Mark Ellis Rumors

AL East Notes: Moreland, Cano, Napoli, Sox, Orioles

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that the Rays have some interest in Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, who could be deemed expendable in the wake of Texas' acquisition of Prince Fielder. The Rangers, of course, covet David Price, and including Moreland in a package for him (presumably as a somewhat minor component) could take a potential destination away from the Mets in their shopping of Ike Davis. Here's more out of the AL East…

  • Within that same piece, Martino writes that the Fielder-Ian Kinsler swap may not impact the Robinson Cano market as much as many initially thought. Cano is markedly better than Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, so if he wants to be a Ranger or Tiger and the price isn't crazy, those players shouldn't preclude Texas or Detroit from striking a deal.
  • The Red Sox seem to be letting Mike Napoli's market develop before deciding what their final offer to him will be, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
  • Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald spoke with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington who told him that the team is "in a position to be a little choosy, a little selective" in its search for a new catcher. Cherington says the Sox are interested in a "small handful of free agents" and has also actively pursued trades at catcher.
  • On Brian McCann's recent five-year contract with the Yankees, Boston catcher and close friend of McCann, David Ross, told Lauber: "He told me, I think it came down to years. When you add an option for six, it puts you at almost $100 (million), that’s a game-changer." Cherington wouldn't indicate to Lauber how far the Red Sox were willing to go in negotiations.
  • Mark Ellis is considered an option for the Orioles, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, but Baltimore has yet to reach out to the second baseman.
  • Kubatko also reports that the Orioles don't have any immediate interest in first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones, who was designated for assignment by the Pirates yesterday.
  • One more from Kubatko, who reported last week that the Orioles won't look to re-sign left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who never appeared with the O's after signing a two-year deal prior to the 2012 season. Wada fell victim to Tommy John surgery and didn't make it to the big league level in Baltimore. Executive vice president Dan Duquette told Kubatko: "I think that the Wada chapter is over with the Orioles. We're just going in another direction … I'm sorry that it didn't work out, but it's time to move on."

Orioles Notes: Wieters, McLouth, Beltran, Pitching

The Orioles have been one of the most mentioned teams on MLBTR with the club trying to decide whether to extend or trade Matt Wieters and approaching the Cardinals about a J.J. Hardy-Shelby Miller trade. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com weighs in on those and other topics in a "Because You Asked" column:

  • The Hardy-Miller talks were just preliminary, but not unexpected because of the Orioles' quest for starting pitching and the Cardinals' need for a shortstop. Kubatko sees the O's acquiring a starter and keeping Hardy.
  • Wieters is not untouchable and the Orioles are willing to trade him, but are not feverishly shopping the catcher. Financial constraints are compounding the Wieters situation, as the front office is trying to figure out how to accomodate within their budget the pursuit of free agents like Carlos Beltran and arbitration raises for Wieters and others (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects $41.2MM for eight arbitration eligible players).
  • There is no progress in negotiations with outfielder Nate McLouth. The Orioles are concerned with other clubs offering him a two-year deal. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted two years and $10MM for McLouth to which a person in the Orioles organization, when asked by Kubatko late in the season, responded: "Well, he won't be getting that from us."
  • Kubatko suggests the Orioles swallow hard and give McLouth a two-year contract since they did so for Wilson Betemit. If re-signed, Kubatko doesn't necessarily see McLouth as the full-time starter in left, but a valuable fourth outfielder, occasional DH, pinch-runner, and defensive replacement.
  • The Orioles like Carlos Beltran and see him as a great fit; but, will have to outbid some big spending teams, which they haven't done historically.
  • One option worth debating to free up payroll space for Beltran, according to Kubatko, is trading Jim Johnson and his expected $10.8MM arbitration salary. The Orioles have said they intend to keep their closer.
  • Kubatko spoke with someone in the organization recently who steered him away from Scott Kazmir, as if the Orioles have no interest. The O's, however, do have interest in Tim Hudson.
  • There is a definite possibility Brian Roberts will return to Baltimore. If not, Mark Ellis is on the club's radar as an alternative because he won't command a three-year deal like Omar Infante

Dodgers Decline Options On Mark Ellis, Chris Capuano

The Dodgers announced on Twitter that they have declined their options on Mark Ellis and Chris Capuano. Ellis' contract contained a $5.75MM club option, and Caupano's deal contained an $8MM mutual option. Each player will receive a $1MM buyout.

Ellis, 36, batted .270/.323/.351 with six homers and four steals in 126 games (480 plate appearances) for the Dodgers this season. As is typically the case, he was a standout defender at second base, posting marks of +7.6 in UZR/150 and +12 in The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric. I speculated earlier today that the Dodgers may be able to trade Ellis to a team in need of an upgrade at the keystone position, as his $5.75MM option was plenty reasonable, but the veteran will now be able to negotiate with any club.

Capuano, 35, pitched to a 4.26 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 105 2/3 innings for the Dodgers this season. While his role with the club was uncertain early on, injuries opened up a rotation spot, and 20 of his 24 appearances for the Dodgers wound up being starts. A .334 batting average on balls in play shows that Capuano was the victim of some poor luck, and his FIP reflects that, projecting that his ERA should've been closer to 3.55.

The Dodgers showed a clear readiness to move on from Ellis when they inked Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year $28MM contract on Oct. 22. In terms of pitching depth, they can afford to let Capuano go in search of higher-profile options, given the presence of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley and Stephen Fife.



California Links: Lincecum, Zito, Wolff, Ellis

Tim Lincecum could be making his last start with the Giants tonight and he tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he would like to remain a Giant but is open to other options.  "I've always said I'd like to see the relationship go further. But until I know what's on the table, I can't really dismiss anything else. I try to take advice from my agent and do something that's going to make me happy as well," Lincecum said.  He also noted that he is open to pitching anywhere, be it away from the west coast or in a warmer climate.  Lincecum has an edge over at least one other notable free agent hurler, as over 62% of MLBTR readers polled would prefer to sign Lincecum over Ubaldo Jimenez.

Here are some more news items from baseball's California squads…

  • Speaking of last starts with the Giants, Barry Zito pitched five innings of two-run ball on Wednesday to earn a win in what was very likely his final outing in the orange-and-black.  The veteran southpaw told reporters (including MLB.com's Chris Haft) that his time in San Francisco was "95 percent great and the other 5 percent terrible," and Zito was widely praised by his teammates.  Zito posted a 4.62 ERA after signing a seven-year, $126MM deal with the Giants that is widely regarded as one of the worst contracts in baseball history.  At age 35, Zito says he has "no idea" if he'll try to continue his career next season, saying a decision will come later.
  • Athletics owner Lew Wolff discussed how the A's have (again) rebuilt themselves into contenders, how he works with general manager Billy Beane, and the Oakland stadium situation as part of a wide-ranging interview with MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom.
  • Mark Ellis' excellent second base glove and his veteran leadership have made him an underrated part of the Dodgers' success, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon writes.  Ellis turned 36 in June and has a .264/.317/.343 batting line in 466 PA, so it's questionable if the Dodgers will exercise their $5.75MM team option on Ellis for 2014.  Whether L.A. keeps him or not, Ellis said he intends to play next season.
  • Earlier tonight, we collected a batch of Angels-related notes.

Cafardo On Peavy, Orioles, Lee, Vazquez, Dodgers

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that it would be a shame if David Ortiz can't stay healthy given his level of production so far this year.  Even as he seems locked in at the plate, he's not in perfect health.  “I’m seeing the ball and hitting the ball good,” the 37-year-old said. “I just keep going out there, seeing and hitting the ball. I’m keeping it simple right now. I’m not trying to do too much and the hits are falling. And some hits get taken away. I’m still not 100 percent down there [pointing to his legs].”  Here's more from today's column..

  • Right-hander Jake Peavy is on the disabled list again, but he’s going to be very much in demand before the trading deadline if the White Sox start selling off. “He’s a great fit for a team like [the Orioles],” said one National League GM. “They’re looking to add that veteran, battle-tested pitcher to really finish off their staff and that Peavy type would be ideal.” The only problem is that the money might deter them.  Cliff Lee of the Phillies would also be an ideal guy, but he too is pricey.
  • Teams are still monitoring Javier Vazquez's recovery from knee surgery because he could be talked into pitching again and could be a solid mid-rotation starter.  Vazquez was in winter ball and wanted to come back to the majors, but the knee issue seemed to put that to rest. For the right contract, however, he can have a change of heart.
  • Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire doesn’t have a contract for next year, but he is earning one with Minnesota’s better-than-expected start.  With the pitching staff performing well and the lineup exceeding expectations, don’t be surprised if he gets a mid-season extension.
  • Hanley Ramirez is signed through 2014, so the Dodgers may eventually move Dee Gordon to second base, unless they feel they can sign Robinson Cano as a free agent after the season.  The Dodgers are unlikely to pick up their $5.75MM option on Mark Ellis.

National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.  

Updated team decisions:

Teams with automatic decisions only:


Dodgers Sign Mark Ellis

Check another item off the Dodgers' winter to-do list, as the team officially signed second baseman Mark Ellis to a two-year, $8.75MM deal that includes a team option for 2014.  Dylan Hernandez has the contract breakdown; only $2.5MM is owed to Ellis in 2012.  He can earn an additional $125K per year in plate appearance-based incentives.   

EllisWith Dee Gordon penciled in at shortstop and Juan Uribe at third, second base was considered one of the Dodgers' offseason needs.  Ellis, 34, hit .248/.288/.346 in 519 plate appearances for the Athletics and Rockies this year.  He's best known for his strong second base defense.  Assuming the current free agent compensation system remains in place for this offseason, the Rockies will receive a supplemental draft pick for losing the Type B free agent.

Ellis' deal may have been based on Omar Infante's September pact with the Marlins.  Ellis is represented by TWC Sports.

It's been an active offseason for Dodgers GM Ned Colletti amid recent news of the team going up for sale.  Colletti reached an agreement with Matt Kemp on an eight-year, $160MM deal yesterday, signed Juan Rivera for $4.5MM, and made an offer to Ryan Doumit.

ESPN's Buster Olney broke the story of Ellis' agreement, with Ken Rosenthal adding the total and the option info.  Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Tigers Notes: Ellis, Hill, Molina, Laird

The Tigers had already locked up Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, Joaquin Benoit and Victor Martinez by November 23rd of last year. Here’s the latest on the team as they start the current offseason more quietly… 

  • The Tigers seem to believe they can find help via trades, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  The club has given up a lot in the past but they are willing to deal anyone but their top minor league prospects.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that the Tigers didn’t offer contracts to Mark Ellis, Jamey Carroll or Aaron Hill, three middle infielders who recently signed two-year deals. Should the Tigers pursue free agent middle infielders such as Clint Barmes or Kelly Johnson, they’d likely be looking at a two-year commitment given the deals we’ve seen so far and the number of teams with openings at second or short.
  • The Tigers are considering Jose Molina, Matt Treanor, Ramon Castro and former Tiger Gerald Laird as possible backup catchers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). All four backstops are free agents who could give Alex Avila an occasional breather while keeping Martinez’s knees fresh so he can contribute on offense.

Dodgers, Mark Ellis On Verge Of Two-Year Deal

The Dodgers are on the verge of a two-year deal with second baseman Mark Ellis, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the deal is worth $8.75MM.  Ellis is represented by TWC Sports.  

With Dee Gordon penciled in at shortstop and Juan Uribe at third, second base was considered one of the Dodgers' offseason needs.  Ellis, 34, hit .248/.288/.346 in 519 plate appearances for the Athletics and Rockies this year.  He's best known for his strong second base defense.  Assuming the current free agent compensation system remains in place for this offseason, the Rockies will receive a supplemental draft pick for losing the Type B free agent.


Dodgers Links: Sale, Offseason, Infielders, Rivera

On this day in 1988, Los Angeles right-hander Orel Hershiser won the NL Cy Young Award by a unanimous vote after going 23-8 with a 2.31 ERA. Here are a few items of note regarding the Dodgers …

  • Tom Golisano, the former owner of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, is preparing a bid to purchase the Dodgers, according to Craig Karmin and Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal. Golisano is "one of the first to declare an interest in buying the franchise who actually has the money to pull off the transaction," according to the report.
  • Outgoing owner Frank McCourt hasn't told GM Ned Colletti not to spend on free agents — even ones of Prince Fielder's caliber — this offseason, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
  • The Dodgers are "aggressively pursuing" infielders and are also interested in acquiring a catcher and starting pitchers, Major League sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Los Angeles is targeting Clint Barmes, Aaron Hill and Mark Ellis to play second base and/or a utility position.
  • Juan Rivera's new contract with the Dodgers could be worth as much as $9MM over the next two seasons, according to Hernandez. The outfielder is guaranteed $4MM in 2012, with a $4MM option or $500K buyout for 2013, and he can earn as much as $500K in each of the next two seasons depending on his number of at-bats.