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Links for Thursday…
- GM John Mozeliak and manager Tony LaRussa both mentioned to MLB.com's Matthew Leach that the Cardinals are not in a rush to add an infielder despite Brendan Ryan's recent wrist surgery.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels knows that it's far from a foregone conclusion that his team will win 87 games again, according to ESPNDallas.com reporter Richard Durrett.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that Aroldis Chapman has looked "very impressive" so far.
- Jose Reyes tells Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he wants to finish his career with the Mets. Reyes says he's not thinking about the $11MM option the Mets have for his services in 2011.
- The Nats outrighted Doug Slaten to Triple A, according to the team's Twitter. They designated him for assignment two days ago.
- The Rockies and Mariners offered Mark McGwire hitting coach positions, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Mariners made their offer in 2003; the Rockies made theirs a few years ago.
- Victor Martinez tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he'd "obviously" like to stay in Boston. The catcher says the negotiations are now under the team's control.
- Carlos Zambrano tells Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald that he would have vetoed a trade had the Cubs approached him about one this offseason.
- Andrew Friedman says he and his front office have assembled "the most talented team in Rays history," according to the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter).
- USA Today's Peter Barzilai looks back at some historically good free agent signings.
- Greg Burke cleared waivers, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times. The club placed Burke on unconditional waivers ten days ago.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the club find its fifth starter outside of the organization. "We'd love to have a bona fide No. 5 starter," Colletti said.
- Mariano Rivera tells MLB.com's Brian Hoch that he doesn't know how long he's going to continue playing (Twitter link).
- Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Denver Post readers that he helps Dan O'Dowd make personnel decisions when the GM is looking for input.
- In anticipation of the club's scheduled arbitration hearing with Ryan Theriot, Cubs GM Jim Hendry tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that the arbitration process is sometimes unavoidable.
- The Braves signed 17-year-old infield prospect Alejandro Sanchez Martinez to a seven-year contract out of Spain earlier in the winter, according to David Menayo of Marca.com. Thanks to Nick Collias for the translation.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Aroldis Chapman | Atlanta Braves | Boston Red Sox | Carlos Zambrano | Chicago Cubs | Cincinnati Reds | Colorado Rockies | Detroit Tigers | Doug Slaten | Greg Burke | Jose Reyes | Los Angeles Dodgers | Mariano Rivera | Mark McGwire | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Ryan Theriot | San Diego Padres | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Transactions | Victor Martinez
MONDAY, 11:36am: At a press conference today, La Russa confirmed he's returning on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2011. He also confirmed the hiring of McGwire as the Cards' hitting coach. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has quotes from La Russa.
SUNDAY, 8:07pm: Buster Olney of ESPN reports that La Russa, like Braves skipper Bobby Cox, may only manage for one more year. Olney writes that La Russa's new deal is for one year, plus a mutual option for 2011, giving either party the ability to cut ties after this year.
5:33pm: Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals will announce that La Russa will return next season at a press conference Monday morning.
3:13pm: According to an ESPN report, while Olney's sources say a deal is in place, La Russa himself has not yet confirmed:
"We're getting closer," La Russa, who has managed the team for 14 years, said earlier Sunday. "But nothing has been decided. I can't tell you anything yet."
Both chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak would like La Russa to return. His current two-year, $8.5MM contract expires at the end of the month.
2:35pm: ESPN's Buster Olney has informed MLBTR, via email, that Tony La Russa has signed a new multi-year contract to return as the Cardinals manager. La Russa's coaching staff will look different though, as the Cards have fired hitting coach Hal McRae. The leading candidate to replace him? According to Olney, it's former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire.
Pat Lackey informs us that a Cardinals source confirmed to Fanhouse's Ed Price that Mark McGwire has been hired to replace Hal McRae as the St. Louis hitting coach.
McGwire, 46, played in St. Louis for four and a half seasons, hitting 220 home runs during his tenure, including setting a then-single season record with 70 home runs. For his career, McGwire totaled a .263/.394/.588 line, clubbing 583 home runs over 16 seasons with the Athletics and Cardinals.
As Lackey points out, McGwire's hiring could indicate the return of Tony La Russa. We've heard reports so far today that La Russa has signed a multi-year extension, but there has yet to be an official announcement regarding his contract status.
Just a few weeks left in the regular season, but plenty of news here on MLBTR still. Let’s look back at the past week:
- The Mets received terrible news when they learned that their All-Star closer, Billy Wagner, will need Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2009. Wagner does not expect to return to the Mets, and apparently the Mets have already told him his 2010 option will not be exercised. The Mets seem likely to be in the Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes mix. On that note, Fuentes will probably not return to Colorado next season.
- I’m taking this one with a grain of salt, but it sure makes for a headline: Mark McGwire would consider playing again? Big Mac says he can still hit if someone wants him. However, it seems to me there’s another 40-something former slugger with steroid allegations who says the same thing, and no one’s biting on that front…
- Adam Dunn hasn’t heard anything about a possible extension from the Diamondbacks, but he’s not worried about it. He doesn’t sound too pleased with former teammate Bronson Arroyo these days, however…
- Speaking of Dunn, the Reds officially acquired Micah Owings as part of their trade of him this week.
- Tim updated the Offseason Outlook series, with installments for the Nationals, Royals, and Pirates. He also took a look at some of the potential big-name free agents following the 2009 season.
- The Elias Rankings for American League and National League relievers are out.
- Two minor moves: The A’s released designated hitter Mike Sweeney, and the Brewers claimed pitcher Todd Coffey.
Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch interviewed Mark McGwire about the 10th anniversary of breaking Roger Maris’ single-season home run record. At the end of the article McGwire indicates that he thinks he can still play.
Today, McGwire says, he works out twice a day and still weighs 245 pounds. "I can still hit, if somebody wants me," he said. "Now, wouldn’t that be a shocker?"
Let me say that McGwire may have been joking. However, Hummel gives us no indication that this is the case.
Earlier today, Joe Stiglich reported that the A’s would seek to add power to the lineup this off-season and that they would be more likely to acquire a power-hitter through free agency. Would Billy Beane try to coax McGwire out of retirement? McGwire did play 11 seasons for the A’s and they do have an opening for a DH in ’09 along with a dire need to add an impact bat.
The possibility does seem far-fetched, but this is the type of move that Beane would not shy from. And if McGwire did decide to lace up the sneakers for one more season, this is the exact situation under which it would have to happen.
All sorts of odds and ends to discuss this morning.
- I will be appearing on Rutgers Student Radio this morning at 8:40am CST. You can go here and click the "listen" link to hear it live.
- Keith Foulke threw for the majority of teams in baseball last week, topping out around 84. The D’Backs may make an offer. I don’t believe they have signed a free agent yet.
- The New York Times says Jose Canseco has apparently dragged Magglio Ordonez into the steroid mess, with the FBI getting involved on possible extortion. I have to admit, I am going to read Canseco’s new book. The first one was interesting but poorly written.
- The Giants’ two-year offer to Pedro Feliz was rejected, and they seem inclined to fill third base internally. Joe Crede is not out of the question though.
- Seems that the Reds might be talking about a long-term deal with Brandon Phillips.
- Rewriting history: the Padres almost acquired Mark McGwire in 1995. Speaking of Kevin Towers, here’s a quick look at his trading record. It’s good.
- Team payroll data for ’07 is out; it’s not terribly surprising.