Kevin Youkilis Rumors
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.
The Yankees announced that they have signed infielder Kevin Youkilis on a one-year contract. The Pro Star Management, Inc. client obtains $12MM, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who first reported the agreement (via Twitter). Youkilis drew interest from a number of clubs this offseason, including the Indians and newly-minted skipper Terry Francona.
Youkilis struggled offensively as a member of the embattled 2012 Red Sox, hitting just .233/.315/.377 with four homers across 165 plate appearances. However, he bounced back after being traded to the White Sox and boosted his slash line to .236/.346/.425 with 15 home runs in 344 plate appearances.
The 33-year-old is expected to see significant time at third base as Alex Rodriguez recovers from surgery on his left hip. A-Rod will be out until at least May and could even be sidelined until July. When Rodriguez returns to action, Youkilis could help support him at third while also seeing time at first base and DH.
Cleveland bowed out of the Youkilis chase on Sunday when they inked Mark Reynolds to a one-year contract worth $6MM. Prior to that, the Tribe reportedly offered Youkilis a two-year deal worth approximately $18MM. Some also saw the free-spending Dodgers as a possible suitor for Youkilis, but it doesn't appear that they ever jumped into the mix.
Rosenthal notes (via Twitter) that this is another sign that the Yankees appear to be serious about tightening their belt before 2014. The Bombers are looking to get under $189MM limit by that point and they have inked Youkilis, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda to one-year deals to help accomplish that.
- The Rangers haven’t pushed hard for free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). It appears that they’ll look at other options following the departure of Hamilton. However, Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that LaRoche's name came up today and that Texas might be willing to offer three years (Twitter link).
- The Rangers would like to add a pitcher, and are looking at mid-rotation starters, including Edwin Jackson, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.
- Managers Robin Ventura and Bobby Valentine reflected on Kevin Youkilis' 2012 season with Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Also within the piece, Sherman shows that the Giants won the 2012 World Series without spending more than $1.25MM on a free agent during the winter of 2011-12. Yes, Ryan Theriot was San Francisco's most expensive free agent signing a year ago.
- Multiple teams continue pursuing Nick Swisher, but the free agent outfielder is “not even close” to making a decision, Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). At least three clubs are in the mix and a fourth may be involved. The Indians appear to be pursuing Swisher aggressively, and the Red Sox, Phillies, Mariners, Rangers, and Orioles have also been linked to him.
Asdrubal Cabrera, arguably the top shortstop available, has drawn trade interest as a third baseman. Before the Winter Meetings began, the Indians and Phillies discussed a trade that would have sent the shortstop to Philadelphia for Vance Worley and prospects, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The Phillies, who have since sent Worley to the Twins and acquired Michael Young from the Rangers, would have used Cabrera at third base, according to Hoynes. While the Phillies offered Worley and two prospects, the Indians wanted more.
Cabrera, 27, will earn $6.5MM in 2013 and $10MM in 2014 before his contract expires. The switch hitter can block trades to the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Nationals, Giants and Mets. In 616 plate appearances this past season, he posted a .270/.338/.423 batting line.
The Indians appear to have closed the books on Kevin Youkilis, though they still have needs in left field and at DH. Nick Swisher remains a target for Cleveland, according to Hoynes. GM Chris Antonetti hopes to add to his rotation and the Indians have been in touch with most free agent starters.
The defending World Series champions play in the NL West, but the Giants are not the ones making the biggest headlines. Here’s the latest from the division, starting in Los Angeles...
- Barring something unexpected, the Dodgers are finished in the starting pitching market according to Olney (on Twitter).
- Zack Greinke signed for $147MM over six years, and he could earn even more money by opting out three seasons from now, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains. The Dodgers awarded Greinke the opt-out as a compromise, as the right-hander initially sought a seven-year deal with a no-trade clause, Rosenthal reports.
- One evaluator told ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the Giants are still a better team than the Dodgers despite Los Angeles' aggressive spending. The Dodgers have questions on the left side of the infield and might be vulnerable against left-handed pitching, Olney writes.
- The Dodgers have discussed Kevin Youkilis and Anibal Sanchez, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Sanchez may be more of a longshot given the Dodgers' internal rotation options. The team appears to have interest in dealing Aaron Harang, but Chris Capuano has drawn more trade interest, Knobler reports.
- The Dodgers have talked to the Pirates about Capuano, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).
- Rosenthal wonders if the Padres could be a fit for Edwin Jackson, but concludes that San Diego probably won’t sign the free agent right-hander if he’s positioned to command a four or five-year deal (Twitter links). Padres executives Josh Byrnes and A.J. Hinch previously worked with Jackson in Arizona.