- That could be the case with Mark Teixeira. His agent, Scott Boras, had "quite a bit of dialogue" with Frank Wren about an extension prior to Tex signing for one year and $12.5MM. I recently guessed the Braves have a 10% chance of getting this done.
- The Rockies have had "intense, serious dialogue" with Troy Tulowitzki's agent about a long-term deal. Tulo isn't arbitration-eligible yet though, so Dan O'Dowd may choose to resolve his arb cases and get back to his shortstop afterwards. Tulowitski could sign a six-year, $30MM deal, a record for a player with his service time.
- Justin Morneau signed for one year and $7.4MM. LEN3 says the Twins may contact his agent about a multiyear deal but haven't yet.
Your usual dose of random rumors and links...
- Justin Morneau says he has had no extension discussions with the Twins.
- The Reds brought Walt Jocketty aboard as a special advisor to President and CEO Bob Castellini today. For now, Wayne Krivsky's job appears safe. But jeez, with Walt in the house he has to be feeling a little pressure, doesn't he? In other news, the Reds talked with Brett Tomko's agent this week.
- The Tigers signed Matt Mantei for the league minimum. He can ask for his release if he's not in the bigs by May 1st. As Jon Paul Morosi notes Mantei hasn't pitched in the Majors for more than two years.
- RotoAuthority ranks the third basemen for fantasy baseball.
- Buster Olney says the A's talks with the Braves for Mark Kotsay "have a chance of becoming serious today."
- Gotham Baseball's Mark Healey has a source who believes the Mets will get Johan Santana "no matter what they have to do."
- The Rangers made the Eddie Guardado deal official, and also brought Jamey Wright back on a minor league contract. Guardado got a bit more than I expected - $2MM base plus $4MM in incentives for games pitched and finished.
Just a one-liner from Charley Walters: "the Twins plan to begin talks with Justin Morneau on a multiyear contract soon."
At one point in March of this year, Morneau said he and the Twins were "pretty close." Morneau is under team control through 2010, but didn't sound optimistic about extending that when asked in September. He'd love a five or six-year deal, buying out two or three years of free agency. We'll see what the Twins offer.
UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 10:50am: LaVelle E. Neal III and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune looked into both of these rumors, and found nothing.
FROM 11-27-07 at 10:25pm:
We have seen some Unfounded Rumors come to fruition in the past; you never know. No insult is intended towards the originators of these, but they are reports I have not been able to verify. I know most of you just want rumors any way you can get them.
- DRays Bay has some chatter about a possible Boof Bonser to Tampa Bay deal. Apparently quotes from Bonser himself played a part in this one, though Marc Topkin isn't buying it.
- Over at Minor League Ball, a person posted about a rumor heard on a California radio station: Justin Morneau to the Angels for Ervin Santana and Casey Kotchman. This one has zero verification but it's rapidly making its way around the Internet today.
So there you go, a couple of Unfounded Rumors to mull over this evening.