Kevin Youkilis Rumors
With plenty of rumors flying around the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, we're making sure we don't let anything slip through the cracks. Here are a few morning updates from around the league on some of this winter's free agents:
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Mets have displayed interest in the recently non-tendered John Lannan, perhaps as insurance if the team trades a starter.
- Although he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009, Kelvim Escobar is healthy in winter ball and is drawing interest at the Winter Meetings, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- The Yankees have spoken with Kevin Youkilis' agent, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network (Twitter link). According to Curry, Youkilis would consider a one-year deal if the salary was at a "premium amount."
- The Mariners are interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- A rival evaluator tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that there's "no way" Stephen Drew would sign with the Yankees to be a part-time or utility player. Drew is seeking a full-time job.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington acknowledged that giving up a draft pick to sign Nick Swisher would be a factor in Boston's pursuit of the outfielder (link via Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com).
- Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald hears that the Red Sox still have a chance in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes, but it's a long shot (Twitter link).
- After getting a clean bill of health on his hand and wrist, Ian Stewart has drawn wide interest from teams looking for third base help, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times notes (via Twitter) that Stewart could be a fit for the Yankees.
- Within his latest piece for the New York Post, Ken Davidoff hears that the Mets and Ryan Ludwick are an unlikely match, and wonders if Nick Swisher could end up with the Mariners.
- The Reds will meet with Ludwick's agent this morning, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The veteran outfielder could accept the offer on the table from Cincinnati, though Fay speculates that the Reds are offering two years and Ludwick wants three. A two-year deal with a third-year option might work for both sides, says Fay.
- The Athletics will meet with the reps for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers, Angels, and Rays are among the teams that have inquired on free agent reliever Mark Lowe, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Scott Kazmir, who is throwing 90-94 mph in Puerto Rico, is drawing interest from a host of teams and could choose from a handful of offers soon, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the Mets aren't in the mix for the lefty, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
A fresh batch of free agent notes for Day 1 of the Winter Meetings in Nashville...
- Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona) seeks a one-year deal and has drawn interest from at least five teams including the Indians, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The righty missed most of the 2012 season due to charges of using a false name and difficulty obtaining a visa.
- Free agent lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano is healthy and intends to pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League, his agent tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The 36-year-old finished up a two-year deal from the Yankees, during which he did not pitch in the Majors at all due to shoulder surgery.
- Kevin Youkilis doesn't care whether he plays first or third base, agent Joe Bick told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. On a side note, the Reds and Red Sox do not appear to be in on Youk.
Here are the latest news and notes from the NL and AL Central divisions:
- Sources tell FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal the Reds like Dexter Fowler and the Rockies like Homer Bailey. Now the question is whether their mutual interest crystallizes into trade discussions during the Winter Meetings.
- The Brewers are prioritizing a left-handed reliever with the available free agent possibilities including Sean Burnett, Randy Choate, Mike Gonzalez, J.P. Howell, and Tom Gorzelanny, tweets Morosi.
- Cubs officials have yet to confirm or comment on reports of their signing of Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, writes Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. The Cubs, however, are willing to talk about their need for a third baseman, an outfielder, and pitching depth. Muskat adds the Cubs could re-sign third baseman Ian Stewart after non-tendering him on Friday.
- The White Sox and Phillies are the two most aggressive teams in pursuit of a third baseman, a source tells Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Kevin Youkilis is the object of both team's pursuit. Hayes writes the Sox may have to move another high salary in order to afford Youkilis and floats the names of Jeff Keppinger, Mark Reynolds, and Eric Chavez as alternatives.
- The Pirates feel they are better equipped to restock their bullpen, despite the free agency of Jason Grilli and the recent trade of Chris Resop, and may be interested in turning closer Joel Hanrahan into a much needed starting pitcher, according to MLB.com's Tom Singer.
- The Twins plan to focus more on free agents than trades during the Winter Meetings, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com. The Twins have already dealt their best trade chip in Denard Span and plan on keeping Josh Willingham, writes Mackey in a separate piece.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn covered a number of topics during a conference call with reporters today. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune has the highlights...
- Hahn has been talking to the representatives for A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis, and believes the markets for both players will come into focus once other catchers and third basemen sign contracts. The free agent catching market lost a notable name today when Russell Martin agreed to a two-year/$17MM deal with the Pirates.
- The White Sox are prepared to address their hole at third base if Youkilis leaves, though they could do that via an internal option. "While figuring out what we're going to do at third base is a priority, it’s not necessarily one that’s going to mandate an acquisition from outside the organization," Hahn said.
- Gordon Beckham told Gonzales last week that the club hadn't approached him about becoming a third baseman, and Hahn didn't seem overly enthusiastic about the idea though he didn't rule it out.
- In regards to the White Sox payroll, "There is a little bit of room as we sit here today to maneuver, but to do anything described as major, we’d have to make another move elsewhere to free up some cash," Hahn said.
- Most teams contacting Chicago about trades have asked about their pitchers, so if the team did make a deal, Hahn said the Sox would likely move one of their arms. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported earlier tonight that Gavin Floyd the biggest trade candidate if the White Sox can find a cheaper pitcher to replace him in the rotation.
Agents and players have considerably more interest in Baltimore as a potential destination now that the Orioles are viewed as a contender, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports. "It's winning," one agent told Olney. "Period.” Some free agents now list the Orioles as a team they’d like to join. Here are more notes from Olney, starting in Baltimore...
- The Orioles are looking for starting pitching and hope to bring Joe Saunders back. Jeremy Guthrie’s three-year, $25MM contract could affect Saunders’ asking price, as Olney points out.
- While the Orioles have talked about adding a bat, they’re not expected to be particularly aggressive about free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.
- The Marlins, Indians and Pirates are among the teams that could have trouble luring free agents even if they’re offering competitive salaries.
- One AL GM credits the Red Sox for building a team that plays well in Fenway Park.
- Earlier in the offseason there had been talk that the SoftBank Hawks, the Japanese team that recently agreed to sign Bryan LaHair, could pursue veteran free agents such as Mike Napoli or Kevin Youkilis.
- A number of teams, including the Indians, are scouting left-hander Scott Kazmir, Olney writes. The Astros had some interest in Kazmir during the regular season.
- Olney suggests arbitration eligible players such as Chris Heisey and A.J. Ellis could be candidates for two or three-year extensions this winter.
- Although criticism is warranted, the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster was a legitimate baseball trade because Miami received plenty of young, high-end talent in return.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers was never really in the hunt for Jose Reyes, and he has yet to be overwhelmed with an offer for Justin Upton.
- The Red Sox are more likely to deal Jarrod Saltalamacchia than Ryan Lavarnway in the wake of the David Ross signing, but only if they get a good offer.
- Both the Red Sox and Diamondbacks are interested in Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians while Boston also has some interest in Stephen Drew.
- Carl Pavano was given a clean bill of health in September after missing most of the season with a shoulder problem. His agent Dave Pepe has received a few preliminary calls, and Pavano could sign a minor league deal.
- Most executives love Dan Haren but would not be comfortable offering more than two years given concerns about his back. Most prefer a one-year deal with an option.
- Eight teams, including the Red Sox, have interest in right-hander Jason Grilli according to his agent Gary Sheffield. They have three offers at the moment but are not in a hurry to sign.
- The Indians are looking at Kevin Youkilis at first base while the Phillies and Dodgers like him at third. He's a back-burner option for Los Angeles and although Towers made a call, the Diamondbacks likely won't be involved.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan Show this morning to discuss a number of topics about his team. WEEI.com's Alex Speier has a transcript, and here are the noteworthy items...
- "I think we’re going to make moves that are going to improve the team. It’s hard to say whether they’ll be defined as splashy moves or not," said the GM, who acknowledged that the club will have a large payroll next year even if he doesn't know the final number.
- The Red Sox have talked to Josh Hamilton's agent, but Cherington called it "due diligence." Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests keeping an eye on Boston in the Hamilton chase.
- Cherington acknowledged talking to the representatives for Kevin Youkilis, but they've "talked about just about every free agent." He wouldn't handicap the chances of bringing Youkilis back next year.
- First base, starting pitching, and corner outfield help are all on the shopping list, but one doesn't necessarily take priority over the others.
- Cherington said he wasn't surprised by some of the names involved in the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster, but was surprised by the magnitude of the trade. Yesterday we heard that the deal would not impact Boston's offseason plan.
The lot of free agent third basemen isn't very strong this offseason, and as a result, Kevin Youkilis has become a hot commodity. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Mariners and Marlins have checked in on the 33-year-old, as have the Phillies, Dodgers, and Indians. The White Sox are also said to want him back.
Youkilis hit .235/.336/.409 in 509 plate appearances last year, including .236/.346/.425 in 344 plate appearances following his trade to the ChiSox. He has plenty of experience at both first and third base throughout his career, though he has been on the disabled list five times in the last four years. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Youkilis 27th in his Top 50 Free Agents List, predicting he would sign with the Phillies.
Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- The Rangers continue to insist that they will not trade either Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar for Justin Upton, which could allow the Rays to emerge as the front-runner. They could offer the Diamondbacks James Shields or Jeremy Hellickson in addition to shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee.
- The White Sox and Phillies are interested in Kevin Youkilis, and the Dodgers are considering him as well. Rosenthal says other clubs are concerned whenever Los Angeles is reportedly in on a player given their financial might.
- The Orioles and Nationals are still engaged in a dispute over money received from MASN -- both clubs own the network, but Baltimore's stake is nearly 90% -- though Nats GM Mike Rizzo said that will not limit the club's ability to spend.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is not concerned about finding a pure closer. He intends to add the best bullpen arms he can and let things figure themselves out.
- A rival executive told Rosenthal that he expects Dan Haren to sign with the Padres. Haren is a West Coast guy and Padres GM Josh Byrnes originally acquired him from the Athletics while running the Diamondbacks a few years ago.
- “Like him. Don’t love him," said a Red Sox official when asked about Adam LaRoche. Boston is reportedly pursuing the first baseman.
- Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson will not be ready to pitch at the start of the season. Both right-handers are coming off Tommy John surgery.
Here's the latest out of the Windy City from both the White Sox and the Cubs...
- The Sox are talking to Kevin Youkilis about returning to fill their hole at third base, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Phillies and Indians are also in the mix for Youkilis, who had his $13MM option for 2013 bought out by the White Sox for $1MM.
- Four rival executives name Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza, Gavin Floyd and Dayan Viciedo as players the White Sox would be open to trading, reports Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. If the Sox were looking for salary relief, two executives say that trading Alex Rios and the $26MM remaining on his contract will be much easier after Rios' strong 2012 season, though neither exec is certain that Rios is available.
- A.J. Pierzynski tells Dan Hayes that he is much more prepared for free agency now than he was in 2010. Pierzynski said he would like to return to the White Sox or possibly play for the Rays in his home state of Florida, though his childhood dream of playing for the Braves is unlikely with Brian McCann on board.
- The Cubs have reached out to Jeff Samardzija about a multiyear extension, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Samardzija, who enjoyed a breakout year in 2012 in his first season as a starting pitcher, is arb-eligible for the first time this winter and is under team control through 2015.
- The proposed trade between the Angels and Cubs and would've brought Dan Haren to Chicago indeed fell through due to the Cubs' concerns about Haren's recent injury history, reports CSNChicago.com's David Kaplan.
- Haren denied that he was injured in an e-mail to Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. “I’ve never missed any time because of injury other than the three weeks this year because of my back," Haren said. "When I came back, I had to be cleared by doctors, so obviously, I was healthy."