Lorenzo Cain Rumors
Links for Tuesday, exactly five years after the Blue Jays signed A.J. Burnett to a five-year, $55MM deal. Now with the Yankees, Burnett's part of a Yankees rotation that's very much in flux. Here are today's links...
- The Cardinals announced on Twitter that they avoided arbitration with Ryan Theriot, signing the infielder to a one-year deal for 2011. Fanhouse's Steve Phillips says the deal is for $3.3MM.
- A Los Angeles judge ruled that Frank McCourt is not the sole owner of the Dodgers and the ruling is not expected to impact the team's day-to-day operations, according to Bill Shaikin and Carla Hall of the LA Times. If anything, the Dodgers have spent more aggressively than usual this winter.
- The Mets talked to Freddy Garcia's representatives at some point before the meetings, but the right-hander is not the team's top priority, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Manny Delcarmen, who was non-tendered by the Rockies last week, is drawing interest from two AL East teams (but not the Red Sox) according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (on Twitter).
- Carlos Gomez is available, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). The Brewers want pitching for Gomez and are reluctant to part with Lorenzo Cain.
- Quiet day for the Reds - GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he's had "zero" discussions with teams or agents today (Twitter link).
- The Diamondbacks have some interest in Henry Blanco, but the catcher isn't expected to decide on his next team at the meetings, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona (on Twitter).
- Derek Jeter told reporters, including Ben Shpigel of the New York Times, that he was bothered by how public his contract negotiations became.
5:52pm: There's some tension between the Braves and Brewers, since Atlanta initially heard that Cain was available and are now hearing he isn't a trade chip, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Crasnick he has to be open to deals for any player, though.
2:27pm: The Brewers don't want to and aren't looking to move Cain but will listen, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
12:06pm: Our hunch was correct; MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are among the teams showing interest in Cain.
Cain, 25 in April, is expected to compete for the Brewers' starting center field job next year with Carlos Gomez and Chris Dickerson. He did a nice job in 158 big league plate appearances this year and had a .402 OBP in 380 minor league PAs. Pure speculation, but maybe the Braves could match up if they're not keen on trying Nate McLouth or Jordan Schafer in center next year.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt has some updates for Brewers fans as the organization looks to the future. It appears that Corey Hart's recent three-year extension may only be the beginning as the Brew Crew tries to set itself up for future success.
The Brewers will offer an extension to Rickie Weeks, who's enjoying a fine rebound season after an injury-shortened 2009. The former number-two overall pick is hitting .272/.368/.485 with 23 home runs and seven steals on the year. His speed numbers may be down, but Weeks still remains a power/speed combination and an offensive force at second base. Weeks will need to replace his agent, and once he accomplishes that, an extension will be offered.
One player who the Brewers likely won't be able to agree with is Prince Fielder. The Scott Boras client was offered an extension in the neighborhood of five years and $100MM, but the Brewers completely cut off talks when they learned he was seeking nearly double that amount -- likely looking for a deal similar to Mark Teixeira's eight-year, $180MM contract. Haudricourt says that the Brewers won't advertise it for now, but they're likely to shop Fielder this offseason to bolster their rotation.
Losing Fielder leaves a hole in the offense, but it's possible the club is looking to replace him with Mat Gamel, or move Hart to first base and place Gamel in right field. As Haudricourt points out, Hart was drafted as a first baseman, and his 6'6" frame is conducive to the position.
It's possible that Lorenzo Cain dethrones Carlos Gomez as the club's everyday center fielder. The Brewers were clearly looking for more than Gomez's .286 OBP when they traded J.J. Hardy to Minnesota for him this past offseason.
If Milwaukee does indeed try to make Fielder available, there will be no shortage of suitors. While the free agent market does feature Adam Dunn, the majority of others consist of injury risks, fading stars, players coming off career years, or some combination of the three.
Let's round up today's C.C. Sabathia links in a fresh post.
- The Brewers' trade for ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia is official. As a reminder, the Indians will receive Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, and maybe Taylor Green. Paul Hoynes says Michael Brantley could end up the player to be named later instead of Green. Ken Rosenthal suggests Lorenzo Cain may also still be possible. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo analyzes the prospects received by the Indians.
- Here's an interesting link. This is apparently the blog of agent Joshua Kusnick of Double Diamond Sports Management. Among others, Kusnick represents Cain, Brantley, and Green. He says Green hasn't been informed of anything but seems more likely to be included than Brantley.
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan calls the package of players an "OK haul."
- ESPN's Keith Law agrees, suggesting that Mark Shapiro should've held out for a higher probability return. He sees Bryson as the key to the deal. The 20 year-old is a projectable live arm.
- Joel Sherman says the Brewers aren't done - they want to add a late-inning reliever as well.
- Indians owner Paul Dolan explains the Sabathia trade in a letter to fans.
- Rosenthal has details of other teams' attempts to acquire Sabathia. He says the Dodgers wanted the Indians to package Sabathia with Casey Blake. Surprisingly, the Yankees were "very heavily involved." They did not want to give up Phil Hughes, however.
- Most articles seem to assume that the Brewers have no chance of signing Sabathia. I agree that it's unlikely, but I wouldn't rule it out. We've read repeatedly that Sabathia does not intend to chase every last dollar. What if he loves Milwaukee and he leads the team deep into the playoffs? The Brewers could let Ben Sheets and Eric Gagne leave and put that money toward a competitive five-year Sabathia offer. It's not out of the question.
- Olney says the Brewers restructured their offer today. That offer is believed to include Matt LaPorta plus lesser prospects. Haudricourt suspects those prospects might be Taylor Green and Lorenzo Cain. Haudricourt says the Indians have the Brewers' offer in hand and Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin is waiting to hear back. Olney says the Brewers are looking at some Plan B starters in case they don't win the Sabathia sweepstakes.
- Olney also has the Rays, Dodgers, and Phillies in the Sabathia talks. Those teams all have their issues. The Rays may not have the motivation, the Dodgers are being vague about who's available, and the Phillies' best talent is at the lower levels.