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Mark Buehrle Rumors
The Cubs have had multiple discussions with Mark Buehrle's agent Jeff Berry, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Berry also met with Marlins earlier today. Morosi sums up the other interested clubs: the White Sox, Blue Jays, Royals, Angels, Nationals, and Diamondbacks.
Earlier in November, we heard that the Cubs would have interest in the longtime White Sox pitcher "if the price tag and years aren't astronomical." Considering the number of Buehrle rumors we've heard so far this offseason, there appears to be plenty of competition, but we don't have a clear idea yet of the years and dollars the lefty might be offered.
Despite rumblings that reigning NL MVP Joey Votto could be available this offseason, Reds GM Walt Jocketty says the team will hold on to the first baseman, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). Jocketty indicated that the Reds will try to lock Votto up to a long-term deal within the next year. Here are a few other items of note from Heyman's Twitter feed:
- The Reds are among the teams who have contacted the Braves to inquire on Jair Jurrjens.
- GM John Mozeliak said the Cardinals haven't met face-to-face with Albert Pujols since the season ended, but that they've touched base with Pujols and his agent, and plan to meet.
- The Mets think Jose Reyes will give them a chance to match his best offer before he signs anywhere, but know that he's not obligated to do so.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says if he were to pursue an impact first baseman like Pujols or Prince Fielder, he'd need to make a companion move to open up the position.
- The White Sox aren't closing the door on Mark Buehrle, but GM Ken Williams feels it'll be tough to fit him into their payroll.
Their names showed up on our list of non-tender candidates yesterday, but Angel Pagan and Mike Pelfrey will be tendered contracts by the Mets, reports Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). The pair of Mets could earn more than $10MM between them in 2012, according to our projected arbitration salaries. Here are some other notes from the NL East:
- The Phillies are indicating Cole Hamels would cost "three small countries and two oceans" in a trade, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter link). Considering what sort of package it would take to land Hamels, the southpaw likely isn't going anywhere.
- The Mets have a similarly high asking price for David Wright. GM Sandy Alderson says he'll only considering moving Wright "if someone blows us away," tweets Heyman. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote earlier today that the Mets would definitely listen on Wright, but probably won't get an offer they like.
- Mark Buehrle's representatives and the Marlins are meeting today at the GM meetings in Milwaukee, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- Yoenis Cespedes isn't the only Cuban outfielder to grab the Nationals' attention – Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes of the club's interest in 19-year-old Jorge Soler.
- Speaking of Cespedes, the Phillies worked out the 26-year-old in the Dominican Republic, with Pat Gillick in attendance, tweets Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
- Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com takes a look at which players the Nationals may protect in this year's Rule 5 draft.
White Sox GM Ken Williams sounded less-than-optimistic when addressing the possibility of Mark Buehrle's return to Chicago, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. The GM said that he is unsure if it is the free agent ace's "time to go" but seemed prepared for the veteran to move on and play elsewhere in 2012.
“What I will miss more than that is the person he is. And you guys know what I’m talking about. When you talk about teammates, good teammates, supportive teammates, guys who have fun in the game, know when to be serious, know when to check somebody but know when to make somebody laugh, this is the guy you want. There’s much more that we’re going to miss than just every fifth day from Mark," said Williams at a hotel restaurant at the general managers’ meetings.
Last week we learned that the Marlins extended an offer to Buehrle and earlier this evening it was reported that the Diamondbacks have interest in him as well. Last season, the 32-year-old posted a 3.59 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 31 starts.
Williams also said that a trade of John Danks doesn’t seem imminent because he doesn’t think that he could get fair value for the left-hander.
“First of all, the climate for teams giving up young pitching hasn’t been sunny in a few years,” the GM said. “Secondly, it’s seems like every year, we all sit down and people are worried about the pitching.”
- You can add Roy Oswalt to the list of veteran starters that the Diamondbacks have at least some level of interest in, Piecoro tweets.
- Joe Saunders, a non-tender candidate with a projected 2012 salary of $8.7MM, told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he hopes to return next year. Saunders, who prides himself on his ability to log innings and pitch deep into games, has averaged 200 innings per season since 2008.
- The D'Backs appear to have interest in free agents Hiroki Kuroda and Mark Buehrle, according to Piecoro (on Twitter). Kuroda's name has come up as a possible fit for Arizona, but this is the first time we've seen the D'Backs connected to Buehrle
- The D'Backs announced earlier today that they sold Kameron Mickolio to the Hiroshima Carp.
The Miami Marlins were officially born yesterday, and they grabbed some headlines by extending contract offers to free agents Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, and Mark Buehrle. They also expressed some interest in Ryan Madson. Let's round up the latest from South Beach…
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that Reyes "loved his visit" to the team's new ballpark this past Wednesday, and he would like to play in Miami. SI.com's Heyman hears that Reyes is the team's top free agent target (Twitter link).
- Within the same piece, Frisaro says that people connected to the team have told him that their offer to Pujols "probably isn’t close to being enough" to land the free agent slugger.
- Talks with Reyes, Pujols, Madson, and Buehrle are "preliminary" according to Heyman (on Twitter), so there's no threat of all four players accepting offers.
- ESPN's Buster Olney called the Marlins' strategy fascinating (on Twitter), but cautions that it is risky. The 1997 team also went for quick fixes, then had to tear it all down immediately after winning the World Series.
9:51pm: Loria confirmed the club made the offers, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Marlins president David Samson, however, said the team had no official comment. When asked if the club could afford all three players, Samson said “It’s a problem we never suspected could happen. That’s the true answer.”
5:03pm: The Marlins have made "substantial offers" to both Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and have also offered a contract to Mark Buehrle, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (both Twitter links). The team met with Pujols today, Reyes on Wednesday and Buehrle on Tuesday but apparently already felt comfortable enough to make contract offers, though Heyman reports there is "nothing close" to a deal with any of the three.
Miami's aggressiveness is no surprise, given how the Marlins have been in hot pursuit of several top free agents already this offseason. It's unlikely that Pujols, Reyes or Buehrle would sign so early without fully exploring the market for their services, though a blow-away offer from the Marlins could change their minds.
The Marlins' payroll was expected to increase by as much as $35MM this winter, but signing Pujols, Reyes and Buehrle would add at least $60MM to the 2012 payroll. That's a big outlay for three players — to put it in perspective, Cot's Baseball Contracts lists the entire Marlins payroll for 2011 as just under $57.7MM. Given how committed Jeffrey Loria is to put a competitive team into his new ballpark, we may have been conservative with our estimates about how much the Marlins are willing to spend this winter.
A few odds and ends from the Windy City as Thursday winds down …
- White Sox GM Ken Williams said today that the South Siders' 2012 payroll would be "a little bit less" than 2011's $127MM figure, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.
- Williams also added that he has had dialogue with free agent starter Mark Buehrle but didn't offer much in regards to whether the lefty might re-sign with the only team for which he's pitched: "All we can do is wait until we get to the winter meetings and then have a better idea of where we sit and where he sits and see if there’s a match,” Williams said.
- Cubs president Theo Epstein said the North Siders are in the "sixth inning" of their search for a new manager, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. So far, Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum and Mike Maddux have interviewed for the position, and Sandy Alomar Jr. is slated to interview on Friday.
- Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona badly wants to manage the Cubs, a source very close to Francona tells Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune. Epstein has said that Francona probably wouldn't have to go through a formal interview if the Cubs wanted to award him the job, but right now it is unknown whether Francona is being seriously considered for the position.
The White Sox went all-in in 2011, only to finish with a disappointing 79-83 record. Here's the latest on the team as preparations for Robin Ventura's first season in the dugout begin…
- Mark Buehrle has told the White Sox he's not going to give them a hometown discount, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter). Approximately ten teams, including the Marlins, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are interested in the left-hander.
- The White Sox are drawing trade interest in John Danks and Gavin Floyd, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Large-market teams may be drawn to Danks, the more expensive of the two, while small-market teams may prefer Floyd, who will earn $7MM in 2012 and can be retained for $9.5MM with a club option for 2013.
- The Rangers are believed to be interested in Danks, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Texas selected Danks with the ninth overall pick of the 2003 draft and traded him to Chicago for Brandon McCarthy in 2006.
- Outfielder Carlos Quentin may be the most likely White Sox player to be traded, as Rosenthal points out.
- The White Sox also announced that they signed left-handers Donnie Veal and Jose Quintana.
Just like last year, the Marlins are being aggressive early in the offseason. But this time instead of quickly signing John Buck and Javier Vazquez and shipping out Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin, and Andrew Miller, the new Miami Marlins are wooing top free agents. The latest:
- Marlins president David Samson said on the Dan Le Batard show on 790 the Ticket that the team hasn't reached out to Prince Fielder (Twitter links via MLB.com's Joe Frisaro).
- Samson wouldn't comment on Albert Pujols, but he confirmed that Reyes is one of the Marlins' "priorities."
- Mark Buehrle toured the Marlins' new ballpark and caught up with his former manager Ozzie Guillen in a daylong visit yesterday, reports Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. Ace Josh Johnson commented, "It would be great for the team as a whole. He's a leader in the clubhouse and would really help out the rotation."
- Buehrle is a better bet to perform over the course of a free agent deal than C.J. Wilson, according to team executives who responded to a poll question posed by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Responders voted 14 to 8 in favor of Buehrle. A GM told Crasnick, "I know C.J. Wilson is a great story, and he's obviously pitched well. But I don't see knockout stuff, and his arm action concerns me a little bit. Buehrle quietly has been pretty rock-solid for a long time. He works fast and throws with no effort. His recipe seems built to last."
- Marlins president David Samson appeared on MLB Network Radio this morning with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy, and Capozzi has a transcript. In regard to free-agent-to-be Yoenis Cespedes, Samson said, "Obviously he is a special guy. We’ve had some guys seeing him. We’re going to see him again. It’s not too often you can get an impact player like that as a free agent but again in our market at a position like center field with a bat that he has, that would seem like a good fit." The Marlins are sending a contingent to the Dominican Republic for a private workout with the Cuban center fielder tomorrow, in fact.
- Guillen has been very helpful in recruiting free agents, according to Samson. The Marlins are meeting with Jose Reyes today, and one Mets person told John Harper of the New York Daily News the Marlins plan to offer Reyes a high-salary, three-year deal. Personally, I don't think the Marlins will limit their offers to three years.
- I heard today that while Japan's Yomiuri Giants inquired on free agent and former Marlins top prospect Jeremy Hermida, he's looking to stay in MLB.