Kaz Matsui Rumors


Odds And Ends: Rangers, Brewers, O'Dowd

A few links for Saturday morning...



Dodgers Scrambling for Infield Help

With veteran infielders Nomar Garciaparra and Jeff Kent both likely to miss opening day, the Dodgers are scrambling to find themselves some backups. Ken Rosenthal says that since the Astros are unlikely to trade Mark Loretta while Kaz Matsui is out,  L.A. is considering Ron Belliard of the Nationals and Esteban German of the Royals. Another possibility, Morgan Ensberg, seems unlikely, as the Yankees added him to their 40-man roster yesterday. Joe Crede of the White Sox and Brandon Inge of the Tigers are both probably too expensive.

This could impact roster decisions Los Angeles will make on Monday, when they decide whether they can afford to carry twelve pitchers with so much uncertainty around their infield.

Ned Colletti, meanwhile, says he expects Monday to mark an uptick in trade chatter---but also that he's content, for now, to fill his third base hole from within. It's worth noting that  Ensberg's spot on the opening day roster is still not guaranteed, and that Matsui is expected to return in two to three weeks, perhaps freeing up Loretta. 

Sarah Green writes for the Boston Metro and UmpBump.com. She can be reached here.



Astros Rumors: Patterson, Loretta

If 30-year old righty John Patterson clears waivers today, Ed Wade will give him a call. Patterson hails from Orange, Texas and was released by the Nationals on Thursday.  You can read about Patterson's injury-packed history here.

In other Astros news, Wade is not likely to deal infielder Mark Loretta, despite alleged interest from the Dodgers. The Dodgers want Loretta to sub for perennially injured 3B Nomar Garciaparra, who will not be ready to go by opening day. However, there may be wishful thinking going on in Los Angeles, as the Astros are also coping with an unpleasant injury to their new second baseman, Kaz Matsui.

Wade doesn't like to discuss trade rumors, but told the Houston Chronicle that he "expects" Loretta to be with the Astros on opening day.

Sarah Green writes for the Boston Metro and UmpBump.com. She can be reached here.



Rockies Rumblings: Barmes, Sullivan, Podsednik

While talking to reporters Saturday, Rockies General manager Dan O'Dowd tried to make it clear he has no plans to trade infielder Clint Barmes.  His name recently surfaced in rumors with the Angels and Orioles.

However, according to the Denver Post, O'Dowd's reaction was decidedly less definitive regarding the possibility of dealing reserve outfielder Cory Sullivan. Why? It's likely due to the torrid spring of Scott Podsednik, who on Saturday made a "full tilt, horizontal to the ground, fully extended" diving catch (this according to manager Clint Hurdle) to rob Rangers' DH Jason Botts of an hit.

This spring Podsednik leads the Rockies in steals, swiping six in seven attempts. He's also getting on base at a .529 clip. Can Pods make a return to his 2005 form and make the Rockies? One would think he'd at least help fill the speed void left by the departure of Kaz Matsui.

Aaron Shinsano writes for East Windup Chronicle.



Rockies Rumors: Iguchi, Grudzielanek, Rusch, Fukumori

UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 12:20am: Troy Renck says that if the Rox do acquire a second baseman, Dan O'Dowd is ready to trade both Clint Barmes and Jamey Carroll.  The Cardinals, Marlins, and Indians would be suitors for those two.

FROM 12-5-07 at 10:09pm:

MLB.com's Thomas Harding checks in with a slew of new Rockies rumors.

  • The Rockies have their eye on Tadahito Iguchi and could offer him a two-year deal.  However, Iguchi is craving a contract similar to Kaz Matsui's three-year, $16.5MM pact.  Should one bad contract beget another one?
  • Mark Grudzielanek can be had, but the Rox aren't interested.
  • The Rockies will take a gander at the suddenly popular Glendon Rusch.
  • The Rox will pass on Kazuo Fukumori - they're worried about his elbow.



Astros Sign Kaz Matsui

UPDATE, 12-2-07 at 4:30pm: The Matsui signing is official at three years, $16.5MM - even more than we thought.  How is a signing like this even possible?  Was there actually a group of executives who all agreed that this move was smart?  The speed obsession is perplexing. 

FROM 11-29-07 at 11pm:

Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000 reports had it first: the Astros have signed second baseman Kaz Matsui to a three year deal worth $15-16MM.  Ed Wade saved Jim Hendry from himself.  Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald and Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle confirm the signing.  Richard Justice speculates that the 'Stros could shop Chris Burke now, and maybe even package him with Luke Scott. 

Matsui is the early favorite for worst free agent signing of the winter.  He is probably not worth half the money, and a three-year commitment for him is insane.  Since he joined the Rockies in August of 2006, Matsui hit .256/.305/.370 away from Coors Field.

Not that Matsui is a legitimate starting second baseman, but the signing clearly leaves Tadahito Iguchi as the one free agent starter at the position.  That is, unless David Eckstein opts to market himself as a second baseman.



MLB Trade Rumors: Astros Sign Kaz Matsui

Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000 reports had it first: the Astros have signed second baseman Kaz Matsui to a three year deal worth $15-16MM.  Ed Wade saved Jim Hendry from himself.  Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald and Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle confirm the signing.  Richard Justice speculates that the 'Stros could shop Chris Burke now, and maybe even package him with Luke Scott. 

Matsui is the early favorite for worst free agent signing of the winter.  He is probably not worth half the money, and a three-year commitment for him is insane.  Since he joined the Rockies in August of 2006, Matsui hit .256/.305/.370 away from Coors Field.

Not that Matsui is a legitimate starting second baseman, but the signing clearly leaves Tadahito Iguchi as the one free agent starter at the position.  That is, unless David Eckstein opts to market himself as a second baseman.



Unfounded Rumor: Kaz Matsui

UPDATE, 11-28-07 at 10:45am: Buster Olney says talks for Matsui are indeed picking up, and the Cubs are in the thick of things.  He notes that if a team is dead set on acquiring a left-handed hitting middle infielder, its options are limited.  It's possible the Astros are still talking to Matsui.

FROM 11-28-07 at 8:30am:

Since last night, about a dozen people have emailed me about a supposed Denver radio station report.  This report purportedly claimed Kaz Matsui had signed with the Cubs for three years and $14MM.

However, none of the emailers had actually heard the report with their own two ears.  Details are slim - no one knows who actually said it on air.  While the rumor sounds reasonable, it may be made up or a contortion of the truth.  It may also be accurate - we don't know yet.

One sign that the hot stove season has officially kicked in is the spreading of unverifiable radio rumors.  These are slippery because they're very difficult to confirm but have an air of authority to them.  That makes radio rumors easy to fabricate and spread around the 'Net.  I've also seen many cases where radio personalities were clearly speculating, but a few games of telephone later and they were talking about actual offers.

All that said, radio reports have value when verified.  For instance Bruce Levine of ESPN Radio 1000 out of Chicago scooped everyone on the Kerry Wood and Scott Linebrink signings.



Rockies Rumors: Herges, Torrealba

Troy E. Renck has the Rockies hot stove buzz, as usual.

  • The Rockies are close with reliever Matt Herges, but other teams remain in the mix.  It's known that Herges wants a two-year deal and the Brewers are interested.
  • The Rockies are also making progress on a deal with catcher Yorvit Torrealba.  The Mets saw something they didn't like in Torrealba, so he's come back to the Rockies to talk.  Renck says the Rockies had previously offered two years and $7MM with a vesting option for 2010 (seems reasonable).  Now they might be able to get him without guaranteeing that third year.
  • Renck says Kaz Matsui may sign with the Cubs or Astros next week.  Matsui has priced himself out of the Rockies' range.



Cubs Rumors: Wood, Matsui, Crawford

The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan has the latest on the Cubs this morning.

  • It's been known for a few days now that the Red Sox like the idea of adding Kerry Wood as their setup man.  Sullivan confirms the interest, and quotes Cubs GM Jim Hendry saying Wood is "getting a lot of action around the industry."  In a pitching-starved market, teams will convince themselves Wood can stay healthy and dominant.  Sullivan speculates that it could take multiple years at $5MM per.  To see a team go 3/15 would not shock me.
  • Kaz Matsui is still on the Cubs' radar for a three-year deal.  They could consider using him at shortstop or second base.  Two days ago Tracy Ringolsby had said Matsui "appeared headed to the Astros," but Ken Rosenthal chimed in noting the Cubs and Rockies are ahead of Houston in the Matsui derby.  Hendry met with Matsui yesterday, but no deal is imminent.
  • A left-handed hitting outfielder remains on Hendry's wish list.  Carl Crawford hasn't yet been made available according to Sullivan, but the Cubs will surely look into it if he is.  Kosuke Fukudome remains a possibility as well.  Bruce Miles adds Ryan Church to the mix.
  • The Cubs expect to increase payroll beyond last year's $110MM.









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