Luis Gonzalez Rumors
Let's dig into the latest blog post from MLB.com's Jim Molony.
- Molony believes the Mets, Cardinals, Rays, Tigers, Indians, and Cubs are considering signing Francisco Rodriguez this winter. I think K-Rod's demands could cause a nice ripple effect for Brian Fuentes, the second-best closer on the market. Regarding Molony's six teams, a strong case can be made against several of them signing Rodriguez. The Rays and Indians will probably take a careful approach to free agency, while the Tigers may not have room in the budget. The Cubs seem likely to bring Kerry Wood back.
- Also on the topic of K-Rod, ESPN's Andrew Marchand (via MetsBlog) quotes the pitcher's agent naming the Cardinals, Tigers, Dodgers, Angels, and Mets as the five likely serious suitors. They're looking for 5/75.
- Wes Helms would like to return to the Marlins next year. Molony believes the Marlins may want to retain Helms or Luis Gonzalez but perhaps not both.
- The Astros would prefer an extension for closer Jose Valverde rather than a likely eight figure arbitration reward. Valverde, 29, could reasonably demand more than $50MM in a multiyear extension.
Some Saturday mid-day linkage:
- Hitoki Iwase was lit up in the Olympics, possibly dropping his stock as a prospect. Iwase was one of several Japanese players being scouted by Major League clubs in Beijing.
- Luis Gonzalez reminisces about his trade to the Diamondbacks ten years ago.
- Manny Ramirez is not interested in talking about those old Philadelphia rumors. I'm shocked, shocked.
- J.D. Drew's back spasms are actually a herniated disk. According to Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox would love to add another outfielder, but can't seem to lay their hands on one. No offense to Jason Lane.
- He's baaaa-aaaack: Free-agent-to-be Carl Pavano is starting tonight for the New York Yankees. Strike up the band and break out the rum punch.
- Recently traded infielder Jose Bautista was at odds with Pirates manager John Russell.
- Thomas Boswell talks about the possibility of Stephen Strasburg becoming a National next year.
UPDATE, 1-31-08 at 12:26pm: Rosenthal confirms the signing. He believes it to be for $2MM guaranteed plus another $1MM in incentives. Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel doesn't understand the signing.
FROM 1-31-08 at 10:41am:
I'm not sure how this is going to work - the Marlins' outfield seemed set at Willingham, Maybin, and Hermida. Maybe Gonzalez can spell Willingham and Jacobs.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times is being told that "the Mariners already have a one-year deal with free-agent Brad Wilkerson in their back pocket for the moment a Bedard trade is finalized." Wilkerson will pass on a one-year, $2MM plus incentives offer to be a Red Sox backup. This all gels with MLBTR's report from January 24th.
A new suitor has emerged for free agent left fielder Luis Gonzalez: the Marlins. According to Ken Rosenthal, they like the idea of bringing him aboard as a mentor and using him at first base and in left field. Gonzo will have to choose between playing time or a contending team.
Rosenthal notes the Brewers and Mariners as other possibilities. The Giants and Twins could also consider him. Gonzalez hit .278/.359/.433 for the Dodgers in '07, earning $7.35MM. Rosenthal notes that he's 498 hits shy of 3,000, but that would take four seasons of semi-regular playing time at the least.
The Brewers are in the hunt for a left-handed hitting left fielder. Luis Gonzalez and Kenny Lofton remain under consideration. With Gonzo, the interest is mutual.
I'm thinking Gonzalez would be happy with $4MM or so, maybe some incentives too. I think he just wants to get 400+ ABs somewhere. He could only play left field, which would seemingly lock Ryan Braun in at third.
Lofton could play left and Braun could stay at third. Or, Lofton could shift to center, Bill Hall to third, and Braun to left. I'm not sure which alignment is optimal. Thoughts?
Randy Youngman of the OC Register has a few new rumor tidbits for us. Let's discuss.
- The Angels won't include Jered Weaver in a Miguel Tejada trade. Youngman says the O's asked for the moon as a way of gauging Tejada's market value. Now they'll get serious.
- Both the Padres and Angels like David Eckstein as one-year possibilities, not that he's open to that. The Halos actually have a bench role in mind for him, according to Youngman. The Padres, by the way, spoke to Eckstein's agent today.
- Youngman says the Dodgers have interest in Brandon Inge and Pedro Feliz. If that's the case, they should really go with internal options. Jayson Stark said three days ago that the Dodgers would pass on Inge.
- The Giants are apparently fans of Luis Gonzalez. In a December 5th posting Jerry Crasnick said the Rangers, Twins, Rays, White Sox, and Giants had all spoken to Gonzo's agent.
UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 2:17pm: Molony confirms that the Rays have talked to the Astros about Scott, though the Padres are still the frontrunner.
FROM 12-6-07 at 8:29am:
A few minor Rays nuggets (hat tip Drays Bay)...
- Marc Lancaster talked to Scott Boras about the possibility of Carlos Pena signing a long-term deal with the Rays. Pena is eligible for free agency after the 2009 season. Boras indicated that Pena would go year to year. If 2008 and 2009 are in the stratosphere of what Pena did in '08, he's looking at four years, $60MM easily in my opinion.
- Adam Rubin reports that the Rays are eyeing Cliff Floyd, a name we've seen linked to them before.
- Marc Topkin considers Luke Scott a realistic possibility for the Rays, Luis Gonzalez and Josh Hamilton not so much. Topkin suggests Andre Ethier could be a good match, in a separate post.
Luis Gonzalez has seemingly gotten lost in the free agent shuffle, but he did post a .359 OBP last year. Gonzo's agent has actually talked to many teams (per Jerry Crasnick): the Rangers, Twins, Giants, Rays, and White Sox.
My guess a month ago was the Twins.
Picking up some rumors and tidbits that haven't been otherwise posted during this busy day...
- An Atlanta TV station states that Tom Glavine would take a lot less money to play for the Braves. Also, the Astros have reportedly been in touch with him.
- Joe Torre senses that Jeff Kent will return in 2008. The Dodgers certainly hope so; he led the team with 20 home runs in '07.
- Trey Hillman took a parting shot at Japanese reporters (hat tip to JapanBall).
- Reliever Masafumi Hirai might come over to MLB. I'll have to learn more about him.
- Hiroki Kuroda prefers to play on the West Coast because he doesn't like cold weather. Hmmm, Chicago might not work for him. Kuroda has declared free agency, and the Mariners are interested. There is word here that the Rangers have scouted him as well.
- The Braves are interested in Masahide Kobayashi to close, while the Mariners like him as a middle reliever (link in Japanese).
- There will be no Mike Lowell + A-Rod combo in Boston.
- Luis Gonzalez would like to return to the Tigers, while the team is interested in Cliff Floyd and Shannon Stewart for left field. Ben Broussard may also be on the radar.
- The Rangers also like Broussard, and they've contacted Mike Lamb as well regarding their first base vacancy. Lamb could play third if they trade Hank Blalock. Jon Daniels also has Kerry Wood in his sights.
- The Rockies like Shawn Chacon, but only as a reliever.
- Derrick Goold breaks down the options for the Cardinals at shortstop.
- Don't forget to make an entry in our Hot Stove Hysteria contest. The deadline is November 12th. If you feel the need to edit your entry, just post a new one. They're time-stamped; your latest entry will be used. A new prize has been added: a fantasy draft kit from Big Dawg Baseball.