Kansas City Royals Rumors
Free agent starting pitcher Jason Hammel has had interest from the Cubs, Pirates, Royals and Braves, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi tweets. Hammel posted a 4.97 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 139 1/3 innings in an injury-plagued season for the Orioles last season. Hammel has also recently been connected with the Rockies, Orioles, Indians and other teams.
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported yesterday that, while Hammel wouldn't mind a three-year deal, he would prefer a one-year deal over two years. A one-year deal would allow him to build value before seeking a multi-year deal next offseason.
1:15pm: While talks aren't dead, concerns over Marshall's health could ultimately kill the deal, tweets Renck. The Rockies were "aggressively" pursuing the lefty as recently as last night, he adds.
TUESDAY, 12:39pm: The Rockies and Reds discussed Sean Marshall at length last night, and a trade appeared close at one point, according to Renck. However, those talks have idled for the time being. It's not clear whether the Reds would have included any salary relief to help offset the remaining $12MM on Marshall's deal, Renck adds.
MONDAY: As they search for relief help, the Rockies appear to have shifted their focus from the free agent market to trade talks, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. According to Renck, Colorado is "pushing hard" to acquire a hard-throwing relief pitcher to add to the back end of its bullpen.
Renck noted earlier today that Joaquin Benoit and Grant Balfour were among the free agent power arms that interested the Rockies, but the price tags on those players and other top relievers will likely be too high for Colorado.
The Rockies' current plan is for LaTroy Hawkins to close games, so the club is looking for another arm to complement Rex Brothers in a setup role. Renck mentions Royals pitchers Wade Davis, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Luke Hochevar as possible fits, though Kansas City is far from the only team willing to move relievers.
As Day One of the 2013 winter meetings nears a close, let's round up a few updates from around the AL West....
- The Rangers will "probably not" be involved in a trade for a high-end starting pitcher, GM Jon Daniels conceded on Monday. "We’d love to have some of the guys that are out there, but there doesn’t appear to be a fit for us," Daniels said, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Rangers had interest in acquiring Billy Butler earlier in the offseason, but after trading for Prince Fielder, Texas is unlikely to maintain serious interest in the Royals' DH.
- Discussing the possibility of adding a right-handed bat, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik suggested that it "could very well be our main focus," according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune (Twitter link).
- It was a quiet Monday in Orlando for the Athletics, says Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Nonetheless, assistant GM David Forst says the A's will remain in touch with teams and agents in the hopes of improving the team. Forst also acknowledged that Oakland could use some more prospects in the upper levels of its minor league system (all Twitter links).
11:52am: The Angels' talks with Arizona are focusing more on Skaggs than Cahill, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
11:18pm: There's a "good chance" the Angels end up moving Trumbo during this week's winter meetings, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Gonzalez adds that while the D-Backs are one possibility, the Angels are engaged in talks with many clubs.
6:12pm: There are 12 teams in the mix for Trumbo, according to Heyman (Twitter link), who suggests that there could be a fit with the Diamondbacks. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (via Twitter) that the Angels aren't interested in trading Trumbo for Tyler Skaggs straight up, while Heyman notes that Arizona doesn't want to move Patrick Corbin or Wade Miley.
Meanwhile, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com says the Angels have put other talks to the backburner as they focus on Trumbo. The Royals are also a possibile trade partner, according to Stark (Twitter link).
5:27pm: The odds of the Angels dealing Trumbo are increasing, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter). Rosenthal says that the Angels are becoming more open to the idea, while the Diamondbacks are pushing and other teams are improving their offers.
4:31pm: Angels GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that there has been "fairly heavy traffic" on Trumbo, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register.
4:14pm: The Angels have spoken to the Diamondbacks about Arizona's pitching, though it's not clear whether Trumbo has been in play in those talks, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
3:04pm: The Diamondbacks have been said to be looking at starting pitching, but Rosenthal tweets that they could also join the mix in talks for Trumbo. As Rosenthal notes, Arizona has plenty of young pitching to tempt the Angels.
11:20am: Sources have indicated to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Mark Trumbo is "in play" as the Angels discuss trades with other teams (Twitter link). Rosenthal notes that the Angels would hate to lose Trumbo but also recognize that he may be the best trade chip they have.
Set to turn 28 in January, Trumbo once again posted big-time power numbers in 2013. The right-handed swinger slugged a career-high 34 home runs and knocked in a career-best 100 runs as well. However, he batted just .234 with a .294 on-base percentage, displaying a continued difficulty in getting on base. He's turned himself into a solid first baseman, posting plus marks in both UZR and Defensive Runs Saved in recent years. His defense at an outfield corner has been subpar throughout his career, making it seem likely that teams looking to put him in right or left field wouldn't be willing to surrender as much talent.
Eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason, Trumbo is projected by MLBTR's Matt Swartz to earn $4.7MM in 2014. He can be controlled through the 2016 season via the arbitration process. Recently, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register noted that a trade of Trumbo is unlikely.
Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz continues to draw heavy interest from Major League teams, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Some teams like Diaz, who can't sign until Feb. 19 due to falsifying his age last offseason, as a second baseman. Passan reports that Braves, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays and Cardinals as teams who have been heavily represented at Diaz's most recent showcases in Mexico (Twitter links). Some more links from around the league...
- Jeff Francoeur, who recently underwent LASIK surgery, is seeking a job as a backup outfielder, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Frenchy will also abandon his use of a 35-ounce bat in 2013 -- a weight only utilized by Orioles slugger Chris Davis.
- Felix Pie is nearing an agreement with Korea's Hanwah Eagles, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Pie hasn't seen much big-league action in the last two years, recording just 31 plate appearances in 27 games with the Pirates in 2013.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Royals' offer to Carlos Beltran was slightly less than the Yankees' three-year, $45MM offer but would technically have paid Beltran more due to the tax differences between Kansas and New York.
- The Dodgers have not been involved in negotiations with Omar Infante, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- As they search for starting pitching help, the Orioles will be open to multiyear contracts rather than just one-year deals, GM Dan Duquette confirmed today (Twitter link via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com).
- The Twins pursued a catcher before the market dried up, but had no interest in going to three years for any of the free agents they targeted, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota "made that clear from the start," according to Berardino.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along word, in a translated tweet, that Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda has expressed interest in playing in MLB, perhaps as soon as 2015.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Let's round up a handful of afternoon updates on AL Central teams....
- While the Tigers are talking to free agents, GM Dave Dombrowski says the team isn't involved with the "big, big ones," according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter).
- According to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (Twitter link), the Indians are in the market for a No. 3 catcher, and could even look to add a backup if they feel like Carlos Santana would be better off exclusively playing at first base and DH.
- The Royals appear to be one of the teams in pursuit of Omar Infante, who could sign soon, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. However, asked about potential interest in Infante, Royals GM Dayton Moore replied that the club was very pleased with the job Emilio Bonifacio did in Kansas City in 2013 (Twitter link via Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune).
- Twins GM Terry Ryan says his team is keeping an eye on available catchers, but admits the free agent market dried up very quickly, tweets Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
The idea that the Pirates would trade for David Price is "pure nonsense," writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ron Cook. The Pirates would have to pay about $30MM for two seasons of Price, and would have to give up lots of value in prospects as well. "There are a lot fewer clubs that can play at the top of the market than clubs that can't," Pirates GM Neal Huntington says. "We just can't afford to do 'X.' Well, we could, but then how would we build a championship-caliber club around that one player?" Huntington also says the single biggest improvement the Bucs can make is re-signing A.J. Burnett, who continues to consider whether to play for one more year or to retire. Here are more notes from the Central divisions.
- The Pirates could look for a first baseman, starting pitcher, shortstop and/or right fielder this week, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates "checked in on" starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo. If so, that might indicate that they're not hopeful that Burnett will be back next year.
- The Royals offered Carlos Beltran three years and over $40MM, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Beltran ended up going to the Yankees for three years and $45MM. Heyman also notes that the Royals will also be bidding against the Yankees for infielder Omar Infante.
- The White Sox have demonstrated interest in Chase Headley of the Padres, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. As Van Schouwen notes, that's a little odd, unless the White Sox think they can sign Headley to an extension -- the White Sox aren't expected to contend in 2014, and Headley is a free agent after the season.
While the Yankees have already netted several of the offseason's top players, inking Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Hiroki Kuroda for a combined $299MM, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal notes that the Bombers will again field a roster with age and injury concerns. Beltran, for example, will be paid $45MM for his age 37-39 seasons despite missing significant time in the past with knee problems. "They will just repeat the cycle,” one rival executive speaking with Rosenthal commented. “No young players ready, need to win now, blow everyone out of the water (financially) and hope in three years they have young talent.” Let's take a look at the rest of Rosenthal's excellent column:
- Though the Red Sox have responded to the Yankees' spending spree with smaller deals for players such as Edward Mujica and Mike Napoli, Rosenthal writes that Boston holds a major advantage over the Yanks in scouting and player development, as the Ellsbury signing shows. While the Sox are unlikely to target Shin-Soo Choo, GM Ben Cherington may also have a surprise in the works, as Boston has considered trading for Matt Kemp and could also deal one of its starters.
- Choo may receive a deal that's nearly as large as Ellsbury’s $153MM pact, some executives believe. The Rangers, Mariners, Tigers and Reds appear to be likely landing spots, though some officials tell Rosenthal that the Giants and Astros could also get involved.
- Clubs that fail to land Choo will shift their attention to Nelson Cruz, who could also draw interest from the Orioles and Royals.
- The Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Mariners appear to be best-positioned among clubs looking to acquire David Price from the Rays. The Mariners in particular are expected to try and surround new acquisition Robinson Cano with impact talent in the early phase of his 10-year deal, when he'll be the most productive. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are indicating they're shifting their focus to player development, and are unlikely to offer up elite prospects like Corey Seager. While the Cardinals have the prospects to get Price, they've yet to indicate major interest in doing so.
- To trade Kemp now would be selling low on the outfielder, who missed significant time in 2013 with injuries. However, if the Dodgers are willing to absorb some salary, Kemp will look attractive in comparison with 2015's weak class of free agent outfielders.
- Some baseball sources tell Rosenthal that they think Rakuten Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana might follow through on a threat to not post Masahiro Tanaka. Tachibana is considered "something of a maverick" by MLB execs, and Tanaka's value is set to plummet for Rakuten under a posting system in which the maximum fee is $20MM, Rosenthal says.
Here's the latest news from both the NL and AL Central divisions...
- The Brandon Phillips trade rumors may have temporarily stopped, though Reds president/CEO Bob Castellini left the door slightly open when talking to reporters today (including MLB.com's Mark Sheldon and the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay). "Brandon is part of the team, boys," Castellini said. "Walt [GM Walt Jocketty] was just exploring. You have to understand what he's up against. He's got to look around. Brandon Phillips is an integral part of this franchise....But you never say never."
- The Cubs and John Axford share a mutual interest in each other, Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports. Axford would get a chance to compete for the Cubs' closing job, though the right-hander seemingly has plenty of opportunities around the league, with a reported 14 teams checking in following his non-tender from the Cardinals.
- The Cubs and Royals are two of the teams who have shown interest in Joba Chamberlain, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweets. No signing seems to be imminent for either team, however. Chamberlain is another relief arm who has drawn significant attention on the open market, as he may be seen as a reclamation candidate after some tough seasons with the Yankees.
- The Twins have spoken to John Buck's agent, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, and a source tells Berardino that Buck is Minnesota's top target amongst available catchers. It isn't clear how interested in the Twins are, however, given that Josmil Pinto is still the club's preferred choice to take over the everyday catching job now that Joe Mauer has been moved to first base.
- Carl Pavano talked with Berardino about his comeback attempt from a freak snow-shoveling accident that left him with a ruptured spleen and sidelined the veteran righty for the entire 2013 season. Pavano said the Twins haven't contacted him about a return: "I haven't really talked to them. I don't know if that would be a good fit anyway. I think we're in different places. They need those younger guys in their rotation."
Robinson Cano's blockbuster contract with the Mariners has generated the most headlines, but on another wild day of free agency, there's plenty of more news to go around. Here are some stray items about three of Friday's other major signings --- Curtis Granderson's four-year deal with the Mets, Carlos Beltran's three-year deal with the Yankees and Mike Napoli re-signing with the Red Sox for two years.
- The fourth year seemed to be the sticking point between Granderson and the Mets, but GM Sandy Alderson made the decision on Thursday night to offer the extra year and received approval from ownership, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (all Twitter links).
- Granderson gives the Mets a much-needed outfield bat, ESPN's Keith Law writes, though with Granderson already showing signs of decline, Law figures the Mets are only really counting on him to produce in the first two years of his deal. 2015 could be the key year, as it appears the Mets are looking to contend once Matt Harvey is back from Tommy John surgery.
- Also from Law, he thinks Beltran improves the Yankees lineup but it's a risky three-year commitment to a player entering his age-37 season. An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read Law's pieces.
- The Royals were rumored to have been the mystery team who made Beltran a three-year, $48MM offer earlier this week but a source tells ESPN's Jayson Stark that those rumors were "not accurate." Kansas City's trade for Norichika Aoki on Thursday seemed to be a sign that they had moved on from the Beltran sweepstakes.
- That larger offer could have come from the Diamondbacks, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the D'Backs offered Beltran a three-year deal worth more than the $45MM he received from New York. The signing would have boosted Arizona's payroll, and Piecoro wonders if the Snakes are willing to surpass the $100MM-payroll threshold to fill their needs this winter, or if they were just focused on Beltran in particular.
- Several members of the Red Sox roster urged the front office to up its offer to Napoli from two years/$30MM, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports. The players were responding to a rumor that the Rangers had made an offer "too good for Napoli to refuse," and the Sox indeed upped their offer to $32MM. The raise and the support from his teammates was enough to sway Napoli, who was already preferring to stay in Boston anyway.
- The Rangers actually never made a formal offer to Napoli, one source told Bradford.