Logan Morrison Rumors
Now that it's clear Nelson Cruz won't be back, it's unclear who the Rangers will use as their designated hitter against lefties, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Rangers still had interest in Cruz, Grant writes, noting that, in addition to the qualifying offer, they made at least one offer that exceeded the $8MM Cruz ended up taking from the Orioles. That leaves them with a variety of options to play DH against lefties, but none manager Ron Washington likes very much: Mitch Moreland is a lefty, Michael Choice doesn't have enough experience for Washington's taste, and Washington would prefer to keep the Rangers' spare catcher (Geovany Soto or J.P. Arencibia, depending on who isn't starting) available on the bench.
- With Cruz off the market, Grant, in a separate article, believes now is the time for the Rangers to extend manager Ron Washington. Grant also opines players tagged with qualifying offers are going to think more seriously about accepting them in light of Cruz's surprisingly small contract.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks new minor-league signee Andrew Bailey can help them in the late innings, but probably not until September, Jack Curry of the YES Network tweets. The former Athletics and Red Sox closer had labrum surgery last July.
- The Red Sox will try Mike Carp out at a new position this spring, Alex Speier of WEEI.com tweets. While Spring Training experiments like these aren't uncommon and often have little long-term impact, a bit of added versatility might change Carp's outlook with the Red Sox, particularly if he can play third, where the Red Sox are less settled than they are elsewhere. Carp hit .296/.362/.523 in 243 plate appearances last season, but the Red Sox already have plenty of talent at first base, left field and DH, which has led to speculation that Carp could be a trade candidate.
- Scott Boras blames the Blue Jays' lack of activity in the free agent market on its ownership, Rogers Communications, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. "There is no one who has the asset base of Rogers," said Boras. "They’re a car with a huge engine that is impeded by a big corporate stop sign . . . a successful and committed ownership that needs to give their baseball people financial flexibility." GM Alex Anthopoulos denied Boras' assertion telling Rosenthal, "Our ownership has been outstanding and given us all the resources we need." The Blue Jays' payroll is expected to exceed $130MM this season.
- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters, including Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, Justin Smoak will be the team's first baseman as long he performs. This means McClendon expects new acquistions Logan Morrison and Corey Hart to man the corner outfield spots and DH.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledged internal discussions about a contract extension for catcher Jason Castro have taken place, reports the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. No offer, however, has been discussed with Castro.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
5:15pm: Morrison can earn $75K for reaching 450 plate appearances, $100K each for notching 500 and 550, and then another $75K if he takes his 600th turn at bat, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
1:48pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Mariners and Logan Morrison have avoided arbitration by settling on a one-year, $1.75MM contract that contains an additional $350K worth of incentives. Morrison is a client of Octagon.
As MLBTR's Jeff Todd wrote on the night that filing figures were exchanged, Morrison and the Mariners were further apart on a relative basis ($2.5MM vs. $1.1MM, 127.3%) than were any other player and team. Morrison's 2014 salary ultimately falls just under the mid-way point between those numbers, but narrowly beats the $1.7MM projection of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
With Morrison's signing, the Mariners need only resolve one more arbitration case: that of Justin Smoak.
The Rangers made headlines today by selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Before going on to NFL stardom, Wilson was selected by the Rockies as a second baseman in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and Colorado retained its rights to Wilson until this morning. Wilson will report to Spring Training and talk to the Rangers' minor leaguers in a motivational capacity. "We decided if he ever wanted to play again, he'd be a guy that we'd want with us," Texas assistant GM A.J. Preller told reporters, including MLB.com's Richard Justice. The Wilson selection isn't a gimmick, ESPN's Richard Durrett writes, and Jon Daniels is excited to have Wilson's winning qualities in the organization, though Daniels stressed that the club isn't trying to distract Wilson from his NFL goals. Here's more out of the AL West...
- Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz remain unsigned, which is good news for the Rangers, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes. The Rangers like both players and are hoping that their asking prices drop the longer they stay on the market. Daniels said that his team's pursuit of Choo was "unchanged" from yesterday.
- There is a chance that Michael Young could rejoin the Rangers if both parties see a fit, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweets. Texas dealt its longtime franchise staple to the Phillies last offseason and Young was subsequently dealt to the Dodgers in August.
- Despite recent rumors linking the Angels to Matt Garza and Raul Ibanez, general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that his team doesn't have any outstanding offers to free agents.
- In a special piece for FOX Sports, new Mariners first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison wrote about the experience of being traded to a new team. Morrison's piece is particularly fascinating in that it was written prior to the trade that sent him to Seattle. LoMo says he doesn't have any ill feelings toward the Marlins organization, adding that contrary to public opinion, owner Jeffrey Loria was "great and generous" to Morrison and his family. Loria allowed Morrison and his family to use his personal plane to get to Kansas City for the funeral of Morrison's father.
- The Astros spoke to the Marlins about Morrison and also pursued Corey Hart and Mike Morse, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. Jose Veras rejected the Astros' initial contract offer but the two sides still share a mutual interest in a reunion.
- The Yankees, Indians, Braves, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins and Indians were all involved in trade talks for Brett Anderson before the Athletics sent the right-hander to the Rockies, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Morrison, 26, was a known trade candidate that was a near-lock to be traded at the Winter Meetings following the Marlins' signing of Garrett Jones to a two-year deal. The former top prospect has batted just .236/.321/.387 with 17 home runs in 178 games over the past two seasons after hitting .259/.351/.460 with 25 long balls in his first 185 big league games. Morrison's tenure with the Marlins has been rocky to this point. He's come under fire for his prolific and sometimes controversial Twitter presence and filed a grievance against the Marlins in 2011 after he was sent to the minor leagues in controversial fashion.
Morrison is under team control through the 2016 season and is projected to earn $1.7MM via arbitration by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
Capps, 23, posted a 5.49 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 40.1 percent ground-ball rate in 59 innings for the Mariners last season. Though his ERA is unsightly, Capps has averaged 96.5 mph on his fastball in his brief big league career. xFIP pegs a fluky homer-to-flyball ratio (18.8 percent) and a .365 batting average on balls in play as the reason for Capps' woes, suggesting that an ERA of 3.53 would've been more representative of his work in 2013.
Capps will join a Marlins bullpen that is anchored by closer Steve Cishek, lefty setup man Mike Dunn and right-hander A.J. Ramos. He provides a cheaper alternative to the recently departed right-handers Chad Qualls (free agency) and Ryan Webb (non-tendered).
Morrison is the second bat reeled in by Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik in the past hour, as the M's have also agreed to a one-year deal with Corey Hart. Should Morrison be able to rebound, he, Hart and recently inked Robinson Cano give the Mariners some added punch to their lineup. However, Hart and Morrison profile better as first basemen than outfielders, but one will now need to roam either right or left field at Safeco Field now that they're both in the fold.
The addition of these two bats calls into question the role of either Jesus Montero or Justin Smoak with the Mariners and could ensure that Kendrys Morales will need to find a new home this winter, which would net Seattle a draft pick.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Marlins told teams on Monday that they were close to trading Logan Morrison, but no deal has come to fruition. Miami could be waiting on Corey Hart to make a decision, as the Brewers' level of interest is reportedly contingent on whether or not they can retain him. As many as seven teams were in on Morrison as of yesterday. Here are your LoMo rumors for Wednesday...
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel heard yesterday that the Brewers were out on Morrison, but now has been told that they will indeed try for him if Hart signs elsewhere (Twitter link).
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Pirates, Rays and Cubs are all in on Morrison (Twitter link). The Cubs would use Morrison in the outfield due to the presence of Anthony Rizzo at first base. The Marlins are still prioritizing a third baseman in return for Morrison, Sherman adds.
Yesterday it was reported that the Marlins have informed interested parties that Logan Morrison will be traded in the near future. Miami has already inked Garrett Jones to a two-year, $7.75MM contract, suggesting that Morrison's time with the Fish is coming to a close. You can catch up on all of yesterday's Morrison rumors here, and we'll run down Tuesday's crop of LoMo rumors in this post...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Pirates, Brewers and Mariners have been the most active in pursuit of Morrison (on Twitter).
- Morrison is "one of five or six" outfield options being considered by the Orioles, tweets MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.
- Regarding the Brewers' connection to Morrison, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the team wouldn't pull the trigger on a trade until they knew what Corey Hart's plans were. The Brewers hope to have an answer from Hart soon, he adds, Haudricourt believes that Milwaukee has let Hart know how far it is willing to stretch to bring him back, and at this point, it's a matter of waiting for him to accept or decline. Should Hart decline, Haudricourt sees a trade for a first baseman as the likely outcome (Twitter links).
- Seven teams are interested in Morrison, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel, who spoke to an executive that has shown interest in Morrison (Twitter link).
- The Marlins will eventually move Morrison, but a deal may not take place at the Winter Meetings, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
Earlier today, we heard from Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports that a trade agreement between the Rangers and Blue Jays fell through when a player involved in the deal failed his physical. The FOX duo reported that Sergio Santos would have been sent to Texas in the swap, and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca adds another detail, revealing that the agreed-upon trade would have seen the Blue Jays land a starting pitcher. Here's more on the Jays from Orlando:
- The Pirates approached the Jays about Adam Lind, but talks quickly fizzled when Toronto countered by asking about Neil Walker, according to Davidi.
- While the Jays aren't necessarily looking to move Lind, the team has asked around about other first base options like James Loney, Mitch Moreland, and Logan Morrison, in case a Lind deal presents itself.
- GM Alex Anthopoulos didn't comment specifically on whether the Blue Jays would bid on Masahiro Tanaka, but said, "I think it’s safe to say any good starter that’s out there we’re going to be active, we’ll try to be involved and see if it makes sense for us."
- Anthopoulos added that the Jays are "having some dialogue" on a smaller deal that would add a right-handed bat to the team's bench.
- Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com passes along a transcript of manager John Gibbons' conversation with the media today, which includes plenty of discussion about possible holes on the roster and potential moves to address them.
3:50pm: The Brewers aren't on the verge of acquiring Morrison, GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter).
3:16pm: The Orioles have also checked in on Morrison, according to Morosi (on Twitter).
3:11pm: The Rays are not close to acquiring Morrison, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Sherman takes the report a step further noting that the Rays never engaged the Marlins on Morrison.
2:49pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that the Marlins are telling other clubs they will trade Morrison shortly. Stark again lists the Rays as a possibility.
2:33pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that interest in Morrison is picking up and adds the Brewers and Blue Jays to the list of interested parties (Twitter link).
2:07pm: The Pirates' interest in Morrison is "mild" at this point, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter link). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that the Rays are also interested in Morrison.
Pittsburgh was first connected to Lind last week. Those reports also connected the Buccos to James Loney, but Morosi specifically notes in his tweet that they're currently looking at the trade market (perhaps the result of Loney's three-year, $30MM target on the open market). Lind struggles tremendously against left-handed pitching, but the Pirates possess an in-house platoon candidate in the form of Gaby Sanchez. Lind's left-handed pop would play well at PNC Park, amplifying his career .286/.343/.508 line against right-handed pitching.
Morrison, 26, is likely to be available on the trade market now that the Marlins have finalized their two-year deal with Garrett Jones. LoMo has clashed with the Marlins' organization on numerous occasions and is expected to be heavily shopped this week. Morrison has batted just .236/.321/.387 over his past two big league seasons after slashing .259/.351/.460 through his first two Major League campaigns.
Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison is drawing serious interest from clubs around baseball and a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that roughly ten teams have checked in. Miami is reportedly willing to listen and the Red Sox and Braves are among the clubs that have called. Here's more out of the NL East..
- The Marlins are fans of Rays third baseman Sean Rodriguez and have discussed him internally, a league source tells Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Frisaro wonders aloud if Morrison for Rodriguez and a pitcher could be enough to get a deal done. Miami may be looking for a stop gap solution at third base until Colin Moran, the sixth overall pick in last year's draft, is ready, which could be in 2015.
- Braves GM Frank Wren says he has had plenty of talks with agents and teams so far this winter, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "[We're] putting ourselves in position to add pieces we feel like would help us best," the GM said.
- Wren added that he's targeting starting pitching, bullpen help, and some bench upgrades, but wont' look past anything that can help the team, O'Brien tweets.
- The Braves might be willing to trade some prospects in right deal, but not their premium prospects such as Lucas Sims and Jason Hursh, O'Brien tweets.
- Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News wonders if there's a realistic chance of the Phillies trading Jonathan Papelbon.
Frisaro runs down multiple reasons why the Marlins are likely to trade Morrison.
5:35pm: The Red Sox and Brewers are two of the teams who have checked in on Morrison, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link).
12:13pm: The Marlins will listen to offers for first baseman and former top prospect Logan Morrison next week, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Marlins could look to move Morrison in order to acqure a third baseman -- a need that remains a high priority for the team. Jackson adds that the Fish are so open to trading Morrison that they've already had "serious discussions" with Garrett Jones, who was recently non-tendered by the Pirates.
Morrison, 26, has batted just .236/.321/.387 with 17 home runs in 178 games over the past two seasons after hitting .259/.351/.460 with 25 long balls in his first 185 big league games. Morrison's tenure with the Marlins has been rocky to this point. He's come under fire for his prolific and sometimes controversial Twitter presence and filed a grievance against the Marlins in 2011 after he was sent to the minor leagues in controversial fashion. The Marlins cited Morrison's batting average as their reasoning, despite the fact that he ranked second on the team in homers and third in OPS at the time. More telling was that Morrison had recently elected not to attend a meet-and-greet with season ticketholders after veteran teammate Wes Helms told him he was not required to attend. Shortly after, Morrison was demoted and Helms was released.
Morrison is still young, and though his production has fallen off recently in the cavernous Marlins Park, his road numbers have remained solid. Interest in Morrison would figure to be high, though his trade value has certainly taken a hit in recent years due to the diminished production. He can be controlled through the 2016 season before he hits free agency.
Jones, 32, was designated for assignment by the Pirates before being officially non-tendered on December 2nd. The veteran owns a career .254/.316/.458 slash line across six big league seasons. The first baseman/outfielder had a down year in 2013, however, hitting .233/.289/.419 in 440 plate appearances. Jones was due $5.3MM in arbitration this winter, according to MLBTR's Matt Swartz, making him a non-tender candidate. Still, Jones has cleared 20 homers in three of his five seasons with the Bucs and can offer solid power as a platoon bat.
Zach Links contributed to this post.