Kenny Lofton Rumors


Stark's Latest: Davis, Valdez, Roberts, Lofton

ESPN's Jayson Stark checks in with a blog entry jam-packed with rumorage.

  • Stark says the Giants are shopping Rich Aurilia, Ray Durham, Steve Kline, Randy Winn, Tyler Walker, Rajai Davis, and Merkin Valdez.  The vets we knew about; the last two are a surprise.  Probably stems from both being out of options.
  • Brian Roberts update: Stark talked to a club official who's in touch with the Cubs and O's.  That guy expects a deal to be done next week.  Plus, Stark sees the O's as an active suitor for Kyle Lohse at the right price.
  • Stark confirms the rumblings that the Rays have checked in on Kenny Lofton.  Lofton could be a nice bargain this year for a couple mil.



Baldelli's Hamstrings May Open Door For Lofton

With Rocco Baldelli appearing only twice in spring games this year, the Rays may consider reviving talks with free agent outfielder Kenny Lofton. Tampa Bay's right field and fourth outfielder depth is light enough that they've begun to look at infielders Joel Guzman and Ben Zobrist at left and right field, respectively.

Ray's manager Joe Maddon won't even guess when Baldelli will return to full-time play. Baldelli is nursing sore hamstrings this spring. He's expected to play right field, if he can run, and will split time with Cliff Floyd and Jonny Gomes at DH.

Given Floyd's fragility, the Rays will be taking quite a chance if they depend on that combination.  Floyd has appeared in 150 games once in the last ten years. Baldelli appeared in 150 games in his rookie year but hasn't in the three years since.

By Big Mike Glab



Reds Sign Corey Patterson

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have signed 28 year-old center fielder Corey Patterson to a minor league deal.  Patterson, a Boras client, makes for a surprising bargain with a dash of upside.  He happened to reach free agency in an offseason with a center field surplus.  He's reunited with former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who some say mishandled Patterson at times.  Fay believes this takes Kenny Lofton off the table for Cincy.

The Reds are calling it a center field competition, but Patterson will probably get the gig.  This will allow the Reds to keep Jay Bruce in the minors until June and delay his future free agency by a year.

The Reds also inked another former Cub, Jerry Hairston Jr.  He may have a hard time making the team, but his versatility could help.



Hairston Key To Pads' OF Dealings

The Padres still may need more outfield help. Centerfielder Jim Edmonds and rightfielder Brian Giles both are well into the brittle phases of their careers.

Sean Devaney of the Sporting News has Kevin Towers casting his left field lot with Scott Hairston - for the time being. Look for more chatter about Jason Bay, Matt Murton and any other available outfielder if Hairston fails to lock the job down within three weeks.  It's unclear whether Gabe Gross (who is out of options) is currently of interest.  Kenny Lofton could be a free agent possibility.

Would Towers be willing to part with relievers Wilfredo Ledezma (LH) or Clay Hensley (RH) alone or part of a package to fill an outfield hole?

Hairston put in a nice month's-worth of games with the Pads last year, slugging .644. That spurt was uncharacteristic of the 27-year-old's major league career, though.

By Big Mike Glab



Stark's Latest: Patterson, Lohse, Lofton, Clemens

Finally, new info regarding some of the remaining free agentsJayson Stark has the scoop.

  • Seems there's a chance Corey Patterson takes a cheap deal to return to Baltimore.  He could be relegated to fourth outfielder duty in that case.  Stark says the Marlins have discussed Patterson internally, but aren't sure if they could afford the Boras client.  Patterson would be a nice stopgap for Cameron Maybin, who'd be well-served with some time in Triple A.  Ken Rosenthal also mentioned the Florida possibility.
  • One of the most surprising free agents at this point is Kyle Lohse.  Stark shoots down the notion of Lohse signing with the Met or Phillies on a one-year deal.  Rosenthal tossed out the Cards and O's as slight possibilities.  It's tough to be impressed with Boras' work with Patterson and Lohse this year.  Stark's colleague Buster Olney even speaks of rumors that Lohse could ditch Boras. 
  • Kenny Lofton wants a Major League deal, and the offers so far have been minor league (including one from the Reds).  I don't find this an unreasonable demand on Lofton's part; he's still a useful player.  He's OK with starting the season late and coming in as a mercenary when a spot opens up.
  • Stark talked to a friend of Drayton McLane who believes the Astros' owner could roll the dice on Roger Clemens at the right price.



Rosenthal's Latest: Lohse, Furcal, Lofton

FOX's Ken Rosenthal checks in with the latest buzz from Spring Training.

  • The Mets, Cardinals, and Orioles are listed as possibilities for Kyle Lohse.  However, the Mets may deem him unnecessary, reports are conflicting on the Cards' interest, and the Orioles are wary of the price.
  • Rosenthal says Rafael Furcal's agent met with Ned Colletti a few days ago, but the Dodgers would likely want to see Furcal return to form before entertaining an extension.  Click here to see the other shortstops eligible for free agency after the '08 season.  The Dodgers may have a viable replacement for Furcal in defensive whiz Chin-Lung Hu.
  • Rosenthal notes that the Yankees, in search of a right-handed outfielder, considered Shannon Stewart and Mike Cameron this winter.
  • Kenny Lofton's chances of a getting the big league deal he wants with the Reds or Twins look slim. 
  • The rumor going around for Corey Patterson is the Marlins, if the price is right.
  • Rosenthal confirms two additions for our 2008 Out Of Options list - Gabe Gross and Clint Barmes.
  • Rosenthal says the Mets need a right-handed hitter who can play left field and first base.  Here are some names I came up with: Ryan Ludwick, Xavier Nady, Matt Murton, Franklin Gutierrez, and Kevin Millar.  Granted, not all those guys know their way around first base.



Rays Considering Bonds, Piazza, Lofton

12:28pm: Andrew Friedman denies it, calling the Bonds rumor a "non-story."  They never even had a harmless internal conversation about Bonds, then?

11:27am: Japan is a legitimate possibility for Barry Bonds, but he may not have exhausted his MLB options just yet.  Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times says the Rays have had internal discussions about signing Bonds (hat tip DRays Bay).  At some point, one of the 30 teams is going to acknowledge that Bonds adds wins.  Most fans have proven that they care more about wins than steroid use.

Other considerations for the Rays include Mike Piazza and Kenny Lofton.  In the case of all three players, the Rays would have a logjam on their hands.   But the chance to do some bargain shopping could prove irresistible.



Dusty Talks To Lofton, Patterson

Cubs center fielders hit a fine .302/.344/.466 for Dusty Baker's 2003 club, which came within five outs of a World Series appearance.  Most of the ABs at the position went to Corey Patterson and Kenny Lofton that year.

Dusty's managing the Reds now, and both center fielders remain free agents as of February 17th.  The Reds have some uncertainty in center field, though Jay Bruce is a stud and Ryan Freel is said to be 100%.  According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker has spoken to both Lofton and Patterson recently.  They are options for the Reds; Baker says Lofton seeks a Major League deal. In that case someone would have to be booted off the team's 40 man roster.  Six days ago, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Reds' interest in Lofton might depend on who they might trade for another starter (with Joe Blanton as the main target).

The Reds currently have Kent Mercker and Paul Bako in camp as non-roster invitees; both played for Baker in '03.



Dusty Talks To Lofton, Patterson

Cubs center fielders hit a fine .302/.344/.466 for Dusty Baker's 2003 club, which came within five outs of a World Series appearance.  Most of the ABs at the position went to Corey Patterson and Kenny Lofton that year.

Dusty's managing the Reds now, and both center fielders remain free agents as of February 17th.  The Reds have some uncertainty in center field, though Jay Bruce is a stud and Ryan Freel is said to be 100%.  According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker has spoken to both Lofton and Patterson recently.  They are options for the Reds; Baker says Lofton seeks a Major League deal. In that case someone would have to be booted off the team's 40 man roster.  Six days ago, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Reds' interest in Lofton might depend on who they might trade for another starter (with Joe Blanton as the main target).

The Reds currently have Kent Mercker and Paul Bako in camp as non-roster invitees; both played for Baker in '03.



Johan Santana Rumors

UPDATE, 1-25-08 at 9:46pm: According to LEN3: I was told today that next week is a big week in terms of determining if and where Santana will be dealt.  The end is in sight, then?

FROM 1-25-08 at 9:30am:

Time for your daily Johan Santana rumors post.

  • LEN3 talked to a Twins official who said there had been no recent extension talks between Santana and the Twins.  Meanwhile Sid Hartman at the same paper says the Mets and Yankees won't go seven years, and he think the Twins' 4/80 offer is fair.
  • Neal says that while Santana won't necessarily veto any trade reached after Spring Training starts, it's in everyone's best interest to avoid dragging it that far. 
  • The Mets are still reluctant to part with Fernando Martinez, seemingly the dealbreaker right now.  Aaron Heilman could enter the mix though.
  • Neal believes the Yankee/Red Sox offers from December are still on the table.  This has been my hunch as well.  Which is why I think Boston can still pull this off.
  • If no deal can be reached soon the Twins might have to sign a stopgap CF like Corey Patterson or Kenny Lofton.
  • Buster Olney on Johan's warning signs: I talked with evaluators and scouts with three other teams since then, and they all saw the exact same thing in Santana: diminishment in velocity, relatively few sliders thrown, subpar (for Santana) performances. But two of the three believe the regression could be attributed to the Twins not being in the race, Minnesota not playing in a high-adrenalin situation, and Santana coping with a cracked nail. The third evaluator wonders, too, if Santana is OK. "If a deal is made, you could see there would be a complete physical, given the money involved," said the evaluator.









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