Kevin Youkilis Rumors
Here are a few items about the World Series champs...
- Dioner Navarro is thought to have "drawn initial interest from the Red Sox," Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports. The switch-hitting catcher hit a career-best .300/.365/.492 in 266 PA with the Cubs last season, doing most of his damage against left-handed pitching. Navarro is just one of several catching options the Sox are considering, from Brian McCann or A.J. Pierzynski to re-signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
- There doesn't seem to be much, if any, chance of a Kevin Youkilis return to Boston, MLB.com's Ian Browne writes as part of a reader mailbag. Browne also addresses such topics as the length of a possible Mike Napoli contract and the Sox acquiring a veteran backup for the left side of the infield.
- The Red Sox figure to have around $20-$25MM in spending room this offseason, CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam calculates, though the club could free up more space by trading a veteran starter like Jake Peavy, John Lackey or Ryan Dempster. As I wrote in my Offseason Outlook piece about the Red Sox, the team has lots of payroll flexibility both this winter and for future years.
- Curtis Granderson has drawn "preliminary interest" from the Mets, two sources tell Martino, though the depth of that interest will depend on how Granderson's market develops. "When it comes to New York, this much is fair to say: [Granderson] is more likely to be a Met than a Yankee in 2014," Martino writes.
- Carlos Beltran "would love to come back to New York, but I think he’d like Boston, too,” a friend of the veteran slugger tells Martino. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in Beltran's services.
- The Mets have considered Andre Ethier as a trade option since at least last December, while the Dodgers have been open to dealing the outfielder since at least summer of 2012, rival executives say. That timing is odd given that the Dodgers only signed Ethier to his current five-year, $85MM contract in June 2012. There is no chance, Martino writes, that the Mets would move Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard for Ethier, though Martino speculates that the team could be more open to moving right-handed pitching prospect Rafael Montero.
- Kevin Youkilis "is 100% healthy" and recovered from back surgery, agent Joe Bick says.
- Joe Nathan is expected to draw strong interest this winter but agent Dave Pepe said he had "nothing to report" thus far about his client's free agency. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicts that Nathan will find a two-year, $26MM contract this offseason.
What are the biggest holes to be filled by potential 2014 contenders? Writing for ESPN, Paul Swydan lists catcher for the Tigers, right field for the Orioles, and DH for the Yankees. Having already covered some of this evening's news from the AL Central side, here are more notes from the American League:
- The Mariners have interviewed Giants bench coach Ron Wotus for the team's manager role, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman notes that Wotus joins a lengthy group of candidates vying to become the new Seattle skipper.
- The Angels lost major league special assignment scout Larry Corrigan, who will return to the Twins in some capacity, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports via Twitter. Corrigan has previously been described as one of GM Jerry Dipoto's most trusted scouts.
- While the Orioles have a lengthy list of free agents, the club is taking its time addressing their situations, reports Dan Connolly of the Balitimore Sun. With well-known names like Scott Feldman, Nate McLouth, Michael Morse, Brian Roberts, and Francisco Rodriguez all coming off the books, the Baltimore front office has to decide who to pursue. "We haven't moved on any of those free agents yet," said executive VP Dan Duquette.
- Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis is healthy and ready to test the free agent market once more, agent Joe Bick tells Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. The 35-year-old was a bust for the Yanks, who got 28 games off subpar production from him at a cost of $12MM.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters, including Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger, that Kevin Youkilis will undergo back surgery for a herniated disc and miss 10-12 weeks (Twitter link). The best-case scenario for Youkilis, based on that timeline, would be a late August return, though the recovery could easily push into September.
Youkilis, 34, signed a one-year, $12MM deal with the Yankees this offseason. He hit a respectable .267/.347/.422 through April 27 before landing on the disabled list with a sprained back. Since returning on May 31, he's hitting just .146/.239/.220.
A strong rebound campaign with the Bombers could've positioned Youkilis to sign a multi-year free agent deal this coming winter. Now, however, a one-year deal seems likely given the lack of production and significant time on the disabled list. The injury-prone corner infielder hasn't appeared in more than 122 games since 2009.
Youkilis never cracked Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings (and certainly won't now). He'll part of a first base class that is flooded with veterans this offseason in free agency, as Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse, Corey Hart, Mike Napoli, Paul Konerko, Justin Morneau and Mark Reynolds will all be on the market. If he can position himself as a third baseman, Youk's competition will be more scarce, but that could be a tough sell with the back injuries.
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is defending his team's quiet offseason, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. "[W]e're bringing back the core of the group from a year ago and the ball club that we had at the end of the season was a good defensive team," says Duquette. "And we've continued to build our pitching staff and our defense and the core players are young [and] they should continue to improve their offensive capabilities." The Orioles appear likely to take a step back in 2013, but they have an enviable young core that includes infielder Manny Machado, catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Jones. They could also get pick-me-ups at some point in the season from top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- Catcher Chris Snyder has accepted a Triple-A assignment with the Angels, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports. The Angels signed Snyder in mid-March as Hank Conger, who had been slated to back up Chris Iannetta, worried the Angels with his throwing. Snyder's deal with the Angels permitted him to opt out and become a free agent, but he has chosen not to do so even though the Angels ultimately decided to go with Conger as their backup. Gonzalez reports that Snyder felt it would be difficult to find a major-league job with another team with Opening Day looming.
- After winning their Opening Day matchup against the Yankees, the Red Sox can officially put 2012 behind them, Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com writes. Their victory was keyed, in part, by two new outfielders, Shane Victorino (who signed a three-year, $39MM deal as a free agent) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (a first-round pick in 2011). "I wasn't part of what happened in the past," says Bradley, "but we're leaving it in the past."
- The Red Sox aren't the only ones who want to leave the past behind. So does former star Kevin Youkilis, who's ready to stop talking about how he's with the Yankees now, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch writes. "I don't sit down and stare at my uniform all game," he says. "I don't look and say, 'Oh wow, look at these pinstripes! This is pretty cool!' I just go out and play baseball."
Over the course of 48 hours last week, teams handed out nearly a half-billion dollars in long-term deals to Justin Verlander, Buster Posey, Adam Wainwright and Paul Goldschmidt, Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes. But not all of those expensive contracts go well, which leads to, for example, last week trade of Vernon Wells from the Angels to the Yankees. "We're becoming like the NBA," says Brewers GM Doug Melvin. "Instead of old-fashioned baseball trades, we're trading contracts. I can see more of these in the future. And that's concerning." A sidebar to Nightengale's article lists how much each team will be paying other teams this year, much of it for contracts gone bad. The Angels are paying the most money, most of it going to the Yankees for Wells. The Pirates are receiving the most money, much of it coming from the Yankees (for A.J. Burnett) and Astros (for Wandy Rodriguez). Here are more notes from around the league.
- Two bad months -- a bad August 2011 for the Red Sox, and a bad August 2012 for the Indians -- helped create the 2013 Indians, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Without the Red Sox's bad month, Cleveland wouldn't have been able to hire manager Terry Francona, and without the Indians' 5-24 August, the team's ownership might not have felt the need to make a splash in the offseason. That month of "zombie baseball" led to the acquisitions of Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers and Mark Reynolds, Hoynes argues.
- The Red Sox will see former star Kevin Youkilis as he makes his regular-season debut with the Yankees on Monday, Peter Abraham of the Boston Glove notes. Youkilis signed a $12MM deal with the Yankees in the offseason. "It’ll be weird," says Boston's Jon Lester. "I wouldn’t never thought that it would happen. But he made that choice for him and his family. I’m sure he’s excited about it."
- Pirates second baseman Neil Walker also says he isn't likely to discuss a long-term contract with the team during the regular season, Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). The Bucs have not made a new offer to Walker, either, Sanserino says. Walker will make $3.3MM in 2013 in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
As usual, there's no shortage of headlines out of the Bronx, what with Mariano Rivera's pending retirement announcement and a batch of Yankee items earlier today from the New York Post's Ken Davidoff. Here's some more Yankees-related news...
- The Yankees won't be able to find and buy premium talent in free agency as easily as they have in the past, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes, as so many teams have been able to sign their top players and keep them from hitting the open market. While New York's minor league system isn't bad, Rosenthal notes that the Yankees lack MLB-ready young replacements for their aging stars and they also lack the prospect depth to trade for the likes of Giancarlo Stanton.
- Kevin Youkilis is happy to play at either first base or third base following Mark Teixeira’s injury, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter). Youkilis' versatility will provide the Yankees with some flexibility in pursuing either type of corner infielder.
- Grantland's Rany Jazayerli recaps the Yankees' modern history of success and believes the team is poised to struggle in 2013.
- Robinson Cano will be "the most important position player in baseball" in the wake of the injuries in the Yankee lineup, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues opines. "No other team that fancies itself a contender will rely as heavily on one player as the Yankees will rely on Cano early this season," Axisa writes. This reality can only help Cano and Scott Boras in their contract negotiations with the team.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post
Earlier this morning the Red Sox acquired Mike Carp from the Mariners for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The move provides the Red Sox with another lefty hitting option while creating some additional pressure for other players competing for playing time. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox...
- The Red Sox aren’t expected to give up a significant prospect in the deal, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. Carp is out of options and takes up a 40-man roster spot, which limited his trade value. The primary cost of acquiring Carp was cash, Speier writes.
- Lyle Overbay, who joined the Red Sox on a minor league deal earlier this year, could be the odd man out now that the Red Sox have acquired Carp. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if Overbay could end up returning to the Brewers, who now need a first baseman (Twitter link). Overbay told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he's prepared to compete for a roster spot with the Red Sox.
- Joel Hanrahan is willing to discuss an extension with the Red Sox if the team is interested, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. "It has been great here so far," Hanrahan said.
- Kevin Youkilis said the Red Sox called his agent during the offseason, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (Twitter link). Discussions didn't intensify and the longtime Red Sox star signed with the Yankees.
It was on this day in 1956 that Phil Rizzuto traded his glove for a microphone as the longtime Yankee shortstop agreed to become a radio and TV broadcaster. Rizzuto called Yankees games for the next 39 years, becoming arguably even more famous as an announcer than he was for his Hall-of-Fame playing career.
Here's the latest from the Bronx...
- There is "no chance" the Yankees will pursue Michael Bourn, a source tells ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. We heard over the weekend from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the Yankees would be interested in Bourn if his price dropped, though it's hard to imagine Bourn's price dropping enough to suit a team who is trying to keep payroll under the luxury tax threshold for 2014.
- Scott Hairston is apparently "the front-runner" amongst the right-handed hitting outfielders the Yankees are targeting, Matthews reports, though Hairston would prefer to return to the Mets in 2013.
- In a radio interview on WAAF's Hill-Man Morning Show, Kevin Youkilis said that his ideal choice would've been to play on the west coast near his Bay Area home, but his suitors were all eastern and midwest teams. Youkilis said his choice hinged on the Yankees having the best chance to win a World Series, not out of spite towards the Red Sox. (Hat tip to WEEI.com's Alex Speier for the partial transcript of Youkilis' interview.)
- Curtis Granderson's trade value is examined by Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog, who concludes that the Yankees will have a difficult time finding a trade partner who both needs and can afford Granderson, while also being able to send a good return back to the Bronx.
- The Yankees will pay an extra $400K after Major League Baseball recalculated the team's luxury tax payments for 2012, according to The Associated Press. New York will now pay just under $19.312MM in luxury tax for the previous season.
The Indians announced that they have signed Mark Reynolds to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $6MM, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter). Reynolds could earn as much as $7.5MM if he reaches certain performance bonuses. With Reynolds manning first base, the Indians will turn to Lonnie Chisenhall as their starter at the hot corner.
Reynolds started the 2012 season slowly, but hit 15 home runs after August 1st, finishing with 23 homers and a .221/.335/.429 batting line. The 29-year-old struck out 159 times, but didn't lead the league in strikeouts for the first time since 2007.
The Orioles paid Reynolds a $500K buyout instead of exercising his $11MM option following the regular season. He remained under team control as an arbitration eligible player with a projected salary of $8.9MM, but the Orioles elected to non-tender him.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that a deal was imminent (on Twitter). Mike Axisa and Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of Kim Klement/US Presswire.