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On this date in 1957, Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle won the AL MVP, narrowly edging out Ted Williams of the Red Sox for the award. Williams had superior numbers on a per at bat basis, but Mantle played in more games, had more wins above replacement and the Yankees won the pennant. Here are today's AL East links…
- The Orioles acquired Trayvon Robinson for Robert Andino because Robinson is more affordable and the O's already have lots of options at second base, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes. However, if the out of options Robinson doesn't make the team out of Spring Training, expect executive VP Dan Duquette to move on.
- The Yankees haven't made Russell Martin a contract offer yet, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. In fact the Yankees haven't made offers to any free agents, including Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. King's sources suggest Martin can command three years at $8-10MM per season as a free agent.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney discussed the Orioles and Red Sox earlier today. Here’s MLBTR’s look at the highlights from Olney’s piece.
- You can read about the offseason outlook for each AL East team here.
5:12pm: The Dodgers "are not in" on Kuroda, an industry source tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Feinsand adds that the Angels appear to be out of the running for Kuroda as well.
4:00pm: The Yankees are seen as the favorites to sign free agent starter Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. In fact the Yankees are "very confident" they'll sign Kuroda, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Stark suggests Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees if he's pitching in MLB next year. However, Heyman reports that the Yankees sense a threat from Japan, where Kuroda pitched before joining MLB.
The Dodgers, Angels and Red Sox have also expressed interest in Kuroda, who is linked to draft pick compensation after declining a qualifying offer from the Yankees. It appears the Dodgers and Angels are shifting their focus elsewhere, Stark writes. The Dodgers are now pursuing Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and others, according to Stark. The Angels are also targeting Greinke.
With Torii Hunter joining the club on a two-year deal, the Tigers will now focus on re-signing Anibal Sanchez according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. They're unlikely to pursue another big name pitcher if they can't bring the right-hander back, however. Here's the latest from the American League, starting with some more on Hunter…
- Hunter told teams he wasn't interested in talking to them unless things didn't work out with the Tigers, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Yankees saw Hunter as a good fit but never made him an offer, reports Erik Boland of Newsday (on Twitter). They don't have any offers out to position players at the moment and are focused on re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera.
- Hunter would have taken less than $26MM he received from Detroit to re-sign with the Angels, but a one-year contract was a non-starter at any price according to Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
- Knobler listed the pros and cons of trading David Price just a few hours after the left-hander took home the Cy Young Award. Some people with the Rays even identified the Rangers as the ideal trade partner.
- The Red Sox won't alter their rebuilding plan in the wake of the Blue Jays-Marlins blockbuster, said GM Ben Cherington to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "We know we have a plan this offseason and we're going to see how much we can execute it … We've started that and we'll continue to do that," said Cherington, who mentioned he found out about the blockbuster through MLBTR.
- The Yankees are more likely to pursue bargains this offseason than top free agents like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post. The one nine-figure deal they are considering is an extension for Robinson Cano.
- “I don’t see that happening," said GM Brian Cashman to Ken Davidoff of The New York Post when asked if he anticipates receiving trade inquires for Alex Rodriguez.
- The Yankees are preparing a contract offer for Mariano Rivera, reports Bob Klapisch of The Bergen Record. The deal will call for a pay cut from this year's $15MM salary after Rivera missed almost the entire season with a knee injury.
- "Will I be surprised if he comes back? No, I won't," said manager Joe Girardi to Newsday's Marc Carig when asked about Andy Pettitte coming back in 2013 (Twitter links). "Andy pitched well again. So, my sense is he's going to be pulled to come back. He'll have to make a decision."
- Cashman met with Excel Management Group last night, reports David Lennon of Newsday (on Twitter). Excel represents free agents Greinke and Scott Hairston, as well as many others.
Mariano Rivera informed Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman that he wants to return next season, tweets Erik Boland of Newsday. The closer is now a free agent after finishing up his two-year, $30MM contract.
Rivera tore his ACL while shagging fly balls in May, bringing his season to an end. The closer vowed to return to action but Cashman recently disclosed that Rivera was considering retirement. Rivera has earned $15MM in each of the past five seasons, but the Yankees may look to push that number down as he closes in on his 43rd birthday.
Gaining some clarity on Rivera's situation will almost certainly influence the Yankees' stance on Rafael Soriano. Soriano is expected to decline the one-year, $13.3MM qualifying offer he received yesterday and the Yankees likely won't pay a steep price for him unless it's to bring him back as closer. Boras is said to be seeking a four-year pact in the neighborhood of $60MM.
The Red Sox will interview Rick Peterson for their pitching coach job, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). The Orioles granted Boston permission to interview Peterson, who is currently Baltimore's director of pitching development and is a former pitching coach with the A's, Mets and Brewers.
Here's the latest from around the AL East…
- No teams have yet contacted the Yankees about a possible Alex Rodriguez trade, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- The Orioles have scouted Japanese right-hander Shohei Otani, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, confirming an earlier report from Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News that the O's had interest in the 18-year-old prospect. Since Otani has already been drafted (though not signed) by the NPL's Nippon Ham Fighters, Connolly suspects the O's might not make any quick attempts to sign Otani given the Orioles' issues last season in trying to sign Korean southpaw Seong-Min Kim.
- Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton are both too expensive for the Orioles' taste, writes MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko in an analysis of free agents who won't be pursued by the O's this winter. The team doesn't have interest in free agent pitchers Derek Lowe, Jeremy Guthrie, Edwin Jackson or Erik Bedard, while Kevin Youkilis is a longshot based on Baltimore's concerns about his health.
- James Loney has a less than 50-50 chance of returning to the Red Sox, reports MLB.com's Evan Drellich, though the Sox see Loney as a "Plan B" if they're still looking for first base help later in the offseason.
- The Rays have been denied permission by St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster to explore new stadium sites in nearby counties in Tampa Bay, reports Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. The Rays' lease at Tropicana Field runs through the 2027 season.
- Mariano Rivera's retirement could help the Yankees avoid a tough decision with the closer's job, opines Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York. If Rivera retired, the Yankees could then pursue a new contract with Rafael Soriano without worrying about committing too much payroll space on closers.
- From earlier today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post had more items about the Yankees.
The Yankees are averaging 96 regular season wins in their first five years under manager Joe Girardi. Here's the latest from the Bronx, via Joel Sherman of the New York Post…
- The Yankees would be far better off with Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter contributing in 2013, Sherman writes. Rivera appears to be undecided about whether to continue playing, Pettitte hasn't announced his plans for the '13 season and Jeter’s recovering from ankle surgery. Sherman hears from a friend of Rivera's who expects the closer to return.
- The Yankees realize Curtis Granderson adds value and will almost certainly avoid trading him in a reactionary move, Sherman writes. “I will listen on anybody, but you would be hard-pressed to get enough to trade a center fielder who is a perennial 40-homer-plus man,” GM Brian Cashman said of Granderson, whose 2013 option will be exercised in the coming weeks. Rival executives told Sherman that Granderson could draw trade interest from teams aiming to contend in 2013 if the Yankees made him available.
- Sherman also notes that Nick Swisher is almost certain to leave in free agent.
After tearing his ACL in a freak injury back in May, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera vowed to reporters that he would return. “I am coming back. Write it down in big letters. … I’m not going out like this,” said the 42-year-old. Now, General Manager Brian Cashman says that Rivera’s future is less-than-certain, writes Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. Marchand notes that a new contract could also be tricky for Rivera as his two-year, $30MM contract has expired. Here’s more out of the American League East..
- The John Farrell compensation talks came down to Mike Aviles or Andrew Bailey, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Blue Jays of course wound up with Aviles, who gives the club flexibility with Yunel Escobar.
- Rather than hire one of the many experienced managers available, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star would rather see the Blue Jays hire a fresh face. Griffin suggests that Alex Anthopoulos & Co. should speak with Sandy Alomar Jr., Sal Fasano, Dave Martinez, Paul Molitor, and others.
- The Red Sox‘s uncertain contender status will impact the way that they build their roster this winter, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Speier writes that the Red Sox will likely treat trade opportunities similar to how they did leading up to the July 31st deadline. That means holding on to key prospects unless its for worthwhile players that are under control for multiple years.
Yankees president Randy Levine addressed the team’s age, injuries, leadership and prospective free agents in a comprehensive interview with Barry Bloom of MLB.com. Here are some more highlights from his interview with Bloom:
- The Yankees aim to avoid the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014, Levine confirmed. “There are tremendous financial incentives to do it,” he said. “In addition to not paying the tax, there are tens of millions of dollars in revenue sharing rebates that will come back to teams like the Yankees if they stay under the threshold.”
- The Yankees must get younger to continue competing, Levine said. Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement places additional importance on player development and changes to the CBA could also lead to a “very different free-agent market,” Levine said.
- Joe Girardi and his staff have done a “good job,” Levine said. He declined to discuss Girardi’s long-term future with the team, saying only that discussions would take place at the appropriate time.
- Levine expressed confidence in general manager Brian Cashman and the team’s other front office executives. “I think everybody is great.”
- The Yankees are doing “very, very well” from a business standpoint, Levine said. He made it clear that the Steinbrenner family has no intention of selling the club, but said the Dodgers’ sale price of $2 billion “gives us something to smile about.”
- The Yankees would “love to have” Mariano Rivera come back in 2013, Levine said. “If he wants to come back, we'll welcome him back.”
- The Yankees want Rafael Soriano in New York and believe he has done a tremendous job. The closer is expected to opt out of his contract with the Yankees after the season and elect free agency.
- The Yankees will talk to Andy Pettitte this offseason if the left-hander is interested in returning for another year.
- Ichiro Suzuki “has done a good job” in New York, Levine said. As of now, however, the team is focused on 2012, not Ichiro’s next contract.
- Levine acknowledged that he’s concerned about injuries, saying the frequency of disabled list stints is “troubling.”
Joe DiMaggio hit the first of his 361 career home runs against the Athletics on this date in 1936. The present-day Yankees and C.C. Sabathia host David Price and the Rays tonight in New York. Here are some AL East-related links in the meantime…
- The Orioles signed Miguel Tejada with the idea that he might replace Mark Reynolds at third base, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Reynolds’ bat is starting to heat up and Tejada is playing at extended Spring Training. The Orioles made Reynolds available earlier this year, but potential suitors found his $7.5MM salary to be a deterrent.
- Jeff Keppinger is back with the Rays following a brief stint on the restricted list, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). The Rays had placed the infielder on the restricted list earlier in the week.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post describes Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera as "competition junkies" who can't stay away from the game of baseball and the "camaraderie, common purpose, money and fame" that comes with Major League success. Rivera's contract will expire after the 2012 season, but he has said he intends to return, presumably with the Yankees.
- In case you missed it, the Blue Jays signed Vladimir Guerrero to a minor league deal today.