Marco Scutaro Rumors
A number of notable clubs entered Spring Training looking for clear answers at second base, and other teams could face looming questions at the position. Here's a roundup of items about the keystone...
- Multiple talent evaluators tell ESPN's Jim Bowden that Alexander Guerrero needs a lot of time at Triple-A in order to both learn second base and simply to regain his form after not playing last season. In the Insider-only piece, Bowden looks at internal and external second base answers the Dodgers could explore to solidify themselves at the position.
- Early word on Guerrero hasn't been too positive, as one evaluator tells ESPN's Buster Olney (another Insider-only piece) that the Dodgers "could get him through outright waivers right now if they need a roster spot." Olney speculates that the Nationals could generate some interest in Danny Espinosa given the number of teams (including the Dodgers and Yankees) looking for second base help, though Washington wouldn't want to accept a sell-low offer for Espinosa given his poor 2013 season.
- The Royals are lacking in middle infield depth behind Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar, as Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes may not have the 25-man roster space for a backup infielder. Since Ned Yost plans to carry 12 pitchers, that leaves only four bench spots for Justin Maxwell, Jarrod Dyson, Danny Valencia and the backup catcher. Christian Colon, Pedro Ciriaco and Johnny Giavotella are currently fighting for a roster spot in camp and the team will have Valencia and Mike Moustakas work out at second in case they need to be emergency options. “It’s not ideal not to have a backup middle infielder on the team,” GM Dayton Moore said. “However, I do anticipate Infante and Escobar in the lineup most days.”
- Marco Scutaro is only beginning to take grounders and has yet to swing a bat, CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly reports. The veteran infielder is purposely taking a slow start to Spring Training in order to keep himself healthy and free of hip problems, and Giants GM Brian Sabean admits that the team probably should've shut Scutaro down last year when he was battling multiple nagging injuries. Despite Scutaro's issues, Sabean is confident he'll be ready for Opening Day though he only said "we'll see" when asked if he was comfortable with the team's second base depth.
Here's a look at the latest out of the National League Central..
- We recently heard that agent Scott Boras is working hard to sell the Angels on Kyle Lohse and owner Mark Attanasio says that he is doing the same with the Brewers. "Our ears are always open. We don't want to lead our fans on in any way. There's not an active conversation. But our ears are always open. [GM] Doug [Melvin] and his group are always looking to improve the team," said the owner, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
- Marco Scutaro had a two-year, $18MM offer from the Cardinals on the table but instead took a three-year, $20MM deal to remain with the Giants, writes Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Scutaro's representatives told the Giants early on in the offseason that $20MM over three years would get the job done and they held true to their word, despite a higher average annual value and a recruiting pitch from Matt Holliday.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Cardinals are too old. The Cards have an average age of 30.5, making them the fourth oldest team in the majors behind the Yankees, Phillies, and Rangers.
The Giants are bringing back the NLCS MVP, having agreed to re-sign second baseman Marco Scutaro to a three-year, $20MM deal. The World Champion Giants are keeping their team mostly intact, having signed Angel Pagan yesterday and Jeremy Affeldt in November for a total commitment of $78MM for the trio. Scutaro is represented by Praver/Shapiro.
Three years is a sizeable commitment for Scutaro, who turned 37 in October. The second baseman was greatly aided by a strong finish, as he hit .362/.385/.473 in 268 regular season plate appearances with the Giants after coming over in a July trade with the Rockies. Scutaro further helped his cause with a 1.140 OPS during San Francisco's seven-game win over St. Louis in the NLCS. As Dave Cameron of FanGraphs notes, Scutaro's high contact style looks good when the hits drop in, though his Giants performance is unsustainable.
The Cardinals had also been in the mix for Scutaro this offseason. With Scutaro and Jeff Keppinger off the board, the free agent market for second basemen includes Kelly Johnson as a potential starter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) was the first to break the news of the signing. Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.
- Several teams asked the Rockies about Carlos Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings, reports ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (Twitter link). The Rockies told clubs that both Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki weren't available, having not changed their stance from last month about trading their top two stars.
- The Dodgers' negotiations with Ryu Hyun-Jin will go right down to Sunday's deadline, a team source tells ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Twitter link). Los Angeles will lose negotiating rights with the Korean left-hander if a deal can't be worked out by Sunday. The two sides were thought to be far apart on Tuesday, though the Dodgers and agent Scott Boras had exchanged offers and were continuing talks.
- The Padres are using their bullpen depth, infield depth and Jesus Guzman as trade bait, says Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune as part of his most recent chat with readers.
- Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan told reporters (including Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News) that they looking for, respectively, a fourth guaranteed year and the most expensive possible contract, and were both happy that the Giants met their desires. “I know my age,” Scutaro said. “I was looking for the best contract. This might be my last one. When (the Giants) made the best offer, it was very exciting.”
- Although he hasn't talked to Brian Wilson's agents at the Winter Meetings, Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com there is an understanding to stay in touch. Wilson's agent Dan Lozano told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle seven teams have expressed interest in his client, either as a closer or setup man.
- Ichiro Suzuki is not a fit for the Giants in left field because he's too much like Gregor Blanco, tweets Shea.
- Shea has the financial breakdown on Marco Scutaro's new three-year, $20MM contract with the Giants.
- The Dodgers are in the market for a left-handed reliever now that Randy Choate has agreed to a three-year deal with the Cardinals, tweets Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.
- The Dodgers would like to add one or maybe two backup-type catchers to compete with Tim Federowicz, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
- The Chavez signing gives the Diamondbacks an extra infielder, but GM Kevin Towers said he might wait until Spring Training to make a trade (Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reporting).
- The Padres' Andrew Cashner is not expected to be ready for Opening Day after suffering a lacerated tendon in his right thumb last week, an injury suffered at the hand of a hunting buddy as the two were dressing meat (MLB.com's Corey Brock reporting).
- Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area tweets that the Cards never went to three years on Scutaro but had an annual value in the $8MM range.
- Meanwhile, USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that the Cardinals were never in on Scutaro in the first place (Twitter link).
- Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters, including B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, that the team isn't looking to spend much on middle infielders in this market, and that the reports out there haven't all been 100 percent accurate (Twitter links). Mozeliak says the team is focused on areas other than middle infield.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted yesterday that there's a better than even-money chance that the Cardinals will make some sort of move on Wednesday.
The latest on free agent infielder Marco Scutaro...
- The Giants await word tonight from Scutaro's camp on their two-year offer, which includes a vesting option for a third year, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. If Scutaro declines, they might move on.
- A source involved in the Scutaro talks thinks it's 50-50 he goes back to the Giants, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. The Cardinals are considered the mostly likely alternative, and Olney says a decision is close. However, perhaps as a veiled reference to the team's inclusion in the Scutaro rumors, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told reporters including B.J. Rains, "We’re not spending as much time as people think in this market. Our focus has been on other areas."
- The Giants' last offer was two years plus a vesting option, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
- Bidding for Scutaro is said to have reached something in the neighborhood of three years and $24MM, with the Giants still in the lead, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
- Scutaro isn't expected to sign with another team without the Giants getting a final shot at him, says Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Sulia link).
- The market for free agent infielder Marco Scutaro is heating up, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The FOX duo reports that the Cardinals are eyeing Scutaro as a potential starting second baseman, while the Yankees, in the wake of news of Alex Rodriguez's hip surgery, also likely have interest.
A few NL Central free agent targets were identified today, as the Brewers and Cubs are in on Jason Grilli among other relievers, the Pirates have expressed interest in John Lannan, and the Cardinals are in the mix for Scott Hairston. More from the division...
- The Cardinals met with Marco Scutaro's agent tonight, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Scutaro is represented by Barry Praver.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "In our minds, we’ve already made our big move with Russ." The Bucs signed Russell Martin for $17MM last week, but still have some work to do. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates have shown interest in five recently non-tendered pitchers: Manny Parra, Lannan, Tom Gorzelanny, Jair Jurrjens, and Mike Pelfrey.
- There have been no substantive talks between the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright about an extension, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals, of course, still remain interested in doing an extension with the 31-year-old before his contract season officially begins.
- Most of the quality lefty relievers are likely to be signed by week's end, suggested Cardinals GM John Mozeliak (B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest reporting).
- The Cardinals and infielder Skip Schumaker are open to a trade, reports Rains, but of course it'd have to make sense for the team.
- The pressure of last summer's contract extension talks affected the performance of Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, agent Paul Kinzer told Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com. The 22-year-old can rest easy now that he's under contract through at least 2019.
- The Cubs remain popular with free agents, president Theo Epstein told reporters including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The team is looking to get creative at third base and will continue to monitor the available starting pitchers (and presumably relievers). Epstein suggested the Cubs have interest in some recently non-tendered players.
The World Champion Giants dropped $40MM on a four-year deal to bring back center fielder Angel Pagan today. I expect Pagan to prove a worthwhile investment, providing enough value at the front end of the deal to make it a win overall. The latest on the Giants' other dealings...
- The Giants' payroll is going to the $140MM range up from the low $130s, tweets John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Giants seek a right-handed complement to projected starting left fielder Gregor Blanco, writes Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, and they've checked in with Scott Hairston's agent. Reed Johnson, Andruw Jones, and Ben Francisco could be a few other names to consider depending on how much the team wants to spend, in my opinion.
- Giants VP Bobby Evans wouldn't rule out second baseman Marco Scutaro getting a three-year offer on the open market, in talking with Baggarly.
- Giants manager Bruce Bochy considers Sergio Romo his closer, tweets Baggarly, but plans on calling recently non-tendered reliever Brian Wilson soon to recruit him to return.
While the Dodgers have been linked to just about everyone this offseason, they won't be the only NL West club active in Nashville this week. Here are a few updates from around the division:
- Chris Haft of MLB.com (Twitter link) heard from an agent earlier today that the Giants were "bending over backwards" to re-sign Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro. Haft wonders if Scutaro is next, now that the team has reached an agreement with Pagan.
- The Rockies are targeting late-inning and closer-type pitchers this week, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter).
- The Dodgers would be "shocked" if Shohei Otani declares for MLB and doesn't sign with them, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). However, the Dodgers are skeptical that Otani will come stateside. We heard this morning that the 18-year-old was leaning toward remaining in Japan.
- In discussing Dexter Fowler with the Braves, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link).
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that the Yankees had some interest in Chris Nelson last season, and wonders if their interest in the Rockies' infielder could be renewed now that Alex Rodriguez is undergoing hip surgery.
- The Giants are one of five teams with "real interest" in Scott Hairston, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Cardinals, Tigers, Indians, and Yankees round out the list, and Hairston himself hasn't ruled out a return to the Mets.